The Travis Heritage Center have an extremely interesting and wide variety of collections. Our weapons, engines, aircraft nose art, models, original photographs, aviation sculptures, military coins and uniforms are a delight to any craftsmen’s or artisans’ eye. The following represents an example of our holdings:
AGM-28 Hound Dog Missile
The North American AGM-28 Hound Dog was the first air-launched nuclear stand-off missile deployed by the United States.
Length: 12.95 m (42 ft 6 in)
Wingspan: 3.66 m (12 ft)
Diameter: 0.71 m (28 in)
Launch weight: 4,500 kg (10,000 lb)
Speed: Mach 2.1
Ceiling: 16,800 m (55,000 ft)
Maximum range: 1,100 km (700 miles)
Guidance: inertial: with astro-tracker heading correction
CEP: 13,000 feet
Warhead: W-28 thermonuclear (1.1 MT)
AGM-28 Hound Dog Missile
The development of the nuclear stand-off missile was initiated by the USAF in 1956. Initially known as Weapon System 131B, it was intended to give Strategic Air Command heavy bombers the ability to attack Soviet targets from outside enemy airspace. The first powered flight of the prototype missile, designated XGAM-77, was made in April 1959. The missile's engine, airframe, and warhead were straightforward adaptations of existing technology, so the weapon's development period was quite short, and the production GAM-77 entered operational service in December 1959. It received the popular name Hound Dog, apparently inspired by the contemporary hit song by Elvis Presley.
Hound Dog was essentially an unpiloted jet airplane with small delta wings and forward canards. It was powered by a single Pratt & Whitney J-52-P-3 turbojet in a ventral pod beneath the rear fuselage, with 7,500 lbf (33 kN) thrust. It used inertial navigation for guidance, with heading updates provided by astro-trackers mounted in the launch pylon. The W28 warhead (the same as the B28 nuclear bomb) had an explosive yield of 1.1 megatons. The missile's maximum range was about 700 miles (1,100 km).
The Hound Dog was carried by B-52 Stratofortress bombers; the B-52D, B-52G and B-52H were fitted with provision for the large under-wing pylons to launch the weapons, each bomber normally carrying one under each wing. The Hound Dog's fuel tanks, interestingly, could be topped up from the B-52's own fuel supply, and before launch its engines could be used as auxiliary booster engines for the bomber. The missile's inertial navigation system (INS) could be used as a backup system for determining the aircraft's position after the initial calibration and "leveling" which took a minimum of 90 minutes.
The GAM-77 was subsequently upgraded to GAM-77A standard, with improved astro-trackers now mounted in the missile, rather than the pylon, a radar altimeter, and larger fuel capacity. The upgrade made possible several different altitude profiles, such as high altitude launch/high altitude cruise (high/high) or high altitude launch/high altitude cruise followed by a descent to terrain following cruise (high/high/low). Other options were high/low, low/high, low/low and low/high/low.
In June 1963 the GAM-77 and GAM-77A were redesignated AGM-28A and AGM-28B, respectively. An updated AGM-28C, with improved guidance, was proposed in the early 1970s, but never built.
A total of about 700 Hound Dogs were produced. They were intended to be replaced by the AGM-48 Skybolt, which did not enter service. The last Hound Dogs were retired in 1976.
General purpose bombs
GP bombs on display in museum
General Purpose (GP) bombs are free-fall ordnance. They are cylindrical bombs, with tapered heads, straight sides and a cone shaped tail. Usually they have a fuze at both ends (a fuze is a mechanical detonator vs a fuse which is a pyrotechnic detonator) and are filled with tritonal, TNT or amatol.
They can be used against personnel, moderately reinforced concrete, and light armor. Both fragmentation and blast effect are produced. These are what are now called "iron bombs", used to crater the approach end of bridges. They are unguided after being dropped, as opposed to "smart bombs" which receive guidance to the target.
Color markings: Olive drab overall, 1" yellow band on the front and a 1" yellow band near the end. All stenciling is with black paint.
The Hughes AIM-4 Falcon was the first operational guided air-to-air missile of the United States Air Force. Development began in 1946; the weapon was first tested in 1949. The missile entered service with the USAF in 1956.
Produced in both heat-seeking and radar-guided versions, the missile served during the Vietnam War with USAF McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II units. Designed to shoot down slow bombers with limited maneuverability, it was ineffective against maneuverable fighters over Vietnam. Lacking proximity fusing, the missile would detonate only if a direct hit was scored. Only five kills were recorded.
With the AIM-4's poor kill record rendering the F-4 ineffective at air-to-air combat, the fighters were modified to carry the USN-designed AIM-9 Sidewinder missile instead, which was already carried on USN and USMC F-4 Phantom II and F-8 Crusader jet fighters. The Sidewinder was much more effective and improved versions continue to serve the armed forces of the United States and numerous allied nations to this day.
Falcon on display in museum
Genie GR-2 missile
The Douglas AIR-2 Genie was an unguided air-to-air rocket with a 1.5 kt W25 nuclear warhead. The interception of Soviet strategic bombers was a major military preoccupation of the late 1940s and 1950s. The revelation in 1947 that the Soviet Union had produced a reverse-engineered copy of the Boeing B-29 Superfortress, the Tupolev Tu-4 (NATO reporting name "Bull"), which could reach the continental United States in a one-way attack, followed by the Soviets developing their own atomic bomb in 1949, produced considerable anxiety.
guns and cannon were inadequate to stop attacks by massed formations of high-speed bombers. Firing large volleys of unguided rockets into bomber formations was not much better, and true air-to-air missiles were in their infancy. In 1954 Douglas Aircraft began a program to investigate the possibility of a nuclear-armed air-to-air weapon. To ensure simplicity and reliability, the weapon would be unguided, since the large blast radius made precise accuracy unnecessary.
"Fat Man" nuclear weapon on display
"Fat Man" was an implosion-type nuclear weapon with a solid plutonium core. One was dropped over Nagasaki, Japan, on August 9, 1945 near the end of WWII. Released by the B-29 "Bockscar" on display in the USAF Museum's Air Power Gallery, the 10,000-pound weapon was detonated at an altitude of about 1,800 feet over the city. The bomb had an explosive force (yield) of about 20,000 tons of TNT, about the same as the bomb dropped on Hiroshima. However because of Nagasaki's hilly terrain, the damage was somewhat less extensive than at relatively flat Hiroshima. A sub-critical sphere of plutonium was placed in the center of a hollow sphere of high explosive (HE). Numerous detonators located on the surface of the HE were fired simultaneously to produce a powerful inward pressure on the capsule, squeezing it and increasing its density. This resulted in a supercritical condition and a nuclear explosion.
Mark 82 with Snake Eye Tail Retarding Device.
In low-level bombing, it is possible for the delivering aircraft to sustain damage from the blast and fragmentation effects of its own munitions. To address this issue, the standard Mk 82 General-Purpose bomb can be fitted with a special high-drag tail fin unit, and is referred to as the Mk 82 Snake Eye.
M61 Vulcan cannon
Snake eye on display in museum
M61 Vulcan cannon on display in museum
The M61 Vulcan is a hydraulically, electrically, or pneumatically driven, six-barrel, air-cooled, electrically fired Gatling-style rotary cannon which fires 20 mm × 102 mm rounds at an extremely high rate (typically 6,000 rounds per minute). The M61 and its derivatives have been the principal cannon armament of United States military fixed-wing aircraft for over sixty years.
A lesson of World War II air combat was that German, Italian, and Japanese fighters could attack American aircraft from long range with their cannon main armament. American fighters with .50 caliber (12.7 mm) main armament had to be close to enemy aircraft in order to hit and damage them. The 20 mm Hispano cannon carried by the P-38 and P-61, while formidable against propeller-driven planes, had a relatively low
rate of fire in the age of jets, while other cannons were notoriously unreliable. In response to this requirement, the Armament Division of General Electric resurrected an old idea: the multi-barrel Gatling gun. With multiple barrels, the rate of fire per barrel could be lower than a single-barrel revolver cannon while providing a greater overall rate of fire.
The Travis Heritage Center has twenty-one major displays and several minor ones in its Engine Room. These range from piston aircraft engines through turboprop, turbojets , turbofans and rocket engines.There are even three cut-a-ways to let you see the inner workings of engines. Stop by the engine room and see what keeps the aircraft moving.
Piston Powered Engines:
A reciprocating engine burns fuel in an enclosed cylinder which forces a piston to move up and down the cylinder. The pistons are connected to a shaft which turns the propeller. There can be many different arrangements of the cylinders, but aircraft engine manufacturers found the best arrangement for larger aircraft engines is a radial engine with the cylinders arranged around in a circle around. One of the earliest is our Liberty-12, an example of an inline engine (like an automobile engine), replaced later by radial
A turboprop is an engine that uses a turbine jet engine instead of a reciprocating engine to drive the aircraft propeller. Air is drawn into the intake, compressed and sent to the combustion chamber. The hot gases drive the propeller and the compressor, with the exhaust adding a relatively small amount to thrust. It provides more thrust than piston powered engines, and is easier to maintain. Our P&W T-34 Turbo wasp is an example of a turboprop.
A turbojet is a simple turbine engine that eliminates the propeller and produces all of its thrust from the exhaust from the turbine section. Air is drawn in, compressed and the fuel/air mixture ignited to produce thrust. The air must all pass through the whole engine. Our General Electric J31 Turbojet was one of the first produced.
A turbofan has a larger fan at the intake, and some compressed air bypasses the engine. The bypassed air is added to the exhaust from the fuel/air turbine to create thrust. In a high-bypass engine, most of the compressed air bypasses the engine and provides most of the engine thrust. Our P&W TF30 engine is a low bypass turbofan.
Rocket engines are fundamentally different from the previous engines. Rocket engines are reaction engines. The basic principle driving a rocket engine is the Newtonian principle that "to every action there is an equal and opposite reaction." A rocket engine is throwing mass in one direction and benefiting from the reaction that occurs in the other direction (thrust). In a rocket engine, fuel and a source of oxygen, called an oxidizer, are mixed and exploded in a combustion chamber. The combustion produces hot exhaust which is passed through a nozzle to accelerate the flow and produce thrust. Our two-chambered LR87-AJ-11 is the first stage engine for the Titan III booster.
The inspiration for nose art, during World War II and later during the Korean Conflict, came from almost all areas of popular culture; girl friends, cartoons, comic strips, movies, matchbooks, calendars, you name it. However, the majority of nose art was inspired by the calendars and magazines of the time. The most widely copied artist was Alberto Vargas. Arguably the premier pin-up artist of our time, Vargas was the principle artist for Esquire Magazine and produced most of the art work for that magazine's pin-up page and calendars.
World War II, in particular, was a time when almost anything was allowed to be painted on aircraft. Allowing this kind of expression was seen as a way to boost morale and unit efficiency. But, in time, there were some excesses. This was particularly true in the case of pin-up girl nose art, so that by the end of the war, Army Air Corps censorship became evident in some of this art work.
Nose art all but disappeared following the Korean Conflict. It reappeared for a brief time during the Vietnam War, but disappeared once more at the end of that conflict because new command directives forbade nose art.
During the 1980s the United States Air Force began to reexamine its heritage, and despite complaints from the National Organization for Women -- because beautiful women were favorite subjects -- the Commander in Chief of the Strategic Air Command endorsed nose art on aircraft to re-instill tradition and pride.
Nevertheless, peacetime does not provide the ideal climate for this genre of art. It seems to take a war for nose art to survive and flourish. During the Gulf War, it did just that. By the time the conflict with Iraq ended in early 1991, almost everything within the theater that could fly had been decorated - some cute, some not so cute and some raunchy. When the aircraft returned home, most of the nose art seemed to disappear over night.
General Charles T. “Tony” Robertson Jr.
General Charles T. “Tony” Robertson Jr. donated his 600-piece coin collection to the Travis Heritage Center where it is handsomely exhibited near the Gift Shop.
Tony Robertson was commander in chief, U.S. Transportation Command, and commander, Air Mobility Command, Scott Air Force Base, Ill. He retired effective December 1, 2001.
Military Challenge Coins
Military Challenge Coins are an unofficial element of military culture. The true origins of these coins are shrouded in legend...
During World War I, an American fighter pilot was shot down over “no-mans land.” He used a coin with the insignia of his squadron to identify himself to French soldiers intent on shooting him as a suspected saboteur. Thereafter members of his squadron carried their coins at all times. Soon a ritual challenge began. If anyone struck their coin on a hard surface, such as a bar, all others in attendance had to respond in kind. Anyone not having their coin had to buy a round of drinks. If everyone had their coin, the challenger bought the round.
Variations developed in WW II. In the Philippine Islands, a force composed of Philippine, American, British, Australian, and others used the classic guerrilla tactic of striking hard and disappearing in the jungle before Japanese forces could react. In order to make contact between unknown guerrilla bands, they adopted the expedient method of filing a large one-peso coin flat on one side and stamping it with their unit emblem. This allowed them to carry a means of identification that would be overlooked if they were searched.
In Vietnam the challenge tradition took a dangerous turn. Members of elite army units always carried one round of ammunition with them just in case. As sometimes happens with traditions this one got a little out of hand. Instead of carrying a rifle or pistol cartridge in their pocket when they visited a hootch (bar) some wise guy carried a larger .50 caliber machine gun round. It wasn't long before 20 mm, 40 mm, and even 105 mm cannon shells were carried to these gatherings. Common sense prevailed and challenge coins replaced live ordinance.
Today, challenge coins are a symbol of pride that military members carry, not for personal identification, but to identify themselves as part of a team. Soldiers and airmen from numerous countries have taken up the challenge. One of the ways to make new friends when deployed to distant lands is to trade coins. People strive for the most unusual coins and carrying the coins of another unit or nation is acceptable as long as they can show their connection with that organization.
Travis Aviation Museum coin
Uniforms: Military Uniform Collection
The Travis Heritage Center is exceptionally proud of its extensive military uniform exhibits. Authentic uniforms from WWI to the space exploration; from pilots to medics to WASPs are displayed. In addition to our main display, there are manikins throughout the museum and in displays with various uniforms.
The United States Air Force (USAF) has undergone several significant changes in both its service and utility uniforms. Since its inception as the Army Air Forces (AAF) during World War II. During World War II, the AAF
Early "blues" - 1950's
adopted a variety of service uniforms, including the Class A and Class B uniforms, which were similar to those of the U.S. Army. In the immediate post-World War II period, the USAF initially retained a modified version of the Army's "pinks and greens" uniform. This was a dress uniform featuring a pinkish hue for the trousers and an olive green coat. In the 1950's-1960's, the USAF transitioned to the blue service dress uniform, which featured a dark blue coat with silver or gold metallic rank insignia and a light blue shirt and tie. This became a standard dress uniform for many years. There were numerous changes to the dress blues, but they continue to be worn for formal occasions.
"Silver-tan" service uniform - 1950
In the early days of aviation, military pilots often wore regular uniforms made of wool or other materials. However, as aviation technology advanced, it became clear that pilots needed specialized clothing to meet the unique demands of flying. During World War I, the U.S. Army Air Service began experimenting with cotton flight suits as they offered
better comfort and breathability compared to wool uniforms. These early flight suits were made of lightweight cotton fabric and provided some level of protection against the cold and wind experienced at high altitudes.
Over the years, the design and features of cotton flight suits evolved to better suit the needs of aviators. They often featured multiple pockets for carrying essential items, adjustable cuffs and waistbands, and reinforced areas on the knees and elbows for durability. Cotton flight suits were widely used by U.S. Army Air Forces pilots during World War II. They were commonly worn by bomber crews, fighter pilots, and other aviation personnel. They were comfortable for long flights and could be easily customized with patches and insignia.
In the post-World War II era, there was a gradual shift from cotton flight suits to suits made of synthetic materials like nylon and
nomex. These materials offered improved fire resistance and durability, which became increasingly important as jet engines became more prevalent. Nomex offered several advantages for aviation personnel. Its flame-resistant properties provided critical protection in the event of a fire or explosion on board an aircraft. The fabric is also lightweight, durable, and comfortable to wear, making it suitable for extended periods of use.
Although not a real flight suit, "party suits" became popular during the Vietnam War. These were locally procured replicas of of flight suit, done in a unit's chosen color with personalized patches reflecting the owner's unit, hometown and how he felt about anything. For parties, not flight.
Cotton "greenn bag"
The history of United States Air Force (USAF) fatigue and Battle Dress Uniform (BDU) uniforms has evolved over the years to meet the changing needs and requirements of the Air Force personnel. During World War II, the predecessor of the USAF, the United States Army Air Forces (USAAF), utilized various uniforms, including the Army Air Corps Herringbone Twill (HBT) fatigue uniform. These uniforms were designed for comfort and functionality in the field.
The Korean War saw the introduction of the Olive Green Shade 107 cotton sateen utility uniform, which became the standard fatigue uniform for the USAAF. This uniform featured a button-up shirt and trousers with cargo pockets. It was often worn with a
utility cap. The USAF adopted the Shade 1505 cotton sateen uniform, which was a two-piece uniform featuring a button-up shirt and trousers. This uniform was intended for everyday wear and was often worn with black leather combat boots. The USAF introduced the OG-507 olive green utility uniform, made of a polyester-cotton blend. It featured a button-up shirt and trousers with cargo pockets. The OG-507 was used throughout the 1970s and into the early 1980s.1980s:
The USAF transitioned to the Battle Dress Uniform (BDU) in the 1980s. The BDU was made of ripstop cotton fabric and featured a camouflage pattern designed for woodland environments. It consisted of a button-up shirt, trousers, and a cover (hat). The BDU became the standard utility uniform for the USAF.
In the early 1990s, the USAF adopted a desert camouflage version of the BDU, known as the Desert Battle Dress Uniform (DBDU), for personnel deployed to desert environments like those in the Middle East during the Gulf War. This was later replaced by the Desert Camouflage Uniform (DCU). 2000s: The USAF phased out the BDU and introduced the Airman Battle Uniform (ABU) in 2007. The ABU featured a pixelated tiger-stripe pattern in shades of gray, blue, and green. It was designed for airmen to blend in with various environments. 2010s: In 2011, the USAF began transitioning from the ABU to the Operational Camouflage Pattern (OCP) uniform, which is also known as the Army Combat Uniform (ACU). This change was part of the larger effort to standardize camouflage patterns across the U.S. military. The OCP features a distinctive pattern in shades of green, brown, and tan.
Travis Heritage Center Military Uniform Exhibit
Travis Heritage Center Military Uniform Exhibit