F4D Phantom II at the Museum of Aviation

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We are nearing the end of our tour of the Museum of Aviation at Warner Robins Air Force Base in Georgia.  One of the jets on display there was the very familiar to me Phantom II F4D.  This jet was made by McDonnell Douglas and was a twin engine, twin pilot aircraft that could fly at Mach 2.2 with up to 18,000 pounds of payload. This included all types of missiles both air to air and air to ground and also bombs. It was later fitted with a rotary cannon. It started service in 1959 and remained in service throughout the Vietnam and Gulf War up until 1996 in the United States.  It is still in use in many countries overseas and is the most built fighter jet with 5,195 units built. I still remember watching them take off from very close viewing at Air Force bases while growing up. 

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Super Sabre Jet Plane

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Here at the Museum of Aviation at Robins Air Force Base in Georgia is an older Air Force jet called the F-100D Super Sabre. This was the first jet plane in the Air Force that could routinely fly greater than the speed of sound in level flight.  Its top speed was 925 mph. It was made by the North American Aviation Company from 1954-1971 and then flew up until 1979 with the Air National Guard. It flew many support missions during the Vietnam war. I remember growing up living on Air Force bases in the United States and Europe and seeing these futuristic jets with their distinctive single intake cowlings painted many different ways and the long stick like proboscis. It was a swept wings and tail fighter that had four 20 mm cannons and could carry nuclear bombs and many missiles including the Sidewinder. I even remember plastic models of this plane being sold for kids.

B-29 Superfortress at the Museum of Aviation

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We are at the large Museum of Aviation at Robins Air Force Base in Georgia.  Most of the displays are of full sized airplanes and helicopters of the Armed Services. Here there is a display of a huge silvery B-29 Superfortress with its rounded front end and multipaned front windshield. This plane is in pieces with the tail cone and gun over on one side and the nose cone and pilot section facing you. Behind is the huge wing on its side. It will soon be all restored and reassembled in the near future. This was the largest of the WWII bombers made and had many new innovations like a pressurized cabin and special retractable landing gear.  The four rear gun turrets were computer controlled (machine) and could be all operated by one person. This was the type of plane that dropped atomic bombs over Japan at the end of the war. That particular B-29 is in Washington DC.

48 Star Flag of the United States

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Fun With Flags: On display at the Museum of Aviation at Robins Air Force Base in Georgia was a nice display of the flag back during World War II.  It had been “fringed” and backed with cloth to preserve it but it’s most noteworthy aspect was its 48 stars.  This flag was adopted to 48 stars way back in July 4th 1912 and used until July 3rd, 1959. In 1912, two stars were added representing Arizona and New Mexico. In case you were wondering, the 49th star was added on Jan 3rd, 1959 when Alaska was formally granted statehood under President Eisenhower. But when did the flag change to 50 stars? In August of 1960, President Eisenhower proclaimed Hawaii as part of the Union and we had 50 stars. Bob Heft was the first person to actually make a 50 star flag (which of course used 100 stars, 50 for each side) and it was used in the ceremony with Eisenhower when the flag was changed. Happy 4th of July.

“Ferocious Frankie” at the Museum of Aviation

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I was happy to see there was another P-51 Mustang at the Museum of Aviation at Robins Air Force Base in Georgia.  This one was called “Ferocious Frankie”.  It had an American version of the famous British Rolls Royce Merlin V-12 engine that also powered the Spitfires and Hurricanes of the Battle of Britain in 1940. These engines were produced by Packard in the United States.  These new engines were 1300 hp and 1647 cubic inches in size weighing 1,400 pounds and costing $25,000. More than 16,000 Merlin V-12 engines were built by Packard in the Detroit, Michigan by the end of the war. At the end of World War II, the British were using the Packard built Merlins in their Spitfires, Mosquitos and Lancaster planes. I have heard that these engines were used after the war even in high end speed boats. 

SR-71 Blackbird at the Museum of Aviation

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One of the greatest planes there at the Museum of Aviation in Georgia at Robins Air Force Base was the SR-71 Blackbird. It was the fastest aircraft ever built and remains so even today. It was built by Lockheed Martin and flew from 1966-1999 when it was retired.  It was a spy plane that flew at the edge of space at Mach 3.4 or 2,400 mph. It was shot at by missiles over 4,000 times but never hit as it would just accelerate away from them. It flew at up to 85,000 feet where the sky above them was black space with stars and the ground below was a sphere or curved they were so high. The skin and frame of the plane was all light and expensive Titanium. This metal contracted at room temperature and the plane leaked fuel until the friction of high speed flight caused expansion tightened it up. It would take off and get up to semi speed and be refueled in the air by KC-135’s. The engines were so efficient at altitude that the faster the plane flew, the less fuel it used according to the pilots.  Pilots had to wear full body suits that looked like spacesuits with helmets attached to 100 % oxygen. 

Classic Bomber Jackets of WWII

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We are in the Museum of  Aviation at Robins Air Force Base in Georgia. The free exhibits there include planes, rockets, posters and even a movie theater.  Here near the mock up of the premier movie theater for “God is my Copilot” about World War II flying aces was a large display of original bomber jackets.  These were in leather and nylon and many were worn by B-24 pilots in the war.

Tail Fin Artwork on Air Force Planes

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At the Museum of Aviation at Robins Air Force Base in Georgia there was a nice display of artwork found on the sides and tail fins of Air Force Planes. Many of these were squadrons or individual insignias that meant something special to the pilots and or air crew or even ground crew. This first one is “Desert Rat”:

The second one on another plane’s tail fin was “Bealestreet Blues” (and we had just recently visited Beal Street in Memphis, Tennessee!):

WW I Posters for the Allies

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Here at the Museum of Aviation at Robins Air Force Base in Georgia they have all kinds of displays from large planes to memorabilia.  Here is an original World War I poster in the museum. It is for War Bonds to help fund the war at the time. It says “Lend the way they Fight. Buy Bonds to the Utmost“. It is in very good condition for over a hundred years old. 

Warhawk at the Museum of Aviation

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We are going through the Museum of Aviation at Robins Air Force Base in Georgia. In this room there was an original WW II war plane called the Curtiss P40N Warhawk. To me it looked similar to the Spitfire of Britain and even had the shark mouth decorated intake manifold complete with teeth. It appears to also have a V-12 engine with three propellers.