All Tore Down; Hustlers in the Barn
I saw my first real B-58 in 1961, when one flew over our quarters at Sheppard AFB. It was loud (four J-79s, remember?) and it looked like something from another world. It also looked like the landing gear was about to fall off, a characteristic of the Hustler's MLG trucks when in flight and a visual that's stayed with me to this day. (In retrospect I think my friends and I were all hoping the wheels would fall off so we could have them. It's funny how the 12-year-old mind works...) That was, if memory serves, the only time I ever saw a B-58 in flight; we went to Japan the next year and SAC started phasing the aircraft out of service shortly after we got back. It seemed that PACAF just didn't have much use for the beast, Southeast Asia War Games notwithstanding.
To get to the point for once, the Air Force operates several Air Logistics Centers around the country (but fewer than before thanks to that BRAC thing), each depot dedicated to a number of different aircraft, engines, and weapons systems. Kelly AFB in San Antonio was prime on the B-58, and it wasn't unusual for several Hustlers to be there at the same time undergoing maintenance. Here are a couple of photos of the B-58 for those of you who like to open things up on your models. Anybody out there brave enough to turn one of these shots into a diorama?
So You Think You're Having a Bad Day?
Contract maintenance for military aircraft isn't a new thing; it's been going on for years. Mostly it's a business-as-usual sort of deal, but every once in a while there's Drama. Sometimes there's a lot of Drama. Sometimes there's so much drama that you need fire trucks to get it to stop being Drama so you can go back to Business-As-Usual, which is what's happened in the series of photos below. The ramp is the Hayes Aircraft Corporation facility in Birmingham, Alabama (now Pemco); the year is 1957. I don't know much about the incident except that Hayes must've been big into KB-50 maintenance at the time, and either Hayes, the Alabama ANG, or the airport had a really good fire team.
A Token Model For Today
Today's been a Real Airplane kind of day, so here's a shot of a model to keep things in perspective. It is, after all, Replica in Scale and it's a model airplane sort of deal, right? Right!
Anyway, the model has the ubiquitous Eduard belts and harness but the rest of the cockpit is courtesy of the kit. The radio mast has been sawn off flush with the canopy per the Tainan Ku's long-established habit of removing the com gear(which apparently didn't work any too well in any case) from their aircraft. Hasegawa molds a radio into the side of the cockpit and removing it from the model to ensure that last bit of scale accuracy would be what an English modeler might term "fraught with difficulties", so it's still there should you care to pick up the model and take a look. I did give thought to removing it, but so doing would require a fairly extensive rework of the cockpit and I just didn't feel inclined to jump into that particular bucket, thus giving the Jump-Up-and-Downers an opportunity to do that again.
One final thing about the Hasegawa Zeros before we sign off. They all have a little triangular doohickey molded in front of the arresting hook well, and it shouldn't be there. Sand it off and fair in the hook because this airplane didn't have one installed. Build the model. Move on.
Something I Keep Forgetting
A few days ago I ran a color photo of a really pretty T-28B from VT-27 that a friend of mine shot at NAS Corpus Christi back in 1980. Robert Perry wrote me (at firstname.lastname@example.org ) to let me know that the bird ended up at War Eagles Air Museum in New Mexico. There's a photo of it in its present guise at http://www.airliners.net/photo/North-American-T-28B/1313760/L/ if you're interested in what it looks like today. Robert let me know about this back on the 12th, which may mean I forgot to mention his update until now. Late is better than never, right?
And Something Else I Keep Forgetting to Remember
I've got a project underway and am looking for photography and/or personal recollections on the 21st TFW while they were flying F-100s out of Misawa AB, Japan during the late 1950s up through 1964-65. The squadrons would be the 416th and 531st TFS, and their operations included frequent TDYs to Kunsan AB, RoK. Any help would be greatly appreciated and all loaned materials returned promptly. Please contact me at, you guessed it: email@example.com if you can help.
And that's what I know for a Wednesday. Be good to your neighbor and we'll meet again soon.