Greetings from The Aero Experience Team


The Aero Experience is a celebration of Midwest aviation and aerospace achievement. We invite you to join us as we explore the treasures of Midwest aviation through first-hand experiences. Our contributors take turns flying lead, and we are always looking for new destinations. Check in with The Aero Experience frequently to see where we will land today, and then go out and have your own aero experiences!

Blue skies,

Carmelo Turdo, Mark Nankivil and Fred Harl - The Aero Experience Team

Friday, April 12, 2013

National Museum of the U.S. Air Force Visit: Airpark in Winter - Big Iron Trio

By Fred Harl
Our National Museum of the U.S. Air Force Airpark in Winter series now features three big iron birds that made a great impact on American military operations. Two crew members of Lockheed C-130E Hercules s/n 62-1787 received the Air Force Cross for heroism after returning their badly damaged aircraft to Tan Son Nhut Air Base, saving other crew members and what was left of the aircraft.  Another aircraft nearby, Lockheed C-141C Starlifter s/n 66-0177, began as a C-141A and was modified into the C-141B and C-141C models.  It was also the first aircraft to airlift American POWs from Hanoi on February 12, 1973.  Returning to Vietnam in May of 2004, this Starlifter was flown by POW MG Edward J. Mechenbier to repatriate the remains of U.S. service members killed during the Vietnam War.  The third aircraft, Boeing EC-135E ARIA (Apollo/Range -later called Advanced Range - Instrumentation Aircraft) s/n 60-0374, features the droop nose radar antenna used in support of the Apollo space program and later national security treaty verification missions.  All three aircraft represent the best of the crews that flew and maintained them during incredibly stressful times in our history, and it is a credit to the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force that they are on display in the Airpark.  Here is our survey of these aircraft after a light winter snowfall:


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