YA-10B first flight
The first preproduction A-10A (s/n 73-1664) was returned to the Republic factory in March 1979 for conversion to two-seat prototype of the A-10. The modifications took about 3 months and when complete the aircraft was redesignated as N/AW (Night/Adverse Weather) A-10.
It was designed to operate at night and during weather conditions unsuitable for the A-10A. USAF investigated also the conversion into two-seat trainer aircraft. So, the aircraft is also known as YA-10B.
The first flight was flown by noted test pilot Wendell H. Shawler on May 4, 1979 at Edwards AFB.
Neither training nor N/AW variant were ever produced. N/AW program was cancelled due to plans to put the LANTIRN pod on the standard A-10A.
Colonel Wendell Shawler was Chief of Fighter Flight Test at Edwards Air Force Base and the first director of the F-15 Joint Test Force. He became the first USAF pilot to fly the F-15 Eagle. After retiring from the USAF; Shawler became Chief Test Pilot and Edwards Test Site Director for Fairchild Republic Company for the A-10 and T-46. He later became a test pilot for the National Test Pilot School.
During a flight test career spanning 40 years, Shawler flew over 9,000 hours in 78 types of aircraft, including the U-2, T-39, F-94, F-101, F-102, F-104, F-4, A-7, A-37, 0-1, T-38, T-46, the 62% Scale Next Generation Trainer, F-14, F-15 and MiG-17.
Colonel Shawler is a Fellow and past President (1989) of the Society of Experimental Test Pilots. He has been honored with the Legion of Merit twice, two Distinguished Flying Crosses, 13 Air Medals, three Air Force Commendation Medals and the Aerospace Walk of Honor.