Northrup RF-15a Reporter (2016)

Northrup developed the Reporter in 1945 as a reconnaissance aircraft by modifying a P-61c Black Widow. The aircraft's top 2 decks were cutoff and fitted with a T-33 canopy thereby becoming a 2 place aircraft. The nose was fitted with camera equipment. The plane was capable of speeds exceeding 430 mph but the project was cancelled after only 36 were built. It entered service in 1947 and was removed by the early 1950's.

This model is a 22.7% replica of a plane which belonged to PRS-8 (8th Photographic Reconnaissance Squadron) stationed in Japan. I modified and enlarged a set of Nick Ziroli's plans for the P-61 Black Widow. It has a wingspan of 180" and is powered with DA-100's. The plane's design and construction was begun in August of 2015 and completed in February of 2016. Good friend Bob Walker built the landing gear which features 10" diameter main tires. The plane weighs just over 115lbs. 13lbs of which is nose weight. Servos are all Hitec, radio is Futaba 12ch fg.

1st couple of test flights took place on March 22, 2016. I was afraid to retract the gear as it seemed pitch sensitive. Flights 6&7 took place on April 25, 2016. Plane was finally performing up to expectations. Changed to 2 bladed props making a huge difference. On final approach of flight #7 with gear and flaps down the plane with no warning dove into the ground from about 25 feet. Pretty much destroyed the center section and engines. The next day I found the reason. The elevator extension connectors into the power expander had shorted out causing both elevator servos to fail. Will attempt to rebuild next winter. April 22, 2017. First flight of repaired F-15. Seems to be performing in an acceptable manner.

Press here for Rich's video of the 2017 repaired version of the Reporter.

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