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Posted below are the Fred's Foto Files articles by Fred Franceschi that have been published in the ASM Newsletter. 
These are listed month-by-month, with the most current at the top of the page.   Articles covering visits to museums and
displays will also be included on the Field Trips webpage.  Pictures are posted from left-to-right to go with the article wording.

** Please contact Fred Franceschi for permission to publish, digitally or in print, any of his pictures, at: fredfran@unm.edu  **


Dec 2014 ASM Newsletter

Edwards Air Force Base - 1960 

These photos were taken at Edwards Air Force Base (or is it Flight Test Center?) in May of 1960. I think I had some of these in pictures in previous Foto Files, but I've located the original slides and sorted my images by their development dates in an attempt to make their provenance more accurate. 

Here is a picture of a US Army C-7 Caribou utility transport, built by de Havilland Aircraft. The C-7 was later heavily used in Viet Nam.  Here we see a Douglas C-133 Cargomaster. Since this is at Edwards in 1960, it was probably the test aircraft for the C-133B. These were designed to transport strategic missiles.

Below, a Cessna T-37 "Tweet" Trainer. Cessna also made an A-37 attack version of the plane, but I don't see any underwing attachment points for ordinance in the photos.

[Extremely Trivial ASM Newsletter Editors Note: I flew the Tweet for four years and never saw one with that long red and white boom attached to the left wingtip of this one. However, in the late 1950s, Cessna developed the B-model of the T-37 to replace the existing T-37A in USAF service at the time. The small strakes on either side of the nose and the configuration of the empennage mark this as a T-37B, likely the plane used for testing this model. All remaining T-37As were upgraded to T-37B status from this time, so A-models are rare; I'm told one is on display at the USAF Academy in Colorado. -JW]

A Convair F-102 "Delta Dagger," the underperforming predecessor to the Dart. I lived in San Diego, where the F-102 and F-106 were made. My friends and I were very aware of the problems when the F-102 grossly underexceeded its design expectations. The discovery of how compressibility impacted the delta wing/fuselage section was a major news event. The engineer who discovered "area rule"  and how to design around it was a hero to the many Convair employees would otherwise have no longer been employed.

Below: Convair F-106 "Delta Dart" Fighter - Notice the "area rule" shape to the center fuselage, visible above the "U.S." painted on the air ducts. It was called the "Coke Bottle shape" and was what changed the mediocre F-102 into a good airplane.

A US Navy North American A-5 Vigilante. A really sleek-looking plane.  A B-58 Hustler with a J-93 jet engine where the weapons pod would go.  I bet this was a haulin' plane when everything was lit up.  And it could make for a really interesting conversion for a modeler with a bit of scratchbuilding ambition.

 

       

  


Jun 2014 ASM Newsletter

German Museums

These are photos that I took at museums in Germany in about 2005.  I visited several museums.  One was the Auto and Technik Museum in Sinsheim.  Another was the Museumbuch Speyer.  I purchased books at both museums, but since I don't read German,  I'm not able to do much more t han look at the pictures in them. 

I also visited a military museum, maybe at Mainz-Kastel.  The military museum is really interesting because its purpose is to have historical references for the people who design new uniforms and equipment.  They had German, Russian, American and British uniforms and equipment, as well as armored vehicles from a variety of countries. 

The first photos are of a Russian T-34.  It's indoors and appears to be in good condition, so the photo may have been taken at the German Army Museum. The next two photos are of an M7B2 Priest.  The B2 version can be identified by the high "pulpit."  It was probably at Speyer.  The next four are of M3 Scout Cars.  One is painted in olive drab, and the other is probably painted "rust."  A real weathering job.  The last picture is a 3/4-ton Command Car, the replacement for the earlier 1/2-ton truck.  It is lower, whic enabled more of them to be packed in Liberty and Victory ships.  Being lower also meant it was less likely to roll over so it was a bit safer.  Both the 1/2-ton and 3/4-ton vehicles were made by Dodge. 

My visits to the museums were really interesting and I'd like to return and see them again some day. 

 

   


Feb 2014 ASM Newsletter

More Chino Airport

This is a continuation of the photos in the December 2013 Newsletter, showing Planes of Fame aircraft at the Chino airport in the early 1960s, a long, long time ago.

An F4F or FM2 Wildcat.  Wheel well and flap details on the SBD Dauntless shown in the December 2013 Newsletter.  Another photo of the F4U Corsair shown in the earlier newsletter.

The P-40's shown in the earlier newsletter. Some of the photos show the restored aircraft, some of the shots show the plane unrestored. But as I said last time, I can see a few different details, so I'm not sure if this is the same plane. I do notice that the colors of the unrestored plane in these shots look "better" than the ones in the December newsletter.

What's that, a Sopwith Camel in American "Hat in Ring" markings?  That's a B-25 photo chase plane in the background.  Remember, this is in Southern California, where the movies are filmed.  I was going to say that's a PT-17, but I don't see a windshield for the pilot in front. 

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Dec 2013 ASM Newsletter

Chino Airport

Well, this looks like a conglomeration of photos from the Chino Airport. I think that most of the airplanes were at the Planes of Fame museum there, but I remember the SB2C Helldiver. It was at the Yankee Air Force Museum, a privately owned collection in a separate area of the airport. The Yankee Air Force belonged to the owner of a dairy, and he found a really good way to spend his excess funds. Looking at the photo with my younger brother in the cockpit of an F9F Panther dates most of the pictures to the early 1960s. But the restored P-40 may be the same plane that's shown in its unrestored condition.

This is me as a much younger person, many lifetimes ago, in the F9F cockpit.  Here is my younger brother John sitting in the Panther cockpit. A looooong time ago.

F4U Corsair with a semi-World War II paint scheme, but showing the post-war star with the red bar. Museums may not have the correct markings on their airplanes. Always check your references.

This F4U shows the same #29 as the one in the above photo, but a different number of "kills" to the other one. I don't remember if these are photos of two different aircraft, or the same plane at different times.  Another Corsair, or the same one at a later date. There is something sitting on the ground behind it, maybe a B-24 fuselage.

An SB2C Helldiver, pre-restoration. Somewhere I have more photos of it. These planes were so ugly that they were "cool."  An F4F or FM-2 Wildcat.

A B-24 fuselage, waiting to be restored. Wasnt the Lady Be Good the airplane that crashed in the Libyan desert, with the remains of the crew found many years later?  If so, I think the original Lady be Good was a B-24D, so disregard any markings shown here.

Two pictures of an unrestored P-40 Warhawk. The bottom image may be the same airplane at a later date, but I can see some differences in the areas around the engine exhausts, so I'm not sure.

A P-51D, restored. It looks like the invasion stripes were hand painted on the fuselage, which I understand is a lot more realistic than the nice, clean stripe decals we apply on our D-Day models.

Here is an SBD Dauntless. I remember that in those days, some SBDs were used to smuggle lobsters into the United States from Mexico. It seems to me that one time the Mexican Air Force shot one down. So very different to the smuggling that happens in this era.

A Wingless late-model P-38 Lightning. The wings are probably sitting inside a hanger being rebuilt.

Which brings up another thought: When you digitize your film photos or slides, set up a directory in your PC that references the envelope you took the shots out of, with the date and location.

 

  


May 2013 ASM Newsletter

Military Vehicle Museum: Downey, California

This is a "bad" month for the Foto File. Somewhere in my house is a scrapbook that has photos which would be perfect for the April (Fool's) issue of our newsletter. And to make matters even worse, FineScale Modeler wrote an article that goes with my photos. But, alas, the scrapbook is not locatable.

Maybe I will find it by next April.

So I digitized some slides that I took in 1978. That's 35 years ago, for those of you who might care. I took the pictures at a military vehicle museum in Downey, California. I visited twice - once when the weather was really sunny and nice, and the other time when it was cold and drizzling.  Hence the variation in the quality of the photos.

As I look at the photos, I wonder how many of the vehicles survived the 35-year span since I took them. In one photo I see several Amtracks, and I sure hope they weren't disposed of as scrap metal.

Included are several photos of a small tank in German markings. But I see that it has rubber tracks. Okay, guys, what is it?

And there are some photos of an LCVP from the USS Mathews, KA-96. This LCVP may have been on the ship when she served in the Pacific during the World War II years. The boat was probably filling with rainwater and rotting out at the time I took the photo.

And there’s a scout car. On the side is "W??ANNAHILL & SONS WRECKING."  It was converted into a utility truck. And what the heck is that thing hanging on the front bumper? The military hobby guys get vehicles in this condition and rebuild them back to their original condition. Real Man's kitbashing and scratchbuilding.

The M7 Priest has always been a favorite of mine. So I took several pictures of it.

There's also an M4 Sherman. It looks like the paint on the turret doesn’t match the paint on the front. And I see metal tracks. Was a later turret put on an earlier hull ??

And there's the WC-54 Ambulance, a staple of the military. This one was taken on the cold drizzly day, and the kid shivering next to the ambulance is my son Steve, 35 years ago.

There are several morals to these photos. Something commonplace now may be very rare in 35 or 45 or 55 years. If you like it, get your camera out and use it now. Maybe in 30 or 40 years you will be doing your own Foto File.

And the restored Roadrunner Convoy military vehicles you saw at the Chile Cons are often in better shape than many of the ones at museums. Whenever you have a chance, shoot the hell (digitally) out of them. When will you see an M-18 Hellcat or a halftrack again? The answer is: Maybe never.

Link to ASM Newsletter that included this article:  May 2013


March 2013 ASM Newsletter

German Museum Visits

About seven and nine years ago I took several vacations to Germany.  I'd have to check my passport stamps to see just when.  And, of course, I hit up all the military museums I could find. These photos are from museums in Dresden (I think) and Sinsheim.

The museum in Dresden is a military museum run by the German army logistics center.  It has a military function in that things such as uniforms, weapons, etc., are grouped so that engineers and equipment designers can study the past to help design the future.  What a concept. And everything was well laid out and presented.

The word "Panzer" translates to "Armored Fighting Vehicle," so the sign showing PANZER T 34 makes sense.  I think that was at the Auto & Technik Museum Sinsheim.

This is a switching locomotive at Frankfurt. I saw it while I was on the way to the Sinsheim museum. It looked "cute and colorful," so I took a couple of snapshots. What the heck.

Is that a Marder?  Probably at Sinsheim.

I think this was also at the Sinsheim museum.

This was probably taken at the Army museum at Dresden. An M5 light tank.

 I remember taking a shot "up the rear" of the same M5 tank, but this photo may be of something else.  Oh, well.

Another Marder at the Dresden museum

Is that a Panzer III?  Dresden museum again.

Above: A row of armored vehicles; just look at all those gun barrels. At Dresden.

Next group: Photos of an armored car at the Dresden museum.

Is that a C-119?  Probably at Sinsheim.  As I look at the photo, it appears that they removed some of the blades on the right engine's propeller to fit the airplane against the wall.

I sometimes take photos of radial engines, so I can figure out how to paint them.

Four shots of a Hind D.  This was after West Germany and East Germany unified, so Soviet equipment that was formerly used by East Germany was now available to the reunified Germany.

An F-104 in German markings.

           
           
           
           

  Link to ASM Newsletter that included this article: March 2013


February 2013 ASM Newsletter 

Flight in an SNJ

In 1979 (I think), I happened to be walking around at one of the smaller airports in the southern Los Angeles area. For some reason, the Hawthorn Airport comes to mind. I'm not sure though, and a glance at Google Earth did't show any T-6s there now. I have enough of a problem remembering what I did yesterday, let alone what happened over thirty years ago. You young folks can laugh, but your turn will come.

Anyway, somehow I was able to get a ride in an SNJ. For the uneducated masses, that's a Navy T-6. I was in the back seat, under strict orders not to touch anything. And I didn't. We took off and flew west over the Pacific Ocean in formation with another SNJ. I was in the one with the wingtip visible in some of the photos, and I took pictures of the other aircraft.

For those of you who are current or ex Army, Navy or Air Force flight crew, this would be a non-event. But for me, whose experience was in antiaircraft, tanks, and later a rear echelon guy, this was really exciting.

The two aircraft took off in loose formation heading east, then turned and flew over the ocean (I figured this out by assuming that the sun was shining on the South side of the planes). When we were over the ocean the planes separated a bit, and I remember that my pilot did a couple of loops. It was fun and, since there was positive gravity, my stomach remained intact.

It was a really neat experience, and I'm very glad that the pilot gave me this "ride."

 

         
 
       
 
  Link to ASM Newsletter that included this article:  February 2013

January 2013 ASM Newsletter  

Landing Craft

Ever since I was a kid, I've thought that landing craft were among the most interesting boats ever made. They are so ugly that they have a beauty of their own, and they were instrumental in the success of the American invasions during the Second World War in the Pacific, Mediterranean, and European theaters. Interestingly, the Japanese were the first to develop ramped landing craft, and an American Marine observer, Captain (Later General) Victor Krulak, took photos of the Japanese using these craft in 1937 during their invasion of China.

The Marines went to Andrew Higgins and his boat works in New Orleans to see if he could develop an equivalent boat, and the landing craft we are familiar with came out of that discussion. There is a fascinating book about the Higgins Boat Works, "Andrew Jackson Higgins and the Boats that Won World War II" by Jerry Strahan, that I have read several times. The ups, downs, humor, and pathos of Higgins and his boats are well documented in that book, and I highly recommend it (the Albuquerque Public Library has a copy for anyone interested in reading it).

In 1958, when I lived in Spring Valley, California, as a teen, I discovered a private junkyard with landing craft in it and took these photos, and I regret that I did not take many more. These boats were apparently being stripped for parts, and I suspect that the remains were later burned.

The first of the American ramped landing craft was the Landing Craft Personnel Ramp, or LCPR. The ramp was, as near as I could calculate, 3 1/2 feet wide. Higgins designed and made this boat "under protest," as he believed the ramp was too narrow to be practical. But the preceding landing craft was the Landing Craft Personnel, Large LCP(L), which had no ramp at all. You exited that boat by jumping over the side.

The LCP(L) and LCP(R) were followed later by the Landing Craft Vehicle, Personnel, LCVP, which all of us think of as "the landing craft."  This is the one in the D-Day photos.

Interestingly, all of these 36-foot landing craft were called Higgins Boats, although other boat yards also manufactured them. Depending on the skills of these other boat yards, the sterns of some were rounded, like the one in the LCPR photo, others were angled, like the LCVP, or just plain flat backed.

So much for history, now the photos.

Here are photos of an LCP(R). You can see how narrow the exit ramp is. One person at a time, you jumped out in front of the boat hoping a wave didn't push the boat forward on top of you. And you couldn't see what happened to the person in front of you, a situation that had tragic consequences (read the book).

Next are photos of an LCVP, boat 3 of LSD 17, the USS Catamount. A Dock Landing Ship, named in honor of the Catamount Tavern in Old Bennington. No, I'm not making this up.  I'll let Harry Davidson explain why a Navy ship was named after a tavern, that's his specialty.

And lastly, photos of a Landing Craft Medium, LCM from AK-105, the Attack Cargo ship USS Naos.

 

             

x  Link to ASM Newsletter that included this article:  January 2013


December 2012 ASM Newsletter

Ft. Knox, Kentucky Part 2!

This is a shot of the rear of a medical vehicle on the M-60 firing range at Ft. Knox, Kentucky. It looks pretty empty; I hope that the medics have their bandages and tourniquets in their on-person kits. I don't have the darndest idea why I took the photo.

Middle: Bradley Fighting Vehicles (probably the M2) during a demonstration at Ft. Knox. This was in 1980 or 1981, when they were just being introduced. We were not permitted to enter the BFVs or the M1 tanks; the "insides" were still classified and we were only security qualified for the M60s.

Bottom: An M1 Abrams tank during the dem­on­stration with the Bradleys. This was in the M1's early days, when the engine was still having problems and detractors were saying that the engine should have been a diesel. The army made the correct decision, but there was still some debugging to be done.  We students at the Armor Advanced School were actually briefed about the engine and its problems during our training.

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  Link to ASM Newsletter that included this article: December 2012


October 2012 ASM Newsletter

Ft. Knox, Kentucky

In 1980 and 1981 (or was it 1981 and 1982?) I attended the Armor Officer Advanced Course at Ft. Knox, Kentucky.  The Patton Museum was there (and still is, even though the Armor School has moved to Ft. Benning, Georgia).  The M-1 tank was just going into service, and my training was on M-60s.

During some time off, a couple of the guys in the class went with me to the museum, and I took photos of the tanks.

I did not try to identify the vehicles at the time; just took the pictures. So as I look at the photos more than 30 years later, I realize that the track-heads among us (Jim Guld, etc.) will do a much better job of identification than I am.

 First up: Russian T-34 tank. (Long barrel, maybe a T-34/85)

 German Tank and Howitzer

 Large self-propelled artillery gun

 M7 Priest with two guys from the class. Early version with low pulpit.

WWI Mark IV tank. I have no idea if the camouflage has any semblance to reality.

WW I French Renault tank. Having a rotating turret made this tank the predecessor to the WW II tanks and the ones we use now. On that basis, this is a historic weapon system.

Big American tank.  M-??.  If I remember correctly, this was the predecesser to the M-60, and the hull could be lowered to reduce the silhouette. Too expensive to manufacture, some of its features were used on the M-60.

M-3 Grant

M-3 Grant inside museum

Another M-3 Medium tank, but without the cupola

Row of tanks

Half track and armored car inside the Patton Museum.

German self propelled gun

The T28 super heavy tank (also called 105 mm Gun Motor Carriage T95) was a prototype heavily armored self-propelled gun designed for the United States Army during World War II. It was originally intended to be used to break through German defenses at the Siegfried Line. Sometimes refer­red to as a super-heavy tank, the T28 was re-designated as the 105mm Gun Motor Carriage T95 in 1945 and then renamed a super heavy tank in 1946. It weighed about 90 tons. The reason it had two sets of tracks on each side was so the outer tracks, road wheels, and fenders could be removed for rail transit. It was intended to be a Maus killer.

  

     

 

         

  

         

   Link to ASM Newsletter that included this article:  October 2012


September 2012 ASM Newsletter

Bythe Airport,California

The Blythe Airport is located on the California side of where the I--0 Freeway crosses into Arizona. I made several cross-country flights there from the San Diego area in 1960 and 1961 as a student pilot.  Never got my pilot's license.  I had just enough money to remain incompetent but not enough money to put in the hours needed to get skilled.

As I check my old logbook, I see that I made two flights to Blythe. One on December 31, 1960, and the other on April 8, 1961. The black and white photos would have been from the first flight, the color photos from the second one.  So I finally have a couple of specific photo dates.

There were a few World War II aircraft sitting at the airport, and they sure were a lot hotter than the Cessna 140 that I was flying.  And in those days there were still airports with old military aircraft scattered about.

The first three photos were of a former Navy Reserve Corsair that had been assigned to Olathe in its previous life.  The red band indicating a reserve unit and the word "Olathe" under the wing make my guess fairly good. The fourth photo is the wing-fold on the Corsair.

Another cool airplane was the P-47D Razorback, N5087V, shown in the following several photos. And the last photo is me leaning against the propeller of the P-47D, trying to make it look like I’d flown the cross-country in that. T hose were the days when I was lean and mean.  A long, long time ago.

The next three photos are of a P-63 Kingcobra, N9003R.  Darn, but it was a hot looking airplane.  And Gary Hartpence, who flew the second cross-country in a separate plane with me (formation flight, sort of), is standing on the wing.

And then there was the P-38 Lightning, N9011R and/or N9005R, photos O, P, Q and U.  Or is it a former F-5 Photo plane?   That squadron nose insignia looks more photo than fighter.

I wonder what happened to the planes.  Are they restored and sitting in a museum somewhere, or were they scrapped and melted down to make pots and pans?  I really hope that they got a second life that was an honorable one.
       

   

         

  

     Link to ASM Newsletter that included this article:  September 2012


 

July 2012 ASM Newsletter

 

Unusual Aircraft at Mojave

Well, folks, as I mentioned in the Foto File with the US Army F-86s, I lived fairly close to the Mojave airport (maybe 75 miles).  And in the late 1970s, Bert Rutan had his homebuilt aircraft factory going in a hangar at the airport.  Monthly, they had a fly-in of VariEzes - completed ones, not the ones under construction.  I drove there several times and took photos of these really unusual planes that were designed to be unstallable.

Last year I went by Mojave and looked for his hangar, but it is now Scaled Composites and occupies a lot more space than it used to.  And I went there on a Friday that they were closed.  I’d hoped to see some unusual new dream machine, but no such luck.  However, the New Mexico Space Port is built to accommodate his recent Spaceship launching design.

Anyway, photo 1 is a Rutan Quickie at Mojave, with some old worn-out airliners in the distant background.  Those old airliners are probably still there, painted for airlines that no longer exist.

Photo 2 is a VariEze at Mojave.

Photo 3 is a larger VariEze, probably a Long-EZ.

   

Link to ASM Newsletter that included this article: July 2012


 

May 2012 ASM Newsletter

Consolidated P2Y-1 Patrol Planes

During the 1930s my father was in US Navy patrol plane squadron VP-10 on the West Coast and in the Territory of Hawaii.  These are some of the photos from my father's scrapbook. These aircraft made some historic long range flights, including the first formation flight to the Canal Zone and the first formation flight to the Hawaiian Islands.

These flights pushed the American patrol capability, and were of great interest to the Japanese navy.  There are several mimeograph pages from squadron newsletters describing Japanese efforts to gather information about the flights.  And this was many years before Pearl Harbor.  I suspect that there are very few (original) copies of these mimeographs remaining after almost 80 years.

For those of you who are not "old guys" like me, the mimeograph machine was what you used before copy machines existed.

 

     

 

       

        Link to ASM Newsletter that included this article: May 2012


April 2012 ASM Newsletter

B-24 Liberator at Castle AFB

I always thought that the B-24 Liberator was a "neat" airplane. The twin vertical tails set it apart from most of its contemporaries, and it looked (and still looks) unique.

Several times when I visited my daughter Mari, who lived near Fresno at the time, I stopped at the US Air Force Museum at Castle Air Force Base in Merced, south of Fresno. There were a lot of aircraft on display there. Among them was this B-24. I took some detail shots because I wanted to build the Monogram 1/48-scale kit, but removing and rescribing the panel lines has delayed my project. However, I took some photos of the Fowler flaps and other details "just in case"”

The B-24, as a museum aircraft, had a bit of the hassle that aircraft sometimes got into during the Second World War. The nose art showed a lady with her bare breasts displayed. The wife of a new base commander was upset (I can't understand why) and it was ordered that the lady have clothing painted over her bosoms. I probably have a photo somewhere of the bare-breasted lady, but don’t know where it is.

Unfortunately, I was not allowed to see the interior of the aircraft, so have no inside views.

I believe that Castle AFB was later closed, and don’t know what the status of the museum is. Hopefully, it is still there and the planes are well cared for.

[ Newsletter Editor’s note: Castle AFB was indeed closed in 1995. It is now known as the Castle Airport Aviation and Development Center. The museum is still there, and you can clearly see this B-24 on google maps (http://tinyurl.com/7mvdras]

    

 

     

Link to ASM Newsletter that included this article: April 2012


March 2012 ASM Newsletter

Black Sheep

If you like Corsairs and want to enter Josh Pals's October "Movie or TV Show" contest, here’s one for you. In the 1970s I lived in Saugus (now Santa Clarita), California.  From 1976 through 1978, the TV series Baa Baa Black Sheep (in syndication, this series was re-titled Black Sheep Squadron) was filmed a few miles away, near where Magic Mountain is located. Just South of Highway 126 and a few miles West of the I-5 freeway.  Robert Conrad played the part of Pappy Boyington.

There was a runway paralleling highway 126 and probably about a quarter mile South of the road. At one end of the runway were the Quonset huts of the Americans, and at the other end were the bamboo and palm huts of the Japanese.

I was able to take photos of the aircraft taxiing around, and sometimes watched the planes fly west towards the ocean near Ventura for filming.  One of the planes in the photos looks like a pregnant T-6. It's an O-47 observation aircraft.

It was fun to watch the series after seeing the planes fly around, and these photos bring back fond memories.

    

Link to ASM Newsletter that included this article: March 2012


February 2012 ASM Newsletter

F-86 Sabres

I’ve always thought that the F-86 Sabre was a beautiful aircraft (with the exception of the ugly-nosed F-86D). And during the years I've taken photos of USAF, US Army, US Navy and Canadian Air Force Sabers. That's right, I have photos in US Army markings! Jack Morris, take notice.  And I do know that the Navy one was called the Fury, but it still looks like a Sabre. Maybe that’s because the Sabre was a descendent of the Fury, if I remember correctly.

The Canadian acrobatic team, the Golden Knights, flew Sabres at airshows and I took those shots in 1959 at an airshow in Windsor, Ontario, Canada. The all-gold Sabres looked really sharp.  And at the same airshow there was also a flyby of USAF F-86Ds.

And in 1960 I took pictures of an F-86 "hack" or chase plane at Edwards AFB, with its high-viz paint all faded.

Then in 1962 there were FJ-2 Furys at Miramar NAS, by San Diego.

And I took photos of several Sabers with civilian ownership-one of them in military markings (FU-513), the other in civilian markings. If I remember correctly, the civilian Sabres were at Chino airshows.

And the US Army Sabres were at the Mojave airport, probably in 1979. Mojave is close to both Edwards AFB and Fort Irwin. I spent time at Fort Irwin in both antiaircraft and armor units, and wonder if the Army Sabres were used for calibration of antiaircraft equipment.  If one of you wants to research that further, the aircraft serial numbers may help.

 

Link to ASM Newsletter that included this article:  February 2012


January 2012 ASM Newsletter

X-Planes at Edwards AFB

My neighbor Lester Walton was an aircraft engineer at Convair in San Diego.  He took me on several trips to Edwards Air Force Base to attend "open houses" for aircraft manufacturers and contractors.

The first one I went to was, I think, in 1958.  I took photos of a number of aircraft, including the Bell X-1E. At that time, the X-1E was almost a Sci-Fi plane, about the hottest thing around.

Several years later, in May of 1960, Lester took me to another open house. The X-15 was on display, and it was the hottest thing around. Talk about real world Sci-Fi.

This is old stuff now, and we have gone to the Moon since then, but in the late 1950s and early 1960s, this was where science fiction and the real world met, and it was exciting to see.

    

Link to ASM Newsletter that included this article:  January 2012


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