Thanks for visiting the Aviation Center site. My name is Bill. My intent is to provide you with articles and pictures of our heritage aircraft from the past, both military and civil.
There were many various types of aircraft of the past, beginning with the propeller-driven fighters and bombers of World War II to the Supersonic jets of the Viet Nam era. During this historical time frame, there were many unique civilian airliners from the rather slow twin-engine propeller-driven DC-3 to the jet-powered Boeing 707 series and more. I want to examine as many of these wonderful civilian and military aircraft as I can. I hope this site will be informative and bring back pleasant memories of the past.
You will see an article or two that might be on the edge of aviation. I hope you will find it interesting and informative.
Please leave comments on any of the aircraft on this site.
On December 06, 1966, an unexplained incident occurred in Kecksburg, Pennsylvania. The following is a report of the event that occurred. to help you understand “What happened at Kecksburg?”
A fireball was reported by the citizen of eight states of Canada and the United States coming over Windsor Canada and Detroit, Michigan, streaking across the eastern part of Michigan, the northern part of Ohio and the western part of Pennsylvania before coming to rest southeast of Pittsburgh in a small town named Kecksburg, Pennsylvania.
Hot metallic pieces began falling off the object near Pittsburgh along with a sonic boom. The “landing” occurred in a woods outside of town in a woods, with a blue wisp of smoke, vibrations, and a “thump”.
On 24 June 1947, Kenneth Arnold was flying near Mt. Rainier on a business trip from Chehalis to Yakima Washington in a light aircraft when he spotted a string of nine shiny, flying objects that seemed to skip around like a rock skipping on a water pound.
Arnold estimated the objects to traveling at speeds up to 1,200 miles per hour. These objects were flying from Kenneth’s left to the right of the aircraft and then they disappeared out of sight.
He referred to these objects as “saucers” skipping across a pond. When the news media got hold of the story, someone coined the term “flying saucers”. Thus for about 73 years, the term flying saucer became a standard for identifying something seen in the sky that was not immediately identifiable. A new phenomenon was born from the 1947 sighting of Kenneth Arnold.
The Douglas A-4 Skyhawk is a single-engine subsonic single-seat attack fighter, aircraft carrier-capable. It was used by the United States Navy (USN) and the United States Marine Corps (USMC) in the early 1950s.
Other users were by nearly every country in the Free World at that time period. This delta-winged aircraft was designed and produced by the Douglas Aircraft Company, later McDonnell Douglas Aircraft Company. The A-4D which was the original USN pre-1962 designation as a lightweight fighter aircraft which had maximum take-off weight (MTOW) of 24,500 pounds.
The aircraft had 5 hardpoints (hardpoints are holding points to hold bombs, missiles, and even nuclear devices). It had the capability of carrying as much ordnance as the World War II B-17 Flying Fortress although a much smaller aircraft. The first A-4s were powered by a Wright J65 turbojet but the “E” models and beyond used the Pratt & Whitney J52 turbojet.
They were produced from 1954 to 1979 and 2,960 Skyhawks were built.
Aviation Tales are a collection of true stories from the past, some had a happy ending some did not. But they should pique the interest of any aviation enthusiast and draw attention to any non-aviation enthusiasts.
The One-Degree Error
Many years ago at the beginning of the jet age, a jetliner was scheduled to fly from Australia to Honolulu. The technology of the day required a Navigator in the crew to plot the course as they flew.
As with many crew positions, a student Navigator was being trained by a veteran but the veteran Navigator got a little complacent like Captain Smith of the Titanic. The veteran crew member let the student do most of the work, periodically checking him. Unbeknownst to the veteran, the student had made a 1-degree error shortly after take-off.
After several hours it became apparent that the flight might be off course a little. They were off-course big-time with just a 1-degree error, so they ended having to land at Guam over 3,000 miles West of Honolulu.
While a 1-degree error did not seem like a big deal it sent the jet so far off-course that they had to land at an airport thousands of miles away from their destination.
The C-5 Galaxy by Lockheed is a large military transport aircraft which was originally designed by Lockheed. It provides the United Air force (USAF) with a heavy long ranged airlift capacity. The C-5 can carry oversized certified air cargo a great distance.
The C-5 Galaxy has many attributes to the small predecessor the Lockheed C-141 Starlifter and the later developed Boeing C-17 Globemaster III.such as high wing, rear (C-5 only: front opening doors for loading outsized cargo) opening aft doors for cargo loading, four engines, passenger/troop capability, and long distance flight. The C-5 Galaxy is among the largest military aircraft in the world.
The USAF has operated the C-5 Galaxy since 1969. During that time the aircraft has been supportive of U. S military operations in all major conflicts including Vietnam, Iraq, Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, and the Gulf Wars. It also aided in humanitarian disasters around the world. The C-5 supported the United States Space Shuttle program.
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
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.
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,” which 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!!
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