Friday, June 20, 2014

When I win the lottery, Pima Air and Space Museum edition

Hard to believe that it was just a week ago that I was wandering around the Pima Air and Space Museum like a monkey on crack, lusting over all of the wonderful airplanes for virtually the entire day while my gracious aunt and uncle, residents of Phoenix who came with me, did something or other while I was spending much of my time out in the 107-degree heat taking pictures. And as I always do, I put together my shopping list for when I decide to actually buy a lottery ticket and it hits for millions upon millions of dollars.

For starters, I need one of these:
I have always loved and appreciated the Cessna O-2A, or "Oscar Deuce".
In fact, I've been looking at a few semi-seriously for a while, but their operating costs are, while doable, still a bit high. Oh--and a couple of the Usual Suspects keep talking sense into me every time that I find one that I think I like.
Still, to have a warbird...and these are about the last affordable ones left.

But heck, if I hit that lottery, I'll be shopping for one of these before the funds are even available for withdrawal:
Chance-Vought's F4U-4, the classic Corsair.
If I had millions and money was no object, I would fly the wings off of one of these; I'd fly it until it's engine hit TBO, and then I'd have it rebuilt and fly it some more.
Restricted Airspace? Washington DC SFRA? Hell, come on up and do something about it.
Bit of trivia for you: This actually being a pre-World War Two design, most of the control surfaces are still fabric-covered wood.

But sometimes, you just want to bring people with you when you fly fast and low, so for that, a Douglas A-26 Invader is a perfect choice. Pima has two.

First, they have this cherry glass-nosed C-Model inside.
This aircraft was intended to be an attack aircraft (hence the A designation) during World War Two and it's performance actually rivaled that of many contemporary fighter planes. After the war, the Army Air Corps re-formed into the US Air Force and they kept the A-26 around. They changed it's designation to B-26, having scrapped all of the Martin B-26 light bombers after the war, and they flew these as light attack bombers in Korea and into Vietnam. But by the 1960's, they were starting to show their age (the last one having been built in 1944) so several were rebuilt by On-Mark Engineering and given more powerful engines and new propellers along with a spar modification intended to stop the wings from ripping off the aircraft as had happened to a few aging over-stressed B-26s. These rebuilt aircraft, re-purposed for counter-insurgency, made life hell for troops and truck drivers on Vietnam's Ho Chi Minh trail, especially at night. This model was designated the B-26K Counter-Invader, but since we were operating them out of Thailand and Thailand prohibited US bombers from it's bases, the designation was changed back to A-26K and the bomber became an attack aircraft again. Pima has a K model, but it's outside and looking kinda sad right now.
The CIA also flew earlier B and C models in the Bay of Pigs fiasco and several K models in Africa during the Congo crisis.

This one needs a bit of TLC, but I'd be willing to take it on.

But maybe I'd wanna fly a jet for a bit. I'm betting that I could transition into a North American F-86 Sabre without too much trouble. Pima's got several, including this radome-nosed L-model outside.
And as you can see, it's sitting right next to an older conventional-nosed F-86H, which I always thought was the coolest version of the fighter.
They've even got a Canadian-produced Canadair version inside. Pretty cool, eh? "Take off, you hoser!"

Sigh. Enough of that for now. I'll be in my bunk.


  1. Anonymous8:04 PM

    Shortly after I moved to Sorry Vista for my job at Fort We-Gotcha, my parents came out to visit. I took them to the Pima Air and Space Museum, where I was able to show them examples of three of the four types of aircraft from which I had, during my time stationed at Fort Bragg, flung my one-to-a-customer body: the Lockheed C-130 Hercules, the Lockheed C-141B Starlifter, and the North American Rockwell OV-10 Bronco. The fourth type (the Lockheed C-5B Galaxy) is missing (for now) from their collection.

  2. Dad flew the F-86D out of Hamilton and Okinawa. I'm thinking I need to visit the Tucson area shortly, not sure what the business aspect is, but I'm pretty sure there's a reason.
    F-107 and Starship might be a reason.

  3. Once heard the end of a radio lottery commercial.

    "......odds of winning, 1 in 6,200.000. Considerable higher if you don't buy a ticket".

  4. I'm almost afraid to visit Pima ... I'd never be able to leave.

  5. There was a civvie version of the O-2 that used to fly in and out of the Torrance Airport when I worked at the nearby Hughes Aircraft facility.

    Man, was that sucker LOUD!

  6. Hey Murphy,

    You have some cool pictures...I am getting that familiar airplane trip feeling to go visit there.

  7. Nice pics, now that A-26... sigh...

  8. Yoda say "Drawn like a moth to a flame, to the O-2 you are."

    Nice Canuck Sabre - hadn't seen one like that before.

    Hey, ONFO, here is a right proper A-26 (Marketeer mod). I happened to walk into a hangar on a bright day a few years ago, and my eyes adjusted to see this