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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 museum planes are outside, and it is a testament to the commitment of the staff that they are all in such fantastic shape given the area’s propensity for the weather.
This is the F-89 Scorpion, one of the first production jet interceptors.
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The B-1 Lancer is a rotating wing supersonic bomber. This is a more common B-variant, which was slower, but better suited to its role.
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The B-1 Museum Bomber spent most of his life in Texas.
While this is not directly related, you can see a lot of Rockwell’s failures XB-70 bomber in Lancer design.
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This chubby boy is a T-28 Trojan school plane. This specimen first took off in 1954.
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The F-4 was an extremely successful interceptor and combat bomber flown by the US Navy, Air Force and Marines. He was extremely fast, with a maximum speed of 2.2 Mach.
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Unmistakable mass transport profile C-130. 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 museum’s B-29 took off from several bases in Texas, Arizona and Ohio before spending 30 years on earth as a test vehicle.
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It has been in the museum since 1983, where it was lovingly restored.
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Shortly after the B-29 left service, the B-52 entered. A huge bomber with eight engines is still in use.
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This is the G-variant, built in 1959. All the remaining B-52s are the later X-variant.
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Although similar in appearance to the C-123 Provider, the C-119 was developed from one of Fairchild’s own World War II-era designs. The “Flying Boxcar” has a folding rear opening and a tail with a double branch.
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Almost four times more C-119s were built than C-123s.
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Something looks strange about helicopters without rotors. Like they’re naked or something. This is the Piasecki X-21, also known as the Flying Banana. Although I guess 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 because of 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 condition. After decades on earth, he took off again in 1976.
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That means the green machine is a B-25. This example led an interesting life. It was built in 1945 and immediately put into storage. He bounced around various military bases for more than a decade before being sold to the private sector.
In 1962, he crashed in Argentina while smuggling cigarettes from Paraguay. It remained there for almost 30 years before being returned here, restored and exhibited in the museum.
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The legendary B-17. This specimen was built in 1945 and flew in the Brazilian Air Force from 1953 to 1968.
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Despite being the best-selling bomber in history, it is quite rare to see a B-24 in a museum. This specimen was stationed in Alaska, where it eventually crashed. Fifty years later, former Utah crew members found the plane and sent it to California for restoration; arrived here for an exhibition in 2002.
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Although it looked similar to the B-25, the Douglas A-26 Invader was a few years newer and actually lasted longer in service.
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It is mostly an observation plane, but it can also be equipped for a light attack from the ground. Although it looks quite modern, this copy was made in 1968, served in Vietnam, and later helped the Colombian Air Force in the war on drugs.
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One of the few Century Series fighters in the museum, this is a McDonnell F-101 Voodoo. He was in the service of the Air Force for only 15 years, at least in his original combat form. They were designed to accompany long-range bombers, a role that became unnecessary as the Cold War progressed. Some were converted and used in a scout role.
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The delta-winged F-102 Delta Dagger first took off in 1953, and was largely replaced in the 1960s by a faster evolution, 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 similar delta wings. Pay attention to the sloping and rectangular suction cups of the engine, compared to the more rounded, vertical suction cups of the F-102.
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More twin booms! This is a Cessna Skymaster, or more precisely, a military O-2 Skymaster. They first took off in the late ’60s and were in use by the U.S. military until 2010. Pay attention to the sparse look of the push-pull engine.
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The F-5 was not commonly used in the United States, but was purchased and operated by several foreign air forces. This example was used by the manufacturer Northrop as a test aircraft and jet in Arizona and California.
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With one of the most handsome names in military aviation, the Lockheed F-104 Starfighter doesn’t look like it could fly, with such thin, stocky wings.
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This unique chunky-looking helicopter is the Kaman HH-43 Huskie. It has a rare rotor design that connects to each other.
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Huskies were used for search and rescue during the Vietnam War.
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This large aircraft may seem unsuitable among all jets, but the A-1 Skyraider was in use from immediately after World War II until the early 1970s. The A-10 has been replaced, which we’ll see in a moment.
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This is one of the two great Thunderchief fighter-bomber in the museum. The most common D-variant is seen here.
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It flew for the first time only 10 years after the Second World War, and yet it could carry more bombs than the famous B-17 and B-24 bombers from that war. This is a G-variant with two seats.
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Speaking of planes from the Vietnamese era, this is an F-111 with movable wings. The versions have been in use for over 30 years.
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You can’t see many of these in museums. It’s an F-15 Eagle; early models like this A-variant were just withdrawn from use a few years ago.
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Trio F-16. The one in the middle, if the colors weren’t a gift, was flown by the Thunderbirds Air Force.
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This F-16A first took off in 1980. It is astonishing how small these planes are compared to their contemporaries.
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F-117 stealth fighter, currently in the restoration phase. I wonder if the front edges (yellow areas) were removed before commissioning. The F-117 at the Strategic Air Command & Aerospace Museum had the same missing parts.
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The end of the huge and fast SR-71 Blackbird business. This is the only SR-71C and the last made SR-71. The rear is made of previously shot down YF-12, and the front is made of static test hull.
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This is one of the early start carts needed to run Blackbird’s huge J58 engines. It was 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 are specially designed, like most things on the SR-71, to withstand the extreme flight 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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During its 3-plus decades of operation, it has been upgraded to the 53M variant you see here. Most of these upgrades included electronics and defense capabilities.
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This is CH-3, also known as S-61, and was a precursor to MH-53. He had a wonderful nickname, “The Merry Green Giant.”
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This Giant first took off in 1966 and was stationed in Southeast Asia. He was later stationed here, on Hill AFB.
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Cockpit transport C-130. The rest of the fuselage of this plane is often used as a classroom for students visiting the museum.
That’s it for this tour. If you liked what you saw, check out more Tech Treks.