Peterson acts as keeper of the Voodoo

  • Published
  • By Thea Skinner
  • 21st Space Wing Public Affairs staff writer
Peterson Air Force Base is taking steps to care for its rich history and Air Force heritage with the relocation of the McDonnell F-101B Voodoo static display this fall. 

"The Voodoo was a major aircraft that was used in Canada and North America," said Jeff Nash, Peterson Air and Space Museum deputy director and curator. "The basic mission of the museum is to preserve that heritage and present it to the public." 

The static display comes closely on the heels of the new Minuteman III LGM-30G ICBM display, dedicated on Aug. 11. Two Voodoos: the F-101B Voodoo and the Canadian CF-101B Voodoo reside on base and both are slated for corrosion control, structural repair, and a complete repaint. The Voodoos have not had restoration for about 10 years.

APM Construction, the same company that built the Minuteman display, is under contract to build the Voodoo display. The budgetary money from Congress was awarded through the Simplified Acquisition of Base Engineering Requirements Program, which expedites contracts. Located on base for about five years, APM Construction is a local small business with national overarching ties. 

"The F-101B (display) will have similar architectural standards to the missile," said Brian Hub, 21st Civil Engineer Squadron, Programs Flight landscape architect. "The display will be a place for people to go and appreciate the heritage of the wing." 

"The contract is beginning to mobilize," Mr. Hub said. "It will be a large paved plaza area - with new landscaping." 

As part of the museum's aircraft collection, the F-101B Voodoo tells its history as a long-range bomber for the U.S. Air Force's Strategic Air Command. 

During its history, the F-101B Voodoo corresponded with the air and space superiority mission through the Cold War. 

The aircraft was first produced in January 1959. The aircraft - a two-seater, all-weather interceptor - were used by Air Defense Command to guard North America from air attack by Russian bombers during the Cold War. 

As high-speed, high-altitude jet bombers, the F-101B Voodoo's design filled both tactical and air defense roles. Four-hundred and eighty F-101Bs were built by McDonnell by the time production ended in March 1961. Two Pratt and Whitney J-57 engines each provided 16,900 pounds of thrust with afterburners, giving the F-101B a top speed of 1,095 mph and a cruising speed of 545 mph. The aircraft was typically armed with two nuclear-tipped AIR-2 Genie air-to-air rockets and two conventional AIM-4 Falcon air-to-air missiles. 

In 1961, the U.S. provided Canada with 56 F-101Bs to replace aging Canadian CF-100 Canuck fighters, in which the Canadian Air Force redesignated as CF-101Bs and used them to equip five fighter squadrons guarding North American airspace. Between 1970 and 1972, the U.S. Air Force provided upgrade replacements for the earlier aircraft, including the Peterson Air and Space Museum's CF-101B on display at the airpark. 

"Being a vital part of the North American Aerospace Defense Command treaty between the U.S. and Canada, it was brought here to be put on display at the museum," said Gail Whalen, museum director. 

The F-101B Voodoo was initially uprooted in December 2006 to make way for the new west gate. More recently it was moved to Pete East in July. The aircraft temporarily resides near the Pete East fire station to undergo restoration. 

After restoration, the F-101B Voodoo aircraft will make its new home across the street from Base Operations, at the intersection of Peterson Boulevard and Hamilton Avenue. Construction of static display is slated for completion Oct. 25.