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News > 'Trout' released from flying duty after 31 years of service
'Trout' released from flying duty after 31 years of service

Posted 2/3/2006   Updated 12/5/2006 Email story   Print story


by Senior Airman Francesca Carrano
95th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

2/3/2006 - EDWARDS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- After flying distinguished visitors and undergoing rigorous testing for more than 31 years as a part of the 412th Flight Test Squadron, the Speckled Trout tail number 61-2669, will officially retire Feb. 10 in a ceremony at hangar 1600 here.

The Speckled Trout has supported a two-fold mission during its service at Edwards and has logged more than 31,000 flying hours.

C-135 tail number 61-2669 rolled of the assembly line in 1962 to begin it service as part of the U.S. Air Force.

Originally manufactured by the Boeing Company in 1961, the aircraft started service as a weather reconnaissance aircraft. In 1975, the aircraft became part of Project Speckled Trout and began serving primarily as overseas transportation for Air Force Chiefs of Staff. The Speckled Trout has also been an intricate part of many test programs at the Air Force Flight Test Center.

"It is bittersweet for the men and women of the 412th Flight Test Squadron and Edwards to see this plane leave and go out of service, but the time is now," said Lt. Col. Ed Topps, 412th FLTS commander. "The plane has unique avionics equipment, and has difficult to maintain, one-of-a-kind systems. And besides, after 31,000 hours flying, I'm sure the old girl needs a break."

As the Trout heads into a much deserved retirement, mission continuity will not be lost. The back-up airplane for the Trout is called KC-01 and is already flying in support of Project Speckled Trout's mission.

"We'll use our back-up airplane for about a year until it retires as well," Colonel Topps said. "Then we'll take delivery of a KC-135R model that's currently in Greenville, Texas, being modified for the same mission."

The new KC-135 will have a slightly different mission that supports greater tests and air refueling requirements here at the AFFTC.

After careful consideration by the National Museum of the Air Force, the Speckled Trout will rest in the care of the Air Force Flight Test Center Museum here, said Doug Nelson, AFFTC museum director.

"Our museum's goal is to depict the history of Edwards and of flight testing, the Speckled Trout was definitely a major player in both of these," Mr. Nelson said.

The Speckled Trout has a great place not only in Edwards' history, but in Air Force history as well.

"We'll be glad to put her down and take care of her here and be able to let our children see what Speckled Trout did for our country many years ago," Colonel Topps said.

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