So many cool planes out there being discussed -- very fun and interesting
>Geez, how close were you???
With this statement, you guys brought back a couple of old memories of
two of my favorite starched wing aircraft...that is beside The Sled.
One of my favorite was the F4 Phantom. Another one the F-104 Starfighter.
The first story being of the F4:
When I was in High School, I was considering joining the local Air
National Guard -- I already had my private pilot license and was building
My cousin, also a commercial rated pilot who got me interested in flying
in the first place, was very close friends to the local ANG wing
...and near my house, was an oil burner route.
Can you see it coming.
So there I was, out in the middle of the field on a tractor doing some
I heard this funny sounding rumble, yet high pitched sound. I was trying
to figure out what the sound was, when I looked to the North, and a
between 50-100 feet, was the front end of an F4 Phantom coming straight
Let me tell you, it was an awesome sight -- one that I would not want to
be on the receiving end. The Phantom is menacing from the front with
it's unusual broad shoulders (inlets), tail and wing configuration.
I stopped the tractor to observe and to gather my thoughts while I
observed this breathtaking sight.
Then I noticed his wingman.
When they were over the field, they pulled to near vertical going into
Such a beautiful bird.
It is a experience that will be with me for a long long time...
The second story being of the F-104:
Years later, I was in the military and a pilot. I had the opportunity to
attend an air show in Canada. The Snowbirds were flying that day, so I
was excited to see them for the first time. The Thunderbirds were there
as well, along with an assortment of other cool aircraft doing flybys or
The Snowbirds were very good and fun to watch...but they came before the
On that day, it was a momentous occasion for the Canadian military.
AIRC, they were retiring the last 4 F-104 Starfighters that they had in
We all expected them to perform a simple show of a pass by and a landing.
Well, we were in for a surprise. They broke the team down into 3 birds
and a solo bird.
In a nutshell, they stole the show lock stock and barrel.
The maneuvers these guys were doing, the precision, the closeness to the
ground, was simply awesome.
One time, it looks as if the solo fellow appeared to fly between some
tall trees off the end of one runway banked over about 70-80 degrees.
One thing that was very distinctive, was the engine sound. They all
sounded as if this was in fact their last flight. Their was a weird
bearing grinding sound especially during throttle up. One time I thought
the solo one was going to blow right in front of the audience it sounded
that bad, but they continued to perform.
At the end of their show, they landed in a line with chutes.
After release of the chutes, then taxied by very close to the audience.
The last one, the solo bird, stopped while the other three continued on.
The pilot unstrapped himself, opened his canopy, stood up in the cockpit
and took a bow to the audience.
Everyone that I could see was on their feet giving him a well deserved
He performed superbly.
It was a nice way to see a wonderful aircraft go into retirement.
Well, enough reminiscing... :-)
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