by Tommy H. Thomason

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Lockheed P/F-80 Canopy Development

Why do I make a blog post concerning an Air Force fighter? Because the Lockheed P/F-80 was operated by the Navy, including an at-sea evaluation of the P-80A. The Navy also operated some F-80Cs as jet trainers. One subtle difference between the two models (and it must be pretty subtle because it seems to have been recognized only rarely and not by kit manufacturers) is the location of the windscreen and the length of the canopy.

I've covered the carrier-trials P-80A here: ; much of the same material was covered in a Tailhook Topics Draft post here:

Craig Kaston just provided me with photos that he took this weekend of the P-80A at the Planes of Fame Museum in Chino and the P-80C fuselage in the storage yard at the Yanks Air Museum. They provide a direct comparison of the location of the windscreens of the two canopies with respect to panel lines and access doors whose location did not change, e.g. the aft cockpit bulkhead and the instrument panel, when the canopy was redesigned for the installation of the ejection seat.
Note that the Planes of Fame P-80A has the later F-80C canopy resting on the top of the fuselage* (it probably wouldn't fit properly if it was closed because of the different mechanism used to slide it). The extra length of the F-80B/C sliding canopy (the location of the aft end of the canopy remained the same on both the A and the B/C, so the length increase required by the relocation of the windscreen was in the forward part of the sliding canopy) is also evident by the fact that the aft interior structure of this canopy would not rest against the cockpit headrest when the canopy was closed.

Craig also pointed out the difference in the boundary layer vent that I had not noticed.

*It is an example of the occasionally necessary and inobvious kludge by museums that sometimes leads to a blunder by model kit manufacturers.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Things Under Wings - Drop Tanks Update

For a primer on Douglas drop tanks, see

Now take a close look at this picture:

Normally, both the A4D and the AD would have 300-gallon drop tanks under the wings. In this case, however, the A4D is carrying 150-gallon tanks and the AD, which is in the standard tanker configuration, 400-gallon tanks.

For more on the AD tanker configuration, see

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

A3D Skywarrior External Pylons

Rick Morgan provided the following with respect to the A3D-2T Skywarrior external pylons discussed here: (Rick also provided pictures of TA-3Bs with the pylon and practice bomb dispenser that I've added to that post.)

Concerning pylons on A3Ds, as I understand it all of the Versions had hardpoints to attach them.  This is a photo of a VQ-2 EA-3B in the Med refueling from a VA-216 A-4B off Saratoga in 1967 with what I believe is an ALQ-31 pod installed.

An old VQ friend tells me that they actually flew fighter training missions during this period with the equipment due to the lack of other EW assets in 6th fleet, most of the other aircraft being in Vietnam.  This is the only time I’ve found so far where EA-3Bs were actually used for active jamming. (Contrary to a lot of published references, I have yet to find a VQ operator who used the EA-3B for jamming in Vietnam- the stories undoubtedly confuse the EAs for EKAs).

The ERA-3Bs  at VAQ-33/34 carried ALQ-76 pods on their pylons, of course.

For a brief description and a picture of the ERA-3B (and an explanation of A-3 Bombers versus Versions), see