Douglas A-4 Skyhawk

A-4 Skyhawk

Introduction

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.

A-4 Refueling an A-7

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Aviation Tales

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.

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The C-5 Galaxy by Lockheed

C-5 in Flight

Introduction

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.

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The Douglas A-3D Skywarrior

A-3 Skywarrior

Introduction

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

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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.

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Lockheed F-104 Starfighter

Introduction

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

Introduction

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

 

Introduction

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.

THANKS FOR READING! I HOPE THIS WAS INFORMATIVE!

North American F 82 Twin Mustang

Introduction

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

Introduction

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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