In the 1950s, the Air Force discussed the need for a small utility jet. Lockheed built the prototype JetStar in anticipation of the formal request for proposal, but the request was never issued. Lockheed decided to continue development and promote the JetStar as a business aircraft.
A product of Kelly Johnson’s Skunk Works division, the JetStar (Lockheed designation L-1329 and L-329) went from concept to a flying prototype in 241 days. The JetStar’s first flight was in September 1957 and production aircraft entered service in 1961—just one year ahead of the smaller North American Sabreliner (first flight Sept 1958). The registration number of the first aircraft was N329J—the “J” was for Kelly Johnson.
Sitting around the hangar, or hanging at “Hotdog day,” or congregating wherever pilots like to congregate, that dumb joke will always bring smiles…except for me…It’s not as funny since August 19, 1985.
It was a beautiful morning as the other student and I met with our Air Force Instructor Pilot (IP) at the Squadron Ops desk to discuss the morning’s training sortie. It was a Monday morning and at “oh-dark-thirty,” after talking about our weekends, we were looking over the clipboards with the tele-typed weather reports of various airports around the surrounding area and discussed where we would go on our third flight in the glorious, Vietnam era, C-130.
The Aero Commander was a Class Leader that could not quite keep up with its markets. Aero Commander appeared to have it all: performance, ease of flight, passenger comfort, distinctive design, access to most airports, high-profile air show performances, first-to-market, even a Presidential endorsement... Despite its popularity, Aero Commander faced serious safety issues.
I’m not sure of the Captain who taught me to make a PA before departing the gate to “let the folks hear your voice in the event of an evacuation later” —but I never was convinced that there would be any resemblance between the sound of my voice then as compared to my voice actually commanding an evacuation! Nevertheless, for the 18 years, I’ve been a Captain, I’ve tried to remember to make my “pre-departure PA.” I usually say something like, “You picked a great night to fly!"… On this particular flight, however, I had to tell them the truth...
At AircraftSales.US, we love airplanes! We love looking at airplanes and we get to see hundreds every week. Once in a while, we come across some that we fall in love with, some that we think are a really good deal, some that we REALLY want to fly, and some that are just strange. The AN-2 is one of those aircraft.