Sorry, this is an image-heavy post, but it’s worth waiting for.
Pictures from the Pima Air & Space Museum in Tucson, AZ. We spent roughly half the day there and didn’t see everything. If you’re ever in Tucson, make a point to the visit. Some of these pictures are annotated with notes about the planes. Unfortunately, a lot of my pictures didn’t turn out, but here are some of the better ones.
The F-107 was a competitor aircraft for a USAF design for a tactical fighter-bomber. The competition was ultimately won by the Republic F-105 Thundechief.
What can I say? It’s still the fastest plane ever made and holds the record for highest altitude. The SR-71 was – and still is – an absolutely amazing airplane.
One of the more obscure pieces of aviation history at the museum: the D-21 drone was a recon drone that was designed for Mach 3+ aerial reconnaissance. It was designed to be carried and launched from the back of an M-21 spy plane. The M-21 itself was a variant of the Lockheed A-12, a precursor to the Blackbird.
A Hog kitted out as a gunship. The UH-1 was originally intended to be a transport helicopter but was remarkable effective as a gunship.
The OH-6 was designed as an observation chopper but was a fairly effective gunship when kitted with various armaments.
This weird looking little bastard is the McCullock HUM-1. It was intended to be a small, lightweight two person helicopter. Only five were ever built, three for the Army and two for the Navy, but neither service had much use for them.
The Peacemaker was America’s first strategic bomber designed to carry nuclear weapons. It’s an immense aircraft.
The Hustler was America’s first supersonic bomber. It was decommissioned after Soviet SAMs were improved to the point that the B-58 would become an easy target.
Designed as a hybrid troop carrier and gunship, the Hind is basically a flying tank. It was a remarkably good design.
This was the primary American fighter when the US entered World War II. It was an effective design, but was outclassed by some of the newer Axis power aircraft.
It looks like an A-6M Zero, but isn’t. The Hayabusa was the Japanese Army’s aircraft, the Mitsubishi A-6M was naval. Both planes were quite amazing aircraft for their day and far outclassed early American aircraft like the Aircobra. While the Allied powers upgraded their aircraft quite a bit throughout World War II, the Zero the Hayabusa remained largely unchanged throughout the war. By the end of the war, both aircraft were outclassed by their US counterparts.
One of the more iconic American aircraft of World War II, the Mustang was conceived, designed, built, and put into service during the war.
The unique gull-wing design of the F-4U was necessitated by the oversized propellers. This was the plane that ultimately outclassed the A-6M.
The Soviet Union’s primary fighter from the Korean War era.
The US answer to the MiG-15. A lot of pilots at the time felt the MiG was superior to the F-86. Chuck Yeager set out to prove that it was the pilot, not the plane, that made the most difference. He challenged a US pilot to a mock dogfight to prove his point. In the first fight, Chuck was in the MiG and beat his opponent. In the second fight, Chuck was in the F-86, and still beat his opponent.
An unfortunately blurry picture of the legendary A-10. While the actual Air Force designation is Thunderbolt II, most people call it the Warthog. The A-10 is notoriously difficult to shoot down. For instance: check out the epic tale of the epic Kim Cambell.