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North American YF-107

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Type Fighter-bomber
Manufacturer North American Aviation
Maiden flight 10 September 1956
Retired 25 November 1957
Status Did not enter mass-production
Primary user NACA
Number built 3
Program cost US$105.8 million[1]
Developed from F-100 Super Sabre

The North American YF-107 ("Ultra Sabre") was North American Aviation's entry for a USAF tactical fighter-bomber design competition of the 1950s. The YF-107 incorporated many innovations and radical design features, and was loosely based on the F-100 Super Sabre. The competition was eventually won by the F-105 Thunderchief, and the prototype F-107s ended their lives as test aircraft.

Design and development

The YF-107A was originally designed as a tactical fighter-bomber version of the F-100, and was entered into a competition sponsored by the Air Force. Originally designated the F-100B, the aircraft featured a recessed weapons bay under the fuselage, as well as an all-moving vertical fin and a control system which permitted the plane to roll at supersonic speeds.

The aircraft's most distinguishing feature is its Variable Area Inlet Duct, mounted in an unconventional position directly above and just behind the cockpit, which automatically controlled the amount of air fed to the jet engine. The air intake was located overhead and behind to prevent it from interfering with the aircraft's weapons' control and guidance radar. The implications this had for the survivability of the pilot during ejection were troubling. It also severely limited view to the rear, although this was not considered terribly important for a bomber aircraft, notable during an era when it was assumed air combat would be via missile exchanges outside visual range.

Extensive design changes resulted in its redesignation from F-100B to YF-107A before the first prototype flew.


The first YF-107A (s/n 55-5118) made its initial flight on 10 September 1956, attaining Mach 1.03. The aircraft first achieved Mach 2 in tests on 3 November 1956. The second F-107A (s/n 55-5119) made its first flight was on 28 November 1956. It was used for weapons testing with both conventional and atomic bombs. Three YF-107As were built as prototypes and were test flown extensively, but the aircraft did not go into production; the Republic F-105 having been selected as the standard fighter-bomber for the Tactical Air Command.

In late 1957, prototype #1 and #3 were leased to the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) for high-speed flight research, while aircraft #2 (s/n 55-5119) was flown on 25 November 1957 to the National Museum of the United States Air Force near Dayton, Ohio.


Aircraft #1 (s/n 55-5118) is currently on display at the Pima Air and Space Museum in Tucson, Arizona. Aircraft #2 (s/n 55-5119) is on display in the experimental aircraft hangar at the United States Air Force Museum.


The YF-107 was never given an official name, but was often referred to as the "Ultra Sabre" by North American, an homage to the F-100 Super Sabre. The flight crews referred to it as the "Man Eater," in reference to the position of the air intake directly above the cockpit.

Specifications (YF-107A)

General characteristics

  • Crew: 1
  • Length: 61 ft 10 in (18.85 m)
  • Wingspan: 36 ft 7 in (11.15 m)
  • Height: 19 ft 8 in (5.89 m)
  • Wing area: 376 ft² (35 m²)
  • Empty weight: 22,696 lb (10,295 kg)
  • Loaded weight: 39,755 lb (18,033 kg)
  • Max takeoff weight: 41,537 lb (18,841 kg)
  • Powerplant:Pratt & Whitney YJ75-P-9 turbojet, 24,500 lbf (109 kN)



10,000 lb (4,500 kg)


  1. Knaack, Marcelle Size (1978). Encyclopedia of US Air Force aircraft and missile systems. Office of Air Force History. 
  • Baugher, Joe. North American F-100B/YF-107. American F-100B/YF-107 Access date: 27 December 2006.
  • Jones, Lloyd S.U. S. Fighters: Army Air-Force 1925 to 1980s. Fallbrook, California: Aero Publishers, Inc., 1975. ISBN 0-8168-9201-6.
  • F-107A DVD

External links

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Designation sequence

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