| On the 10 May 1972: Chief test pilot Howard W. (“Sam”) Nelson made the first flight of the prototype Fairchild Republic YA-10A Thunderbolt II, 71-1369, at Edwards Air Force Base in the high desert of southern California.
The A-10 was designed around the 30 mm GAU-8 Avenger rotary cannon. Its airframe was designed for durability, with measures such as 1,200 pounds (540 kg) of titanium armor to protect the cockpit and aircraft systems, enabling it to absorb a significant amount of damage and continue flying. Its short takeoff and landing capability permits operation from airstrips close to the front lines, and its simple design enables maintenance with minimal facilities.
The Flightgear version (authors Lee Elliott, Alexis Bory, David Bastien) has 4 stars for FDM, cockpit and model and 5 stars for system. Missiles, gun and bombs are all working, as is in-flight refueling.