"The Pima Air & Space Museum is one of the largest aviation Museums in the world, and the largest non-government funded aviation Museum in the United States. The Museum maintains a collection of more than 300 aircraft and spacecraft from around the globe, including many rare and one-of-a-kind, and more than 125,000 artifacts. Here you will walk among the giants of our aviation heritage, including military, commercial, and civil aviation" (pimaair.org).
Instead of walking among the giants, we opted for a narrated tram tour of the outdoor display area. Our guide was a former Navy pilot and was quite skilled at conveying a lot of information quickly as we moved slowly around the yard. Some of the aircraft in the collection are shown here.
McDonnell Douglas YF-4J Phantom II
This version of the Phantom 4B had improved aerodynamics to lower take-off distances and decrease landing speeds; some 500 were built between 1966 and 1972.
Grumman F11F-1 (F-11A) Tiger
Our tram was an open vehicle, which made for ease of photographing the planes, but we were also exposed to the elements--a temperature in the upper 40's with a brisk wind.
Grumman TF-9J Cougar
The Marine Corps used several Cougars in Vietnam as Forward Air Control aircraft.
Grumman F9F-4 Panther
Northrup YC-125A Raider
This was the last tri-motor propeller driven aircraft to see service in the U.S. military. Few were built and most of those were sold to a Florida company that then resold them to airlines in Latin America. As of 2002, only two Raiders are known to exist, both in museums in the United States.
Budd RB-1 Conestoga
Early in World War II it was feared that there would be a shortage of aluminum for the construction of aircraft, so the government sought out designs that used what were called "non-strategic materials." Generally, this referred to wood, but the Budd Company took a different route. The company had been a designer and builder of railroad passenger cars for many years and they adopted the techniques and materials used at the time in them to an aircraft. Instead of riveted aluminum the Conestoga was built primarily from spot-welded stainless steel.
However, the expected aluminum shortage and cost increases never developed, and in the end only 17 were built
Grumman OV-C Mohawk
Specifications called for the development and procurement of a two-seat, twin turboprop aircraft designed to operate from small, unimproved fields under all weather conditions. It would be faster, with greater firepower, and heavier armor than the Cessna L-19 Bird Dog, which had proved vulnerable during the Korean War.
Northrup T-38A Talon
The T-38 Talon has been training U.S. Air Force pilots since 1961.
Lockheed F-104 Starfighter
The Starfighter was the first operational interceptor capable of sustained speeds above Mach 2. It was also called "missle with a man."
North American BT-14
This plane was designed for flights in Canada. Because of the low temperatures, the exhaust was circulated around the engine to keep it warm.
Douglas B-23 Dragon
Only 38 Dragons were built and none of them ever entered combat.
Douglas VC-118A Liftmaster
Presidents Kennedy and Johnson used this plane as Air Force One.
Fairchild C-82A Packet
Designed in 1941 in response to an Army Air Force requirement for a new cargo plane capable of ground-level loading, paratroop operations, and glider towing, the C-82 incorporated a number of innovations that have become standard in military cargo aircraft.
Grumman HU-16A Albatross
Initial testing in 1947 led not only to Navy orders, but also to orders from the U.S. Air Force and Coast Guard as well. All three services primarily used the aircraft for search-and-rescue duties as well as general maritime patrol.