Military History Books
by Harold A. Skaarup   www.SilverHawkAuthor.com   
 
Warplane Survivors USA: Ohio, Dayton, National Museum of the USAF (Part IV), Northrop to Yokosuka

National Museum of the USAF (Part IV)

Northrop to Yokosuka

Data current to 21 April 2020.

Dayton, National Museum of the United States Air Force (NMUSAF), 1100 Spaatz St., Wright-Patterson AFB, 45433-7102.

 (USAF Photos)

 (NMUSAF Photos)

 (Rogerd Photo)

Northrop P-61C Black Widow (Serial No. 43-8353), C/N N1399.  The Black Widow on display in the NMUSAF was presented to the museum by the Tecumseh Council, Boy Scouts of America, Springfield, Ohio, in 1958.  It is painted and marked as a P-61B assigned to the 550th Night Fighter Squadron serving in the Pacific in 1945. 

 (USAF Photo)

 (NMUSAF Photos)

 (Martin McGuire Photo)

Northrop A-17A (Serial No. 36-0207).  The aircraft on display, Air Corps serial number 36-207, is the only A-17 series aircraft known to exist.  It was delivered to the Air Corps and assigned to Barksdale Field, Louisiana on 25 June 1937.  Following a brief stay at Kelly Field, San Antonio, Texas, the aircraft was assigned in April 1940 to Bolling Field, Washington, D.C., and also served as a support aircraft for U.S. Military attaches in Honduras, Guatemala and Haiti.  The aircraft was dropped from Army Air Forces records in January 1945.  The aircraft is marked in the colors of the 90th Attack Squadron, 3rd Attack Group, at Barksdale Field in June 1938. 

 (NMUSAF Photos)

 (YoSam Photo)

 (Valder137 Photo)

Northrop YC-125B Raider (Serial No. 48-0626), painted as (Serial No. 48-0622), C/N 2510.

 (NMUSAF Photos)

 (Martin McGuire Photo)

Northrop F-89J Scorpion (Serial No. 52-1911), FV-509, C/N N405.  The Maine Air National Guard transferred the Scorpion on display in the NMUSAF to the museum from  in July 1969.  This aircraft was the last F-89 in service with an operational unit.  It is painted to represent an F-89J (Serial No. 53-2509) assigned to the 449th Fighter Interceptor Squadron in the late 1950s.  Based at Ladd Air Force Base, near Fairbanks, Alaska, it carries insignia red arctic markings.

 

 (NMUSAF Photos)

Northrop X-4 Bantam (Serial No. 46-0677), C/N 3238.  During the Second World War, engineers in the USA and UK studied semi-tailless aircraft, and the German Luftwaffe fielded the semi-tailless Me 163 Komet.  After the war ended, Northrop built two X-4s to test if this configuration could perform at transonic (near-supersonic) speeds better than conventional aircraft.  Flight testing of the X-4 began in 1948, and in 1950 both X-4s were turned over to the NACA (National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics), predecessor to NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration).  The first X-4 was grounded after only 10 flights, and only the second X-4 (on display at the museum) was used in the joint USAF/NACA program.  Instability of the X-4 at high speed led to the conclusion that semi-tailless aircraft were not suitable for transonic flight (with the technology then available).  The X-4 on display in the NMUSAF was transferred to the museum shortly after the program ended in 1953.  It was restored by the Western Museum of Flight, Hawthorne, California.

 (YF-5A Prototype, USAF Photo)

 (NMUSAF Photo)

Northrop YF-5A Freedom Fighter (Serial No. 59-4989), FA-989.  Painted as (Serial No. 64-13332).  The YF-5A on display in the NMUSAF, one of three prototypes ordered, was delivered to the museum in 1970.  It is painted as a "Shoski Tiger" of the 4503rd Tactical Fighter Squadron TFS), which combat tested the F-5 in Vietnam in 1965-1967.  The 4503rd TFS later was redesignated the 10th Fighter (Commando) Squadron in March 1966.  In October 1966 the 10th F(C)S began training South Vietnamese pilots to fly F-5s and later turned its aircraft over to the South Vietnamese Air Force (VNAF) in June 1967.

Northrop T-38A Talon (Serial No. 60-0566).

 (NMUSAF Photo)

Northrop T-38A Talon (Serial No. 65-10441).

 (NMUSAF Photos)

Northrop AT-38B Talon (Serial No. 63-8172), HM, C/N N5519.  The NMUSAF’s AT-38B flew as a lead-in-fighter trainer until its retirement in 1991.  It came to the museum in 1999 and was placed on display in 2004.

 (Greg Hume Photo)

Northrop SM-62 Snark, early intercontinental cruise missile.

 (NMUSAF Photos)

Northrop YF-117D Tacit Blue.  Built in the early 1980s in great secrecy, the revolutionary Tacit Blue aircraft tested advanced radar sensors and new ideas in stealth technology.  Tacit Blue proved that a stealthy aircraft could have curved surfaces, unlike the faceted surfaces of the F-117 Nighthawk, which greatly influenced later aircraft like the B-2.  Tacit Blue’s design also minimized the heat signature emitted from the engines, further masking its presence.  Tacit Blue was aerodynamically unstable, but it had a digital fly-by-wire system to help control it.  With its low, “all-aspect” radar signature, Tacit Blue demonstrated that such an aircraft could loiter over and behind the battlefield without fear of being discovered by enemy radar.  Using advanced sensors, it could also continuously monitor enemy forces (even through clouds) and provide timely information through data links to a ground command center.  Moreover, these sensors functioned without giving away the location of the aircraft.  The Tacit Blue aircraft flew 135 times before the program ended in 1985.  The aircraft was declassified and placed on display at the NMUSAF in 1996.

 (Bobbi Zapka, USAF Photo)

 (NMUSAF Photos)

Northrop Grumman RQ-4A Global Hawk (Serial No. 98-2003), BB, c/n AV-3.   The Global Hawk on display in the NMUSAF was the third prototype built.  Designated Air Vehicle-3 (AV-3), it was officially designated an YRQ-4A.  However, AV-3 had anything but a normal career for a prototype.  After the terrorist attacks of 11 Sep 2001, the USAF deployed AV-3 to Afghanistan in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.  Because it still showed some of the "crankiness" of a prototype, AV-3 was nicknamed "Grumpy."  Nevertheless, it also flew reconnaissance missions in support of Operations Southern Watch (OSW), Iraqi Freedom (OEF), Enduring Freedom (OEF) and the Combined Task Force-Horn of Africa.  During Operation Iraqi Freedom, AV-3's sensors successfully tracked Iraqi Republican Guard forces during a fierce sandstorm in March 2003.  While the dust blinded AV-3's optical and infrared sensors, its radar provided information accurate enough for fighters and bombers to attack the enemy successfully with Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) weapons.  In February 2006, it made another spectacular flight by flying autonomously and non-stop from Australia to Edwards Air Force Base, California.  Over its career, AV-3 completed 251 flights for 4,891.3 total hours flying time.  This total included 195 combat sorties and 4,152.7 combat hours.  A remarkable aircraft, AV-3 went on display at the National Museum of the United States Air Force in 2008. 

 (NMUSAF Photos)

Northrop Grumman B-2A Spirit (Serial No. 82-1070), WM, C/N 1005/AV-5.  This the static test article used for structural stress tests during B-2 development. The airframe has no flight deck or engines.  It is named "Spirit of Freedom".   In 1993 the Spirit of Ohio (endured more than 1,000 hours of extensive temperature testing at the McKinley Climatic Laboratory at Eglin Air Force Base, Floriad.  It withstood temperatures ranging from -65 to 120 degrees Fahrenheit, rain and high humidity.  To verify the test results outside the laboratory, the Spirit of Ohio deployed to Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska, in March 1996 for further cold climate testing.  To signify these tests, the technicians painted the "Fire and Ice" artwork on the nose landing gear panel and signed it.  Presented to the museum in 1999, that nose panel was installed on the NMUSAF's B-2 during restoration.

 (NMUSAF Photos)

Northrop McDonnell Douglas YF-23A Black Widow (Serial No. 87-0800).  The YF-23A competed in the late 1980s/early 1990s against the YF-22A in the Advanced Tactical Fighter (ATF) program.  During the late 1970s, a new generation of Soviet fighters and Surface-to-Air Missiles (SAMs) prompted the USAF to find a replacement for the F-15 Eagle air superiority fighter.  In 1986, the USAF awarded demonstration contracts to two competing industry teams, Lockheed-Boeing-General Dynamics (YF-22A) versus Northrop-McDonnell Douglas (YF-23A).  The Northrop YF-23A, unofficially named the Black Widow II, emphasized stealth characteristics.  To lessen weight and increase stealth, Northrop decided against using thrust vectoring for aerodynamic control as was used on the Lockheed YF-22A.  Northrop built two YF-23A prototypes.  In 1991, after extensive flight testing, the USAF announced that the Lockheed YF-22A had won the airframe competition.  Northrop ended its ATF program, and the YF-23A on display came to the NMUSAF in 2000.

 (NMUSAF Photo)

Northrop BQM-74C, devloped o simulate subsonic aircraft, including cruise missiles, for the US Navy in the late 1970s.  Prior to the beginning of Operation Desert Storm in 1991, the US Air Force acquired 44 BQM-74Cs and reconfigured them from aerial targets into decoys.  The BQM-74C's ability to fool Iraqi air defenses significantly reduced US and coalition aircraft losses

 (NMUSAF Photos)

Packard Lepere LUSAC 11 biplane (Serial No. SC42133).  The aircraft on display in the NMUSAF is the only LUSAC 11 in existence.  It originally went to France just before the end of the First World War.  In 1989 the museum acquired it from the Musee de l'Air in Paris, France.  After extensive restoration by museum personnel, it went on display in 1992.  It is marked as it appeared while at the Allied test facility in Orly, France, in late 1918.

 (NMUSAF Photos)

Panavia Tornado GR1 (Serial No. ZA374), CN, C/N 178/BS056/3088.  During the 1991 Gulf War, military planners made the elimination of Iraq's air defenses a top priority.  At the start of Operation Desert Storm (called Operation Granby by the British), Royal Air Force (RAF) Tornado GR1 aircraft attacked Iraqi air bases at low-level with Hunting JP233 anti-runway weapons and suppressed enemy air defenses.  Afterward, GR1 aircrews flew medium-level missions using 1,000-pound bombs.  At the end of the conflict, they used Paveway II laser-guided bombs against other strategic targets.  Flying more than 1,500 operational sorties, mostly at night, RAF GR1 aircrews played an important role in forcing the Iraqis out of Kuwait, and the RAF lost six GR1s in combat.  Tornados could carry a wide range of weapons, including the Air-Launched Anti-Radar Missile (ALARM) for the Suppression of Enemy Air Defenses (SEAD) and the Paveway II and III laser-guided bombs (LGB).  The RAF also modified a number of Tornados to carry the Sea Eagle anti-shipping missile.  This variant became the GR1B.  The aircraft on display in the NMUSAF flew with the RAF's 17 Squadron from Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, where it sported desert camouflage and the name Miss Behavin'.  The aircraft is currently painted as an aircraft assigned to 617 Squadron.  It came to the museum in October 2002 as a donation from the RAF. 

 (NMUSAF Photos)

Piasecki H-21B Workhorse (Serial No. 51-15857), C/N B.4.  Designed by helicopter pioneer Frank Piasecki, the Vertol H-21 first flew in April 1952.  With two main rotors, its long fuselage could hold large numbers of people or heavy cargo loads.  Later adaptations allowed the aircraft to perform rescue and assault operations under combat conditions.  In addition to the pilot and copilot, the H-21 could carry either 20 fully-equipped troops or 12 litter patients and two medical attendants.  Originally called the "flying banana," the H-21 served with the USAF, the U.S. Army, the French Navy, the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) and the West German Air Force.  The NMUSAF obtained the CH-21B on display from Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, in January 1965. 

 (NMUSAF Photos)

Piper J-3 Cub (Serial No. 42-36446), c/n 8570, Reg. No. NC42050.  This Piper J-3 represents the contributions of the Civil Air Patrol (CAP) to the U.S. Air Force. The J-3 on display is further identified as a J-3C-65-8 indicating it is a J-3 aircraft powered by a Model 8 Continental A-65 engine of 65 horsepower.  It is painted in the widely known Piper "Cub yellow".  The aircraft on display was donated in 1971 by the Greene County Composite Squadron, Civil Air Patrol, of Xenia, Ohio.

 (NMUSAF Photos)

Piper L-4A Grasshopper (Serial No. 42-36790), painted as (Serial No. 42-36389).  The L-4 on display in the NMUSAF is painted and marked to represent an L-4 that flew in support of the Allied invasion of North Africa in November 1942.  It was placed on display in April 1995. 

 

 (NMUSAF Photos)

Piper PA-48 Enforcer (Serial No. 48-8301001), Reg. No. N481PE.

 (NMUSAF Photo)

Radioplane OQ-19D.  In response to the USAAF's requirement for fast aerial targets with which to train anti-aircraft gunners, Radioplane (a division of Northrop Aircraft Co.) developed a 200 mph class airplane in 1945 . Evolved from earlier designs, such as the OQ-2A, the OQ-19 was first flight tested in 1946.  It was capable of catapult launches, rotary launches from a circular runway, and air launches from a B-26C.  When hit or out of fuel, the target was recovered under a 32-foot diameter parachute. Some OQ-19Ds were fitted integral flotation material to permit water recoveries.  Four men were needed to launch this target, whether by catapult or by the rotary method.  A fifth man flew the target from the ground or from another aircraft.  At a range of 200 yards, the OQ-19 appeared to gunners like a single-engine fighter at 500 yards.  Over 10,000 OQ-19s were built for the USAF between 1955-1958. Of the four models, the OQ-19D was the largest and fastest.  The OQ-19D on display in the NMUSAF was donated in 1960 by C.E. Manning of Sidney, Ohio, and it was prepared for display by the Naval Air Reserve Detachment in Columbus, Ohio. 

 (NMUSAF Photo)

Radioplane OQ-2A.  Although Radioplane developed the OQ-2A, other companies shared in production contracts. The target on display in the NMUSAF was the last in the 1943 production run by the Frankfort Sailplane Co. of Joliet, Illinois.  It was donated in 1970 by John C. Smith of Massillon, Ohio. 

 (USAAF Photo)

Republic P-47D Thunderbolt (Serial No. 42-76248), 406th Fighter Group prepares for take off, England, 1943.

 (IWM Photo)

Republic P-47D Thunderbolts of the 78th Fighter Group at Duxford, England, 1943.

 (NMUSAF Photo)

 (S. Kaiser Photo)

 (Goshimini Photo)

Republic P-47D Thunderbolt (Serial No. 42-23278), "Fiery Ginger IV".  The P-47D "Razorback" Thunderbolt on display in the NMUSAF is an early version of the "D", nicknamed for the ridge behind the cockpit (later P-47Ds had a bubble canopy).  It is painted to appear as the Thunderbolt flown by Colonel Neel Kearby on his last mission.  Colonel Kearby named all of his aircraft Fiery Ginger after his red-headed wife Virginia.  Recovered from the crash site and obtained by the museum, the actual vertical fin of Fiery Ginger IV is also on display.  This aircraft was donated by Republic Aviation Corp. in November 1964.

 (USAAF Photo)

Republic P-47N Thunderbolt formation, Pacific Theatre, ca 1945.  

 (USAF Photo)

 (NMUSAF Photo)

Republic P-47D Thunderbolt (Serial No. 45-49167), A, painted as (Serial No. 44-32718), C/N 399-55706, "Five by Five".

 (NMUSAF Photos)

 (Greg Hume Photo)

 (Valder137 Photos)

Republic P-47D Thunderbolt (Serial No. 44-33287), B8-A.  The P-47-40 on display in the NMUSAF was built at the Republic plant in Evansville, Indiana.  In the late 1940s, it was transferred to the Peruvian air force . The aircraft later came to the museum in 1981.  It is painted as the P-47D-30 "Five by Five" flown by Colonlel Joseph Laughlin, commander of the 362nd Fighter Group, 9th Air Force, in early 1945.

Republic F-84E-15-RE Thunderjet (Serial No. 49-2424), from the 9th Fighter-Bomber Squadron, 49th Fighter-Bomber Wing/Group, taking off for a mission in Korea.  This aircraft was shot down by flak on 29 August 1952. (USAF Photo)

 (NMUSAF Photos)

Republic F-84E Thunderjet (Serial No. 50-1143), FS-454.  The F-84E on display in the NMUSAF arrived in 1963.  It is marked to represent the F-84G flown by Col. Joseph Davis Jr., commander of the 58th Fighter-Bomber Wing in 1953.

 (USAF Photo)

Republic F-84F-50-RE Thunderstreak (Serial No. 52-6852) of the 91st Fighter-Bomber Squadron, RAF Bentwaters, UK, Dec 1956.

 (USAF Photo)

Republic F-84F-55-RE Thunderstreak (Serial No. 52-6936), Ohio Air National Guard, ca 1950s.

 (NMUSAF Photos)

Republic F-84F Thunderstreak (Serial No. 52-6526).  Evolved from the straight-wing F-84, the F-84F prototype first flew in June 1950.  Deliveries began in 1954, with most of the aircraft going to the Tactical Air Command as a ground support fighter bomber.  Republic built 2,112 F-84Fs while General Motors fabricated 599 more.  Of these, 1,301 were delivered to NATO air forces.  Production of a reconnaissance version, the RF-84F, totaled 715 aircraft, including 386 for allied countries.  To accommodate cameras in the nose, Republic moved the RF-84F's air intakes to the wing roots.  Through the late 1950s, the USAF replaced its F-84Fs with supersonic F-100s, and the Thunderstreaks went to Air National Guard units.  However, some F-84Fs temporarily returned to USAF service in the early 1960s due to the Berlin crisis.  The aircraft on display in the NMUSAF was flown to the museum in 1970 following its assignment to the Ohio Air National Guard.  During its career, it served in England, Greece, Alaska and the continental United States.  In 1961 it participated in the mass deployment of 200 fighters across the Atlantic Ocean to Europe in response to the Berlin situation. 

 

 (USAF Photos)

Republic RF-84F Thunderflash (Serial No. 51-1847).

  (NMUSAF Photos)

Republic YRF-84F Thunderflash FICON (Serial No. 49-2430), Fighter Conveyor.  The NMUSAF’s YRF-84F participated in two USAF experimental programs, the development of the F-84F fighter-bomber and later testing of the “parasite” fighter concept.  This YRF-84F was the prototype of the F-84F Thunderstreak, which became a standard USAF fighter-bomber in the 1950s.  Consisting of an F-84E Thunderjet fuselage with swept-back wings and tail, it made its initial flight in June 1950.  In 1951 it was modified into the YRF-84F FICON (FIghter CONveyor), and first flew in this configuration in March 1953.  The concept envisioned carrying a “parasite” aircraft under (and partially enclosed within) a B-36 as a way to extend fighter range.  When needed, the fighter was lowered on a boom and released to protect the bomber or to conduct reconnaissance or bombing missions on its own.  After completing its mission, the fighter would return to the Convair B-36 Peacemaker.  The USAF employed FICON aircraft operationally for a brief period in the mid-1950s with RF-84Ks.  By the late 1950s, however, the successful development of mid-air refueling ended the use of parasite fighters.

 (NMUSAF Photos)

Republic RF-84K Thunderflash (Serial No. 52-7259), c/n 215.  The RF-84K was a reconnaissance and nuclear strike fighter that was intended to be carried toward a target as a "parasite" underneath the Convair GRB-36 Peacemaker bomber.  At the time, jet aircraft possessed relatively short range and aerial refueling was not yet proven, so this provided a method to extend their range.  The U.S. Air Force applied this parasite concept to the FICON (FIghter CONveyer) project, which became the RF-84K.  The mission profile called for the recon aircraft or attack fighter to leave the carrier aircraft (a modified strategic bomber) upon reaching hostile territory, make a dash to the target and perform its mission.  The aircraft then returned to the waiting carrier, hooked up underneath it and was carried back to a base.  In 1952, as it tested two F-84 FICON prototypes, the USAF ordered 25 RF-84Ks and began modifying 10 B-36s into GRB-36 FICON carriers.  The RF-84K design was a modification of the RF-84F, the USAF's most numerous and advanced tactical reconnaissance aircraft at the time.  The only major differences were the RF-84K's retractable hook in the upper part of the nose, rods on either side behind the cockpit, and downward angled horizontal stabilizers (to fit inside the GRB-36's bomb bay).  The RF-84K entered service with the 91st Strategic Reconnaissance Squadron (SRS) in 1955.  For the next year, pilots of the 91st SRS successfully flew their RF-84Ks, but they experienced many near disasters while separating or hooking back up to the GRB-36 carrier aircraft.  By 1957, the development of more capable strategic reconnaissance aircraft, along with greater range provided by dependable aerial refueling, made the parasite aircraft concept obsolete.  The 91st SRS's RF-84Ks were transferred to other units flying RF-84Fs and thereafter flew conventional missions from runways.  The NMUSAF's aircraft is marked as it appeared while serving in the 91st SRS in the mid-1950s.

 

 (NMUSAF Photos)

Republic XF-84H Thunderscreech (Serial No. 51-1760).  The turboprop-driven XF-84H was a joint Air Force/Navy project designed to combine the speed of jet aircraft with the long range, low fuel consumption, and low landing speed of propeller-driven aircraft.  The XF-84H’s modified F-84F airframe included a T-tail and a triangular fin behind the cockpit to reduce the effect of torque from the propellers.  Between July 1955 and October 1956, two XF-84Hs made 12 test flights.  11 of these flights ended with emergency landings.  Although the XF-84H was one of the fastest single-engine, propeller-driven aircraft ever built, it never approached supersonic speed.  Due to poor performance and high maintenance requirements, the XF-84H never became operational.  The aircraft on display in the NMUSAF was the first of the two prototypes produced by Republic, and it flew 8 of the 12 test flights.  The museum obtained the aircraft from Kern County, California, in 1999.

 

 (NMUSAF Photos)

Republic XF-91 Thunderceptor (Serial No. 46-0680).  The XF-91 was America’s first rocket-powered fighter to fly faster than the speed of sound. It was originally conceived in the mid-1940s as an interceptor.  The Thunderceptor’s rocket engine supplemented its main turbojet engine, greatly increasing the aircraft’s speed and climb rate.  With its afterburning turbojet and rocket engine in operation, the XF-91 possessed a remarkable climb rate of nearly 30,000 feet per minute.  Republic built two prototype XF-91s, the NMUSAF’s aircraft was the first one built, and it first flew in May 1949.  Although the F-91 fighter program was canceled due to lack of funding, the prototypes were extensively tested and modified.  The Museum’s XF-91, the only remaining example, was transferred from Edwards AFB, California, in 1955.

Republic F-105B Thunderchief (Serial No. 57-5793).

 (NMUSAF Photos)

 (Martin McGuire Photo)

Republic F-105D Thunderchief (Serial No. 60-0504), "Memphis Belle".  The aircraft on display in the NMUSAF is painted and marked as it appeared while serving in the 357th Tactical Fighter Squadron, 355th Tactical Fighter Wing, based at Takhli Royal Thai Air Base in Thailand.  The nickname "Memphis Belle II" refers to the B-17F that carried the same artwork during the Second World War.  The two red stars under the cockpit represent the two MiG kills it claimed during the Southeast Asia War. It arrived at the museum in April 1990.

 (Dsdugan Photo)

 (NMUSAF Photos)

Republic F-105G Thunderchief (Serial No. 63-8320), WW, C/N F97.   The F-105G on display in the NMUSAF began operational service in 1964 as a standard F-105F.  In 1967 it joined the 355th Tactical Fighter Wing in Thailand, where it flew combat missions for nearly three years.  During this time, it became one of a select few USAF aircraft to claim three MiG kills.  In 1970 it was fitted with electronic counter-measure equipment and joined the 388th TFW for "Wild Weasel" duty, attacking enemy surface-to-air missile sites.  In 1972 the aircraft was modified to the improved F-105G "Wild Weasel" configuration.  After another year in Thailand, it was assigned to the 35th TFW at George Air Force Base, California.  It remained there until February 1980 when it was flown to the museum.  It is marked as it appeared while assigned to the 561st Tactical Fighter Squadron based at Korat Royal Thai Air Force Base, Thailand, in 1972-1973.

Rockwell B-1A Lancer (Serial No. 76-0174).  This aircraft has been moved to the Strategic Air & Space Museum, Nebraska.

 (NMUSAF Photos)

Rockwell B-1B Lancer (Serial No. 84-0051).  First used in combat against Iraq during Operation Desert Fox in 1998, the B-1B has also been employed in Kosovo and Afghanistan.  Starting in 2002, the U.S. Air Force began reducing the number of B-1Bs as a cost-saving measure.  The aircraft on display arrived at the NMUSAF from the 7th Bomb Wing at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, on 10 Sep 2002.

 (NMUSAF Photos)

Ryan PT-22 Recruit (Serial No. 41-15721).  The PT-22 on display in the NMUSAF was donated by Mrs. Nickolas A. Romano Jr. and her son, Nicky, of Hampton, Virginia, in 1969 in memory of her husband who lost his life in Vietnam on 1 July 1968.  Chief Warrant Officer Romano had served as an enlisted man in the USAF for 22 years prior to retiring.  He then enlisted in the U.S. Army to attend flight school and become a pilot.  The airplane was restored by the Department of Aviation Technology, Purdue University.

 (NMUSAF Photo)

Ryan YPT-16 STA (Serial No. NC 18922), C/N 312.  Suspended from the ceiling.  Acquired by the museum in 1986, the aircraft on display is a Ryan STA withdrawn from the YPT-16 production run.  Never owned by the Air Corps, it flew under civilian registration.  However, the logbook shows that the aircraft participated in demonstrations to Air Corps officials at Wright Field, Ohio, in July 1939.

 (NMUSAF Photos)

Ryan X-13A Vertijet (Serial No. 54-1620).  Suspended from its launch and recovery tower.  The X-13 was built to prove the concept that a jet could take off vertically, transition to horizontal flight, and return to vertical flight for landing.  Equipped with a temporary tricycle landing gear, the first of two X-13s flew conventionally in December 1955 to test its overall aerodynamic characteristics.  It was then fitted with a temporary "tail sitting" rig, and in May 1956 this X-13 flew vertically to test its hovering qualities.  The second X-13, on display in the NMUSAF, made history in April 1957, when it completed the first full-cycle flight at Edwards Air Force Base, California.  It took off vertically from its mobile trailer, rose into the air, nosed over into a level attitude and flew for several minutes.  Then, it reversed the procedure to vertical flight and slowly descended to its trailer for a safe landing.  This X-13 also made demonstration flights in the Washington, D.C., area later that year.  Even though the X-13 successfully proved the original concept, its design had limited operational potential, and a lack of funding shut down the program in 1958.  The X-13 was transferred to the museum in 1959.

 (NMUSAF Photo)

Ryan BQM-34 Firebee.  The Firebee, originally designated the Q-2, was a high-speed target drone for both surface-to-air and air-to-air missiles.  It was used primarily for the testing of newly-developed missiles and for the training of fighter-interceptor pilots whose aircraft were armed with missiles.  Capable of being launched from the ground or from an airplane in flight, the Firebee is radio-controlled during its mission by an operator on the ground.  Upon being hit by a missile and disabled, or upon completing its mission undamaged, the Firebee is lowered safely to earth by a self-contained parachute.  The Firebee on display inthe NMUSAF was the first XQ-2C built and flown.  It established a record of 25 flights at Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico, from 1958 to 1960.  It was obtained from Ryan in May 1960.

 (NMUSAF Photo)

Scaled Composites Long-EZ Borelis.  In January 2008, this modified Scaled Composites Long-EZ completed the first manned flight of an aircraft powered by a pulsed detonation engine (PDE).  The flight was the result of a five-year cooperative effort between the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) and Innovative Scientific Solutions Incorporated (ISSI).  The project used the popular homebuilt Long-EZ designed by Burt Rutan as a platform.  Engines normally burn fuel and air at subsonic speeds to provide propulsion. Pulsed detonation engines detonate the fuel-air mixture to produce repeated, controlled explosions.  The resulting supersonic shockwaves create thrust. In this PDE, the thrust is expelled through four tubes out the back of the aircraft. Remarkably, the PDE engine in this aircraft was made in part from off-the-shelf automotive parts.  Pulsed detonation engines are much less complicated and promise to be less expensive to operate than jet engines. Moreover, they offer a fuel savings of between 5-20 percent over traditional turbojet engines. Although still in development, PDEs may become more common as the technology matures.  This aircraft was delivered to the NMUSAF in 2008.

 (NMUSAF Photos)

Schweizer TG-3A Glider (Serial No. 42-52988).  The TG-3A on display in the NMUSAF was donated by Henry A. Shevchuk.  It was restored by the Spartan School of Aeronautics, Tulsa, Oklahoma, and delivered to the museum in December 1980.

 (NMUSAF Photos)

Schneider Schulgleiter SG 38.  This SG 38 came to the museum in 2010, and is marked as a glider used to train Luftwaffe pilots.

 (NMUSAF Photos)

 (Valder137 Photo)

 (Martin McGuire Photo)

Seversky P-35A (Serial No. 36-0404), PA70.  The aircraft on display in the NMUSAF is the only known surviving P-35.  It served with the 94th Pursuit Squadron, 1st Pursuit Group.  The aircraft was restored by the 133rd Tactical Airlift Wing, Minnesota Air National Guard, with assistance from students of the Minneapolis Vocational Institute.  It is marked as the P-35A flown by the 17th Pursuit Squadron commander, 1st Lt. Buzz Wagner, in the Philippines in the spring of 1941.

 (NACA Photo)

Sikorsky YR-4B Hoverfly, USAAF (Serial No. 43-28229), at the NACA Langley Memorial Aeronautical Laboratory at Hampton, Virginia.  It was transferred to the U.S. Navy and designated HNS-1 (BuNo. 39034).  It was test flown at Langley in March 1945. 

 (NMUSAF Photos)

Sikorsky R-4B Hoverfly (Serial No. 43-46506), 16, C/N 39.  Suspended from the ceiling.  The R-4B on display was donated to the museum by the University of Illinois in 1967. 

 (NMUSAF Photos)

Sikorsky R-6A Hoverfly II (Serial No. 43-45379).  The helicopter on display in the NMUSAF was acquired by the museum in 1986. 

 (NMUSAF Photos)

Sikorsky YH-5A Dragonfly (Serial No. 43-46620).  The YH-5A on display in the NMUSAF was obtained from Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, in March 1955.

 (NMUSAF Photo)

Sikorsky UH-19B Chickasaw (Serial No. 52-7587).  The UH-19B on display in the NMUSAF is painted and marked as an H-19A known as Hopalong, one of two H-19s to make the first transatlantic helicopter flight, traveling during the summer of 1952 from Westover Air Force Base, Massachusetts, to Scotland in five stages.

 (NMUSAF Photo)

 (Valder137 Photo)

Sikorsky CH-3E Jolly Green Giant (Serial No. 63-9676), C/N 61508.

Sikorsky HH-3E being refueled by a Lockheed HC-130 Hercules.  Aerial refueling enabled the helicopters to rescue downed aircrew from any location in the Southeast Asia theater of operations. (USAF Photo)

 (Clemens Vasters Photo)

 (NMUSAF Photo)

 (Ken LaRock, USAF Photo)

Sikorsky HH-3E Jolly Green Giant (Serial No. ----709).  The USAF developed the HH-3E helicopter, nicknamed the "Jolly Green Giant," to perform combat search and rescue (CSAR) to recover downed Airmen during the Southeast Asia War.  A highly modified version of Sikorsky's CH-3 transport helicopter, the HH-3E carried both armour plating and armament to protect it from hostile forces during rescues of aircrews in a combat area.  Fifty CH-3Es were converted to HH-3Es with the addition of armor, defensive armament, self-sealing fuel tanks and a rescue hoist.  With a watertight hull, the HH-3E could land on water, and its large rear door and ramp permitted easy loading and unloading.  The first air-refuelable helicopter to be produced, the HH-3E's retractable fuel probe and external fuel tanks gave it a range limited only by the endurance of the aircrew.  In fact, in 1967, two aerial refueled HH-3Es set the long-distance record for helicopters by flying non-stop from New York to Paris, France.  This long-range capability allowed HH-3Es to conduct CSAR operations anywhere in the Southeast Asia theater of operations, and they participated in the attempt to rescue American prisoners of war from the Son Tay prison camp in 1970.  The first USAF HH-3Es arrived in Vietnam in 1967, and they operated out of Udorn Air Base, Thailand, and Da Nang Air Base, South Vietnam.  During the Southeast Asia War, HH-3 crewmen were awarded one Medal of Honor, twenty-four Air Force Crosses, and over 190 Silver Stars.  A quarter of a century later, HH-3Es participated in OPERATION DESERT STORM, and they provided rescue support in the early years of the Space Shuttle program.  The USAF retired its last HH-3Es by 1995.

 (NMUSAF Photos)

 (Valder137 Photo)

Sikorsky MH-53M Pave Low IV Helicopter (Serial No. 80357).  Air Force special operations forces used the Sikorsky MH-53M to covertly enter enemy territory.  Capable of operating at day or night or in bad weather, these helicopters conducted long-range, low-level missions to insert, extract, and resupply special operations forces.  Equipped with forward-looking infrared (FLIR) sensors, inertial global positioning systems (GPS), Doppler radar navigation systems, and terrain-following and terrain-avoidance radar, the MH-53 could fly clandestine, low-level missions in any weather, day or night. This system gave the aircrew instant access to the total battlefield situation on a color, digital map screen that was compatible with night vision goggles. Using feeds from satellite links, the system displayed nearly real-time information about potential hazards along the flight route such as power lines or enemy electronic threats.  The aircraft on display in the NMUSAF was assigned to the 20th Expeditionary Special Operations Squadron and its last flight was a combat mission in Iraq on 28 March 2008.  During its 38-year career, this helicopter participated in many important missions.  It carried the "command element" on the mission known as Operation Kingpin, to rescue American prisoners of war thought to be held at the Son Tay prison near Hanoi, North Vietnam.  It is the last among the five HH-53s that participated in that raid.  After Vietnam, it also flew in many more combat engagements including Operations Desert Storm and Iraqi Freedom before it was retired. 

 (Derek Smith Photo)

 (Dsdugan Photo)

 (NMUSAF Photos)

Sopwith F.1 Camel.  Although 5,490 Camels were produced, few remain in existence today.  USAF personnel built the Camel on exhibit from original First World War factory drawings, completing it in 1974.  The aircraft is painted and marked as the Camel flown by Lt. George A. Vaughn Jr. of the 17th Aero Squadron, America's second-ranking Air Service ace to survive the war.

 (NMUSAF Photo)

SPAD S.VII C.1 (Serial No. A.S. 94099).  The airplane on display was obtained from the Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago, Illinois, and restored by the 1st Fighter Wing, Selfridge Air Force Base, Michigan, 1962-1966.

 (NMUSAF Photos)

SPADS XIIIC.1 (Serial No. 16594).  Built in October 1918 by the Kellner et ses Fils piano works outside of Paris, the museum's SPAD XIII did not see combat.   Shipped to the United States with 434 other SPAD XIIIs after the Armistice, this aircraft went to San Diego, California, and a smaller, 150-hp Wright-Hispano engine replaced its Hispano-Suiza engine.  The museum staff restored this SPAD XIII to its original configuration, including a 220-hp Hispano-Suiza engine.  It is painted in the markings of America's highest scoring ace of the First World War with 26 victories, Capt. Edward V. Rickenbacker of the 94th Pursuit Squadron. 

 (NMUSAF Photos)

Standard J-1 (Serial No. 1141).  The Standard Aircraft Co. J-1 was a two-seat primary trainer used by the U.S. Army Air Service to supplement the JN-4 Jenny.  Similar in appearance to the JN-4, the J-1 was more difficult to fly and never gained the popularity of the legendary Jenny.  Standard developed the J-1 from the earlier Sloan and Standard H-series aircraft designed by Charles Healey Day. Four companies, Standard, Dayton-Wright, Fisher Body and Wright-Martin, built 1,601 J-1s.  Museum personnel completed a two-year restoration of the aircraft on display in the NMUSAF in 1981.

 (NMUSAF Photo)

Standard J-1.  The second Standard J-1 on display in the NMUSAF has the fabric covering on the fuselage removed to illustrate the wire-braced wooden construction typical for aircraft of that time.  It also reveals the dual controls and relatively simple cockpit instrumentation. The black tank in front of the forward cockpit is the fuel tank.  This airplane was donated to the Air Force Museum Foundation in December 1962 by Robert Greiger, Oak Harbor, Ohio.

 (Bill Larkins Photo)

 (NMUSAF Photo)

Stinson L-1A Vigilant (Serial No. 41-19039).  The L-1 Vigilant (company designation Model 74) was a 1940s American light observation aircraft built by Stinson, a division of  the Vultee Aircraft Corporation.  The aircraft was operated by the USAAC as the O-49 until 1942.

 (NMUSAF Photo)

Stinson L-5 Sentinel (Serial No. 42-98667), painted as an L-5 of the 25th Liaison Sq. serving in New Guinea in 1944.  The L-5 on display in the NMUSAF was donated by Dr. Robert R. Kundel of Rice Lake, Wisconsin.  It was restored by the "Oriole Club" 133rd Tactical Airlift Wing, Minnesota Air National Guard.  Delivered to the museum in 1977, it is marked as an L-5 of the 25th Liaison Squadron serving in New Guinea in 1944.

 (NMUSAF Photos)

 (Goshimini Photo)

Supermarine Spitfire Mk. Vc, RAF (Serial No. MA863), HL-B, USAAF markings, representative of the "Operation Torch" landings in North Africa in 1942 as flown by the 31st Fighter Group, 308th Fighter Squadron. MA863 is an ex Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) fighter, (Serial No. A58-246).  This aircraft also served with RAF No. 54 Squadron in early 1944 as the personal mount of Sqn Ldr E. M. Gibbs wearing the codes DL-A.  This Spitfire later served with RAAF No. 452 Squadron, coded QY-F.  This Spitfire Mk. Vc (Trop) was built for Supermarine under license by Vickers-Armstrong in June 1943.  The museum acquired it from the Imperial War Museum in March 2000. 

 (Goshimini Photo)

 (Valder137 Photo)

 (NMUSAF Photo)

Supermarine Spitfire PR Mk. XI, RAF (Serial No. PA908).  This aircraft on display in the NMUSAF is painted in an overall photo-reconnaissance (PR) Blue colour scheme marked to represent one of the U.S. Army Air Forces' 14th Photographic Squadron of the 8th Air Force which operated Spitfire Mark XIs from November 1943 to April 1945, flying hazardous long-range reconnaissance missions over mainland Europe from Mount Farm airfield in England..  It was placed on display in the NMUSAF in 1993.  

This Spitfire was flown by RCAF Flt Lt John "Brick" Bradford operating in India during the Second World War.  The aircraft was discovered 40 years later as a derelict in India, when it was purchased and shipped to Canada.  The Canadian company that bought this Spitfire sold it to the NMUSAF in 1986.

Supermarine Spitfire LF Mk. XVIe, RAF (Serial No. TE330).  This aircraft was held in the NMUSAF from 1961 to 1995.  It went through several owners, was restored in New Zealand and is now in China, marked HT-B.

 (USAF Photo)

S-75 Dvina (SA-2 Guideline) Soviet-designed, high-altitude air defense system, built around a surface-to-air missile with command guidance.

 (NMUSAF Photos)

Taylorcraft L-2M Grasshopper (Serial No. 43-26592).  The L-2M on display in the NMUSAF, was built in 1944 by the Taylorcraft Airplane Co. in Alliance, Ohio.  The U.S. Army Air Forces used it for liaison pilot training at the McFarland Flying Service Contract Pilot School at the Atkinson Municipal Airport in Pittsburg, Kansas.  It is painted to represent another L 2M flown at the Atkinson Municipal Airport (Serial No. 43-26588) during the Second World War.  In September 2011, Richard Valladao donated the restored aircraft to the museum in memory of U.S. Army Private 1st Class Richard Jerome Conway, who was killed in combat while serving with the 45th Infantry Division in France in 1944.

 (NMUSAF Photo)

Teledyne-Ryan AQM-34L Firebee (Serial No. L-174).  Suspended from the ceiling.  The AQM-34L remotely piloted aircraft flew low-level photo-reconnaissance missions over North Vietnam.  The AQM-34 series was developed from the unmanned BQM-34A target aircraft.  The AQM-34L on display flew more than 30 missions over North Vietnam.  On 6 Aug 1972, it was damaged by an SA-2 surface-to-air missile (SAM) and landed by parachute in the South China Sea off the North Vietnamese coas t. Although recovered by a U.S. Navy ship, it was further damaged by salt water beyond economical repair.  This AQM-34L's nickname, M.R. Ling, was a pun on the last name of LCol. Edwin Emerling, who was involved with its early combat missions.

 (NMUSAF Photo)

Teledyne-Ryan AQM-34Q Firebee (Serial No.).  Firebee drones flew many types of missions, including photographic reconnaissance, electronic intelligence gathering, and radio communications monitoring.  From February 1970 to June 1973, AQM-34Q unmanned aircraft flew 268 missions near North Korea monitoring voice communications (known as communication intelligence or COMINT).  Code-named "Combat Dawn," the AQM-34Q was developed after North Korean MiGs shot down a U.S. Navy EC-121 reconnaissance aircraft in international airspace with the loss of all 31 crewmembers.  Teledyne-Ryan built a total of four prototypes and 15 production AQM-34Qs.  Launched in mid-air from a modified Lockheed C-130 Hercules, the AQM-34Q flew a pre-programmed course or was manually flown by a remote operator.  It intercepted radio signals from as far as 300 miles away and relayed them in real time to a ground control van.  After returning to a safe area over water, the AQM-34Q deployed a parachute.  A modified helicopter then hooked the parachute to catch the drone in mid-air.  If the operation failed, the drone was retrieved from the ocean's surface.   The museum's AQM-34Q was nicknamed the "Flying Submarine" because of the many times it dropped into the ocean. Water recoveries are represented by dolphins and airborne retrievals are represented by parachutes.  Placed on display in 2006, it is marked as it appeared in May 1973.

 (NMUSAF Photo)

Teledyne Ryan AQM-91A Compass Arrow.  Compass Arrow was a high-flying, unmanned photo reconnaissance aircraft designed to cruise at nearly 15 miles altitude while taking photos showing ground details as small as one foot in size.  After air-launching from a Lockheed DC-130E Hercules aircraft, Compass Arrow navigated automatically, but it also could be flown manually by an operator in the launch aircraft.  To present a small radar image and avoid surface-to-air missiles, Compass Arrow's vertical surfaces are canted inward, and its body uses radar-absorbing materials.  The engine is mounted on top to reduce its heat signature from below, and the aircraft also carries anti-radar electronics.   The AQM-91A never became operational.  However, lessons learned from its development contributed to later stealth fighters, bombers and unmanned aerial vehicles. 

 (NMUSAF Photos)

Thomas-Morse S-4C Scout (Serial No. 1SC38944).  The S-4C on display in the NMUSAF was donated to the museum in March 1965 by Capt. R.W. Duff, Miami, Florida, and restored by Aero Mechanics High School, Detroit, Michigan.

 (NACA Photo)

Verville-Sperry M-1 Messenger, NACA, 1926.

 (NMUSAF Photo)

Verville-Sperry M-1 Messenger (Serial No 68533), P306.  The Sperry Messenger was a single-seat biplane designated the M-1 and MAT by the USAAS.  Sperry produced approximately 50 Messengers and the civilian two-seat version, the Sport Plane, between 1920 and 1926.  The aircraft was the first to make contact between an airplane and an airship while in flight.  The Messenger's small size, simple construction, and inexpensive cost made it ideal for testing and experimentation. As well as the original communications duties, the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) used one in its pioneering aerodynamic research programs from 1923 to 1929.  Sperry modified twelve into the radio-controlled Messenger Aerial Torpedo, an early flying bomb, and developed the apparatus for a Messenger to make the first successful airship hook on and release in December 1924.  On 15 Dec, at Scott Field, Illinois, Lt. Clyde Finter hooked on to a trapeze attached to a non-rigid airship, the TC-3.  In the Messenger, Finter remained attached briefly while the airship made a turn, then he unhooked and landed the aircraft on the ground.

 (NMUSAF Photo)

Vultee BT-13B Valiant (Serial No. 42-90629).  The BT-13B on display in the NMUSAF, one of 1,775 Bs built, was acquired from Raymond Brandly of West Carrollton, Ohio, in 1965.

 (NMUSAF Photo)

 (Clemens Vasters Photo)

 (Goshimini Photo)

V-2 Rocket, Mittelwerk A-4 V-2 with Meillerwagen.

 (NMUSAF Photos)

Waco CG-4A Hadrian glider (Serial No. 45-27548).  Fifteen companies manufactured over 12,000 CG-4As, with 1,074 built by the Waco Aircraft Co. of Troy, Ohio.  The glider on display in the NMUSAF was built by the Gibson Refrigerator Co. in Greenville, Michigan, and accepted by the U.S. Army Air Forces in July 1945.

 (NMUSAF Photo)

Wright Modified B Flyer.  This airplane is a modified version of the Wright “B” Flyer, the first model produced in quantity by the Wright brothers.  It is representative of the Signal Corps Airplanes No. 3 and No. 4 purchased by the US Army in 1911, and it was used for training pilots and conducting aerial experiments.  At College Park, Md., in October 1911, a Wright “B” was used for the first military trials of a bombsight and bomb-dropping device.  The major modifications of the airplane on exhibit in the NMUSAF include the replacement of the original four-cylinder Wright engine with an eight-cylinder Rausenberger engine, the addition of ailerons on the trailing edges of the wings in place of the wing-warping feature used by the Wright brothers, and the use of a wheel control system instead of the Wright’s lever control system.  The NMUSAF aircraft was used for flight instruction by Howard Rinehart at Mineola, New York, in 1916.  It appears in the museum almost exactly as it did when it was last flown by Lt John A. Macready during the International Air Races at Dayton, Ohio, in October 1924.  It was acquired by the Air Force Museum Foundation, Inc. and donated to the museum.

 (NMUSAF Photos)

Wright 1909 Military Flyer.  The aircraft on display is an exacting reproduction constructed by museum personnel in 1955.  It is equipped with an engine donated by Orville Wright and chains, sprockets and propellers donated by the heirs of the Wright estate.

 (NMUSAF Photos)

Yokosuka MXY7-K1 Ohka Trainer.  The Dai-ichi Kaigun Koku Gijitsusho (1st Naval Air Technical Arsenal) at Yokosuka, Japan, designed the MXY7-K1 to teach less experienced pilots to fly the Model 11 Ohka (Cherry Blossom) kamikaze suicide rocket bomb.  The Ohka was carried to the target under a G4M Betty bomber.  When the Betty/Ohka combination reaching Allied shipping, the Ohka pilot would detach, ignite the rocket motor, and dive into a ship.  This trainer version was carried aloft and then released for practice flights. Unlike the Ohka, the MXY7-K1 had a landing skid and flaps.  In place of the warhead and rocket motors of the Ohka, the MXY7-K1 used water ballast that was expelled before landing. Even so, it challenged novice pilots with its high, 130 mph landing speed.  A total of 45 MXY7-K1 trainers were completed by the end of the Second World War.