Luftwaffe Starfighters in the States
Just about every aviation buff knows the story of the F-104 in Federal Luftwaffe service, but enough time has passed that some of our newer readers may not be aware of the fact that Luke AFB in Arizona was once home to the 58th TTW, an organization that transitioned German pilots onto the F-104. The facts are pretty simple; the Luftwaffe owned the airplanes but did their transitional training in the clear skies of the American SouthWest. In consequence, those West German "Zips" used to be a common fixture around the United States. Let's begin today with some images of those not-so-long-ago days.
65-12750 is an example of that premise. She was actually built by Fokker, then transferred to Luke. After serving there she went to Taiwan, where she was converted into an RF-104G and was subsequently lost on 8 July, 1991, some 11 years after this photo was taken in 1980. Most of the 58th's "Zippers" looked like this one, with very few unauthorized markings. K. Minert
firstname.lastname@example.org . Friddell Collection
We're going to close out this particular essay with a series of shots I took at Bergstrom on 6 August, 1982. The airplane is, once again, 13243, and the photos were taken the day before an airshow.
The Buckeye Redux
Do any of you remember that part (only last week) where I said that anyone who had trained in the T-2 had a considerable fondness for the airplane? Well, Gang, contributor Rick Morgan spent the requisite amount of time in the Buckeye before moving on to TA-4Js at Chase, and he's sent us a few more shots for our essay.
Sometimes Stuff Just Piles Up Around Here
What follows is an admitted hodge-podge of largely unrelated images. It's taking us longer than we thought it would to put an essay together for each of them, and we really wanted you to see them so, without further ado...
We recently discovered that the TBD image formerly found here was from the Life Magazine archive. We steadfastly try to avoid any situation that might lead to a violation of somebody's copyright, so we've removed the image from these pages. We apologize both to the original contributor and to our readership for taking this action, but that's how we are around here. We know you'll understand. pf
It's the Stuff of Legends
You can go almost anyplace and talk to just about any aviation enthusiast of any age. All you have to do is mention the B-25 Mitchell and people start to smile. Everybody knows the airplane, and most everybody knows at least a little bit of its history. Let's take a quick look at the airplane as it was used in the Pacific during the Second World War.
The Relief Tube
We copped out on doing a Relief Tube entry last week, which means we've got some catching up to do. Let's get right down to it.
First, let's look at a correction on those MO ANG Mustangs from Dave Menard: Phil, Two of the photos of MO ANG Mustangs were taken by Major Eugene Sommerich, who was a RegAF advisor to the sqdn I believe. He shot 616 film air to airs for years, including of fellow 334th FIS F-86Fs over Korea DURING the war! He was one of the pilots who flew the MIG-15 on Okinawa in late '53 after Collins(who was first to do so) and Yeager got done. He took 473526 and the three ship of 547, 196, & 400.
Did Marty really shoot that view of F-106 149? If so, he was not in a Tub when he did, as a wing tip can be seen that is sure not that of any model Deuce. cheers, dave That's one for Marty to answer; the info on the slide says Photo by Marty Isham. Marty---can you help us out here?
It looks like we made a couple of mistake when captioning those "Hogs" from the Bobby Rocker Collection. Bobby points out that the F4U-1 from VMF-114 on Pelilieu is actually an F4U1-A, and that Turtle Bay is in the South Pacific, not the SouthWest Pacific as we stated. We also heard from friend and Corsair authority Jim Sullivan, who adds: Phil, As always, I thoroughly enjoyed the latest addition to the blog. I especially enjoyed the ROCKER Corsairs. I wanted to add just a little more information to a couple of those photos. The F4U-1 #93 BuNo 17450 on Turtle Bay airstrip is from VMF-214, the Blacksheep squadron. The other shot, F4U-1A #25 is BuNo 17736 and the abbreviated story of it is on the lower left of page 2 of my lastest F4U CORSAIR IN ACTION book . The pilot was Lt. Bob Marshall from VMF-216. His patrol was jumped by Zeros over New Britain and two of his squadron mates were lost in that encounter. Bob fought back and was fortunate enough to escape the Japanese planes and although wounded, safely returning to his base on Bougainville. Also, a correction to the aircraft type of the 3/4 LF shot of the Corsair on the latest blog with the numbers 974 on the front landing gear doors...the caption stated it's a F4U-1D but it's actually a F4U-1A, probably 17974. No rocket stubs, not GSB but tri-color, no wing-root pylons.......it's a -1A. Jim Thanks to both Bobby and Jim for keeping us honest, and you might want to consider picking up a copy of Jim's F4U book if you don't already have it--it's excellent!
Rick Morgan is a retired naval aviator who's got a few hours on the T-2C, and he had this comment for us regarding last week's "Guppy" piece: Phil: Thanks for putting up those T-2 shots; the Guppy is a seriously under-covered aircraft. VF-43 and its west coast counterpart VF-126 both originally had T-2Cs assigned for use in spin training, which was a periodic requirement for pilots as part of their ACM syllabus. As you state, both units also used them as surrogates for jet trainer/light attack aircraft in the dissimilar ACM role as well. In case you haven’t seen it, this video shows a T-2C crashing on Lexington; the solo student on his CQ-1 flight was AFU, stalled out and hit the island. The Air Boss was an old friend; he stayed in the tower directing the fire response through the event. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LCmOEXVLeEk (Please note that the footage on that YouTube link is from a pair pf plat cameras on the Lex. It's not pretty, but two things are worth noting once you get past the horror of the event. First, note the airdales in the Deck Division---the incident is barely underway and they're running for the fire gear. That, my friends, is what training's all about. Second, think about what you just saw, because it's a risk every carrier-based naval aviator takes every single day they're on the boat. Raise your glasses and offer them your thanks that they're willing to do what they do.)
While we're discussing naval aviation, Rick Morgan pointed out to me (but I don't think I ever ran the correction) that VF-21 became VA-43, and that shark-mouthed Grumman Tiger we showed you a while back was an example of the squadron in transition. Rick also called out the guard for us and came up with the following explanation and photo:
Phil: That’s a great picture of the VA-43 F11F on Indy you have posted. The reason it wears VF-21 markings is because Fighting-21 was redesignated Atkron-43 (VA-43) on 1 Jul 1959. At that time it became the Oceana jet attack replacement squadron with predominantly A4Ds assigned, although it kept a small number of F11Fs through early 1960 to train pilots for AirLant’s only fleet F11F squadron at that time, VF-33. The F4D on cat-1 is from Key West-based VF-101, which was the east coast “all-weather” fighter training unit, with Fords and Demons. Both squadrons were under RCVG-4 at that time. VA-43 later on went on to become Oceana’s instrument RAG and, after Vietnam, redesignated VF-43 and an adversary squadron. Rick
While we're on the subject of Navy aircraft, here are some thoughts on the T2V piece we ran a while back:
Strictly speaking, the T-33 was purchased as the TO-2 from Lockheed Burbank. The V was used for Lockheed aircraft produced by the former Vega plant, also located on the Burbank airport. (Lockheed took over Vega in 1943.) The Navy finally got around to recognizing, from a designation standpoint, that they were dealing with a single source in 1952 and chose to change all the Os to Vs. Similarly, the Navy initially bought and operated the single-seat Lockheed P-80 as a trainer, the TO-1, with the two-seat designation, TO-2, accurately reflecting that it was a modified TO-1. The TO-2s were an important part of the transition of a generation of Naval aviators raised on propeller-driven airplanes to the very different piloting techniques and flight planning required when flying jets, both basic and in instrument conditions. The T2V took longer than expected to develop, allowing Grumman to substitute F9F-8Ts for most of the requirement that it was expected to fulfill. T
Chris Williamson tends to have a somewhat unique and eclectic collection. He sent us this scan of a patch he thought we'd be interested in:
Finally, we've heard from several people informing us that the new Special Hobby T-2C kit is actually the old Two Bobs kit in a different box. That's true, to an extent, but Special Hobby was (as far as we know) the original producer of the kit under contract to Two-Bobs. The bottom line is that we're not unduly concerned about how the kit came about---we're just darned glad to have it!
And that's what I know for this week. Be good to your neighbor and we'll meet again soon!