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12. Convair B-36 Peacemaker. Muroc Air Base, USA. 1950s. Photo by Loomis Dean.


11. General Dynamics F-111 Aardvark. A US Navy F-111B (foreground) and a US Air Force F-111A are shown on the flight ramp at Fort Worth Division of General Dynamics in June 1967. The F-111Bs were assembled by Grumman Aircraft Engineering Corporation at Bethpage, Long Island, New York. At the time, workers at the Fort Worth plant were building F-111As for Tactical Air Command and FB-111 bombers for Strategic Air Command; F-111Cs for the Royal Australian Air Force; and F-111Ks for the Royal Air Force. The F-111Ks were never completed. The F-111B pictured, the third of seven produced, was on its way to California from Bethpage to begin tests with the AIM-54 Phoenix long range air-to-air missile.


10. Budd RB-1 Conestoga. US Navy Budd RB-1 Conestoga (BuNo 39294) on the ground. Circa 1944. Photo by Rudy Arnold.


9. Avro Lancaster. A Lancaster Bomber of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, flying in formation over Lincoln, with a Boeing 747-400 from the British Airways fleet. UK, Lincoln, May 16, 1991.


8. Lockheed F-117 Nighthawk. The F-117 Nighthawk stealth attack aircraft was developed in near-complete secrecy. This is the first F-117 (US Air Force serial number 79-10780) during final assembly at the then-Lockheed Skunk Works facility in Burbank, California, circa 1980. This aircraft was one of five pre-production aircraft that were flown to test performance, stability and control, and mission systems. The test aircraft were all airlifted to test site via C-5, departing Burbank in the middle of the night. Company test pilot Hal Farley made the F-117’s first flight in this aircraft on 18 June 1981, but the existence of the F-117 program was not publically revealed until 10 November 1988. This aircraft is now on display at Nellis AFB, Nevada. Photo by Denny Lombard.


7. Lockheed C-130A Hercules. Technicians at the then-Lockheed-Georgia Division in Marietta, Georgia, prepare the first production C-130A Hercules for its first pressurization check in March 1955. The netting was to keep the flight deck windows, crew door, and the side-opening cargo door from blowing out if something went wrong during the test. This C-130A (US Air Force serial number 53-3129) was rolled out in ceremonies on 10 March and Georgia Governor Marvin Griffin broke a bottle of water from the Chattahoochee River over the aircraft’s jackpad. First flight would come on 7 April. The aircraft spent most of its early career as a test asset before being converted into an AC-130A gunship. Nicknamed First Lady, 53-3129 is now on display at the Air Force Armament Museum near Eglin AFB, Florida.


6. Boeing B-29B Superfortress (Stratovision). Stratovision was a system to rebroadcast TV and FM radio signals via transmitters mounted on airplanes. The idea was first proposed in 1944, and by September 1946, engineers had a workable design. The Glenn L. Martin Company modified a Bell-built B-29B Superfortress (US Air Force serial number 44-84121) bomber for testing. On 23 June 1948, the B-29 crew, orbiting 25,000 feet above Pittsburgh, rebroadcast the Republican National Convention directly from WMAR-TV in Baltimore, Maryland. The bomber was outfitted with an eight-foot mast on its vertical stabilizer to receive programs; the signal was sent from the antenna to the cabin, and then to the broadcast antenna. The antenna, stored horizontally in the bomb bay, extended twenty-eight feet down when operating. Testing wrapped up in 1949 and Westinghouse dropped Stratovision in 1950.


5. General Dynamics/Grumman F-111B. The General Dynamics/Grumman F-111B was developed as a long-range carrier-based interceptor follow-on to the F-4 Phantom II. Seven F-111Bs were delivered before the program was canceled in 1968.


4. Boeing B-52 Stratofortress. A B-52 Stratofortress flies over the Pacific Ocean. The B-52 is deployed from Minot Air Force Base, N.D., to Andersen AFB, Guam, and is part of a continuing operation of maintaining a bomber presence in the region. Photo by Kevin J. Gruenwald (U.S. Air Force photo).


3. Boeing B-47 Stratojet. The first B-47 Stratojet medium bomber built under license by Lockheed was flown in December 1952. By mid 1955 when this photo was taken, the 3.4 million-square-foot B-1 assembly building at the Lockheed-Georgia Company facility in Marietta, Georgia, was filled with both new B-47s coming down the assembly line (background) and separately, Stratojets being modified (foreground). Lockheed built 394 new B-47s under license from 1952 to 1957, delivering 120 aircraft in 1955. The company also modified nearly 3,000 of these six-jet, swept-wing bombers—including 764 in 1955 alone—from 1954 to 1962 under sixteen different avionics or nuclear weapons programs.


2. Convair XC-99. The Big Brother here is the Convair XC-99, a prototype heavy cargo aircraft built for the US Air Force, was the largest piston-engined land-based transport aircraft ever built. Derived from the B-36 bomber, first flight came on 23 November 1947 from the Convair facility in San Diego, California, with company pilots Russell Rogers and Beryl Erickson at the controls. After initial testing, the giant aircraft (Air Force serial number 43-52436), which could carry 400 troops or 100,000 pounds of cargo, was delivered to the Air Force on 23 November 1949. It was withdrawn from service in 1957. The Little Brother is the prototype Convair Model 240 (two-engines, forty passengers) Convair-Liner (civil registered NX90849) airliner/trainer/transport, the first of 566 civilian and military (T-29/C-131) examples to follow. Photo via the San Diego Air & Space Museum.


1. Convair F-106 Delta Dart. The Convair F-106 Delta Dart interceptor started as a development of the F-102, but the changes were so extensive that the aircraft was redesignated. The F-106 was fitted with the MA-1 electronic guidance and fire control system that operated with the Semi-Automatic Ground Environment, or SAGE, defense system that allowed the aircraft to be flown automatically from takeoff to flareout on landing. First flown on 26 December 1956, the Delta Dart entered US Air Force service in July 1959. The last aircraft was delivered in 1961. Universally referred to as The Six, Convair built 277 F-106As and sixty-three two-seat F-106Bs at its San Diego, California, factory. The last Air National Guard F-106 was retired in 1988. The last NASA F-106 was retired in 1991. Photo via the San Diego Air & Space Museum.