Text: Serge Van Heertum - Pictures: Patrick Brouckaert - Translation: Marc Arys  Šsbap 2021
   
(Patrick BrouckaertŠ)
 
Luke Air Force Base (ICAO: KLUF) is a United States Air Force base located 11 km west of the central business district of Glendale, in Maricopa County, Arizona. It is about 24 km west of Phoenix, Arizona.
Luke AFB is a major training base of the Air Education and Training Command (AETC) and train the pilots on the F-16 Fighting Falcon. On March 31st, 2011 it was announced that the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II would replace the F-16 as the primary training aircraft at Luke AFB, although the date of deployment of the new aircraft to Luke and reorganization plans were not confirmed. On July 16th, 2013, the Air Force announced that Luke AFB will house a total of 144 F-35A Lightning IIs and today the F-35 fleet is growing. The base area is also designated "Superfund site" due to a number of soil and groundwater contaminants.
Role and operations: Luke Air Force Base is an active-duty F-16 Fighting Falcon training base with 170 aircraft assigned. The host command at Luke is the 56th Fighter Wing, under Air Education and Training Command's 19th Air Force.
The base population includes about 7500 military members.
The host unit, the 56th Fighter Wing, is tasked to train F-35 and F-16 fighter pilots and technicians. Historically, the wing graduated more than 400 F-16 pilots and 470 crew chiefs annually. The 56th FW is composed of four groups, 27 squadrons, including six training squadrons. There are several tenant units on base, including the 944th Fighter Wing, assigned to 10th Air Force and the Air Force Reserve. The 56th Fighter Wing also trains more than 700 maintenance technicians each year.
In addition to flying and maintaining the F-16, Luke airmen also deploy to support on-going operations in Iraq, Afghanistan and to combatant commanders in other locations around the world. In 2004, more than 900 Luke AFB airmen deployed, with most supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.
The 56th Operations Group (OG) has operational control and responsibility for the entire fighter-training mission at Luke AFB. Aircraft wears the tail code: "LF".

56 Operation Group units:
21st Fighter Squadron ("The Gamblers", tailband: white & red)
61st Fighter Squadron ("Top Dogs", 1st F-35 Lightning II squadron on base, re-activated October 2013)
62nd Fighter Squadron ("Spikes", 2nd F-35 squadron on base, re-activated June 2015)
63rd Fighter Squadron ("Panthers", 3rd F-35 squadron on base, re-activated August 2016)
308th Fighter Squadron ("Emerald Knights", 4th F-35 squadron on base, re-activated December 2018)
309th Fighter Squadron ("Wild Ducks", tailband: blue & white)
310th Fighter Squadron ("Top Hats", tailband: green & yellow)
425th Fighter Squadron ("Black Widows", tailband: red & black)
607th Air Control Squadron "Rattlers"
56th Operations Support Squadron "Wizards"
56th Training Squadron
56th Maintenance Group
56th Mission Support Group
56th Medical Group

The 944th Fighter Wing is an adjunct Air Force Reserve wing to the 56th FW that trains Air Force F-16 pilots for reserve duty. It comprises the 69th Fighter Squadron ("Werewolves", tailband: black).

 
 
F-16DM-42-CF  AF89-159 from 310th FS "Tophats"
(Patrick BrouckaertŠ)
Long final for this two seater
(Patrick BrouckaertŠ)
F-16CM-42-CF  AF88-493
(Patrick BrouckaertŠ)
F-16DM-42-CF AF88-162
(Patrick BrouckaertŠ)
F-16DM-42-CF  AF88-163
(Patrick BrouckaertŠ)
F-16DM-42-CF  AF88-175
(Patrick BrouckaertŠ)
"Tophats" viper trio
(Patrick BrouckaertŠ)
F-16CM-42-CF  AF-88-505
(Patrick BrouckaertŠ)
F-16CM-42-CF  AF90-754
(Patrick BrouckaertŠ)
F-16DM-42-CF  AF90-787
(Patrick BrouckaertŠ)
310th FS "Tophats" on landing
(Patrick BrouckaertŠ)
F-16CM-42-CF AF89-120
(Patrick BrouckaertŠ)
F-16CM-42-CF  AF90-768  310th FS flagship
(Patrick BrouckaertŠ)
Lightning II duo for the break
(Patrick BrouckaertŠ)
F-35A-3I  AF13-5075 (c/n AF-81)
(Patrick BrouckaertŠ)
The Luke AFB Lightning II operated by the 308th FS "Emerald Knights"
(Patrick BrouckaertŠ)
F-35A-3I  AF13-5083 (c/n AF-89)
(Patrick BrouckaertŠ)
The KLU F-35A operates jointly with the 308th FS
(Patrick BrouckaertŠ)
F-35A KLU F-004 (c/n AN-04)
(Patrick BrouckaertŠ)
KLU F-35A are detached to the US for pilot training
(Patrick BrouckaertŠ)
F-35A-3I AF13-5072 (c/n AF-78)
(Patrick BrouckaertŠ)
5th generation fighters pair
(Patrick BrouckaertŠ)
F-35A-3I AF13-5066 (c/n AF-72)
(Patrick BrouckaertŠ)
KLU final turn after downwind
(Patrick BrouckaertŠ)
F-35A KLU F-003 (c/n AN-03)
(Patrick BrouckaertŠ)
F-35A-4  AF15-5189 (c/n AF-164) 308th FS flagship
(Patrick BrouckaertŠ)
F-35A KLU F-005 (c/n AN-05)
(Patrick BrouckaertŠ)
F-35A-3I AF13-5066 (c/n AF-72)
(Patrick BrouckaertŠ)
F-35A-2B  AF12-5066 (c/n AF-60)
(Patrick BrouckaertŠ)
F-35A-4 AF15-5185 (c/n AF-160)
(Patrick BrouckaertŠ)
Viper and Lightning
(Patrick BrouckaertŠ)
What a difference between 4th and 5th generation
(Patrick BrouckaertŠ)
F-35A-4 AF15-5164 (c/n AF-139)
(Patrick BrouckaertŠ)
AF15-5164 is operated by the 63rd FS "Panthers"
(Patrick BrouckaertŠ)
F-16A-20-CF  AF93-709
(Patrick BrouckaertŠ)
AF93-709 is operated by the 21st FS "The Gamblers"
(Patrick BrouckaertŠ)
F-16B-20-CF  AF93-828
(Patrick BrouckaertŠ)
Long final
(Patrick BrouckaertŠ)
F-16A-20-CF AF93- 721 wearing the 21st FS "Gamblers" special tail
The 21st Fighter Squadron, "The Gamblers", operate the Block 20 F-16A/B for the Republic of China Air Force, under a three-year pilot training program called 'Peace Fenghuang'. This is the only squadron at Luke Air Force Base to operate the original F-16 variant, which are unusual in being 93 fiscal year serial new build Block 20 aircraft.
(Patrick BrouckaertŠ)
Rear 3/4 view of decorated plane
(Patrick BrouckaertŠ)
F-16A-20-CF  AF93-707
(Patrick BrouckaertŠ)
F-16A-20-CF AF93-703
(Patrick BrouckaertŠ)
Long final before landing at homebase
(Patrick BrouckaertŠ)
Lightning quartet
(Patrick BrouckaertŠ)
Break...Break...Break!
(Patrick BrouckaertŠ)
F-35A-3I  AF15-5127 (c/n AF-118) from 63rd FS "Panthers"
(Patrick BrouckaertŠ)
Lightning pair on final turn
(Patrick BrouckaertŠ)
F-35A-4  AF15-5177 (c/n AF-152) "Panthers"
(Patrick BrouckaertŠ)
F-35A-4 AF15-5193 (c/n AF-168) "Panthers"
(Patrick BrouckaertŠ)
F-35A-4 AF15-5191 (c/n AF-166) "Panthers"
(Patrick BrouckaertŠ)
Viper pair arriving for a break
(Patrick BrouckaertŠ)
F-16C-52-CF  AF97-120 from 425th FS "Black Widows" 
and owned by the Singapore Air Force
(Patrick BrouckaertŠ)
F-16D-52-CF  AF96-034
(Patrick BrouckaertŠ)
425th FS flagship
(Patrick BrouckaertŠ)
The plane proudly displays the colors of Singapore on the tail
(Patrick BrouckaertŠ)
 
**********
 

Where are we?
(Patrick BrouckaertŠ)
Gate guards festival and 162 Fighter Wing
(Patrick BrouckaertŠ)
 
Tucson International Airport hosts Morris Air National Guard Airbase, known as Tucson Air National Guard Airbase prior to November 2018. A 37 hectares complex can be found on the northwest corner of the airport, this is the home of the 162nd Fighter Wing, an Air Education and Training Command (AETC)-gained unit of the Arizona Air National Guard. Military use of Tucson Airport began in 1956, when the Arizona Air National Guard activated the 152nd Fighter Interceptor Squadron, an Air Defense Command (ADC)-gained unit, which operated Korean War vintage F-86A Sabres. At that time the "Airbase" consisted of an old adobe farmhouse and a dirt-floor hangar with enough space for three aircraft. During its history, the wing has operated the F-86 Sabre, F-100 Super Sabre, F-102 Delta Dagger, A-7 Corsair II and General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon aircraft.
Today the 162nd Fighter Wing is the largest Air National Guard fighter unit in the United States, and operates over 70 F-16C/D/E/F aircraft in three squadrons. The wing's F-16s augment the active Air Force's 56th Fighter Wing at Luke AFB as a Formal Training Unit (FTU) for training Regular Air Force, Air Force Reserve Command, Air National Guard and NATO and allies' F-16 pilots.
The wing also hosts the Air National Guard / Air Force Reserve Command (ANG AFRC) Command Test Center (AATC) as a tenant unit, which conducts operational testing on behalf of the Air Reserve Component. The 162 Fighter Wing also hosts "Snowbird" operations during the winter months for Air Force, Air Force Reserve Command, and Air National Guard F-16 and Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II units from northern tier bases in the continental United States, as well as Canadian Forces and Royal Air Force flying units.
Although an AETC organization, the 162nd FW also maintains an F-16 Alert Detachment for U.S. Northern Command / NORAD and AFNORTH at nearby Davis-Monthan AFB in support of Operation Noble Eagle.
The primary mission of the 162nd Fighter Wing is education and flight training of international F-16 Fighting Falcon aircrews. In addition, the wing performs air defense and homeland protection of the United States.
Global War on Terrorism: The September 11th, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States brought immediate change to the 162nd Fighter Wing. Within hours of the first attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, the 162nd FW placed F-16 aircraft on alert status. In the days and weeks that followed, the wing met every requirement of this new air defense mission, dubbed Operation Noble Eagle, with outstanding results. Many members of the wing volunteered to support this new mission and others have stepped up and answered the president's call to "mobilize" in support of this critical mission.
The unit received its sixth Outstanding Unit Award in 2003 for mobilizing more than 300 personnel to support the North American Air Defense Command's Operation Noble Eagle, providing more than 50 personnel to support Central Command's Operation Enduring Freedom, for supporting Joint Forge, Coronet Oak, Coronet Nighthawk and providing personnel to Southern Command and European Command.
On June 27th,2004, the 162nd Fighter Wing and the United Arab Emirates initiated a unique training program. The UAE F-16 Training Program is a dedicated F-16 squadron, the 148th Fighter Squadron. The squadron will operate in the long-term with 13 F-16E/F (Block 60) aircraft. The first UAE aircraft arrived on September 2nd , 2004. Along with the homeland defense mission, the 162nd FW continues its primary mission of international F-16 pilot training. The 162nd Fighter Wing now features new modern buildings, up-to-date equipment and continually updated technology that keeps pace with its rapidly changing roles and missions.
The Iraqi government purchased 36 F-16 Fighting Falcons to help rebuild their air force. However, the security situation in Iraq made delivering the aircraft impractical. The decision was made to instead deliver eight of the fighters to Tucson and continue the Iraqi Air Force pilots' training there. The Arizona ANG's 162nd Wing was chosen to provide the training due to its already established experience with foreign students. The wing is home to pilots in training from many nations, including the Netherlands, Norway, Singapore and Japan. All the Iraqi pilots have gone through U.S. pilot training and then move to Arizona for their F-16 training. The first two Iraqi air force F-16D were delivered on December 16th, 2014.

The 162nd Fighter Wing consists of the following units:
162nd Operations Group
148th Fighter Squadron (F-16A/B Block 20 MLU)
152nd Fighter Squadron (F-16C/D Block 42)
195th Fighter Squadron (F-16C/D Block 25/32)

162nd Training Squadron
162nd Maintenance Group
162nd Mission Support Group
162nd Medical Group
214th Reconnaissance Group (MQ-1B)
Air National Guard Air Force Reserve Command Test Center (F-16C/D Block 25/32)

 
The f-16's in their sun shelters
(Patrick BrouckaertŠ)
Splendid and uncomon "Vipers" view
(Patrick BrouckaertŠ)
F-16C-32-CF  AF86-240 operated by ANG/AFRC Test Center
(Patrick BrouckaertŠ)
Amazing flightline
(Patrick BrouckaertŠ)
F-16CM-42-CF  AF89-117 operated by the 152nd FS "Tigers"
(Patrick BrouckaertŠ)
F-16CM-42-CF  AF89-002 operated by the 152nd FS "Tigers"
(Patrick BrouckaertŠ)
KLU F-16AM J-010 flagship of the 148th FS "Kickin' Ass"
(Patrick BrouckaertŠ)
KLU F-16AM J-019
(Patrick BrouckaertŠ)
KLU F-16AM J-004
(Patrick BrouckaertŠ)
KLU 148th FS Vipers arriving for a break
(Patrick BrouckaertŠ)
KLU J-019 on landing
(Patrick BrouckaertŠ)
KLU F-16BM J-067 on final
(Patrick BrouckaertŠ)
F-16D-42-CF  AF88-173
(Patrick BrouckaertŠ)
Last hope point in the heat of the Arizona desert
(Patrick BrouckaertŠ)
A Viper trio taxiing to the holding point
(Patrick BrouckaertŠ)
F-16C-32-CF  AF87-317 operated by the 195th FS "Warhawks"
(Patrick BrouckaertŠ)
F-16C-32-CF  AF88-333 flagship of the 195th FS "Warhawks"
(Patrick BrouckaertŠ)
Boeing 747-267B  N787RR (c/n 21966) owned by Rolls-Royce North America since June 2005 as RR engines testbed. This plane is more than 41 years old!
(Patrick BrouckaertŠ)
Swearingen RC-26B AF92-0372 operated by the 162nd Fighting Wing
(Patrick BrouckaertŠ)
Beechcraft 200 Super King Air  N801NA (c/n BB-1164)
NASA - National Aeronautics & Space Administration
(Patrick BrouckaertŠ)
Boeing B-17G Flying Fortress  N3701G (c/n 44-8543A) "Ye Olde Pub"
The Charlie Brown and Franz Stigler incident occurred on December 20th, 1943, when, after a successful bomb run on Bremen, 2nd Lt Charles "Charlie" Brown's B-17 Flying Fortress named "Ye Olde Pub" was severely damaged by German fighters. 
Luftwaffe pilot Franz Stigler had the opportunity to shoot down the crippled bomber but did not do so, and instead escorted it over and past 
German-occupied territory so as to protect it. 
After an extensive search by Brown, the two pilots met each other 50 years later and developed a friendship that lasted until Stigler's death in March 2008. Brown died only a few months later, in November of the same year.
(Patrick BrouckaertŠ)
Another view of N3701G
(Patrick BrouckaertŠ)
North American T-28A Trojan N192G (former N1920G) (c/n 159-79)
(Patrick BrouckaertŠ)
Fuel stop for this amazing rotary wing
(Patrick BrouckaertŠ)
Super Stalion in the Arizona sunset
(Patrick BrouckaertŠ)
Sikorsky CH-53E Super Stallion code EN-06 from US Marines Corps HMH-464 "Condors" New River MCAS
(Patrick BrouckaertŠ)
 
 **********
 
(Patrick BrouckaertŠ)
  
Davis-Monthan Air Force Base (ICAO: KDMA) is a United States Air Force base located at 8.0 km south-southeast of downtown Tucson, Arizona. It was established in 1925 as Davis-Monthan Landing Field. The host unit for Davis-Monthan AFB is the 355th Wing assigned to Twelfth Air Force, part of Air Combat Command (ACC). The base is best known as the location of the Air Force Materiel Command's 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group (309 AMARG), the aircraft boneyard for all excess military and U.S. government aircraft and aerospace vehicles.
The 47th Fighter Squadron is an Air Force Reserve Command unit based at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona, where it flies Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft and is assigned to the 442d Operations Group.
After many changes in the organization and some deactivation and reactivation, On March 1, 2014, the 47th stood up again on March 1st, 2014as a U.S. Air Force Reserve A-10 formal training unit under the 924th Fighter Group and based at Davis-Monthan AFB, Arizona, as part of the 944th Fighter Wing. The 47th Fighter Squadron conducts advanced A-10 Thunderbolt II training.

Mission: Train, educate, and mentor the world's finest attack pilots for the Combat Air Forces while honing the core competencies of A/OA-10 instruction, operations management and aircrew life support. To further develop the leaders, wingmen and warriors at all ranks to meet the challenges of leading our service today and into our future.

  
The 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group (309th AMARG), often called The Boneyard, is a United States Air Force aircraft and missile storage and maintenance facility in Tucson, Arizona, located on Davis-Monthan Air Force Base. The 309th AMARG was previously Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Center, and the Military Aircraft Storage and Disposition Center, and its predecessor was established after World War II as the 3040th Aircraft Storage Group.
The 309th AMARG takes care of nearly 4,000 aircraft, which makes it the largest aircraft storage and preservation facility in the world. An Air Force Materiel Command unit, the group is under the command of the Ogden Air Logistics Complex at Hill Air Force Base, Utah. The 309th AMARG was originally meant to store excess Department of Defense and Coast Guard aircraft, but has in recent years been designated the sole repository of out-of-service aircraft from all branches of the US government. The arid climate of the region makes the 309th AMARG an ideal location for storing aircraft, as there is very low humidity level in the air that would corrode metal.

The four storage procedures:
- Long Term (Storage type 1000): Aircraft are kept intact for future use
- Parts Reclamation (Storage type 2000): Aircraft are kept, picked apart and used for spare parts
- Flying Hold (Storage type 3000): Aircraft are kept intact for shorter stays than Long Term
- Excess of DoD needs (Storage type 4000): Aircraft are sold off whole or in parts
An aircraft going into storage undergoes the following treatments:
- Ejection seat charges and classified hardware are removed.
- All aircraft are carefully washed with fresh water to remove environment residue and then allowed to dry.
- The fuel system is protected by draining it, refilling it with lightweight oil, running engines to coat fuel system plumbing and engines, and then draining it again. This leaves a protective oil film.
- The aircraft is sealed from dust, sunlight, and high temperatures. This is done using a variety of materials, including a high tech vinyl plastic compound that is sprayed on the aircraft. This compound is called Spraylat after its producer the Spraylat Corporation, and is applied in two coats, a black coat that seals the aircraft and a white coat that reflects the sun and helps to keep internal temperatures low. The plane is then towed by a tug to its designated "storage" position.
On average the Group annually receives 300 aircraft for storage and processes out about the same number (with 50 to 100 of those returning to flying service). Aircraft that fly again either return to the U.S. Military services, U.S. government agencies (such as the U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Forest Service, and NASA) or are sold to allied governments under the Foreign Military Sales program.
Of course the US Congress determines what equipment may be sold to which customer.
AMARG employs around 700 people (approximately 500 DoD civil servants, and 200 contractors). The 11 km2 facility is adjacent to the Davis-Monthan Airbase. On average, AMARG annually returns approximately $500 million worth of spare parts to military, government and allied customers.

  
A-10C  AF79-145
(Patrick BrouckaertŠ)
The underside of the "War Beast"
(Patrick BrouckaertŠ)
A pair on approach
(Patrick BrouckaertŠ)
A-10C AF79-120
(Patrick BrouckaertŠ)
A-10C AF79-142
(Patrick BrouckaertŠ)
The A-10 remain a real amazing flying machine
(Patrick BrouckaertŠ)
A-10C AF80-160
(Patrick BrouckaertŠ)
A-10C AF79-197
(Patrick BrouckaertŠ)
A-10C AF80-146
(Patrick BrouckaertŠ)
A-10C AF79-094
(Patrick BrouckaertŠ)
"Warthog" pair on final
(Patrick BrouckaertŠ)
A-10C AF79-094 for a second circuit
(Patrick BrouckaertŠ)

A-10C AF79-150 during a tight turn
(Patrick BrouckaertŠ)
A-10C AF79-151 & A-10C AF80-160
(Patrick BrouckaertŠ)
Long final for A-10C AF79-094 & A-10C AF80-160
(Patrick BrouckaertŠ)
A-10C AF80-160
(Patrick BrouckaertŠ)
Aerial view of Davis Monthan AFB
(Patrick BrouckaertŠ)
The A-10's in their sun shelters
(Patrick BrouckaertŠ)
A-10's at the holding point : 1 taxiing, 2 awaiting clearancenand 3 on take-off
(Patrick BrouckaertŠ)
The 55th AW apron showing 6 EC-130H Compass Call
(41st ECS - 42nd ECS - 43rd ECS)
(Patrick BrouckaertŠ)
USFS (United States Forest Services) HC-130H n°119 taken out of the boneyards
A/c data's: (S/N USCG 1719) (c/n 382-5107) (c/c N119Z)
(Patrick BrouckaertŠ)
(Patrick BrouckaertŠ)
A large choice of P-3 "Orion"
(Patrick BrouckaertŠ)
Do you prefer second hand "Hercules"
(Patrick BrouckaertŠ)
The special transport department is waiting for you
(Patrick BrouckaertŠ)
Some "Galaxy" at disposal
(Patrick BrouckaertŠ)
Fighters and bombers area
(Patrick BrouckaertŠ)
Some of them will maybe have a second life
(Patrick BrouckaertŠ)
Boeing KC-135's
(Patrick BrouckaertŠ)
A trio of Martin WB-57F Canberra
(Patrick BrouckaertŠ)
Antother general view of this incredible place in hand of the 309 AMARG
(Patrick BrouckaertŠ)
C-130's and KC-135's
(Patrick BrouckaertŠ)
Some more "Hercules"
(Patrick BrouckaertŠ)
Boeing B-52s wil be scraped
(Patrick BrouckaertŠ)
"Buff's" geometrical figures...
(Patrick BrouckaertŠ)
Other view of strategic bombers of the cold war and the Vietnam war
(Patrick BrouckaertŠ)
Some US Coast Guards aircraft are also stored there
(Patrick BrouckaertŠ)
C-5's "Galaxy"
(Patrick BrouckaertŠ)
B-1 bombers...for sale?
(Patrick BrouckaertŠ)
From the smallest to the largest
(Patrick BrouckaertŠ)
Martin B-57 Canberra quartet
(Patrick BrouckaertŠ)
Fighters shopping corner: F-15's, F-16's and A-10's
(Patrick BrouckaertŠ)
Navy and / or Marines Corps rotary wings
(Patrick BrouckaertŠ)
No other words than...waouw!
(Patrick BrouckaertŠ)
When the "Vikings" meet the "Sherpa's"
(Patrick BrouckaertŠ)
The center line showing some historical relics
(Patrick BrouckaertŠ)
Enjoy the recognition game...
(Patrick BrouckaertŠ)
...and sent us a mail with all the names ;-)
(Patrick BrouckaertŠ)
Beechcraft T-34 Mentor
(Patrick BrouckaertŠ)
Skyhawk's !
(Patrick BrouckaertŠ)
He will fly much worser eh?
(Patrick BrouckaertŠ)
"Viper's" in promotion
(Patrick BrouckaertŠ)
No less than 60 "Hercules" on one picture
(Patrick BrouckaertŠ)
A navy specific area...
(Patrick BrouckaertŠ)
...with Hawkeye and Tracker's
(Patrick BrouckaertŠ)
Another historical aircraft area
(Patrick BrouckaertŠ)
"Goose", "Carribou" etc...
(Patrick BrouckaertŠ)
(Patrick BrouckaertŠ)

A few F-16's on standby phase and the visitor apron
(Patrick BrouckaertŠ)
Intersting birds on the parking
(Patrick BrouckaertŠ)
Some more down to earth views: C-5 "Galaxy" and C-9 "Nightingale"
(Patrick BrouckaertŠ)
Rockwell B-1B Lancer
(Patrick BrouckaertŠ)
A small part of the stored C-130's
(Patrick BrouckaertŠ)
Lockheed P-3 "Orion" and C-130 "Hercules"
(Patrick BrouckaertŠ)
 
**********
 
General view of the museum
(Patrick BrouckaertŠ)
 

The Pima Air & Space Museum, located in Tucson, Arizona, is one of the world's largest non-government funded aerospace museums. The museum features a display of nearly 300 aircraft spread out over 320000 m˛. It has also been the home to the Arizona Aviation Hall of Fame since 1991.
The concept for the Pima Air & Space Museum began in 1966 during the celebration of the 25th Anniversary of the creation of the United States Air Force. Earlier the commanders of Davis-Monthan Air Force Base and the Military Aircraft Storage and Disposition Center (MASDC) the forerunner to today's 309th Aircraft Maintenance and Regeneration Group (309 AMARG) recognized that the historic World War II and 1950s era aircraft stored on the base were rapidly disappearing into smelters and that the flames were consuming not just metal, but the aviation heritage of the country. On their own initiative, base officials began to set aside examples of the many types of aircraft stored in MASDC's yards. These planes were placed along the base's fence line so that the public could see them through the fence. The display quickly became very popular with the local community but viewing the aircraft through the fence was somewhat unsatisfying.
In 1966, Colonel I. R. Perkin, the commander of MASDC joined with members of the Tucson chapter of the Air Force Association to found the Tucson Air Museum Foundation of Pima County whose goal was to create a publicly accessible museum based around the aircraft already collected on the base. The Foundation received the enthusiastic backing of the Pima County Board of Supervisors and the County Department of Parks and Recreation.
On September 11, 1968, United States Representative Morris K. Udall presented the land to Pima County on behalf of the BLM. Before the aircraft set aside for the museum could be moved to the new site the area had to be prepared to meet the requirements of the United States Air Force Museum.
The first major Acquisition: It was during 1969, that the Foundation made its first major acquisition from outside of Tucson. That year the government of the Republic of India retired the last operational Consolidated B-24 Liberators in the world. One of the Foundation's leaders, Lt. Colonel Rhodes Arnold wrote to the Chief of the Indian Air Staff in New Delhi, asking that one of the rare bombers be donated to the museum. Much to everyone's surprise the Indian government agreed, as long as the Foundation paid all the costs of delivery. On March 22, 1969 after several months of gathering sponsors and fund raising, a volunteer U.S. Air Force crew arrived in India to pick up the Liberator. After stops in the Middle East, Europe, Canada, and back at the factory in Fort Worth, Texas where it had been built, the B-24 arrived in Tucson on April 27, 1969, thirty-one days and 11,000 miles after leaving India.
Meanwhile, preparations for the move to the new museum site continued, but it was not until 1973 that the museum was ready for inspection and certification by the Air Force Museum. The first thirty-five aircraft began moving to the new museum from MASDC in August 1973. Around this time the Foundation acquired the last of the World War II barracks buildings at Davis-Monthan and transported it to the museum to house small displays. Over the next two years more planes joined the collection and by 1975 approximately 50 aircraft, helicopters, and missiles had been gathered. It was decided to open the museum in 1976 as a part of the celebration of the United States Bicentennial, and on May 8th , 1976 the museum's gates opened to the public.

(Patrick BrouckaertŠ) (Patrick BrouckaertŠ)
(Patrick BrouckaertŠ) (Patrick BrouckaertŠ)
(Patrick BrouckaertŠ) (Patrick BrouckaertŠ)
(Patrick BrouckaertŠ) (Patrick BrouckaertŠ)
Simply incredible the number of exhibited aicraft... Worth a visit, don't you think ?
For more information... Click on the picture
(Patrick BrouckaertŠ)
 

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