Pima Air & Space museum is one of the worlds biggest aviation museums, featuring over 350 military and civil aircraft. Existing for forty years and located next to the David-Monthan “Boneyard” it has a constant flow of aircraft ranging from the beginning of flight to the Boeing 787.
The majority of the collection is located outside on a 80 acres area. A selection of aircraft are housed in five hangers.
On a beautiful day in October we walked the outdoor exhibition ground first. The majority of the collection is displayed outside. Some aircraft can be found in the hangars. The indoor collection changes from time to time.
70-0973 / AZ, A-7
N462M, Martin 4-0-4
49-0157 / 157, C-119
49-0157 / 157, C-119
N39TU, Beech 2000
N39TU, Beech 2000
CF-BKN, Beech S18
160684 / NL-211, F-14
160684 / NL-211, F-14
VAH-21, Road Runners, operated four modified SP-2H Neptunes during the Vietnam War. Designated AP-2H, the all-weather Neptunes were fitted with new technologies like FLIR and LLLTV (low level light TV) systems. They were used to track and attack movements along the Ho Chi Minh Trails. For that a tail turret was fitted. Fuselage mounted grenade launchers and downward firing mini-guns were also added. Bombs and napalm were carried on underwing pylons.
The sensors and weapons were effective, but the aircraft were large and withdrawn from combat in June 1969. The FLIR and LLLTV was later installed in the A-6 Intruders.
74-0118 / TY, F-15
62-4427 / WW, F-105
32757 / E-181, PV-2
50826 / CZ-826, R4D
136468 / 7Y-197, S-2
147227 / AA-011, E-1
135018 / AE-810, EA-1
The mighty BUFF
Three B-52s are on display in the museum. Besides a D- and G-model, the only existing NB-52A is part of this unique collection. The D-model (55-0067) is well known for its role in the Vietnam war. It is marked as “067 The Lone Star Lady” and operated out of Carswell AFB with the 7th BW. It was withdrawn from service November 1982!
The NB-52A (52-0003) also referred to as “The High and Mighty One” is unique as it was converted to carry the X-15 as launch aircraft. It was the last B-52A re-designated in 1959. A inner wing pylon was installed and additional fuel tanks were added, so the X-15 could be fueled just before launch. First flight with the X-15 was on 8 June 1959. It carried the X-15 on 93 of the 199 flights. Mission marking are visible on the nose. Horizontal markings show glide flights, diagonal show powered flights. NB-52B “Balls 8” took over in 1969.
The G-model (58-0183), marked as “0183 Valkyrie” was operated by 2nd BW out of Barksdale AFB. This aircraft participated in Operation Secret Squirrel, the long-range B-52 cruise missile strike on targets in Iraq during the first Gulf War, Operation Desert Storm 1991. The bomber took off from Barksdale for a 35 hour non-stop mission in total secrecy.
164607 / RX-607, C-9
The museum’s B-36J, 52-2827, was the last B-36 that rolled of the Forth Worth production line on 1 July 1954. It’s career was short lived as the aircraft was already retired in 1958! This because the jet engine bombers (B-47) took over and made the piston powered Peacemakers obsolete. After retirement it was put on display at Carter Field and then moved to Carswell AFB. It slowly deteriorated and in 1990 was moved, disassembled, indoors. The aircraft was designated for the B-36 Peacemaker museum. As the museum didn’t have resources, so it was moved to Pima.
It is now fully restored as can be seen on the photo’s we took in 2009.
147595 / 18, UH-25
61-0086 / RE, F-105
54-1823 / LA, CF-100
160713 / AC-307, A-7
160713 / AC-307, A-7
142928 / NL-302, TA-4
149289 / GJ-315, RA-5
144426 / PP-984, F9F
64-0673 / FG, F-4
159241 / WF-14, AV-8
The museum has an impressive line-up of 8 MiGs (7 when this report was made).
The Mig-15 and MiG-15UTI originated in the Polish Air Force. Acquired by the US Air Force in 1980 and flow by civil contractors from Kirtland AFB, NM. Around 1990 it was put into storage at David-Monthan.
The MiG-17PF is an Polish build Lim-5P serving with the 29th Fighter Regiment. In 1972 it was modified as Lim-6M with ground attack capabilities. Acquired by the US Air Force in 1988 it operated out of Kirtland.
53 blue, MiG-29
69 blue, MiG-21
634 blue, MiG-17
The MiG-19, is a Chinees build J-6A that served with the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Air Force. It was imported into the US in the 1990s and put on display at March Field Museum (MiG-19 at March, 2004), before moving to Pima. Its now repainted in Egyptian Air Force scheme.
The MiG-29 was built in the 1980s for the Soviet Air Force and assigned to the 86th Guards Fighter Aviation Regiment in Moldavia. After the Soviet Union broke up the aircraft stayed in Moldovia. In 1997 the United States purchased 21 of these aircraft, which were evaluated briefly before they were scrapped or handed over to museums.
68-0033 / UH, F-111
55-0395 / JN, WB-66
55-4274 / JO, J-57
40+49, Alpha Jet
155713 / NJ-562, A-6
72-0441 / FM, F-5
YF-4J, 151497, is one of three prototypes developed as an upgrade for US Navy’s F-4B. In 1964 tree B-types were modified with improved aerodynamics, engines and radar. Other systems were changed to improve ground attack capabilities. After the test program this factory fresh aircraft stayed with the Naval Air Testing Facility (NATF) at Lakehurst, New Jersey. It was put into storage at Davis-Monthan in 1975 and added to the museum collection in 1982. Over 500 J-versions were build between 1966 and 1972.
144427 / GF-29, DF-8
141121 / 3H-386, F9F
125183 / WL-25, F9F
143797 / 2N-517, F9F
61-0854 / HM, T-38
157050 / F-814, T-2
The T-1A (T2V-1) Seastar was a trainer based on the T-33. It had several improvement including a new motor and the instructors seat was raised for better visibility. The undercarriage was strengthened for carrier use. 1953 the first test flights were carried out, followed by operational service in 1957. The career of the Seastar was short lived as they were replaced by the T-2 Buckeye. Of the 150 aircraft build only two survive today, 144200 as seen in the museum and an airworthy T-1 (144735) out of Mesa Gateway airport, Arizona. As it’s not seen for years now, it’s currently probably stored in one of the Mesa hangars.
140481 / 2P-270, T-28
155499 / ER-11, OV-10
61-02724 / 32, OV-1
NC1634 (2-MJ-4), S-43
64-17653 / AK, B-26
160604 / NF-710, S-3
150155 / 08, SH-2
The North American F-107 took part in a design competition during the 1950s for a new tactical fighter-bomber. The F-107 was based on the F-100 Super Sabre, with some considerable design changes, like to over-fuselage intake. 55-5118 was the first prototype, which first flew 10 September 1956. The competition was close, but the F-107 eventually lost to the F-105 Thunderchief.
3 prototype aircraft were built of which 2 survive today. One at pima and one at the USAF museum in Dayton, Ohio.
The museum also organizes guided tours to the next-door Boneyard. Be aware you need to make reservations for this tour upfront. Check the open_in_new museum website for details.
The museum is located on 6000 E Valencia Road, Tucson, Arizona. Take the Valencia road exit (267) on Interstate 10.
(noted October 2009)
|70-0973 / AZ||A-7D||162nd TFTW|
|“XB-DUZ”||RB-1||Only one to fly operational
|N22SN||Vickers Viscount 744|
|66-0329||F-4E||6510th TW, Edwards. Currently painted as Thunderbird “7”|
|C-123K||Used for parts|
|N9995Z||AF-2S||Aero Union, Tanker “21”|
|N13743||C-119C||Hemet Valley Flying Service, Tanker “81”|
|N51701||DC-7B||T&G Aviation Inc|
|N14448||P2V-7||Black Hills Aviation, Tanker “08”|
|N182Z||U-3A (Cessna 310A)||United States Department of Agriculture|
|N3142D||C-123K||Ryan Air Attack , Tanker “63”|
|53-0535||EC-121H||Not in collection anymore. |
|62-4200||VC-140||Used for parts. Graffiti object.|
|N90831||L-049||TWA - Trans World Airline|
|WL790||Shackleton AEW.2||Now fully restored|
|CF-BKN||Beech S18D||Prairie Airways|
|N6000V||Beech 18 |
|160684 / NL-211||F-14A||VF-111|
|74-0118 / TY||F-15A||325th TFW|
|62-4427 / WW||F-105G|
|32757 / E-181||PV-2||USN|
|50826 / CZ-826||R4D-8 (C-117D)||US Marines|
|136468 / 7Y-197||S-2F|
|N931NA||KC-135A||NASA "Weightless Wonder V". Former 63-7998|
|N6328||N22S||United States Customs Service|
|147227 / AA-011||E-1B|
|135018 / AE-810||EA-1F||USN VAW-33|
|52-2827||B-36J||95th BW "City of Fort Worth"|
|164607 / RX-607||C-9B||USN VR-57|
|147595 / 18||UH-25C||USN|
|139974||OH-43D (HOK-1)||US Marines HMX-1|
|64-13895||UH-1H||US Army medivac|
|N401FS||A-4C||Flight Systems Inc.|
|61-0086 / RE||F-105D||44th TFS|
|57-0282||F-101B||107th FIG New York ANG|
|54-1823 / LA||F-100C|
|160713 / AC-307||A-7E||USN VA-46|
|155499 / ER-11||OV-10D||US Marines VMO-2|
|142928 / NL-302||TA-4B||USN VA-153. Not in collection anymore?|
|149289 / GJ-315||RA-5C||USN RVAH-3|
|144426 / PP-984||F9F-8P||USN VFP-61|
|157050 / F-814||T-2C||USN CTW-6|
|64-0673 / FG||F-4C||433rd TFS|
|53 blue||MiG-29||Russian AF|
|69 blue||MiG-21PF||Russian AF (Polish AF 2410)|
|1905||MiG-17F||Democratic Republic of Vietnam Air Force (Polish AF)|
|634||MiG-17PF (Lim-5P)||Russian AF (Polish AF)|
|038||MiG-15UTI (Lim-2SB)||Polish AF|
|822||MiG-15bis (Lim-2)||DPRK AF (Polish AF)|
|0301||J-6A (MiG-19PF)||Egyptian Air Force (PLAAF)|
|68-0033 / UH||F-111E||77th TFS|
|55-0395 / JN||WB-66D|
|58-0183||B-52G||596th BS. Now fully restored.|
|55-4274 / JO||J-57E|
|72-0441 / FM||F-5B||482nd FW. Now repainted.|
|J-4035||Hunter Mk.58||Swiss AF|
|40+49||Alpha Jet A||German AF|
|155713 / NJ-562||A-6E||USN VA-128. Now repainted.|
|124629 / LP-13||F3D-2T2||US Marines|
|136810||TV-2 (T-33B)||US Marines|
|141824 / 5||F-11A||Blue Angels|
|3492 / AK-104||F3H-2 (F-3B)||USN VF-13|
|139531 / 151||FJ-4B||USN|
|144427 / GF-29||DF-8A||USN VC-8|
|141121 / 3H-386||F9F-8B (TAF-9J)||USN VT-23|
|125183 / WL-25||F9F-4||US Marines VMF-311|
|143797 / 2N-517||F9F-8T (TF-9J)||USN VT-10|
|57-2267 / OK-1||T-37B|
|61-0854 / HM||T-38A||3560th TW. Currently repainted white.|
|140481 / 2P-270||T-28C|
|61-02724 / 32||OV-1C||US Army|
|NC1634 (2-MJ-4)||S-43||US Marines VMJ-2|
|64-17653 / AK||B-26K||56th SOW|
|Z9592||Bolingbroke Mk.IV||RCAF. Now fully restored.|
|80410 / WR||F7F-3||US Marines VMF-312|
|49-2908||T-6G||Painted as 117246|
|3397||NA-64 (BT-14)||RCAF, N4735G|
|42-42353||BT-13A||Now fully restored.|
|160604 / NF-710||S-3B||USN VS-21|
|150155 / 08||SH-2F||USN HSL-31|
|122071 / RZ||PBM-5A||USN|
|Ki-43-IIB||Imperial Japanese Army Air Force cn 6430|
|N54205||XJL-1||On of 2 flying prototypes|
|N61Y||B-23||Great Lakes Carbon|
|49-0157 / 157||C-119C|
|63-13141||UH-1F||Prototype of F type|
|159241 / WF-14||AV-8C||US Marines VMA-513|
Since the date we noted this inventory, the collection grew substantially. A summary of aircraft added since: C-27A, RC-12K, OH-58D, UH-1M, CH-46, B727-100, B737-300, B747-100, B777-200, B787-8, DC-10, Harrier GR3, GR5, Sea Harrier FA.2, Lightning, Spitfire, Viscount 744, Gazelle, Lynx, PBY-5A, Etendard, HU-25A, C-31A, F-16A, F-16B, EA-6B, TAV-8A, F-18A, MiG-23, Mi-24, Tornado, Jaguar, MH-53, SH-60, UH-60 and DF-8F.