North American AJ-2 'Savage'
|  Manufacturer:||North American
|  Base model:||AJ|
|  Designation System:||U.S. Navy / Marines|
|  Designation Period:||1946-1962|
|  Basic role:||Attack|
|  See Also:|
Known serial numbers
|130405 / 130421, 134035 / 134072
Recent comments by our visitors
| E. Parris|
| I could talk all day about the AJ, which took many young lives due to engineering flaws. This story is not atypical. LCDR L. Millsap was flying westward toward Boston after exercises aboard an aircraft carrier. He called Boston ATC to report that he had just lost his starboard engine. ATC copied, and told the pilot to proceed to the nearest military airfield; he would be vectored. Meanwhile, the faulty engine should be feathered. Millsap responded, "You do not understand, I lost the starboard engine...it is probably down near you by this time. It is gone." |
07/09/2011 @ 11:55 [ref: 39950]
| E. Parris|
| I was fresh out of B/N school at Sanford Florida, attached to VAH-9 in early 1957. My first AJ flight was in BuNo.130406, with LCDR Hillner as pilot. We finished our check list on Runway 27 and started down the runway with a fairly good acceleration. At about 60 knots, all Hell broke loose, there was a lot of noise from the props, and it felt like the pilot had applied the brakes. He had, sort of. We left the aircraft, and the pilot explained that both props had gone into full feather during the takeoff roll. It was not an unusual event, and Mr. Hillner knew exactly what was happening. One of the wires leading to the props had simply shorted out. I was very happy that the short hadn't occurred about a minute later. |
07/09/2011 @ 11:40 [ref: 39949]
| Charles J Pierman|
East Peoria, IL
| I was assigned to VAH-16 at North Island in September 1958 as an AQ3. The AJ-2 was used for refueling till January 1959 when it was decommissioned. The Gyro system and Periscope had to be maintained for monitoring hook up during refueling.
From February 1959 March 1961 I was assigned to VAH-4 at Whidbey Island, WA.
04/17/2011 @ 16:53 [ref: 37477]
| Ed Legg|
Lake Crystal, MN
| I was attached to VC-7 from 1952-1955.
I flew as 3rd Crewman in the AJ-1 & the AJ-2 also the P2V-3c
I flew in the AJ-2 that is on the flight line in Pensacola.
Would like to hear from others from that era.
02/16/2010 @ 12:52 [ref: 25733]
| Robert h. Belter|
| Ahoy, All,
I was flying the AJ-2 which lost the shape on a cat shot.
Here is more info on that bird.
Mike Wallacavage was B/n, and Don Beem was Nav.
The sea stories ???? We AJ drivers have many, but this saga of four flights in VC-6 tail NF22 is an example
Westpac Dec ’56 USS Bennington CVA 20 VC-6 Det November:
Flight1: Routine flight, but the nose wheel cocked on launch and chewed up the nose wheel well. Gear came down OK.
Flight 2: Trap, about half stopped and a BROKEN WIRE !!!!!!!!!!!! I went off the angle deck like a truck going off a cliff. It flew. Guys said my hook was tossing a rooster tail, but you cannot see it in the pix. (Always for the AJ, slow motion pictures of every launch and recovery -- It was THAT kind of an airplane). Not many of us walking around with a ½ number included in the “total traps” score. No injuries on the flight deck from the broken wire, but my chewed up parachute seat cushion was a total loss.
Flight 3: Jan 1 ’57 New Year’s Day. USS Bennington out of Hong Kong. Routine hop with a ~~ 4,000 lb MK-5 bomb shape in the bomb bay. Hydraulic cat launch, and the jet throttle flipped back. Knocked my hand out of the way. I pushed it forward, and noted on intercom to my Bombardier and Navigator “Jet throttle flipped back. No lights”. (The AJ had an elaborate fire warning system). In a moment, Nav said “Mr. B-----, the b-b-bomb is back in the jet compartment and something is spraying on it. Looks like gasoline!!!” I stop-cocked the jet and the jet master, and then opened the bomb bay doors. The controls took a big “twang” and the bomb was clear.
On the cat shot, the bomb had released inside the bomb bay and just stood still until it went through the aft bulkhead, and then the jet plenum. Drove the fuel control back into the jet, tore the engine off its mounts, and thrombosed it until the compressor section was too big to go through the back of the fuselage. Yah, and it was on fire too. The main fuel hose was kinked off by the damage, so the fire was not sustained
Opening the bomb bay doors released the front of the bomb which pivoted down. The tail fins of the bomb went up into the aft fuselage, ripped out some other stuff plus a control cable pulley cluster and strummed the controls as it pitched out. Controls were loose but working good enough for me to fly the airplane. The spray was the infamous non flammable Hydrolube, and I lost flight control boost.
The Air Boss had seen the trauma on launch and I told him what had happened. He was trying to make a ready deck to recover me. I could not see the damage, but from the description by my B/ N, Mike and Nav, I thought that the airplane may come apart on a trap. It was flyable with the sloppy controls and no boost (I was young and strong) so I was bingoed to Okinawa. Good decision, because the jet engine was absolutely free in the aft fuselage and would have come through the cockpit on a trap. Lost another parachute seat cushion on this one too.
(Unrelated) On a different New Year’s Day, I was struck by lightning south of Sicily. Quite thrilling. I tend now to stay out of airplanes on 1 Jan !!!
Flight 4: Autumn, ‘57 Cruise completed following a few more AJ sea stories plus Sydney Australia, a Golden Shellback certificate, and back to North Island. I was headed for the A-3 Skywarrior RAG at Whidbey. I’d flown one airplane up there, and was flying another one home to San Diego. What was my ride???? NF22 savage Savage all fixed up, repainted, waiting and quaking in its chocks as I preflighted. I kicked a tire (hard) and strapped that mutha on. UHF radio quit at the head of the runway. Broke out the duty section, swapped radios, fired up again. Head of the runway, a massive hydraulic leak. More duty section, and in the o’dark thirty hours, took off with the engines running like a string of wet firecrackers. Those R2800 P & W engines were 250 hour engines in the AJ, and they seldom got there. They didn’t often quit, just wore out and blew oil. On a typical flight they were at 2600 rpm continuous after take off, and on run-ins, they were flat-out at 2800 rpm and 61” map for maybe 30 minutes. No rest for those engines until late in a flight at low altitude. They didn’t like a couple of starts and no flight, but the AJ had lots of soup, so at reduced power for take off, they ran good enough.
It farted and fought all the way. I said ”Airplane: I’m going to North Island, and I don’t particularly care if you make it or not, but I will”.
That airplane was AFRAID of me!!!!
01/01/2010 @ 11:50 [ref: 25504]
| m.a. macdonald (scotty)|
oak harbor, WA
| I served with VAH-6 as a Plane Captain 1/54 - 8/57; made 2
deployments to Atsugi, and a 7 month cruise on Shangri-La.
My hairiest memory of AJ accidents was the one in which the
"Shape" broke loose on a cat shot, smashed into the jet
chamber, hanging up there and through the bomb-bay doors,
finally dropping into the sea.
It was a fantastic survival on the part of the pilot
( Lt.Woods or Woodson, I beleieve).... especially in that all hydraulic pressure was lost for the rudder & elevator, and he managed to maintain flight control and a safe landing; the plane was barged back to Atsugi. The flight
manual states that when hydarulics is lost for the rudder and elevator, the pilot would need to be 6'6" and weigh
300 pounds. WAY TO GO, EH!!!!
12/11/2009 @ 16:13 [ref: 25418]
| PJ Imhof|
| AJ-2 BUNO 134052 was the a/c that I flew in , while in VAH-15. The Plane Captain was Dean, ADR1.
There is a picture of this a/c below. The one with the dayglo tip tanks and rudder. The squadron side No was 5.
Good flying plane.
The ONLY AJ that is still is in existance is at the National Naval Air Museum, here in good old Pensacola.
C'mon down and bring back memories !!
09/15/2009 @ 16:47 [ref: 25129]
| PJ Imhof|
| I was an AM groundpounder in VAP-62, then a 3rd crewman in VAH-15.
In one of the squadrons, I remember a sea story someone,that I think had been VAH-7 on a cruise, told.
These two sailors were goofing off and found a nice hiding spot behind the bombay in the AJ.
They felt some movement of the a/cb but stayed put, so they wouldn't get in trouble. While waiting for a little while after the a/c had stopped moving, they assumed that it was OK to leave their hiding spot.
To their surprise, there was nothing but water when they looked out the bobbay doors.
The tail of the AJ was positioned way past the catwalk.
After a while, they signamed, somehow , were seen and the flight ops had to be suspended, so that the AJ could be moved to get the sailors out of their hiding place.
I imagine that the Flight Deck Boss chewed their butts out, so as nothing was left for their CO and their CPO !!
If I remember correctly, the name colpepper Watkins comes to mind.
I'm sure that he can tell the story a lot better than the hand-me-down version that I tried to give.
Thanks for listening.
09/15/2009 @ 16:41 [ref: 25128]
| Floyd Williamson|
| I was 3rd crewman, in VAH 7 in Sanford, Florida from August 1954 to March 1958. I was in the aircraft that J.Culpepper Watkins (comment above) speaks of that landed on the USS Forrestal CVA 59, with the nose gear in the trail position. After several Decelaration manuevers the gear still would not extend or retract. I was directed to "chop" out the steps with the crash ax and see if I could push it in place with the Fuel Dip stick, which was impossible!! We were ordered to land at Beirut, Lebanon, but did not have enough fuel and was ordered back to the Forrestall. We landed, nose high and the force of the arresting gear helped to snap the gear down and locked, with out it collapsing. The decelaration manuevers damaged the "stringers" in the nose well and aircraft had to be sent to O&R in Norfolk for repairs. |
03/26/2009 @ 09:58 [ref: 24023]
| Stan Shapiro AO2|
| I volunteered and transfred to VC-6 1953 and sent to China Lake and was schooled on the bombsight.Was in Atsugi Japan and was the shop expeditor and do remember playing Santa Claus at an orphanage in 1995. |
09/06/2008 @ 17:53 [ref: 22621]
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