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c/n 479
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c/n 479



52-6104 USAF #1266. L-20 No: 267. Command AF-3. Delivered 06-Apr-1953. Built as L-20A and re-designated U-6A in 1962.

Fate Unknown

USAF History

52-6104 was made available on 13-Mar-1953 to the 6600th Air Depot AMO (Air Material Overseas Unit) unit of the USAF at Downsview, ON., and accepted on 24-Mar-1953. It was assigned to the Tactical Air Force on 07-Apr-1953 and was attached to the 7th Liaison Squadron at Donaldson, SC. It stayed with the 7th while going to Larson AFB., WA., on 18-Jun-1953 for a month before returning to Donaldson on 21-Jul-1953. It spent four days at the San Bernardino Air Depot at Norton AFB., CA., from 21-Jul-1953 to 25-Jul-1953 and then returned to Donaldson. It actually now remained at Donaldson for almost two more years serving with the 4501st Headquarters Squadron from 09-Jun-1954 and then the re designated 4501st Support Squadron from 01-Sep-1954 with just a brief interlude at Sewart AFB., with the 314th Troop Carrier (Medium) Wing for two months in the middle of 1954.

After Donaldson it was transferred to the 464th Troop Carrier (Medium) Wing at Pope AFB., NC., until 10-Mar-1957 but with a period of maintenance back at Downsview between 12-May-1955 & 17-Jun-1955. In Mar-1957 there was a move to George AFB., CA and the 479th Fighter Day (FDA) Wing until 05-Aug-1957. Another trip to an Air Depot followed with a visit to the Mobile Air Materiel Area at Brookley AFB., AL.

479th Fighter Day Wing

It remained between 05-Aug-1957 and 15-Nov-1957 before emerging to become active again at Lowry AFB., CO., where it was attached to the 1110th ASP Group It is considered that this acronym stands for Air Sampling Group as the unit was later re designated as 1110th Balloon Activities Group which operated several detachments from several bases as far North as Alaska and as far South as Panama and even from Brazil. (See below). It was next attached to the 5700th Air Base Group a component of the Caribbean Air Command at Albrook AFB., in Panama. This was possibly as a detachment for the air sampling activities as it is next recorded as being with the 1110th Balloon Activities Group operating in Sao Paulo Brazil during 1958. Unfortunately the exact dates are unclear. It returned to Mainland US on an unknown date in 1959 when it visited the Middletown Air Depot at Olmstead, PA until being released on 27-Jul 1959 and passing to its previous duties with the 1110th but initially at Bolling AFB., Washington, DC., remaining until 17-Jan-1960 when it moved to the main base for the 1110th at Goodfellow AFB., TX.

The 1110th Balloon Activities Squadron (Headquarters Command) at Goodfellow AFB., Texas was a unique unit flying four to six H-21's, one to two C-47s, and one to two L-20s - the number depended upon the size and locations of the sampling program. 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. The fixed wing aircraft were used mainly to track the balloons when the high altitude winds moved faster than the H-21 could go.

The further USAF history of this aircraft is yet to be researched.