T-29 Flying Classroom

T-29″Flying Classroom”
T-29, Flying Classroom
The C-131/T-29 is a USAF transport version of the Convair 240/340/440 series commercial airliners. The first Samaritan, a C-131A derived from the Convair 240, was delivered to the Air Force in 1954. It was similar to the T-29 (Flying Classroom) trainer (also based on the Convair 240) flown by the USAF since 1949 to instruct navigators, bombardiers and radio operators. A total of 472 of these aircraft were built. The first T-29A made its initial flight on 22 September, 1949 at Lindburg Field in San Diego CA. The cabin has fourteen fully-equipped stations for students or instructors and one radio-operator’s station. Each student has access to a map table, Loran scope, altimeter, and radio compass panel. In the roof of the fuselage are four astrodomes through which students can take sights with sextants. Five drift meters are also included. The production order for 48 unpressurized T-29A models followed the flight. There were 105 T-29B and 119 T-29C aircraft models built. The T-29B and C model fuselages were pressurized. The distinctive feature of the T-29D (first of the 93 purchased was flown in August 1953) was the installation of the K system bomb sight and camera scoring capability. Some T-29s also saw duty as staff transports. The C-131 was acquired primarily for medical evacuation and personnel transportation. A few C-131s were used for training and testing. In fact, the first prototype of the Southeast Asia vintage side-firing “Gunship” program used the C-131 airframe. Fifteen C-131Es were built in 1956 and 1957 for use as electronic countermeasures trainers by SAC. SAC also used the aircraft for administrative support purposes. Nearly all of the USAF’s C-131s were inactivated in the late 1970s, but a few were still serving in Air National Guard units in the mid-1980s. Its principal mission was the transportation of personnel and its last assignment was with the South Dakota Air National Guard.

Convair built a total of 472 T-29/C-131 aircraft for the USAF. Breakout is as follows:









Length: 74 ft. 8 in.
Height: 26 ft. 11 in.
Weight: 43,575 lbs. loaded
Armament: None
Engines: Two Pratt & Whitney R-2800-97/-99W of 2,500 hp.ea. with water/alcohol injection
Crew: Four plus 14/16/2 stations for student navigators
Cost: $635,000 Approx.
Serial number: T-29A: 49-1910/1945 50-183/194 T-29B: 51-3795/3816: -5114/5172:-7892/7917 T-29C: 52-2091/1175: 53-3461/3495 T-29D: 52-1176/1185: -5812/5836: -9976/9980: 53-3495/3546

Maximum speed: 296/299 mph.
Cruising speed: 248/286 mph.
Range: 1,500/760 miles
Service Ceiling: 23,500/24,000 ft.

F-94 Starfire

F-94 “Starfire”
F-94, StarfireThe two-seat F-94 was this nation’s first operational jet all-weather interceptor. It was developed from the single-seat F-80 Shooting Star which had been the Army Air Forces’ first operational jet aircraft procured in significant quantities. Although the F-94 had a redesigned fuselage, it used the F-80 tail, wing, and landing gear. The Starfire was also the first U.S. production jet to have an afterburner, which provided brief periods of additional engine thrust. It was equipped with radar in the nose to permit the observer in the rear seat to locate an enemy aircraft at night or in poor weather. The pilot then flew the Starfire into proper position for an attack based upon the observer’s radar indications. F-94s were primarily deployed for the defense of the United States in the early 1950s, serving with Air Defense Command squadrons. Many Air National Guard units were later equipped with F-94s. Lockheed produced 853 F-94s for the Air Force, beginning in December 1949. Of these, 110 were F-94As and 355 were F-94Bs.

Span: 38 ft. 9 in.
Length: 40 ft. 1 in.
Height: 12 ft. 2 in.
Weight: 15,330 lbs. maximum<
Armament: Four .50-cal. machine guns
Engines: Allison J33-A-33 of 6,000 lbs. thrust with afterburner
Cost: $258,000

Maximum speed: 630 mph
Cruising speed: 520 mph
Range: 930 miles
Service ceiling: 42,750 ft.

F-89 Scorpion

F-89 “Scorpion”
F-89, Scorpion
The F-89 was a twin-engine, all-weather fighter-interceptor designed to locate, intercept, and destroy enemy aircraft by day or night under all types of weather conditions. It carried a pilot in the forward cockpit and a radar operator in the rear who guided the pilot into the proper attack position. The first F-89 made its initial flight in August 1948 and deliveries to the Air Force began in July 1950. Northrop produced 1,050 F-89s. The aircraft were used to train radar observers at Connally AFB, TX. On July 19, 1957, a Genie test rocket was fired from an F-89J, the first time in history that an air-to-air rocket with a nuclear warhead was launched and detonated. Three hundred and fifty F-89Ds were converted to “J” models which became the Air Defense Command’s first fighter-interceptor to carry nuclear armament. The Scorpion on display at the U.S. Air Force Museum (from the Maine Air National Guard in July 1969) was the last F-89 aircraft remaining in service with an operational unit. It is painted as an F-89J assigned to the 449th Fighter Interceptor Squadron at Ladd AFB (Fairbanks), Alaska in the late 1950s and carries insignia red arctic markings.

Span: 59 ft. 10 in.
Length: 53 ft. 8 in.
Height: 17 ft. 6 in.
Weight: 47,700 lbs. loaded
Engines: Two Allison J35s turbojets of 7,200 lbs. thrust each with afterburner
Armament: Two AIR-2A Genie air-to-air rockets with nuclear warheads plus four AIM-4C Falcon missiles
Crew: Two
Cost: $1,009,000

Maximum speed: 627 mph
Cruising speed: 465 mph
Range: 1,600 miles
Service Ceiling: 45,000 ft

B-25 Mitchell

B-25 “Mitchell”
B-25, Mitchell
By late 1945, the B-25 Mitchell outnumbered all other medium USAF bombers in service. During the immediate post-war years, the Air Force stripped the combat equipment from many B-25s. The Air Force used them as pilot trainers for many years thereafter, before removing the last in January 1959. TB-25K was the designation for 117 B-25Js converted as trainers for the E-1 fire control system operators. The Hughes Tool Company of Culver City, California earned the initial contract, (circa 1950), to convert 12 prototypes. Later, the Air Force expanded the contract to 117 aircraft. For the conversion, all military equipment was removed, and a radome was fitted in the front of the transparent nose. The instrumentation for the radar equipment was housed inside a modified bomb bay, and monitoring equipment for one instructor and the students was installed in the aft fuselage. An astrodome was installed above the navigator’s compartment.¬†After successful completion of the TB-25K contract, Hughes was awarded another contract for the modification of 25 B-25Js with the designation TB-25M. The TB-25M was a modified TB-25L aircraft, and were essentially the same as the K model except for a more advanced E-5 fire control system. Deliveries began in 1952. In the post-war years, the Air National Guard inherited the B-25s. A few TB-25Ns served with ANG squadrons as weather reconnaissance and personnel transports.

Span: 67 ft. 6.7 in.
Length: 53 ft. 5.75 in.
Height: 16 ft. 4.2 in.
Weight: 21,100 lbs. empty, 33,000 pounds normal loaded, 35,000 pounds gross, 41,800 pounds maximum overload. The fuel capacity consisted of four tanks in the inner wing panels, with a total capacity of 670 US gallons.
Engines: Two Wright R-2600-13 Double Cyclone fourteen-cylinder air-cooled radials, rated at 1700 hp each for takeoff and 1500 hp at 2400 rpm. Equipped with Holley 1685HA carburetors or Bendix Stromberg carburetors.
Maximum speed: 275 mph at 15,000 feet
Cruising Speed: 230 mph cruising speed
Initial Climb Rate: 1110 feet per minute. 15,000 in 19 minutes.
Service Ceiling: 24,000 feet Range: 1275 miles with 3200 pounds of bombs
Ferry Range: 2700 miles