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A soaring surprise for my birthday

While I searched for a thermal to gain some altitude or else I would be forced to land back at the field. All of a sudden, something white and black caught my eye going by underneath me and I immediately turned to follow it.  Could it be?  YES!  I spotted a large soaring bird turning in a circle just ahead of me now and I latched onto him and got very close.

A pilot fresh from the sim gets a real world test

Heaven knows how many passengers would run off the airplane if they knew that their pilot today had never flown the actual airplane they were on. You might be flying with a crew member who either had a thousand landings in the airplane or NONE, ZERO, ZILCH! You have no way of knowing. But fear not, the FAA and the airlines require that the new pilot be accompanied by a designated Line Check pilot, an experienced “old head,” for their early flights on the line.

You wanna land where?!

Atlanta Approach Control feigned ignorance and proceeded to vector us all around the area. I told them we were three Boeings but I don’t think they were impressed. I think they were hoping we would just quit and go away, like some pesky insects at a picnic, but they finally gave up and passed us over to the ATL Tower controllers who were more cooperative.

An F-105 pilot creates his own fireworks show

The high G roll was performed if you were above 400 knots airspeed or higher. You basically pulled full aft stick and full rudder deflection. The airplane did a rapid roll and dissipated about 200 knots almost instantly. If you had an enemy on your tail you hoped it would surprise him and force him past you so you might get a shot at him.

Dumb games with very fast airplanes

In February of 1966, I was lucky enough to be selected to fly the Republic F-105 Thunderchief after graduating from USAF pilot training at Williams AFB, Phoenix, Arizona. I had hoped to get selected for a fighter assignment and this was on the top of my wish list. I reported to Nellis AFB, Las Vegas, […]

The big surprise: an unexpected fly-by

A good friend of mine and fellow Zipper jock, Bill, had come down with a very serious health problem and subsequently passed away after a short illness. We were all shocked at his passing and wanted to have a proper send-off for he and his family. We asked the squadron in San Juan if they could send a flight of Starfighters, but they reluctantly declined.