Viewing page 6 of 46


and the pilot decided to shoot a few touch-and-go landings before calling it a day. He entered the home field pattern with 3000 pounds remaining but had to orbit a while due to a "scramble" then in progress.

His first touchdown was 1500 feet down the runway and rollout to the 4500-foot marker at 100 knots was normal. He added 100% for the go-around and selected afterburner. No burner. The take-off was continued and a little dust flew as he became airborne right on the end of the runway! Climb-out was slow, and several minutes were required to reach 1500 feet.

The pilot re-entered the landing pattern and made a normal landing without declaring an emergency. On leaving the plane he discovered he had extensive fire damage to the tail fuselage section! The afterburner fuel nozzle had parted at the elbow and resulted in fuel being sprayed on the afterburner section whenever the throttle had been moved to the burner detent. It had ignited and burned the plane, but good.

[[image]] Grampaw Pettibone says:

Sufferin' catfish! CNO has been pretty doggone specific on what constitutes a good check-out in model: the RAG or its equivalent or don't fly it! This man had some NAMO trainer time, and a factory check-out some 18 months previously. With a total of only 18.5 hours in model, a cockpit check-out doesn't fill the bill. A pilot with 3.5 jet hours in the last 12 months is not jet-qualified!

Whatever made this pilot think the burner would work on a touch-and-go after it failed to ignite at altitude is beyond Gramps' comprehension. Shooting touch-and-goes in an F11F on a relatively short runway with a dead burner is not conducive to long life. He coulda bought the farm!

The F11F costs $1,215,000. This was playing fast and loose with a pretty expensive piece of equipment. Although this pilot has 5000 hours, he sure didn't show it here.

Unguided Missile

An FJ-4B pilot commenced his run-in for a medium angle loft maneuver. He was at 100 feet above the water and .72 IMN carrying a 1000-lb. GP bomb. All switches had been checked O.K. and reported so to the flight leader. As he passed over the pull-up point he pressed the bomb pickle and eased back on the stick to commence the lofting maneuver.

A sudden impact raised the port wing slightly. The bomb had released prematurely and exploded under him!

The pilot continued pulling through, completing a smooth loft run and rolled out on top with a constant buzzing vibration running through the airframe. The flight leader told him to "get some altitude and head for home," so he put it up to 100% power and climbed to 15,000 feet, heading for the home base.

He had a hole in an outboard wing panel and was streaming fuel vapor behind. The fuel low level warning light came on as he arrived over the home field and the flight leader advised him to point the FJ seaward and to eject. The pilot of the stricken plane found himself in a perfect high key position and broadcast that he would make a precautionary flame-out approach. The tower cleared him to do so. Both the Morest gear and the field chain arresting gear were ready for engagement. Knowing the pilot's skill the flight leader did not transmit disagreement and followed him at a safe distance.

At the 180° point flames suddenly erupted along the entire lower fuselage of the FJ, and at this point the engine flamed out. Informed of the fire by his flight leader, the pilot pulled the nose up in a turn away from the field and ejected. Everything worked as advertised, and he was soon floating down under a beautiful canopy.

Meanwhile, the pilotless plane had turned toward the naval air station and was plunging toward the hangars. The flight leader transmitted a warning to the tower and alarms were sounded. The FJ again veered, however, and headed broadside for a big CVA which was tied up at a pier adjoining the airfield. Fortunately, the deadly plane, now turned missile, continued to turn and crashed in the water directly under the stern of the carrier.

[[image]] Grampaw Pettibone says:

Sonofagun! It's mighty difficult to chew out a man who's done everything just about perfect—kept his head, brought his machine home like a real pro, and made an attempt to steer it clear before he ejected after having an excellent precautionary approach turn to a can of worms.

When you've got a wounded bird and the chances of getting it on the runway in one piece are only so-so, WHY AIM IT AT THE HOME FOLKS AT ALL? That crippled job becomes a missile when you leave it and could wipe out a whole flight line, a hangar, barracks, or housing area.

If it looks like it'll be an ejection anyway, it's far better to do it over a safe zone and cut down on the chance of a major disaster.

Memo from Gramps

Just having returned with Ye Editor from a two day story collectin' tour via a trusty SNB Ol' Gramps has to report nottin' but good things about NAS MEMPHIS, NAS NEW ORLEANS and NAS ATLANTA. Towers gave out with plenty of info to this ignorant transient, Follow Me vehicles were right there, servicing was excellent, hot food available for a man in flight gear, meteorology and flight planning areas 4.0, and RON accommodations at NAS NEW ORLEANS outstanding. They get a Gramps gold star for effort PLUS!

JULY 1961                5
Please note that the language and terminology used in this collection reflects the context and culture of the time of its creation, and may include culturally sensitive information. As an historical document, its contents may be at odds with contemporary views and terminology. The information within this collection does not reflect the views of the Smithsonian Institution, but is available in its original form to facilitate research. For questions or comments regarding sensitive content, access, and use related to this collection, please contact