Latest Articles Appearing On Classic Warbirds..

Flying in Style in EAA’s Ford Tri-Motor

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The 1929 airliner coming to (CITY) was the height of flying luxury 85 years ago. EAA’s 1929 Ford Tri-Motor brings to mind an era of excitement, energy, and a belief that we, as a nation could achieve anything. That golden age of aviation is part of the spirit that promotes innovation and inspires our youth to reach their fullest potential. Henry Ford mobilized millions of Americans and created a new market with his Model T “Tin Lizzie” automobile from 1909 to 1926. After World War I, he recognized the potential for mass air transportation. Ford’s Tri-Motor aircraft, nicknamed “The Tin Goose,” was designed to build another new market, airline travel. To overcome concerns of engine reliability, Ford specified three engines and added features for passenger comfort, such as an enclosed cabin. The first three Tri-Motors built seated the pilot in an open cockpit, as many pilots doubted a plane could be flown without direct “feel of the wind.” From 1926 through 1933, Ford Motor Company built 199 Tri-Motors. EAA’s model 4-AT-E was the 146th off Ford’s innovative assembly line and first flew on August 21, 1929. It was sold to Pitcairn Aviation’s passenger division, Eastern Air Transport, whose paint scheme is replicated on EAA’s Tri-Motor. This is why EAA’s Ford resides in the Pitcairn Hangar at Pioneer Airport in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, when not touring the U.S. Eastern Air Transport later became Eastern Airlines. Read more »

Warbirds at Oshkosh, Part 1

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Whether you know it as the EAA Convention, as AirVenture, or by other names, the Experimental Aircraft Association’s (EAA) annual fly-in and air show at Oshkosh Wisconsin draws some eye-watering warbirds.

Today’s division of the EAA, officially known as Warbirds of America, began in the mid-1960s by a group of West Coast aviators who owned and/or operated World War II combat aircraft. Incorporated in 1966, Warbirds of America Inc., it became a division of the EAA the following year. Although combat aircraft was the original theme, soon North American T-6/SNJ/Harvard trainers were included and over the years, owners and operators of most surplus military aircraft have been invited to become members.

Here’s the first installment of a series of photographic reports of some of the aircraft that have attended.

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MASDC, AMARC, AMARG; Some Snapshots in Time, Bombers Part 1

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During the early 1990s, mainly after the first Gulf War, the B-52D “Big Belly” and B-52G fleets were retired. The START 1 treaty was signed in 1991, and over 360 B-52 bombers ultimately took up residence at Davis-Monthan AFB, awaiting their demise with the scrappers. Most were earlier B-52C, -D, -E and -F versions that had been replaced by the -G and -H series a decade or two earlier. Soon, only the final production version, the B-52H, would remain active with the Air Force, save for a few test airframes like “008”, the NB-52B operated by NASA.

Many General Dynamics F-111s were also being parked… only the EF-111A, and F-111F and -G versions would remain in service for a few more years. Cannon AFB-based F-111Ds, all SAC FB-111As and Upper Heyford (UK) F-111Es were steadily processed into storage too (although some FB-111s were transferred to the Royal Australian Air Force).

Once numbering in the hundreds, the final pair of Boeing B-47s were stored until air museums collected them.

Here’s a look back at some of the bomber activity at MASDC during the early 1990s.

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MASDC, AMARC, AMARG… Some Snapshots in Time; Fighters Part 1

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Not sure what these acronyms stand for? Here’s a more common nickname for these titles – the Boneyard. As in today’s 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group (that’s AMARG), which occupies a large parcel of land on Tucson AZ’s Davis-Monthan Air Force Base. Most of the U.S. military’s surplus aircraft are stored here, either for future use or for reclamation in one form or another. Some Federal Agencies store surplus civilian aircraft here too, and museums hold some of their recent acquisitions here in the Sonoran Desert. More than 4,000 planes are usually on hand at any one time.

Where did the acronyms come from? The site was originally home to a municipal airport that began operations in 1927. Davis-Monthan Field was named after a pair of Tucson military aviators who lost their lives in air crashes. The airport shared military and civilian flight operations until just before World War II, when the airport became the Tucson Army Air Field and civilian operations ended. Later, just days before the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the airport was renamed the Davis-Monthan Army Air Field and bomber training missions began while the U.S. entered the Second World War.

Post war, the Army ceased training, and set up the 4105th Army Air Force Unit to facilitate the storage of surplus C-47 and B-29 aircraft on land adjacent to the air field.
In 1948 with the establishment of the U.S. Air Force, the Field was renamed the Davis-Monthan Air Force Base and the storage function became known as the 3040th Aircraft Storage Depot, for Air Force and Army aircraft. In 1965, the facility was renamed again, as the Military Aircraft Storage and Disposition Center (MASDC). With the name change came the need to store almost 500 additional aircraft when the Navy, Marines and Coast Guard moved their mothballed aircraft from Goodyear AZ’s NAS Litchfield Park lots. In 1985, the Center was renamed the Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Center (AMARC). Finally, with a change in its higher command structure, the organization became the present-day 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group in 2007.

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