McDonnell F-101 Voodoo


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McDonnell F-101 Voodoo

The McDonnell F-101 Voodoo was the inevitable follow-on to the company's XF-88 and was intended for the same purpose. Though the 1950 penetration fighter competition among XF-88, XF-90 and YF-93A resulted in no production contract, the Strategic Air Command still wanted an aircraft conceived from the outset as an escort fighter, its F-84F being seen as only an interim solution. McDonnell's design team under Herman Barkey responded with the heaviest single-seat fighter ever built. Powered by two 5307kg Pratt & Whitney J57-P-13 turbojets, the F-101 would carry four 20mm cannon plus three Hughes GAR-ID or GAR-2A Falcon missiles or 127mm high-velocity aircraft rockets (HVAR) mounted on rotary bomb doors. The first F-101A flew on 29 September 1954 at St Louis, and exceeded Mach 1 on its maiden flight. This was a production craft, there being no service-test machine. SAC dropped its requirement and the 77 F-101As built went to the Tactical Air Command. The first delivery was made 2 May 1957 to the 27th Tactical Fighter Wing. Seven of these airframes were later designated JF-101A while being used for temporary tests.

The first of two YRF-101A service-test reconnaissance Voodoos flew on 10 May 1956, followed by 35 RF-101A airframes delivered to TAC's 363rd Tactical Reconnaissance Wing at Shaw AFB, South Carolina. The reconnaissance Voodoo had a lengthened nose with space for downward or oblique cameras and other sensors. An RF-101A was shot down during the Cuban missile crisis of October 1962.

The F-101B was the tandem two-seat all-weather interceptor version of the Voodoo for the Air Defense Command, powered by two 5438kg thrust afterburning J57-P-55 turbojets. The first F-101B flew on 27 March 1957 at St Louis. For long-range intercept, it could carry two Douglas MB-1 Genie nuclear unguided rockets as well as three Falcons. Deliveries began on 18 March 1959 to the 60th Fighter Interceptor Squadron. Eventually, the F-101B equipped 16 ADC squadrons, guarding against the Soviet bomber threat to North America. The JF-101B designation was applied to two machines used for temporary tests. One NF-101B was structurally modified for development work. Very late in their careers, with reconnaissance Voodoos still needed long after the interceptor variant was retired, 22 of the two-seat airframes were converted to RF-101B. The TF-101B was a version of the interceptor with full dual controls.

ANG units operated the F-101B between 1970 and 1982. This Voodoo flew with the 179th Fighter Interceptor Squadron, Minnesota ANG in 1973.

The F-101C single-seat tactical fighter differed from the F-101A primarily in having the capability to carry a US tactical nuclear weapon, and 47 were delivered to TAC. The RF-101C, the first of which was flown 12 July 1957, was an improved development of the RF-101A; 166 went to TAC squadrons. The USAF began operating the RF-101C in South East Asia in 1964 and suffered its first combat loss on 21 November 1964 when an RF-101C of the 15th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron was shot down over Laos. Though not as much publicised as other combat types, the RF-101C remained in combat until 1970. No fewer than 31 airframes were lost in battle, plus another six to operational causes. In the mid-1960s, a few RF-101Cs served with the Nationalist Chinese air force, flying clandestine missions over the mainland.

Other Voodoo variants were the F-101F, the USAF designation for the CF-101F interceptor operated by Canadian forces; the RF-101G, a conversion of high-hour RF-101A airframes for reconnaissance duties with the Air National Guard; and the RF-101H, another reconnaissance conversion. One F-101B appeared briefly on the US civil register, as N8234, used for thunderstorm research by Colorado State University. A few CF-101Fs remain in service with Canadian forces for electronic warfare operations. Total production was 807 Voodoos.

McDonnell F-101 VoodooA three-view drawing (1685 x 1015)

 ENGINE2 x P+W J-57-P-13, 52.0kN
  Take-off weight18000-22250 kg39683 - 49053 lb
  Empty weight12700 kg27999 lb
  Wingspan12.1 m40 ft 8 in
  Length20.6 m68 ft 7 in
  Height5.5 m18 ft 1 in
  Wing area43.2 m2465.00 sq ft
  Max. speed1940 km/h1205 mph
  Cruise speed950 km/h590 mph
  Ceiling15800 m51850 ft
  Range w/max.fuel4800 km2983 miles
 ARMAMENT4 x 20mm machine-guns, 15 missiles

Comments1-20 21-40 41-60 61-80 81-100 101-120 121-140 141-160 161-180 181-200 201-220
Howard Wicklund, e-mail, 07.04.2021 16:41

with the 75th from 1959 -1960 c /c


William Boyle, e-mail, 29.09.2020 21:07

I was stationed at Bentwaters near Ipswich UK. I believe we were the first to receive the VooDoo overseas. Our Commander was Adrian Drew, who broke some records in the 101. I was CC and did lose a pilot due to a mistake performed in maintenance
My squadron was the 92nd TFS. Any members can e-mail me at I now live in Florida.


Jud Rigsby, e-mail, 20.12.2020 William Boyle

I was stationed with the 87th at Lockbourne AFB from June 1966 until January 1967 and went to Cam Rahn Bay to work on F4's. I worked on the Autopilot and weapons guidence systems. left the Air Force in 1970. Now retired and living in my home town of Richmond Indiana, one hundred miles from Columbus, OH.


Wally Soplata, e-mail, 07.04.2020 06:40

Does anyone recall what happened with the F-101B from Lockbourne AFB that crashed near Washington Court House, Ohio, on April 8th 1962? Crazy as it sounds, my father purchased the wreckage on a scrap bid there in October 1964. At age 11 then I helped Dad load the wreckage and haul it home. Dad sold most of the wreck for scrap, but did keep the tail section that is still on the property of my family estate in Newbury, Ohio.


Larry Friend, e-mail, 05.07.2020 Wally Soplata

Hello Wally,
If you are asking about
F-101B-75-MC s /n 56-0297 *1962: USAF 87th FIS.
*9 /8 /1962: Crashed near Washington Courthouse, OH.
It crashed on Sept 8, 1962 not April 8 and I am very familiar with this crash and what caused it. There's a reason why the Tail Section broke off and floated to the ground miles away from the crash site.

I was stationed with the 87th FIS at Lockbourne AFB when this happened in case you're wondering.

Please send your Email address to me at and I will try and fill you in with more details.


Richard Owen, e-mail, 25.03.2018 00:30

Would like to hear from Jonathan Myer or any other former 13th FIS pilot or RIO. I programmed the F-101B flight simulator in the years November 1960 to November 1962. Remember you and other 13th FIS pilots. Taught myself to fly the simulator and flew it most days for test hops before crews arrived. Retired CFIAMEI. A2C Richard Owen, 58 years in grade.


bernie, e-mail, 20.03.2018 16:45

was at suffolk county afb from 1965-1966 at 2nd. FIS in operations. so many great memories around the voodoo. I was on the desk when I got a call on the land line from one of the pilots who was out on a mission wanting a ride back to the sq. seems he an his rio ejected and wound up in a swimming pool of one of the houses on the island. don't remember the crew but do remember the phone call.


Jerry Roberts, e-mail, 20.11.2017 00:26

@michaek arnold,One very rude welcome to Montana and the F /L bays that were not heated,to do preflights, made the sad mistake of pulling off a glove to key the throttle mike at -20F. You guys did one hell of a job keeping the ground power running in those temps, it was damn hard on gear. Think I kept bunny boots on for 2 months. That was one heck of a Bird, the air crews worked their tails off, and to boot I was a auggie Weapons Load Team B man. Froze my butt off doing Mass loads. Good to hear from you. I am at


michaek arnold, 17.11.2017 04:24

@Jerry Roberts, Hi Jerry, I was discharged in May 65. Can't remember too many long lost AF pals. The ground support shop was headed by Sarg Udink. My best buddy was Jim Kingma (weapons), Bob Godfrey an I were together from tech school. After I got married and left the barracks, I lost contact with most of the guys in the squadron. Hope all is well with you. Michael.


Jerry Roberts, e-mail, 13.11.2017 22:17

@michael arnold, Hi Mike, How late into 1965 were you there?
I arrived Jan 65 to do Comm /Nav when Carl Hoppe had the A&E shops. Maybe you recall a couple of the guys we replaced, Orland and a fella name Root. There was a F /L dude that I hungout with down in Missoula that year he split for the PI and I went to the Det #1. lost that name tho.


michael arnold, e-mail, 13.11.2017 04:06

I was assigned to the 29th FIS from 1962-65. I worked ground power and was "Dispatch 1" delivering the MC 11's, MD3A's or what ever was needed (heaters for the -30 degree nights) on the flight line. I really enjoyed my time on the "flight line" with all the ground crew and air crew, the alert barn experience and the and the scary 62 Cuban Crisis.


Lou DeSantis, e-mail, 23.08.2017 13:11

I am responding to "Kathleen Dewhurst, e-mail, 25.07.2017 17:18 Hi, I could not retrieve Kathleen's e-mail, but I may have some history for the F101B tail #80324. I was assigned to the 445th FIS, Wurtsmith AFB Michigan, 1961 /62. Our squadron won the 1961 "William Tell" Air Weapons Competition. I have a photo of the 445th FIS F101B aircrafts, the sixth back from front appears to be the tail #80324; and the winning certificate, which was a decal placed below the cockpit on all our aircrafts.
Kathleen Dewhurst if you have can use this info contact me Lou DeSantis Email:


Kathleen Dewhurst, e-mail, 25.07.2017 17:18

Hi, I run and restore an air museum in Palmdale, California and happen to own a F-101B (F) 80324 , that was assigned to the ANG in Arkansas and part of the Pueblo Crisis. Am in the middle if trying to find the right tail flashing and nose are for this group. Anyone have any pictures and stories of my bird would be most helpful. Please contact my email. Thanks, I like getting things historically correct.


Jerry Roberts, e-mail, 16.05.2017 16:58

Robert Roop, froze the buns off too many times doing Mass Loads at Malmstrom AFB. I hated those more than anything. Fast turns were a breeze, slam bam and move on. Yep that got the competitive juices flowing. I still have the lanyard pins from a Genie launch at Tyndall in 1966 when the 29th was there to shoot at drones. I was the Com /Nav shop at Det#1, Even with Nam going I would never trade that life experience for anything. Knew the 101 like a family member. be well sir.


Robert Roop, e-mail, 12.05.2017 02:18

Jerry Roberts, Yes, we loaded 2 Genie and 2 GAR. We had the same auggie crew the whole time I was there, about 2 3 /4 years. We loaded 5 time a month minimum with dummies plus taking turns loading the alert birds with the real things. Fond memories there.


Jerry Roberts, e-mail, 26.04.2017 23:34

Bob Roop, you were a bit ahead of my era, Good to meet someone that loaded the beast. Did you have 2 and 2, 2 genie and 2 Gar on the rails? Auggie loaded for almost 3 years 1965-68 with the same crew. Our crew did the fastest (fast turnaround) recorded in 1967 and got chewed out for it.


Robert Roop, e-mail, 14.04.2017 18:09

I was in the 98th FIS Dover, Delaware 1961-1963 and worked on the radio /Navigation /Data Link /Comm on the F101B. I was also the B man on the loading team. When the Squadron moved to Suffolk Country I was shipped to McClellan AFB in Sacramento, CA and work on the EC121. During the Cuba Crisis I was TDY to Atlantic City with four Voodoos.


Lottie Seaman, e-mail, 16.03.2017 02:47

Gary Long... My father (Billy Sanchez) was also at MacDill during the Cuban Missile Crisis. He taught me a lot about those old fighters when I was a kid and still recognize most of them on sight. :)


Jerry Roberts, e-mail, 13.03.2017 23:04

WHO, among us participated as an auggie B or C men to Load the F-101? If there are any A men weapons guys jump in please.
Bill Clark and I from the 29th FIS DET#1 at Logan Field in Billings Montana(out of Malmstrom AFB) 1965-1968 loaded with an armament guy that we cannot recall his name. We set a record on the 101 for a fast turnaround with LIVE ordnance and would love to give credit where credit is due. Thanks Folks.


Gary A. Long, e-mail, 21.02.2017 01:42

Reference to above mention in the McDonnell F-101 Voodoo. There was a mention of an RF101 Voodoo being shot down during the Cuban Crisis... I was stationed at MacDill AFB Florida from October 1962 to 28 February, 1966, witnessed an RF 101 VooDoo land with no hydraulics, with lots of cannon fire holes in it. Don't know how the pilot brought the bird home, it was in such bad shape. I am pretty sure the shot down RF101 had flown out of MacDill at the time, as I saw an aircraft crew chief in tears, as he waited for his aircraft to return at the end of the runway. It never did. Lots of history and information about the huge amounts of paratrooper birds, 44 of them, I think, lined up at MacDill. Lots of old bombers were parked there as well. As a weapons load team, we mixed gasoline and powdered white phosphorus into napalm drop tanks hanging right on the F84's. Happy we didn't have to send the birds to Cuba...


J. M. Jones, e-mail, 18.02.2017 21:26

I was stationed at Suffolk from July 1963 to July 1967 working out of the 2FIS. Who was you Dad. It became the NY Air National Guard in 1972 /73. I also was in the Guard there from 1973 to 2001. Its not a Rescue Wing..


Jones, e-mail, 06.01.2017 19:38

Hi, I am interested in the RF-101C and wonder whether the engines were as reliable as generally said. Were the engines likely to suffer double flame out on takeoff? One Pilot has said that this was a risk. Rgds. T Jones.


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