Tuesday, April 6, 2010

How's the Weather, More Gas Passing, and Some Tasty Intruders

When a Bomber Ain't a Bomber

The Boeing B-47 series must surely have been one of the most graceful families of aircraft to take flight; if you don't believe me just watch "Strategic Air Command" some time. Yep, the B-36 is nothing short of Majestic, but those B-47s are just about ten kinds of pretty. 'Nuff said.

Most of us think of the Stratojet as a bomber, or as a recon platform, but the type also performed sterling service as a weather ship. Let's start out the day with a couple of photos of B-47s, first as a bomber, then as a weather bird.

Here's a whole pack of B-47Es for your consideration. This lineup is interesting because it contains both early and late styles of anti-radiation flash paint (that would be the white on the bottom, for those of you who might not have been around when we were standing toe-to-toe against The Godless Communists during the Cold War).  In the foreground is 52-0228, a B-47E-20-LM.  USAF via M. Morgan

WB-47E AF 51-7063, a B-47E-75-BW that was converted to WB-47E standard. This one was assigned to the 55th WRS at McClellan AFB at the time the photograph was taken. Note the MATS shield on the aft fuselage and the "Weather" placard on the fin tip.  USAF via M. Morgan

Sometimes the Shoe's on The Other Foot

We're all used to seeing the B-50 refuelling other aircraft in its KB-50 tanker role, but it's a little unusual to find photos of them on the receiving end of the operation. Here's a shot of an unidentified B-50D gassing up.

Something different: An unknown B-50D topping off the tanks. Note how the forward turret has been rotated to port in order to allow use of the refuelling receptacle.  USAF via Morgan

A Couple of A-6 Shots

The A-6 Intruder was a positively amazing airplane for its day, with then-state-of-the-art avionics and a payload that would make your eyes water. It was an airplane that could take the proverbial lickin' and keep on tickin' too, yet another tribute to the glory days of The Grumman Iron Works. We're doing that free-form thing today because we don't have a whole lot of time, so why not throw in a couple of Intruders while we're at it?

A flight deck full of Bad News. Here's a division of VA-96 A6Es preparing to launch during the Constellation's 1984 WesPac deployment.  A glance under with wing root of 504 will reveal a load of practice bombs.  Rick Morgan

Ever hear of the AGM-53A Condor? Here's a test round hanging off an A-6E of the Naval Weapons Center during 1969. The missile was optimized for ship-killing and featured an electro-optical seeker/guidance system. Navy Photographic Center 19358

Every day I try to run at least one photograph that falls into the "Have Mercy!" category, also known as The Grabber Shot. This is one of the two we're going to feature today. The subject is an A-6E (BuNo159579) flying as Connie's CAG bird, which I think is from VA-196. This was my friend Mark Morgan's Christmas card photo one year! It must be nice...   Mark Morgan

The Other Have Mercy shot; not the best of photos, but my-oh-my... Here's a photo from 1965 showing one of the experimentally-camouflaged A-6As from either VA-65 or VA-85. Pretty cool, huh? I wouldn't want to get shot down in that "Please Capture Me" orange zoom bag, though...  via R. Morgan

And We're Done

Like I said before, it's a short day. With any luck we'll be back tomorrow; time will tell. Until then, be good to your neighbor!

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