This week was mostly about getting back into the normal swing of things after the open house event on Saturday, June 2nd. This consisted of moving aircraft back from the flightline, returning rented equipment items, and bringing the museum back in line with its normal appearance. Tours and normal exhibit maintenance were also part of the week as well.
Several aircraft had been moved onto the flightline of the Pueblo Memorial Airport during the open house. These included the F8U-1 Crusader and the F-100 Supersabre aircraft which flew during the Vietnam War. These aircraft were towed to the flightline to be part of a display, along with other aircraft flown in during the open house, for the museum’s guest who were chauffeured out from hangar two by the docents. Both the Crusader and the Supersabre looked at home on the flightline much as they would have during the 1960s or 1970s.
The F8U-1 Crusader is a U.S. Navy carrier-borne fighter aircraft that first joined the fleet in the 1950s. It was supersonic-capable, and it was known as the “Last Gunfighter” because of its mostly gun armament in an age where missiles were becoming the norm. The example at the museum is a very early version that also features a rare drop-down rocket-firing panel that augments the gun armament. This feature was dropped shortly into aircraft production.
The F-100 was the successor to the F-86 Sabre of Korean War fame. It was America’s first production fighter aircraft capable of supersonic speeds in level flight, and it mostly served as a fighter-bomber over South Vietnam. The F-100 provided a great deal of interdiction support against Vietcong and North Vietnamese Army forces in South Vietnam, but it was found too vulnerable to venture into North Vietnamese airspace where it faced enemy fighters and surface to air missiles.
Both of these aircraft were towed back into the museum’s outdoor area, but they were left outside pending the final determination on where the F-15 and F-16 will reside. Because the F-15 and F-16 will most likely reside inside Hangar Two, it is easier to leave the F8U-1 and F-100 outdoors so that they will not have to be moved later to accommodate the new arrivals.