Words by Matt Willis
Part 2 of 2
The Pima Air and Space facility had so many classic and rare aircraft, it was truly a remarkable visit. Outdoors, it gets even better, with 100+ planes of all types on display.
LTV A-7 Corsair II, a primary ground-attack aircraft for both the Air Force and Navy through the 70s and 80s.
The Douglas A-4 Skyhawk, a delta-winged light attack aircraft developed for the Marines. It was one of the longest running military aircraft, introduced in 1956 and fully retiring from the Navy in 2003.
The A-6 Intruder, one of the most legendary strike bombers of the Vietnam era. It’s service continued into the Gulf War, and it’s reliable airframe was as the blueprint for the modernized EA-6B Prowler.
An F/A-18A, formerly operated by the Blue Angels. Although dated, the Angels still use the “A” model to this date because of weight, maneuverability and simplified maintenance.
The Grumman F-11F Tiger, flown by the Angels from 1957 to 1969.
Rear section of an McDonnell-Douglas F-4 Phantom II.
The RA-5 Vigilante, a massive nuclear strike bomber and recon aircraft.
An F-8 Crusader, a redesigned fighter version of the LTV A-7 Corsair.
This canopy was from an F-16C shot down by an SA-3 missile in Iraq, 1991. Most of the plane was recovered in a Marines DMZ, but the pilot was taken as a prisoner by Iraqi forces.
An F-111 Aardvark, recently retired by the RAAF.
The German Panavia Tornado, utilizing many of the same airframe features as the F-14.
Two early model Harrier variants.
C-141 Starlifter, the predecessor to the modern ultraweight C-5 Galaxy.
This is an extremely rare aircraft, and I was surprised to see it here. The YC-14 was a prototype (2 built in total, this was the first) aimed to replace the prop-powered C-130 Hercules tactical airlifter.
Though its test flights were successful, the project was cancelled in lieu of the “C-X” program, which eventually yielded the Boeing C-17 that is used widely today.
An old firefighting aircraft based in Hemet, CA.
An early model B-52 Stratofortress strategic bomber.
Douglas DC-3 transport.
This plane, known as the “Super Guppy”, is basically a hollow-tube airlifter. Only 5 were ever built, one of which is still operated by NASA today – although it has received numerous engine and avionics updates.
Iconic C-130 Hercules from the Tennessee ANG.
Various small fighters and trainer jets…
A newly built section in the museum was dedicated to the B-17 bomber of the WWII era.
That wraps up our visit to the Pima Air and Space Museum in Tuscon. Thanks for having us!