Thursday, May 03, 2012

The Cornfield Bomber

Time for some more plane porn.

This time, it's the Convair F-106. An air defense fighter, designed specifically to head off attacking Russian bombers, it served as an active-duty interceptor for 28 years in one form or another, and the last ones left National Guard service in 1988, 37 years after the first one flew in 1951. The 106 was known for it's superior performance and advanced technology, and in the case of one airframe, #58-0787, for it's ability to recover from a flat spin, fly away and land in a cornfield, all after the pilot had ejected.

I wrote a bit about this particular aircraft after discovering it on display at Wright-Patterson AFB Museum last year. And has a really good article about it, too. You can read more about it there and see it's pics here. They really don't make aircraft like this any more. And sadly, like the rest of the Century-series aircraft, none were maintained in flyable condition for future generations to see first-hand (although allegedly, QF106 drones 59-0158, 59-0043 and 58-0774 were flown to the AMARC boneyard in 1998, and at least seven more with minor damage remain in storage. If so, there's no reason why at least one cannot be turned over to, say, the Collings Foundation for historical restoration and flying display.)


  1. You apply logic to government--always an error. "There is no good reason..."?

    The reason is simple! It's policy. The Nat. Museum of the USAF owns all existing airframes from AF inventory (some jets were also sold to foreign allies so there are some sources for F-100, 102, 104, F-4, A-4 types). The AF believes that these airframes are such a precious resource that they can only be preserved as static displays and not dynamic flying jets. Of course that then requires that you not notice the intentional destruction of many of them and the incredible disrepair of many that are on lease for static display.

    We've been fighting for some time to get an F-105 preserved for flying by Collings. The effort is losing as the last remaining engines and airframes are spiked--destroyed to a condition which cannot be restored.

    Unless Congress should act and a warrior should suddenly emerge in the CSAF office to replace the incumbent trash-hauler/drone disciple we will never again hear the bang of a J-75 burner light.

  2. We often seem to miss out on a lot of things in our rush to chase the ever-changing "latest".

  3. I feel the frustration, Ed. I'd give anything to see and hear just one F-105 operate. And there's really no call for it other than that "policy" that some faceless wonk came up with.
    So whose office do we march on? I'm in.

  4. Ed, got to it before I did, and his comments are correct. It's just about impossible under the current provisions to provide a flyable or restorable aircraft to an outside 'agent'... The one F-4 flying today outside the military was bought overseas and is, I believe, still technically registered there, and flys here on an experimental certificate.

  5. Cool story. Yeah, the pilot should have got back in.

  6. One of the most beautiful and competent aircraft ever built.
    My babysitter's boyfriend flew one of those, and one day she called my Mom to tell her to make sure I was outside at 3pm that day.
    He came blasting by about 1500' AGL and gave me a thrill I'll *always* remember.

  7. We're fortunate to live just short of an hour from WPAFB and museum...

    Dann in Ohio