Two different things today, one is an ‘old school’ airplane that showed up at a small field near Dallas yesterday…
It’s got the correct paint scheme, and it’s a converted D-18. These were used extensively in SEA by Air America. If it looks funny, it’s because the original D-18 was a tail dragger. Some of them were converted to tricycle gear in the early 60s by Volpar, and others were ‘built’ as H-18s with the Volpar mod done at the factory. I sent the pic along to a friend who flew for AA in Nam, and will be interested to see his comments…
Another friend reminded me about the Cuban Missile Crisis, and the fact that was the first operational use of the P-3A Orions by VP-8 and VP-44. J.P. was a year or so away from transitioning out of the P-2V7s but he flew missions on the Russians with VP-49 out of Key West.
Metallurg Anosov and destroyer USS Barry (DD-933
Exactly three months after delivery of the first P-3 Orion maritime patrol aircraft, US Navy aircrews from Patrol Squadron 8 found themselves deployed to Bermuda—and stepping into the brightest of world spotlights.
On 23 October 1962, four aircrews from VP-8 and four aircrews from Patrol Squadron 44 (VP-44) began enforcing President John F. Kennedy’s blockade of Cuba to prevent Soviet missiles from reaching Cuba. The P-3 crews patrolled the Atlantic sea lanes to locate and track Soviet cargo ships carrying intermediate range ballistic missiles or missile launch support equipment.
By the time the Cuban Missile Crisis ended a few days later, a VP-44 crew achieved international recognition of sorts when their aircraft was photographed flying close surveillance over the Russian freighter Anasov on its return to the Soviet Union. Anasov was the only Russian vessel that refused to uncover the large oblong objects lashed to its deck. The Orion crew was able to verify that the objects were indeed crated missiles, and the ship was allowed to proceed.
And the rest of the story, HERE, as to how close we came to a nuclear war. J.P. was involved in tracking the subs and dropping PDCs on them to get them to surface.
And the P-3s are still flying 56 years later… Won’t match the C-130 or the B-52 for longevity, but that’s not bad for an airplane that spent most of its career flying over salt water and fighting corrosion.
h/t J.P and JD