A tour of the Pima Air Museum, AZ.  3/16/15

When I was a kid (1955 +/- 3 years, before I turned 72), I used to hear loud propeller driven planes approaching then flying right over our farm.  These planes were a bomber designated a B36.  I lived South of Sacramento and these planes were in a landing pattern for one of the two Air Bases located on the East side of Sacramento, so they were flying at a really low altitude already.  One of the Air Force bases was Mather and the other was McClellan.  I would lay down in the grass so I could get a better view as they passed overhead.  They were more loud then fast.  Six huge reciprocating engines (before turbos) droning along with the engines almost in sync, so the plane's sound was kind of melodious, an up and down thunder of engines.  Four small jet engines were added later to assist in takeoff.  Two are visible in this shot.  It's too bad they didn't have Microprocessors back then, to sync the engines up with.  Watch this video on You Tube, to get an idea of its sound and size and actually flying.

Wonderful condition as far as appearance is concerned.  Too bad it's service life was shortened by the jet engine.  Like a B52 only with reciprocating engines instead of jets.

The leading edge of a wing with the engine air intakes.

I'm coming to get you.  Imagine how long it would last in actual service.  That is bombing as it was intended to do.  It was suppose to be the next best bomber for WWII but then the war ended just as it was being flight tested for service.  So your flying this over Vietnam in 1969, then a Surface to Air missile is fired off after it.  The crew just bails before it's hit, because it is a slow easy moving target, just asking to be shot down.  It would probably do more damage crashing then the damage that could be caused by the bombs it was carrying.

An F106 Fighter Interceptor jet made by Convair capable of Mach II flight with a speed record set in 1959 at 40,500' of 1,525.96 mph (2,455.79 km/h).  I went to an Air Force training school in Denver CO (Lowry Air Foce Base), for a year to learn how to work on the electronics for this aircraft.  Then I was stationed in Merced, CA (Castle AFB) for three years, only working on this one type of plane. The last six months of my service, I actually had my name on the side of it along with three others: Pilot, Crew Chief, Radar (me) and Missile Chief.  Fun job and would have reenlisted but I had had enough of the saluting and the marching and the taking of orders without question.  Sort of like being a Catholic. An interesting thing about the F106 is that because they could be flown remotely, a bunch of them were taken out of storage after their useful service life had ended, and used pilotless as targets in war games.

This is a Sabre Jet,  similar to the T-33s we had in our squadron.  We had two of T-33s and they were used by our squadron to run errands.  Need a part for an F106, jump in the T-Bird (it's nick name) and get it.

We were deployed a couple of times on temporary duty to different bases.  Once to Tyndall Air Force Base in Florida to participate in air competitions with other fighters from all over the states and a second time to Tucson, AZ in the winter time because our base was socked in with fog and nobody could fly.  To make a long story short, the Super Connie (Lockheed L-1049 Super Constellation) as pictured above, was used to transport to the two bases, anybody who couldn't fly an F106. This plane was the flagship of PanAm when they first started flying overseas.  Very reliable, very fast at 377 MPH (for it's day) with a lot of people and freight capacity.

This is a predessor to the F106, an F102, the first delta wing air plane developed.  They would sometimes come into our squadron as visitors.

The rear view of an F101, distinguished by having two jet engines side by side.  They would also visit our squadron on occasion.

The rest of these photos are just photo worthy airplanes, worthy of my attention.

Located at the front entrance.  Pods underneath were probably used for fuel to extend the planes range.  I wish I had this in my garage.  Visit my relatives in Montana, then fly to Minnesota to visit some more.  All in the same weekend.  ;=)

A lot of historic engines were on display.  You can read the plaque on this one.  Later versions developed up to 2200 horse power and featured 18 and more cylinders.

There is a button to push which rotated the Crank Shaft with an electric motor and showed the cylinder and valves in all of it's four stroke action: intake, compression, power, exhaust.  No overhead cams on these engines.  Fouled plugs were a big problem, causing the engine to misfire on one or more cylinders.  One old timer Sargent, told me they used to dribble water in the intake to clear a fouled plug.  Not sure how that worked or if it lasted long enough to fly the plane without it developing a miss while in flight.

An enourmous amout of engineering went into engine development.  During the war, auto companies were used to mass produce these engines.  Chevrolet was cited as one of them that shipped 30,000 engines alone.  Amazing, almost makes me want to switch back to buying a Chevy.

A McDonnel Douglass F4-C primarily used by the Navy, also had twin jet engines, also used by the Marines in Vietnam, also came out about the same time as the F106 cirica 1960.

I believe this is the type of plane, that if you saw it coming, you would simply die of fright, right on the spot.  

A Russian Mig-23 1992-1998.

A sea plane with a landing gear, that probably used one of those rotary engines.

A remote controlled drone, sometimes used for target practice.

Two multi layered prop planes.  A curiosity why, I'm guessing for extra takeoff lift.  Also, an airborne radar plane.

An early warning reconissence plane as well.

Remember the X1 rocket plane that was launcehed by a B52 before streaking towards the Stratosphere?  This is one of the two B52s modified to take the X1 up to a launch altitude.

For some reason, they had a contest to paint some old transports. These three were kind of hidden from the main stream but still available for viewing.  I don't have the history of why, just the knowledge that they were not flown this way.


The bomb bay of a WWII bomber.

All photos were taken with a Canon EOS 5D MKii camera body and a 100 to 400mm 1:4.5-5.6 L IS telephoto zoom lens as well as a wide angle zoom: 24-105mm L IS 1:4 USM lens.


copyright mark  All of the images and text on this post are copyright protected and have been digitally watermarked.  The images and text displayed here, in no way implies consent for any form of distribution or reuse.  Email me if you desire permission to do so. 

web metrics