Monday, June 28, 2010

Tweety Plumage, A Couple of Stratojets, Some More Invaders, and No Progress Whatsoever On The Nate

When Tweety Got New Feathers

Way back in 1987 (anybody besides me remember 1987?) the Air Force decided it would be a really good idea to put some color on their T-37 and T-38 fleets, not for the amusement of aviation enthusiasts such as ourselves but rather for conspicuity purposes. They'd tried once before with the late, lamented Candy Cane Air Force T-37s (a story for another time), but were a little more serious about things in the 80s. The scheme that Randolph AFB's corrosion control folks came up with (assisted by the not-inconsiderable input of some fellow named Keith Ferris) resulted in a scheme that remained on the T-37 until it was finally retired from service.

It was my good fortune to be on a shoot at Randolph during the transition, and I ended up with a fair amount of paint and markings-related T-37 photography as a result. Most of what I shot was on slides and I don't have a decent scanner yet, so I'm going to share some official USAF photography with you instead. Sure hope you like the "Dog Whistle"!

The first T-37B to wear the new high-vis scheme was 66-7982 of the 12th FTW. It was nicknamed "Tweet 1" and is seen here in the initial version of the scheme. The color is more of a royal blue than the later Insignia Blue worn by ATC's T-37s and T-38s, while the gear legs, wheels, and inner gear doors (along with the wheel wells) remained Insignia White.  USAF

Here's the starboard nose. Note the crew chief's name painted under the anti-glare panel, as well as how the difference in lighting has perceptably changed the hue of that royal blue!  USAF

ATC's birds were, and still are, well-used. 7982's rudder shows the effects of 21 years of continuous use! The bird proudly wears its RA tailcode at the top of the rudder.  USAF

And the starboard side. This photo offers a fine example of the reason you don't normally want to shoot with backlighting!  USAF

A detail of the empennage, useful primarily because it gives a pretty good idea of that original royal blue. 7982 was funded by the Federal Luftwaffe and was originally assigned to the 80th FTW at Sheppard before ending up with the 12th FTW at Randolph. The airframe was subsequently sold to Greece, finally ending up at the AMARC in 2006.  USAF

If you're going to have a "Tweet 1", it only stands to reason that you'd have a "Tweet 2" to go with it. Here she is, parked on the T-37 Ramp at RAFB. 67-14737, another T-37B, ended up wearing the final scheme which used Insignia Blue rather than the royal blue of "Tweet 1". The "Dog Whistle" would wear this scheme until its ultimate retirement from the inventory. I think it's kindof pretty.  USAF

Here's the nose of 14737, which shows the anti-glare and anti-skid treatments to advantage. It also gives us a really good idea of how the blue paint sweeps up onto the upper wing.  USAF

And the upper wing up the same aircraft. That fuel cap treatment is reminiscent of the one used on the P-38 and adds an interesting touch to the upper surface of the aircraft.  USAF

The guys at Randolph were kind enough to give me a blank form out of their corrosion control files. Here are my original notes on the scheme worn by 67-14737. (Note that I mis-identified the serial number when I did this. Some things never change...)

It's a Good Day to Run a Picture of the BUF's Daddy

The Boeing B-47 was ground-breaking in every way; a true pioneer of aviation engineering. The following shots don't really fit into any sort of format but are interesting nontheless. Enjoy!

It's a long, skinny photograph, but a photograph at any rate. 53-1915 was built at Lockheed-Marietta as a B-47E-70-LM, and was converted to EB-47E status at some point prior to its ultimate retirment to the MASDC in 1965. This early shot was taken during its time as a bomber and no; I don't know where those smudges came from either!  For that matter, I'm not sure where I found this shot but I like the picture, mostly because of that antenna running from the vertical stab to the forward fus.  Friddell Collection

The LOGAIR depot at Kelly AFB was prime on the B-47, and usually had a bunch of them in various stages of repair and overhaul. This maintenance hangar contains enough B-47s to equip a full SAC Wing!
Those were the days!  KAFB History Office13066008

Two More Invaders For Your Consideration

If I had it in me to do a monograph on the Douglas A-26/B-26 family I'd probably include these next shots, but I'm not so I won't. You'll just have to settle for seeing them here...

This photo, poor as it is, is highly significant because of the time and the place: Clark Field, early 1945. The aircraft are from the 3rd  but the image is too poor to make out much in the way of details. Once again the source is unknown, which is a shame. I wonder if there are any more photos of this lineup out there someplace...  Friddell Collection

Here's something really dumb you can do to a photograph if you've a mind to. The original of this is a slide, which I shot at Randolph AFB on 18 June, 1972 during an open house. I figured I needed a print of it and had one made, but didn't specifiy the type of paper the print was to be on, so the image ended up on this crinkly stuff. You can see everything ok, but it's definitely not the way to run the railroad, just in case you ever wondered about doing such a silly thing yourself.  The aircraft is an A-26B-61-DL (44-34610) of the Air National Guard Bureau. If I ever get a decent scanner I'll re-do this and run it again. Until that happens, let this be a lesson to me!  Phillip Friddell

A Distinct Lack of Progress

On "Nate", that is. Nothing's happened to it between now and the last time you saw it, so we'll shine it on by for today. Meanwhile, be good to your neighbor. We'll talk again soon.

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