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North American RA-5C Vigilante homage

5 April 2017

RA-5C Vigilante in flight—U.S. Navy Archives


RA-5C Vigilante coming aboard (note the small window at the navigator/systems operator station)—U.S. Navy Archives


RA-5C Vigilante coming off the deck—U.S. Navy Archives


RA-5C Vigilante banks left—U.S. Navy Archives

Two RA5C Vigilantes stationed at Naval Air Station Key West fly in much different terrain than the Florida Keys during the 1970s (note that the navigator/systems operator of the nearer Vigilante has drawn the cockpit curtain while the other aircraft systems operator has not)—U.S. Navy photo from the Florida Keys Public Library

An RA5C Vigilante at Naval Air Station Key West sometime in the 1970s (interestingly, no start cart or second ladder for the navigator/systems operator)—U.S. Navy photo from the Florida Keys Public Library/Ida Woodward Barron Collection.


RA-5C coming aboard (what you cannot hear is the deafening noise of the engines which are that way during landing!)—U.S. Navy Archives

One Comment leave one →
  1. Frederick Arthur Olds permalink
    5 April 2017 11:07

    I was a midshipman at USNA in the summer of 57 when they flew a large number of us to the North American plant where we saw and were addressed by Scott Crossfield. He told us that when testing the VIGILANTE (That at the time was designated to carry nuclear bombs) he shot at a target then went into a steep dive and he actually outran his bullets and shot himself down.

    Saw him for the last time when my brother BGEN Robin Olds was installed in the Aviation Hall of Fame in Dayton in 2001. For info there is a superb aviation museum here in Virginia Beach that is in Pungo and it has the only flying Mosquito. Almost all of the airplanes there are flyable including a replica of the first naval aircraft flown by Ely and even a Junkers and ME-252. I coordinated a reunion for the Red River Valley Fighter Pilots Association in May of 2016 and set up our flight suit party there. My niece Christine managed to get Robin’s book Fighter Pilot published and is now working on a book on my father MGEN Robert Olds USAAC. You can check him out on Wikipedia. He actually deserves more credit to contributing to aviation history than Robin. Was a pilot in WWI, flew with Billy Mitchell and testified for him at his court martial, was first commander of the B-17 (2nd Bomb Group at Langley Field where I was born in 1936), first to fly cross country on oxygen etc. When he completed a good will flight to Argentina in 1938 his navigator was a young LT named Curtis LeMay. My father died of Lupus at age 46 in 1943.

    Cheers, Frederick A. Olds Capt USN Ret Tel: 757-486-3862


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