Palm Springs Air Museum Trying to Land an F-105 Thunderchief

Republic F-105D Thunderchief "Memphis Belle II" in the collection of the National Museum of the United States Air Force.  (Image Credit: USAF)
Republic F-105D Thunderchief “Memphis Belle II” in the collection of the National Museum of the United States Air Force.
(Image Credit: USAF)
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.

Republic F-105F with its armament layout (Image Credit: USAF)
Republic F-105F with its armament layout
(Image Credit: USAF)
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.

Air Force Reserve Republic F-105B Thunderchief taking  off at Naval Air Station Barbers Point, Hawaii in 1978. (Image Credit: USAFR)
Air Force Reserve Republic F-105B Thunderchief taking off at Naval Air Station Barbers Point, Hawaii in 1978.
(Image Credit: USAFR)
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.

WD NEW_AFF

4 Comments

  1. Please provide the “Tail Number” of the F-105D at the Palm Springs Air Museum. I believe I may have flown that 105 in the war.

    John C. Morrissey

  2. Col. Morrissey, thank you for your service! What base were you assigned to. What years? I was assigned to the 388th MMS gun shop at Korat RTFB Thiland in 68-69. We were responsible for the maintenance and service of the M-61 20mm Vulcan cannon. Of the different aircraft I worked on, F-105, F4 Phantom, HH-3 Jolly Green and HH-53 Super Jolly Green, the Thud was my favorite. That is a sexxy aircraft!!!

  3. Hi, I was trying to build an F-105 partial mock up, but I can’t find a section of fuselage ,bottom of cockpit floor – just aft of fuselage framing for canopy to perhaps around forward to radome. I searched ALL over, no luck. Can you fellows tell me where I might find an fuse. section for a mock up. I retired medically out of military but aviation is a drug for me, I have o keep my hands in aircraft stuff. It wouldn’t have to be a ” 105″ but aircraft, any ideas? Thanks for taking time to answer,Happy New Year guys !

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