September 21, 2009
From the company that brought you the P-51 Mustang, F-86 Sabre, and F-100 Super Sabre came the F-107, North American’s entry in a 1950s Mach 2 fighter-nuclear bomber competition. Though it was based on the F-100 design, evident in the wings, aft fuselage, and tail section, something went seriously wrong with the rest of it: An internal fire control radar in the fuselage necessitated placing the voracious intake just aft of the cockpit. Any pilot considering an ejection would think long and hard before doing so, hence the nickname, “man eater.”
In the end, Republic’s F-105 won out. Two man eaters went to the NACA High-Speed Flight Station (now NASA Dryden, in California); one retired to the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force in Ohio.