Batcat The United States Air Force
553rd Reconnaissance Wing
Korat Royal Thai Air Force Base
and their Lockheed EC-121R Aircraft
Lockheed EC-121R Batcat Super Constellation
Kaman HH-43B Huskie Rescue Helicopter
Lockheed EC-121D Warning Star
Lockheed EC-121T Warning Star - Son Tay POW Raid
Lockheed C-121G Super Constellation
"Da Nang Glider" Incident and Crashes
Beech QU-22A & QU-22B Baby Bat
The Lockheed EC-121R Super
Constellation page, was originally part of
the opening Batcat page first created on 06/08/96. Because
of the large amount of information about the EC-121R itself I
moved it to its own page 04/21/02,
Last updated 11/09/14.
Unless otherwise indicated, all
photographs taken by
I purchased a really nice color
inflight view of EC-121R 67-21490.
Photo is U. S. Air Force photo KE 35179, taken January 15, 1969, by
Master Sergeant Roman G. Contos, USAF. Labled as a "High angle side
view of U.S. Air Force EC-121 of the 553rd Reconnaissance Squadron in flight
of Thailand." I believe this is the best inflight view of a
Lockheed EC-121R I have seen yet. Size is set to be about full
screen with resolution set to 1024x768. Here is another image of
67-21490 at higher resolution, inflight with more of the Thai
country side shown. My thanks to Dean
Boys for alerting me that this photo was for sale
on eBay! Color, about 127K and 850K respectively, added 02/15/00.
Recently I obtained 4 very nice
EC-121R color prints from the Terry Panopalis collection in
Canada. Here is a color inflight view of EC-121R
67-21485. which shows more of the Thai country side. Image is
color, about 122K. Here is a second, above view of EC-121R
how Camouflage blended the airplane in with the ground. Image
is color, about 164K. Third image is a ground view of EC-121R
67-21475, right side, at Otis AFB, Massachusetts, on May 17,
1969. Look closely and you can see the FM radio antennas on the
top of the outside vertical stabilizers. Image is color, about
107K. After late 1969 training for the 553rd Reconnaissance Wing
was moved to the West Coast. Fourth image is the left side of
67-21477 at McClellan AFB on October 25, 1969. Color, about
96K. My thanks to
Terry Panopalis for going
out of his way to get me these color prints. Added 02/21/10,
Static Display and
Radio Controlled models
of the Lockheed EC-121R Super
Click here to view some
and R/C Flying EC-121R models. Model aircraft sizes range from 1:144
to 1:16, die cast and wood types of models. YouTube videos of the
R/C model taxing and flying. Model page added 07/02/14,
Moberley provided this wav sound file of a
starting engines. The Lockheed
EC-121R Super Constellation's Wright R-3350 engines produced
3,400 horse power each. Listen to the power. WAV file about 119K,
Added 11/3/02, updated
The Lockheed EC-121R Super
aircraft flown by the 553rd Recon Wing were originally built for
the U.S. Navy by Lockheed as WV-2 and WV-3 Early Warning
aircraft. Begining in late 1966 Lockheed Aircraft Services
modified 30 ex Navy Super Constellations (2 EC-121P/WV-3 and then
28 EC-121K/WV-2) aircraft for the specialized reconnaissance
mission flown by the 553rd. These aircraft were issued new Air
Force serial numbers from 67-21471 through 67-21500. Conversion
work was completed by mid to late 1967. Here is a text article
with details of
the Lockheed EC-121R, including Lockheed construction number,
Navy Bureau number, USAF serial number, and disposition of the
aircraft. Also included are details of the C-121G aircraft loaned
by the Pennsylvania ANG to the 553rd, the YQU-22A and QU-22B
aircraft flown by Detachment 1 of the 553rd Reconnaissance Wing
at Nakhon Phanom RTAFB. You can also access this text file from
the main Batcat page. Updated
WV-2 to USAF EC-121R
EC-121R aircraft were all conversions of previously existing U.S.
Navy WV-2 or WV-3 early warning aircraft. Here is the starting
point, an WV-2
Inflight from slightly above. The top height finder radom is
clearly visible in this view. Here is WV-2 Bureau
Number 141317 shown on the ground. Navy Bureau number 141317,
which is Lockheed construction number 4441, is one of the Navy
aircraft which was converted to an USAF EC-121R. Navy 141317
after rework by Lockheed Aircraft Services, Ontario, California,
67-21476 - previously Navy 141317 shown here after
transformation makeover. This photo taken at Otis AFB, MA, by
Unfortunately this airplane was involved in a landing accident.
Here is a view of 67-21476
when it over ran the end of the runway at Otis AFB, January
24, 1969. Photo by Steven
McKee. EC-121R never flew again, but she did
source of spare parts, shown here on wooden blocks at Otis
AFB. Photo by Gordon
Tatro. Photo sizes are: WV-2 Inflight about 66K;
WV-2 Bureau Number 141317 about 49K; EC-121R 67-21476 -
previously Navy 141317 about 49K; 67-21476 when it over ran the
end of the runway about 94K; and become a source of spare parts
about 13K. See below for additional details on the landing
accident. Here is a view of
Lockheed Air Services where WV-2s became EC-121R's. This
is a view of the ramp at Ontario, California airport. EC-121R
67-21498 shown in camoflage, with other aircraft stripped of
paint awaiting modification. Photo taken August 13, 1967. Photo
by Richard Sullivan via Stephen
Miller. Color, about 94K. This is an image of
EC-121R's 67-21475 taken at Otis AFB on May 17, 1969.
Note the Republilc F-84F Thunderjets on the flight line, which
are Air National Guard aircraft. Photo by Thomas Cuddy via Stephen Miller.
Color, about 78K. Area added 10/29/06, updated 02/20/13.
Transformation Involved changing the
interior and adding antennas for the mission
From a declassified CHECO report are these illustrations of the
Antenna system. This illustration shows many, not all of the anetennas. For
example a close look at other images on this page reveals a whip antenna at the
top of each outside vertical stabilizer. These whip antennas on the vertical
stabilizers were for the FM radios used to communicate with ground forces.
B&W, about 164K. My thanks to Les "Robbie" Robbins
for this illustration. Added 07/26/13.
This is a basic illustraion of the
Interior Configuration. B&W, about 212K. My thanks to
Les "Robbie" Robbins
for this illustration. Added 07/26/13.
Most of the time the data picked up by the Batcat EC-121R was either relayed to
Task Force Alpha at Nakhon Phanom, or plotted on board by the CIM/ACICO/CICO then
the target data radioed to the appropriate unit to counter the detected threat.
As the effectiveness of the system became apparent, other U.S. military, Army and
Marines, developed equipment of their own. One such piece of equipment was the
"Deployable Automatic Relay Terminal" or DART. Batcat EC-121R aircraft
picked up the sensor data and sent it to the DART. This is a basic illustraion of the
working with a DART. B&W, about 139K. My thanks to
Les "Robbie" Robbins
for this illustration. Added 07/26/13.
Lockheed Air Services Performed
the Transformation modifications
Col. Ostendorf told me that the USAF put
out to bid the conversion of the Navy WV-2's to EC-121R
configuration. Because of their familiarity with the Super
Constellation, Lockheed won the conversion bid.
Mike Wingate was a radio and radar
technician who worked for Lockheed Air Services, LAS, who
performed the actual work at their Ontario, California facility.
Here Mike describes the Transformation
Process from Navy WV-2 to EC-121R by LAS. Adobe PDF format,
about 18K. Added 11/15/09.
EC-121R In Flight
departs Korat RTAFB runway 6 outbound on a mission.
Ed Thurston took this
picture driving along Friendship Highway of a Connie departing
February 1968. Added
03/09/08, B&W, about 148K.
A Connie en
route to orbit, believed aircraft 67-21495, a very nice view.
Mark C. Pollman won
this picture on an eBay auction and sent it to me for scanning -
Thank you. Added 07/09/08,
B&W, about 178K.
view of the EC-121R. B&W, about 56K. USAF Photo, Korat
photo lab provided this photograph.
view over clouds from slightly behind. Randy Spencer was aboard the other
EC121 which formed up together when this photo was taken. There
is a penciled note on the back of the photo which says
"wheel door," indicating the EC121R in the photograph
may have experienced a problem with the landing gear. Randy
Spencer provided the photograph which I scanned, but was not
certain of the source of the photo. Added 12/07/99, B&W, about 34K.
view from the side almost level. This may also be aircarft
67-21490 probably taken the same time as the photo above. My
thanks to James "Jim"
Humphrey for providing this image.Added 12/04/02, B&W,about 41K. MSgt. Dean Boys,
retired, sent me this photo of an EC-121R
during take-off. This photo shows 67-21472 in its original
paint scheme. Col. Ted Ostendorf told me this photo was taken on
take off from Ontario airport, Ontario, California. Ontario
airport is where Lockheed Aircraft Services made the
modifications to the U.S. Navy Constellations to convert them
into the R model. Added
5/26/00, B&W, about 35K. Bob Levy sent me this
inflight level side
view of an EC-121R. This views accents many of the antennas
which were attached to the upper and lower sides of the fuselage.
Photo taken sometime in 1968. B&W, about 62K, added 8/12/04. Mark Hoffman sent me
this view of a EC-121R
Landing just about to touch down. This may have been taken at
Utapo RTAFB as it doesn't appear to be Korat to me. B&W,
about 113K, added 9/7/04, updated
09/12/04. Bob Rufo provided this
view of a EC-121R
Landing with the number 1 engine shut down and the propeller
feathered. Color, about 37K, addeded
Views of the EC-121R on the
Overhead view of a
EC-121R in a revetment at Korat RTAFB. My thanks to
Steve Hock who was assigned
as a Combat Photographer with the 601st Photo Flight at Korat.
Color, about 420K. Added 07/23/14.
EC-121R Running up
prior to Take-Off. This is aircraft 67-21486. Added 08/30/99, about 36K.
View of an EC-121R on
the Ramp at Korat. The camoflage paint soaked up the heat of
South East Asia. B&W, about 43K. Bob Rufo provided this
view of an EC-121R at
the runup area of the ramp. Unlike jet powered aircraft, all
piston powered aircraft perform a runup prior to flight. Runups
verify that both magnetos on each engine are working, propellers
are also cycled to verify operation, as well as other checks.
Color, about 92K, added 11/25/13.
A ground view of the rightside
of an EC121R, at Korat. Randy
Spencer provided this photograph for me to scan.
This view is a good color right side view. Many of the antennas
are visible. Added 12/07/99,
color, about 43K.
A ground view of an EC-121R at
Otis AFB, MA. Otis AFB was the training base for both ground
and air crews for the 553rd Recconnaissance Wing. Photo provided
by Mike Burroughs,
color, about 27k, Added
A ground view showing takeoff of
an EC-121D from under an EC-121R at Korat RTAFB. Photo
provided by Frank
Ventimiglia, color, about 78k, Added 09/29/08.
A ground view from the rear of EC-121R
67-21473 with an unknown colonel near by, location unknown.
Photo provided by Mark C.
Pollman, color, about 152k, Added 05/22/09.
Here is a view of a EC-121R
being washed after a mission. My thanks to Bob Ellinwood for this image.
Color about 112K. Added
Views of the EC-121R on the
Ground at U-Tapao RTAFB
During February 1969 Batcat operated
out of U-Tapao RTAFB while the runway was repaired at Korat RTAFB. At
U-Tapao the 553rd Reconnaissance Wing EC-121R's
share the flight line space with B-52's. My thanks to
Larry Lancaster for
this image. B&W about 59K. Added
Instrument Panel of an EC-121R. Larry Westin photo. Color, about 47K. Flight
Engineers Instrument Panel of an EC-121R. Shown here with the
ground crew doing an engine runnup. My thanks to Peter Eastman who provided the
photo. Color, about 78K, added
Dodd at the Flight Engineers Instrument Panel inflight of an
EC-121R. My thanks to Don
Adams who flew with Joe Dodd on crew 28 for
providing the photo. Color, about 151K, added 10/07/10. CIM/CICO
area looking forward. B&W, about 43K. CIM
Panel. My thanks to Mike
Yates for providing this image. Added 12/15/99, color, about 55K. CICO
Panel. My thanks to Tom
Forth for providing this image. About 107K.
Homepage webmaster Larry Westin at a CIM
Station inflight during 1969. Added
06/10/99, about 48K.
My thanks to Dave
Rindone who sent these interior images. First is a
view looking from
the EWO station aft. EWO station is on the left. This
particular EC-121R did NOT have the advanced ECM. RMT is on the
right foreground, and you can see the CICO panel behind on the
right. Next is a view looking at
the two left side CIM stations from the CICO panel. Large
area on the forward left is the plotting board, covered in this
view. Both images are color, EWO aft about 102K, Left CIM
stations about 82K. Added
03/18/06. George ????
working the CIM station in-flight. My thanks to David Smith for this
image.Added 08/19/07, about
Homepage webmaster author Larry Westin at the Radio Operator
Station inflight during 1969. Added
06/10/99, about 47K.
View showing Joe Young (Left) and Bill Hollingsworth (Right) at
table across from the galley during flight. Image is B&W,
about 206K. My thanks to Mark
Hollingsworth, son of Batcat Bill Hollingsworth
for this image. Added
Chart for the EC-121R. This chart came from the official USAF
flight manual for the EC-121R. There is some bleed through on the
image, which is present on the original. Shows all
Views inside the lower fuselage
of an EC-121R
View of the lower
fuselage interior showing racks of electronics. My thanks to
Dave Rindone for this
image. Color, about 97K. Added
Outside Views taken while
Everyone who ever made a night take
off in the Lockheed Super Constellation will remember this view of the
Flames coming out of the engine exhaust during a Night Take
Off. Only at night, and only during the high power settings
used for take off, were these blue flames visible. Quite a site!
My thanks to Walt Troy
for providing this image. Color, about 53K, added 08/01/00. Bob Rufo provided a
second view of a Constellation
takeoff at night showing the tell tale blue flames visible
only during a night takeoff. This blue flame condition only
exists with high powered radial piston engines. Color, about
104K, addeded 11/25/13.
Webmaster Larry Westin
photo taken inflight from the Radio
Operators Position. Shows the view the radio operator had.
B&W, about 32K.
Webmaster Larry Westin
photo taken taken from the Forward
Crew Rest area showing the Mekong river. The Mekong river was
known as the "Fence." Color, about 29K.
My thanks to Billy
Borror for the next 3 images. Another view of the
Fence - the Mekong River in Laos.
The Ho Chi Minh Trail is always spelled as if a singular trail.
In fact it was a multitude of trails up to 30 miles wide at
places, which is why it was so difficult to identify movement.
Here is a view of part of the Ho Chi Minh
Trail view 1 from the air, and another view of the Ho Chi Minh
Trail view 2 taken from an EC-121R Batcat aircraft. As you
can see from these views there is heavy jungle along the Trail.
All 3 images from Billy Borror are about 123K, 209K and 166K
respectively. All 3 images added
A view of a College Eye EC-121D
53-3400 In-Flight. These radar equipped aircraft had the
large radomes above and below the fuselage and were not
camouflaged. This airplane has the original tip tanks.
Added 11/04/99, color, about
49K. Here is a very beautiful in-flight side view of EC-121D
53-0543. The back end antennas show up well, this airplane
has the newer anti lightning tip tanks. Added 01/01/11, color, about 120K.
Another fine in-flight view of EC-121D
53-0536. Color, about 64K, Added
College Eye Connie's often flew far north to provide radar
coverage for aircraft over North Vietnam. During these missions
fighter aircraft provided support. Here a pair of Convair F-102
Delta Darts form up on the left wing of
an EC-121D heading north. Another view of F-102's
off the left wing of an EC-121D in flight.My thanks to
Greg Moore who
provided these images. Both images are color, 39K, and 37K
A view early in the deployment to Korat of an EC-121D On
the flight Line. Taken from under the wing of an EC-121R, the
EC-121D under the flap is serial number 55-137. No reventments
are yet present on the flight line. Photo courtesy of
Richard Ertz, B&W,
about 96K, Added
College Eye EC-121T's were also
at Korat for the Son Tay POW Raid
first EC-121T arrived at Korat in August 1970 as part of College
Eye, a TDY deployment from McCellan AFB. Believe these
"T" models were at Korat for only a 30 day period. In
November 1970 two "T" models were deployed to Korat to
participate in the Son Tay Raid to free U.S. prisoners of war.
Here is a side view of EC-121T
53-0550 at Korat. A distinguishing feature of the
"T" model was the lack of a height finder radome. Note
the RB-66's in the background. This view was may have been
taken after 1970. I have been unable to determine the serial
numbers of the two EC-121T's deployed to Korat for the Son
Tay raid. There call signs for the EC-121T's on the raid were
Frog 1 and Frog 2. Photo courtesy of Jim Chandler, B&W, about
During June 1969 an unique incident occurred
with a 553rd Reconnaissance Wing EC-121R. Shortly after arriving
on station, with the crew and airplane settling in for the work
which needed to be accomplished, everyone was suddenly startled
by the silence. Read about how All
4 Propellers Feathered Inflight!! (ACII text format) or the
same All 4 Propellers Feathered
Inflight!! (Adobe PDF format). The ASCII text version is
about 16K in size, the PDF version is about 112K in size. The
ASCII text version is text only, the PDF version has the same
text with some images. If you have any problem reading the PDF
version, click on the ASCII text version. Officially around Korat
this airplane came to be called "The Da Nang Glider."
As far as I can determine, never before, or after, has a Lockheed
EC-121 ever had all four propellers feather simultaneously
inflight. Revision A now includes the Lockheed construction
number, 4480, and USAF serial number, 67-21487, of the specific
airplane involved in the incident, with additional detail
information added with the 08/02/08 update. Added 03/16/01,
updated 05/30/05, updated further
Crew 31 was flying the mission and involved in the incident. Here
is an image of the
crew who was flying 67-21487 when all 4 engines stopped
inflight. Only difference is the Col. Jack January replaced
the assigned aircraft commander Banner, for this mission. My
thanks to Mason Ezzell
for providing this image and crew names. Mason Ezzell was the
co-pilot on the "Da Nang Glider", and the pilot actually
flying the airplane at the time of the incident. B&W, about 363K,
Need Help to
Identify the 553rd Maintenance Technicians
who went to Da Nang to service the "Da Nang Glider"
As soon as the "Da Nang Glider" landed safely at Da Nang,
the 553rd Reconnaissance Wing sent maintenance technicians to Da Nang to
trouble shoot, and repair the EC-121R. As far as I can determine the immediate
need for qualified EC-121 maintenance technicians meant that only verbal orders were
issued to those from the 553rd EMS (553rd AMS), 553rd FMS and 553rd OMS squadrons to go to Da Nang.
Some of the maintenance technicians now have health issues which herbicides/Agent Orange
expossure may have caused. Because there were verbal orders only, proving "boots
on the ground in Vietnam" to the VA is very difficult. The VA needs
substantiating corroboration from others so these maintenance technicians who
went to Vietnam can get approval for herbicide/Agent Orange exposure health issues.
Linda Donley, wife of Batcat Ron Donley who passed away 01/23/11, would like to hear
from anyone who knew Ron Donley. Ron Donley was part of the group from the FMS
squadron who was sent to Da Nang, Vietnam in June 1969 to trouble shoot and repair
the "Da Nang Glider" incident. Hopefully a list of all those who serviced the
"Da Nang Glider" can be established. If you can help please contact Linda Donley via email at
email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org. This request for help added 11/06/14,
The Wright R-3350 engine used on the EC-121R was not the most
reliable aircraft engine built.
Here is a ground view
of 67-21487 during January 1968, well before the incident
described above. My thanks to Ed
Thurston for providing this image. The image is
rather large, which allows you to zoom in and confirm the tail
number. B&W, about 333K. Added
During my tour I flew 73 combat missions, about 790 combat hours,
and experienced an engine or propeller problem an average of once
every 12 flights! Here are some images of actual in-flight engine
problems. Inflight view while Number 2
engine is shut down and Propeller Feathered. Taken from
forward crew rest window. Color,about 26K. Closeup of Feathered
Number 2 Propeller. Taken from forward crew rest area. Color,
about 30K. Inflight Fuel
Dumping. After number 2 engine was shutdown it was necessary
to dump fuel so the airplane was light enough to maintain
altitude with the 3 remaining engines. Color, about 31K.
Jim McCune sent me
these images of number 1
propeller feathered and fuel dumping. Here is a second view
Dumping. Color, about 171K and 189K respectively.Added 04/20/08.
Gordon Tarto sent me
this photograph he took of 67-21476 on
June 3, 1969. This view shows what remains of the airplane
after removal from the crash site, as it sits on a stack of wood,
with a B-1 maintenance stand near the rear entrance door. I believe
this airplane was used only as a source of spare parts after the
landing accident. Color, about 13K. Added
67-21493 April 25, 1969
Second aircraft lost was 67-21493 on April 25, 1969, at Korat.
All 18 Batcat aircrewmem were lost in this crash. I obtained the
"releaseable" parts of the full accident report. I make
available here the Accident
Summary of the loss of BATCAT 21 on April 25, 1969. I retyped
the information and present it in ASCII text format. I obtained
the report through the Feedom of Information Act. My Thanks to
A. J. Northrup, author
of "Fifty Fallen Stars," for information about how to
obtain documents through the Freedom of Information Act.
I obtained these images which show the crash of Batcat 21,
aircraft 67-21493, on April 25, 1969. These photographs were
taken the day after the crash. Image
21493-2.jpg shows an overview of the crash site. Image
21493-1.jpg is a closer view. Batcat 21 departed Korat at
1600. I was a crewmember on the next Batcat take off at 1645. I
have a vivid memory of looking down shortly after take off and
seeing the remains of Batcat 21. The only piece of wreckage I
could identify from the air was the triple tail of the Lockheed
Super Constellation. Image
21493-3.jpg is a ground view of the wreckage. These images
were included in the accident report, however the quality in the
accident report is very poor. These are much better quality
images added 08/19/07.
Jim Bost sent me
another view of the crash of
67-21493. This is probably the best quality image of this
loss. B&W about 206K. Added
After the crash the wreckage of 67-21493 was moved back to the
Korat dump. Here are views of the wreckage. Dump view 1 shows
part of the Triple
Vertical Stabilizer. Dump view 2 shows a Landing
gear and engines plus other parts. Both ar color, about 216K
and 188K respectively. My thanks to
Danny L. Hildebrand who was part
of the 388th CES (Civil Engineering Squadron) who sent me these
images. Added 02/12/14.
67-21495 September 6, 1969
Three photographs of the third Batcat aircraft lost, 67-21495, on
Sept. 6, 1969 while trying to land at Korat in a very bad rain
storm. Taken from the road going into the city of Korat the day
after the aircraft crashed, image 1 shows a ground view
of the crash, B&W, about 25K. Second image of the crash
is an aerial view
of the crash. B&W, about 66K. My thanks to Randy Spencer for providing this
aerial view, of the EC121R loss. Dave
Smith sent me several views of the crash. Dave has
a very personal interest since he was aboard the aircraft. After
recovering Dave met an airman from the base photo lab who loaned
him several views of the crash taken from a helicopter. The third
crash view shown here is a direct
overhead view of the crash. Added
10/28/00, about 66K. Four Batcat aircrewmem and 4
Thai's lost their lives in this crash. Randy Spencer obtained
the Accident Report for 67-21495 through the Freedom Of
Information Act request. Presented here is the Accident Summary of the loss of BATCAT
19 on September 6, 1969. I retyped the information and
present it in ASCII text format. Area updated
1970 the Last
553rd Recon Wing EC-121R
at the changeover ceremony
Dave Shipton provided
mouth EC-121R image. When the 553rd Reconnaissance Wing
deactivated in December 1970, there was a turnover ceremony. This
shark mouth painted Connie was the EC-121R which flew in the
airshow at Korat for the turnover from 553rd to the 388th. The
flight crew was, if I recall correctly, Lt. Col Given, Commander
of the 553rd Recon Squadron, Maj. Wilson, MSgt. Dave Shipton and
MSgt. Fred Duck. Added
EC-121R at Davis
Monthan AFB. Also known as the "Boneyard." Got this
image off the Dean Boys Air Force Page. Photo by Brian Lockett, EC-121R 67-21496 at
the Boneyard at DMAFB 1972. No EC-121R exists today, see text
article above for disposition of all EC-121R's. Color, about
EC-121R Serial Number
67-21484 at Davis Monthan AFB, July 1970. This image was
found on the Airliners.net Homepage by Batcat Homepage visitor
Ben Brown. I was able
to contact the copyright holder and photographer, Bob Garrard, via e-mail. Bob
Garrard authorized the use of this image on my Batcat Homepage.
Color, about 91K. Added
Here is a view of
EC-121R 67-21500 at Davis Monthan awaiting scrapping. Photo
taken June 4, 1970. Photo by Frank
MacSorley via Stephen Miller. Color, about
All these photos of EC-121R's at Davis
courtesy of the Zoggavia Collection
TheBeech QU-22Baby Bat replacement for the EC-121R
an effort to reduce cost, the Air Force tried to replace the
EC-121R with a highly modified Beech Debonair, the YQU-22A.
During 1969 the YQU-22A was evaluated by the 553rd Reconnaissance
Wing Detachment 1 at Nakhom Phanom (NKP). This evaluation was
known as Pave Eagle I.
These YQU-22A aircraft would occassionally visit Korat.
Evaluation determined the Beech Debonair was too small and
underpowered to perform the job. Here is a text article with
of the fate of each Beech YQU-22A and QU-22B aircraft.
Once the 553rd Reconnaissance Wing was inactivated in December 1970,
the 554th Reconnaissance Squadron number was assigned to the QU-22
operation at Nakhon Phanom RTAFB (previous this unit was detachment 1
of the 553rd Reconnaissance Wing). Upon arrival pilots were required
to complete in-processing and a local checkout. This is the
In-Coming processing and local check out check list items which needed
to be completed. My thanks to Ken
Clagett for this in-processing check list. PDF format, about 90K.
Ground view of YQU-22A USAF serial
68-10533. This airplane flew missions from NKP,
had a landing gear collapse on April 8, 1969, was returned to the
U.S. and repaired. Sold to a civilian owner and on the FAA
register as N52242. Photo by Alan
Vandam via Stephen Miller. Color, about 324K.
Ground view of
YQU-22A USAF serial 68-10536 taken at Eglin AFB on May 20,
1969. Sold to a private owner as N94499. Photo by Jack Morris via Stephen Miller.
Color, about 320K. Added 03/20/13.
Ground view of USAF pilot Don
Sorenson in a YQU-22A. Note the electronics behind the pilot.
My thanks to Brian
Studer for this photo. Color, about 323K.
To have a larger airplane with more power, the USAF began using a
modified Beech Bonanza model 36 identified as the QU-22B. The
back seat was removed and sensor receivers were installed. There
was a position for the pilot, but ideally they were to be flown
without a pilot. Some 27 "B" models were built. The
QU-22's became operational, but were always flown with a
pilot on operational missions, not flown as a drone as originally
invisioned. 553rd Reconnaissance Wing Detachment 1 at Nakhom
Phanom again performed the evaluation with a project name of
Pave Eagle II.
Here is an inflight photo of Two Beech
QU-22B Aircraft, serial numbers 69-7694 and 69-7695. Photo by
Beech Aircraft is B&W, about 155K, added 02/06/00.
Ground view of
QU-22B USAF serial 69-7696, taken at Eglin AFB on June 16,
1972. Sold to a private owner as N40CA, current on the FAA
register as a Beech 1079. Photo by Tom Brewer via Stephen Miller.
Color, about 260K. Added
Ground side view of
QU-22B USAF serial 69-7699, taken at Eglin AFB on June 26,
1972. Sold to a private owner and on the U.S. civil register as
N90637, now displayed at the USAF Air Museum as 69-7699. Photo by
Tom Brewer via Stephen
Miller. Color, about 308K. Added 02/20/13.
Randy Spencer sent me
some QU-22B photographs, including this photograph of a Beech QU-22B
Fuselage, which were taken during April 2002 at Lake
Elsinore, California. Here is a photograph of the Beech QU-22B
Cockpit. Cockpit is pretty standard Beech model 36 Bonanza,
however notice on the right side there appears to be a frequency
meter (old reed style), a "G" meter, UHF communications
rather than VHF. Dual VHF omni and an ARC ADF-21. Both
photographs are the same airplane, serial number 69-7701. Viewing
Randy's photographs reveal the airplane appears to be intact,
although disassembled, and the aluminum appears corrosion free.
Reports are that enough parts are available at Lake Elsinore to
build up 3 complete QU-22B aircraft. Both images are color, each
about 72K, added
The 2014 QU-22 Baby Bat "Vampire"
Reunion now has their own homepage. Click on
http://qu-22reunion.com/ for additional
information. Added 09/27/14.
Brian Studer flew his QU-22B, N22QU, at the Commemorative Air
Force Airshow at Midland, Texas, October 12 and 13, 2013. For
further details contact Brian
Studer and Ken
email@example.com, or Brian Studer via telephone at
214-934-4828, or Ken Clagett at 702-378-8200. More details on the
page. Brian is also planning a reunion for those involved with
the QU-22 Baby Bats, contact Brian by email or telephone for more
details. Added 03/26/13,