The Palm Springs Air Museum of Palm Springs, California has been offered a Republic F-105 Thunderchief by the US Air Force. All that is required is the money to ship the Vietnam War-era bomber/fighter plane from Lackland Air Force Base in Texas Oh, and there’s a deadline.
The military periodically purges surplus aircraft, most often for scrap, but some (too few in our opinion) are saved from the shredder for accredited museums to take possession of to preserve our history.
Though originally designed as a high speed, low-altitude nuclear bomber, the F-105 could carry up to 14,000 pounds of bombs. Best known for it’s use in the Vietnam War, the Thunderchief flew over 20,000 sorties in the conflict, with 382 aircraft out of the total 833 that were ever produced lost over the course of the war.
The Thunderchief was the largest single-seat, single-engine combat aircraft in history, weighing approximately 50,000 pounds when fueled and loaded with munitions and was capable of Mach 2 at altitude and could exceed Mach 1 at sea level. The plane was replaced in combat duties in Vietnam by the McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II and the General Dynamics F-111 Aardvark, but Wild Weasel variants served out the entire war. The remainder were placed with the United States’ Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard units, with the last of the F-105s being retired from service in 1983.
The Palm Springs Air Museum, which initially began with World War II aircraft has expanded to include more and more Korean War and Vietnam war aircraft, and the response from visitors has been enthusiastic. The museum’s managing director, Fred Bell says that the museum has to raise $10,000 to fund shipping this iconic warbird to its new home in the desert, though they have to raise it by an August deadline.
It’s not a lot of money in the grand scheme of things, particularly for an established museum, but every little bit helps, so if you’d like to contribute towards this worthy (and likely tax-deductible) cause, be sure to click through this link to the museums’s donation page.