Nose, McDonnell RF-101C Voodoo

Nose, McDonnell RF-101C Voodoo

     

RF-101A/C aircraft of the 363rd Tactical Reconnaissance Wing flew vital reconnaissance missions over Cuba during the Missile Crisis of October 1962, confirming and then monitoring the Soviet missile buildup on that island. The first missions over Cuba took place on October 23, 1962, and 15 pilots from the 363rd were awarded Distinguished Flying Crosses during that action. President Kennedy personally presented the 363rd with the Presidential Unit Citation after the crisis had been averted.

Transferred from the Military Aircraft Storage & Disposition Center.

Physical Description:
Extended nose section and cockpit with reconnaissance array.

Country of Origin
United States of America

Manufacturer
McDonnell Aircraft Corp.

Date
1955

Type
CRAFT-Aircraft Parts

Dimensions
6ft x 23ft (1.829m x 7.01m)

In January 1953, the USAF had asked the McDonnell Aircraft Corporation to develop an unarmed photographic reconnaissance version of the F-101A to replace the Republic RF-84F Thunderflash. While under construction, the 16th and 17th F-101A airframes (54-149 and 54-150) were set aside for conversion to this unarmed photographic reconnaissance configuration under the designation YRF-101A.

These aircraft retained the J57-P-13 engines of the original fighter-bomber version but had a redesigned and significantly longer nose. Within the extension were four cameras designed for low-altitude photography. In addition, two high-altitude cameras were mounted behind the cockpit where the ammunition containers for the fighter version were located. The dual-mode inflight refueling system was retained, but the internal fuel tank arrangement was redesigned resulting in a fuel capacity of 2250 gallon--slightly less than the fighter version.

The first YRF-101A flew on June 30, 1955. Thirty-five production versions were built under the designation RF-101A. The RF-101A became the USAF's first supersonic photographic reconnaissance aircraft. The first RF-101A was delivered to the 17th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron of the 363rd Tactical Reconnaissance Wing at Shaw AFB in South Carolina on 6 May 1957 as a replacement for the subsonic RF-84F. The last RF-101A was delivered in October 1957.

Following the delivery of the 35th RF-101A, production switched over to the RF-101C version. During that run, 166 were built. The RF-101A was compatible with both types of midair refueling that were in use at the time. There was a retractable refueling probe in the nose that fit the probe-and-drogue system used by KB-50J, and a refueling receptacle behind the pilot's cockpit to accept the flying boom of the KC-97 and KC-135 tanker aircraft.

The photographic cameras carried by the RF-101A consisted of a long focal-length Fairchild KA-1 framing camera, one vertical and two side-oblique Fairchild KA-2 framing cameras, and one CAI KA-18 strip camera. The nose system had a battery-powered elevator that lowered the cameras to assist in retrieving the bulky film packs. When the cameras were not installed, the wedge-shaped nose provided excess stowage space for cargo or personal effects.

On November 27, 1957, four RF-101As undertook "Operation Sun-Run" and set several new transcontinental speed records. They took off from Ontario, California and flew to McGuire AFB in New Jersey, being refueled in flight by KC-135As. Two of the aircraft landed at McGuire, while the other two flew back to California and landed at March AFB. During the flight, 1Lt Gustav Klatt set a new eastbound coast-to-coast record of 3 hours 7 minutes 43 seconds (average speed of 781.7 mph). Captain Robert Sweet set a new westbound coast-to-coast record of 3 hours 36 minutes, 33 seconds (average speed of 677.7 mph) as well as a new Los Angeles-New York-Los Angeles round trip record of 6 hours 46 minutes 36 seconds (average speed of 721.85 mph). In December 1957, an RF-101A flew from Tachikawa AFB, Japan to Hickam AFB, Hawaii in 6 hours 3 minutes to set a new point-to-point speed record.

RF-101A/C aircraft of the 363rd Tactical Reconnaissance Wing flew vital reconnaissance missions over Cuba during the Missile Crisis of October 1962, confirming and then monitoring the Soviet missile buildup on that island. The first missions over Cuba took place on October 23, 1962, and 15 pilots from the 363rd were awarded Distinguished Flying Crosses during that action. President Kennedy personally presented the 363rd with the Presidential Unit Citation after the crisis had been averted.

The F/RF-101A had the distinction of having the lowest first-year accident of any operational fighter in USAF history.

Beginning in November 1959, former USAF RF-101As were operated by the Chinese Nationalist Air Force. A total of eight RF-101As were acquired by the Nationalist Chinese under a project code-named "Operation Boom Town" and were used for routine photographic reconnaissance work as well as for making covert spy flights over the mainland. The mainland government claims to have shot down two of these aircraft. The last CNAF RF-101A was retired in the late 1970s. One CNAF RF-101A (54-1505, Chinese serial number 5660) is preserved in a museum on Taiwan.

By June of 1970, accidents, cannibalization, and transfers had depleted the active USAF fleet to 14 RF-101As. Six of these were being used exclusively for training. During the following year, all of the remaining RF-101As were retired from USAF service.

The NASM has collected the forward fuselage section of USAF Ser. #56-119. This Voodoo set several speed records in 1959, served in the European theater, and had a distinguished service record during the Vietnam War.

Length: 23' 0"

Width: 6' 0"

(nose section and cockpit only)

Reference and Further Reading:

Francillon, Rene J., McDonnell Douglas Aircraft Since 1920: Volume II, Naval Institute Press, 1990.

Swanborough, Gordon, and Peter M. Bowers, United States Military Aircraft Since 1909, Smithsonian, 1989.

Angelucci, Enzo, and Peter Bowers,The American Fighter, Orion, 1987.

Dorr, Robert F., and David Donald, Fighters of the United States Air Force, Temple Press Aerospace, 1990.

Wagner, Ray, American Combat Planes, Third Enlarged Edition, Doubleday, 1982.

Knaack, Marcelle S., Post-World War II Fighters, 1945-1973, Office of Air Force History, 1986.

Dorr, Robert F., McDonnell F-88/F-101 Voodoo Variant Briefing, Wings of Fame, Vol 1, 1996.

see also the following WEB site: http://home.att.net/~jbaugher1/f101_7.html.

McDonnell RF-101C Voodoo curatorial file, Aeronautics Division, National Air and Space Museum.

DAD, 11-11-01

RF-101A/C aircraft of the 363rd Tactical Reconnaissance Wing flew vital reconnaissance missions over Cuba during the Missile Crisis of October 1962, confirming and then monitoring the Soviet missile buildup on that island. The first missions over Cuba took place on October 23, 1962, and 15 pilots from the 363rd were awarded Distinguished Flying Crosses during that action. President Kennedy personally presented the 363rd with the Presidential Unit Citation after the crisis had been averted.

Transferred from the Military Aircraft Storage & Disposition Center.

Physical Description:
Extended nose section and cockpit with reconnaissance array.

Country of Origin
United States of America

Manufacturer
McDonnell Aircraft Corp.

Date
1955

Type
CRAFT-Aircraft Parts

Dimensions
6ft x 23ft (1.829m x 7.01m)

In January 1953, the USAF had asked the McDonnell Aircraft Corporation to develop an unarmed photographic reconnaissance version of the F-101A to replace the Republic RF-84F Thunderflash. While under construction, the 16th and 17th F-101A airframes (54-149 and 54-150) were set aside for conversion to this unarmed photographic reconnaissance configuration under the designation YRF-101A.

These aircraft retained the J57-P-13 engines of the original fighter-bomber version but had a redesigned and significantly longer nose. Within the extension were four cameras designed for low-altitude photography. In addition, two high-altitude cameras were mounted behind the cockpit where the ammunition containers for the fighter version were located. The dual-mode inflight refueling system was retained, but the internal fuel tank arrangement was redesigned resulting in a fuel capacity of 2250 gallon--slightly less than the fighter version.

The first YRF-101A flew on June 30, 1955. Thirty-five production versions were built under the designation RF-101A. The RF-101A became the USAF's first supersonic photographic reconnaissance aircraft. The first RF-101A was delivered to the 17th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron of the 363rd Tactical Reconnaissance Wing at Shaw AFB in South Carolina on 6 May 1957 as a replacement for the subsonic RF-84F. The last RF-101A was delivered in October 1957.

Following the delivery of the 35th RF-101A, production switched over to the RF-101C version. During that run, 166 were built. The RF-101A was compatible with both types of midair refueling that were in use at the time. There was a retractable refueling probe in the nose that fit the probe-and-drogue system used by KB-50J, and a refueling receptacle behind the pilot's cockpit to accept the flying boom of the KC-97 and KC-135 tanker aircraft.

The photographic cameras carried by the RF-101A consisted of a long focal-length Fairchild KA-1 framing camera, one vertical and two side-oblique Fairchild KA-2 framing cameras, and one CAI KA-18 strip camera. The nose system had a battery-powered elevator that lowered the cameras to assist in retrieving the bulky film packs. When the cameras were not installed, the wedge-shaped nose provided excess stowage space for cargo or personal effects.

On November 27, 1957, four RF-101As undertook "Operation Sun-Run" and set several new transcontinental speed records. They took off from Ontario, California and flew to McGuire AFB in New Jersey, being refueled in flight by KC-135As. Two of the aircraft landed at McGuire, while the other two flew back to California and landed at March AFB. During the flight, 1Lt Gustav Klatt set a new eastbound coast-to-coast record of 3 hours 7 minutes 43 seconds (average speed of 781.7 mph). Captain Robert Sweet set a new westbound coast-to-coast record of 3 hours 36 minutes, 33 seconds (average speed of 677.7 mph) as well as a new Los Angeles-New York-Los Angeles round trip record of 6 hours 46 minutes 36 seconds (average speed of 721.85 mph). In December 1957, an RF-101A flew from Tachikawa AFB, Japan to Hickam AFB, Hawaii in 6 hours 3 minutes to set a new point-to-point speed record.

RF-101A/C aircraft of the 363rd Tactical Reconnaissance Wing flew vital reconnaissance missions over Cuba during the Missile Crisis of October 1962, confirming and then monitoring the Soviet missile buildup on that island. The first missions over Cuba took place on October 23, 1962, and 15 pilots from the 363rd were awarded Distinguished Flying Crosses during that action. President Kennedy personally presented the 363rd with the Presidential Unit Citation after the crisis had been averted.

The F/RF-101A had the distinction of having the lowest first-year accident of any operational fighter in USAF history.

Beginning in November 1959, former USAF RF-101As were operated by the Chinese Nationalist Air Force. A total of eight RF-101As were acquired by the Nationalist Chinese under a project code-named "Operation Boom Town" and were used for routine photographic reconnaissance work as well as for making covert spy flights over the mainland. The mainland government claims to have shot down two of these aircraft. The last CNAF RF-101A was retired in the late 1970s. One CNAF RF-101A (54-1505, Chinese serial number 5660) is preserved in a museum on Taiwan.

By June of 1970, accidents, cannibalization, and transfers had depleted the active USAF fleet to 14 RF-101As. Six of these were being used exclusively for training. During the following year, all of the remaining RF-101As were retired from USAF service.

The NASM has collected the forward fuselage section of USAF Ser. #56-119. This Voodoo set several speed records in 1959, served in the European theater, and had a distinguished service record during the Vietnam War.

Length: 23' 0"

Width: 6' 0"

(nose section and cockpit only)

Reference and Further Reading:

Francillon, Rene J., McDonnell Douglas Aircraft Since 1920: Volume II, Naval Institute Press, 1990.

Swanborough, Gordon, and Peter M. Bowers, United States Military Aircraft Since 1909, Smithsonian, 1989.

Angelucci, Enzo, and Peter Bowers,The American Fighter, Orion, 1987.

Dorr, Robert F., and David Donald, Fighters of the United States Air Force, Temple Press Aerospace, 1990.

Wagner, Ray, American Combat Planes, Third Enlarged Edition, Doubleday, 1982.

Knaack, Marcelle S., Post-World War II Fighters, 1945-1973, Office of Air Force History, 1986.

Dorr, Robert F., McDonnell F-88/F-101 Voodoo Variant Briefing, Wings of Fame, Vol 1, 1996.

see also the following WEB site: http://home.att.net/~jbaugher1/f101_7.html.

McDonnell RF-101C Voodoo curatorial file, Aeronautics Division, National Air and Space Museum.

DAD, 11-11-01

ID: A19810190000