ARIA photos



ARIA Controller Stan Anderson relates –

“The photos of ARIA 372 (date not determined) and ARIA 327 with the ALOTS (June 1967) show the early markings of the ARIA. I don’t know when the paint jobs were redone, early 1968 I think, but you will note that all of the later photos have diplomatic markings, i.e., the top of the fuselage is white with “United States of America” on them whereas the earlier photos have “U.S. Air Force” on the nose of the aircraft.

The reason for this change in markings is interesting. It was due to international politics.

Project Apollo was portrayed as a civilian program. As such, the U.S. military support role had to be minimized. This was during the Cold War and in certain countries, specifically Russia and the Warsaw Pact, military participation even in a support role could be portrayed as the “militarization of space”. To the extent that international Communism also held sway to various degrees in countries around the world, the decision was made that the ARIA aircraft receive a diplomatic paint scheme. We operated at bases around the globe.

For example, during Apollo 9 – the last purely orbital Apollo mission – we had overflight and landing clearances at 31 countries around the world. Landing an aircraft with diplomatic markings in some of those countries would cause far less concern than landing one emblazoned “U.S. Air Force” on the side.

Just another one of those infinite little details it took to put a man on the Moon.”


Original paint scheme with US Air Force markings

ARIA 372

This photo of ARIA 0372 was found in a 1969 publication of the OTC, Australia’s Overseas Telecommunications Commission. The caption doesn’t say where it was taken. Scan: Colin Mackellar.

Update: Gary Roland writes, “I can provide the date and location of the first photo in the ARIA Photos section of your web site. ARIA 372 is on its first flight from Douglas Aircraft in Tulsa Oklahoma. The date of the flight was September 19, 1966.”

Read more from Gary, with many terrific photos, on the ARIA Conversion page.


ARIA 10327

This photo of ARIA 10327 is from a NASA publication.



Later paint scheme with Diplomatic markings

ARIA at Perth airport

During Apollo, ARIA visited Australia many times.

This ARIA was spotted at Perth Airport in November 1969 – there to support the Apollo 12 mission.

Bob Mosley writes, “I was the mission commander on that flight. We had two airplanes and after we completed our mission in Perth we took the planes westward, on around the world, which few pilots get to do in their flying career.”

Photo: Ken Mackellar.


ARIA 0329

This ARIA, tail number 0329 was photographed at Patrick AFB, Florida by Bob Burns on 30 December 1971.


ARIA at Perth

Bob Burns took this photo of an ARIA, tail number O-00375 was taken at Perth Airport, in January or February 1972 on his way to Carnarvon.

Stan Anderson writes, “The big black and white panel on the front fuselage was used as a test pattern for sighting in the ALOTS camera. I think the only ARIA that was modified to carry the ALOTS was tail # 327. The two aircraft would fly parallel about 75-100 miles apart so the ALOTS could be checked out.”


More photos from Bob Burns –

ARIA at Perth
ARIA at Perth
ARIA at Perth

Bob Burns writes,

“I shot these in June, 1967 from our NASA C-121A Connie, NASA 422 which was General MacAuthur’s “BATAAN” [Currently at Planes of Fame Museum, Grand Canyon, Arizona].

We were heading back to Tulsa after running Catagory II Acceptance Test out over the Gulf of Mexico. Our Air Force Project Pilot was Major “Swifty” Swift, and he flew the 135 like a fighter.”

See another photo taken by Bob at the same time on the main page.


ARIAs at Patrick

ARIAs on ramp at Patrick AFB, Florida, 1969. Photo: Bob Burns.


ARIAs at Patrick

ARIAs on takeoff at Patrick AFB, Florida, 1969. Photo: Bob Burns.


ARIAs at Patrick

An ARIA on the ramp at Patrick AFB, Florida, 1969. Photo: Bob Burns.


ARIAs at Patrick

ARIAs on the ramp at Patrick AFB, Florida, 1969. Photo: Bob Burns.


ARIAs at Patrick

ARIAs on the ramp at Patrick AFB, Florida, 1969. Photo: Bob Burns.


ARIAs at Patrick

ARIAs on the ramp at Patrick AFB, Florida, 1969. Photo: Bob Burns.


ARIAs at Patrick

ARIAs on the ramp at Patrick AFB, Florida, 1969. Photo: Bob Burns.


ARIAs at Patrick

ARIAs on the ramp at Patrick AFB, Florida, 25 May 1970.
Photo: Bob Burns. Large, Larger.


ARIAs at Patrick

ARIAs on the ramp at Patrick AFB, Florida, 1969.
Photo: Bob Burns.

Image restoration, where needed, by Colin Mackellar.

More photos to come.