27 July 1972: McDonnell Douglas Chief Experimental Test Pilot Irving L. Burrows made the first flight of the prototype YF-15A-1-MC Eagle, 71-0280, at Edwards Air Force Base, California.

The F-15A Eagle was a single-seat, twin-engine air superiority fighter, 63 feet, 9 inches (19.431 meters) long, with a wingspan of 42 feet, 9.75 inches (13.049 meters) and overall height of 18 feet, 7.5 inches (5.677 meters). Maximum takeoff weight (MTOW) is 68,000 pounds (30,844 kilograms). It had outstanding acceleration and maneuverability.

Irving L. Burrows​

The fighter was powered by two Pratt and Whitney F100-PW-100 afterburning turbofan engines capable of producing 25,000 pounds of thrust, each.

The Eagle is a Mach 2.5+ fighter (1,650+ miles per hour/2,665+ kilometers per hour). Its service ceiling is 65,000 feet (19,812 meters) and it could climb in excess of 50,000 feet per minute (254 meters per second). With a thrust-to-weight ration of 1.15:1, The F-15 could climb straight up.

The Eagle’s combat radius is 1,222 miles (1,967 kilometers).

The first pre- production prototype McDonnell Douglas F-15 Eagle, YF-15A-1-MC 72-0280, on its first flight near Edwards Air Force Base, California. (U.S. Air Force)

The F-15A is armed with one General Electric M61A1 Vulcan 20mm rotary cannon with 940 rounds of ammunition, four AIM-7 Sparrow radar-guided missiles and four AIM-9 Sidewinder infrared-homing missiles.

There were 12 pre-production F-15 aircraft, serial numbers 71-0280–71-0291. 384 F-15A fighters were built from 1972 to 1979 before production switched to the improved F-15C. The last F-15A in service was retired from the Oregon Air National Guard 16 September 2009.

The first YF-15A, 71-0280, is on display at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas.

An early production McDonnell Douglas F-15A-8-MC Eagle, 73-0090, at Luke Air Force Base, Arizona. The fighter is painted “air superiority blue.” (U.S. Air Force)

On the photo: Irving L. Burrows prepares for the first flight of the pre-production YF-15A-1-MC Eagle air superiority fighter at Edwards Air Force Base, California. (U.S. Air Force)