October 18, 1985

1985: The first flight of an F-111 aircraft with the Mission Adaptive Wing took place at Edwards AFB. The wing had no flaps, slats, ailerons, or spoilers, but used internal hydraulic actuators to change its camber in flight. The wing also had a flexible composite covering to maintain a smooth surface. According to the Boeing Military Airplane Company, the wing produced a 25 to 30 percent increase in range and maneuverability to give the F-111 tighter sustained maneuvers for evasive action and survivability, increased fatigue life, better handling, and a more stable weapons platform.
Lt. Col. Frank Birk (USAF) and Rogers Smith (NASA) manned the aircraft on the first flight. A T-38 chase plane flew nearby. The initial takeoff was made toward the dry lakebed at Edwards in case of an abort. To the satisfaction of all involved, the flight went flawlessly and inaugurated Phase I of testing.