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Luftwaffe Aircraft at the National Museum of the US Air Force


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#1 gwb123

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Posted 19 October 2018 - 06:47 PM

About two years ago, my brother and I filled a bucket list item by visiting the National Museum of the United States Air Force in Dayton, Ohio.
 
Along with the other aviation related sites scattered around Dayton (including the Wright Brothers shop and flight school field), it is well worth the trip.
 
As for the museum, we spent two full days there and still did not see everything. 
 
While most of the exhibits were about the development of the US Air Force, they had a selection of aircraft flown by their opponents as well. 
 
Here is a selection of photos of German aircraft that were there at the time, all beautifully restored.
 
More information about the museum and these exhibit aircraft can be found on their website https://www.nationalmuseum.af.mil/
 
 
For additional views, a very well done virtual tour can be found on here:  https://www.national...t/Virtual-Tour/
 
This photo is from the museum website:  https://www.national...waffe-aircrews/
 
Unless otherwise noted, all other photos are taken by my humble hand.

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#2 gwb123

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Posted 19 October 2018 - 06:52 PM

I will let the photographs speak for themselves... ME-109G.  

 

In contrast to most of the aircraft, this one was tough to photograph due to its positioning on the floor.  I think what happened is that when they inserted the POW exhibit it cut off what would have been unobstructed access from the backside of the aircraft.

 

https://www.national...itt-bf-109g-10/

 

The blue/ white / blue bands on the fuselage indicate the aircraft is from JG 300 stationed in Germany.  I believe these multi colored bands indicated Home Defense units.

 

https://en.wikipedia...dgeschwader_300

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#3 gwb123

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Posted 19 October 2018 - 07:02 PM

Close up of the maintenance crew and the 30 mm cannon.  The uniforms are not authentic.

 

https://www.national...08-30mm-cannon/

 

Allied recognition poster with a bit of a fanciful scene.

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#4 gwb123

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Posted 19 October 2018 - 07:21 PM

Fiesler Storch Fi 156... These views show why it excelled as an observation aircraft.  The Allies valued them as war prizes... Lord Montgomery used a captured one in North Africa, but was nearly blown out of the sky over Normandy by nervous anti-aircraft gunners who hadn't gotten the word.  The French continued to manufacture them after the war and used them well into the 1950's.

 

This one has been rotated out of exhibition... the data website on it says it is in storage.  It is painted in the colors of one used by Erwin Rommel, and was flown in peacetime by Erich Hartmann.

 

https://www.national...-156c-1-storch/

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#5 gwb123

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Posted 20 October 2018 - 05:12 PM

Junkers JU 88D-1/ Trop in Romanian colors due to its origin.

 

Photos of the interior can be seen on the USAF Museum Website:

 

https://www.national...s-ju-88d-1trop/

 

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#6 gwb123

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Posted 20 October 2018 - 05:14 PM

Side views of the Ju 88 showing the unique national markings.

 

(I was hoping to see it in Luftwaffe colors, but the story is unusual.  And in my opinion it is always better to restore the aircraft to its or original color scheme.)

 

I remember thinking how small and cramped the crew area of the cockpit looked when you saw this aircraft in person.  But that turns out to be true for most medium bombers.  Even the larger ones, such as the B-17 and B-24 are not as spacious as you might think. 

 

Guided bomb is in front of the aircraft.

 

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#7 gwb123

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Posted 20 October 2018 - 05:30 PM

As many of the German special weapons and experiments became known to the Allies, many were derided as "Buck Rogers" gizmos, more out of science fiction than any practical use.  To their dismay after the war, when many of these weapons came to light, the Germans had come very close to perfecting a new generation of weapons.

 

This is an early attempt at a weapon that is now a standard... the air to air guided missile.

 

 

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#8 gwb123

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Posted 20 October 2018 - 06:19 PM

Focke-Wulf FW 190D-9

 

Late war version of the mainstay fighter. 

 

https://www.national...wulf-fw-190d-9/

 

"The Fw 190D-9 on display was assigned to the JG3 "Udet" Geschwader. One of the Luftwaffe's most famous fighter units, JG3 was named for Ernst Udet, Germany's leading ace to survive World War I."

 

https://en.wikipedia...agdgeschwader_3

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#9 gwb123

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Posted 20 October 2018 - 06:33 PM

An American imitation of the V-1 Buzz Bomb, the Republic/Ford JB-2 "Loon".

 

The Western Allies and the Soviets had no such weapons in their arsenals.  The US actually produced this direct copy in 1944 and some were considered for use in the final assault on Japan.

 

As for the Germans, "Germany produced more than 30,000 V-1s in 1944-1945, and an estimated 8,000+ actually reached England and Belgium between the first launch on June 12, 1944, and the last impact on March 30, 1945. About half the missiles fell within eight miles of their targets. Allied countermeasures included bombing launch sites, antiaircraft fire, barrage balloons with wires to snag the missiles, and fighter interception. The Allies dropped some 98,000 tons of bombs on V-1 launch and manufacturing sites. Combined defenses in England and on the continent destroyed a total of 6,176 Buzz Bombs, and an estimated 25 percent of V-1s launched crashed due to malfunction or manufacturing defects.

In England, more than 6,000 people died in V-1 attacks, and another 18,000 were wounded."

 

There is a famous scene in the movie The Glenn Miller Story where his orchestra were playing for wounded soldiers outside of a hospital in England.  Buzz bombs began falling, but the orchestra played on, to the cheers of the audience.

 

The fragments are from an actual V-1 that fell on England.  If you visit the museum, these are outside of the main building in the Quonset Hut display, in a section about the joy and hazards for aircrews to spend their leave time in London.

 

https://www.national...-v-1-buzz-bomb/

 

The photo of the JB-2 Loon is from the museum website.

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#10 gwb123

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Posted 20 October 2018 - 06:52 PM

The V-2 Rocket, the first true ballistic missile.  Also thought of as science fiction by the Allies, the Germans took the writings of American pioneer Robert Goddard to heart, and produced this weapon.  Much of the assembly was done by slave laborers under the eye of the SS.  When they could, the prisoners sabotaged the rockets at the risk of their own lives if they were caught.

 

https://www.national...h-meillerwagen/

 

"Germany produced nearly 6,000 V-2s in 1944-1945. Like the V-1, the V-2 was inaccurate. It could only be aimed at a large area, like a city. Together, the V-1 and V-2 missed their aim points by an average of more than nine miles. The first operational V-2 launch took place on Sept. 8, 1944, and the last on March 30, 1945. During this seven-month period, 1,115 V-2s hit England, and 1,524 fell on continental Europe. Many V-2s broke up or exploded in the air, and around 15 percent were never launched due to ground malfunctions. The total damage done in England by the rockets included 2,754 killed and 6,523 severely wounded. Some of the worst V-2 attacks included the destruction of a cinema in Antwerp (561 killed), and an impact on a crowded Antwerp street the killed 128 people."

 

As terrifying as the weapon was, it functioned on the edge of known science.  The fuel was based on a compound that was only viable for three days... thus the weapon could never be developed for naval use.

 

The US and Russia captured as many intact examples as they could, surviving V-2's became the test vehicles for rocket development of both nations.

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#11 gwb123

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Posted 20 October 2018 - 06:58 PM

The revolutionary heart of the beast.

 

If you go to the museum, the V-2 rocket engine is actually located in the Missile Gallery.

 

https://www.national...894/v-2-rocket/

 

 

 

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#12 gwb123

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Posted 20 October 2018 - 06:58 PM

Barely qualifying as an aircraft is the Focke-Acgelis FA 300 towed kite, nicknamed the "sandpiper".

 

https://www.national...-330-sandpiper/

 

"The Fa 330 rotary wing kite, built in Germany during World War II, operated on the principle of the autogyro. It provided an elevated observation platform for one man while being towed behind a surfaced submarine. While aloft, the pilot kept in contact with the submarine by telephone. 

The Fa 330  was attached to the submarine by a steel cable working from a winch on the deck. During a normal return to the sub, the winch wound in the cable until the Fa 330 was on the deck. There was an emergency procedure, however, by which the pilot could jettison the blades and rotor hub. When the rotor assembly separated, it automatically opened a parachute attached to both the machine and the pilot. The pilot then released his safety belt and the aircraft dropped into the sea, leaving the pilot descending alone by parachute.

The Fa 330 on display, one of very few in existence of the 200 constructed, was bought to the United States at the end of WWII."

 

All I can say is it would have taken a brave individual to go up in this thing.  One has to remember the rolling and pitching motion of the sea acting on the tethered U-Boat below.

 

For more information:  https://en.wikipedia...Achgelis_Fa_330

 

The photo is taken from the National Museum of the US Air Force website.  As I recall, the vehicle was in a very dark location above the floor and hard to photograph.

 

 

 

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#13 gwb123

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Posted 21 October 2018 - 02:05 PM

The ME-163 B Comet

 

https://www.national...-me-163b-komet/

 

Another aircraft that required bravery to fly.  Landing was difficult enough, and refueling accidents could result in explosions destroying the aircraft before it left the ground.

 

Per the USAF Museum website, this particular aircraft had another threat in case it ever took to the air:

 

"This Me 163B (S/N 191095) may have been sabotaged while under construction, perhaps by the forced laborers building it in Germany. A small stone was wedged between the fuselage fuel tank and a supporting strap (which could have eventually caused a dangerous fuel leak), and there was contaminated glue in the wing structure (which could have caused a failure of the wing in flight).

Inside the aircraft's skin are these words, perhaps written by a defiant French laborer: "Manufacture Ferme" means "Plant Closed." "Mon coeur est en chomage" translated directly means "My heart is not occupied" (as opposed to France being occupied by the Germans)."

 

One thing that surprised me is that it is actually bigger than you might expect by looking at photographs, with a wingspan of 30 feet.  The overall shape and dimensions suggested a smaller dwarf of an aircraft.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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#14 gwb123

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Posted 21 October 2018 - 02:16 PM

Next to the aircraft is the problematic engine that delayed the deployment of the revolutionary design, the Walter HWK 509a rocket engine.

 

A rocket engine is different from a jet engine in that it propels the craft by burning an internal supply of fuel with having to take in air and oxygen.

 

https://www.national...wk-509a-rocket/

 

A detailed article on the ME-163 appears on Wikipedia:

 

https://en.wikipedia...tt_Me_163_Komet

 

 

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#15 gwb123

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Posted 21 October 2018 - 03:08 PM

The star of the show in my view, and the arguable the best product of German aircraft engineering of the war... the ME-262.

 

https://www.national...-262a-schwalbe/

 

With a maximum speed of 540 mph, American fighter pilots reported seeing Germans thumbing their noses as they sped by.

 

Of course, the Allies figured out eventually that these jet wonders were most vulnerable at take off and landing, as with most aircraft.  The Allies would stake out known German jet bases and then pounce on them as they left the runway or attempted to land.

 

The ME-262 became the object of the treasure hunt of Operation Lusty, which stood for Luftwaffe Science and Technology.  American, British, and French teams raced across the conquered Germany to secure operational aircraft, parts, manuals and even pilots and technicians so they could exploit their prizes.

 

https://www.national...peration-lusty/

 

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#16 gwb123

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Posted 21 October 2018 - 03:10 PM

A couple more, plus the Junkers Jumo engine that powered the aircraft.

 

https://www.national...o-004-turbojet/

 

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#17 gwb123

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Posted 21 October 2018 - 03:15 PM

German BK-5 50mm cannon:

 

https://www.national...-5-50mm-cannon/

 

"The BK-5 was an adaptation of a tank gun and was intended primarily for use against Allied heavy bombers. Its magazine held 22 rounds, and the gun had a rate of 45 rounds per minute. BK-5 cannon were installed in some Me 410 twin-engine interceptors and experimentally in the Me 262 fighter, but the war ended before testing with the latter aircraft could be completed. Only about 300 of the guns were produced and combat usage was limited."

 

The Operation Lusty team under Col. Watson did capture an example of an ME-262 armed in this way, but the aircraft crashed in France on its way to be shipped to the US.  I know the cannon from that aircraft was salvaged, and this may be the same one.

 

https://forum.warthu...-me-262-a-1au4/

 

 

 

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#18 gwb123

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Posted 21 October 2018 - 03:31 PM

Also on display for the defense of the Reich are an Flak 88 mm multipurpose gun and a Flakvierling 38 28mm Antiaircraft gun.

 

https://www.national...tiaircraft-gun/

 

https://www.national...ltipurpose-gun/

 

The Flak 38 is display as if it were defending a besieged target at night.

 

 

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#19 gwb123

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Posted 21 October 2018 - 03:55 PM

Going back to the photograph that opened this thread, at the end of the WWII exhibit, there is a section titled "Airmen in a World War".  It offers a small tribute to the men who flew the machines on display.

 

https://www.national...waffe-aircrews/

 

The black and white photo is of Luftwaffe fighter pilots in Germany in 1944.

 

In the display case, the long object is a polished propeller from a downed British bomber.  It is inscribed with a swooping Luftwaffe eagle, and Iron Cross, and the dates and aircraft descriptions of a units kills.

 

Most of the museum character sculpts are fairly well done, often having used USAF personnel as facial models.  The one of the officer in dress uniform seems a bit overbearing.  Either that, or he is disappointed to learn the war is being lost despite Germany's technical advancements.

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#20 gwb123

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Posted 21 October 2018 - 04:06 PM

One of the odder exhibits is a painting of the Luftwaffe General Staff, done around 1941 when they were triumphant.

 

It is positioned high in the ceiling and taking a decent photograph of it is about impossible given the lighting.  The full sized photo is taken from the Museum website.

 

https://www.national...f-oil-painting/

 

I found a closer view on https://forum.axishi...c.php?t=187535, which also speculated on the identity of some of those portrayed.

 

Reichs Marshall Hermann Goering is of course in the center of the painting.  Goering had a obsessive (and criminally possessive) level of fascination with fine art, to the point that the abetted the plundering of museums throughout the occupied countries.  It would be easy to speculate that he commissioned this work, with an eye to classic works that depicted great military leaders and their lieutenants in the past.

 

It was a bit eerie to walk under this canvas, especially when it came at a point in the Museum narrative where the Allies were still struggling.

 

 

 

 

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#21 gwb123

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Posted 21 October 2018 - 04:31 PM

Of course, despite years of warfare, technical innovation as never seen before, and the determination of flight crews and pilots, it all mercifully came to an end.

 

In this tableau, American GI's give chocolate and a GI blanket to a child outside of a bombed out hanger as American officers inspect the remains of a partially assembled ME-262.

 

On the ground is the bullet ridden bust of Adolf Hitler beside a broken German eagle. 

 

The end had come to the greatest conflict the world had ever seen.

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#22 gwb123

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Posted 21 October 2018 - 04:37 PM

I hope you have enjoyed this quick tour of the Luftwaffe exhibits at the National Museum of the United States Air Force.

 

The museum has added exhibits even since I have been there, most notably the B-17 Memphis Belle, eventually to be followed by the B-17D Swoose.

 

If you get to go, I think you will find it rewarding.  If you cannot go, click on the links for the virtual tour and the high resolution photographs. 

 

Feel free to add your comments, and your own photographs.

 

And remember...like the song says: "Nothing can stop the US Air Force!"

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#23 gwb123

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Posted 21 October 2018 - 04:39 PM

Member Bagman6 added this earlier in the thread: 

 

One snowy day a couple of years ago I helped a gentleman with car issues at the commissary. A large snow storm was moving in and time was somewhat of the essence.  In appreciation he took my wife and I out to dinner a few weeks later.  His career was entwined with Dayton Ohio and the pictures you posted.  You just never know who you will have the pleasure of meeting ...

 

Kenneth O. "K.O." Chilstrom (born April 20, 1921) is a retired United States Air Force officer, combat veteran, test pilot, and author. He was the first USAF pilot to fly the XP-86 Sabre, chief of fighter test at Wright Field, commandant of the U.S. Air Force Test Pilot School, and program manager for the XF-108 Rapier. Chilstrom was a pilot in the first jet air race and delivered the first air mail by jet. He flew over eighty combat missions in the Italian Campaign of World War II and tested over twenty foreign models of German and Japanese fighters and bombers to evaluate their strengths and weaknesses.

 

 

Early life[edit]

Chilstrom was born on April 20, 1921 in Zumbrota—a small town in the south-east part of Minnesota.[1] He developed an interest in aviation at an early age and began building model airplanes while still in grade school in Chicago, Illinois. After graduating from high school in 1939, Chilstrom went to a military recruiting office to sign up for pilot training.[2] Since he did not have the two years of college needed to enter the air cadet training program, Chilstrom enlisted in the United States Army Air Corps to train as an aircraft mechanic.[3]

Military career[edit]

Chilstrom completed the aircraft mechanics school at Chanute Field in Rantoul, Illinois and eventually became an instructor.[4] Still yearning to fly, he attended night school to earn the needed college credits. But the Army Air Corps now faced a shortage of pilots, and Chilstrom was accepted into the pilot training program anyway.[3]In October 1942, he earned his wings and a second lieutenant's commission when he graduated with class 42I at Lake Charles, Louisiana.[4] Chilstrom was assigned to the 58th Fighter Groupat Bolling Field whose mission was to guard the nation's capital in Washington, D.C.[3]

Combat in World War II[edit]

In February 1943, the 58th Fighter Group received new Curtiss P-40 Warhawks and took them to North Africa aboard the USS Ranger. Chilstrom and his fellow aviators arrived at an airfield near Casablanca shortly after the Allied defeat at Kasserine Pass.[3] The 58th Fighter Group was forced to turn over their P-40s to a combat-experienced unit that lost their aircraft when German troops overran their airfield.[5] Chilstrom transferred to the 27th Fighter Bomber Group and flew eighty missions in the North American A-36 over Sicily and Italy.[4] At the end of his tour in November 1943, he returned home to the United States.[5]

Flight test[edit]

Chilstrom strongly desired a position in flight test at Dayton, Ohio's Wright Field—the dream job of many fighter pilots.[3] Although no flight test positions were open at the time, he was able to secure a position as maintenance officer for Major Chris Petrie, Chief of Fighter Test. Flight test at Wright Field expanded rapidly and provided Chilstrom with the opportunity to realize his dream.[6] He tested a number of P-47 Thunderbolt variants including the XP-47E with a pressurized cockpit and the XP-47J—one of the fastest piston engine fighters ever built.[4]

220px-Capturedfw190_red.jpg
 
Captured Fw 190

During his seven years in flight test, Chilstrom flew 147 different aircraft including X, Y, and production models from the United States, Germany, and Japan.[1] Many German and Japanese aircraft captured during World War II were sent to Wright Field, and Chilstrom had the opportunity to fly and evaluate over twenty different models including the Focke-Wulf Fw 190, the Messerschmitt Me 262, the A6M Zero, and the Kawasaki Ki-45 Nick.[4] He flew the Fw 190 extensively and during his tenth flight on February 24, 1945, a malfunctioning trim switch nearly killed him.[7] Chilstrom was landing at Wright Field when the elevator trim switch malfunctioned causing the nose to pitch up while the Fw 190 was dangerously close to the ground. After regaining control and climbing to a safe altitude, he identified the problem and determined the trim could also be driven to a full nose-down position. With full nose-down trim, Chilstrom had just enough control to successfully land the aircraft.[8] Other Fw 190 pilots were not as fortunate as electrical problems in the trim switch caused[9] or were suspected to have caused a number of crashes.[10]

220px-XP-86_Sabre_Over_Mojave_Desert_194
 
XP-86 in flight over the Mojave Desert in 1947

Chilstrom graduated in the first group, class 45, of the recently formed Flight Performance School (now known as the United States Air Force Test Pilot School) with his friend and roommate Glen Edwards, who would later become the namesake of Edwards Air Force Base.[11] Chilstrom was highly regarded by his superiors[12] and in September 1946 succeeded Gabby Gabreski as chief of the Fighter Test section. He was in charge of a very select group of pilots including Richard BongJohn GodfreyBob HooverDon GentileSteve Pisanos, and Chuck Yeager.[13] In 1947, Lieutenant Colonel Fred Ascani, deputy of the Flight Test Division, recommended Chilstrom fly the Bell X-1 on the historic mission to break the sound barrier,[14][15] but division commander Colonel Al Boyd wanted Chilstrom as project officer for the XP-86 Sabre.[16] Chilstrom was the first Air Force officer to test the XP-86,[1] and by December 1947 had completed the XP-86 Phase II performance, stability and control tests pushing the aircraft to 45,000 feet (14,000 m) and Mach number 0.9.[17]

Between 1949 and 1950, Chilstrom was assigned as the commandant of the USAF Test Pilot School and commanded the last classes held at Wright Field.[18] Following classes, 51A and later, were held at Edwards Air Force Base in California.[19] In the summer of 1949 he took his wife to Hollywoodand at Warner Bros. Studios he was the technical advisor on the movie Chain Lightning starring Humphrey BogartRaymond Massey, and Eleanor Parker.[20] In 1950, Chilstrom was selected for a test pilot exchange tour with the United Kingdom's Royal Air Force.[4] While at Farnborough Airfield and Boscombe Down, he flew twenty five different British aircraft in two months.[4]

Aircraft development[edit]

220px-F-108-8x.png
 
Artist's impression of two F-108s attached to Elmendorf AFB, Alaska

In 1950, Chilstrom reluctantly left flight test to work as the Fighter Requirements officer at headquarters, Far East Air Forces. He was then assigned to research and development at Air Force Headquarters on the F-100 Super SabreF-105 Thunderchief, and North American F-107 programs. In 1958, Chilstrom was promoted to Colonel and returned to Wright Field as the program manager for the F-108 Rapier, a long-range, high-speed interceptor aircraft.[1] After the F-108 was cancelled on September 23, 1959,[21] he supported the Lockheed YF-12 program. Chilstrom's last assignment was chief of program surveys at the headquarters of Air Force Systems Command at Andrews Air Force Base, Maryland.[1] He retired from the Air Force in January 1964 after 25 years of service[4] and worked in the aircraft industry for a number of companies including General ElectricBoeing-VertolScience Applications International Corporation, and Pratt & Whitney.[4]

Aviation firsts[edit]

In addition to being the first USAF pilot to test the XP-86, Chilstrom was involved in a number of aviation "firsts" including:

First jet air mail[edit]

To demonstrate the capabilities of the Army Air Corps, Chilstrom and fellow pilot Captain Robert Baird carried out the first transport of air mail by jet aircraft on June 22, 1946.[22] Carrying a collection of mail that included a letter for Orville Wright, Chilstrom flew a P-80 Shooting Star from Schenectady County Airport in Schenectady, New York, to Dayton, Ohio.[23] After stopping at Wright Field, he flew on to Chicago, Illinois to complete the air mail delivery.[24]

First jet air race[edit]

Chilstrom participated in the first "closed course" jet air race at the 1946 Cleveland National Air Races in Ohio.[25] In this race, three P-80 Shooting Stars from Wright Field competed against three P-80s from the 1st Fighter Group at March Field, California. Chilstrom was forced out of the race due to mechanical problems when his aircraft's aileron boost failed.[26] The Thompson trophy (Jet Division) was won by Major Gustav E. Lundquist of Wright Field, and Major Robin Olds of March Field took second place.[25]

First USAF/USN pilot exchange program[edit]

In 1948, Chilstrom requested assignment in the first USAF exchange tour with the United States Navy. He trained at Naval Air Station Pensacola and checked out in the SNJ with six carrier landings on the USS Wright. Chilstrom was then assigned to Carrier Air Group Seven based at Naval Air Station Quonset PointRhode Island. After eighty Field Carrier Landing Practice (FCLP) touchdowns on shore, he completed fifty carrier landings in the F8F Bearcat aboard the USS Leyte.[4]

Later years[edit]

220px-Ken_Chilstrom_and_Tom_Horton_2014.
 
WWII aviators Ken Chilstrom and Tom Horton at an OBPA luncheon in 2014

In 1991, Chilstrom and fellow pilot Penn Leary documented the experiences of the "Wright Stuff" pilots and engineers in a book entitled, Test flying at Old Wright Field.[27] A second edition was published in 1993 that included photographs and additional stories. Ruth, his wife of 57 years, died in May 2006 and is buried in Arlington National Cemetery. At the time of her death, Chilstrom has two sons, a daughter, and six grandchildren. [28]

In 2016, Chilstrom traveled to Wright-Patterson AFB to attend the grand opening of a new building at the National Museum of the United States Air Force.[29] The Albert Boyd and Fred Ascani Research and Development Gallery contains a collection of flight test aircraft flown by test pilots such as Chilstrom to help advance the state aerospace technology.[30]

Honors[edit]

During his combat tour in World War II, Chilstrom earned the Distinguished Flying Cross, and the Air Medal with eight oak leaf clusters.[5] In 2008, he was recognized in Air Force Magazine as a famous flyer of the F-86 Sabre.[31]


Semper Fi

Jeff



#24 riflegreen297

riflegreen297
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Posted 06 January 2020 - 04:53 PM

Fantastic displays. 




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