1 of 54 Geoff Morrison / CNET
The Hill Aerospace Museum, near Salt Lake City, Utah, has an eclectic mix of beautifully maintained aircraft. Here’s a look around.
2 of 54 Geoff Morrison / CNET
Many of the museum’s aircraft are outside, and it’s a testament to the dedication of the staff that they’re all in such fantastic shape given the area’s penchant for weather.
This is an F-89 Scorpion, one of the first production jet interceptors.
3 of 54 Geoff Morrison / CNET
The B-1 Lancer is a supersonic, swing-wing bomber. This is the more common B-variant, which was slower but was better suited to its role.
4 of 54 Geoff Morrison / CNET
The museum’s B-1 bomber served most of its life in Texas.
Though not directly related, you can see a lot of Rockwell’s failed XB-70 bomber in the Lancer’s design.
5 of 54 Geoff Morrison / CNET
This chunky boy is a T-28 Trojan trainer aircraft. This example first flew in 1954.
6 of 54 Geoff Morrison / CNET
The F-4 was a hugely successful interceptor and fighter bomber flown by the US Navy, Air Force, and Marines. It was extremely fast, with a top speed over Mach 2.2.
7 of 54 Geoff Morrison / CNET
The unmistakable profile of a massive C-130 transport. This is the second B-variant ever built.
8 of 54 Geoff Morrison / CNET
9 of 54 Geoff Morrison / CNET
The B-29 was the most expensive military project of WWII and cost 50% more than the Manhattan Project.
10 of 54 Geoff Morrison / CNET
The museum’s B-29 flew out of several bases in Texas, Arizona, and Ohio before spending 30 years on the ground as a test vehicle.
11 of 54 Geoff Morrison / CNET
It has been at the museum since 1983, where it was lovingly restored.
12 of 54 Geoff Morrison / CNET
Shortly after the B-29 left service, the B-52 entered. The enormous eight-engine bomber is still in service.
13 of 54 Geoff Morrison / CNET
This is the G-variant, built in 1959. All remaining B-52s are the later H-variant.
14 of 54 Geoff Morrison / CNET
15 of 54 Geoff Morrison / CNET
16 of 54 Geoff Morrison / CNET
17 of 54 Geoff Morrison / CNET
Though somewhat similar in appearance to the C-123 Provider, the C-119 was developed from one of Fairchild’s own WWII-era designs. The “Flying Boxcar” has a clamshell rear opening and a twin-boom tail.
18 of 54 Geoff Morrison / CNET
Almost four times as many C-119s were built compared to C-123s.
19 of 54 Geoff Morrison / CNET
There’s something odd-looking about helicopters without their rotors. Like they’re naked or something. This is a Piasecki H-21, also known as the Flying Banana. Though I suppose if you try hard enough all bananas can fly.
20 of 54 Geoff Morrison / CNET
One of the largest aircraft at the museum, the huge Douglas C-124 Globemaster II was nicknamed “Old Shaky,” presumably not for its smooth ride.
21 of 54 Geoff Morrison / CNET
Inside the museum are even more rarities. This is an original 1918 Curtiss JN-4D Jenny, which spent 18 years being carefully restored to flying condition. After decades on the ground, it flew again in 1976.
22 of 54 Geoff Morrison / CNET
This mean, green machine is a B-25. This example has led an interesting life. It was built in 1945 and immediately put in storage. It bounced around various military bases for over a decade before being sold to the private sector.
In 1962 it crashed in Argentina while smuggling cigarettes from Paraguay. It stayed there for nearly 30 years before being shipped back here, restored and put on display at the museum.
23 of 54 Geoff Morrison / CNET
The legendary B-17. This example was built in 1945 and flew in the Brazilian Air Force from 1953 to 1968.
24 of 54 Geoff Morrison / CNET
Despite being the most produced bomber in history, it’s fairly rare to see a B-24 in a museum. This example was stationed in Alaska, where it eventually crashed. Fifty years later, former crew members from Utah found the aircraft and had it shipped to California for restoration; it arrived here for display in 2002.
25 of 54 Geoff Morrison / CNET
26 of 54 Geoff Morrison / CNET
Though similar-looking to the B-25, the Douglas A-26 Invader was a few years newer and was actually in service longer.
27 of 54 Geoff Morrison / CNET
28 of 54 Geoff Morrison / CNET
It’s mostly an observation aircraft, but can be outfitted for light ground attack duty. Though it looks fairly modern, this example was built in 1968, served in Vietnam and later helped the Columbian Air Force in the drug war.
29 of 54 Geoff Morrison / CNET
One of several Century Series fighters at the museum, this is the McDonnell F-101 Voodoo. It was only in service with the Air Force for 15 years, at least in its original fighter form. They were designed as a long-range bomber escort, a role that became unnecessary as the Cold War progressed. Some were converted and used in a recon role.
30 of 54 Geoff Morrison / CNET
The delta-winged F-102 Delta Dagger interceptor first flew in 1953, and was largely replaced in the 1960s by the faster evolution, the F-106 Delta Dart.
31 of 54 Geoff Morrison / CNET
Speaking of which, here’s the F-106 Delta Dart. It was significantly faster than its similarly delta-winged predecessor. Note the angled and more rectangular engine intakes, compared to the F-102s more rounded, vertical intakes.
32 of 54 Geoff Morrison / CNET
More twin booms! This is a Cessna Skymaster, or more specifically, the military O-2 Skymaster. They first flew in the late ’60s and were in use by the US military until 2010. Note the rare push-pull engine layout.
33 of 54 Geoff Morrison / CNET
The F-5 was not commonly used in the US, but it was bought and flown by several foreign air forces. This example was used by manufacturer Northrop as a test aircraft and chase jet in Arizona and California.
34 of 54 Geoff Morrison / CNET
With one of the coolest names in military aviation, the Lockheed F-104 Starfighter doesn’t look like it could fly, with such thin, stubby wings.
35 of 54 Geoff Morrison / CNET
36 of 54 Geoff Morrison / CNET
This unique and stubby-looking chopper is a Kaman HH-43 Huskie. It has a rare intermeshing-rotor design.
37 of 54 Geoff Morrison / CNET
The Huskies were used for search and rescue during the Vietnam War.
38 of 54 Geoff Morrison / CNET
This big aircraft may seem out of place among all the jets, but the A-1 Skyraider was in service from just after WWII until the early ’70s. It was replaced by the A-10, which we’ll see in a moment.
39 of 54 Geoff Morrison / CNET
This is one of two of the big Thunderchief fighter-bombers at the museum. Seen here is the most widely produced D-variant.
40 of 54 Geoff Morrison / CNET
It first flew only 10 years after WWII and could still carry more bombs than the famous B-17 and B-24 bombers of that war. This is the two-seat G-variant.
41 of 54 Geoff Morrison / CNET
Speaking of Vietnam-era aircraft, this is the swing-wing F-111. Versions have been in service for over 30 years.
42 of 54 Geoff Morrison / CNET
You don’t see many of these in museums. It’s an F-15 Eagle; early models like this A-variant only started being retired from service a few years ago.
43 of 54 Geoff Morrison / CNET
A trio of F-16s. The one in the middle, if the colors weren’t a giveaway, was flown by the Air Force’s Thunderbirds.
44 of 54 Geoff Morrison / CNET
This F-16A first flew in 1980. It’s quite remarkable how tiny these aircraft are compared to their contemporaries.
45 of 54 Geoff Morrison / CNET
46 of 54 Geoff Morrison / CNET
An F-117 stealth fighter, currently undergoing restoration. I’m curious if the leading edges (yellow areas) were removed before decommissioning. The F-117 at the Strategic Air Command & Aerospace Museum had the same missing pieces.
47 of 54 Geoff Morrison / CNET
The business end of the huge, and fast, SR-71 Blackbird. This is the only SR-71C, and the last SR-71 built. The rear was from a previously-crashed YF-12 and the front from a static test fuselage.
48 of 54 Geoff Morrison / CNET
This is one of the early start carts required to get the Blackbird’s huge J58 engines started. It was literally two Buick V8s on a single driveshaft.
49 of 54 Geoff Morrison / CNET
This small donut is one of the aluminum-embedded tires for the SR-71. They were specially designed, like most things on the SR-71, tostand the extreme heat of Mach 3 flight.
50 of 54 Geoff Morrison / CNET
This huge helicopter is a MH-53 Pave Low. This C-variant first flew in 1971.
51 of 54 Geoff Morrison / CNET
Over its 3-plus decades of service it has been upgraded to the 53M-variant you see here. Most of those upgrades involved the electronics and defensive capabilities.
52 of 54 Geoff Morrison / CNET
This is the CH-3, also known as the S-61, and was the predecessor to the MH-53. It had the delightful nickname, “Jolly Green Giant.”
53 of 54 Geoff Morrison / CNET
This Giant first flew in 1966 and was stationed in Southeast Asia. Later it was stationed here, at Hill AFB.
54 of 54 Geoff Morrison / CNET
The cockpit of a C-130 transport. The rest of the fuselage of this aircraft is often used as a classroom for students visiting the museum.
That’s it for this tour. If you liked what you saw, check out more Tech Treks.