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Aviation History And Aircraft Photography

Virtual Aerospace Museum Tours

Glenn L. Martin Maryland Aviation Museum


Lockheed T-33 Shooting Star

I visited the Glenn L. Martin Museum on a rainy day in July, 2010. The key thing you learn is that Martin was a man of vision. His first company merged with the Wright Brothers company to become Wright-Martin. His second company morphed into Martin Marietta, and later merged with Lockheed to become Lockheed Martin. Some engineers that got their start in aviation include William Boeing, Donald Douglas, Lawrence Bell, and James McDonnell, all of whom founded companies bearing their names.

The photo above is a Lockheed T-33 Shooting Star. The T-33 is a two seat version of the P-80, the first successful US jet fighter. While the P-80 had a relatively short career, the T-33 flew for decades as a trainer, and many are still active today in private hands. This example carries markings from Niagara Falls AFB in New York.


Republic RF-84F Thunderflash
Just as Glenn Martin was a man of vision, so are the members of the Glenn Martin Museum. They have plans to establish a large regional air museum along the waterfront near the historic ramp where Martin seaplanes were once launched into the Chesapeake Bay. In the mean time, they have established an interim museum in a hangar at Martin State Airport, and they have assembled a group of display aircraft by scouring boneyards.

The photo above is an RF-84 Thunderflash, a recon aircraft manufactured on the airframe of an F-84 Thunderjet. This Thunderflash is one of 20 that deployed to France for 10 months during the Berlin Crisis in 1961.

Note—the Glenn L. Martin Museum has one additional aircraft that is not pictured here, a F-101 Voodoo, and several aircraft that are not on display. This includes a F-9F Cougar, a F-5, a Martin Mauler, and the remains of a Maritime P6M-2 Seamaster jet seaplane.


North American Aviation QF-100F Super Sabre
This F-100 Super Sabre, manufactured by North American Aviation, is an early supersonic fighter. This particular version was retired to the USAF boneyard in Tucson. It was later pulled out of storage and converted into a QF-100 target drone. Three such aircraft were pulled out of the group of 218 QF-100 and were sent to the US Army for missile testing. That explains the US Army markings on the tail and the blue color. This example survived the missile testing and was retired at the Aberdeen Proving Grounds. The Glenn Martin Museum recovered the aircraft and restored it to static display status.

Republic F-105G Thunderchief
The Republic F-105 was the largest single engine fighter ever purchased by the US military. It featured an internal bomb bay designed for a nuclear weapon, but the aircraft found fame as a close air support bomber in Vietnam. This particular F-105 is a Wild Weasel aircraft. The Weasels would work in a hunter and killer team. The hunter would intentionally fly into SAM sites attempting to trigger the radar, hopefully without getting shot down. Once the radar was turned on, the killer would hit the site with a radar seeking missile. It was dangerous work, but it was the only way to keep the missiles in check to protect the B-52 crews. This aircraft is painted in honor of Captain Don Carson, a weasel pilot and author. The tail number, 274, is the number of F-105 that were shot down over North Vietnam.

McDonnell Douglas F-4C Phantom II
This McDonnell Douglas F-4C Phantom II was developed by the US Navy, but was adopted as an air superiority fighter by the USAF. Despite being a very large and heavy aircraft, it had enough power to fly Mach 2. The Phantom is a very versatile aircraft that served in a variety of roles, and was exported in large numbers. This example last served with the Arkansas Air National Guard.

Douglas TA-4J Skyhawk
This is a late model Douglas A-4 Skyhawk that was developed as a trainer. It was designated the TA-4J. The aircraft is essentially the smallest air frame that can fit around a Pratt & Whitney J52 engine. The result is an extremely nimble aircraft. These flight characteristics were similar to some of the Soviet fighter jets, which lead to the TA-4J being used in the aggressor squadrons. In fact, this Skyhawk is painted in a Soviet paint scheme and carries a red star on its tail. This aircraft was used at the Top Gun school in Miramar, and is reported to have been one of the aircraft to appear in the movie Top Gun.

Vought A-7D Corsair II
This is a Vought A-7D Corsair II. Vought built the original Corsair during WWII, and it named the A-7 project in honor of the WWII aircraft. Both the US Navy and USAF used the A-7. This example, a D model, was built in 1969 for the USAF. It last served in the Virginia Air National Guard based out of Richmond. The aircraft reportedly was sent to Baltimore for an upgrade, and it made such a hard landing at the Martin State Airport (then known as Middle River) that the aircraft was grounded and written off. It has since been placed on loan to the Glenn L. Martin Museum.

Martin 4-0-4 Mainliner
The Martin 4-0-4 airliner was produced right after WWII in an attempt to capture a piece of the anticipated post-war travel boom. Just over 100 of these twin engine aircraft were produced, with some going to the US Coast Guard for patrol duty. This aircraft served a number of airlines, and was retired in the late 1990s carrying the markings of International Airlines. This aircraft was flown to the museum, but has been flown since that time. It isn't in that bad of shape despite sitting for a decade. There are no flightworthy 4-0-4's at this time, but several are under restoration, and several more are in good enough shape to be restoration candidates.

Martin RB-57A Canberra
These photos above and below are two Martin RB-57A Canberra photo recon birds. The Canberra is based on the English Electric Canberra produced in the UK. The B-57A was not considered to be combat ready, but it was successfully adapted to the photo recon role. Both of these aircraft were flown by the 363rd Tactical Reconnaissance Wing based out of Shaw AFB in South Carolina. This wing used black paint and featured the checkerboard design on the tail as worn by the aircraft above. The aircraft below was transferred to the Kansas Air National Guard, which used a more traditional silver USAF color scheme. Both aircraft were rescued from the boneyard at the Aberdeen Proving Grounds, and are on loan to the museum.

Martin RB-57A Canberra

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Authored by John A. Weeks III, Copyright © 1996—2012, all rights reserved.
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