Aviation Historian 09
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B.Archer - Party Time!
Wisconsin ANG KC-97L 52-2698 provides a top-up for 78th Tactical Fighter Squadron McDonnell Douglas F-4D 65-0767 over Germany in September 1969. The problem of compatibility between the piston-era KC-97 and the jet-age Phantom was amply resolved with the addition of the turbojets to the tanker. The “O” prefix on the KC-97L’s fin serial was given to all USAF operational aircraft that were more than ten years old.
This unusual gathering of types up from Luke AFB in Arizona represents three distinct eras of aviation history. Prop-driven KC-97L 53-0244 of the Arizona ANG refuels a classic late 1950s delta-winged jet fighter, Convair F-106A 59-0096, while the new kid on the block, McDonnell Douglas F-15A 73-0099, watches from the wings.
Wearing the distinctive triangular nose emblem of its former unit, the 11th ARS, 53-0276 is seen here at Davis-Monthan AFB, Arizona, in November 1969. Within a few weeks it had been removed from storage to become one of the second batch of 26 KC-97Gs to be converted to L standard. Note the original wing tanks.
Utah ANG KC-97L 53-0278 at Salt Lake City International Airport in September 1977. The 191st Air Refuelling Squadron operated the KC-97L from the summer of 1972 until March 1978, when this example was returned to Davis-Monthan to be retired and stored for the second time.
In June 1973 the mayor of Zeppelinheim, a small town across the main autobahn from Rhein-Main, christened KC-97L 52-2630 in the town’s honour, its name being applied in Germanic writing above the crew entry door. The aircraft served with the 160th Air Refuelling Group of the Ohio ANG until 1976, when it was transferred to the Museum of the USAF at Dayton, Ohio, where it remains on display.
Boeing KC-97L serial 53-0363 was one of 81 examples of the piston- and jet-powered variants to be used by the Air National Guard (ANG). It is seen here in July 1973 while serving with the Texas ANG, hence the Lone Star symbol on the type’s distinctive rounded nose.
Wisconsin ANG KC-97L 52-0902 at Mildenhall, Suffolk, on April 16, 1974. Tankers transiting from the USA to Europe frequently encountered strong headwinds or bad weather and were forced to divert to the British base, as on this occasion.
The first KC-97 to be fitted with General Electric J47 turbojets on hardpoints on the outer wings, where long-range fuel tanks were originally positioned, was 52-2697 of the Illinois Air Guard in the spring of 1964. It is seen here at Volk Field, Wisconsin, in July 1970. The Illinois ANG operated the KC-97L until the end of 1976.
The 888th and final C-97 built was 53-3816. After serving with Strategic Air Command’s 19th ARS at Otis AFB in Massachusetts, it was retired in late 1965 and flown to Davis-Monthan to be stored. In 1970 it was converted to KC-97L configuration and served with the Pennsylvania ANG. It is seen here at Mildehall in July 1976.
Wisconsin ANG KC-97L 52-2698 provides a top-up for 78th Tactical Fighter Squadron McDonnell Douglas F-4D 65-0767 over Germany in September 1969. The problem of compatibility between the piston-era KC-97 and the jet-age Phantom was amply resolved with the addition of the turbojets to the tanker. The “O” prefix on the KC-97L’s fin serial was given to all USAF operational aircraft that were more than ten years old.
This unusual gathering of types up from Luke AFB in Arizona represents three distinct eras of aviation history. Prop-driven KC-97L 53-0244 of the Arizona ANG refuels a classic late 1950s delta-winged jet fighter, Convair F-106A 59-0096, while the new kid on the block, McDonnell Douglas F-15A 73-0099, watches from the wings.
With its refuelling boom fully extended, KC-97L 52-0905 of the Wisconsin ANG performs a flyby as part of a memorable display at Green ham Common in July 1973. This aircraft has been preserved and is currently on display as a ‘‘gate guardian” at the Wisconsin ANG’s base at Volk Field.
The view from the glasshouse - visibility from the KC-97’s extensively glazed flightdeck was exceptional. The “office” of the tanker was spacious and well laid-out and proved to be popular with its crews. Here an Ohio ANG KC-97L pilot searches for his next contacts during a refuelling mission from Rhein-Main in June 1969.
This unusual gathering of types up from Luke AFB in Arizona represents three distinct eras of aviation history. Prop-driven KC-97L 53-0244 of the Arizona ANG refuels a classic late 1950s delta-winged jet fighter, Convair F-106A 59-0096, while the new kid on the block, McDonnell Douglas F-15A 73-0099, watches from the wings.