It’s time to pay homage to some of Lockheed’s work, and a couple other interesting birds. The Museum of Aviation near Warner Robins Air Force Base in Georgia is home to all of these planes. I thought I’d snap a few extra photos during my last visit. I’m quite partial to Lockheed’s work, being descended form a Skunk Works engineer and Lockheed advisory board member. Growing up near the Marietta, Georgia plant, I became accustom to seeing new C-130 and F-22 aircraft rolling off the assembly line almost daily, flying overhead to their first destination.
Photo One: This Lockheed JetStar VC-140B used as VIP transport for the Air Force. It even carried presidents Johnson, Nixon, Ford and Carter, using call sign Air Force One when aboard. The prototype JetStar was used as Kelly Johnson’s personal transport aircraft. Another JetStar was owned by Elvis. When my grandfather worked for the Lockheed Skunk Works, he told tales of flying aboard JetStar with a suitcase handcuffed to his wrist, en route to speak with CIA officials. Yes, this actually happened. My grandfather was “that guy”.
Photo Two: This Lockheed F-80B was derived the P-80, the first operational American jet fighter. Armed with six .50 machine guns, the light jet was said to slow down abruptly when the pilot squeezed off a burst.
Photo Three: This Lockheed Model 18 Lodestar C-60A was the paratroop version. The Lodestar was a stretched Lockheed Vega to add more cargo space. Some of the birds were modified Vegas, some were built from the ground up.
Photo Four: The Lockheed T-33 was a trainer, specifically to transition prop plane pilots into jet pilots. This is essentially a trainer version of the P-80.
Photo Five: Moving away from Lockheed for a moment, we have the Convair F-102A Delta Dagger (foreground) and F-106A Delta Dart (background). The F-102 was the first American operational super sonic fighter. The F-106, originally designated the F-102B, was heavily modified F-102, giving it better speed and altitude performance. Both of these aircraft feature a “vision splitter” windscreen, like the Lockheed Blackbird family of aircraft.
Photo Six & Seven: Lastly, we have the SR-71A Blackbird, #17958. What more could I say about this bird that hasn’t already been said? Probably a lot. The final photo shows fuel tank 6, extending past the elevons. An easy way to tell the SR-71 and A-12 apart is, the A-12 aft-most fuel tank does not protrude past the elevons. This final photo was photographed with my iPhone. SR-71 #17958 was covered in two previous posts. (Click here to read about her world record setting flights.) (Click here for additional information about #17958)
We left home at 4:30am, arrived at Cairns for Breakfast. We had a few hours to kill before our flight to Tokyo so made great use of the first floor cafe area.. This was Iggy’s first flying experience, she slept thru the first take off and giggled her way thru the landing.. we were *high fiving* all over the place.. Onto the big international flight, we were seated right up the front with a funky bassinet set up, Thank you Jetstar for pulling out the red carpet! We got all the treats and had the best hosty, Bryan looking after us! Iggy stole approx 82 hearts and Juliet made a new bestie who she is excited to start writing pen pal letters too. The basinet set up worked a treat, all the new little toys I had saved and hidden away in the bag barely got a look in, Iggy had her little stage to spy on all the other passengers and she put it to great use! She breastfed to sleep several times thru the trip meaning I could watch a few tv shows on the iPad entertainment Jetstar had provided.. Coming into land in Tokyo, I had Juliet sitting on the window seat relaying all the important information.. “We are going thru a cloud… and.. another cloud.. Mum, we are going thru another cloud!” .. finally when we were about 100 meters above land we popped thru the clouds to which Juliet exclaimed “They have little houses and they’re green!!” Smooth landing, minimal wait, bootscoot it out of the plane and are welcomed by the sweet tang of humidity.. oh how I have missed thee! Everyone powered on to the subway, where we all crammed on to go to the next terminal to pick up our luggage and GO… TBC