Saturday, June 18, 2011

Wright-Patterson Museum visit, Pt. 8.

I was able to find a few photos that I'd overlooked, and I cleaned up a few others. This will be the last batch in this series, but I'll still have a few other stray shots that I'll post every now and again, so you'll just have to keep checking back if you want to see them.

For starters, here's a Mitsubishi A6M2 "Zero" fighter that was found on Papua, New Guinea after the fighting there was over. Crude in that they lacked armor and self-sealing fuel thanks, they were a lot more agile in the sky than anything that we had at the time. This would change before long, however at the Japanese learned the hard way that it was foolish to underestimate America's resolve and least back then.

This is the North American A-36 Apache low-level dive bomber. Produced for export to England and powered by an in-line Allison engine initially, it was considered something of a dog and wasn't terribly popular.But then someone came up with the bright idea to ditch the dive brakes and mate it to the Rolls-Royce Merlin engines that were going into the British Spitfires and suddenly the P-51 Mustang was born--an aircraft that would one day be considered one of the best piston-engine fighters ever.

The Bell P-63E Kingcobra is painted up as an RP-63 "pinball" training aircraft developed late in WWII. Aerial gunnery students fired at these manned target aircraft using .30-cal. lead and plastic frangible machine gun bullets which disintegrated harmlessly against the target's external armor plating. Special instruments sent impulses to red lights in the nose of the "pinball" aircraft, causing them to blink when bullets struck the plane.Me personally, before flying on one of those missions I think I'd be checking every student pilot's ammo trays to make sure that it contained the special ammo and not the standard mix of ball, armor piercing and incendiary rounds.

This is a Martin B-26G medium bomber. Not to be confused with my personal fav, the Douglas A-26 (and later, B-26).This little hotrod was known as "the incredible prostitute" because they said, it's wings were so short that it had no visible means of support.

It's a's a's a...flying boat. This Consolidated OA-10 Catalina PBY amphibious plane was used for Search and Rescue work, snatching downed American pilots out of the water all around the globe.

It isn't terribly well known, but American forces in World War Two flew a number of foreign-made aircraft. Thei British-made Bristol Beaufighter stands as a prime example. USAAF forces flew over a hundred of these as night fighters, hunting down German raiders that flew after dark.This once apparently scored three Jerries.
This is a British Supermarine Spitfire Mk.V, done up nicely in USAAF colors. These were flown by a number of American pilots early in that war, starting with the Eagle Squadrons made up of American volunteers who joined to fight before America entered the war, risking their US citizenship to do so.
A bit later, the U.S. Army Air Forces' 31st and 52nd Fighter Groups flew them first during Operation TORCH, the invasion of North Africa in November 1942.Behind the Spitfire, over it's wing, you can see the American B-17G heavy bomber Shoo, Shoo Baby.

This is a later variant of the Spitfire, the PR. XI, which is a Mk. XI Spitfire modified for photo reconnaissance.The U.S. Army Air Forces' 14th Photographic Squadron of the 8th Air Force operated Spitfire Mark XIs from November 1943 to April 1945, flying hazardous long-range reconnaissance missions over mainland Europe.
Now these aircraft were just cool. The DeHavilland DH8 Mosquito was made of wood--plywood with a balsawood core. They didn't carry guns but they were light and fast and made excellent photo recon planes and night fighters. The US Army Air Force used a batch of them for both roles.This one's still sporting the black and white invasion stripes under it's wings to let allied gunners on D-Day know that it was a friendly plane.

This is a Kawanishi N1K2-Ja Shiden Kai, otherwise known to Americans as a "George". Coming along late in the war, it was every bit the equal of many of our US Navy fighters and posed a credible threat to our B-29 bomber crews. But it was another case of "too little, too late" and only 400 were produced before the end of the war. This is one of just three survivors left in the world.

I found a usable picture of the museum's other F-100, this one a two-seat F100F used as a trainer and a Misty Forward Air Controller (FAC) plane in Vietnam.This particular F-100F (s/n 56-3837), was a Misty FAC aircraft assigned to the 37th Tactical Fighter Wing at Phu Cat Air Base, Vietnam. It was flown in combat by several notable USAF figures, including Gen. Merrill McPeak and Gen. Ronald Fogleman (former USAF chiefs of staff), and Col. Richard Rutan (the chief pilot of the first around-the-world unrefueled flight).

Yay! A usable shot of the F-105G. This beauty flew combat missions out of Thailand for five years, operating as both a fighter-bomber and a "Wild Weasel" strike aircraft that targeted enemy surface-to-air missile launchers. It also knocked down three enemy MiGs while it was over there. Damn, I love the F-105.
And on the "Bad Guys" side of the ledger, a Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21F of the North Vietnamese Air Force.

And just because I've got nothing else for now (but keep checking back), here's a dog wearing a parachute.

But if you still want more plane pics, there are a few here from my visit to Florida's Valiant Air Museum last year.


  1. I second the excellent photos remark.

    At our local Air Base (Laughlin) they have a B-26 on static display just inside the main gate. Along with a U-2, and several others.

    The nickname I remember for the B-26 was "Baltimore Whore".

    George Goble was a B-26 flight instructor during WWII. Here's a clip from the Tonight Show where he talks about it.

  2. Excellent job Murph!

  3. East - Man, that clip is a time capsule in and of itself. The talent: Hope, Martin & Gobel. The era: Smoking on TV and Carson wearing an ascot.

    Late night's not been the same since '92.

  4. The video threw me off track - I walked into a hangar about a year ago and had the great fortune of seeing this A/B 26 Marketeer executive conversion, undergoing some mods:

    The bird was impeccable, and the nose art - uh...mesmerizing!