Tuesday, April 27, 2010

A Couple of Scorpions, A Neat RF-104G, Whatever Happened to ADC, Slick Chick, and Some More Cats,

Where'd I Get Those?

I've got a lot of pictures. Some people I know have more, and some people I know have a whole lot more, but at the end of the day I've got a lot of pictures. I know where most of them came from, but not all, 'cause I write such things on the photos when I get 'em; important stuff like the airplane type and serial number, the photographer's name, where and when it was taken, etc. Anyway I do that most of the time. Sometimes I don't, and that's the case with what follows. I have no idea where I came by any of these images of the F-89, or even when; they were just in there when I opened the folder!

That said, let's take a look at some pictures. And one more thing---if I got them from anybody who's reading this blog, please let me know they're your shots so I can credit them properly!

53-2634, an F-89D-65-NO of the 176th FIS, Wisconsin ANG. The rocket pod/tip tank assembly looks more like that normally found on the F-89H and J models, but my records don't show that this aircraft was updated. (I'll bet it was, though!)  Reader comments are welcomed! This particular image came off a medium-format contact print.
Friddell Collection

Another contact print image, this one depicts F-89D-5-NO, unit unknown. These tanks/pods are far more typical of the F-89D than those shown above.  Friddell Collection

This aircraft, 52-2135, was built as an F-89D-45-NO and then converted to F-89J configuration. She's a Juliet in this photo taken during her service with the 124th FIS/132nd FIG, Iowa ANG. By this time the Scorpions were nearly all painted in a standard scheme of overall Aircraft Gray with a black anti-glare panel. There's a bucket hanging off the port wing, presumably beneath an offboard drain. Any old Scorpion mechs out there who can identifiy the reason that bucket is there? The F-89 hung on far longer than it probably should have; this example wasn't retired until 1969!  Friddell Collection

And here's 52-2138, also of the 124th, undergoing line maintenance. The F-89 was slow and relatively short-ranged, but it was easy to work on!  Friddell Collection

A Spiffy Zipper

I don't know if I ever mentioned it or not, but I'm really a big fan of the F-104. One of the more significant operators of the type was Taiwan, yet we know next to nothing about their experience with the aircraft, although it can be surmised that some of them saw air-to-air combat against Communist China during the Cold War. We can also surmise that the RF-104Gs were kept busy. This photo is a little smaller than I'd like, but it's so neat that I had to include it today. Hat's off to Don Jay for this image.

4371, an RF-104G of the 4th TRS based at HsingTao AB on final with everything hanging. This bird is SLAR equipped and camouflaged. If only airplanes could talk...  Don Jay

Whatever Happened to Those Guys?

Long ago, in what now seems to have been a far-away land, there was an air force that was comprised of several various commands. One of those commands was tasked with defending the continental United States against aerial aggression and was known as Air Defense Command. In keeping with that name, and with their mission, they operated aircraft that were, for the most part, designed and developed as interceptors. There was, however, one glaring exception. The Lockheed F-104A was briefly used as an interceptor by them but lasted barely two years in the mission before being passed on to the Air National Guard. The type was briefly reassigned to ADC during the mid-1960s, then retired for good. Don Jay has provided a fine shot of one preparing to launch (although the shot may well be staged since there's no ground crew around the aircraft and it's not hooked up to any sort of GSE):

Scramble! Few shots sum up the F-104's role of interceptor better than this one! The airplane belongs to the 319th FIS and was taken during 1965 at either Homestead AFB or NAS Key West. Reaction time and rate of climb made the F-104A a superior interceptor, but its extremely limited radar and miniscule ordnance capability in the role rendered it nearly useless. That said, it was still quite an airplane!  USAF via Don Jay

Let's Look At a Slick Chick

Or better yet, let's look at three of them! Ben Brown's a Hun fan and sent in this shot a couple of days ago. That, my friends, is more RF-100As than I've ever seen in one place at the same time!

You don't hear a whole lot about operational F-100As and even less about the handful that were converted to RF-100A during the Slick Chick program. Here are three of the converted airframes in flight; there's a good chance that at least one or two of these were flying operational missions with Taiwan's 4th TRS shortly after this photo was taken. Of particular interest are the "cheeks" on the lower forward fuselage that accomodate the photo gear.  NRO via Ben Brown

Got a Thang For Them Drones

Here's a little bit more on that F6F-5K that we ran the other day, or a little more about the paintwork found on the type, anyway. I'm pretty convinced that airplane with the Sparrow hanging off of it is in Glossy Sea Blue; in fact I'd almost be willing to bet that it is. Tommy Thomason concurs, and that puts it to rest as far as I'm concerned. Not all drones were painted that way, though; most of the -5Ks were far more colorful in actual service. Tommy sent along a couple of shots of Pt Mugu-based Hellcats to show a couple of other schemes that could apply. (At this rate we should probably do a book!)

This b&w shot depicts a day-glo-painted F6F-5K as photographed in February of 1950. The light areas define the extent of the day-glo; the rest of the airplane is red.  NAWS via Thomason

A couple of Hellcat drones on the ramp at Pt Mugu. Note the distinct color separation between the day-glo and the red. These aircraft all feature a letter on the nose; the Sparrow-equipped bird we ran the other day was "H".  NAWS via Thomason

And a final shot showing the other side of the aircraft. Please forgive the quality of these photos; the images aren't very good but they were just too good to omit! NAWS via Thomason

A Little Bit More On "My Snoopy"

Remember that spiffy looking F-4D named "My Snoopy" that we ran a few days ago? If you do, you probably also remember a comment about the incorrect presentation of the serial number. Here's a comment on same from old friend Dave Menard:

That F-4D 66-8702 with the confusing radio call number can be explained (sort of). If she had left the factory in gray/white, that number would have been 68702 for 66-8702, but there was nothing in T.O. 1-1-4 on how to paint that with the tail code, just where and what dimensions. So one depot or local (GI) paint shop could/would put either the 66 or 68 under the AF and then the 702, so one had to know the full serial off the side of the intake. Huns had this done all the time!
If you look at enough photos of Vietnam-era airplanes you'll see a number of examples of this. Sometimes the incorrect presentation followed the aircraft through the greater portion of its life, e.g. mis-marked F-4s were still showing up as late as the mid-1980s! Some things never change!

Another Day Gone

That's it for today, ya'll. If things ever settle down around here I'll run a few more modeling pieces. Until that time I hope you're enjoying The Real Thing. Be good to your neighbor and we'll meet again soon!

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