Old aviator - a neat aviation story...

Old aviator - a neat aviation story...

This is a discussion on Old aviator - a neat aviation story... within the Off Topic & Humor Discussion forums, part of the The Back Porch category; This probably is not very new but - it is to me. For older folks, nostalgic folks and those who love airplanes - maybe you'll ...

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Thread: Old aviator - a neat aviation story...

  1. #1
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    Smile Old aviator - a neat aviation story...

    This probably is not very new but - it is to me. For older folks, nostalgic folks and those who love airplanes - maybe you'll enjoy.

    Old aviators and old airplanes never die. They just fly off into eternity.

    This is a good little story about a vivid memory of a P-51 and its
    pilot by a fellow who was 12 years old in Canada in 1967. You may know a
    few others who would appreciate it.

    It was noon on a Sunday as I recall, the day a Mustang P-51 was to take
    to the air. They said it had flown in during the night from some US
    airport, the pilot had been tired. I marveled at the size of the plane
    dwarfing the Pipers and Canucks tied down by her. It was much larger than
    in the movies. She glistened in the sun like a bulwark of security from
    days gone by.


    The pilot arrived by cab, paid the driver, and then stepped into the
    flight lounge. He was an older man; his wavy hair was gray and tossed.
    Looked like it might have been combed, sa y, around the turn of the century.

    His flight jacket was checked, creased and worn - it smelled old and
    genuine. Old Glory was prominently sewn to its shoulders. He projected a
    quiet air of proficiency and pride devoid of arrogance. He filed a quick
    flight plan to Montreal (Expo-67, Air Show) then walked across the tarmac.

    After taking several minutes to perform his walk-around check the pilot
    returned to the flight lounge to ask if anyone would be available to stand
    by with fire extinguishers while he "flashed the old bird up. Just to be
    safe."

    Though only 12 at the time I was allowed to stand by with an extinguisher
    after brief instruction on its use -- "If you see a fire, point, then pull
    this lever!" I later became a firefighter, but that's another story.

    The air around the exhaust manifolds shimmered like a mirror from
    fuel fumes as the huge prop started to rotate. One manifold, then another,
    and yet another barked -- I stepped back with the others. In moments
    the Packard-built Merlin engine came to life with a thunderous roar,
    blue flames knifed from her manifolds. I looked at the others' faces,
    there was no concern. I lowered the bell of my extinguisher. One of the
    guys signaled to walk back to the lounge. We did.

    Several minutes later we could hear the pilot doing his pre flight
    run-up. He'd taxied to the end of runway 19, out of sight. All went quiet
    for several seconds; we raced from the lounge to the second story deck to
    see if we could catch a glimpse of the P-51 as she started down the
    runway. We could not.

    There we stood, eyes fixed to a spot half way down 19. Then a roar ripped
    across the field, much louder than before, like a furious hell spawn set
    loose---something mighty this way was coming. "Listen to that thing!" Said
    the controller. In seconds the Mustang burst into our line of sight.

    Its tail was already off and it was movi ng faster than anything I'd
    ever seen by that point on 19. Two-thirds the way down 19 the Mustang was
    airborne with her gear going up. The prop tips were supersonic; we clasped
    our ears as the Mustang climbed hellish fast into the circuit to be eaten
    up by the dog-day haze.

    We stood for a few moments in stunned silence trying to digest what
    we'd just seen. The radio controller rushed by me to the radio. " Kingston
    tower calling Mustang?" He looked back to us as he waited for an
    acknowledgment. The radio crackled, "Go ahead Kingston ." "Roger
    Mustang. Kingston tower would like to advise the circuit is clear for a low

    level pass." I stood in shock because the controller had, more or less,
    just asked the pilot to return for an impromptu air show!

    The controller looked at us. "What?" He asked. "I can't let that guy go
    without asking. I couldn't forgive myself!" The radio crackled once again, "
    Kingston, do I have permission for a l ow level pass, east to west, across the field?"

    "Roger Mustang, the circuit is clear for an east to west pass." "Roger,
    Kingston, I'm coming out of 3000 feet, stand by." We rushed back onto the
    second-story deck, eyes fixed toward the eastern haze.

    The sound was subtle at first, a high-pitched whine, a muffled screech,
    a distant scream. Moments later the P-51 burst through the haze. Her
    airframe straining against positive Gs and gravity, wing tips spilling contrails of
    condensed air, prop-tips again supersonic as the burnished bird blasted
    across the eastern margin of the field shredding and tearing the air.

    At about 400 mph and 150 yards from where we stood she passed with the
    old American pilot saluting. Imagine. A salute! I felt like laughing, I
    felt like crying, she glistened, she screamed, the building shook, my heart pounded.

    Then the old pilot pulled her up. and rolled, and rolled, and rolled out
    of sight into the broken clouds and indelibly into my memory.

    I've never wanted to be an American more than on that day. It was a
    time when many nations in the world looked to Americans their big brother,
    a steady and even-handed beacon of security who navigated
    difficult political water with grace and style; not unlike the pilot who'd
    just flown into my memory. He was proud, not arrogant, humble, not a
    braggart, old and honest, projecting an aura of America at its best.
    That America will return one day, I know it will.

    Until that time, I'll just send off this story; call it a reciprocal
    salute, to the old American pilot who wove a memory for a young Canadian that's lasted a
    lifetime.
    Chris - P95
    NRA Certified Instructor & NRA Life Member.

    "To own a gun and assume that you are armed
    is like owning a piano and assuming that you are a musician!."


    http://www.rkba-2a.com/ - a portal for 2A links, articles and some videos.


  2. #2
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    Great story, thanks.
    "In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock." Thomas Jefferson


    Nemo Me Impune Lacesset

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    Hadn't seen that one. Thanks for sharing it.
    We will be much better off when we learn to deal with things as they really are, instead of how we wish them to be!

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    It's new to me. Very good. Very good.
    eschew obfuscation

    The only thing that stops bad guys with guns is good guys with guns. SgtD

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    Very, very good. Thanks Chris.
    John
    Assault is a behavior, not a device.

    "Don't never take no shortcuts." Patty Reed, Donner Party

    Lifetime NRA member

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    Thanks, Chris. The author is right, "That America will return one day." With people like you and the others who make this forum what it is pushing and working to make her better, that America will return.
    George

    Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe. Albert Einstein

  7. #7
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    That is a great story, Chris..

    Thanks for sharing it..
    "I surrounded 'em"- Alvin York

    "They're ain't many troubles that a man can't fix with seven hundred dollars and a thirty ought six"- Jeff Cooper

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    That's a cool story, Chris. Thanks.

    A local businessman owns a fully restored F4U Corsair, all decked out in Marine Corps livery. He only flies it in the summer. Simply awesome to watch!


    When youíre wounded and left on Afghanistanís plains,
    And the women come out to cut up what remains,
    Just roll to your rifle and blow out your brains,
    And go to your God like a soldier.

    Rudyard Kipling


    Terry

  9. #9
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    Good Story...

    Thanks for the story, Chris...I used to fly years ago, so I can appreciate the excitement...I know what watching such a 'pass' would be like...

    ret/Ken
    The last Blood Moon Tetrad for this millennium starts in April 2014 and ends in September 2015...according to NASA.

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  10. #10
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    I love hearing these stories. Old or new. I goto Embry-Riddle, which is a major flight school here in the US. Once a year we have a HUGE airshow. The day before the last one the last one I can recall this:

    I live about 3 miles direct from the end of one of the main runways at Love Field. I was under my buddy's Mustang installing a new driveshaft when I heard the rumble.... I stalled mid-tight with the socket wrench and slid out from under the car. Two of my friends were looking skyward with their mouths agape.

    What I saw above me completely lifted my heart. I saw two P-51's flying formation with a DC-3 done in D-Day markings. They flew tight on each wing, with a whole slew of vintage beauty behind it. We watched Zeke's, Me-109's/Bf-109's, a B-25, a MiG-17 (which crashed two days later, killing the pilot - I watched the mid-air as I was driving home from class), and countless other beauties fill the air above us. Every one of our neighbors came out to watch. We must have sat there for two hours watching them do their patterns with binoculars. The real treat was watching the flight crews do a combat drop on the flield!!!!

    The airshow the next day was amazing. Now, I can understand the "new and cool" stuff everyone see's at the local Air Force Base open house... but seeing these warbirds was a thing of timeless beauty. I grew up in the age of F-16's and F-15's, but there is a glamour and chivalry lost on the new electronic jets.

    I really cannot convey how amazing it was to see these old fighters strut their stuff. We had USMC F/A-18E's and USAF F-16's doing fly-bys and turns through half the day... but the coolest thing I saw was an A-1 Skyraider doing Napalm runs on the infield, destroying carboard tanks. The humidity that day was perfect, so you could see the air foiling of the leading edges as it pulled-out. Even the P-51's got to tangle with the A6M3 Zero's that day over Prescott, AZ.

    Hardly anyone watched the jet-powered beasts. We all watched the fighters and bombers of days yore. We cheered as their pulled split-S's and Immelmans. The F/A-18's did their afterburner breaks, but it was always a fleeting glimpse... When those propellers started churning, everyone took a seat. The smell of oil and gas is something lost on most airshow crowds. Everyone usually loves to hear the Pratt & Whitney's spooling up... Not here.

    If you ever get the chance to be in Arizona on the day that Love Field does it's Air Show, it behooves you to be there. I'll be the guy oggling the B-25 and grinning ear to ear. Feel free to say "Hey Six!"

    I'll post pictures in the next few days if you all would like.
    The Gunsite Blog
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    "It is enough to note, as we have observed, that the American people have considered the handgun to be the quintessential self-defense weapon." - Justice Scalia, SCOTUS - DC v Heller - 26 JUN 2008

  11. #11
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    Great story! I love the old war birds and got a small glimpse into that world. My uncle, before his death, had restored and flown a B-25 called (IIRC) "Chapter 11". I also remember being at the Cheyenne airport when the "Iron Bottom Air Force" Arrived with their Corsairs, a Mustang and a B-25. The tower allowed a few low level passes as well for an unofficial show. Absolutely beautiful!
    If you stand up and be counted, from time to time you may get yourself knocked down. But remember this: A man flattened by an opponent can get up again. A man flattened by conformity stays down for good. ~ Thomas J. Watson, Jr.

  12. #12
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    Glad it was enjoyable to other than just me.

    Being of Brit origin and totally besotted with airplanes in general ...... my greatest thrill many years ago was watching a guy called Ray Hannah fly a late model Spitfire low and fast - he also IIRC had a restored N American Harvard trainer I watched fly too.

    The latter sounded great with it's (I think) Allison engine but the Spit' ...... well, the only way to describe the roar of a supercharged Merlin and its effect on the self is - ''orgasmic'' - no other way to describe that!

    Of course a P51 - in particular the late models with also a Merlin engine have same effect - and Typhoons too similarly. One of my flying bud's has a P51 and altho not huge - seeing that shape in the air is still most pleasurable.
    Chris - P95
    NRA Certified Instructor & NRA Life Member.

    "To own a gun and assume that you are armed
    is like owning a piano and assuming that you are a musician!."


    http://www.rkba-2a.com/ - a portal for 2A links, articles and some videos.

  13. #13
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    Great story Chris.

    I've always been partial to the "gull-wing" planes, at least as far as looks go.
    Rick

    EOD - Initial success or total failure

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by SixBravo View Post
    I'll post pictures in the next few days if you all would like.
    I, for one, would love to see those.
    eschew obfuscation

    The only thing that stops bad guys with guns is good guys with guns. SgtD

  15. #15
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    Me too thx.
    Chris - P95
    NRA Certified Instructor & NRA Life Member.

    "To own a gun and assume that you are armed
    is like owning a piano and assuming that you are a musician!."


    http://www.rkba-2a.com/ - a portal for 2A links, articles and some videos.

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