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Dutch Modelling and Aviation

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In Memoriam

Klaas Willem Jonker
(Wilko)
† April 30, 2018

On Monday 30 April 2018, Wilko Jonker died after a long illness at the age of 58. He leaves behind a wife and two children. The Dutch military aviation and plastic modeling were his hobby and on this website he shared all the knowledge he has collected over the years. His hobby has been able to distract him from the persistent disease in his body until the last week of his life. The contacts with other hobbyists were a major support for him.

This website will be maintained by different people for as long as possible, so that other enthusiasts can continue to benefit from extensive content.

Republic RF-84F Thunderflash

History

The American Republic factories started to develop the F-84F Thunderstreak at the end of 1949. See also the article about the Thunderstreak.

The third prototype YF-84F had the air intakes placed at the wing root in order to use a new radar system. The result was a loss of thrust, thus causing a lower performance, so the project was cancelled.
The outdated RF-80 needed to be replaced, so this prototype was used a a prototype for the photo reconnaissance version of the Thunderstreak.
The first preproduction model YRF-84F, 51-1828, was finished in February 1952. It differed from the original prototype in the enlarged air intakes. The nose was enlarged for the camera's and four machine guns were added in the wing root. A total of six cameras could be taken.

A large amount of different cameras was available, for several heights and also for day and night.
A maximum of fifteen different types could be used, to know: six forward looking cameras, one ‘TriMetrogen’ camera, eight ‘oblique’ and vertical cameras. These were of the type Fairchild K-17C, K-22 A, KA-2, T-11, K-38, each could be equipped with lenses varying form 6 to 36 inch. The Fairchild K-37 night camera to be used with flash-flares had a 12 inch lens. New at that time was the computerized Tri-Metrogen system, which modified the camera setting depending of speed, height and brightness.
At that time all photos were black-white, radar photography or infra-red was not used yet.
The nose had several hatches, so vertical and also oblique photos could be made. These hatches could be operated hydraulically; also a recording system for the pilot was available. The pilot had also a periscope to take a vertical look by himself.

Flight tests made it necessary to add four aerodynamic fences on top of the wings. In June initial order for 41 aircraft was signed. Delivery started in March 1954 to the 363 Tactical Reconnaissance Wing. Time became urgent for Republic, because McDonnell made progress with the RF-101 Voodoo. The Thunderflash was equipped with the Wright J65-W3, also used from 1955 in the Thunderstreak. From production block 20 the more powerful Wright J65-7 was used. For extra power at take off four JATO rockets could be used.

The last and 716th Thunderflash was delivered in December 1957.

The FICON- and Tom-Tom-project

Twenty five Thunderflashes were modified to RF-84K for the FICON project. Also two RF-84Fs were modified and equipped with claws at the wing tips because of the Tom-Tom project.
Probably the Americans had this idea because of the Russian Zvjeno-program, launched in August 1941 and resulting in the destroy of a bridge by twelve Polikarpov I-16’s, which had be launched by six Tupolev ANT-6-bombers.
A German test pilot, ir Hohman, was in charge of project MX-1081. AB-29A Superfortress and two F-84B Thunderjets were hooked to each other with the wing-tips. Earlier test with a Dakota and two Cilver QP-47’s had positive results, though the hooking of the aircraft was very dangerous. During a test flight on April 24, 1956 one of the F-84’s started bouncing and made a roll towards the B-29, thus causing a crash of all three aircraft and killing all of the crew. Project MX-1018 was cancelled immediately.
Another project, ‘Tom Tom’, was started in the meantime. The wing-tips of a Convair RB-36F were equipped with extendible arms. An modified RF-84 could hook on to these arms with one of its wing-tips. The only modified Flash, no 53-1849, almost crashed when it started to bounce also, broke free from the bomber and rolled, luckily to the opposite direction of the bomber. The Convair test pilot Ericson managed to make a safe landing at air base Carswell.
One month later, at the end of 1953, ‘Tom Tom’ was officially cancelled.

Progress went on with the Fighter Conveyor-method (FICON). One F-84 could be taken under the belly of a B-36. McDonnell had developed in 1947 the XF-85 Goblin, a small fighter with fold-able wings, which fitted in the bomb bay of the Convair B-36. The manoeuvrability of the Goblin was very poor, so this project was cancelled.
Convair was ordered to modify a RB-36F to carry a F-84E which was a larger aircraft than the Goblin. With some kind of ladder the F-84 could be released. When the aircraft returned the pilot used a hook on the nose to couple the aircraft to the bomber. The first test was done in January 1952.
Initially the FICON project was meant for the protection of the bomber, later the carried aircraft was used as bomber, so the rather vulnerable B-36 would fly across the target, especially with reconnaissance missions. The test were made with the original prototype of the Thunderflash, the YRF-84F. The rather high mounted stabilizer was moved to a lower position to stay free from the bomb bay.
The Thunderflash pilot could stay in the more comfortable B-36 and climb in the cockpit when necessary. The US Air Force had Twenty-five Thunderflashes modified which were grouped with 91st Strategic Reconnaissance Squadron under the designation GRF-84F, later changed to RF-84K. The ten Convair GRB-36D’s were delivered in February and March 1955 delivered to 91st Strategic Reconnaissance Wing. The test flights suffered many problems, so the system wasn't used operational.

 

Technical information
Dimensions:
Length: 14,5 m Wingspan: 10,2 m
Height: 4,5 m Wing area: m2
Weights:
Empty weight: - kg Max. start weight: 11545 kg
Performances:
Max. speed: 1159 km/hr Climbing speed: - m/min
Cruising speed: - km/hr    
Range: 3520 km Service ceiling: 14000 m
Miscellaneous:
Engine type: One Wright J65-W-7 rated 3535 kg thrust
Crew: One aviator
Armament: Four 12.7 mm (.50 inch) machine guns

 


NATO

A total of five Tactical Reconnaissance Wings of the USAF used the RF-84F, such as the 10th and 66th Tactical Reconnaissance Wings of the USAFE.The first aircraft arrived August 1955 at Sembach, West-Germany. The American used the arrival of the aircraft also for publicity, on a open day for the press, the journalist could choose a target, the photos of the target were delivered within three hours.
In 1958 the Thunderflashes were replaced with the McDonnell RF-101C and in 1960 all USAF Thunderflashes were withdrawn from use and handed over to the Air National Guard and several NATO members.

Many NATO countries received the Thunderflash under MDAP conditions. The Netherlands received twenty-four Thunderflashes, Belgium received 34 aircraft and used the Thunderflash for a long period. In 1958 a Belgian Thunderflash was forced to land in the DDR by two MiG 17s.

The Netherlands replaced the Thunderflash the RF-104G Starfighter and two RF-84Fs were handed over to Greece in 1963. The last Greek Thunderflash was withdrawn from use at the end of the eighties. Friday July 28, 1988, after a journey of five days one of the former Dutch RF-84s, ex P-5, landed at airbase Volkel. This aircraft is now on display at the Militaire Luchtvaartmuseum at Soesterberg.

In service with RNLAF: 306 squadron

The Thunderflash entered Dutch service in 1955. At the beginning of 1995 the conversion the new type started  and personnel was trained at Sembach. Also several aviators and technicians went to the USA for a conversion course.

306 squadron received three Lockheed RT-33 for training purposes. Alas one of these aircraft crashed, so only two of them entered operational use by 306 squadron.


In 1955 the Thunderflashes arrived together with Thunderstreaks and F-86K Sabres with US Corregidor and US Tripoli, in 1955 at Rotterdam.
The first two RF-84F’s were officially handed over to 306 squadron on April 22, 1956. In the period 1956-1959 the remaining aircraft were added.

At the beginning of 1958 306 squadron could join Royal Flush. Together with another, English, 2nd ATAF-member the squadron became the champion of the Royal Flush in 1959.

The Dutch Flashes were all of production blocks 10 till block 31. Initially no brake chute was applied to the aircraft. The chute was later added after a modification in 1958 and 1959.
March 22, 1963 the first six Thunderflashes were handed over to the Turkish air force. April 23, 1963 two aircraft went to Greece.

 


Serial US Fiscal Year nr. Squadron codes Date in service Date out of service Notes
Republic RF-84F-10-RE Thunderflash
P-21 51-1890 TP-3 1-12-1958 17-10-1963 To Turkey
P-22 51-1909 TP-13 09-12-1958 19-04-1960 Accident; Written off.
P-23 51-1910 TP-2 14-10-1958 17-10-1963 To Turkey
P-24 51-1924 TP-12 13-12-1958 17-10-1963 To Turkey
Republic RF-84F-16-RE Thunderflash
P-2 51-11254 TP-14 18-12-1956 13-08-1957 Accident; Written off.
P-5 51-11253 TP-19 11-05-1956 03-1963 To Greece
Republic RF-84F-21-RE Thunderflash
P-1 51-17001 TP-1/ TP-5 04-04-1956 03-1963 To Greece;
P.3 52-7233 TP-7/TP-19 20-04-1956 17-10-1963 To Turkey
P.4 52-7241 TP-6 16-04-1956 17-10-1963 To Turkey
P-6 51-17000 TP-8 11-05-1956 03-1963 To Turkey
P-7 52-7231 TP-15 02-03-1956 17-10-1963 To Turkey
P-8 52-7236 TP-2 02-03-1956 17-10-1956 To Turkey
P.9 52-7239 TP-18 16-05-1956 03-10-1957 Accident; Written off.
P-10 52-7242 TP-4 21-03-1956 10-1963 To Turkey
P-12 51-17002 TP-3 02-03-1956 13-10-1958 Accident; Written off.
P-13 52-7243 TP-9 /TP-14 20-09-1957 03-1963 To Turkey
P-17 52-7232 TP-16 11-01-1957 08-06-1960 Accident; Written off.
P-18 51-16997 TP-13 18-12-1956 03-06-1958 Accident; Written off.
Republic RF-84F-26-RE Thunderflash
P-11 52-7284 TP-5 22-03-1956 03-1963 To Turkey
P-14 52-7280 TP-10 23-10-1956 03-1963 To Turkey
P-15 52-7286 TP-9 25-09-1956 03-1963 To Turkey
P-16 52-7296 TP-12 29-11-1956 21-07-1958 Accident; Written off.
Republic RF-84F-31-RE Thunderflash
P-19 52-7444 TP-17 29-01-1957 03-1963 To Turkey
P-20 52-7434 TP-11 16-11-1956 17-10-1963 To Turkey

 


Scale 1/72

  • Italeri
    • Kit 108: It is a rather good kit of the same quality as the Thunderstreak kit of the same firm.
      Alas the model lack the machine gun in the wing root. The cockpit is rather bare and you'll have to add as much detail as you think is necessary.
      For an early version you need to remove the chute housing and add a fin of plastic card. This fin is of the same on the Thunderjet.
      Also the canopy is to wide and needs to be corrected.
  • PJ Productions
    • Kit 72-1023: a nice resin model
Republic RF 84F Thunderflash 306 Sqn Recon AKleijn
A model of a Republic RF-84F Thunderflash, the Italeri kit, built by Adri Kleijn.

 

Modelling add-on

Most sets are desinged for the Thunderstreak, but can also be (partly) used for the Thunderflash.

  • Airwaves
    • C72134: Detailing set F84F Thunderstreak/Flash Air-brakes.

Decals

  • Dutch Decal
    • set 72012: Besides several Dutch Thunderstreaks a camouflaged Thunderflash can be built with this set [Alas this set is no longer available].
  • FlevoDecal
    • set 72032: Set with decals for aircraft (RT-33, RF-84F and also F-84E) of the Dutch 306 Recce Squadron.

Scale 1/48

  • Heller
    • Kit 4802 / 80417: This kit is of rather good quality, its dimensions are quite right.

Modelling add-on

Most sets are desinged for the Thunderstreak, but can also be (partly) used for the Thunderflash.

  • Reheat
    • RH096: Etched parts in 1/48th scale for the Heller kit.

Decals

  • Dutch Decal
    • Set 48010: F84F Thunderstreak of 311, 312, 315 Squadron and RF 84F Thunderflash of 306 Squadron
  • Experts Choice
    • Set EC4802: Decals for a RF-84F/K Thunderflash of the US Air National Guard

 


Scheme Colour name FS number BS-number Humbrol XtraColor Vallejo Model Color Vallejo Model Air Hataka
Standard #1: Delivery scheme and the second interim scheme Overall Bare metal              
Under sides Aluminium Dope     56 / 191 X216 70.864 71.062  
 
Standard #3 overall camouflage colours Upper surfaces Extra Dark Sea Grey ~6099 BS:640 123 / 106 X005 / X376 70.866 71.110 ~140
Dark Green   BS:641 163 X001 70.892 71.324 ~143
Undersides PRU Blue   BS:636 124 / 230 X008   71.109 ~207

Check www.paint4models.com for an extensive conversion table with lots of colour and paint systems.

 

Republic RF-84F Thunderflash-basis-vroeg-SMALL
First colour scheme of the Republic RF-84F Thunderflash, early version without brake chute.
Republic RF 84F Thunderflash laat 1 SMALL
Second colour scheme of the Republic RF-84F Thunderflash, late version with brake chute, applied on e.g. P-6 and P-22.
Republic RF-84F Thunderflash-basis-vroeg-SMALL
The last colour scheme of the Republic RF-84F Thunderflash, late version.

 


Literature.

Avia: 32e jaargang nummer 9:   Pag. 324 - 325 1973 Uitgevers Wyt, Rotterdam
AVIA; 34e jaargang nummer 5: Luchtvloot van Plastic: Republic RF-84F Thunderflash   Pag. 162 - 163 1975 Uitgevers Wyt, Rotterdam
Modelbouw in Plastic. jaargang ..., nummer 3   Pag. 3 - 11 1976 IPMS Nederland
Nederlandse Militaire Luchtvaart in Beeld. deel 2 Hugo Hooftman Pag. 100 - 101 1977 Uitgever: Europese Bibliotheek, Zaltbommel
Dutch Military Aviation 1945-1978 Paul A. Jackson Pag. 107; 108;113-116 1978 Uitgever: Midland Countries Publications, Leicester
AviaHobby, jaargang 1, nummer 09 P. Gols; H. Loeber pag. 161 - 170 1980 Uitgevers Wyt, Rotterdam
AVIA: 41e jaargang nummer 7: Luchtvloot van Plastic: De Republic RF-84F Thunderflash Hans Loeber Pag. 276 - 278 1982 Uitgevers Wyt, Rotterdam
Squadrons van de Koninklijke Luchtmacht Willem Helfferich Pag. 77 1983 Uitgever: Unieboek b.v., Houten
Aircraft Number 61 F-84 Thunderjet in action. Davis, Larry & Menard, David Pag. 34 - 39 1983 Uitgever: Squadron/Signal Publications Inc., Carrolton, Texas
Van Luchtvaartafdeling tot Koninklijke Luchtmacht 75 jaar Militaire Luchtvaart in Nederland Koos van de Berg Pag. 46 1987 Uitgever: Rebo Produkties, Sassenheim
KLu Vliegtuigen: De vliegtuigen van de Koninklijke Luchtmacht vanaf 1913 Wim Schoenmaker & Thijs Postma Pag. 116 - 118; 120 - 122 1987 Uitgeverij De Alk, Alkmaar
Luchtvaartwereld; 5e jaargang nummer 10: De Thunderflash terug in Nederland Herman Sixma & Theo van Geffen Pag. 274 - 275 1988 Uitgeverij Ten Brink, Meppel
Modelbouw in Plastic, jaargang 22, nummer 1 F. Bachoffner pag. 2 - 7 1993 Uitgave IPMS Nederland
Squadrons van de Koninklijke Luchtmacht (derde herzien druk) Willem Helfferich Pag. 31 - 1994 Uitgevers Wyt, Rotterdam
Camouflage en Kentekens J.H.N. Greuter e.a. pag. 57-61; 69-74; 99-105 1997 Uitg. Bonneville, Bergen (NH)
Luchtvaartwereld: jaargang 1, nummer 01 Peter de Jong pag. 45 - 59 1999 Uitgeverij Geromij, Maarssen
Luchtvaartwereld: jaargang 1, nummer 02 Peter de Jong pag. 41 - 45 1999 Uitgeverij Geromij, Maarssen
Luchtvaartwereld: jaargang 1, nummer 03 Peter de Jong pag. 53 - 55 1999 Uitgeverij Geromij, Maarssen
Luchtvaartwereld; jaargang 1 nummer 04 Peter de Jong Pag. 51 - 52 1999 Uitgeverij Geromij, Maarssen

 

Websites.