History of Rockwell Collins’ Sabreliner

The weird, whacky and important history of Rockwell Collins’ Sabreliner, N50CR.

Rockwell Collins' Sabreliner 50, shown here posing with its unusual nose outside of its base in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, was used in countless flight tests, including airborne weather radar (thus the customized oversized proboscis).
The first owner of the one-of-a-kind Sabreliner 50 was avionics pioneer Autonetics (at the time a North American subsidiary and now part of Boeing) which bought the fetching blue-on-blue Sabre in 1964, at the dawn of the bizjet age.
While the original nose seemed pronounced enough, it proved too petite for the radar dishes that new owner Collins Radio would soon need to mount for test flying.
With external fuel tanks and the gear hanging out, the Sabreliner was an imposing airplane, one whose military heritage could be clearly discerned.
The Sabreliner parked next to its North American cousin, the B-47 Stratojet.
The cabin of the Sabre 50 served as the flight testing 'heart' of the aircraft, with customizable racks housed with various test equipment to complete missions.
The Sabre 50's flight deck utilized Rockwell Collins' Pro Line II avionics, however the right side of the aircraft was reconfigurable for testing, including the development of Pro Line 4 avionics.
What's inside the Sabre 50's big nose? Plenty of room for business and air transport weather radars!
N50CR departs Cedar Rapids, Iowa, for its permanent home at Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum in McMinnville, Ore. on January 24, 2013.