Aircraft at Battleship Memorial Park

The aircraft collection at the USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park (Part 1 here) is quite special. There are several gems hidden among the more ordinary museum pieces.

The OS2U Kingfisher is the aircraft most identifiable with the USS Alabama. However, it is rather poorly highlighted given the special nature of its connection and rarity (1 of 8 in the world).

This next aircraft is a rare gem (1 of 2 existing); it is NOT an F-18. I have been looking for an example since 2000 when my future advisor, Dr. Arena at OSU, asked his stability and control class to identify the aircraft. I didn’t get it right.

One tell to know this is not an F-18 is the landing gear; this straight gear isn’t designed to survive a carrier landing. Another set of tells are the forward fuselage, chines, and canopy shape. The cobra insignia on the forward fuselage seals the tells.

The museum has an A-12, one of three (!!!) in Alabama. The other two are in Huntsville and Birmingham. For my logging purposes, the A12 has it’s own page.

There are examples of modern fighters, an F-15 and F-16, and some other examples spread across the 1950s-1980s including an AD-1 Skyraider and an A4 Skyhawk.

The museum does include a B-52.

Students of aerospace structures should notice the buckling in the forward fuselage. This is normal given the thin walled construction.

The B-52 is also unique in that it is one of the few aircraft designed where the gear’s “yaw” angle is changed to allow a cross-wind landing. Can you name the other 3 aircraft that I have found over the years with main gear that rotate? Can you up my count of three? Let me know.

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