Who doesn’t look forward to a little refresher in the fine art of arctic survival? You can see the enthusiasm written all over their faces.Classy VW Bug in front of 59th squadron ops. The alert barn is to the right with an F-89 Scorpion getting some sunshine.Goose Bay Air Base alert facility. T-33’s are lined up in the distance.Although the C-118 and C-124 are hidden by snowbanks, the melting ice tells us that summer cannot be too far off. It will be warm, just not for very long.SA-16’s of the 54th Air Rescue Squadron are dwarfed by the SAC hangars at Goose Bay. These hangars, along with many of the other such buildings in these photos, are still in use today. When one looks at these photos, it is sometimes hard to believe they were taken over six decades ago. The aircraft are long scrapped or, if lucky, in a museum. The young men are now old – most around 90 years of age – but they will remain, for a least a few moments here, forever young.
It’s the early 1960’s and the USAF is providing the taxpayers with a sample of the hardware they have available to deter anti-social behavior. We have B-52’s, the C-130, KC-135, B-58, and for the grand finale, the F-100’s of the USAF Thunderbirds. Oh, there is also a nifty two-tone 1958 Ford station wagon, and redheaded and blonde dames baking in the Nevada sun.
Flightline scenes at RCAF Station Comox in British Columbia, Canada circa 1963. No. 409 All Weather Fighter Interceptor Squadron had traded their CF-100’s for the CF-101 Voodoo and these aircraft would remain a familiar sight in Canadian skies for decades to come.
Given the A3D Skywarrior (AKA the “Whale) was the largest/heaviest plane to ever operate from an aircraft carrier, it stands to reason that if one hit the water it also made the biggest splash. A3D-2 (#138910) of Heavy Attack Four was no exception.
The aircraft was only a few months old when, on its first deployment, it encountered some unplanned excitement while landing (note hook down, speed brakes open) on the USS Ticonderoga, August 12, 1957. It went like this:
Things were looking ops normal when the aircraft bounced down on deck snagging the #3 arresting wire.
Then the damned wire broke.
Now, that busted #3 wire had held long enough to decelerate the aircraft below flying speed, but unfortunately it did not hold long enough to slow the plane’s speed to where it could stop before running out of deck.
Too fast to stop, but now also too slow to fly, the now highly agitated pilot briskly ascertained that his only available option was to fire-wall the throttles and hope for the best. However, what with the Whale’s less than amazing thrust-to-weight ratio, the outcome was never in doubt: The hapless A3D ambled off the deck and wallowed towards the waves.
The effect of a 25-ton aircraft smashing into the sea is apparent.
Having impacted the water, the crew did not loiter about the cockpit pondering what to do for the rest of the day. In fact, that decision had already been made for them: the aircraft’s nose had sheared off. Fortunately for them, policy dictated that the overhead hatch would be open for landing. What with the hatch already open, and the nose gone, egress was relatively simple if not somewhat frantic. You can see the crew floating in the Pacific Ocean sunshine with a fish-eye view of their aircraft carrier as the Ticonderoga draws abeam the wreck. Skywarrior 138910 is on its way to the bottom of the sea.