Ralph Robledo at CAM Restoration shows us recent pictures of the new paint and markings going on the Navy RF-8G Crusader. The work is not finished but Ralph says she will be on display at the 2011 Open Cockpit Day.
Click on the picture to see slides. Click right to see the new paint. Click left to see what this old girl looked like when they brought her into CAM
Steve, if you were in the 84th at Castle, you are welcomed to attend the 456th Reunion at Castle Air Museum on May 29th, 2011. We have invited the 84th guys who were there in the 70's. Ralph Robledo was a MA-1 troop in the 84th and now works at CAM Restoration.
More new shots of the Castle Air Museum RF-8G Crusader paint job.
Ralph says: Here are some pictures of RF-8G 145607. It is just about done, as cold weather has slowed down the final paint here and there. Disregard the date and time print on the pictures., The pictures were taken last week. The VFP 63 members will be here at CAM on the 20th of April, 2011 to dedicate the EYES OF THE FLEET. It should be on the museum grounds by then next to the A-4 and the F-14. Ralph L. Robledo
Received a big fat email from Chief 'o the Darts and Daggars, Ralph Robledo with 72 pictures. Seems it was photo op day for the RF-8G Crusader.
Here's what the Chief wrote: Pat, I sent you a copy of the article as it was in todays sun star. Just to add a few notes. The name of the pilot on the aircraft is LCDR Fred Pete Crosby. He was KIA after completing a Recon pass over North Vietnam. He was the first of nine other pilots from VFP 63 (squadron) lost over NV. That is why the 909 is the on the aircraft. I found his name on the website for the names on the Vietnam Wall in DC and printed out a copy of the information. Denny Baker also attended the photo day gathering and is featured in the newspaper article. That is him in the cockpit in some of the pictures. He told us a lot of stories of his experience, some brought tears to his eyes, as well to ours. For those not familiar with the Crusader, the wing is in the raised position for takeoffs and landings only. The" eyes of the fleet" was painted on all of the units aircraft. The Crusader will be dedicated on the grounds during open cockpit day this Memorial Day.. That is about it . See you next month. Ralph
Click on the picture to see the slides:
Here's the Merced Sun Star article: Thursday, Apr. 28, 2011 Crusader expands Castle museum's Navy fleet By MIKE NORTH [email protected]
ATWATER — As a restoration team towed Castle Air Museum's recently refurbished RF-8 Crusader out of its hangar, Navy veteran Denny Baker stood by and watched, wearing his flight jacket with a patch on the back reading "Unarmed and Unafraid."
The slogan was the tongue-in-cheek motto of his squadron, but Baker, who piloted an RF-8 Crusader during 122 reconnaissance missions over North Vietnam in 1972, did have confidence in the cockpit of the Navy bird.
During his missions that year, he was targeted more than 20 times by surface-to-air missiles. "I had probably six of them explode with a proximity fuse close enough to the airplane to shake it," said Baker, who lives in Brentwood in Contra Costa County.
On one occasion, he had enough bravado to photograph an anti-aircraft site as it fired at him.
His skill at the controls of the speedy plane helped Baker make it though all his missions and be able to relay his stories and knowledge about the plane to Castle Air Museum's restoration crew Wednesday.
The Crusader will be transported from its hangar at the Castle Commerce Center to the museum grounds May 18, said Joe Pruzzo, CEO of Castle Air Museum.
The jet, which was also used during the Cuban missile crisis, is part of a growing Navy plane collection at Castle, he said. The museum now has five Navy planes, in addition to dozens of other military planes on the grounds of the museum.
Without the reconnaissance photos taken by the Crusader during the missile crisis, the outcome of the conflict could have been much worse, Pruzzo said. President John F. Kennedy awarded the Presidential Unit Citation to that reconnaissance squadron in the only instance that it's been given during peacetime. "It's quite a piece of history," he said.
Restoring the artifact to its former appearance took about 5,000 man hours, said Ralph Robledo, an aircraft restoration crew member who spent 27 years in the U.S. Air Force. "It was completely stripped, sanded and sheet metal work was done to it," he said.
Robledo applied the graphics to the plane with the help of his son, Dean.
Finding parts for decommissioned planes isn't always easy, Robledo noted. The two main tires for the museum's Crusader came from France.
The Navy aircraft has a spot ready for it on the museum grounds. The interior will be on display during the museum's May 29 Open Cockpit Day.
SUN-STAR PHOTO BY MIKE NORTH - Denny Baker, who piloted an RF-8 over North Vietnam in 1972, stands by Castle Air Museum's recently restored model.
Here's and F-8 Crusader story that will blow your mind...
The CAM F-8 was a player in the Cuban Missile Crisis
This is a different F-8 story:
William Rankin, The Man Who Rode The Thunder
This story is legendary. And it begins with a legendary aircraft, the F8 Crusader. The Crusader was the first American fighter to fly faster than 1,000 miles per hour. in 1957, then future astronaut and senator John Glenn piloted one to set a transcontinental speed record. In vietnam it earned a kill ratio of 6:1. and In 1962 camera-equipped unarmed Crusaders retrieved photographic evidence flying over Cuba during the Cuban missile crisis. the jet's abilities were in many ways unrivaled, but our story begins with one instance where they fell short. And that story begins with William Rankin, the man who rode the thunder.
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