A trip to the UP (Upper Peninsula of Michigan) isn’t complete without a visit to a cold war site. The UP, one of the last lines of defense from the Canadians (just kidding), is a smorgasbord of old SAC bases, radar sites and a one-time BOMARC sites. This June, our travels took us past the old Kincheloe (once Kinross) AFB and a one-time radar site in Sault Ste. Marie.
The old Strategic Air Command/Air Defense base is right off of I-75 at Exit 378. Named after Iven Kincheloe in 1959, today the base is a mix of Chippewa County International Airport, prison, residences and businesses. Driving in, it appears that the old base main entrance sign is replaced with a smattering of ads for local businesses. In the past, the terminal for the public airport was the old alert building for SAC B-52 crews. Continuing around the airport, there are old military style buildings everywhere and we even drove past a flagpole and courtyard which may have been for the headquarters.
Many of the large SAC hangars still exist with manufacturers now in their place. You can drive on the apron between the row of hangars and the one-time ramp also has the old lighting in place. Too bad the ADC alert hangars aren’t around more.
No one gave us any issues for driving around and taking photos. I’d just advise staying away from the prison and from what you can tell is private property.
On the way in is the Kinross Historical Society, which advertises a military museum. We never make it in time to get in, but it might be a good stop if you’re in the area.
Watch for part 2 with a visit to the radar squadron site.
Kincheloe Naming Ceremony, 1959
Dave Schafer’s rocket powered X-2 model is featured in the latest edition of Rockets Magazine.
Download a free PDF of the magazine at www.RocketsMagazine.com.
I’ve never seen Dragonfly Squadron, but the 1954 film is coming out on DVD and Blu-Ray in October. The film is also in 3D, so I guess the “Bomb-Blasting” will be even better…
With a movie marathon this July 28 on TCM! Of course, it wouldn’t be a proper salute without Toward The Unknown, Jim’s first movie. Check your local listings, but TCM is noting 6AM (likely Eastern Time).
Joe & Polly Craven
NEW FACE – - James Garner, handsome and talented new Warner Bros. contractee, makes his film debut in “Toward The Unknown,” Toluca production for Warner Bros. starring William Holden. Garner, who comes from the stage, has featured role of Air Force major in WarnerColor drama of jet pilots, produced and directed by Mervyn LeRoy.
I just found out about a 1955 Warner Bros. movie titled “24 Hour Alert.” I don’t know much of the plot (Jack Webb visits a California Air Force Base?!), but the visuals look like a fun watch.
If you have a copy of the movie on DVD that you’re willing to share, please drop me a note. More than happy to purchase or trade for another movie.
Images from WarbirdInformationExchange.com – Check out this post for more screen caps from the movie.
Mike sent this over this week – neat-o:
I thought I would share with you the model of the Bell X-1B that Pat Hawkey made for my collection. The kit is the 1/48 Glencoe/Strombecker X-1B model with a few modifications. He added a cockpit, pilot, new canopy, and fairing on the belly of the plane just like the original.
I always thought my house was the only one decorated in “Early American Flight Test.” Tony Accurso beats me. Below are some pieces that Tony commissioned aviation artist Craig Kodera to create for him.
Fitz in Command
Tony wanted both paintings to honor Fitz Fulton for his work as a flight test pilot and specifically as the Mother ship commander over the years. Flying the B-50 was an immense responsibility and he handled it with his typical professionalism. In this piece Tony wanted to see a close-up “in your face” view of the stars of the artwork: Fitz and the airplane. Of course we had to include its reason for existence, the X-2.
Zero Dark Thirty Takeoff
In typical flight test and Air Force fashion, getting up in the dead of night to be in the air while it was cool and calm necessitates setting the alarm very early on the clock. This particular mission is the one of 18 November 1955 which Mike Machat portrays in his painting on this site, only this view captures the launch sequence as the sun rises over the desert. Tony wanted a painting with low light and contrails which meant the cold day early in the program of powered flying.
I thought I’d start a new feature here on the blog about new & notable books that have come out about flight test and/or the X-2. I’m years and years behind, so I’ve started a bit of a list of books over on the website to start from.
The first book comes from the Netherlands and Michel van Pelt: Rocketing Into the Future – The History and Technology of Rocket Planes.
I have a copy on my desk here and I have to admit, I’m only a few dozen pages into reading it. This book is full of detail and research, covering not just US rocket planes but those from all nations, from the beginning of rocket technology. The book includes plenty of photos (color and B&W) and illustrations.
Check out Amazon for an inside peek at pages.
Have a book for the list? Drop me a comment!
An individual recently inquired about airframe construction, plans, cockpit photos of the X-2. I’d recommend A Technical Review of the X-2 which is Bell Aircraft documentation. The book is available from Lulu.com as a PDF download or a bound book. The page featuring the print book has a “preview” link right below the image cover – click on that to get some ideas of the book’s content.