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The Hill Aerospace Museum near Salt Lake City, Utah has an eclectic mix of beautifully maintained aircraft. Here’s a look around.
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Many of the museum’s aircraft are outside and a testament to the dedication of the staff that they are all in such fantastic condition due to the area’s inclination to weather.
This is the F-89 Scorpion, one of the first mass-produced fighters.
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The B-1 Lancer is a supersonic bomber with rotating wings. This is a more common variant B, which was slower but better suited its role.
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The B-1 Museum bomber served most of its life in Texas.
Although not directly related, you can see a lot of Rockwell’s failures XB-70 bomber in Lancer design.
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This stocky boy is a T-28 Trojan training aircraft. This example first took off in 1954.
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The F-4 was a very successful fighter and fighter bomber that flew the US Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps. It was extremely fast, with a top speed over Mach 2.2.
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Unmistakable profile of the massive C-130 transporter. This is the second B-variant ever made.
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The B-29 was the most expensive military project of World War II and cost 50% more than the Manhattan project.
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The B-29 Museum flew from several bases in Texas, Arizona and Ohio before spending 30 years on the ground as a test vehicle.
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He has been in the museum since 1983, where he has been lovingly restored.
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Shortly after the B-29 left the service, the B-52 entered. The huge eight-engine bomber is still in service.
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This is a G-variant, built in 1959. All the remaining B-52s are later H-variants.
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Although somewhat similar in appearance to the C-123 Provider, the C-119 was developed from one of Fairchild’s own World War II designs. The “Flying Boxcar” has a clamshell rear hole and a double tail area.
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Compared to the C-123, almost four times as many C-119s were produced.
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There is something special about helicopters without rotors. Like they’re naked or something. This is a Piasecki H-21, also known as a flying banana. Although I assume that if you try hard enough, all bananas can fly.
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One of the largest aircraft in the museum, the huge Douglas C-124 Globemaster II, was nicknamed the “Old Shaky”, probably not for its smooth ride.
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There are even more rarities inside the museum. This is the original Curtiss JN-4D Jenny from 1918, which spent 18 years carefully restored to flight status. After decades on the ground, he flew again in 1976.
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This means that the green machine is a B-25. This example led an interesting life. It was built in 1945 and immediately stored in a warehouse. He hopped on various military bases for over a decade before being sold to the private sector.
In 1962, he crashed in Argentina while smuggling cigarettes from Paraguay. He remained there for almost 30 years before being sent back here, restored and exhibited in a museum.
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Legendary B-17. This example was built in 1945 and flew in the Brazilian Air Force from 1953 to 1968.
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Although it is the most produced bomber in history, it is relatively rare to see a B-24 in a museum. This specimen was placed in Alaska, where it eventually crashed. Fifty years later, former Utah crew members found the plane and had it sent to California for restoration; came here for exhibition in 2002.
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Although it looked similar to the B-25, the Douglas A-26 Invader was several years newer and in fact was longer in service.
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It is mostly an observation aircraft, but can be equipped for a light ground attack. Although it looks quite modern, this specimen was built in 1968, served in Vietnam and later assisted the Colombian Air Force in the drug war.
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One of several Century Series fighters in the museum is the McDonnell F-101 Voodoo. She served in the Air Force for only 15 years, at least in its original fighter form. They were designed to accompany long-range bombers, a role that became useless as the Cold War progressed. Some have been transformed and used in a reconnaissance role.
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The F-102 Delta Dagger interceptor with delta wings for the first time took off in 1953 and in the 1960s was largely replaced by a faster development, the F-106 Delta Dart.
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Speaking of which, here’s the F-106 Delta Dart. It was significantly faster than its predecessor with a similar triangular wing. Note the oblique and rectangular engine intakes, more rounded, vertical intakes compared to the F-102.
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Another double boom! This is the Cessna Skymaster, more precisely the military O-2 Skymaster. They first took off in the late 1960s and were used by the US military until 2010. Note the rare design of the push-pull engine.
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The F-5 was not commonly used in the United States, but was purchased and piloted by several foreign air forces. This example was used by Northrop as a test aircraft and fighter jet in Arizona and California.
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With one of the best names in military aviation, the Lockheed F-104 Starfighter doesn’t seem to be able to fly with such thin, thick wings.
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This unique and sturdy looking chopper is the Kaman HH-43 Huskie. It has a rare rotor design with engagement.
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Huskies were used in search and rescue during the Vietnam War.
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This large aircraft may seem inappropriate among all jets, but the A-1 Skyraider was in service just after World War II until the early 1970s. It was replaced by the A-10, which we’ll see in a moment.
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This is one of two museum Thunderchief fighter bombers in the museum. Here is the most common D-variant.
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It took off for the first time only 10 years after World War II, and yet it could carry more bombs than the famous B-17 and B-24 bombers from that war. This is a two-seater variant G.
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Speaking of aircraft from the Vietnam era, it is an F-111 with a rotating wing. The versions have been in operation for more than 30 years.
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You won’t see many of them in museums. It’s an F-15 Eagle; Early models such as this A-variant began to be taken out of service only a few years ago.
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Trinity F-16. The one in the middle, if the colors weren’t a gift, the Thunderbirds of the Air Force flew.
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This F-16A first took off in 1980. It is quite remarkable how small these aircraft are compared to their contemporaries.
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F-117 fighter, which is currently undergoing restoration. I wonder if the leading edges (yellow areas) were removed before decommissioning. The F-117 at the Strategic Air Command & Aerospace Museum had the same missing pieces.
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The business end of the huge and fast SR-71 Blackbird. This is the only SR-71C and the last manufactured SR-71. The rear part was from a previously crashed YF-12 and the front part from a static test fuselage.
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This is one of the first trucks needed to start the huge J58 Blackbird engines. There were literally two Buick V8s on one drive shaft.
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This small donut is one of the aluminum tires for the SR-71. They were specially designed, like most things on the SR-71, to withstand the extreme heat of Mach 3.
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This huge helicopter is the MH-53 Pave Low. This C-variant first took off in 1971.
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Over more than 3 decades of operation, it has been upgraded to the 53M variant you see here. Most of these enhancements included electronics and defense capabilities.
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This is CH-3, also known as S-61 and was the predecessor of MH-53. It had the wonderful nickname “Jolly Green Giant”.
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This Giant first took off in 1966 and was located in Southeast Asia. It was later located here, on AFB Hill.
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Cockpit of a C-130 transport aircraft. The rest of the fuselage of this aircraft is often used as a classroom for students visiting the museum.
That’s all for this tour. If you liked what you saw, check out the next one Tech Treks.