Gary’s Pictures

To say my friend Gary Allman is pretty good with a camera is like saying Yehudi Menuhin could play the fiddle a bit.

Standard J-1 at the NMUSAF, October 2018.
Photograph by Gary Allman – Used with permission

Gary visited the National Museum of the United States Air Force. Envious, moi? But of course. However, I knew he would bring back a number of terrific images and he has not disappointed.

I scooted through the Early Years gallery way too quickly when I was there in 2002, so some of his photos are a revelation especially in the light of recent studies.

The Standard J-1 pictured above was supposed to be a supplement or replacement for the JN-4 “Jenny,’ but the fact that the J-1 was more difficult to fly must have blighted its career as a primary trainer. According to the NMUSAF website this one has a 100hp Curtiss OXX-6 engine. They still made about a thousand of these types although a number were cancelled after the Armistice

Other items from the Early Years gallery are at:

In the Cold War gallery I was amused and interested to see the B-57 Canberra lurking behind the F-104 and F-106. I don’t remember seeing it before, but I was in complete sensory overload by the time I got into this area of the museum.

Cold War Gallery at the NMUSAF – October 2018
Photograph by Gary Allman – Used with permission

I had no idea, but now I know, the F-106 on display (58-0787) is the so-called “Cornfield Bomber” which landed sans pilot in a Montana field in February 1970. The trainee pilot had ejected after the aircraft went into a spin, and for whatever reason the force of his ejection caused the aircraft to right itself and make an uncontrolled soft landing in the field, which advantageously happened to be covered in snow. February in Montana? Yes, I would say snow cover would be quite likely. The aircraft was repaired and returned to service. The museum acquired the aircraft in 1986.

I just noticed by the way that the F-104C (56-914) in Gary’s pictures has roughly the same scheme and appearance as the example used in the Star Trek episode “Tomorrow is Yesterday” which was the subject of a recent blog post.

Gary’s other images of the Cold War gallery can be found at

I haven’t been to Dayton for more than 15 years and a few things have clearly changed. The new fourth hangar now houses the Presidential and research aircraft collection. This saves a bus ride with an armed guard across Wright-Patterson AFB which was a little edgy back in the day. A few of the odds and ends which I was telling Gary about before his visit seem to have been removed from display. Whether this is long-term or short term given the collection shuffling that occurred when Memphis Belle was installed is another question. I certainly enjoyed finding, and gibbering at, the tail of B-17G 42-97683 and the engine and other artifacts recovered from B-24D 41-24301 Lady Be Good when I was there. The Museum certainly looks much more spacious although Gary said that a number of artifacts were pretty crammed in there.

A certain B-17F 41-24485 Memphis Belle at the NMUSAF, October 2018
Photograph by Gary Allman – Used with permission

I think I came to my own conclusion about why the powers that be have Memphis Belle up on jacks in the flying position. I wonder if it’s because they don’t want a whole load of greasy fingerprints on their new restoration and so have out it mostly out of reach? I know that was something of an issue with the nose of the NASM’s B-26 Flak Bait, to the extent that there was some debate as to whether the bare spot which had been worn in the paintwork should be left alone in some future restoration, but at least I have an answer to satisfy myself. I will go and have a look to see if there is any news on the B-17G 42-32076 Shoo Shoo Shoo Baby which was displaced to make way for Memphis Belle

It was a very enjoyable experience looking at those photos. Sometime I hope to go back there again myself.

Gary’s other galleries from this visit are at:

6 thoughts on “Gary’s Pictures

  1. The National Museum of the United States Air Force (original name being the Air Force Museum) is my most favorite museum of all. My first visit there was in the summer of 1969 when I was 17 and I have been there a total of 50 times as of May 2018 when we went to see the new Memphis Belle opening.
    I have a Flickr album which did have all of my photos taken during those years but Flickr implement a new rule of anything over 1000 photos was going to be paid for, so I went through them and deleted about 100 or so, now down to 968. Anyway, with my album you will be able to see planes no longer there, paint scheme changes, relocation of planes, etc. Until the 1990s I didn’t take many photos indoors due to limitations of the cameras I had. I didn’t take photos of displays so much (what I did shoot isn’t in this album) because my hobby is photographing the military aircraft, and I have all the museum books showing all the displays. So if you’re just wanting to look at the planes over the years, here’s the album:


  2. Well, as you can see it did it again. But I saw the link from the email WordPress sent me when you commented again. I should have used that last time. It was a pleasure looking at your album, especially the things I have never seen. The fin section from the B-17G 42-97683 was one of the things I loved to see. Another of my friends sent me an article from the Columbus Dispatch at about the time it was recovered, so it was a joy to see it finally.


  3. Well that comment jumped before I finished!
    I am from Springfield, OH, which is very close to Wright-Patterson AFB (20 min). When I was 12 we moved to Denver, CO, but then back to Springfield when I was 17 in 1969. That was when my maternal grandfather took my brother and me to the old museum. I visited it again the following year just before I entered the Army in June. I knew they were building a new facility, so when I got a leave in March 1972 I went to see it. My next visit was August 1974 when I took my future wife there on a date–she had been there with her father many years earlier (he was a civilian electronics engineer and worked at WPAFB in R&D, so they lived about 15 minutes from the new museum.

    After leaving the Army the end of Feb 1975, I moved to Columbus for a job. Visiting my future wife always led to another visit to the museum. We married Aug 1, 1976 and most times we visited her parents we took a museum trip to see what was new. You can imagine how many trips we took until September 1978 when we transferred to the Chicago area. Then we only got “home” 2 or 3 times per year, but most times we included at least a short visit to the museum. Then we moved to Iowa in Dec 1995 making the trips longer. We did make it down there at least once a year (a couple times twice) until her parents passed and then it’s been more often every other year, but sometimes still once a year.

    So now you can see why my total visits (confirmed by photo dates and trip diaries) has reached 50!

    I’m slowly working on the full histories of all the planes I’ve photographed; the NMUSAF histories are often very brief. As time passes I will have it all posted on the photos. I’ve finished all Attack planes and Bombers and am still working on Transports, although I have less than 20 left (doing C-23s presently). So it will be later this summer when historical information for the fighters show up.


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