The Douglas A-3D Skywarrior

                            A-3 Skywarrior


The A-3D Skywarrior was designed as a strategic bomber for the United States Navy (USN). However, it was used as a utility aircraft in the roles of an electronic recon aircraft and as aerial in-flight refueling tanker. It was the longest servicing and the heaviest aircraft used on an aircraft carrier.

The A-3D Skywarrior was one of three to be intended as an aircraft carrier strategic attack bomber. The other two were the North American AJ Savage and the North American A-5 Vigilante. the Douglas B-66 Destroyer was developed from the A-3D for the United States Air Force (USAF) as a tactical bomber, electronic warfare and recon aircraft in the early 1970s

Design and Development

In the final stages of World War II USN started looking into the possibility of using a jet-powered aircraft operating from an aircraft carrier.

The jet-powered aircraft would have to be long range and deliver a 10,000-pound load or a nuclear device. In January 1948 the Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) issued a requirement for this type of aircraft with a weight of 100,000 pounds and be able to take-off and land on not yet built but proposed “Supercarrier United States-class” aircraft carrier.

Ed Heinemann Chief Designer at Douglas Aircraft was concerned that the proposal for the United States Class Supercarrier could be canceled. so he proposed a much smaller aircraft of 68,000 lbs which still could operate off of existing carriers.

The USN accepted Douglas Aircraft’s proposal and issued a contract for that design on 29 September 1949. Thus the A-3D Skywarrior came about and made it’s first st flight 28 October 1952.

The first prototypes used Westinghouse J40 turbojet engines. They proved to be totally unreliable and the contract with Westinghouse was canceled. Douglas Aircraft then turned to Prat & Whitney and contracted for their J57 turbojet engines which provided to be somewhat better but the initial development of these engines took a while to straighten out.

The introduction of the Skywarrior to the USN came about in the Spring of 1956. The Douglas proposal (and production) was the smallest of all proposals of aviation companies. But it remained on active duty until 27 September 1991.

The engines hung on wing nacelles, it had hydraulic flight controls, internal fuel tanks for long range, the wings folded outboard of the engines and the vertical stabilizer folded starboard this for below deck storage. The early design was for the Skywarrior to be used as an attack bomber so only 3 crew members were planned; pilot, bombardier/navigator and tail gunner.

When the A3D was redesigned as an electronic recon aircraft 7 crew member positions were made; pilot, co-pilot, navigator, and 4 electronic systems operators.  The bomb bay in this configuration had been done away thus allowing stations for the 4 4 electronic operators.

As a weight-saving measure, the ejection seats were eliminated but had an escape tunnel as it was assumed most flights would be at high altitude.  This didn’t help much if you had to get out at low altitudes.

The USAF B-66 version of the A3D had ejection seats for all crew members. You had to remember that the B-66 had no weight restrictions like the Skywarrior as it flew from land bases.

The A3D was originally designed as an attack bomber but found to have greater use as electronic recon aircraft and that made its long service life possible. There were 282 A3D Skywarriors built, the last in 1961.

Operational History

Prior to the development of the Polaris Nuclear Submarines, the A-3 was USN chief nuclear deliver. A-3 squadrons were established into two Heavy Attack Wings (HATWINGS), one wing based in NAS North Island San Diego CA the other in NAS Jacksonville FL.

They were relocated from NAS North Island to NAS Whidbey Island WA, the other was relocated from NAS Jacksonville FL to NAS Sanford FL After 1964 the Skywarrior’s role as a heavy strategic bomber role was abandoned as the Polaris nuclear missile fired from submarines became the primary USN nuclear response.

During the Vietnam War era, the Skywarrior was used for some conventional bombing such as dropping the Mk84, a 2,000-pound bomb and mine laying from 1964-1967.

Later the A-3 was used as an ariel tanker, photographic recon and electronic recon with various models of the A-3 Skywarrior.

For most of the War, the EA-3B flew from Da Nang Air Base providing electronic recon capability over the contested area including the Ho Chi Minh Trail to the north to Haiphong harbor.

Modified A-3B were used as a photo recon aircraft squadron in Vietnam These aircraft were equipped to perform cartographic mapping where no detailed maps existed. The modified RA-3B was used to monitor night traffic down roads and trails into Laos.

The real workhorse for the air wing was the modified multitasked EKA-3B which could jam enemy radar and refuel an attack aircraft on the same mission.

There were two air refueling squadrons both had EKA-3b aircraft with the electronic equipment removed thus making them strictly KA-3B aircraft for refueling This occurred in the early 1970s and lasted until the early 1990s.

The EA-3 variant was used for critical electronic intelligence against the Warsaw Pack Missions were flow from 1956 with the EP-3 and EB-47 offering unique electronic recon capabilities in numerous Cold War conflicts and the Vietnam War.

The last fleet Skywarrior saw retirement in September 1991

Where you can see the A-3 Skywarrior:

125413 Fulton County Airport, New York

135434 Edwards Air Force Flight Test Center Museum Edwards AFB,                                 California

135418 National Naval Aviation Museum NAS Pensacola, Flordia

130361 Pima Air and Space Museum in Tucson, Arizona

142246 New England air Museum Windsor Locks, Connecticut

146457 Patriots Point Naval and Maritime Museum Mount Pleasant, South                    Carolina

138944 U.S.S. Lexington Museum CorpusChristi, Texas

147666 Oakland Aviation Museum Oakland, California

142251 USS Midway Museum San Diego, California

This is Just a Partial List of the A-3 Skywarrior on Display. Check With Your Local Air Museum for More Information.

Tech Specs for the A-3B/A3D-2 Skywarrior

Wingspan: 72 ft 6 in

Length: 76 ft 4 in

Height: 22 ft 10in

Weight: 39,400 lbs (empty) 82,000 Lbs MTOW

Max Speed: 610 mph

Ceiling: 41,000 ft

Range: 1,826 nmi

Engine: 2/Pratt & Whitney J57-P-10 turbojet, 10,500 lbf (Dry), 12,400 lbf                     (Wet)

Crew: 3


The Republic Thunderjet

Introduction: The F-84 Thunderjet

The F-84 Thudnerjet was built by Republic Aircraft Company.  It was one of the early jet fighter-bombers, first flying 28 February 1946.  The United States Army AirForce (USAAF) sent a request for a “day fighter” in 1944 and Republic Aviation responded.

Although the Thunderjet entered the service in 1947, it failed to perform any of the required aspects of it’s intended mission.  This was due to an engine and structural problems.

In 1948, the USAAF considered canceling the F-84 Thunderjet program.  Now with the their “backs against the wall,” Republic came forth in 1949 with the F-84D model which kept the program alive.

The model “evolution” continued with the F-84G in 1951  In 1954, the swept wing F84F Thunderstreak along with the RF-84F Thunderflash, a recon aircraft.

The F-84 was the primary ground strike aircraft during the Korean War, destroying 60% of the assigned targets and flying 86,408 sorties.  Although no match for the Soviet MiG 15, the Thunderjet did score 8 victories over the MiGs.

The Thunderjet was the StrategicAir command (SAC) primary aircraft from 1948 through 1957.  The F-84 was the first production jet fighter to have in-flight refueling capabilities. It could carry the Mark 7 nuclear bomb.

The designation of F-84 could be a little confusing with the various models but to clarify the F-84A-F84E and F84Gmodels were straight winged and called the Thudnerjet.  Models F-84F was sweptwing and called Thunderstreak.  The RF-84F was also swept wing and called the Thunderflash.  There was an experimental model XF-84H, a straight wing turboprop called the  Thunderscreech.

The numeral designation of F-84 was retained as the difference of the swept and straight wing was a few parts difference.  There were 7,524 of all models and variants produced.


On 11 September 1944, the USAAF released and General Operational Requirement for a day fighter with a top speed of 600 mph and a range of 705 miles. Its armament would be six .50 cl or 4 .60cal machine guns and had to use the General Electric TG-180 axial turbojet which entered production as the Allison J-35.

On 11 November 1944, USAAF sent an order to Republic Aviation for 3 prototypes os the new XP-84 (P==pursuit, the designation F=fighter came later from the new United States Air Force- USAF).  The on 04 January 1945, while the P-84 was still in the stage of prototype construction, USAAF increase their order to 15 YXP-84A and 5 P-84B production aircraft.

Meanwhile, wind tunnel testing was being conducted by the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics on the YP-84A revealed horizontal instability and stabilizer skin buckling at high speeds.

This preliminary testing resulted in the XP-84 prototype which was limited to a gross weight of13,400 lbs and a more powerful engine the J35-GE-15 with a thrust of 4,000 lbs.    The first flight of the P-84 was on 28 February 1946 at now-day Edwards Air Force Base in California.

The 15 YP-84s were delivered to now-day Wright-Patterson Air Force Base for further testing.  They have an upgraded J35-A-15 engine, 6 .50 cal machine guns (4 in the nose and .one in each wing root)and provision for wing tip 225 gal fuel tanks for each wing.  The new wingtip concept for the F-84 had not been thoroughly tested by the time the first production F-84s rolled out of the factory in 1947.  This would produce aircraft control problems in the time to come.

F-84 Thunderjet

Operational History

The F-84B became operational in December of 1947.  Due to structural failures in the next few months, the entire fleet was grounded on 24 May 1948.  In spite of reskinning the wings, new engine, and several other improvements, the F-84B and F-84C were taken out of service by 1952.

The F-84D had several improvements such as thicker wing skin, winterized fuel systems capable of using JP-4 type fuel and a new engine; J35-A-17D.  This still wasn’t good enough as the F-84D was phased out of service also in 1952.

Finally, the F-84E became the first effective Thunderjet of the series having the J35-A-17 engine, wing reinforcement, a 12-inch fuselage extension ahead of the wing and a 3-inch extension aft of the wing. to enlarge the cockpit, improved radar, and gunsight along with 230-gallon pylon fuel tanks to increase the range of the F-84 to 1,000 miles.

The next F-84 Thunderjet model was the F-84G which was another straight wing Thunderjet.   This model had the capability of in-flight refueling with an in-flight receptacle in the left wing, an autopilot, ILS system, and a new J35-A-29 engine.  The “G” model came out in 1951 and lasted until the mid-60’s.

The F-84 was used in Korea during that war.  Much like most of those jet fighters of that time, take-off required a long runway especially in the warm summers in Korea.  The rotation speed (when the stick was pulled back for liftoff) was 160 mph and landing/approach speeds were similar.

In comparison, today’s passenger liners land at approximately 135 mph.  The fighter flew very well on instruments and was not prone to cross-wind problems

Pilots had some amusing nicknames for the F-84: “The Lead Sled”, “The Iron Crowbar”, “The Hog”, “The World’s Fastest Tricycle”, and “Ground Loving Whore”.  The pilots also believed (tongue in cheek) that a ground sniffer device was installed to alert the pilot that the dirt at the end of the runway could be “smelt” and would allow the aircraft to become airborne.

It had an airspeed restriction of .82 Mach due to structural problems above that speed.  However, the aircraft speed could be controlled very easy allowing safe dive bombing approaches at 10,000 feet.

The top speed limitation proved to be a detriment in combat with the MiG15 as there were only eight recorded MiG kills during the war.  The Thuderjet’s mission initially at the beginning of the war was to escort the B-29 bomber, but that was given over to the F-86 Sabrejet.

The F-84 found it’s perfect role as that of a ground attack aircraft.  It flew 86,408 sorites dropping 55,586 tons of bombs destroying 60% of all ground targets in the war.

Where you can see the Thunderjet

45-59494 at the Discovery Park of America, Union City, Tennessee

45-59504 at Cradle of Aviation Museum Garden City, New York

45-59556 at Planes of Fame Museum Chino, California

47-1433 at Pima Air and Space Museum Tucson, Arizona

47-1498 at EAA Adventure Museum Oshkosh, Wisconsin

49-2285 at Texas Military Forces Austin, Texas

50-1143 at National Museum of the United States Air Force Wright-Patterson, Ohio

This is Just a Partial List of the Republic F-84Thunderjet on Display. Check With Your Local Air Museum for More Information.

Tech Specs for the F- 84G Thunderjet

Wingspan: 36 ft 5 in

Length: 38ft 1 in

Height: 12 ft 7 in

Weight: 11,470 lbs (empty)

Max Speed: 622 mph; Mach 0.82

Ceiling: 40,500 ft

Range: 1,00mi (combat); 2,000 mi (ferry) (with external tanks)

Engine: 1/Allison J35-A-29 Turbojet                       


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Are UFOs Real?


Introduction: Are UFOs Real?

Have you ever wondered about strange lights or images in the sky? Is it something explainable or is something that defies normal understanding or explanation. I know you can’t be bothered with that “sci-fi” stuff!

Just suppose you did see something that was highly unusual or even slightly frightening. What would you do? Keep to yourself for fear of ridicule? Tell an unsympathetic law officer?

Maybe you call the local newspaper reporter who acts like he really is too busy to be bothered with such nonsense? You figure the government isn’t interested either.

Before you question your sanity, you are not alone. There have been many people in this world who have seen very highly unusual sights in the sky.

What I want to address in this brief post, is that they saw something or thought they saw something.

Let us define and clarify what the term UFO means and doesn’t mean. First of all it not synonymous with an “alien spaceship,” that is strictly a Hollywood label.

In the 1950s when the USAF Project Blue Book was started, the Air Force coined the acronym UFO and it meant (still does, today) Unidentified Flying Object. Simply stated, the aerial object is UNKNOWN!!

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The Incident at Phoenix


Introduction:  The Incident at Phoenix

In March of 1997, an unusual event occurred in the night skies of Arizona which have been dubbed the Phoenix Lights or the Incident at Phoenix. This mystery actually started in Southern Nevada over the town of Henderson, NV.Then reports of strange lights over the Arizona towns of Paulden, Prescott, Prescott Valley, Dewey, and Phoenix.

In all cases, the lights appeared to be in a “V” formation. with some variations in shape. The lights seem to be connected to a solid object as the stars were blocked out as it passed overhead. In nearly all observations the “object” was

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What Happened at Roswell 1947

UFO #03Introduction: What Happened at Roswell 1947

On a stormy evening on 02 July 1947, a controversial event took place near Roswell New Mexico. William “Mac” Brazel,  who was a foreman on the Foster cattle ranch when this event occurred, was waiting out the storm that night.

This was nothing new as the “monsoons” (thunderstorm season) were in full swing. The next day Mac went out to check the pastures to see where the most rain had fallen as he would then move the herd into the best pasture for feeding.

In those days (the 1940’s) it was common to move around the countryside on a horse. As Mac rode into one pasture he noticed it was littered with the debris of a substance that was not familiar to him.

This metallic material was unlike anything that he had ever seen. It was very light much like our present day aluminum foil but extremely strong and would pop back into its original shape if you crumpled it up.

You couldn’t cut or burn it, it seemed indestructible. There were also small solid girders that had strange hieroglyphics printed or embossed them. They too seemed to be very strong.

These pieces of aluminum-like foil were scattered over an area of several hundred yards like something had crashed or crash-landed there.

Roswell #03

Mac was a rancher, not an aviator, but he did feel compelled to tell someone of authority about this. He contacted Sheriff Wilcox in Roswell on 07 July 1947. The Sheriff’s office didn’t have any clue as to what this “crash or crash landing” was, as there were no reports of any civil aircraft missing.

About 2 weeks earlier, the infamous story about Kenneth Arnold seeing a flight of strange aircraft traveling at a very high speed near Mt. Rainer in Washington state.  Arnold said they looked like saucers skipping on a pond.

The media then dubbed the phrase “flying saucers”. Flying Saucer mania swept the country. So when Brazel spoke with Sheriff Wilcox, Mac asked if this might be one of those “Flying Saucers” that was scattered over the Foster Ranch? Mac wasn’t sure what it was.

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Lockheed F-104 Starfighter


The F-104 Starfighter was built by Lockheed as a single supersonic interceptor fighter and fighter-bomber originally for the United States Air Force (USAF).  More than a dozen allied air forces of the world purchased this aircraft from Lockheed as 2,578 were built.

This first flight was on 17 February 1956 and the first Starfighter went on-line on 20 February 1958. One of the “Century Series” of fighter aircraft was designed by a Lockheed team led by Clarence “Kelly” Johnson who helped develop such Lockheed famous aircraft such as the civilian Constellation, the military P-38 Lighting,  Electra 10A, C-130 Hercules and many other well-known aircraft.

Later Kelly Johnson, the chief engineer at “Skunk Works”,  played a major part in developing a highly classified place called “Area 51” which has been used in the past (maybe the future) for testing of new, classified aircraft and other military gear.

The F-104 would set numerous speed and altitude records.  Several variants were produced for Canada,  Italy, and other nations.

The Starfighter advancement among nations was marred by a bribery scandal involving Lockheed and serval countries in Europe and Japan.  This tainted the image of Lockheed’s management.  The F-104 itself seemed to weather the storm as it was sold to many European and Asian countries.

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F-100 Super Sabre Jet by North American


The F-100 also called the Super Sabre Jet was built by North American Aviation. This aircraft was called the first of the “Century Series” of jet fighters that served in the United States Ari Force (USAF) from 1964-1971. The F-100 was a follow-on to the North American F-86 Sabre Jet with higher performance. It flew as a close air support aircraft in the Vietnam War. It also was used, besides USAF, the Turkish Air Force, Republic of China Air Force, French Air Force.

There were 2, 294 Super Sabres produced between 1953-1959 by North American Aviation. The nickname was the “Hun” for F-100.

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Lockheed C-130 Hercules

Lockheed C-130 Hercules



The C-130 Hercules is a four-engine turbo-prop built by the Lockheed Aircraft as a Cargo/Troop transport aircraft. Besides the basic role of hauling cargo and troops, it was used as a medevac, gunship, airborne assault, search and rescue, weather recon, aerial refueling, maritime patrol, aerial firefighting and a tactical military aircraft.

There have been more than 40 variants built since the early 1950s and is currently still being produced by now Lockheed-Martin. There have been over 2,500 C-130 Hercules of all varieties built. Nearly every country in the world has a C-130 for many purposes. There is a civilian version called Lockheed L-100 being used in over 60 nations.

The United States Air Force (USAF) was the first to receive a C-130 Hercules in 1954. Since then the United States Navy (USN), The United States Marine Corps (USMC), Royal Netherlands AirForce, Royal Australian Air Force, and Royal Air Force (RAF) have purchased the Lockheed C-130 Hercules just to name a few users.

Design and Development

The Korean War which began in 1950 and with a peace armistice (no peace treaty has ever been signed) in 1953 showed that the piston driven transports of World War II, the Fairchild C-119 Flying Boxcar, the Douglas C-47, and the Curtiss C-46 Commando were outdated.

In 1951, USAF put out a General Operating Requirement for a new transport to the Boeing Aircraft company, Douglas Aircraft, Fairchild Aircraft, Lockheed Aircraft, Martin Aircraft, chase Aircraft, North American Aviation, Northrup Aircraft and Airlifts, Inc.

The transport should be able to carry 92 passengers, or 72 combat troops, or 64 paratroops in a cargo compartment that would be approximately 41 feet long, 10 feet wide and 9 feet high with a hinged folding ramp in the tail of the aircraft.

The ramp was necessary to be able to load military equipment such as Sheridan tanks, jeeps and other rolling stock. It also must be able to support the dropping of special airdrop cargo including rolling stock and even “cluster bombs”.

The aircraft also must be able to use four Allison T-56 turboprop engines which were being designed by Allison aircraft under a separate contract.

Four of the companies, Fairchild Aircraft, North American Aviation, Martin Aircraft and Northrup Aviation declined to bid for the contract. Of the remaining 5 companies, Lockheed and Douglas Aircraft were in close competition.

The Lockheed design team was headed by Willis Hawkins which included Hall Hibbard and Kelley Johnson. Hibbard who was vice-President and Chief Engineer asked Kelley Johnson what he thought of the low-speed and unarmed aircraft proposal.

Kelly remarked ..”that this aircraft would destroy the Lodhkeen Company”. Both Hibbard and Johnson signed the proposal and a Lockheed won the contract on 02 July 1951.

The first flight of the YC-130 was on 23 August 1954 with Stanley Beltz, Roy Wimmer, Jack Real and Dick Stanton making up the crew. Kelly Johnson flew a Lockheed P2V as a chase plane on the 61-minute flight from Burbank, California to Edwards AFB in Lancaster, California.

When the prototype testing was completed in the California desert, production began in Marietta, Georgia, where over 2,300 Hercules have been built. The C-130 A had Allison T56-A-9 turboprop engines with 3 bladed propellers.

The C-130B was developed to improve the range with pylon fuel tanks and Hamilton Standard 4 bladed propellers which became standard until the “J” model.

The C-130E had an extended range with large wing tanks and a more powerful Allison T-56-A-7A engines. A whole host of varieties of C-130s were developed through the years as it has been over 64 years since that first test flight.

One other variant was the KC-130F tanker used by the USMC for aerial refusing. The C-130H was introduced in 1974 and is still in use today by several nation’s military. In the 1990s, the C-130J came out with new engines and a 6 bladed propeller, digital avionics and other new systems.

Operational History

In 1956 the first production C-130A went to USAF at Ardmore AFB Oklahoma and Sewart AFB Tennessee. In time C-130s were assigned to nearly every theater around the world. The Royal Austrailian Air Force became the first non-American military to purchase the C-130 in late 1958. The Royal Canadian Air Force took delivery of C-i30s in 1960.

The USN/USMC wanted to test the possibility of using a Hercules to be a supply aircraft for USN aircraft carriers. A USMC KC-130 was used for 29 touch and go landings and 21 full stop landings on the USS Forrestal bu USN Pilot Lieutenant James Flatley who was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and later was promoted to Rear Admiral.

The project was considered too dangerous for routine supply support and was canceled. The Grumman C-2 Greyhound was then developed as the official Carrier Onboard Delivery ((COD). The Grumman was a twin-engine, high-wing cargo aircraft designed to carry a limited amount of supplies from USN base off-shore to an aircraft carrier.

Some other specialized missions the C-130 was called on to perform in Vietnam was the FAC (forward air control l) over the Ho Chi Minh Trail to lead air strikes on specific targets by B-57 bombers to interdict the supply routes from North Vietnam to the South.

Hercules in the role of FAC would fly missions over North and South Vietnam looking for opportune targets for Allied strike craft to attack.

In Africa, in November of 1964, the C-130s assisted the United States and Belgium military in a hostage situation in the Belgium Congo which required the C-130 land landing and picking up of paratroops and air dropping them near the target areas. The rescue of hostages was a success and the rebels were captured.

During the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965, the Pakistan Air Force modified its small fleet of C-130s to carry bombs on pallets to drop on Indian targets such as bridges, artillery placements, and concentrated troop locations. The bombs which weighted about 20,000 lbs were shoved off the ramp in the aft section of the aircraft over the designed targets.

The Commando Vault operation was to drop 10,000 bombs to clear Landing Zones or LZ for helicopter operations in 1969. They also used these bombs from C-130 Hercules on enemy (VC) base camps and other appropriate targets.

This was unusual for a transport to perform such a task as the sudden shift in weight, of the aircraft, could provide a tricky situation for the pilots.

The Heavey Tea operation was for a C-130 to drop two battery pallets with sensors near the Lop NurChinese nuclear testing area to monitor China’s nuclear weapons program.

This turned out to be a grand success but required the C-130 to fly 6 1/2 hours from Takhli, Thailand to the target area and another 6 1/2 hours at low altitude to return to base.

In Conclusion

The Lockheed C-130 was designed to haul cargo, passengers, and troops to designed locations. But the diversity of it made a great artillery platform, gunship (machine guns), even a makeshift bomber.

The Forestry Service used the C-130A, which was retired by the military,  for firefighting and other forestry observing missions. The Hercules was also used to treat oil spills on the ocean, lakes or rivers.

The C-130J is still active with new engines, new electronics, six-bladed propellers and other new systems. The Lockheed C-130 Hercules has been a workhorse for many countries throughout the world and will continue to be for many nations in the years to come.

Where you can see the Lockheed C-130 Hercules

#55-037 Museum of Missouri Military Histi9ry Jefferson City, Missouri.

#56-0518 Little Rock Air Force Base Visitor Center, Little Rock Arkansas

#57-0457 Pima Air and Space Museum Tucson, Arizona

#570453 National Vigilance Park, National Security Agency, Fort George                           Meade, Maryland

#57-0489 Empire State Air Museum Schenectady County Airport, New York

#BuNo15-1891 National Museum of Naval Aviation, Pensacola, Florida.

#62-1787 National Museum of the United State Air Force, Wright-                                         Patterson   AFB, Dayton Ohio

This is Just a Partial List of the Lockheed C-130 Hercules on Display. Check With Your Local Air Museum for More Information.

Tech Specs for the Lockheed C-130H

Wingspan: 132 ft 7 in

Length: 97 ft 9 in

Height: 38 ft 3 in

Weight: 75,800 lbs (empty); Useful Load” 72,000 lbs; MTOW 155,00 lbs                         (Max Take Off Weight)

Max Speed: 366 mph; Cruise Speed 336 mph

Ceiling: 33,000 ft (empty); 23,000 ft with a 42,000 lb load

Range: 2,360 mi

Engine: 4/Allison T-56-A-15 Turboprop engines rated at 4,5900 hp each;                   4/4 bladed propellers

Crew: 5; 2 pilots, navigator, flight engineer, and loadmaster

Load Capacity: 92 Passengers or 74 Litter patients or 64 airborne troops                                     or 6 pallets of cargo.


North American F 82 Twin Mustang


The North American F-82 Twin Mustang was designed after the North American P-51 Mustang which was a long range fighter-escort from World War II. The War ended before the F-82 units could be organized, but the post-War needs were still there as a new adversary came foth–the Soviet Union.

The original designation of the P82 now became the F-82 for “Fighter”as the design was for the F-82 to be a long range escort. It was to be a replacement for the Northrup P-61 Black Widow as an all weather day/night interceptor. Although it “missed” World War Ii, it was used in the Korean War. It was the first United States Air Force (USAFF) aircraft to operate over Korea and the first to down 3 North Korean aircraft, the first to be a Yak-11.

There were 272 F-82s Twin Mustang produced

F-82 Twin Mustang

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Beechcraft D-18


The Beechcraft D-18 also known as the “Twin Beech” is a twin engine, low wing, tailwheel aircraft that could carry 6-11 passengers built by Beech Aircraft Corporation of Wichita, Kansas.

This aircraft was produced from 1937 to November 1969, a period of 32 years. There were over 9,000 built making it one of the worlds’ most widely used light aircraft. It had many uses cargo, passenger, VIP aircraft and many uses in the military as transport.

During and after World War Ii it was used by the military besides being a great transport, navigational trainer, bombing trainer, gunnery training, photo recon, drone target puller. The aircraft identifiers when used by the United States Army air Force (USAAF) were C-45 Expeditor, AT-7 Navigator, UC-45 Navigator and with United States Navy (USN) SNB-1 and SNB-2.

In the early pre- WWII days, it was the pre-eminent “business aircraft” and “feeder airliner”. Later it was used in civil purposes as: aerial spraying, sterile insect release, aerial firefighting, air mail delivery, air ambulance, movie productions, skydiving, freight hauling, weapon/drug smuggling (when the smugglers got caught, an aircraft auction occurred) the D-18 was also a skywriter and banner towing.

Many Beech D18s are privately own in the world with 240 registered with the United States Federal Aviation Administration.

On a personal note: I got my first twin-engine time as a young pilot, flying the D-18 on FAA radar testing station in Fontana CA. It was quite a thrill.

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