The United States Air Force
553rd Reconnaissance Wing
Korat Royal Thai Air Force Base
and their Lockheed EC-121R Aircraft

Lockheed EC-121R Batcat Super Constellation
Kaman HH-43B Huskie Rescue Helicopter
Lockheed EC-121D Warning Star
Lockheed EC-121T Warning Star - Son Tay POW Raid
Lockheed C-121G and EC-121S from the PA Air Guard
"Da Nang Glider" Incident and Batcat Crashes
Beech QU-22A & QU-22B Baby Bat

The Lockheed EC-121R Super Constellation page, was originally part of the opening Batcat page first created on 06/08/96. Because of the large amount of information about the EC-121R itself I moved it to its own page 04/21/02, Last updated 05/02/16.

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Unless otherwise indicated, all photographs taken by Larry Westin.

LAS Transformed Navy WV-2s to USAF EC-121R
EC-121R Detail Photos
Kaman HH-43B Rescue Helicopter
EC-121D & EC-121T College Eye - Son Tay POW Raid
C-121G and EC-121S Super Connies from the PA Air Guard
Inflight Emergency the "Da Nang Glider" Incident
Batcat EC-121R Crashes
The Last EC-121R at Korat
Batcat Aircraft at Davis Monthan
Beech QU-22 Baby Bat

Beautiful Color EC-121R views

EC-121R sn 67-21490

I purchased a really nice color inflight view of EC-121R 67-21490. Photo is U. S. Air Force photo KE 35179, taken January 15, 1969, by Master Sergeant Roman G. Contos, USAF. Labled as a "High angle side view of U.S. Air Force EC-121 of the 553rd Reconnaissance Squadron in flight of Thailand." I believe this is the best inflight view of a Lockheed EC-121R I have seen yet. Size is set to be about full screen with resolution set to 1024x768. Here is another image of EC-121R 67-21490 at higher resolution, inflight with more of the Thai country side shown. My thanks to Dean Boys for alerting me that this photo was for sale on eBay! Color, about 127K and 850K respectively, added 02/15/00.

EC-121R sn 67-21485, 67-21475, and 67-21477,

Recently I obtained 4 very nice EC-121R color prints from the Terry Panopalis collection in Canada. Here is a color inflight view of EC-121R 67-21485. which shows more of the Thai country side. Image is color, about 122K. Here is a second, above view of EC-121R 67-21485 showing how Camouflage blended the airplane in with the ground. Image is color, about 164K. Third image is a ground view of EC-121R 67-21475, right side, at Otis AFB, Massachusetts, on May 17, 1969. Look closely and you can see the FM radio antennas on the top of the outside vertical stabilizers. Image is color, about 107K. After late 1969 training for the 553rd Reconnaissance Wing was moved to the West Coast. Fourth image is the left side of EC-121R 67-21477 at McClellan AFB on October 25, 1969. Color, about 96K. My thanks to Terry Panopalis for going out of his way to get me these color prints. Added 02/21/10, updated 08/01/11.

Static Display and Radio Controlled models
of the Lockheed EC-121R Super Constellation

Click here to view some Static Display and R/C Flying EC-121R models. Model aircraft sizes range from 1:144 to 1:16, die cast and wood types of models. YouTube videos of the R/C model taxing and flying. Model page added 07/02/14, Updated 07/11/14.

Leroy Moberley provided this wav sound file of a Connie starting engines. The Lockheed EC-121R Super Constellation's Wright R-3350 engines produced 3,400 horse power each. Listen to the power. WAV file about 119K, Added 11/3/02, updated 04/17/04.

The Lockheed EC-121R Super Constellation

All aircraft flown by the 553rd Recon Wing were originally built for the U.S. Navy by Lockheed as WV-2 and WV-3 Early Warning aircraft. Begining in late 1966 Lockheed Aircraft Services modified 30 ex Navy Super Constellations (2 EC-121P/WV-3 and then 28 EC-121K/WV-2) aircraft for the specialized reconnaissance mission flown by the 553rd. These aircraft were issued new Air Force serial numbers from 67-21471 through 67-21500. Conversion work was completed by mid to late 1967. Here is a text article with details of the Lockheed EC-121R, including Lockheed construction number, Navy Bureau number, USAF serial number, and disposition of the aircraft. Also included are details of the C-121G aircraft loaned by the Pennsylvania ANG to the 553rd, the YQU-22A and QU-22B aircraft flown by Detachment 1 of the 553rd Reconnaissance Wing at Nakhon Phanom RTAFB. You can also access this text file from the main Batcat page. Updated 10/12/04.

Here is a page from Technical Order 1C-121(E)R-2-11, page 1-2, which provides Detail Deminsions for the EC-121R. In addition to linear dimensions this page also shows angles of dihedral, sweep back and other angles. My thanks to Chuck Silverstein for providing this information. JPG image, about 134K in size, added 01/21/16.

Transformation Navy WV-2 to USAF EC-121R

The EC-121R aircraft were all conversions of previously existing U.S. Navy WV-2 or WV-3 early warning aircraft. Here is the starting point, an WV-2 Inflight from slightly above. The top height finder radom is clearly visible in this view. Here is WV-2 Bureau Number 141317 shown on the ground. Navy Bureau number 141317, which is Lockheed construction number 4441, is one of the Navy aircraft which was converted to an USAF EC-121R. Navy 141317 after rework by Lockheed Aircraft Services, Ontario, California, became EC-121R 67-21476 - previously Navy 141317 shown here after its makeover transformation. This photo taken at Otis AFB, MA, by Mike Burroughs. Unfortunately this airplane was involved in a landing accident. Here is a view of 67-21476 when it under shot the end of the runway at Otis AFB, January 24, 1969. Photo by Steven McKee. EC-121R never flew again, but she did become a source of spare parts, shown here on wooden blocks at Otis AFB. Photo by Gordon Tatro. Photo sizes are: WV-2 Inflight about 66K; WV-2 Bureau Number 141317 about 49K; EC-121R 67-21476 - previously Navy 141317 about 49K; 67-21476 when it under shot the end of the runway about 94K; and become a source of spare parts about 13K. See below for additional details on the landing accident. Here is a view of Lockheed Air Services where WV-2s became EC-121R's. This is a view of the ramp at Ontario, California airport. EC-121R 67-21498 shown in camoflage, with other aircraft stripped of paint awaiting modification. Photo taken August 13, 1967. Photo by Richard Sullivan via Stephen Miller. Color, about 94K. This is an image of EC-121R's 67-21475 taken at Otis AFB on May 17, 1969. Note the Republilc F-84F Thunderjets on the flight line, which are Air National Guard aircraft. Photo by Thomas Cuddy via Stephen Miller. Color, about 78K. Area added 10/29/06, updated 02/20/13.

Transformation Involved changing the
interior and adding antennas for the mission

From a declassified CHECO report are these illustrations of the EC-121R Antenna system. This illustration shows many, not all of the anetennas. For example a close look at other images on this page reveals a whip antenna at the top of each outside vertical stabilizer. These whip antennas on the vertical stabilizers were for the FM radios used to communicate with ground forces. B&W, about 164K. My thanks to Les "Robbie" Robbins for this illustration. Added 07/26/13. This is a basic illustraion of the EC-121R Interior Configuration. B&W, about 212K. My thanks to Les "Robbie" Robbins for this illustration. Added 07/26/13. Most of the time the data picked up by the Batcat EC-121R was either relayed to Task Force Alpha at Nakhon Phanom, or plotted on board by the CIM/ACICO/CICO then the target data radioed to the appropriate unit to counter the detected threat. As the effectiveness of the system became apparent, other U.S. military, Army and Marines, developed equipment of their own. One such piece of equipment was the "Deployable Automatic Relay Terminal" or DART. Batcat EC-121R aircraft picked up the sensor data and sent it to the DART. This is a basic illustraion of the EC-121R working with a DART. B&W, about 139K. My thanks to Les "Robbie" Robbins for this illustration. Added 07/26/13.

Lockheed Air Services Performed
the Transformation modifications

Col. Ostendorf told me that the USAF put out to bid the conversion of the Navy WV-2's to EC-121R configuration. Because of their familiarity with the Super Constellation, Lockheed won the conversion bid. Mike Wingate was a radio and radar technician who worked for Lockheed Air Services, LAS, who performed the actual work at their Ontario, California facility. Here Mike describes the Transformation Process from Navy WV-2 to EC-121R by LAS. Adobe PDF format, about 18K. Added 11/15/09.
EC-121R In Flight Photographs

A Connie departs Korat RTAFB runway 6 outbound on a mission. Ed Thurston took this picture driving along Friendship Highway of a Connie departing February 1968. Added 03/09/08, B&W, about 148K.
A Connie en route to orbit, believed aircraft 67-21495, a very nice view. Mark C. Pollman won this picture on an eBay auction and sent it to me for scanning - Thank you. Added 07/09/08, B&W, about 178K.
An Inflight view of the EC-121R. B&W, about 56K. USAF Photo, Korat photo lab provided this photograph.
An inflight view over clouds from slightly behind. Randy Spencer was aboard the other EC121 which formed up together when this photo was taken. There is a penciled note on the back of the photo which says "wheel door," indicating the EC121R in the photograph may have experienced a problem with the landing gear. Randy Spencer provided the photograph which I scanned, but was not certain of the source of the photo. Added 12/07/99, B&W, about 34K.
An inflight view from the side almost level. This may also be aircarft 67-21490 probably taken the same time as the photo above. My thanks to James "Jim" Humphrey for providing this image.Added 12/04/02, B&W,about 41K.
Another inflight view from the side of 67-21490 - this is the same photograph as that above, however this is a color photo. My thanks to Jim Cox for this image. Jim received this photograph from his Uncle Jack Thompson who was a flight engineer with the 553rd Reconniassance Wing. Image is color, about 372K, Added 05/02/16.
MSgt. Dean Boys, retired, sent me this photo of an EC-121R during take-off. This photo shows 67-21472 in its original paint scheme. Col. Ted Ostendorf told me this photo was taken on take off from Ontario airport, Ontario, California. Ontario airport is where Lockheed Aircraft Services made the modifications to the U.S. Navy Constellations to convert them into the R model. Added 5/26/00, B&W, about 35K.
Bob Levy sent me this inflight level side view of an EC-121R. This views accents many of the antennas which were attached to the upper and lower sides of the fuselage. Photo taken sometime in 1968. B&W, about 62K, added 8/12/04.
Phillip Cameron sent me this view of a EC-121R approaching to land. View of the underside of the EC-121R. Color, about about 154K, added 07/26/15.
Mark Hoffman sent me this view of a EC-121R Landing just about to touch down. This may have been taken at Utapo RTAFB as it doesn't appear to be Korat to me. B&W, about 113K, added 9/7/04, updated 09/12/04.
Bob Rufo provided this view of a EC-121R Landing with the number 1 engine shut down and the propeller feathered. Color, about 37K, addeded 11/25/13.

Views of the EC-121R on the Ground

Overhead view of a EC-121R in a revetment at Korat RTAFB. My thanks to Steve Hock who was assigned as a Combat Photographer with the 601st Photo Flight at Korat. Color, about 420K. Added 07/23/14.
EC-121R Running up prior to Take-Off. This is aircraft 67-21486. Added 08/30/99, about 36K.
View of an EC-121R on the Ramp at Korat. The camoflage paint soaked up the heat of South East Asia. B&W, about 43K.
Bob Rufo provided this view of an EC-121R at the runup area of the ramp. Unlike jet powered aircraft, all piston powered aircraft perform a runup prior to flight. Runups verify that both magnetos on each engine are working, propellers are also cycled to verify operation, as well as other checks. Color, about 92K, added 11/25/13.
Ground view of an EC-121R beginning its takeoff roll on runway 24. Note the Royal Thai Air Force C-47 on the Thai side of the base. My thanks to Mike Doran for this image. Color, about 129K, added 04/26/15.
A ground view of the rightside of an EC121R, at Korat. Randy Spencer provided this photograph for me to scan. This view is a good color right side view. Many of the antennas are visible. Added 12/07/99, color, about 43K.
A ground view of an EC-121R at Otis AFB, MA. Otis AFB was the training base for both ground and air crews for the 553rd Recconnaissance Wing. Photo provided by Mike Burroughs, color, about 27k, Added 09/28/02.
A ground view showing takeoff of an EC-121D from under an EC-121R at Korat RTAFB. Photo provided by Frank Ventimiglia, color, about 78k, Added 09/29/08.
A ground view from the rear of EC-121R 67-21473 with an unknown colonel near by, location unknown. Photo provided by Mark C. Pollman, color, about 152k, Added 05/22/09.
Here is a view of a EC-121R being washed after a mission. My thanks to Bob Ellinwood for this image. Color about 112K. Added 12/08/11.

Views of the EC-121R on the Ground at U-Tapao RTAFB

During February 1969 Batcat operated out of U-Tapao RTAFB while the runway was repaired at Korat RTAFB. At U-Tapao the 553rd Reconnaissance Wing EC-121R's share the flight line space with B-52's. My thanks to Larry Lancaster for this image. B&W about 59K. Added 07/25/11.
Here is a view of EC-121R's at U-Tapao with KC-135 Tankers also on the ramp at U-Tapao. My thanks to Mike Doran for this image. Color, about 157K, Added 04/26/15.
View of EC-121R's on the ramp at U-Tapao. There were no revetments for the EC-121R aircraft at U-Tapao. My thanks to Robert Gurley for this image. Color, about 96K, Added 07/26/15.

EC-121R Interior Views

Pilots Instrument Panel of an EC-121R. Larry Westin photo. Color, about 47K.
Flight Engineers Instrument Panel of an EC-121R. Shown here with the ground crew doing an engine runnup. My thanks to Peter Eastman who provided the photo. Color, about 78K, added 03/03/02.
Joe Dodd at the Flight Engineers Instrument Panel inflight of an EC-121R. My thanks to Don Adams who flew with Joe Dodd on crew 28 for providing the photo. Color, about 151K, added 10/07/10.
CIM/CICO area looking forward. B&W, about 43K.
CIM Panel. My thanks to Mike Yates for providing this image. Added 12/15/99, color, about 55K.
CICO Panel. My thanks to Tom Forth for providing this image. About 107K. Added 10/23/01.
Homepage webmaster Larry Westin at a CIM Station inflight during 1969. Added 06/10/99, about 48K.
My thanks to Dave Rindone who sent these interior images. First is a view looking from the EWO station aft. EWO station is on the left. This particular EC-121R did NOT have the advanced ECM. RMT is on the right foreground, and you can see the CICO panel behind on the right. Next is a view looking at the two left side CIM stations from the CICO panel. Large area on the forward left is the plotting board, covered in this view. Both images are color, EWO aft about 102K, Left CIM stations about 82K. Added 03/18/06.
George ???? working the CIM station in-flight. My thanks to David Smith for this image.Added 08/19/07, about 169K.
Homepage webmaster author Larry Westin at the Radio Operator Station inflight during 1969. Image Added 06/10/99, B&W, about 180K.
View showing Joe Young (Left) and Bill Hollingsworth (Right) at the dinning table across from the galley during flight. Image is B&W, about 206K. My thanks to Mark Hollingsworth, son of Batcat Bill Hollingsworth for this image. Added 02/12/14.
Seating Chart for the EC-121R. This chart came from the official USAF flight manual for the EC-121R. There is some bleed through on the image, which is present on the original. Shows all positions.Added 06/14/99, about 58K.

Views inside the lower fuselage of an EC-121R

View of the lower fuselage interior showing racks of electronics. My thanks to Dave Rindone for this image. Color, about 97K. Added 03/18/06.

Outside Views taken while In-flight

Everyone who ever made a night take off in the Lockheed Super Constellation will remember this view of the Blue Flames coming out of the engine exhaust during a Night Take Off. Only at night, and only during the high power settings used for take off, were these blue flames visible. Quite a site! My thanks to Walt Troy for providing this image. Color, about 53K, added 08/01/00.
Bob Rufo provided a second view of a Constellation takeoff at night showing the tell tale blue flames visible only during a night takeoff. This blue flame condition only exists with high powered radial piston engines. Color, about 104K, addeded 11/25/13.
Webmaster Larry Westin photo taken inflight from the Radio Operators Position. Shows the view the radio operator had from the window at the RO station. B&W, about 368K.
Webmaster Larry Westin photo taken taken from the Forward Crew Rest area showing the Mekong river. The Mekong river was known as the "Fence." Color, about 358K.
My thanks to Billy Borror for the next 3 images. Another view of the crossing the Fence - the Mekong River in Laos.
The Ho Chi Minh Trail is always spelled as if a singular trail. In fact it was a multitude of trails up to 30 miles wide at places, which is why it was so difficult to identify movement. Here is a view of part of the Ho Chi Minh Trail view 1 from the air, and another view of the Ho Chi Minh Trail view 2 taken from an EC-121R Batcat aircraft. As you can see from these views there is heavy jungle along the Trail. All 3 images from Billy Borror are about 123K, 209K and 166K respectively. All 3 images added 09/15/08.

Views of the EC-121R Tip Tanks

EC-121R were refurbished by Lockheed at their Ontario, California, facility. As delivered all EC-121R's have thestandard Lockheed Super Constellation Tip Tank. During their service a number of EC-121R aircraft were converted to use the ribbed type Tip Tanks first used on the EC-121D Warning Star Super Constellation. The ribbed type tip tanks were developed to help lightning dissapation. Photos about 63K and 92K, Added 12/02/07.

EC-121R Camouflage Coloring Detail

EC-121R Camouflage Coloring. This image is a scan from the technical order on how to paint aircraft, including the paint color numbers. B&W, drawing, about 20K. Added 9/28/02.

Korat RTAFB Rescue Helicopter

Mark Hoffman sent me this view of one of the Kaman HH-43B Huskie Rescue Helicopters at Korat. At Korat the HH-43B helicopters used the call sign "Pedro." B&W, about 81K, added 09/07/04.
Here is a view of a HH-43B with a fire surpression rig under the helicopter. My thanks to Bob Langenhan for providing this image. Added 07/05/08, B&W, about 28K.
Here is nice a view of a Kaman HH-43B Rescue helicopter taken at Dulles International airport on May 29, 1972. Photo by Stephen Miller. Color, about 79K. Added 02/20/13.
Here is a view of a HH-43B landing in a rice paddy. My thanks to John Allen. Color, about 46K. Added 07/23/14.

College Eye EC-121D's were also based at Korat

A view of a College Eye EC-121D 53-3400 In-Flight. These radar equipped aircraft had the large radomes above and below the fuselage and were not camouflaged. This airplane has the original tip tanks. Added 11/04/99, color, about 49K. Here is a very beautiful in-flight side view of EC-121D 53-0543. The back end antennas show up well, this airplane has the newer anti lightning tip tanks. Added 01/01/11, color, about 120K. Another fine in-flight view of EC-121D 53-0536. Color, about 64K, Added 04/01/12.

College Eye Connie's often flew far north to provide radar coverage for aircraft over North Vietnam. During these missions fighter aircraft provided support. Here a pair of Convair F-102 Delta Darts form up on the left wing of an EC-121D heading north. Another view of F-102's off the left wing of an EC-121D in flight.My thanks to Greg Moore who provided these images. Both images are color, 39K, and 37K respectively. Added 03/19/08.
A view early in the deployment to Korat of an EC-121D On the flight Line. Taken from under the wing of an EC-121R, the EC-121D under the flap is serial number 55-137. No reventments are yet present on the flight line. Photo courtesy of Richard Ertz, B&W, about 96K, Added 06/17/08.

College Eye EC-121T's were also based
at Korat for the Son Tay POW Raid

The first EC-121T arrived at Korat in August 1970 as part of College Eye, a TDY deployment from McCellan AFB. Believe these "T" models were at Korat for only a 30 day period. In November 1970 two "T" models were deployed to Korat to participate in the Son Tay Raid to free U.S. prisoners of war. Here is a side view of EC-121T 53-0550 at Korat. A distinguishing feature of the "T" model was the lack of a height finder radome. Note the RB-66's in the background. This view was may have been taken after 1970. I have been unable to determine the serial numbers of the two EC-121T's deployed to Korat for the Son Tay raid. There call signs for the EC-121T's on the raid were Frog 1 and Frog 2. Photo courtesy of Jim Chandler, B&W, about 70K, Added 06/17/08.

Additional views of a EC-121T on the taxiway at Korat RTAFB. Here is another view of the same EC-121T further down on the taxiway at Korat RTAFB. B&W, about 279K and 480K respectively. This EC-121T was at Korat RTAFB after the Son Tay raid. My thanks to Steve Hock who was assigned as a Combat Photographer with the 601st Photo Flight at Korat. Color, about 420K. Added 07/23/14.

Lockheed C-121G Super Constellation's
from the Pennsylvania Air National Guard for training

The C-121G aircraft were borrowed from the Pennsylvania Air National Guard. The C-121G was used by the 553rd Reconnaissance wing for training and other uses. The C-121G was flown by 553rd pilots, and maintained by 553rd Service Technicians.

At two different times while at Korat the 553rd Reconnaissance Wing was loaned C-121G aircraft. The C-121G aircraft were conversions of C-121C's here is nice view of C-121C 54-151 in flight. Added 01/01/11, color about 100K.
Bob Rufo provided this view of a C-121G inflight. The C-121G aircraft did not have tip tanks, and were natural metal, not painted. Color, about 78K, addeded 11/25/13.
Bob Rufo provided this view of a C-121G interior view inflight. The C-121G aircraft were equipped for transport of people, and had interiors similar to airliner versions of the Constellation. Color, about 68K, addeded 11/25/13.
Bob Rufo provided this view of a C-121G during takeoff at Korat. Color, about 76K, addeded 11/25/13.
My thanks to Dave Rindone for sending this image of one of the C-121G Aircraft. Both of the G model Connie's came from the Pennsylvania Air Guard. First aircraft was 54-4049, on loan from 4/25/69 to 2/2/70, second aircraft was 54-4056, not sure of the exact dates. I can't tell from this image which aircraft this is. Added 03/18/06, color about 56K.
Brent Morris sent me these views of the two G models used by the 553rd Reconnaissance Wing, serial numbers 54-4049 and 54-4056. Here are images of 54-4049 at Hong Kong view 1, 54-40?? at Tan Son Nhut Air Base, Vietnam, 54-4049 at Hong Kong view 2. Here are some views of the G models undergoing maintenance - 54-4056 having the oil tank changed by Tsgt. Zeger, 54-4056 having a prop change, 54-4056 having the number 2 engine changed - view 1, 54-4056 having the number 2 engine changed - view 2. Each image between 33K and 53K, added 06/06/06.

Lockheed EC-121S Specialized Electronic
aircraft from the Pennsylvania Air National Guard

For additional information on the 193rd Tactical Warfare Squadron (TWS), Pennsylvania Air National Guard, and their Lockheed EC-121S aircraft see the Task Force Commando Buzz page on this site.

This is an image of the 193rd Consolidated Aircraft Maintenance Squadron of the Pennsylvania Air National Guard. The CAMS provided maintenance techinicians to support the Lockheed EC-121S operations at Korat RTAFB. Not sure who added the two red tennis balls to the sign, however they are not standard. My thanks to Phillip Cameron for sending this image. Color, about 168K, added 07/26/15.

For a 6 month period in 1970 the Pennsylvania Air National Guard flew the Lockheed EC-121S out of Korat. One book I have on the Lockheed Constellation, "Lockheed Constellation," by Peter M. Bowers and Curtis K. Stringfellow, indicates only 5 aircraft were modified to this standard. The EC-121S aircraft were flown and maintained by the Pennsylvania Air National Guard. While at Korat the 553rd Recconaissance Wing provided additional experienced service technicians and maintenance facilities. Shown here is a photo of an EC-121S in the hangar undergoing maintenance. Here is another view of an EC-121S on the flight line. Note the unusal antenna, this is not the same as the height finder antenna found on the EC-121D and EC-121H, and also note that no tip tanks are fitted. Both images provided by Greg Krzyzak. These EC-121S images added 09/05/01, updated 07/07/03.

This image shows two EC-121S aircraft on the flight line at Korat RTAFB. This image was taken from the window of a 2 baht bus going into Korat city. The EC-121S aircraft are on the right with the white tops. My thanks to John Tomany for sending this image. Color, about 29K, added 06/29/99, updated 12/12/14.

Inflight Emergency
"The Da Nang Glider"

On June 4, 1969 an unique incident occurred with a 553rd Reconnaissance Wing EC-121R. Shortly after arriving on station, with the crew and airplane settling in for the work which needed to be accomplished, everyone was suddenly startled by the silence. Read about how All 4 Propellers Feathered Inflight!!. Adobe PDF format, about 113K. Officially around Korat this airplane came to be called "The Da Nang Glider." As far as I can determine, never before, or after, has a Lockheed Constellation or Super Constellation ever had all four propellers feather simultaneously inflight. Revision C now includes the Lockheed construction number, 4480, and USAF serial number, 67-21487, of the specific airplane involved in the incident, with additional detail, information and images added. Added 03/16/01, last updated 12/04/14.

Mason Ezzell, was flying 67-21487 when all 4 engines shut down and the propellers feathered, has documented the event. View the report of "The Da Nang Glider" incident by Co-Pilot Mason Ezzell. Mason's incident report has additional images which can help give a better understanding. Adobe Acrobat PDF format, about 711K, added 04/26/15.

Robert "Brock" Estes was part of the back end crew on 67-21487 when all 4 engines shut down and the propellers feather, has documented the event from the point of view of the back end crew. View the report of "The Da Nang Glider" incident by CIM Brock Estes. Estes's report describes what happened during the exciting mission. Estes's report includes the full air crew list from the after diversion TDY orders. Adobe Acrobat PDF format, about 18K, added 05/06/15.

Crew 31 was flying the mission and involved in the incident. Here is an image of the crew who was flying 67-21487 when all 4 engines stopped inflight. Only difference is the Col. Jack January replaced the assigned aircraft commander Banner, for this mission. My thanks to Mason Ezzell for providing this image and crew names. Mason Ezzell was the co-pilot on the "Da Nang Glider", and the pilot actually flying the airplane at the time of the incident. B&W, about 363K, added 08/02/08.

Here is another image of some of the second crew 31 members. Taken during an informal get together following another mission after the "Da Nang Glider" incident. Here are the names of those in the photo who attended the get together. My thanks to Robert "Brock" Estes for providing the image and names. Image B&W, about 177K, Names ASCII text about 1K, added 05/06/15.

As you might imagine 553rd Reconnaissance Wing aircrews felt some concern flying in an airplane which had all 4 engines shutdown and the propellers feather inflight. By the end of September 1969 EC-121R serial number 67-21487 was ready to return to service and fly combat missions. To reassure the aircrews 553rd Maintenance circulated a Operations Newsletter from the Deputy Commander for Safety in September 1969. This newsletter described the event, what maintenance had accomplished to make certain the problem was resolved. This newsletter describes all the parts which were replaced, and what changes occurred on each of 8 test flights of 30 hours before returning to service. My thanks to Dave Hall via Mason Ezzell for this operations newsletter. PDF format, about 546K. added 07/15/15.

Need Help to Identify the 553rd Maintenance Technicians
who went to Da Nang to service the "Da Nang Glider"

As soon as the "Da Nang Glider" landed safely at Da Nang, the 553rd Reconnaissance Wing sent maintenance technicians to Da Nang, South Vietnam to trouble shoot, and repair the EC-121R. As far as I can determine the immediate, critical need for qualified EC-121 maintenance technicians meant that only verbal orders were issued to those from the 553rd EMS (553rd AMS), 553rd FMS and 553rd OMS squadrons to go to Da Nang, South Vietnam. Some of the maintenance technicians now have health issues which herbicides/Agent Orange expossure may have caused. Because there were verbal orders only, proving "boots on the ground in Vietnam" to the VA, and therefore "presumption of exposure," is very difficult. The VA needs substantiating corroboration from others so these maintenance technicians who went to Vietnam can get approval for herbicide/Agent Orange exposure health issues. Linda Donley, wife of Batcat Ron Donley, 553rd FMS, who passed away 01/23/11, would like to hear from anyone who knew Ron Donley. Ron Donley was part of the group from the FMS squadron who was sent to Da Nang, South Vietnam in June 1969 to trouble shoot and repair the "Da Nang Glider" incident. Hopefully a substantiated list of all those who serviced the "Da Nang Glider" at Da Nang, South Vietnam can be established. If you can help please contact Linda Donley via email at and This request for help added 11/06/14, last updated 12/04/14.

For his piloting skill during the Da Nang Glider incident, Lt. Mason Ezzell received the Distinguished Flying Cross. My thanks to Mason Ezzell for providing this image. B&W, about 351K, added 06/19/14.

Here is an image of Col. January who was the guest aircraft commander on the Da Nang Glider mission. My thanks to Mason Ezzell for providing this image of Col. January. B&W, about 240K, added 06/19/14.

The Wright R-3350 engine used on the EC-121R was not the most reliable aircraft engine built.

Here is a ground view of 67-21487 during January 1968, well before the incident described above. My thanks to Ed Thurston for providing this image. The image is rather large, which allows you to zoom in and confirm the tail number. B&W, about 333K. Added 03/16/08.

During my tour I flew 73 combat missions, about 790 combat hours, and experienced an engine or propeller problem an average of once every 12 flights! Here are some images of actual in-flight engine problems. Inflight view while Number 2 engine is shut down and Propeller Feathered. Taken from forward crew rest window. Color,about 26K. Closeup of Feathered Number 2 Propeller. Taken from forward crew rest area. Color, about 30K. Inflight Fuel Dumping. After number 2 engine was shutdown it was necessary to dump fuel so the airplane was light enough to maintain altitude with the 3 remaining engines. Color, about 31K. Jim McCune sent me these images of number 1 propeller feathered and fuel dumping. Here is a second view of Fuel Dumping. Color, about 171K and 189K respectively.Added 04/20/08.

Batcat EC-121R Aircraft Crashes

First Crash 67-21476 January 24, 1969

The first aircraft loss, 67-21476, was a Landing Accident at Otis AFB, MA, on January 24, 1969, where Batcat training was given. The only injury was a broken leg. Photograph by Steven McKee who worked on the Early Warning Connies at Otis AFB. About 94K. Steven McKee can be contacted via e-mail at Dean Boys sent me this newspaper article about the Otis AFB EC-121R crash. Bob Barth sent me this official USAF accident report for the Otis AFB EC-121R crash. Both these articles are in Adobe Acrobat PDF format, about 300K each. Added 11/04/01, updated 05/25/07.

Bill Ervin sent me five official images of the January 24, 1969 crash of 67-21476, however they were marked by the USAF such that privacy concerns prevented their publication. I made a Freedom Of Information Act request to the USAF to allow me to place these photographs on Internet. The Air Force Safety office reviewed each image then labeled the images to allow publication, then converted the images into PDF format as file 69-01-24-scanned_Photos-R.pdf. Adobe Acrobat PDF format, about 749K. Added 11/01/15. Here is a cropped area of the first photograph in the PDF file. Image is about 140K, Added 11/01/15. With my same FOIA request the Air Force Safety Office Declassified the releaseable sections of the accident report. The Air Force Safety Office blacked out names and other areas of the report to comply with current privacy laws. This is a large file, Adobe Acrobat PDF format, about 24 Megabytes in size. Even with a highs speed connection it takes time to download. Added 11/01/15.

Images of 67-21476 shortly after the crash - view 1. Here is another angle of 67-21476 shortly after the crash - view 2. See below for views of the crash as the airplane was being stripped of parts. Both images are color, each about 30K. Unfortunately I can't remember who sent these images to me. Added 08/06/14.

John Benson, 553rd FMS Prop Shop, sent me some images of the first crash at Otis AFB of 67-21476. 67-21476 viewed from the rear, left side, here is a another view of 67-21476 viewed from the rear, right side. Both color, about 271K and 289K respectively. These next views show 67-21476 67-21476 viewed from the front, right side after the engines were removed. Note the damage to the leading edges of the right wing. 67-21476 viewed about head on at the crash site. Color, about 273K and 200K respectively. Added 07/23/14.

Gordon Tatro sent me this photograph he took of 67-21476 on June 3, 1969. This view shows what remains of the airplane after removal from the crash site, as it sits on a stack of wood, with a B-1 maintenance stand near the rear entrance door. I believe this airplane was used only as a source of spare parts after the landing accident. Color, about 13K. Added 11/04/01.

Second Crash 67-21493 April 25, 1969

Second aircraft lost was 67-21493 on April 25, 1969, at Korat. All 18 Batcat aircrewmem were lost in this crash. I obtained the "releaseable" parts of the full accident report. I make available here the Accident Summary of the loss of BATCAT 21 on April 25, 1969. I retyped the information and present it in ASCII text format. I obtained the report through the Feedom of Information Act. My Thanks to A. J. Northrup, author of "Fifty Fallen Stars," for information about how to obtain documents through the Freedom of Information Act. Added 03/07/00.

I obtained these images which show the crash of Batcat 21, aircraft 67-21493, on April 25, 1969. These photographs were taken the day after the crash. Image 21493-2.jpg shows an overview of the crash site. Image 21493-1.jpg is a closer view. Batcat 21 departed Korat at 1600. I was a crewmember on the next Batcat take off at 1645. I have a vivid memory of looking down shortly after take off and seeing the remains of Batcat 21. The only piece of wreckage I could identify from the air was the triple tail of the Lockheed Super Constellation. Image 21493-3.jpg is a ground view of the wreckage. These images were included in the accident report, however the quality in the accident report is very poor. These are much better quality images added 08/19/07. Jim Bost sent me another view of the crash of 67-21493. This is probably the best quality image of this loss. B&W about 206K. Added 04/20/08.

After the crash the wreckage of 67-21493 was moved back to the Korat dump. Here are views of the wreckage. Dump view 1 shows part of the Triple Vertical Stabilizer. Dump view 2 shows a Landing gear and engines plus other parts. Both ar color, about 216K and 188K respectively. My thanks to Danny L. Hildebrand who was part of the 388th CES (Civil Engineering Squadron) who sent me these images. Added 02/12/14.

Third Crash 67-21495 September 6, 1969

Four photographs of the third Batcat aircraft lost, 67-21495, on Sept. 6, 1969 while trying to land at Korat in a very bad rain storm. Taken from the road going into the city of Korat the day after the aircraft crashed, image 1 shows a ground view of the crash, B&W, about 25K. Second image of the crash is an aerial view of the crash. B&W, about 66K. My thanks to Randy Spencer for providing this aerial view, of the EC121R loss. Dave Smith sent me several views of the crash. Dave has a very personal interest since he was aboard the aircraft. After recovering Dave met an airman from the base photo lab who loaned him several views of the crash taken from a helicopter. The third crash view shown here is a direct overhead view of the crash. Added 10/28/00, about 66K. Four Batcat aircrewmem and 4 Thai's lost their lives in this crash. Another view of 67-21495 taken from a 2 baht bus. My thanks to Mike Doran for this image. Color, about 146K, added 04/26/15. Randy Spencer obtained the Accident Report for 67-21495 through the Freedom Of Information Act request. Presented here is the Accident Summary of the loss of BATCAT 19 on September 6, 1969. I retyped the information and present it in ASCII text format. Area updated 03/07/00.

1970 the Last 553rd Recon Wing EC-121R
at the changeover ceremony

Dave Shipton provided this Shark mouth EC-121R image. When the 553rd Reconnaissance Wing deactivated in December 1970, there was a turnover ceremony. This shark mouth painted Connie was the EC-121R which flew in the airshow at Korat for the turnover from 553rd to the 388th. The flight crew was, if I recall correctly, Lt. Col Given, Commander of the 553rd Recon Squadron, Maj. Wilson, MSgt. Dave Shipton and MSgt. Fred Duck. Added 02/18/07.

Here is a view of the Shark mouth painted EC-121R in the hangar. USAF serial number of the Shark Mouthed EC-121R is 67-21498. My thanks to Bob Ellinwood for this image. Color about 260K. Added 12/08/11.

Another view of the Shark mouth painted EC-121R on the ramp. USAF serial number of the Shark Mouthed EC-121R is 67-21498. My thanks to Tom Philpott for this image. Color about 139K. Added 11/19/12.

EC-121R's at Davis Monthan AFB
the final fate of the EC-121R's

A List of the Fate of ALL EC-121R aircraft, in Adobe Acrobat Reader PDF format, about 29K. updated 12/02/07.

EC-121R at Davis Monthan AFB. Also known as the "Boneyard." Got this image off the Dean Boys Air Force Page. Photo by Brian Lockett, EC-121R 67-21496 at the Boneyard at DMAFB 1972. No EC-121R exists today, see text article above for disposition of all EC-121R's. Color, about 36K.
EC-121R Serial Number 67-21484 at Davis Monthan AFB, July 1970. This image was found on the Homepage by Batcat Homepage visitor Ben Brown. I was able to contact the copyright holder and photographer, Bob Garrard, via e-mail. Bob Garrard authorized the use of this image on my Batcat Homepage. Color, about 91K. Added 10/12/04.
Here is a view of EC-121R 67-21500 at Davis Monthan awaiting scrapping. Photo taken June 4, 1970. Photo by Frank MacSorley via Stephen Miller. Color, about 136K.

All these photos of EC-121R's at Davis Monthan
courtesy of the Zoggavia Collection

67-21471 near the end. Tip tanks, engines, RHAW antenna, and radom removed. Color, about 111K.
67-21475 upon arrival. Tires covered, ready for wash down prior to moving to the storage area. Color, about 66K.
67-21475 near the end. A number of D type tip tanks nearby. Color, about 99K.
67-21483 near the end. Well into disassembly before scrapping. Color, about 91K.
67-21485 still intact in the storage area. Color, about 96K.
67-21486 upon arrival at Davis Monthan. There appears to be 2 additional EC-121R's on the same ramp, serial numbers unknown. Color, about 65K.
67-21489 still intact in the storage area. Height finder radom of EC-121D behind the R model. Color, about 89K.
67-21490 still intact in the storage area. Color, about 102K. Added 12/29/07.
67-21492 still intact in the storage area. Color, about 91K.
67-21494 still intact in the storage area. Unusual white propeller spinners. UPDATE - Bob Rufo emailed to say the white spinners were removed from C-121G serial number 54-4056 so special spinners could be used on the G model for the wing commander's EC-121R. The spinners were suppose to be returned to the C-121G, but apparently they stayed on the EC-121R. Color, about 112K. Added 12/29/07, updated 08/02/13.
67-21496 still intact in the storage area. Color, about 96K.
67-21496 still intact in the storage area showing a side view. Color, about 91K.
67-21497 upon arrival at Davis Monthan. Color, about 98K.
Unknown EC-121R in the process of disassembly. This EC-121R is in a very unusual condition, note the airplane is lying on grass, which may mean it isn't actually Davis Monthan AFB, or the Tuscon area. I'd very much like to hear from anyone who can provide more information about this airplane. Color, about 50K.
Twelve, those without add dates, of the above 14 Zoggavia Collection photographs added 12/02/07. Two additional images Added 12/29/07.

The Beech QU-22 Baby Bat
replacement for the EC-121R

In an effort to reduce cost, the Air Force tried to replace the EC-121R with a highly modified Beech Debonair, the YQU-22A. During 1969 the YQU-22A was evaluated by the 553rd Reconnaissance Wing Detachment 1 at Nakhom Phanom (NKP). This evaluation was known as Pave Eagle I. These YQU-22A aircraft would occassionally visit Korat. Evaluation determined the Beech Debonair was too small and underpowered to perform the job. Here is a text article with details of the fate of each Beech YQU-22A and QU-22B aircraft.

Once the 553rd Reconnaissance Wing was inactivated in December 1970, the 554th Reconnaissance Squadron number was assigned to the QU-22 operation at Nakhon Phanom RTAFB (previous this unit was detachment 1 of the 553rd Reconnaissance Wing). Upon arrival pilots were required to complete in-processing and a local checkout. This is the In-Coming processing and local check out check list items which needed to be completed. My thanks to Ken Clagett for this in-processing check list. PDF format, about 90K. Added 06/19/14.

Ground view of YQU-22A USAF serial 68-10533. This airplane flew missions from NKP, had a landing gear collapse on April 8, 1969, was returned to the U.S. and repaired. Sold to a civilian owner and on the FAA register as N52242. Photo by Alan Vandam via Stephen Miller. Color, about 324K. Added 03/20/13.

Ground view of YQU-22A USAF serial 68-10536 taken at Eglin AFB on May 20, 1969. Sold to a private owner as N94499. Photo by Jack Morris via Stephen Miller. Color, about 320K. Added 03/20/13.

Ground view of USAF pilot Don Sorenson in a YQU-22A. Note the electronics behind the pilot. My thanks to Brian Studer for this photo. Color, about 323K. Added 03/20/13.

To have a larger airplane with more power, the USAF began using a modified Beech Bonanza model 36 identified as the QU-22B. The back seat was removed and sensor receivers were installed. There was a position for the pilot, but ideally they were to be flown without a pilot. Some 27 "B" models were built. The QU-22's became operational, but were always flown with a pilot on operational missions, not flown as a drone as originally invisioned. 553rd Reconnaissance Wing Detachment 1 at Nakhom Phanom again performed the evaluation with a project name of Pave Eagle II.

Here is an inflight photo of Two Beech QU-22B Aircraft, serial numbers 69-7694 and 69-7695. Photo by Beech Aircraft is B&W, about 155K, added 02/06/00. Added 12/02/07.

Ground view of QU-22B USAF serial 69-7696, taken at Eglin AFB on June 16, 1972. Sold to a private owner as N40CA, current on the FAA register as a Beech 1079. Photo by Tom Brewer via Stephen Miller. Color, about 260K. Added 02/20/13.

Ground side view of QU-22B USAF serial 69-7699, taken at Eglin AFB on June 26, 1972. Sold to a private owner and on the U.S. civil register as N90637, now displayed at the USAF Air Museum as 69-7699. Photo by Tom Brewer via Stephen Miller. Color, about 308K. Added 02/20/13.

Here is a right side view of Beech QU-22B 69-7702 at Davis Monthan as HX007 RSV. This is Beech serial number EB-10, which is currently on the FAA register as N49893. My notes indicate this particular QU-22B was never used in Southeast Asia. Photo taken February 1973 by Mick Roth via Stephen Miller. Color, about 278K. Added 02/20/13. A left side view of the same Beech QU-22B 69-7702 at Davis Monthan as HX007 LSV. Photo taken March 1973 by Peter Mancus via Stephen Miller. Color, about 292K. Added 02/20/13.

Randy Spencer sent me some QU-22B photographs, including this photograph of a Beech QU-22B Fuselage, which were taken during April 2002 at Lake Elsinore, California. Here is a photograph of the Beech QU-22B Cockpit. Cockpit is pretty standard Beech model 36 Bonanza, however notice on the right side there appears to be a frequency meter (old reed style), a "G" meter, UHF communications rather than VHF. Dual VHF omni and an ARC ADF-21. Both photographs are the same airplane, serial number 69-7701. Viewing Randy's photographs reveal the airplane appears to be intact, although disassembled, and the aluminum appears corrosion free. Reports are that enough parts are available at Lake Elsinore to build up 3 complete QU-22B aircraft. Both images are color, each about 72K, added 5/17/02.

View of QU-22B, Beech serial number EB-14, USAF serial number 70-1535, now N22QU on the FAA civil register, at Addison Airport, Texas. Brian Studer on the left, current owner and pilot of N22QU, with Ken Clagett, one of the last guys to fly the QU-22B in Southeast Asia before the shut down of the unit. Photo taken May 2012. My thanks to Brian Studer for this photo. Color, about 433K. Added 03/20/13.

The 2014 QU-22 Baby Bat "Vampire" Reunion now has their own homepage. Click on for additional information. Added 09/27/14.

Brian Studer flew his QU-22B, N22QU, at the Commemorative Air Force Airshow at Midland, Texas, October 12 and 13, 2013. For further details contact Brian Studer and Ken Clagett at and, or Brian Studer via telephone at 214-934-4828, or Ken Clagett at 702-378-8200. More details on the QU-22 Reunion page. Brian is also planning a reunion for those involved with the QU-22 Baby Bats, contact Brian by email or telephone for more details. Added 03/26/13, Added 02/12/13.

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