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Convair NC-131H Total In-Flight Simulator (TIFS)

DAYTON, Ohio - The Convair NC-131H Total In-Flight Simulator (TIFS), a very unique aircraft created to perform research for the U.S. Air Force, lands on the back field of the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force on Nov. 7, 2008. (U.S. Air Force photo)

DAYTON, Ohio - The Convair NC-131H Total In-Flight Simulator (TIFS), a very unique aircraft created to perform research for the U.S. Air Force, lands on the back field of the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force on Nov. 7, 2008. (U.S. Air Force photo)

DAYTON, Ohio - The Convair NC-131H Total In-Flight Simulator (TIFS), a very unique aircraft created to perform research for the U.S. Air Force, lands on the back field of the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force on Nov. 7, 2008. (U.S. Air Force photo)

DAYTON, Ohio - The Convair NC-131H Total In-Flight Simulator (TIFS), a very unique aircraft created to perform research for the U.S. Air Force, lands on the back field of the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force on Nov. 7, 2008. (U.S. Air Force photo)

DAYTON, Ohio - The crew of the Convair NC-131H Total In-Flight Simulator (TIFS), a very unique aircraft created to perform research for the U.S. Air Force, stands in front of the aircraft just after landing at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force on Nov. 7, 2008. (U.S. Air Force photo)

DAYTON, Ohio - The crew of the Convair NC-131H Total In-Flight Simulator (TIFS), a very unique aircraft created to perform research for the U.S. Air Force, stands in front of the aircraft just after landing at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force on Nov. 7, 2008. (U.S. Air Force photo)

DAYTON, Ohio -- Bill Weldon of Enon, Ohio, took this photo of the Convair NC-131H as it landed at the National Museum of the United States Air Force on Nov. 7, 2008. (Photo courtesy of Bill Weldon)

DAYTON, Ohio -- Bill Weldon of Enon, Ohio, took this photo of the Convair NC-131H as it landed at the National Museum of the United States Air Force on Nov. 7, 2008. (Photo courtesy of Bill Weldon)

DAYTON, Ohio -- Bill Weldon of Enon, Ohio, took this photo of the Convair NC-131H as it landed at the National Museum of the United States Air Force on Nov. 7, 2008. (Photo courtesy of Bill Weldon)

DAYTON, Ohio -- Bill Weldon of Enon, Ohio, took this photo of the Convair NC-131H as it landed at the National Museum of the United States Air Force on Nov. 7, 2008. (Photo courtesy of Bill Weldon)

DAYTON, Ohio -- Bill Weldon of Enon, Ohio, took this photo of the Convair NC-131H as it landed at the National Museum of the United States Air Force on Nov. 7, 2008. (Photo courtesy of Bill Weldon)

DAYTON, Ohio -- Bill Weldon of Enon, Ohio, took this photo of the Convair NC-131H as it landed at the National Museum of the United States Air Force on Nov. 7, 2008. (Photo courtesy of Bill Weldon)

DAYTON, Ohio - The Convair NC-131H Total In-Flight Simulator (TIFS), a very unique aircraft created to perform research for the U.S. Air Force, just after landing on the back field of the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force on Nov. 7, 2008. (U.S. Air Force photo)

DAYTON, Ohio - The Convair NC-131H Total In-Flight Simulator (TIFS), a very unique aircraft created to perform research for the U.S. Air Force, just after landing on the back field of the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force on Nov. 7, 2008. (U.S. Air Force photo)

DAYTON, Ohio - The Convair NC-131H Total In-Flight Simulator (TIFS), a very unique aircraft created to perform research for the U.S. Air Force, just after landing on the back field of the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force on Nov. 7, 2008. (U.S. Air Force photo)

DAYTON, Ohio - The Convair NC-131H Total In-Flight Simulator (TIFS), a very unique aircraft created to perform research for the U.S. Air Force, just after landing on the back field of the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force on Nov. 7, 2008. (U.S. Air Force photo)

DAYTON, Ohio - The Convair NC-131H Total In-Flight Simulator (TIFS), a very unique aircraft created to perform research for the U.S. Air Force, lands on the back field of the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force on Nov. 7, 2008. (U.S. Air Force photo)

DAYTON, Ohio - The Convair NC-131H Total In-Flight Simulator (TIFS), a very unique aircraft created to perform research for the U.S. Air Force, lands on the back field of the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force on Nov. 7, 2008. (U.S. Air Force photo)

DAYTON, Ohio - The Convair NC-131H Total In-Flight Simulator (TIFS), a very unique aircraft created to perform research for the U.S. Air Force, flies over the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force just before landing on Nov. 7, 2008. (U.S. Air Force photo)
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DAYTON, Ohio - The Convair NC-131H Total In-Flight Simulator (TIFS), a very unique aircraft created to perform research for the U.S. Air Force, flies over the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force just before landing on Nov. 7, 2008. (U.S. Air Force photo)

DAYTON, Ohio - The Convair NC-131H Total In-Flight Simulator (TIFS), a very unique aircraft created to perform research for the U.S. Air Force, flies over the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force just before landing on Nov. 7, 2008. (U.S. Air Force photo)
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DAYTON, Ohio - The Convair NC-131H Total In-Flight Simulator (TIFS), a very unique aircraft created to perform research for the U.S. Air Force, flies over the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force just before landing on Nov. 7, 2008. (U.S. Air Force photo)

DAYTON, Ohio - The Convair NC-131H Total In-Flight Simulator (TIFS), a very unique aircraft created to perform research for the U.S. Air Force, lands on the back field of the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force on Nov. 7, 2008. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ben Strasser)
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DAYTON, Ohio - The Convair NC-131H Total In-Flight Simulator (TIFS), a very unique aircraft created to perform research for the U.S. Air Force, lands on the back field of the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force on Nov. 7, 2008. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ben Strasser)

DAYTON, Ohio - The Convair NC-131H Total In-Flight Simulator (TIFS), a very unique aircraft created to perform research for the U.S. Air Force, lands on the back field of the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force on Nov. 7, 2008. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ben Strasser)
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The TIFS was a highly-modified C-131B transport aircraft. Its piston engines were replaced by powerful turboprop engines, a second cockpit was attached to the nose, and large vertical fins were added to the wings. It was redesignated the NC-131H with the "N" indicating the aircraft had been permanently modified. (U.S. Air Force photo)

DAYTON, Ohio - The Convair NC-131H Total In-Flight Simulator (TIFS), a very unique aircraft created to perform research for the U.S. Air Force, just after landing on the back field of the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force on Nov. 7, 2008. (U.S. Air Force photo)
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The TIFS could be configured with two different noses. Pictured is the two-place forward cockpit containing reconfigurable controls and instrument displays. Onboard computers simulated the handling characteristics of various aircraft for pilots flying the TIFS from this cockpit. The original C-131 cockpit carried safety pilots who monitored the simulations and could take control in case of a problem. (U.S. Air Force photo)

The TIFS could be configured with two different noses. This configuration carried large prototype radars, infrared cameras, and other sensors. A crew station in the main cabin accommodated the system operators. (U.S. Air Force photo)
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The TIFS could be configured with two different noses. This configuration carried large prototype radars, infrared cameras, and other sensors. A crew station in the main cabin accommodated the system operators. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Restoration staff move the Convair NC-131H Total In-Flight Simulator (TIFS) into the new fourth building at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force on Nov. 22, 2015. (U.S. Air Force photo by Don Popp)
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Restoration staff move the Convair NC-131H Total In-Flight Simulator (TIFS) into the new fourth building at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force on Nov. 22, 2015. (U.S. Air Force photo by Don Popp)

Restoration staff move the Convair NC-131H Total In-Flight Simulator (TIFS) into the new fourth building at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force on Nov. 22, 2015. (U.S. Air Force photo by Don Popp)
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Restoration staff move the Convair NC-131H Total In-Flight Simulator (TIFS) into the new fourth building at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force on Nov. 22, 2015. (U.S. Air Force photo by Don Popp)

Restoration staff move the Chance-Vought/LTV XC-142A and the Convair NC-131H Total In-Flight Simulator (TIFS)  into the new fourth building at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force on Nov. 22, 2015. (U.S. Air Force photo by Don Popp)
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Restoration staff move the Chance-Vought/LTV XC-142A and the Convair NC-131H Total In-Flight Simulator (TIFS) into the new fourth building at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force on Nov. 22, 2015. (U.S. Air Force photo by Don Popp)

The Convair NC-131H Total In-Flight Simulator (TIFS) in front of the museum's fourth building on Dec, 8,2015. (U.S. Air Force photo)
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The Convair NC-131H Total In-Flight Simulator (TIFS) in front of the museum's fourth building on Dec, 8,2015. (U.S. Air Force photo)

The Convair NC-131H Total In-Flight Simulator (TIFS) in front of the museum's fourth building on Dec, 8,2015. (U.S. Air Force photo)
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The Convair NC-131H Total In-Flight Simulator (TIFS) in front of the museum's fourth building on Dec, 8,2015. (U.S. Air Force photo)

The Convair NC-131H Total In-Flight Simulator (TIFS) in front of the museum's fourth building on Dec, 8,2015. (U.S. Air Force photo)
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The Convair NC-131H Total In-Flight Simulator (TIFS) in front of the museum's fourth building on Dec, 8,2015. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Convair NC-131H Total In-Flight Simulator (TIFS) in the Research & Development Gallery at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo)
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Convair NC-131H Total In-Flight Simulator (TIFS) in the Research & Development Gallery at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo)

DAYTON, Ohio -- Convair NC-131H Total In-Flight Simulator (TIFS) cockpit(simulator area) in the Research & Development Gallery at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)
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DAYTON, Ohio -- Convair NC-131H Total In-Flight Simulator (TIFS) cockpit(simulator area) in the Research & Development Gallery at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)

DAYTON, Ohio -- Convair NC-131H Total In-Flight Simulator (TIFS) cockpit view in the Research & Development Gallery at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)
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DAYTON, Ohio -- Convair NC-131H Total In-Flight Simulator (TIFS) cockpit view in the Research & Development Gallery at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)

DAYTON, Ohio -- Convair NC-131H Total In-Flight Simulator (TIFS) cockpit view in the Research & Development Gallery at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)
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DAYTON, Ohio -- Convair NC-131H Total In-Flight Simulator (TIFS) cockpit view in the Research & Development Gallery at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)

DAYTON, Ohio -- Convair NC-131H Total In-Flight Simulator (TIFS) cockpit view in the Research & Development Gallery at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)
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DAYTON, Ohio -- Convair NC-131H Total In-Flight Simulator (TIFS) cockpit view in the Research & Development Gallery at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)

DAYTON, Ohio -- Convair NC-131H Total In-Flight Simulator (TIFS) interior view in the Research & Development Gallery at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)
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DAYTON, Ohio -- Convair NC-131H Total In-Flight Simulator (TIFS) interior view in the Research & Development Gallery at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)

DAYTON, Ohio -- Convair NC-131H Total In-Flight Simulator (TIFS) interior view in the Research & Development Gallery at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)
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DAYTON, Ohio -- Convair NC-131H Total In-Flight Simulator (TIFS) interior view in the Research & Development Gallery at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)

DAYTON, Ohio -- Convair NC-131H Total In-Flight Simulator (TIFS) cockpit view in the Research & Development Gallery at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)
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DAYTON, Ohio -- Convair NC-131H Total In-Flight Simulator (TIFS) cockpit view in the Research & Development Gallery at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)

This one-of-a kind aircraft was an important in-flight simulator primarily used to study how an aircraft would handle before building an expensive, full-scale prototype. It was created for the U.S. Air Force in the late 1960s by the Cornell Aeronautical Laboratory of Buffalo, N.Y. (later the Calspan Corp.).

Engineers found the TIFS especially useful for studying how large aircraft would handle during takeoff and landing. Vertical fins on the wings generated side forces to simulate crosswinds and provided test data.

The TIFS first flew in 1970, and its first research project simulated the B-1 bomber’s flying characteristics. During its long and successful career, the TIFS simulated many military and NASA aircraft, including the X-40, Tacit Blue, Space Shuttle, B-2, YF-23 and C-17. Civilian aircraft development projects included the Boeing Supersonic Transport (SST), MD-12X and Indonesian N-250. It also served to train test pilots. The TIFS came to the museum in 2008. 

TECHNICAL NOTES:

Engines: Two 4,368 hp Allison 501-D22G turboprop engines

Click here to return to the Research & Development Gallery.

 

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