General Electric Air Research Demonstration
Schenectady, New York
June 22, 1946



In 1946, my father, Richard Lockett, worked for General Electric in Schenectady, New York. He and my mother Dorothy Lockett attended an open house at the General Electric Air Research Laboratory at the Schenectady, New York Airport on June 22, 1946, less than one year after V-J Day. It was an overcast day with intermittent rain. The event featured a variety of prototype airplanes and helicopters and some modified testbed airplanes. Many of the airplanes were pinnacles of piston-powered aircraft technology. Examples of early jet fighters foreshadowed the coming transition to jet power. The first jet air mail service was carried by a pair of Lockheed P-80 Shooting Stars that departed from the open house.

Richard Lockett, a General Electric employee, photographed the aircraft participating at the open house. He documented the evolving technology of the day. He also captured the behavior and fashions of the people attending the show.

North American F-6D Mustang 44-84855, GEARL, June 22, 1946 North American F-6D 44-84855 reconnaissance variant of the P-51D Mustang. Note the camera port on the rear fuselage. Its buzz number begins with F for Foto.

North American F-6D Mustang 44-84855, GEARL, June 22, 1946 North American F-6D Mustang 44-84855 may have been involved in an incident in Virginia on April 1, 1947.

Bell YP-59A Airacomet 42-108783, GEARL, June 22, 1946 Bell YP-59A Airacomet 42-108783 was the last of thirteen service test YP-59As. It has a second open cockpit in the nose for a drone controller. It was nicknamed Mystic Mistress. It was retired to the gunnery range at Muroc Army Air Base.

Bell P-63E King Cobra NX41964, GEARL, June 22, 1946 Bell P-63E King Cobra carries the civil registration NX41964. It was built for the Army Air Corps as 43-11728 and then bailed to Bell Aircraft Corporation of Buffalo, New York. It has been modified with a second cockpit behind the engine.

Bell P-63E King Cobra NX41964, GEARL, June 22, 1946 Bell P-63E King Cobra NX41964 was subsequently delivered to FA Hondurena as FAH 401 in October 1948. It was damaged on landing during its delivery flight at Tegucigalpa on October 15, 1948. Bell Aircraft Corporation acquired it again as N41964 in 1957 and provided it to the US Air Force Museum in Dayton, Ohio in January 1958. It was loaned to the Pima County Air Museum in 1976. It is presently displayed at the National Museum of the US Air Force as Pinball RP-63E 42-69654.

North American F-6D Mustang 44-84855 and Lockheed P-80A Shooting Star 44-851123, GEARL, June 22, 1946 North American F-6D Mustang 44-84855 and Lockheed P-80A Shooting Star 44-85123 make a low pass over the airfield.

North American F-6D Mustang 44-84855 and Lockheed P-80A Shooting Star 44-851123, GEARL, June 22, 1946 North American F-6D Mustang 44-84855 and Lockheed P-80A Shooting Star 44-851123

, GEARL, June 22, 1946 Lockheed P-80A Shooting Star 44-85123 is now displayed at the Skunk Works at Air Force Plant 42 in Palmdale, California.

First jet air mail cover, GEARL, June 22, 1946 First jet air mail cover. A pair of Lockheed P-80 Shooting Stars carried about 750 envelopes each from the open house to Chicago, Ohio and Washington, D.C. The P-80 piloted by Ken Chilstrom made a stop at Wright Field in Dayton, Ohion on its way to Chicago.

Lockheed P-80 Shooting Stars, GEARL, June 22, 1946 Three Lockheed P-80 Shooting Stars fly past the audience. This may be the departure of the first jet air mail service to Washington, D.C. and Chicago, Illinois.

Lockheed P-80 Shooting Stars, GEARL, June 22, 1946 Three Lockheed P-80 Shooting Stars

North American P-82 Twin Mustang, GEARL, June 22, 1946 North American P-82 Twin Mustang

North American P-82 Twin Mustang, GEARL, June 22, 1946 North American P-82 Twin Mustang

North American P-82 Twin Mustang and Bell YP-59A Airacomet 42-108783, GEARL, June 22, 1946 North American P-82 Twin Mustang and Bell YP-59A Airacomet 42-108783

North American P-82 Twin Mustang, GEARL, June 22, 1946 North American P-82 Twin Mustang

Vought F4U Corsairs, GEARL, June 22, 1946 A pair of Vought F4U Corsairs

Grumman F7F-3N Tigercat FN16, GEARL, June 22, 1946 Grumman F7F-3N Tigercat FN16

Grumman F7F-3N Tigercat FN16, GEARL, June 22, 1946 Grumman F7F-3N Tigercat FN16

Grumman F7F-3N Tigercat FN16, GEARL, June 22, 1946 Grumman F7F-3N Tigercat FN16

Grumman F7F-3N Tigercat FN16, GEARL, June 22, 1946 Grumman F7F-3N Tigercat FN16

Grumman F7F-3N Tigercat FN16, GEARL, June 22, 1946 Grumman F7F-3N Tigercat FN16

Grumman F7F-3N Tigercat FN16, GEARL, June 22, 1946 Grumman F7F-3N Tigercat FN16

Grumman F8F Bearcat, GEARL, June 22, 1946 Grumman F8F-1 Bearcat assigned to VBF-18 based at Naval Air Station Quonset Point, Rhode Island. Two months after this photo was taken, it deployed on the shakedown cruise of the carrier Leyte (CV-32).

Grumman F8F Bearcat, GEARL, June 22, 1946 Grumman F8F Bearcat

Grumman F8F Bearcat, GEARL, June 22, 1946 Grumman F8F Bearcat

Grumman F8F Bearcat, GEARL, June 22, 1946 Grumman F8F Bearcat

Ryan FR-1 Fireball, GEARL, June 22, 1946 Ryan FR-1 Fireball is powered by a Wright R-1820-72W Cyclone radial engine and a General Electric I-16 (later redesignated as the J-31) turbojet.

Ryan FR-1 Fireball, GEARL, June 22, 1946 Ryan FR-1 Fireball

Consolidated XB-24Q Liberator 44-49916, GEARL, June 22, 1946 Nose turret of Consolidated XB-24Q Liberator 44-49916. The XB-24Q was a B-24L modified by General Electric to serve as the testbed for a radar directed tail turret being developed for use on the B-47 Stratojet.

Consolidated XB-24Q Liberator 44-49916, GEARL, June 22, 1946 Consolidated XB-24Q Liberator 44-49916 has extra antennae and radar blisters. You don't see many B-24s with buzz numbers.

Consolidated XB-24Q Liberator 44-49916, GEARL, June 22, 1946 Radar directed tail turret of Consolidated XB-24Q Liberator 44-49916. The waste gunner station has been replaced with a B-29 style sighting blister. It was scrapped at Olmstead Army Air Field, Pennsylvania on August 16, 1948.

Boeing B-29B-BA Superfortress 44-84117, GEARL, June 22, 1946 Boeing B-29B-BA Superfortress 44-84117 was built by Bell Atlanta. All turrets except the tail turret were removed from the B-29B.

Boeing B-29B-BA Superfortress 44-84117, GEARL, June 22, 1946 Boeing B-29B-BA Superfortress 44-84117

Boeing XB-29G Superfortress 44-84043, GEARL, June 22, 1946 Jet powered superfortress: Boeing XB-29G Superfortress 44-84043 was modified from a B-29B-55 by General Electric to serve as a jet engine testbed.

Boeing XB-29G Superfortress 44-84043, GEARL, June 22, 1946 The jet engine can be seen between the main landing gear of Boeing XB-29G Superfortress 44-84043. It couold be extended below the bomb bay in flight.

Boeing XB-29G Superfortress 44-84043, GEARL, June 22, 1946 Boeing XB-29G Superfortress 44-84043

Boeing XB-29G Superfortress 44-84043, GEARL, June 22, 1946 Boeing XB-29G Superfortress 44-84043

Douglas A-26C-DT Invader 44-35822, GEARL, June 22, 1946 Douglas A-26C-DT Invader 44-35822

Douglas A-26C-DT Invader 44-35822, GEARL, June 22, 1946 Douglas A-26C-DT Invader 44-35822 was later redesignateed B-26B. It was involved in an incident in Georgia on June 12, 1949. It was sent to Viet Nam in June 1962 under the Farm Gate program. It was transferred to Clark Field, Philippines in April 1964. It was assigned to CIA operations in the Congo, but it Crashedat Khormasksar airfield, Aden on August 21, 1964. The crew, Capt. R. M. Krieg and F/N W. L. Sandors, failed to maintain control of the aircraft on take-off

Douglas A-26C-DT Invader 44-35822, GEARL, June 22, 1946 Douglas A-26C-DT Invader 44-35822

Douglas A-26C-DT Invader 44-35822, GEARL, June 22, 1946 Douglas A-26C-DT Invader 44-35822

Martin XPBM-5A Mariner BuNo 55349, GEARL, June 22, 1946 Prototype amphibious Martin XPBM-5A Mariner BuNo 59349 was the first Mariner to be equipped with retractable landing gear. Thirty-six amphibious PBM-5A Mariners were produced. One survives in the collection of the Pima Air and Space Museum near Tucson,Arizona.

Martin XPBM-5A Mariner BuNo 55349, GEARL, June 22, 1946 Martin XPBM-5A Mariner BuNo 59349 taxies out for its demonstration. Note the JATO bottles mounted on the aft fuselage.

Martin XPBM-5A Mariner BuNo 55349, GEARL, June 22, 1946 Martin XPBM-5A Mariner BuNo 59349 demonstrates a rocket assisted take-off.

Martin XPBM-5A Mariner BuNo 55349, GEARL, June 22, 1946 Martin XPBM-5A Mariner BuNo 59349 demonstrates a rocket assisted take-off.

Martin XPBM-5A Mariner BuNo 55349, GEARL, June 22, 1946 Martin XPBM-5A Mariner BuNo 59349

Martin XPBM-5A Mariner BuNo 55349, GEARL, June 22, 1946 Martin XPBM-5A Mariner BuNo 59349 demonstrates a rocket assisted take-off.

Boeing VB-17G Flying Fortress, GEARL, June 22, 1946 VIP arrival: high ranking Army Air Corps officers arrive at the open house in a Boeing VB-17G VIP transport variant of the Flying Fortress.

Boeing VB-17G Flying Fortress, GEARL, June 22, 1946 Boeing VB-17G Flying Fortress.

Douglas C-74 Globemaster 42-65402, GEARL, June 22, 1946 Prototype Douglas C-74 Globemaster 42-65402 demonstrates its ability to back up using reverse propeller pitch.

Douglas C-74 Globemaster 42-65402, GEARL, June 22, 1946 Douglas C-74 Globemaster 42-65402

Douglas C-74 Globemaster 42-65402, GEARL, June 22, 1946 Douglas C-74 Globemaster 42-65402

Douglas C-74 Globemaster 42-65402, GEARL, June 22, 1946 Douglas C-74 Globemaster 42-65402

Douglas C-74 Globemaster 42-65402, GEARL, June 22, 1946 Douglas C-74 Globemaster 42-65402

Douglas C-74 Globemaster 42-65402, GEARL, June 22, 1946 Douglas C-74 Globemaster 42-65402

Douglas C-74 Globemaster 42-65402, GEARL, June 22, 1946 Douglas C-74 Globemaster 42-65402 was scrapped at Davis Monthan Air Force Base in 1965.

Martin JRM Mars BuNo 76820 Philippine Mars, GEARL, June 22, 1946 Martin JRM Mars BuNo 76820 Philippine Mars made at least five passes by the open house.

Martin JRM Mars BuNo 76820 Philippine Mars, GEARL, June 22, 1946 Martin JRM Mars BuNo 76820 Philippine Mars

Martin JRM Mars BuNo 76820 Philippine Mars, GEARL, June 22, 1946 Martin JRM Mars BuNo 76820 Philippine Mars

Martin JRM Mars BuNo 76820 Philippine Mars, GEARL, June 22, 1946 Martin JRM Mars BuNo 76820 Philippine Mars

Martin JRM Mars BuNo 76820 Philippine Mars, GEARL, June 22, 1946 Martin JRM Mars BuNo 76820 Philippine Mars

Martin JRM Mars BuNo 76820 Philippine Mars, GEARL, June 22, 1946 Martin JRM Mars BuNo 76820 Philippine Mars

Martin JRM Mars BuNo 76820 Philippine Mars, GEARL, June 22, 1946 Martin JRM Mars BuNo 76820 Philippine Mars

Martin JRM Mars BuNo 76820 Philippine Mars, GEARL, June 22, 1946 Martin JRM Mars BuNo 76820 Philippine Mars

Martin JRM Mars BuNo 76820 Philippine Mars, GEARL, June 22, 1946 Martin JRM Mars BuNo 76820 Philippine Mars survives as C-FLYK in Canada. It is operated by Coulson Flying Tankers and is based at Sproat Lake on Vancouver Island.

Boeing XC-97 Stratofreighter 43-27472, Lockheed C-69 Constellation 43-10309, Douglas C-54D-DC Cargomaster 42-72754, and Boeing B-29B-BA Superfortress 44-84117, GEARL, June 22, 1946 Boeing XC-97 Stratofreighter 43-27472, Lockheed C-69 Constellation 43-10309, Douglas C-54D-DC Cargomaster 42-72754, and Boeing B-29B-BA Superfortress 44-84117 make a formation flyover.

Martin XPBM-5A Mariner BuNo 59349, Boeing XC-97 Stratofreighter 43-27472, Lockheed C-69 Constellation 43-10309, and Douglas C-54D-DC Cargomaster 42-72754, GEARL, June 22, 1946 Martin XPBM-5A Mariner BuNo 59349, Boeing XC-97 Stratofreighter 43-27472, Lockheed C-69 Constellation 43-10309, and Douglas C-54D-DC Cargomaster 42-72754.

Boeing XC-97 Stratofreighter 43-27472, GEARL, June 22, 1946 Boeing XC-97 Stratofreighter 43-27472 was the third Stratofreighter prototype. It was based on the wings and tail of the B-29, unlike the production models, which were based on the wings and tail of the B-50. It was powered by four 2,500-horsepower Wright R-3350 Duplex Cyclone 18-cylinder radial engines rather than the Pratt & Whitney R-4360 Wasp Major 24-cylinder radial engines that powered the production models.

Boeing XC-97 Stratofreighter 43-27472 and Douglas C-54D-DC Cargomaster 42-72754, GEARL, June 22, 1946 Boeing XC-97 Stratofreighter 43-27472 and Douglas C-54D-DC Cargomaster 42-72754

Boeing XC-97 Stratofreighter 43-27472, GEARL, June 22, 1946 Boeing XC-97 Stratofreighter 43-27472

Boeing XC-97 Stratofreighter 43-27472, GEARL, June 22, 1946 Boeing XC-97 Stratofreighter 43-27472

Boeing XC-97 Stratofreighter 43-27472, GEARL, June 22, 1946 Boeing XC-97 Stratofreighter 43-27472 crashed five miles east of Dayton Ohio on May 22, 1947.

Lockheed XC-69 Constellation 43-10309, GEARL, June 22, 1946 Prototype Lockheed XC-69 Constellation 43-10309

Lockheed XC-69 Constellation 43-10309, GEARL, June 22, 1946 Lockheed XC-69 Constellation 43-10309 was the prototype Constellation. It made its first flight as the XC-69 in January 1943. It was converted to the XC-69E by the replacement of its Wright R-3350 Duplex Cyclone eighteen-cylinder radial engines with Pratt & Whitney R-2800 Double Wasp eighteen-cylinder radial engines. It carried civil test registration NX25600. Hughes Aircraft acquired it and registered it as NX67900. Lockeed bought it back on May 1, 1950 and reregistered it as NC25600. Lockheed converted it to the prototype Super Constellation and registered it as NX6700. In 1952 it served as the aerodynamic test vehicle for Navy early warning Constealltions. It was used to test the installation of an Allison YT-56 turboprop engine in the number four position. Califorina Airmotive acquired it for spare parts in 1958 and broke up the airframe.

Lockheed XC-69 Constellation 43-10309, GEARL, June 22, 1946 Lockheed XC-69 Constellation 43-10309

Fairchild C-82A-1-FA Packet 44-22962, GEARL, June 22, 1946 Fairchild C-82A-1-FA Packet 44-22962 was the fifth Packet built. It entered the civilian registry as N75398 in 1964. In 1968 it was transferred to Aviateca Guatemalteca as TG-ATA.

Fairchild C-82A-1-FA Packet 44-22961, GEARL, June 22, 1946 Fairchild C-82A-1-FA Packet 44-22961 was the fourth Packet built. One source states that it was limited to static tests, but it appears to be airworthy here. Its fuselage was sent to Bikini Atoll for nuclear tests.

Fairchild C-82A-1-FA Packet 44-22962, GEARL, June 22, 1946 My mother, Dorothy Lockett, is holding the propeller blade tip of Fairchild C-82A-1-FA Packet 44-22962

Fairchild C-82A-1-FA Packet 44-22962, GEARL, June 22, 1946 Fairchild C-82A-1-FA Packet 44-22962

Fairchild C-82A-1-FA Packet 44-22961, GEARL, June 22, 1946 Fairchild C-82A-1-FA Packet 44-22961

General Electric Air Research Labvoratory hangar, GEARL, June 22, 1946 The General Electric Air Research Labvoratory hangar forms a backdrop for the Consolidated XB-24Q Liberator 44-49916 and a Sikorsky S-51 helicopter.

Consolidated XB-24Q Liberator 44-49916, GEARL, June 22, 1946 Consolidated XB-24Q Liberator 44-49916

Sikorsky S-51 helicopter, GEARL, June 22, 1946 Sikorsky S-51 helicopter is a civilian variant of the R-5D. This one appears to be in the colors, blue and light gray, of Los Angeles Airways but it is missing the airline name. Los Angeles Airways began airmail service between Los Angeles International Airport and the downtown post office, the San Fernando Valley, San Bernardino, and Newport Beach on October 1, 1947.

General Electric Air Research Labvoratory hangar, GEARL, June 22, 1946 The General Electric Air Research Labvoratory hangar forms a backdrop for the Consolidated XB-24Q Liberator 44-49916 and a Sikorsky S-51 helicopter.

Sikorsky S-51 helicopter, GEARL, June 22, 1946 Controls of the Sikorsky S-51 helicopter.

Sikorsky S-51 helicopter, GEARL, June 22, 1946 Sikorsky S-51 helicopter

Kellet XR-8 helicopter 43-44714, GEARL, June 22, 1946 Kellet XR-8 helicopter 43-44714 is one of two built.

Pilotless target plane, GEARL, June 22, 1946 UAV circa 1946: A pilotless target plane deploys a parachute at the end of its mision.


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General Electric Air Research Demonstration, June 22, 1946

General Electric Air Research Demonstration, June 22, 1946

General Electric Air Research Demonstration, June 22, 1946

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