Monday, February 20, 2012

ICBM transport

In the course of writing the book, there has been some discussion about whether transporting ICBMs was a primary design criterion for the C-133. In going through some Douglas material, I found the following:

A Douglas historical background, DAC-67975, states that the tentative initial configuration of what became the C-133 had the basic design mission to carry 50,000 pounds of cargo 1,500 NM with a takeoff distance of 5,000'. This was as of 8 Oct 1952. The final configuration was Douglas Model 1333, weighing 275,000 pounds, a mission radius of 1,500 NM at 260 knots with a 60,300 pound payload. A range mission would transport 42,000 poounds 3,500 NM at 360 knots.

The first mention of ICBMs was in connection with Letter Contract AF33(600)-32817, dated 31 Oct 56 (seven months after the C-133's first flight), in which the major change was the redesign of the aft fuselage for Atlas loading capability. The redesign gave increased loading clearances. The Douglas material makes no mention of ICBM transport as a mission requirement associated with any of the various contracts prior to 31 Oct 56.

An article in Aircraft and Missiles Magazine, written by Philip Geddes in August 1959, discusses the aft fuselage modifications. He notes that the three-door design of the C-133A was changed to "the four-door clamshell design of the C-133B. This modification gives nearly 13 ft headroom at the loading ramp wth 12 ft width; sufficient to ingest an Atlas ICBM."

Another document is "Background History of the C-133 Aircraft," prepared by the Directorate of Aerospace Safety, Norton AFB, CA, dated 20 Jan 65. It comments that "AMC studied the C-133's capability of transporting missiles, such as : the SM-65 and the intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) of the Atlas program." AF approval of the final shape of the Atlas occurred on 14 Jan 55. A major development and test contract was awarded to Convair on 14 January 1955 for a 10 foot diameter missile. Empty weight was 8,750 pounds. This configuration represented a smaller, lighter missile than first designed by Convair in 1953.

Given that the Formal Specification DS-1333 was submitted to AMC for approval on 1 Jun 53, while Convair was still working on the final Atlas configuration, in addition to the Douglas material cited above, I am convinced and comfortable with the conclusion that the C-133 WAS NOT originally designed to transport ICBMs, of which Atlas was the first. Such employment came later, after the capabilities of the C-133 became clear.

It is more likely that over-the-road requirements and the C-133's cargo envelope resulted in final ICBM dimensions rather than the reverse!

New C-133 Web Site

John Sachetti was a loadmaster at Dover. He has started a new web site about the C-133 in the Vietnam War.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Electric Powered Taxi

Thanks to Jack Slocombe for the following link to this interesting video of new German "electric taxi" technology:

Click on: Electric Powered Taxi

Friday, February 10, 2012

Naming the C-133

It took a while to settle on a name for the C-133. As early as 9 Apr 56, Wilson Silsby sent a memo stating the preference of a name that incorporated the word "Globe", rather than "Spacemaster", which would continue the "Master" word used for earlier Douglas transports.

On 1 Apr 58, Wilson Silsby said that he had been trying for a year to get a name. His preference was "Globeranger" and suggested that the larger C-132 be called the "Spacemaster."

On 8 Apr 58, R.J. Davis memoed several other Douglas staff, saying that USAF and the Army were asking about a name. Davis commented that the name might continue the "Globe" format, both because of the C-124's name and the globe in the DAC company insignia. Possibilities were Globespanner, Globegirdler, Globebuilder, Globetraveler, Globeking, Globecarrier, Globeruler, Globefreighter and Globelifter. The name Globemaster III was considered, carrying on the C-74 and C-124 tradition.

The same day, Don Black replied that the naming issue had taken the time of three meetings. Twenty names were suggested and the list was narrowed to eleven. A vote on each of the names left "Cargomaster" the favorite. Black personally concurred with Silsby on "Globeranger," but "the consensus was otherwise. "

The name "Cargomaster" was sent first to "Jr." (Donald Douglas, Jr.) for his consideration. He approved and the name went then to the military relations group, who concurred. A teletype message dated 30 Apr 58 stated the USAF concurred in the name and said Douglas was free to issue a press release at any time. Later that week was deemed to be the moment to make the

The above comes from copies of several Douglas intracompany memos from 1956 and 1958.

Cal Taylor

Sunday, February 5, 2012

We Remember

Country music recording artist Dwayne O'Brien performed his song "We Remember" live at the ICAS Convention in Las Vegas, Nevada. And he produced this video to be projected on the screens behind him while he sang.

Click on:

Thanks to Bob Maguire for the link to this awesome video!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Colleague Request!!

We have a new contact who is looking for information you may have! Here's an e-mail just received:

I still have my personal log of all flights as a C-133 navigator. The personal log includes the aircraft tail numbers, among other information. Unfortunately, I did not write down the tail number of my last C-133 flight. So here's a question that has nagged me for 41 years -- What was that number??

The flight took place on 25 June 1971. We took off from Dover at 1409Z and landed at Wright-Paterson AFB at 1623Z. We left the C-133 at Wright-Pat. We boarded a T-29 (tail number 91941), took off at 1659Z, and landed at Dover at 1900Z.

The flight crew consisted of Maj. Edward W. Venable (AC), Maj. Boyd G. Burd (CP), SSgt. Duane L. Acker (FE), and 1LT Paul R. Ogushwitz (NAV). Maj. Jeryl R. Krause signed the flight order as flight Ops Officer. Unusually, the flight order provides a call sign "MEL8" in item 6, where it would normally say "C133A". The flight order also gave a mission "S-8" in item 7, where it would normally say "Airlift". (If necessary, I can provide a copy of the flight order -- with SSANs blacked out.)

Somehow I had always thought that we flew 62008 that day, perhaps because 62008 is on display at the Air Force Museum at Wright-Pat. However, Air Force Museum personnel have offered me copious proof that 62008 was delivered by our squadron commander, Larry Doyle, and crew on 17 March 1971.

As I understand it, June 1971 was rather late in the game for the 133's. There must have been very few left at Dover. Apparently, most of them were flown to Davis-Monthan AFB and mothballed in March and April 1971. So, for all I know, this may have been the very last C-133 to be retired out of Dover. The 1st MAS was deactivated on 30 June 1971, just five days later.

I am asking for everyone's help in identifying the aircraft we flew that day. Do Air Force records still exist? Is there a way to contact the other crew members? What did the notation "S-8" signify on the flight order? Perhaps you can think of other ways to get that tail number.

Cal Taylor's wonderful book ("Remembering An Unsung Giant", chapter 22) contains a list of the aircraft by date they were retired. From that, I identified the possible tail numbers that were still flying in June 1971. Cal mentioned "aircraft data cards" to me -- does anyone have access to them?

Thank you very kindly for helping me learn that tail number. Best regards to all.

Paul "Gus" Ogushwitz, Navigator, C-133, 1MAS, Dover AFB, DE