Joe Davies Heritage Airpark: Military Aircraft

The Joe Davies Heritage Airpark has an excellent collection of USAF, US Navy, USMC and Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) aircraft. They are all on open air display on the edge of the high desert in Palmdale, California at the historic USAF Palmdale Plant 42. Allow a couple of hours to look around and entry is free.

Joe Davies Heritage Airpark Palmdale Plant 42 CA USA
Joe Davies Heritage Airpark – Clockwise L-R: Entrance sign, 1/8 scale model of the Northrop-Grumman B-2 Spirit stealth bomber, Douglas A-4AR Skyhawk cockpit trainer (ex-Argentine AF) and Boeing B-52F Stratofortress tail and tail gun
Joe Davies in a T-33 (Photo Source: City of Palmdale)
Joe Davies in a T-33 (Photo Source: City of Palmdale)

Established by the City of Palmdale and the USAF in the late 1990’s, the airpark was named to honour Joe Davies who served in the USAAF in World War Two and continued to serve following the war. He was Air Force Plant 42’s third commander from 1963 to 1967 and served in the Vietnam War from 1967 to 1968.

Joe Davies retired from the USAF in 1973 as a Lieutenant Colonel. He went on to assume many public roles and was elected to the Palmdale City Council in 1988, going on to serve three four-year terms. According to the airpark website, at 92 he still plays an active role in the community!

Lockheed U-2 "Dragonlady" monument
Lockheed U-2 “Dragonlady” monument

US Air Force

From fighters to bombers and even an experimental transport there are air force aircraft here that span many decades of aviation and include some of the greats like the McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II multi-role fighter and the Boeing B-52F Stratofortress strategic bomber (the only preserved 1958 F model on display in the world – see my previous blog for more information). There are also famous members of the Century Series fighters / interceptors on display including the North American F-100 Super Sabre, McDonnell F-101 Voodoo, Lockheed F-104 Starfighter and Republic F-105 Thunderchief. Training aircraft are not forgotten with a classic Lockheed T-33 Shooting Star (“T-Bird”) and Northrop T-38 Talon.

Fighters and Bombers

McDonnell Douglas F-4D Phantom II Joe Davies Heritage Airpark CA
McDonnell Douglas F-4D Phantom II
McDonnell-Douglas F-4D Phantom II Joe Davies Heritage Airpark Palmdale CA
McDonnell-Douglas F-4D Phantom II
Boeing B-52F Stratofortress Palmdale Plant 42
Boeing B-52F Stratofortress constructed in 1958 this is the only F model preserved on public display
F-16 Joe Davies Heritage Airpark Palmdale Plant 42
General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon “Old Salty” on loan from Lockheed-Martin

The Century Series

North American F-100 Super Sabre - This was the first aircraft obtained by the airpark and was used on the USAF Thunderbirds team in 1959
North American F-100D Super Sabre – This was the first aircraft obtained by the airpark and was used on the USAF Thunderbirds team in 1959
F-101F Voodoo Joe Davies Heritage Airpark Palmdale Plant 42 CA
McDonnell F-101F Voodoo interceptor that served in both USAF and ANG squadrons from 1960 to 1976
F-104C Joe Davies Heritage Air Park
Lockheed F-104C Starfighter that was flown at the Edwards AFB Test Pilot school from 1967 to 1973 and in USAF service from 1959 to 1973
F-105G Joe Davies Heritage Airpark Palmdale Plant 42 CA
Republic F-105G Thunderchief “Wild Weasel” (originally an F-105F) that was operated by the USAF from 1964 to 1980 (looking a bit glossy during my visit)

Transports and Trainers

Curtiss C-46D Commando Joe Davies Heritage Airpark Palmdale Plant 42
Curtiss C-46D Commando. This was fully restored before put on display
Lockheed Martin X-55A Joe Davies Heritage Airpark Palmdale Plant 42
Lockheed-Martin X-55A Advanced Composite Cargo Airplane (ACCA) built and tested at Palmdale in 2009
Lockheed Martin X-55A Joe Davies Heritage Airpark Palmdale Plant 42
Lockheed-Martin X-55A ACCA
Lockheed T-33 Shooting Star  Joe Davies Heritage Airpark
Lockheed T-33 Shooting Star “T-Bird”
Northrop T-38 Talon Joe Davies Heritage Airpark Palmdale CA
Northrop T-38 Talon

US Navy & US Marine Corps

Some of the greatest jet aircraft to take off from the decks of US Navy aircraft carriers are displayed in the airpark. These include a Douglas A-4C Skyhawk attack aircraft (undergoing some restoration during my visit), Grumman F-14D Tomcat interceptor and Vought A-7 Corsair II attack fighter. They are joined by a USMC Northrop F-5E Tiger II aggressor fighter too.

A-4C Skyhawk Joe Davies Heritage Airpark Palmdale Plant 42
US Navy Douglas A-4C Skyhawk getting some work done on it
Grumman F-14D Tomcat Joe Davies Heritage Airpark
US Navy Grumman F-14D Tomcat interceptor. The F-14 protected the fleet for over 30 years.
Grumman F-14D Tomcat Joe Davies Heritage Airpark
The F-14D Tomcat was the last in US Navy service and were retired in September 2006
A-7 Corsair II Joe Davies Heritage Airpark Palmdale Plant 42
US Navy Vought A-7 Corsair II was once used for target practice at China Lake! It is looking a lot better now
USMC F-5E tiger II aggressor Joe Davies Heritage Airpark Palmdale Plant 42
USMC Northrop F-5E Tiger II “Red 6” aggressor of VMFT-401 Snipers

Royal Canadian Air Force

This is an interesting inclusion in an essentially all American airpark. A Canadair F-86F Sabre Mk. 5 that served in RCAF 421 Squadron, 2nd Fighter Wing from 1954 to 1960 as part of a NATO deployment and operated from Grostenquin, France. A true Cold War warrior. In 1960 it left RCAF service and changed hands a number of times before ending up with Flight Systems Incorporated at the Mojave Airport from 1982 to 1998 when it was donated to the airpark.

 

Candair F-86F Sabre RCAF Joe Davies Heritage Airpark
Canadair F-86F Sabre Mk. 5, that was formerly operated by Flight Systems Incorporated at the Mojave Airport (1982 to 1998) but prior to this served in RCAF 421 Squadron in Europe (1954 to 1960)

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s