SmugMug Appreciation Sunday — No. 057

In brief, these posts serve to introduce new readers — and reintroduce regular readers — to photos from the early days of this blog and, occasionally, to photos from days before this blog came into existence.

Today’s stroll on memory lane is another quick one . . .

The original post for these photos is HERE, and the photos are from THIS Gallery.

These photos are from ten years ago, so some of the items might not currently be on display.

I’m referring to photos from the National Air & Space Museum, A. K. A. the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center.

Note: I just found out that all the links in the Smithsonian catalog changed. That means that — in the original posts and the previous Sunday posts about the museum — any link referencing the museum’s database will return a dead link error (error 404). I’m not going back through the original or recent Sunday posts to update the links. One, because it’s a lot of work, and two, because no one mentioned it. If you’re looking for the Smithsonian’s entry for a plane, just search under the name.

Lockheed T-33 Shooting Star

A very nice-looking aircraft first flown in 1948, the Lockheed “T-Bird” T-33 Shooting Star remains in service worldwide. For them who be not inclined to click links, the Cuban Air Force used T-33s during the Bay of Pigs Invasion, scoring several kills.

These next shots are for all them Tom Cruise (or Maverick) fans out there.

Grumman’s F-14 Tomcat first flew in 1970 and made its first deployment in 1974 aboard the USS Enterprise (the aircraft carrier, not the interstellar warp-capable poorly designed fictional spaceship helmed (bridged?) by an unstable philandering toupee-wearing girdled Captain sporting what some considered a deliberate speech impediment which those of us with actual speech impediments found both amusing and vaguely insulting).

As of 2012, Maverick’s plane of choice was only in service with the Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force, having been exported to Iran in 1976, when they were still our buddies.

Vought RF-8G Crusader

Here’s another fine-looking aircraft, despite the vaguely religious-sounding name.

The Crusader was ready for flight in 1955, and was the last U. S. fighter designed with guns as its primary weapon (four 20mm autocannons). Don’t it look happy? I mean, who wouldn’t be, with four 20mm autocannons?

North American Aviation F-86 Sabre was the first American swept wings fighter which could counter the similarly winged MiG-15 over the Korea’s skies during the Korean War. Developed in the late 1940s, outdated by the 1950s, it continued as a front-line fighter in numerous air forces. The last operational aircrafts were retired in 1994 from the Bolivian Air Force. The particular paint job above gives it an unfortunate cartoonish look.

And here is the plane the Sabre fought in the skies over Korea. Well, maybe not the actual plane, but one like it.

The Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-15 was one of the first successful swept-wing fighters, and in the early part of the Korean war, it outclassed straight-winged enemy aircraft in most applications. Given the reporting name of “Fagot” by NATO, the MiG-15 is believed to be one of the most widely produced jet aircraft ever made, with over 12,000 built, with licensed foreign production raising the number to 18,000.

The MiG-21 (NATO reporting name: Fishbed) below is the most-produced supersonic jet aircraft in aviation history and the most-produced combat aircraft since the Korean War. It also boasts the title of longest production run of a combat aircraft (1959 to 1985, counting all the variants).

Like most of the soviet aircraft from the era, while capable, they do not (at least to my untrained and inexperienced eye) look all that good (neither did the Sabre). Still, people killed and were killed flying these birds.

McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II

The F-4 Phantom II is another plane I find interesting and pleasing to the eye. Perhaps it’s because it was prominent in both news and movies during my teens and 20s. It left service in 1996, and it was also the only aircraft used by both the USAF Thunderbirds and US Navy Blue Angels. The airplane on display has a combat history that can be read HERE.

I came across an article on pilots who attained the status of Flying Ace. Less than I imagined, especially during the Vietnam War. Interesting reading for them who be, you know, interested.

The history of this particular aircraft (a Grumman A-6 Intruder) can be read HERE. The Intruder is a long-range all-weather aircraft capable of high subsonic performance at very low altitudes. It was designed to penetrate enemy air defenses and destroy small targets.

The Navy accepted this very plane in 1968. From the Smithsonian link:

“It served under harsh combat conditions in the skies over Vietnam and is a veteran of the 1991 Desert Storm campaign when it flew missions during the first 72 hours of the war. It has accumulated more than 7,500 flying hours, over 6,500 landings, 767 carrier landings, and 712 catapult launches.”

Though little bird.

This aircraft is the first F-35 ever built, and in 2006 the production model was officially named the F-35 Lightning II. It’s worth reading about the aircraft intended to provide the bulk of tactical airpower for the U.S. Air Force, Marine Corps, and Navy, as well as our closest allies over the coming decades. 

The above is the short takeoff and vertical landing variant, and it sacrifices about a third of the volume of fuel to accommodate the vertical flight system. The direct Wiki link is HERE.

There are only 25 images in this gallery, but if you like space stuff, it’s worth reading the original post and looking at the gallery.

There are seven eight posts documenting my visit to the museum, and I’ll cover one each week until done.

Note: the transition is set to 4sec (gives time to read the captions), but — if you move the cursor anywhere within the photo — you’ll see a pause button on the lower left, and, once paused, you can use the left and right arrows on both sides of the photo to navigate the slideshow. It will make it easier to read the captions.

I highly suggest watching these slideshows in full-screen mode, but that’s just me.

You’ll exit the slideshow and find yourself in SmugMug if you click anywhere in the photo instead of the pause button. You can then scroll through the photos or interact in other ways.

Slideshow of the Air and Space Museum Part 7 Gallery — (25 photos)

That’s it. This post has ended . . . except for the stuff below.


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