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52-6102 of 15th Detachment, Central Air Rescue Centre, Goodfellow AFB., Texas.
Photo: Norm Taylor © July 1964 - Wayne Mutza Collection - Aird Archives
52-6102 in original markings.
Photo: Unknown photographer © 1950's - Steve Williams Collection - Aird Archives




52-6102 USAF #1264. L-20 No: 265. Command AF-3. Delivered 06-Apr-1953. Built as L-20A and re-designated U-6A in 1962.

52-6102 Stored at MASDC Davis Monthan AFB., AZ. Arrival date 29-Mar-1965. Departed 13-Apr-1966.

52-6102 To US Army

Fate unknown

USAF History

52-6102 was made available on 06-Mar-1953 to the 6600th Air Depot AMO (Air Material Overseas Unit) unit of the USAF at Downsview, ON., and accepted on 30-Mar-1953. It was delivered to the Tactical Air Force on 07-Apr-1953 at Donaldson AFB., SC., where it was attached to the 7th Liaison Squadron. On 18-Jun-1953 the aircraft crossed the country and was attached to Larson AFB., WA .,with the 7th before moving back to Donaldson on 23-Jul-1953. Staying with the TAC the next move was to Ardmore AFB., OK., and the 463rd Troop Carrier (Medium) Wing arriving on 23–May-1954 and staying until 29-Apr-1955.

A re-assignment saw it move to the Air Training Command as it went join the 3600th Combat Crew Training Wing at Luke AFB., AZ. This posting lasted until 06-May-1960. Another re-assignment then occurred with a move to the Air Defence Command and Jacksonville NAS, FL., where it was attached to the 679th Aircraft Control & Warning Squadron for a few weeks until 16-Jun-1960.

3600th Combat Crew Training Wing

It then moved to the Strategic Air Command at McConnell AFB., with the 4347th Combat Support Wing between 17-Jun-1960 and 21-Oct-1960.Next transfer was to Headquarters Command at Goodfellow AFB., where it found itself with the 1110th Balloon Activities Squadron. This was a unique unit flying H-21, C-47, and L-20s. The unit launched high altitude, unmanned balloons that gathered particulate debris and whole air samples in support of the U.S. nuclear programs. Monthly samples were taken from 70,000, 80,000, 90,000, 105,000 and 120,000 feet. From Goodfellow, the balloons traveled eastward into East Texas and Louisiana in the winter months. The wind switched in the summer time and the balloons headed for West Texas and Eastern New Mexico. The Beaver was used mainly to track the balloons when the high altitude winds moved faster than the H-21 could fly.

The aircraft remained with the unit as it was renamed several times over the years. First came the 9th Weather Reconnaissance Squadron on 31-Jul-1962 and then to 1212th Balloon Activities Squadron (Air Weather Service) on 31-Dec 1962.

9th Weather Reconnaissance Squadron

Next came the 59th Weather Reconnaissance Squadron in Jan 1964 and later to a detachment under the 1st Weather Squadron. Shortly after that, the aircraft section was transferred to the 15th Detachment under the Central Air Rescue Centre still based at Goodfellow on 29-Mar-1965. At this stage it passed into storage at MASDC, Davis Monthan AFB., AZ., until 13- Apr-1966 when it transferred to the US Army.