Saturday, January 26, 2008

C-133 Pilot & Author, Lou Martin

Lt. Col. Louis J. Martin, USAF Retired, was a 39th ATS pilot from '64-'70, with 4,700 hours in C-133s. His 22 years in the Air Force were only part of his extensive flying career, after which he's published two books on his adventures:

Wings Over Persia, in 253 pages, a visual aid map and 35 photos, is a pilot’s true story of intrigue and adventure of flying as a charter pilot in Iran during the overthrow of the Shah (1976 to 1979). The book (revised in 2007) was rated the best aviation writing for 2004 by the Minnesota Aviation Hall of Fame. Autographed copies are available for $17.00 (which includes S & H).

Close Encounters with the Pilot’s Grim Reaper, recounts exciting flying experiences and entertaining anecdotes experienced by the author and aviation colleagues. It includes a detailed description and historical background of aircraft like the T-6, C-82, C-54, C-119, T-33, F-100 and C-133 to name a few. The book (revised in 2008) in 503 pages and 80 photos, presents an interesting chronicled autobiographical account of a pilot who spent 22 years in the Air Force (including 169 combat hours in Vietnam), five years as a captain for Japan Airlines, three years as a charter pilot in Iran and 19 years as a FAA B-747 inspector pilot. Autographed copies are available for $25.00 (which includes S & H).

Send check to: Lt.Col. Louis J. Martin USAF (ret.), 13268 Huntington Ter., Apple Valley, MN. 55124. Tel: 952-891-1250 E-Mail:

Check out his bio and book reviews at: Close Encounters with the Pilot's Grim Reaper, and Wings over Persia.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

DE Crab Cake Feast

Last fall, a few colleagues held a "mini-reunion" at Rick Spencer's beautiful "hideaway" on Miller Creek, just below Bethany Beach. Rick and his wife, Sue, hosted the event for Jim & Charlotte Dugar, Dick & Diane Hanson and their Golden Retriever, Billie Jo, and Bob & Gail Miley. The setting was special, the crab cakes fabulous, the MATS cake divine, and the memories grand!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

January Book of the Month

Reflections on War and International Order
By Michael Howard
Yale University Press, 113 Pages, published 2000

Several years ago while visiting the Museum of the USMA at West Point I noted in the history section a quote by Thucydides the Greek (471 – 400 B.C.), “… peace is an armistice in a war that is continually going on….” Given our experiences during the 20th century that may seem self-evident; but it has not been the teaching within modern Western Civilization. I began to think seriously, “What actually is peace?” Michael Howard, a leading British military scholar over the past 50 years, takes this question on in a short but powerful essay explaining why peace is a far more complex affair than war. So complex that it often seems beyond humanity’s reach.

Howard’s thesis is that the idea that a Society could be organized without war was something developed during the 18th century Enlightenment and ultimately became the accepted view of Western societies. Then, during the 19th and 20th centuries the philosophy of social Darwinism and its ensuing ideologies suggested conflict is inevitable; that one must either conquer or be conquered; and that fighting was necessary and desirable. That sense was further enhanced by the First World War and carried into WWII. Dominate or be dominated!

One of the most interesting arguments put forth by Howard relates to the Cold War and it is of particular interest to C-133 crew members as we played a part in it. We all viewed in wonderment during 1989 as the War came to a sudden and dramatic end with the demolition of the Berlin Wall by the inhabitants of East Germany. That act alone left no international doubt but that the West won. But, why without another catastrophic worldwide conflict as witnessed twice before in the 20th century?

Howard’s view is that the United States, as opposed to the Communist countries, could set the pace for rapidly evolving weapons technology at an acceptable cost to its national economy. But, the Soviet Union could only keep pace by starving its population and reversing any improvement they may have had in their standard of living. With the then new and developing era of information technology that was leading to greater military effectiveness it became clear to the Soviets that keeping the military balance was an unacceptable cost. The Communist system had not delivered upon the promises for its citizens while capitalism was flourishing throughout the free world. Communism then vanished as an alternative ideology to that of Western Democracy.

After the collapse of Communism many opined that the newly established world order would be forever peaceful. What could take its place to create another worldwide international conflict? Note that THE INVENTION OF PEACE was published in 2000. Howard’s last thoughts in his essay are, “…although it is tempting to believe …a new and stable world order will come into being, we would be unwise to expect anything of the kind.”

And, on September 11, 2001, came a direct attack upon our soil and we entered into a worldwide conflict against Islamic/Fascist terrorism. At this time no one knows where it will lead; we just know that we are up against an implacable enemy dedicated to the destruction of our way of life. Most serious students of military history do not think it will lead to a nation upon nation conflict but decades of Iraq and Afghanistan type military actions. But, it again raises the question of whether peace is so complex that it is beyond humanity’s reach and is merely an invention of the international bourgeois community. Maybe, Thucydides was correct in his analysis and a modern version of his quote would be that “History has shown that peace is merely the interlude between wars?”

Reviewed for C-133 crew members 
by Richard Spencer
39th ATS 1962-1965

To find out more about this enlightening book, and buy it for $4.04,

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Beaver Tail Fitting

Sandy Sandstrom provided the following photos and information about the completion of C-133B, S/N 90536 at the AMC Museum in Dover. Taken during the fitting on 02 Aug 2007, the fiberglass beaver tail has since been painted to match the airplane.

Thanks to C-133 Crew Chief Erich Hausner for facilitating this final piece. He broke through the "stone wall" to get prints for the tail cone. Boeing couldn't be bothered with old Douglas airplanes, so Erich called some of his contacts, and the lady in charge of the library and a retired engineer who volunteered there went to work and found them. Then a company in Elkton, MD, manufactured the piece.

Whoever cut the original cone off destroyed the stringers, so Sandy made the new ones that provide the necessary support for this exact replica.

On a related note of trivia, Sandy offered a "Did you know?" The CPI and flight deck recorders now required on all commercial aircraft were developed from the very first use on the C-133.

The guys in the following photos are Doc Adams (shorty), Hank Baker (bigger), Rick Vetter the builder (tall slim one), and Sandy Sandstrom (khaki shorts or black jeans/gray hair):

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Beautiful New Model

Thanks to Harry Heist, we have a great photo and description:

This picture of a C-133A model came from Chris Mikesh of Nostalgic Plastic, a model mail-order company. The kit is a Nostalgic Plastic 1/144 scale C-133A/B Cargomaster, available from the website. The resin kit contains markings for C-133A 54-0143 ‘State of Delaware’ , 1607th ATW (first C-133A at Dover); C-133A 56-2008, 1607th ATW, Dover AFB (record setting aircraft now at USAF Museum) and C-133B 59-0536, 1501st ATW, Travis AFB (now on display at AMC Museum).

Click on this related link to buy one: Anigrand C-133 Kit

50,000 Names Carved in The Wall

Especially for those of us who've "been there," and/or have friends who never came home, this is powerful! Click on: 50,000 Names Carved in The Wall.

Our Tired Air Force

The following disturbing report from the Air Force Association was provided by our colleague, Ted Feindt, Navigator, 1st ATS, '61-'65:

January 16, 2008

AFA members and Congressional Staffers, many of you have commented favorably on the "elevator speech numbers" I sent you.

It's January ... so here are some revealing data on the "State of the Air Force."

Fighter Aircraft - average age: 20 years; average flight hours 5400+

Bomber Aircraft - average age: 32 years; average flight hours 11,400+

Tanker aircraft - average age: 44 years; average flight hours 18,900+

C2 Fleet - average age: 22 years old; average flight hours 32,000

ISR Fleet (excluding UAV) - average age: 30 years old; average flight hours 18,000

Key Groundings/Restrictions

F-15A-D - 163 of 441 are grounded for structural issues

B-52 - 6 are grounded - past due PDM grounding date - authorized a one-time flight to the bone-yard.

EC-130 - 2 of 14 are grounded due to center wing box cracks

C-130E - 3 are grounded and 13 are restricted due to Service life and wing cracks

KC-135Es - 26 of 86 are grounded due to engine strut corrosion.

AC-130U - 4 of 17 are restricted due to lack of 30MM weapons

B-2 - entire fleet is restricted due to windshield bolt hole cracks

C-5s - 39 of 108 are restricted due to crown skin restrictions (weight limiting)


219 of 223 F-15Es have training restrictions due to vertical stab structural issues

Majority of Block 25/30/32, block 40/42, and block 50/52 F-16s need structural modifications

All 356 A-10s will need new wings and new aircraft skin - many have landing gear issues ... and all need new engines.

C-130Hs have Center Wing Box issues

C-32As have bulkhead structural issues.

Looking across the FYDP - between 2008-2013 - the Air Force will divest itself of 749 aircraft and procure only 698 aircraft (260 of which are UAVs).

To give you the idea of the scale of all of this:

  • When the AF grounded its 600+ F-15 fleet, it grounded more aircraft than the entire F/A Navy. The F-15s it presently has grounded equate to a bit more than 3 aircraft carriers of aircraft.
  • The 356 A-10s that need renovations equates to more aircraft than the fixed wing USMC
  • The Air Force has about 5800 aircraft ... and presently about one-third are either grounded or restricted in one way or another

The central important part of this data is that this is not a third-world Air Force ... And the question we should ask ourselves, why don't we fund it to ensure our children and grandchildren are safe and secure?

2nd Subject -

Chief of Staff White Paper - Gen Moseley published an exceptional White Paper ... which lays out the strategic foundations for the Air Force of the future. If you haven't seen it, you can find it on the AFA website:

My favorite quotes in it are:

  • "No modern war has been won without air superiority. No future war will be won without air, space and cyberspace superiority." Page 2.
  • "With the oldest inventory in history, battered by 17 years of continuous combat, the Air Force's ability to fulfill its missions is already being tested." Page 2
  • "... our reliance on assured access to space will increase exponentially." Page 8
  • "The Air Force is smaller in December 2007 than it was in December 1941." Page 10

For your consideration.


Michael M. Dunn, Lt Gen (Ret)
AFA President/CEO

Monday, January 7, 2008

Control Tower, this is MATS Propjet 62002!

Actual exchanges between pilots and control towers

Tower: 'Delta 351, you have traffic at 10 o'clock , 6 miles!'
Delta 351: 'Give us another hint! We have digital watches!'

Tower: 'TWA 2341, for noise abatement turn right 45 Degrees.'
TWA 2341: 'Center, we are at 35,000 feet. How much noise can we make up here?'
Tower: 'Sir, have you ever heard the noise a 747 makes when it hits a 727?'

O'Hare Approach Control to a 747: 'United 329 heavy, your
traffic is a Fokker, one o'clock , three miles, Eastbound.'
United 329: 'Approach, I've always wanted to say this..I've
got the little Fokker in sight.'

A student became lost during a solo cross-country flight.
While attempting to locate the aircraft on radar, ATC asked,
'What was your last known position?'
Student: 'When I was number one for takeoff.'

A DC-10 had come in a little hot and thus had an exceedingly
long roll out after touching down.
San Jose Tower Noted: 'American 751, make a hard right turn
at the end of the runway, if you are able. If you are not
able, take the Guadeloupe exit off Highway 101, make a right
at the lights and return to the airport.'

A Pan Am 727 flight, waiting for start clearance in Munich
overheard the following:
Lufthansa (in German): ' Ground, what is our start clearance
time?' Ground (in English): 'If you want an answer you must
speak in English.' Lufthansa (in English): 'I am a German,
flying a German airplane, in Germany . Why must I speak

Unknown voice from another plane (in a beautiful British
accent): 'Because you lost the bloody war!'

Tower: 'Eastern 702, cleared for takeoff, contact Departure
on frequency 124 7'
Eastern 702: 'Tower, Eastern 702 switching to Departure. By
the way, after we lifted off we saw some kind of dead animal
on the far end of the runway.'
Tower: ' Continental 635, cleared for takeoff behind Eastern 702,
contact Departure on frequency 124.7. Did you copy that report
from Eastern 702?'
BR Continental 635: 'Continental 635, cleared for takeoff,
roger; and yes, we copied Eastern... we've already notified
our caterers.'

One day the pilot of a Cherokee 180 was told by the tower to
hold short of the active runway while a DC-8 landed. The
DC-8 landed, rolled out, turned around, and taxied back past
the Cherokee. Some quick-witted comedian in the DC-8 crew
got on the radio and said, 'What a cute little plane. Did
you make it all by yourself?'
The Cherokee pilot, not about to let the insult go by, came
back with a real zinger: 'I made it out of DC-8 parts.
Another landing like yours and I'll have enough parts for
another one.'

The German air controllers at Frankfurt Airport are
renowned as a short-tempered lot. They not only expect one
to know one's gate parking location, but how to get there
without any assistance from them. So it was with some
amusement that we (a Pan Am 747) listened to the following
exchange between Frankfurt ground control and a British
Airways 747, call sign Speedbird 206.
Speedbird 206: ' Frankfurt , Speedbird 206! clear of active
Ground: 'Speedbird 206. Taxi to gate Alpha
One-Seven.' The BA 747 pulled onto the main taxiway and
slowed to a stop.

Ground: 'Speedbird, do you not know where you are going?'
Speedbird 206: 'Stand by, Ground, I'm looking up our gate
location now.'
Ground (with quite arrogant impatience): 'Speedbird 206,
have you not been to Frankfurt before?'
Speedbird 206 (coolly): 'Yes, twice in 1944, but it was dark
and I didn't land.'

While taxiing at London 's Gatwick Airport , the crew of a
US Air flight departing for Ft. Lauderdale made a wrong turn
and came nose to nose with a United 727. An irate female
ground controller lashed out at the US Air crew, screaming:
'US Air 2771, where the hell are you going? I told you to
turn right onto Charlie taxiway! You turned right on Delta!
Stop right there. I know it's difficult for you to tell the
difference between C and D, but get it right!'

Continuing her rage to the embarrassed crew, she was now
shouting hysterically:'God! Now you've screwed everything
up! It'll take forever to sort this out! You stay right
there and don't move till I tell you to! You can expect
progressive taxi instructions in about half an hour, and I
want you to go exactly where I tell you, when I tell you,
and how I tell you! You got that, US Air 2771?'

'Yes, ma'am,' the humbled crew responded.

Naturally, the ground control communications frequency fell
terribly silent after the verbal bashing of US Air 2771.
Nobody wanted to chance engaging the irate ground controller
in her current state of mind. Tension in every cockpit out
around Gatwick was definitely running high. Just then an
unknown pilot broke the silence and keyed his microphone,

'Wasn't I married to you once?'