YC-15 Prototype Moves to New Home at Edwards

McDonnell Douglas YC-15 prototype #1 (72-1875) is moved to static display at Edwards Air Force Base, CA 5/6/08
Photo: USAF / Fred Johnsen

5/6/2008 - Contractors moved the YC-15 prototype #1 (72-1875) fuselage along Shuttle Rd. at Edwards Air Force Base April 4, in preparation for placing it on static display. The aircraft was returned to Edwards to be part of the Century Circle museum annex near the West Gate of the base. This YC-15 was the first of two prototypes built by McDonnell Douglas in response to the U.S. Air Force's Advanced Medium STOL Transport (AMST) competition, which would have replaced the C-130 Hercules. Boeing's offering was the YC-14. Neither would be put into production, but portions of the YC-15 were eventually used in designing the C-17A Globe Master.

Of the two YC-15s built, #72-1875 has a wingspan of 132 feet. The second prototype (#72-1876) had a wingspan of 110 feet . Both aircraft were 124 feet long and utilized Pratt & Whitney JT8D-17 engines. The first flight for #72-1875 was on August 26, 1975. The second prototype flew in December that same year. In late 1976, the MD and Boeing aircraft were brought to Edwards to begin testing. The program was completed in 1977 with the YC-15s amassing 600 hours of flight time. The two aircraft were eventually put into storage at AMARC. The USAF had decided it was looking for more of a strategic aircraft, as opposed to a tactical aircraft, so the AMST program was canceled in 1979, keeping the C-130 in service for years to come.

McDonnell Douglas began flying #72-1875 again in 1996 under the registration N15YC while evaluating new technology for advanced tactical transports. That continued through to April 1997, until an engine failure put the aircraft back in storage, until now.

Source: USAF Press Release / The North Spin

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