The Lockheed Constellation nicknamed the “Connie” first came off the assembly line in 1943 and the final Connie was completed in 1958. The Constellation was considered one of the best propeller driven aircraft of it’s time. There were 856 total aircraft with several variants both military and civilian built. The C-69 was the military version ordered by Army (USAAF) in 1942.
The Lockheed Connie was featured in many old movies of the 40’s and 50’s. The younger generation will never believe that you could walk out to the boarding ramp of your flight without having to go through any kind of security or screening. The only reason a chain link fence was present was for safety. Even well-wishers seeing you off could go right out with you to the boarding ramp.
Airline flying was a rich experience as food and beverage was superb, seating space was generous. However flying from New York to Los Angeles took 8-10 hours compared today’s 5 hours or less. But it was a much more enjoyable experience in the 1950s and early 1960s then it is today.
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KC-135 Refueling B-52 Stratofortress
The Boeing KC-135 Stratotanker is an aerial refueling tanker used by USAF. It was the first jet powered aerial refueling tanker, replacing the propeller driven KC-97.
The KC-97 was a derivative of the B-29 Superfortress also built and designed by Boeing. The KC-135 went into service in 1957 and has been in service now 59 years and is estimated to be used until 2040
The KC-135 was born around the 1952-1953 time period. The military wanted an jet-powered tanker and Boeing had built a Boeing 367-80 prototype that eventually became the forerunner for the B-707 series.
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The Lockheed C-141 Starlifter joined MATS (Military Air Transport Service) in April 1965 and was the replacement for the slower propeller driven C-124 also known as “Old Shaky”. Through the years, the organization that the C-141 was in, changed from MATS to MAC (Military Airlift Command) and finally AMC (Air Mobility Command). The names of the organization may have changed, but the mission remained the same that is provide the U.S. military with strategic airlift.
There were 285 C-141s built from 1965 until 2006 when all of the Starlifters had been retired. The C-17 Globemaster replaced the aging C-141s in the early 2000s.
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B-52 STRATOFORTRESS BOMBER
The B-52 nicknamed “Stratofortress” is a long-ranged, jet-powered (8/Pratt & Whitney TF33-P-3/103 turbofans) subsonic bomber. It was developed The B-52 design started in 1946 through a contract from the USAAF to the Boeing Company.
The maiden flight was in April 1952. Unlike the ill-fated Titanic that made its maiden voyage in April, the B-52 was a success on its first flight. The B-52 went into service with the USAF in February 1955 and is still in service today
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The Boeing B-47 Stratojet was USAF’s first all jet bomber built in Dec 1947 to fill the gap between the B-29 and B-36 (which were propeller driven aircraft) until the brand new B-52 Stratofortress came along in 1955.
The B-47’s primary mission was to drop nuclear bombs on the USSR. While the B-47 was on alert until the early 1960’s, it never was used in combat. It had a long life of service with USAF starting in 1951 and finally as a test bed until 1977.
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The Convair B-36 Peacemaker first flew in August 1946. Convair produced 384 of the aircraft. The B-36 was intended to be a stopgap between the B-29 Superfortress until the all-jet B-47 came into service in 1951 and in 1955 the Boeing B-52.
The design plans began as early as 1941, prior to the Pearl Harbor attack in Hawaii. There was serious thought that England might fall to the Nazi “Blitz” and the U.S. military felt that it would be imperative to have a long-range bomber to hit Germany from the United States should Britain fall.
Due to so many higher priorities during the war amongst the services, that the B-36 was not ordered until 23 July 1943. Where 100 aircraft were purchased at $4.1 million. Continue reading “Convair B-36 Peacemaker”
Pima Air and Space Museum Tucson Arizona
The Boeing B-29 Superfortress is a 4 engine propeller driven bomber in World War II. It was one of the largest aircraft and most advanced in the War. It featured a pressurized cabin, tricycle landing gear, a remote electronic fire control system that controlled four machine gun turrets.
Although the B-29 was designed for high altitude strategic bombing, it was also used for low altitude incendiary bombing missions. One of the final missions of World War II was to deliver the first used atomic bomb to Hiroshima and Nagasaki that ended the war.
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The Lockheed Electra 10 (not to be confused with the later Lockheed Electra II Turbo-prop) was a mid-30’s entry into the airline market with such others as the slightly larger Boeing 247 and Douglas DC-2.
The Electra was first flown in February 1934. There were a total of 149 Electras built of various models and designation. Amelia Earhart used a Lockheed 10E Electra in her around-the-world attempt in 1937. She disappeared in the South Pacific in that year.
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The Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress was a long-range bomber that was developed in the 1930s. The B-17G has defensive firepower of not less than thirteen 0.50-inch machine guns, two chin guns, two guns in the dorsal turret, two guns in the ventral turret, two guns in the waist, two guns in the tail, and one gun in the roof of the radio operator’s position.
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