Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Century Series

North American 's F-100 Super Sabre was the first jet fighter capable of breaking the sound barrier in level flight. Though a bit long in the tooth by the time they were deployed, the F-100 fulfilled many roles in the skies over Vietnam, from fighter to bomber to fast-FAC. Here's Selfridge's F-100D, #56-025.

Selfridge also has a two-seat F-100F, a two-seat version of the D-model that was used primarily as a trainer but also as a Misty FAC (Forward Air Controller) and a Wild Weasel (Anti-Aircraft Suppression) aircaft in Vietnam.242 of these aircraft were lost in Vietnam, including 14 from Air Guard units.

McDonnell Douglas RF-101C Voodoo, the first supersonic photo recon jet. It was this type that gave us looks into Cuba during the 1961 Cuban Missile Crisis.
Back end of the Voodoo, with the F-100D in the background.

Convair TF-102A. This is the two-seat version of the Delta Dagger, a bomber interceptor. This one was built as a trainer, and in fact, this one, ##041351, was the very first one so built.

The F-102 was the first jet fighter to be built without guns, relying on missiles alone for aerial combat. Yeah, that worked out well. Guns were eventually put back again in the F-4 Phantoms after it became clear that this had been a really dumb idea.Over 1,000 F-102s were built, and these also flew in Vietnam as fighters and bomber escorts and Forward Air Controllers. 15 were lost there. George W. Bush flew one of these with the Texas Air Guard. He did not get sent to Vietnam, but he could have, and for assuming the risk and doing his part for our country, he earned my respect.

And here's Convair's F-106 Delta Dart. This interceptor, a redesign of the F-102, was the last dedicated interceptor built and they sat on alert, ready to intercept Russian bombers, until they were replaced in 1981 by the F-15C. They served with Air Guard units until 1988, and then the remaining aircraft were converted to target drones, the last of which was destroyed in 1998. It could hit Mach 2 and was also the first aircraft designed with a guidance system that would automatically fly the aircraft to the target, line it up and fire the weapons, then return the aircraft to it's base, in theory only requiring the pilot for take-offs and landings. Pilots reportedly loved this aircraft for the way it flew, and that despite the fact that it was initially delivered with an ejection seat so dangerous that it killed the first twelve pilots to eject from these aircraft.
For some reason I only have one picture of this aircraft, despite it being a favorite of mine. Not sure how that happened. I guess I'll have to go back later and take more.


  1. In re: your comment about guns being brought back with the F-4. It was always my understanding (which, admittedly, may be wrong) that the F-4 could carry a Gatling gun in a center mounted external pod but had no internally mounted guns.

  2. Early Phantoms had no guns but later versions had them factory installed. Perhaps a certain fighter jock that comes around these parts can chime in with the details.

  3. RE F-100 The Colorado Air Guard flew these. When the unit was activated and sent to Vietnam two Denver based airlines had severe scheduling problems; half of their pilots were in the Guard. There is an excellent section in the Wings Over the Rockies Museum at the Old Lowry Base in Denver dedicated to the Colorado Air Guard.