A-3 Lifeboat Added to the Korean War Exhibit at The National Museum of the United States Air Force

DAYTON, Ohio – The National Museum of the United States Air Force recently added the A-3 lifeboat to the Modern Flight Gallery as part of its renovation to the Korean War exhibit area. The A-3 lifeboat, number 603, helps tell the story of air rescue during the war.

Developed in 1947 by the EDO Corp., the A-3 lifeboat was a successor to the Higgins Industries A-1 lifeboat. Shackled underneath the SB-29 Super Dumbo, the A-3 lifeboat could be dropped by parachute for air-sea rescue missions. Once the A-3 was dropped, it had self righting capabilities, similar to that of the A-1. The A-3 lifeboat was equipped with food, water and a four-cylinder Meteor 20 gasoline engine made by the Red Wing Motor Co.

SB-29’s equipped with an A-3 lifeboat accompanied bomber formations to the coast of North Korea, providing assistance for any crew that was forced to ditch into the ocean upon their return. The lifeboat was capable of carrying 15 people and was supplied with enough fuel to travel 800 miles.

The museum’s A-3 lifeboat was restored using two separate lifeboats. Along with the fabrication of new parts from broken or damaged pieces, the A-3 required a complete repainting. Restoration specialists also removed, disassembled and restored the four-cylinder Meteor 20 engine, which can be seen in the exhibit. While the lifeboat is currently in the museum, restoration specialists are still performing a few minor repairs. Visitors may view the A-3 lifeboat in the Modern Flight Gallery as the finishing touches are added.

Further information about the Korean War exhibit will be available on the museum’s Web site when it opens this summer. For information about Korean War commemoration activities, visit http://www.nationalmuseum.af.mil/korea.asp.

The National Museum of the United States Air Force is located on Springfield Street, six miles northeast of downtown Dayton. It is open seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (closed Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day). Admission and parking are free.

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