Monday, June 23, 2014

More Boneyard, because who can get enough of the place?

Looking around the Boneyard, you might feel like you're in a trendy store in a shopping mall...Old Navy, for example.

They got A-6 Intruders there.
And A-7s. Lots of A-7s.
Here's an old E-2 Hawkeye early warning bird. You have to wonder how much time this bird spent aloft, keeping an eye out for it's carrier and her battle group.
Here's another, this one looking ready to be unwrapped and redeployed.
They got rows of these.
An old Douglas A3 Skywarrior caught my eye off in the distance. Designed by the legendary Ed Heinemann, this was the largest nuclear bomber ever to fly off of a carrier, but by the time she was deployed, the Navy had re-purposed it to be a tanker and a reconnaissance aircraft.
See how it's tail folds down for carrier storage? These large aircraft served the US carrier fleet from the mid-1950s until 1991, making them one of the longest-serving carrier aircraft in fleet history.

Here's an S-2 Tracker that looks like it'd clean up well.
And this looks like a C-2 Cod variant--Carrier On-board Delivery, for the non-Navy folks reading this.

And they've even got some Marine Corps Harrier jets here.
Oh-and since we're talking about things that fly unnaturally, did I mention that they have heckiflopters here?
The rotors get removed and stored separately for space reasons and due to high winds that come through here at times.

They still supposedly have a bunch of C-141 Starlifters here, but as they're all being chopped up, we didn't get to go over there. Same for the B-52s. We saw the occasional B-52 aside from the one on display on "celebrity row", a sort of petting zoo where they keep one of each type that that have in storage, but most are kept off in their own area where we didn't get to go. Even bribes offered to the bus driver didn't get it done.

There were a few, though.
And they've got Northrop T-38 trainers here, too.

Then there were the curiosities--the "one-off" special planes or the old ones that make you wonder just what else you're not seeing.

Here's a YC-14, Boeing's attempt to make a jet-powered STOL aircraft comparabe in size and performance to the C-130.
Only two were ever built before the idea was scrapped. This one is now here, and the other is across the street at the Pima Air and Space Museum.

Here's a Fairchild T-46, a trainer that was intended to replace the again T-37.
Only three were built before the Air Force canceled the project. This one is here, and the other two are at Wright Patterson and the Air Force Flight Test Center Museum at Edwards AFB.

There's this old Martin Canberra bomber back in storage, still here after all these years.

And does anyone want to take a guess as to what this airframe behind the T-38 is?
I saw at least one QF-106 back behind the rows too, but I couldn't get a decent shot of it. And this beautiful F-105G apparently just came out of spraylat for some reason.
I'm thinking that Ed, were he still here, would approve.

They also have two different F-4 Phantoms painted up as Vietnam Ace Steve Ritchie's plane. What's up with that?

The Boneyard tour was a fantastic experience all by itself, but they could make it a lot cooler by just giving us all ATVs and some bottled water and turning us loose to explore.

Think about it, Air Force...I'll even promise in writing not to steal an airplane...O-2As and T-34s excepted, of course.


  1. The mystery plane looks like a MiG-25 to me.

  2. On second thought - I think it's a Tornado:

    The details of the windscreen seem to clinch it for me.

  3. The "unknown" behind the T-38 looks like it a Tornado.

  4. We've lived in Phoenix for 40+ years but I've never made it through the Pima museum. Your coverage is fabulous, wonderfully detailed, and I can't choose between two feelings: I no longer *need* to go because you've given such a great review but, at the same time, now I really feel like I *need* to go.

  5. There ARE a few strange ones stuffed in the odd corner out there... ;-)

  6. The first, the only, the original Steve Ritchie and Chuck DeBellevue F-4 is a D model (those are both E-models) is aircraft 7463. I worked on that bird at two bases: Kadena and Kunsan. The original is now on static display at the AF Academy. The Collins Foundation has a D-model painted up to look like 7463, but it's not.

    I'll do some lookin' and get back to you on those E-models.

  7. Here's the "rest of the story" on those two 20th Fighter Squadron "Silver Lobos" F-4Es with the kill stars on the vari-ramp (from

    20th Tactical Fighter Training Squadron McDonnell Douglas F-4E-41-MC Phantom 68-0531 repainted in Southeast Asia camouflage motif along with a "shark mouth" and five MiG kill markings to commemorate the 20th anniversary of Captain Steve Richie becoming a USAF Ace during the Vietnam War. This aircraft was retired to AMARC as FP1059 on 22 October 1997. I'm betting that 68-0331 has the same back story. Both belonged to the 20th FS. The 20th was inactivated in 2004.

    The one, the only and original Steve Ritchie Chuck DeBellevue (why do they always forget the GIB?) MiG-killer is 7463, an F-4D now on static display at the AF Academy. While the Collings Foundation does own a F-4D painted as 7463, it's not the real deal. (They also own and operate an F-4C painted up as Robin Olds' jet. Yes, I forgot his GIB's name. Damn!

    I actually worked on 7463 back in the day. She was at Kadena when I was there and then I guess she followed me to Kunsan. I worked on her there as well. Don't know if Juvat ever flew her.

    Don't ask him though, I don't want to take any time away from his blogging activities.

    1. LOL. Thanks for the info, and thanks for letting Juvat out of his cave long enough to comment periodically.

    2. Hhmm. I thought the interwebz had eaten my first comment. Hence the repeat of information in the second.

      Phormer Phantom drivers need lots of sunlight and air. So yes, I let him out from time to time. I spoil him, really I do.

      At least he hasn't run off to Hawaii like my other co-blogger!


    3. I actually did get to fly it. And, if anything, knowing its history made my fangs even longer. Given that I was a brand new 1Lt at the time, my fangs were longer than my skills could handle generally anyway.
      Unfortunately, this last batch of pics has "harshed my mellow" a bit. In the mystery plane pic, the other airplane (actually an AT-38B) has HM on the tail and a blue stripe at the top. That means it was assigned to the 435th TFTS at Holloman as was I and Ed. So......That's a story for another day!

    4. I don't think the reason you can't walk around the jets is that they think you'll steal one. I think they're more worried someone would steal parts from them. I'm surprised there are any F-14s still there since AFIK there are none in our active inventory, which makes Iran the only country still flying them. Stealing parts from DM might be an attractive option for them.

  8. Hey Murphy,

    The Mystery plane looks like a Toronado. I am surprised that the AMAARG doesn't have any Mig's(Late model's) to support all the ones we picked up in the 90's for a song to be used by the aggressor squadrons.
    Very good pics by the way....Makes my wanting to go even stronger.

    1. There were Migs there at one time, but since we don't fly them any more, I think that they've pretty much all been farmed out to museums.