Remarks: National Museum of the US Air Force. Tacit Blue, also known as 'The Whale', was built to test advances in stealth technology. It was flown between 1982 and 1985 and demonstrated that curved surfaces on an aircraft can also result in a low observable shape.
Remarks: National Museum of the US Air Force. The X-3 was designed to test aircraft features suitable for flight at sustained supersonic speeds and high altitudes. A secondary mission was to investigate the use of new materials (e.g., titanium). It never achieved its design potential as it was fitted with lower powered engines than originally planned. This example is the only one made and is one strange-looking plane!!!
Remarks: National Museum of the US Air Force. This B-29, 'Bockscar', was the plane that dropped the second atomic bomb, named 'Fat Man', over Nagasaki on August 9th, 1945. On that day Bockscar was actually flown by the crew of another B-29, 'The Great Artiste', and was commanded by Major Charles W. Sweeney and co-piloted by Captain Charles Albury.
Remarks: President John F. Kennedy's wife, Jacqueline Kennedy, selected this colors of the first Air Force One, VC-137C 62-6000. The 707s served as presidential aircraft until they were replaced by 747-200s, designated VC-25, in 1990.
Remarks: The 445th Airlift Wing is home to a C-141 that played a major role in Operation Homecoming, the repatriation of Americans held as prisoners-of-war in North Vietnam. On February 12, 1973, the world’s attention was riveted on Gia Lam Airport, Hanoi, North Vietnam. The war was over and the long-awaited start of “Operation Homecoming,” was about to begin.
A U.S. Air Force C-141 Starlifter, tail number 660177, landed. It was painted white with a Red Cross tail flash. The first 40 POWs waited patiently as the lumbering giant taxied toward them. The men had vowed to show no emotion to their North Vietnamese captors.
They boarded the aircraft, took their seats, and prepared for takeoff. They sat quietly, but as soon as the Starlifter’s wheels left the runway, a resounding cheer went up from all on board. Their first stop would be Clark Air Base, The Philippines; then home to the United States.
Now a “C” model, C-141 tail number 660177 has the distinction of being the first aircraft to ferry our POWs from captivity. Because of that singular honor, it has been dubbed the “Hanoi Taxi” and continues to serve, assigned to the 445th Airlift Wing, Air Force Reserve Command, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio.
“Ol’ 177” has become a sort of flying museum. Above its forward entrance door is the inscription, “First C-141 to Hanoi.” Aircrew headrest covers on the flight deck bear the familiar black-and-white POW/MIA emblem. Framed photographs mounted on the side bulkheads of the cargo compartment show POWs in Hanoi and aboard the aircraft bound for home. A label on the flight engineer’s panel simply reads, “Hanoi Taxi.”
On October 7, 2002, Maj. Gen. Edward J. Mechenbier, a former POW, flew the C-141 back home to the 445th Airlift Wing after depot maintenance refurbished it back to its original paint scheme. May 2004 marked another historic moment for both Maj. Gen. Mechenbier and the “Hanoi Taxi.” Gen. Mechenbier, on his final flight shortly before he retired, flew the Hanoi Taxi back to Vietnam to lead the repatriation mission of two American servicemembers killed in action.
Tail number 660177 has a noble heritage and continues to earn its keep with the 445th Airlift Wing, flying local training, humanitarian, and other real world contingency missions. The venerable aircraft has plenty of service life left, but when it retires, the “Hanoi Taxi” is bound for enshrinement in the National Air Force Museum in Dayton, Ohio as a last Starlifter.