McDONNELL RF-101C "VOODOO"
The F-101 lineage included several versions: low-altitude fighter-bomber, photo reconnaissance, two-seat interceptor and transition trainer. To accelerate production, no prototypes were built, the first Voodoo, an F-101A, made its initial flight on September 29, 1954. When production ended in March 1961, nearly 800 Voodoos had been built. Development of the unarmed RF-101, the world's first supersonic photo-recon aircraft, began in 1956 while 35 RF-101As and 166 RF-101Cs were produced, many earlier single-seat Voodoos were converted to the reconnaissance configuration.
The RF-101C on display participated in "Operation Sun Run," a high-speed transcontinental flight on November 26, 1957. Using air-to-air refueling, a team of Voodoos set nonstop speed records from Los Angeles to New York City and return. Capt Ray W. Schrecengost, flying the plane on display, broke three existing speed records. This Voodoo flew vital low-altitude reconnaissance during the Cuban Missile Crisis and helped confirm that offensive missile sites in Cuba were being dismantled. It also served in Southeast Asia (SEA) with the 45th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron, one of the first aircraft in SEA to revert to camouflage markings for combat use.
KA-18A Stereo Strip Camera
This camera is one which was used during the series of reconnaissance flights over Cuba. Its design is unique in that it does not have a shutter which opens and closes, but instead operates on the principle of moving a strip of unexposed film past an open slit at a speed consistent with the apparent movement of the subject being photographed. This in reality, is the product of the camera being moved at a corresponding speed (such as in an airplane). The result is a camera which produces a continuous strip photo with sharp details generally unobtainable with shutter cameras mounted in aircraft flying at high speed at low altitude because of image blur caused by the aircraft's forward motion. Then-Colonel George W. Goddard had pioneered in the development of the strip camera just before WW II, basing his design on a newly-developed camera intended for use at race tracks to determine the winning horse in races which ended in a "Neck and Neck" finish.
Difficulties in obtaining sharply-defined photos at low altitude during the Cuban Missile Crisis had prompted the USAF to consult with retired Brig. Gen. Goddard who immediately recommended the use of a strip camera, by then no longer regularly used by the USAF. Several KA-18A cameras were found in storage at Wright-Patterson AFB and on the night of Nov. 2-3, 1962, modifications were made to an RF-101C "Voodoo" and this camera was installed. On Nov. 10, photos were taken of Cuban missile installations with this camera and within 24 hours, they were being examined by President Kennedy.
Vought F-8 Crusador
This outstanding carrier-based fighter, notable for its variable-incidence wing, outperformed the F-101 on the same engine. Exceeding Mach 1 on its first flight the F-8 was rapidly developed for carrier service, and for 12 years was a popular combat aircraft of the US Navy and Marines. Altogether 1,259 were built. The continual process of improvement added all-weather radar, improved autopilot and weapon-delivery systems, air/ground weapons and more. Variants include RF models for reconnaissance. Many versions still remain in service with other countries making the total Crusador flight time over 3 million hours.
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