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GI1001 was the first F-5G-2 aircraft with the digital avionics suite, panoramic canopy, enlarged radome, and 17,000 lb thrust engine. It was rolled out in a business-like air superiority grey paint scheme with the civilian tail number N3986B. Between the rollout of GI1002 in June 1984 and the departure of GI1001 in September 1984 for the Farnborough Air Show, GI1001 was repainted in the silvery BMW grey scheme. GI1001 was considered the most reliable of the three F-20's that flew.

GI1001 Chronology

August 1980 - Integrated digital avionics configuration (F-5G -2) baseline defined.


December 1980 - F-5G -2 configuration and go-ahead approved.
January 1981 - F-5G revised program master schedule approved , including both F-5G -1 and F-5G -2 configurations.
February 1981 - F-5G-2 Radar Request for Proposal released.
March 1981 - F-5G-2 improved seat and canopy configuration changes approved.
January 1982 - Program Directive 13 issued, This revised planning for manufacture and use of the F-5G-1 flight test aircraft, GG 1004, and its conversion to F-5G-2 flight test aircraft GI-1001.

This redirected the GG1004 subprogram and resolved the difficult schedule conditions imposed by the multiple uses planned for the aircraft. Instead it would just be completed as the first F-5G-2.


March 1982 - Program Directive 18, Functional Fixture Requirements for the F-5G-1 and F-5G-2 programs issued.

This Program Directive established the requirements for a functional fixture in support of program criteria published in Program Directive 17. It directed that manufacturing material resources be minimized as much as possible while supporting functional fixture requirements.


May 1982 - Program Directive 26, F-5G program redirection. Cut back to a two aircraft program (GG1001 and GI1001).
March 1983 - Program Directive 33, GI1001 manufacture and flight test .

This was issued to establish the major milestone dates associated with manufacture and flight test of the first digital avionics aircraft, GI-1001.


July 25, 1983 - GI-1001 roll-out.
August 1983 - First flight of GI1001.
September 10, 1983 - GI1001 flies twelve simulated air-to-air sorties in one day at Edwards Air Force Base, demonstrating both reliability and surge capability.
December 1983 - GI1001 coast-to-coast unrefueled flight.

GI1001 flies from Edwards Air Force Base to Andrews AFB, Washington, DC, 2007 nm.


January 1984 - 500 F-20 flight milestone reached.
September 1984 - Farnborough Air Show. The F-20 flight display was the hit of the show.
May 14, 1985 - Goose Bay, Labrador GI1001 crash. Dave Barnes killed practicing for the Pairs Air Show.

F-20 GI1001 crashed at Goose Bay, Labrador, Canada,. killing Northrop test pilot David Barnes. The F-20 hit in an upright, wings level, nose-up attitude on snow-covered terrain. Two major secondary impacts were followed by further breakup of the aircraft. The wreckage was scattered approximately 1,000 feet from the initial crater. Northrop decided not to fly the remaining GI1002 prototype to the Paris Air Show and was unsure whether assembly of GI1003, which was to be completed in late 2006, would be accelerated.

GI1001 and a Northrop support crew were en route to the Paris Air Show and had stopped in Labrador for several days to allow Northrop test pilots David Barnes and Paul Metz to practice the air show routine before flying the F-20's across the Atlantic Ocean. The Northrop team had asked to fly a minimum of six flights per day during their stay. The accident occurred on 14 May at 1:50 pm Atlantic Daylight Time, at the conclusion of the sixth practice flight of the day. The F-20 and support team were scheduled to leave for Paris on May 16. Barnes had flown the demonstration flight routine 40 times in the last two months. Barnes, age 40, had been an engineering test pilot with Northrop since 1982. He had graduated from the Air Force Test Pilot School in 1977. He completed a three-year tour at Eglin AFB, Florida, and returned to the test pilot school at Edwards Air Force Base as an instructor before joining Northrop.

The support crew consisted of ten people, flying in the Northrop corporate Gulfstream 2 business jet. Northrop CEO T V Jones decided not to send GI1002 to Paris due to its commitment to flight test work at Edwards.



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