Thursday, August 23, 2007
Dan Vanderhorst was assigned as TACIT BLUE project pilot at Detachment 3, AFFTC, from 1983 to 1987. Between May 1984 and February 1985, he flew 17 flights in the one-of-a-kind demonstrator including the first with modified gear, envelope-clearance tests with bay doors open, and separation tests. He achieved the highest flight in the aircraft, taking it to the upper limits of its performance envelope. He then closed out the program’s activities as director of the TACIT BLUE Combined Test Force. He subsequently served as Chief of Safety at Detachment 3 where most of his flying as involved chase and passenger transportation. Occasionally, he flew test sorties to check out minor modifications involving transmitters or data-collection equipment. On occasion, when an experimental device was attached to the exterior of an aircraft, he flew a few flights to confirm the effects of the modifications on the airplane’s performance and flying qualities. After retiring from the Air Force in 1989, he became a civil servant and Director of Test for the 413th Flight Test Squadron. He continued to fly the fleet of support aircraft. From 1999 to 2001, he served as Deputy Director of Plans and Programs at Detachment 3 and then became Technical Director for the Operations Group. He also flew chase and support missions for flight-test projects.