My last post with photos from my recent trip to the Museum of Aviation at Robins AFB featured aircraft from the Vietnam War era; this post features aircraft from the World War II and Korean War eras. Some of these aircraft are in the museum’s main building and others are in the Robert Scott Hangar behind the main building.
The museum’s PT-17 Kaydet (42-16365) is one of two trainer aircraft hanging in the atrium of the Museum of Aviation’s main building. If you look up as you enter, it’s one of the first aircraft you see. The Kaydet was the US Army Air Force’s primary trainer in the years leading up to and during World War II. Just as the Robins Air Logistics Center (ALC) today serves as the maintenance center for the Air Force’s C-17s, C-130s, and F-15s, Robins AFB was one of the maintenance centers for the PT-17 during its years in service. This example was delivered in February 1943 and was assigned to the 2164th Base Unit, Tuskegee Army Air Field, Alabama (of Tuskegee Airmen fame) before being retired and sold as war surplus in 1945. After its civilian use, 42-16365 was one of the first aircraft acquired by the museum in 1982.
The other trainer aircraft hanging in the main building’s atrium is a TG-4A glider (42-43740). Just as Robins AFB was one of the service centers for the PT-17 trainer, they were also a service center for the TG-4A. This example was used by the 148th Glider Training Squadron at Fort Sumner, NM during World War II from November 1943 to September 1944 and was acquired by the museum in 1987.
In its various guises, the T-6 Texan was one of the most widely used aircraft in history; many pilots on both sides of the Atlantic received advanced training in one of them, whether it was with the Army Air Force or Air Force in an AT-6 or T-6, with the US Navy or US Marine Corps in an SNJ, or with the Royal Air Force in a Harvard. This example, 49-3217, is a T-6G delivered to the Air Force in March 1951 and used by the 3545th Basic Pilot Training Wing at Goodfellow AFB, TX. In 1957, it was removed from US service and transferred to the Spanish Air Force as part of a military assistance program; the Spanish AF used it until the 1980’s! It was acquired by the museum in 1984 and is on display in the museum’s main building. Robins AFB was also one of the maintenance centers for the T-6 during World War II.
This P-40N Warhawk (42-105927) is on display in the museum’s main building as part of the Flying Tigers exhibit and is painted in markings used by Col. Robert Scott, author of “God is my Copilot,” when he flew with the Flying Tigers in China during World War II. The museum also has an exhibit and film dedicated to Scott, who was born in Waynesboro, retired as a Brigadier General in 1956, and lived in Warner Robins from the 1980s until his death in 2006. Just as with the aircraft above, Robins AFB was a maintenance center for P-40s. This example was one of thirty P-40Ns that were modified to be two-seat trainers but it was restored to its original single seat configuration after being acquired by the museum in 1994. The 653rd Combat Logistics Support Squadron and the Air Force Reserve helped with the restoration.
The P-51 was one of the great fighter aircraft of World War II and it also saw service at the beginning of the Korean War until jet fighters became the norm. It’s well known as a bomber escort but it could also get the job done as an attack aircraft. The Museum of Aviation’s P-51D is a replica, built from components of multiple aircraft and is painted in the markings of Wallace Hopkins of Washington, GA while he was deputy commander of the 361st Fighter Group, 8th Air Force during World War II. It’s displayed in the main building of the museum as part of a World War II display. As with the aircraft above, Robins ALC was also a maintenance center for P-51s during World War II. The museum also has something rare and interesting on display with the P-51D – a set of skis to give the P-51 a winter/snow landing capability.
The B-29 Superfortress was another aircraft that saw use in both World War II and the Korean War. B-29s were used exclusively in the Pacific Theater and participated in the conventional bombing of Japan in addition to dropping the two atomic bombs. After World War II, many B-29s were put into storage but some became part of the Strategic Air Command when it formed in 1946. When the Korean War began, some were returned to service as strategic bombers against North Korean targets. B-29s have multiple connections to Georgia. This one, among others, was built at the Bell plant in Marietta. Robins AFB also served a maintenance center for the B-29 during World War II and after the war was one of the locations one of the locations used for long term storage of B-29s. This example, 44-84053, has unknown record because its records were lost when it was retired to the Army Proving Grounds in Aberdeen, MD in 1956. It was a derelict aircraft until when it was recovered and brought to the museum for restoration. 44-80453 is displayed in the Scott Hangar along with other World War II aircraft including the museum’s new B-17.
This A-26C Invader (44-35732) is displayed outside at the Museum of Aviation. A-26s were used in both World War II and Korea for low level bombing, strafing, and rocket attacks. During the Korean War, they were also used for night in a night attack role. In 1952, they were re-designated as B-26s. 44-35732 was delivered in 1945 and initially saw service in the U.S. and in Europe, but in 1952 it was sent to Japan and then assigned to the 3rd Bombardment Wing in Korea where it flew combat missions with the 8th Bomb Squadron. It was retired in 1956 and acquired by the museum in 1987. Once again, Robins AFB was a service center for the A-26.
This F-84E Thunderjet (51-604) is displayed in the museum’s main building. Although the F-84 was the Air Force’s first post war fighter, it was mostly used in the Korean War as an attack aircraft. The F-84 was also the first Air Force jet fighter capable of carrying a tactical nuclear weapon. 51-604 was delivered in April 1951 to the 116th Fighter Bomber Wing at George AFB, CA before the unit moved to Kisarazu AB in Japan and Kunsan AB in Korea for Korean War service. The aircraft was used in combat missions at both locations before being returned to the U.S. in 1953. This F-84 also has multiple connections to Georgia; Robins AFB was repair center for the F-84 during the Korean War but 51-604 was transferred to the 2589th Reserve Flying Center at Dobbins AFB, GA in 1955. It was retired in 1956 and acquired by the museum in 1987.
I’ve still got some more photos of some of the aircraft on display at the Robins AFB Museum of Aviation; the next post will be on their Cold War era aircraft.