This article was written by Bryan R. Swopes and first published on This Day in Aviation. Read the original article here.

On May 2, 1957, the U.S. Air Force accepted the first production McDonnell F-101A Voodoo supersonic fighter.

The aircraft was originally designed as a single-seat, twin-engine long range bomber escort, or “penetration fighter,” for the Strategic Air Command, but was developed as a fighter bomber and reconnaissance airplane.

It first flew on September 29, 1954, and it was the first production F-101A to be delivered to the U.S. Air Force.



McDonnell F-101A-1-MC Voodoo 53-2418, right rear view. (U.S. Air Force)

The F-101A was 67 feet, 5 inches (20.549 meters) long with a wingspan of 39 feet, 8 inches (12.090 meters).

It was 18 feet (5.486 meters) high and weighed 24,970 pounds (11,245 kilograms) empty with a maximum takeoff weight of 50,000 pounds (22,680 kilograms).

The standard F-101A was equipped with two Pratt & Whitney J57-P-13 turbojet engines. The J57 was a two-spool axial-flow turbojet which had a 16-stage compressor (9 low- and 7 high-pressure stages), 8 combustors and a 3-stage turbine (1 high- and 2 low-pressure stages).

The J57-P-13 was rated at 10,200 pounds of thrust (45.37 kilonewtons), and 15,800 pounds (70.28 kilonewtons) with afterburner.



McDonnell F-101A-1-MC Voodoo 53-2416 in flight, bottom view. (U.S. Air Force)

The Voodoo’s maximum speed was 1,009 miles per hour (1,624 kilometers per hour) at 35,000 feet (10,668 meters). Service ceiling was 55,800 feet (17,008 meters).

It carried 2,341 gallons (8,862 liters) of fuel internally. With external tanks, the fighter bomber had a maximum range of 2,925 miles (4,707.3 kilometers).

The F-101A was armed with four 20mm Pontiac M39 single-barreled revolver cannon, with 200 rounds per gun. It could carry a Mark 28 bomb on a centerline mount.

McDonnell built 77 F-101As for the Air Force. 29 were later converted to RF-101G photo reconnaissance airplanes by Lockheed Aircraft Services.



McDonnell JF-101A 53-2418 with General Electric J79 engines, circa 1957

The F-101A 53-2418 was transferred to General Electric for testing of the J79 afterburning turbojet engine which would later power the McDonnell F-4 Phantom II.

GE returned the Voodoo to the Air Force in 1959. Now obsolete, it was used as a maintenance trainer at Shepard Air Force Base, Texas.

It was next turned over to a civilian aviation maintenance school and assigned a civil registration number by the Federal Aviation Administration, N9250Z.

The airplane was eventually sold as scrap and purchased by Mr. Dennis Kelsey. In 2009, Mrs. Kelsey had the airplane placed in the care of the Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum, McMinnville, Oregon.

After being partially restored by the Evergreen Air Center, Marana, Arizona, 53-2418 was placed on display at the Evergreen Museum.