Friday, May 31, 2013

The Friday Flyby - 31 May

The Century Series of United States Air Force fighter aircraft. Just hearing the name takes me back to the days of my youth.

The Century Series is a popular name for a group of US fighter aircraft representing models designated between F-100 and F-106 which went into full production. They included the initial successful supersonic designs in the United States Air Force's service and would continue in active service manned aircraft well into the 1970s and 1980s with the Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard. Three later variants, the QF-100, QF-102 and QF-106 would also continue in drone service, primarily as aerial targets, until the late 1990s.

As it evolved, the attribution of the Century Series moniker reflects models designated between F-100 and F-106 which went into full production:
  • North American F-100 Super Sabre
  • McDonnell F-101 Voodoo
  • Convair F-102 Delta Dagger
  • Lockheed F-104 Starfighter
  • Republic F-105 Thunderchief
  • Convair F-106 Delta Dart

The F-100 Super Saber, the "Hun", was my favorite of the Century Series. Most likely because the first time I saw the Thunderbirds, they were flying the Hun. A beautiful aircraft. According to the OAFSSRFTOTN: "The Thunderbirds used the C-model Super Sabre from 1956–1963." I turned ten in 1963 and I'd be willing to bet that I first saw them in the Hun when I was either 9 or 10 years old. (Mentally I'm a bit older than that now, say 12-ish. Physically, a lot older.)
The Hun in the Thunderbird's Livery

Now I don't know a lot about the F-101 other than that the reconnaissance version, the RF-101C, did see service in Vietnam. By my day in the Air Force it had been superseded by the RF-4C Phantom. (Of which we had a squadron on Okinawa. I liked those birds. Probably because I didn't have to work on 'em!)

I always thought them an odd-looking bird because of the way the tail seemed to be hanging way out there on the back.

Now when I was a young lad I did see an F-102 in the air. Don't remember the exact circumstances but it was probably at an air show. My parents liked taking us to those. I enjoyed going!
Dagger on a Bear Hunt

I won't say much about the F-104. Or Pilot Killer as it was known by some. When the highest scoring ace of all time* doesn't like an airplane, then there's something wrong with that bird. YMMV.

Missile with wings. And a pilot.

Though it is kind of neat (and scary) looking.

The next bird was a real war bird. She cut her teeth "Going Downtown" with air warriors like Ed Rasimus at the controls. The F-105, the Thud.

Major Ed Rasimus,
United States Air Force

(I'm sure Buck was thinking he could get through a Friday Flyby without any "squidly propaganda". Nope, Thuds and Scooters. Neat, neh?)

Now my first Tech School in the Air Force was at Lowry AFB in Denver. My first room mate was in training to work on the F-106. He was a cool guy. One time he was in need of some spare coin. Needed to sell his guitar, a Gibson Les Paul, for which he wanted the then princely sum of 200 American dollars.

I look back on that with regret. Somehow I could have come up with that money. Somehow. But as a young one-stripe airman, $200 was money I could use for other things. Like beer.

Yes, I was stupid back then. Thank you for asking. (A Les Paul, damn it!)

To wrap it up, some more Thud action. These are for you Major!

Love those old war birds.

* Oberst Erich Hartmann, Luftwaffe, 352 confirmed kills in WWII.


  1. Beautiful.

    The Q-series never should have died as drones. They should have been assigned to me for my personal use.
    The Luftwaffe did have one hell of a time with those 104's though.
    But the 105's...That was a plane.
    The 106 was good for killing pilots too, including the first six to ever eject from one. (I'd have hated to be the seventh knowing that.)

    1. I agree with you regarding the Q's. I would be okay with assigning those to you, seems reasonable.

      I didn't know that about the 106. Damn!

  2. Buck's just gonna have to deal with the fact that the Navy (and the Jarheads) flies and does some pretty amazing things with aircraft... probably because they've been doing it a lot longer.

    The first time I saw the T-birds was at Valley Forge in 1957.
    Yeah, I was impressed... particularly when they they did that four plane crossover just about right above where I was standing.

    1. Heh.

      I remember the days when the maneuvers were performed much closer to the crowd. Safer now I suppose, but still...

    2. Deal? We do NOT deal. Period. :-)

    3. Ah, Buck. You should have been a diplomat.

  3. Oh, wow... I love this! And I remember an adventure or two with the T-birds, myself.... ; )

  4. Great post. I have some minor, second hand experience with the Century Series, particularly the 101. Here's my Voodoo story. You had to know THAT was coming, eh?

    1. Speaking of great posts, your encounter with the Voodoo was brilliantly told. Damn near wet my pants!

      Awesome, simply awesome. If you ever feel the urge to do a re-run, I pick that one. I loved it!

  5. I enlisted in 1980, kinda late for most of these, but I remember reading a battered copy of "Thud Ridge" my senior year in high school. I also remember F-106's waking me up in the morning at McChord in 1984.

    Thanks for the great photos. I found my way here via "My Muse Shanked Me." I'll be back!

    1. Thud Ridge was an excellent book, I too read that in high school. I need to get myself another copy.

      Glad to have you stop by Joe, MSgt B's blog is excellent. And I'm not saying that just because he too is a retired USAF MSgt, though we MSgts do tend to stick together!


Just be polite... that's all I ask. (For Buck)
Can't be nice, go somewhere else...

NOTE: Comments on posts over 5 days old go into moderation, automatically.