Monday, July 25, 2016

Big 'uns

Welcome to any newcomers to Sarge's blog.  If you happened to be stopping by expecting to see well-endowed human anatomical parts, well...you're probably going to be disappointed.  

Big 'uns in this case refers to large aircraft.  Specifically the large aircraft I encountered earlier this month at the National Museum of the US Air Force.  

There were some Yuuuge! aircraft on display.  At least one of which is larger than Donald Trumps ego, (but not as large as the puddle of corruption surrounding one of the other Presidential candidates in this election).  

But, I digress...

One of the first aircraft in this collection was on display as an RB-47H Stratojet.  


RB-47H (Sort of,,  the nose section is from an EB-47E from the Navy.  Who knew?  I thought all Navy aircraft had to have hooks!)
In any case, the B-47 was put into service as an all jet nuclear bomber.  Fortunately, it never saw combat in that role.  It also performed reconnaissance flights over Russia and in at least one case, encountered a MIG-15 and did not return to base.  The Cold War wasn't always cold.  

Walking around the aircraft took quite a while as it's wingspan sheltered several other exhibits.  It qualifies as a Big 'un.
C-124
Another Big Un was the C-124.  Huge aircraft and I'm old enough to have seen them flying.  They would fly in to Webb when I was a kid.  It was always interesting to climb in the nose wander around and then exit from the tail.  Not very fast, not very high flying but carried a lot of things a long way..
One of the drawbacks to not flying above the weather.  your props would pick up ice and when you used the deicing equipment in flight, chunks of ice were thrown off.  I'm pretty sure I wouldn't want to have been sitting in the seat just behind the prop there.

Trying to provide some size perspective.  There are two separate exhibits between the left inboard engine and the wingtip
As you can see, there were two decks for passengers or 1 and 1 for passengers and cargo.  It could carry a lot of stuff!

Another large aircraft in the Museum that I wouldn't have minded flying (and I'm sure was "one of the models I made as a kid" for a great number of the readership) was this one.

B-58A Hustler
I never saw one of these when it was actively flying.  The first time I got a close up was at the Lone Star Flight Museum in Galveston.  A cool museum, (it even has a flying Spitfire) the Hustler filled up the room.

Powered by 4 J-79 engines (the same engine that powered the F-4), it was capable of Mach 2 at high altitude.  The large pod under the fuselage was a combination fuel tank and bombbay.  The thing that looks like a baby seat to the right of the fuselage, was actually an ejection pod, designed to protect the crew in the event of a high speed ejection.

There was also a B-52 at the museum, but for some reason, I didn't take any pictures of it.  The BUFF was in the Vietnam section and had been badly damaged in the Linebacker II campaign.  Badly shot up it made it back to base, but was Class-26'd at that point.

Also, in the above shot is another aircraft, the B-36.  Huge does not suffice in describing this aircraft.  In the above shot, you've got a father and his son looking at the Hustler.  The guy was about 6'1" or so.  He obviously could walk under the fuselage without much difficulty.

B-36 Tail section..  The horizontal slab actually goes over the top of the Hustler fuselage.
It's so big that it dominates the whole exhibit.  I couldn't get far enough away to get a picture that encompasses it.
It was built to carry this weapon.  That's the aircraft in the background.  Huge weapon required huge aircraft.

Screen Shot from the Museum's Virtual Tour  Cold War 6/17 is the position.  That's the RB-47 wing above.  The B-36 wing still has a jet engine to the left of the screen.  Monster Aircraft!


The last aircraft in the Big 'Uns category was the pride and joy of the Museum. The only surviving example of this beautiful aircraft

XB-70 Valkyrie

So big, I had to climb up on the Space Shuttle to get it all in one shot.

Three aircraft were ordered, two were delivered and one crashed in a publicity photo shoot.  The program was canceled at that point. 









46 comments:

  1. I always wondered what Al Bundy's favorite magazine was about. Now I know...............

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    1. Not that I would know! Just say'in.

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  2. First hookers and now big'uns. I see where all the hits are coming from now. Hahaha!

    Great pics Juvat.

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  3. Big 'uns are fascinating. I remember the first time I saw a B-36 (SAC Museum at Omaha back when it was at Offutt), looking at the thickness of the wing and trying to imagine how that enormously thick structure could possibly be an airfoil. The air had to go miles to get around that thing.

    Never seen a B-70 but you've whetted my appetite; I may need to travel to Ohio at some point. I guess if the nose of that B-47 can do it, I can too. I do remember reading a book about the B-70 when I was a sprout. Late '50's vintage and I'm sure more a sales brochure/advertising device than a serious study. I was deeply disappointed when it was cancelled. Glad there's still one around for lookin' at.

    Great and fun post.

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    1. I got to talking to a Docent about the B-36, and how big it was. He was the source of the comment about the Mk17. Up to that point, I hadn't really paid attention to that part of the exhibit, and the photo doesn't really have anything to scale it with. It was the size of my pickup in virtually every dimension. Huge.

      On an unrelated topic, AC still out in the house, so we moved in to the guest house last night. Got up this morning to no water. Yep, Fire Ants! Bastiges!

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    2. Amazing when you think about it. That was cutting edge operational technology at the time and if we'd have gone to war those B-36's and their crews would have launched into a 60-90 day campaign of throbbing deep into Russia and dropping free-fall nukes as fast as the AEC could turn 'em out.

      On the unrelated topic, my sympathies. I don't suppose ant bait works?

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  4. Some time ago, back when the grandparents were still farming in Turlock, we used to se the B36s flying out of Castle AFB.

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    1. That would have been interesting to see. They're so big, it would take quite a while for them to get out of sight. I think it would have been difficult to close to gun range. The old adage "close til he fills your sight" probably would've occurred at about 3 miles away.

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    2. They seemed to take some time to climb to altitude and, with ten engines, they were loud.

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    3. What I'd heard was that they throbbed as the went by, even when at altitude.

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    4. SWMBO is from Hilmar but I never realized Castle AFB housed B-36 squadrons. Having grown up in the DFW area I can well remember hearing the rumble of those 6 4360's as they flew out of Carswell AFB. You heard them long before they came into sight. There was one on display at the old Greater Southwest airport but it went away sometime in the early 90's, IIRC.

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    5. Growing up in Big Spring, the folks there would talk about that phenomenon. Evidently, that was about where they leveled off in their climbout from Carswell. The adjusting of throttles was very audible on the ground.

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  5. Mad love for the B-58. And I'm so glad to see the XB-70 indoors finally. It was outside for so long, just going to pieces in the weather. And the B-36...hard to imagine the day when we had squadrons of them all over the place. Love to see one fly some day, but...sigh.

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    1. The XB-70 was an extraordinarily beautiful airplane. Just looked like it was going fast even in the museum. Re: B-36, I asked the Docent how they got it into the building. (As you can see parts of it are in virtually every picture I took in that wing.) He said they had to put it on dollies and bring it in Wing, Nose, opposite Wing, kinda like bringing an oversize sofa down a hallway.

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  6. Thanks for the great pictures juvat.

    Paul L. Quandt

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  7. Beautiful airplanes. I was a kid when the other XB-70 crashed. Supposedly the per-hour cost flying those things approached seven digits.

    I guess the SA-2 killed both the XB-70 and the B-58 without ever firing on them.

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    1. Pretty effective missile. Not even the Wild Weasels could protect them.

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  8. If you are ever on Hwy 99 in the Central Valley and pass by what was the old Castle AFB stop at the museum there. That is the only place I ever saw a B-36 - they also have a B-50 - ever hear of that? As Juvat says those are huge.

    I have an Internet friend who was the chief test pilot for the B1-B. He told me the story of visiting Wright Pat and having extra time went into the museum. There was an older man sitting by himself looking at the B-70.

    It was Al White, the surviving pilot of the B-70.

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    1. Oh, that would have been interesting. Almost as interesting as the airplanes themselves was the people watching. I suspect most of the Docents were retired AF guys. Spoke with one while looking at the F-4 who had been a radar tech on it. (No, Sarge, he didn't know you. Spent his time in Europe. I asked.) Talked with a SR-71 crew chief. I was sitting in a row of chairs and an older gentleman came up and asked if he could join me. Turns out he was a combat Chaplain with the Marines on Okinawa. Since my off base housing was just off the invasion beach, we struck up a conversation. That was interesting in itself.

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    2. Wow, they have an old WCS gorilla at the museum too?

      Now I gotta get out there!

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  9. "...combat Chaplain with the Marines on Okinawa." Oh wow, just wow. I'll bet interesting doesn't half cover it.

    BTW, if you took a picture of the C-141B there, would you, pretty please, post it for me.

    Paul

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    1. That's the next post. I found out a little bit more about that bird and am doing some background reading on it. Depending on whether Sarge is still jurifying or not, could be tomorrow. NLT Monday though.

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  10. In the olden days, when I was in AFROTC at Wash U. in St. Louis, we flew on most all of our field trips in "old shakies" - C-124. My instructor at the time was a Captain who's last assignment before AFROTC had been flying them. He loved the aircraft. If I'm not mistaken, as we rode back from restraining the Asian Hoarde, our C-130 broke down (blew a bunch of tires) at Hickam and an old shakie of the Hawaiin A.G. gave us a ride as the final hop to George AFB. Those were some long days as I recall. Certainly longer than it took us to fly the F-4s over there from GAFB.

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    1. I thought I'd heard that "old shakey" was the unofficial name, but couldn't confirm it, so thanks. "Official" confirmation. Having flown an F-4 from Moody to Hickam (and then Hickam to Taegu), if it was longer than that, THAT truly is a long day. I had no idea a butt could take that long to regain feeling.

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    2. I can confirm that name as well. My first Navy squadron was VR-7 Det A at Tachikawa. The Air Force had C-118 and C-124 squadrons there. It was always fun to watch a C-124 takeoff. Tachi had a 6000 ft runway and they used most of it. I never saw one abort a takeoff but I suspect it would have been "interesting". When they released the brakes and started the roll you could almost hear the crew grunting to help it along.

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    3. Remember the "low residue" beef sandwiches?
      Hmmm, can I say that here?

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    4. Low residue? Hickman to Taegu we had steak cubes wrapped up in tin foil. Spray painted black. You'd put it on the top of the seat. About 15 min later, warmish hot low residue meal. About 6 hours into an 11 hour flight, when the highlight so far has been overflying Wake, a little steak tasted pretty good.

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  11. I followed the video link to Youtube to read some comments. They weren't clear so I'll ask you. Did the chase plane collide with it, blowing up and causing the XB-70 to flip over and crash?

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    1. As I understand it, yes. I think I read somewhere that the vortices off the downward angled wing tip caused him to pitch into the B-70. The chase was destroyed and the B-70 lost control and came apart in the ensuing violence.

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  12. 1972 we had a house on the extended centerline of N-S runway (now closed I believe). The Air Guard operated C-124s. Hard to sleep in on Sundays when they went over our house at 400' AGL in max power climb.

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    1. So...15 miles from the base were we?

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    2. Should have said SLC. Probably 10 miles. Landing airliners went over at about 600' AGL - low enough to read N Numbers.

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    3. 10 miles at SLC. In the summer, I'd think you be lucky it didn't rip your roof off. He'd probably still be flying in ground effect.

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    4. Not quite, but close. Never fewer than three and often more. I enjoyed the show but some of the hearty party crowd and backsliding Saints didn't.

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  13. If y'all don't mind, I sending "The Boss" a link to the Hustler crash outside my small KY hometown in 1966. regards, Alemaster

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    1. Mind? Are you kidding? Sarge will turn it into a 6 volume novel! By next month! No pressure!

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  14. BTW that B-58 had a lot of problems with the test flights. Any of you guy aviation oriented (duh) you would like this book - AFAIK only available though the Edwards AFB Gift shop

    (the story of the C133 is chilling - imagine getting into a spin with a loaded 4 engine turboprop cargo plane)

    http://afftcmuseum.org/product/flight-testing-edwards-afb-book/

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  15. Bears did not trust B-58s.

    https://m.youtube.com/#/watch?v=4x-2tsIuhW4

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    1. Scott, that URL doesn't work for me on a desktop. Does it have a title I can search for?

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  16. RE: the C-124. One of my AFROTC instructors atLAU said their are two sounds you'll never forget and will recognize instantly. 1) The thrashing sound of the engines of an SA-16 Albatross air-sea rescue amphib (I first heard it at DaNang and recognized it before I saw it, thinking "There can be only ONE ac that sounds like that when taxiing!" and (2) the breaks on a C-124. TRUST ME, they produce an ungodly metallic squeal like nothing else in the known universe! I first heard them at AFROTC summer camp at Lockbourne AFB in Columbus, OH (a joint SAC KC-135 and TAC C-130 base) summer of "65. It was approx 0230 when I awoke to this ungodly sound thinking that has to be the C-124 my instructor was talking about! I ran to the barracks window (which sat on a small hillock overlooking the runway and just caught an old Globemaster taxiing down the runway after having landed before turning off onto the taxiway and out of sight--can still remember that sound!

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    1. I'd heard that about the brakes.

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  17. ^^^BRAKES viz "breaks" and LSU viz LAU---GEEZE, too much Barbancourt 5-Star!

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    1. Yes, well....it IS Barbancourt! :-)

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