Remarks: National Museum of the US Air Force. In the 1960s, NASA and the DoD needed a mobile tracking platform to support the Apollo space program and other space operations. Eight Boeing C-135 Stratolifters were modified into the Apollo/Range Instrumentation Aircraft (A/RIA) standard. They were equipped with a steerable seven-foot antenna dish in its distinctive 'Droop Snoot' or 'Snoopy Nose'. Shot at 10mm.
Remarks: National Museum of the US Air Force. Overview of the Cold War Gallery. The U-2A is the last one made. In the 1960s it made 285 flights to gather data on high-altitude, clear-air turbulence and in the 1970s it flight tested reconnaissance systems. Some other highlights of the collection are below it: a Northrop F-89J Scorpion (foreground), a Martin RB-57D (right), a Lockheed SR-71A, a Northrop B-2A, a Boeing B-1B, etc. What an amazing place!
Remarks: National Museum of the US Air Force. Tacit Blue, also known as 'The Whale', was built to test advances in stealth technology. It was flown between 1982 and 1985 and demonstrated that curved surfaces on an aircraft can also result in a low observable shape.
Remarks: National Museum of the US Air Force. This was the original AC-130 prototype, a side-firing gunship based on the venerable C-130. It was initially equipped with four 20mm and four 7.62mm multi-barrel guns, a searchlight, and target sensors. Later it was used as a test bed for additional armament, sensors and fire control development. The radome underneath the cockpit windows contained a Magnetic Anomaly Detector (MAD) system called the Black Crow (AN/ASD-5).
Remarks: Rhode Island Air Show 2010. This C-17 had flown back from the Middle East only a couple of weeks before, which explains the worn out paint on the leading edges (it got blasted away by the sand).
Remarks: National Museum of the US Air Force. This was one of fourteen KC-135As converted to special testing. It was used for an 11-year experiment to prove that a high-energy laser could be operated effectively from a plane.
Remarks: The Great New England Air Show 2012. Three-holers are becoming more and more rare these days. So, it was fantastic to visit the cockpit of this KC-10. Many thanks to the friendly crew for the opportunity.