A standing applause from this blog.
The S-3 parked recently in a hangar at Jacksonville Naval Air Station looked like it just returned from the 1942 Battle of Midway.
Very odd, given that the Viking is a two-engine jet that served as a sub hunter, tanker and much more during its 33-year career beginning in 1975.
But the plane's newly applied retro paint job was actually meant to evoke the epic sea battle that turned the World War II Pacific campaign in America's favor.
"We were going for a Midway effect," said Don Lockwood, a Navy employee helping return three S-3Bs, including the newly painted one, to operational status.
While the aircraft will serve a West Coast test squadron, its paint scheme will serve another purpose: to celebrate the 100th anniversary of U.S. naval aviation in 2011.
"My goal is to teach that heritage in unique ways," said Capt. Richard Dann, the Navy officer in charge of the centennial
.... and there is more to come.
The S-3 will be one of about 20 fixed and rotary wing aircraft to wear various historic paint schemes and make the rounds at air shows and other celebrations throughout the year, Dann said by phone from his office in San Diego.The only thing that would make this better would be if there was a way to do an entire squadron of F-18s ... but .... oh well. This will do just fine for a bang-for-the-buck.
Some of the paint jobs may get some quizzical looks from military aircraft enthusiasts. Dann said there will be helicopters painted in 1914, 1950s and Vietnam-era camouflage patterns. Jet planes, from T-45 trainers to F/A-18 fighters, will sport the colorful schemes that adorned Navy planes shortly before World War II.
Several of the planes - including a P-3 Orion, an EA-6B Prowler and F/A-18 Hornet - will be painted by the artisans of the Fleet Readiness Center Southeast paint shop at the Jacksonville base.
To minimize the impact on operational squadrons, many of the chosen aircraft are from training and reserve squadrons and are being painted during their regular repainting schedules, Dann said.
I look forward to the rest. If you catch photos of them as they are painted, send them this way. Might just have to make it a regular feature .......