|Colonel Benjamin O. Davis, Jr.*, commander of the 51st FIW, leads a formation of F-86F Sabres during the Korean War, 1953. (Source)|
Oh wait, I'm not five years old (more like twelve, nor am I a Congress critter, but I digress).
Now Juvat talked about the Sabre on Monday, and as the F-86 has always been a favorite of mine, I figured it was time she had her own Friday Flyby.
I can still remember the thrill I got on my first trip to Kunsan AB in Korea and beheld those lovely birds wearing camouflage and the livery of the 대한민국 공군 (Republic of Korea Air Force, aka ROKAF).
She's not a big aircraft, measuring 37 feet, 1 inch long, with a wingspan of 37 feet, and just a shade over 14 feet high, from the ground to top of the canopy. The first time I saw one sitting next to the mighty F-4D Phantom (on the engine test hardstand at Kunsan) the Sabre looked like a toy. The Rhino (F-4E version, the D is similar) measures 63 feet from the tip of the radome to the tail, has a wingspan of over 38 feet and is 16 and a half feet high. Almost twice as long as the Sabre and two feet taller. (I found it odd that they have a similar wing span, no doubt Juvat can explain all about wing loading and two massive engines versus one smaller engine. I can't, I just fix 'em, I don't fly 'em. That's my story and I'm sticking to it!)
I did get a few photos of Udvar-Hazy's Sabre, sitting next to her Korean War adversary the MiG-15.
As you can see by my dearth of photos of this lovely bird, I need to get back to Dulles with my new camera. While the hangar housing the collection is huge, there are a lot of aircraft crammed in there. So I was in aircraft-overload, I basically did the camera version of "spray and pray," hoping I got shots of everything. Well, I was close. Not enough detail shots of the birds I particularly enjoy. (Yes, I know Murph, that would be "all of them." Oh yeah, chase that link, you won't be disappointed!)
Now I did find some pretty sweet Tube O' You videos of the -86. The first one is modern, a taxi, fly it around, isn't she pretty, video.
|Lockheed SP-2H Neptune (BuNo 135588) of VP-7, "Black Falcons". This aircraft was assigned to VP-7 at NAS Jacksonville, from 1965 to 1967.|
(No, Old NFO didn't actually crew these, but Joe's brother did!) (Source)
Anyhoo, the second video is of the USAFE flight demonstration team, the Skyblazers. (The Skyblazers were the USAF demonstration team representing the United States Air Forces Europe (USAFE) from the late 1940s through the 1950s. This team was formed in early 1949 by a group of 22d Fighter Squadron pilots from the 36th Fighter Wing at Fürstenfeldbruck Air Base in Germany. At this time they were flying Lockheed F-80B Shooting Stars. The unit transitioned to the F-84E in 1950, the F-86F in 1955 and the F-100C in 1956. Two of the original Skyblazer team members, identical twins C.A. "Bill" and C.C. "Buck" Pattillo, went on to become members of the first Thunderbird team.
|The Patillo brothers. (Source)|
Unlike the Thunderbirds, the Skyblazers seldom appeared outside of the realm of USAFE operations in Europe. The Skyblazers were disbanded in January 1962 when their home squadron was rotated back to the United States and their assigned aircraft transitioned to the F-105 Thunderchief. - Source)
You can read an old Stars & Stripes article (from 1960, with photos) about the Skyblazers, here.
Now I have to say a couple of things about the third video. These days we get a lot of squadrons producing their own videos. With the advent of high quality, compact, digital cameras, there are a lot of in cockpit flying videos out there. Naval aviation squadron cruise videos, Hornet Ball, and Strike Fighter Ball videos tend to be excellent. (Though yes, many have musical sound tracks which Buck found so annoying, YMMV. For me it depends on the actual music used. Yeah, I prefer jet noise and radio chatter but ya pays your nickel, ya takes your chances. Okay, actually it's free, courtesy of the Tube O' You.)
Before I forget, the videos produced by the Air Force squadrons who win the Raytheon Trophy tend to be frigging awesome as well. (Thou must Google that thyself, for my fingers tire and the night is full of terror... Oops, wrong video.) I have posted those before, and will again.
Now this video was done all the way back in Nineteen Hundred and Fifty-Three, the year which saw Your Humble Scribe begin his time on old Mother Earth and even Old NFO was nobbut a lad. Now it does have kinda cheesy music but it is altogether excellent.
And hysterical. Have I ever mentioned that fighter pilots have senses of humor to match their ginormous (and well-deserved) egos? Shoe clerks find nothing funny. There are no shoe clerks in the following video.
And no hamsters were harmed during production...
And ya gotta love the squadron's nickname. No way that would fly in today's PC environment.
More's the pity.
* Benjamin Oliver Davis Jr. (December 18, 1912 – July 4, 2002) was an American United States Air Force general and commander of the World War II Tuskegee Airmen. He was the first African-American general officer in the United States Air Force.