The F-102 derived from the XF-92A project of the late 1940’s. The YF-102 was subsequently redesigned with an “area-ruled” fuselage and a more powerful Pratt and Whitney J-57-P-23 engine. The F-102A entered service in April 1956 and served in the USAF until 1961 and with the Air National Guard squadrons until 1978.
The current President, George W. Bush, was an F-102 pilot when he was in the Air National Guard. To recognize his service, the museum has placed the name “Lt George W. Bush” as pilot on the side of the plane.
F-102’s operated in Southeast Asia from March 1962 to December 1969 as air defense and escort for B-52 bombers, with fifteen being lost (a proportionally low loss rate).
The F-102 supersonic, all-weather fighter-interceptor was developed by the Convair division of General Dynamics in San Diego, California in the early fifties. The delta wing had its inception in the wind tunnels of wartime Germany where Dr. Alexander Lippisch helped develop the Me-163 rocket-propelled interceptor. His papers and conferences with him convinced the Convair engineers that the delta wing might answer many of the problems of supersonic flight. In December 1954, an F-102A reached mach 1.22 at an altitude of 53,000 ft. The elevons are of bonded honeycomb construction and the frame has titanium alloy frames in the vicinity of the engine. The pilot sits on a Weber ejection seat in a pressurized and air conditioned cockpit. The Air Force accepted 1,000 planes and flew them until 1973. Over 200 were converted into target drones (QF-102A or PQM-102A).
The museum’s F-102A is serial number 56-1114 and entered the Air Force in May 1957. It was stationed with the 52nd Fighter Group at Suffolk County AFB, NY, the 79th Fighter Group, Youngstow, OH and the 1st Fighter Group, Selfridge AFB, MI. In December 1960, it transferred to the114th Fighter Group (ANG), Sioux Fall, SD and finally to the 114th Fighter Group (ANG), Fresno, CA.
In 1970, it retired from active duty and later was put on display on a pedestal at March AFB. On the pedestal, the landing gear had been removed and concrete had been poured into the tail section to secure a steel pipe holding the entire aircraft at a 30 degree angle. In 1996, the F-102 was removed from the pedestal, landing gear was obtained, and the aircraft was finally restored in October, 2000. This aircraft is on loan from the USAF.
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According to the Air Force Historical Research Agency (AFHRA/RSA), Maxwell AFB, AL, the museum’s F-102A has the following history:
F-102A, s/n 56-1114
Manufactured by Convair, San Diego CA and delivered to the USAF on 8 May 1957.
May 1957 - To 52nd Fighter Group (Air Defense Command), Suffolk County AFB NY
May 1958 - To San Bernardino Air Materiel Area, Norton AFB CA
Sep 1958 - To 79th Fighter Group (ADC), Youngstown AP OH (deployments to Tyndall AFB FL and Selfridge AFB MI)
Jan 1960 - To 1st Fighter Group (ADC), Selfridge AFB (deployment to Tyndall AFB)
Oct 1960 - To Mobile Air Materiel Area, Brookley AFB AL
Dec 1960 - To 114th Fighter Group (Air National Guard), Joe Foss AP, Sioux Falls SD
Jan 1969 - To 144th Fighter Group (ANG), Fresno Air Terminal CA
May 1970 - To Military Aircraft Storage and Disposition Center, Davis-Monthan AFB AZ
May 1971 - Dropped from inventory as surplus
By kjfitz @ 2007-03-15 21:49:24