Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Goose Crash Memorial

Chris Charland was a Boy Scout on a hike when he saw the C-133 crash at Goose Bay. Now, he is a PAO at RCAF base North Bay, Ontario. For several years, he worked to get a simple bronze plaque set up at Goose with the names of the crew that was killed. He contacted the 1st Sq at Andrews, successor to the Dover 1st Sq, and other potential supporters. That never came to fruition so he tried to get a memorial in place at RCAF Trenton, the Canadian transport base. Again, no luck.

Now, he is working to get a memorial at North Bay. The father of the current mayor of North Bay was a CO at Gooose.

Just to let folks know that Chris remembers and is still working the project.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Checklist Origin

Thanks to Rick Spencer for the following link:

Anyone who has flown (and probably most who have not) is aware of the pilot’s checklist. It is a step-by-step procedure executed by the pilot (and often involving the co-pilot and other members of the crew) by which each critical system and function that should be checked before takeoff is checked and verified to be correct.

Countless lives have been saved by this simple yet very effective approach.

So, who invented the checklist?

And why did they think that it was necessary?

For the answer, click on the link below:

Click here: Checklist Origin

Monday, November 21, 2011

C-133 DVD set

Just about done with the two-DVD set. One has about 1,700 still photos and illustrations. The entire 84th MAS scrapbook (146 pages) is included, at 200% scans. Every picture and ilustration from my book is there. Then, lots and lots of C-133 pictures that have been collected since 1998.
The video DVD has a 90-minute video of the last flight of 61999, from Anchorage to Travis. Lots of good sound of takeoff (twice) and landing (once). It will help you recall just how damned noisy the C-133 was, for maintenance and aircrew alike. I'm pretty satisfied with my first bit of video editing.
There will also be a short video (25 minutes) of an Alaska mission, flown about ten years ago. It carried big stuff to the North Slope.
For more info, check out the C-133 web site.
Things will be ready to ship by mid-December.
Cal Taylor

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Most of our C-133 Crew Colleagues know Rick Spencer, 39th ATS Navigator in the early 60s, Book Reviewer on this blog, and emcee of our last reunion in Dover. He offers the following thought provoking letter:

Hello C-133 Crewmembers:

Several of you have received drafts of the attached analysis of our $200
Trillion unfunded debt and made some fine comments to help me along. It was
suggested that I pen such by a former colleague in order that we may all
better understand the present nature of our nation’s fiscal situation and
its future generational consequences.

The combined local, state, and federal governments are now our largest
businesses, maybe the world’s largest as they control over 50% of our GDP.
The recent down grading of U.S. bonds suggest the precariousness of our
financial situation when measured against the balance sheet of a commercial
corporation. We are/would be in junk bond territory, especially, if one
takes into account the ‘hidden debt’ of the unfunded liabilities.

It now seems clear; and, no one seems to care that we have put our progeny
at risk with the ’New Deal’ and ‘Great Society’ policies that have pursued
reckless and abstract ideas of ‘social justice’ through the false promise
of a “permanence of plenty”. Social justice of the type that has been
pursued is an “empty formula”: It is the risk of a lesser life for one with
goals seeking personal and economic freedom; for one to be all that he can
be; for one to pursue his own happiness; and, for one to be forced to live
with unconstrained federal power touching all parts of his personal life. It
truly is ‘The Road To Serfdom’.

It may seem odd to the unconstrained utopian thinkers that a constrained
view of government was the Founder’s original intent; a view that accepted
its citizen’s own private stock of reasoning as appropriate guidance for
life’s concerns. That was a major tenet of our revolution, for our
Constitution, and for our nation’s guidance until the Progressive era began
at the turn of the 20th century.

The irony, that seems absurd, if not laughable, is that Europe has long been
infected with ‘the disease of progressivism’ in the form of socialism, but
they are now running from it just as we seem to be embracing it. Large
scale central planning by those who govern has never been the American
approach to achieve an economic independence and it remains to be seen if
our citizenry accept it as a way of life.

I have attached my thoughts, “ Unfunded Liabilities: The Folly of the
Ancient Hope of Mankind, to Live Without Working”. Please note that the
analysis only indirectly speaks to the indiscriminate spending of our moral
capital largely caused by the reckless abandon that we have been spending
our financial capital. The work ends with a challenge to the reader; and, I
now await your response to my challenge. Thanks, RLS

P.S. For those unfamiliar with ‘net present value’, ‘bonds in perpetuity’,
or the ‘PIIGS’ of Europe they are explained in the below links that you can
review before beginning.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Il Silenzio (Taps Original Version)


The conductor of the orchestra is Andre Rieu from Holland .

The young lady, her trumpet and her rendition of TAPS makes your hair stand on end.

Many of you may never have heard taps played in its entirety, for all of the men and women that have died for you to have the freedom you have in America and Canada . This is an opportunity you won't want to miss and I guarantee you'll never forget.

Amazingly beautiful ..

Melissa Venema, age 13, is the trumpet soloist. She is also from Holland. Here is Taps played in its entirety. The original version of Taps was called Last Post, and was written by Daniel Butterfield in 1801. It was rather lengthy and formal, as you will hear in this clip, so in
1862 it was shortened to 24 notes and re-named Taps.

Melissa Venema is playing it on a trumpet whereby the original was played on a bugle.

Watch at this site:

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

New C-133 kit--BIG!

For all who won't live long enough to finish a vacuform kit, Anigrand has the answer. (BTW< I don't get a cent for this!) It's a cast resin 1:72 C-133 with markings for 62008, at the NMUSAF. I've seen pics of the moldings. They look pretty good. And there is potential for lots of other markings.

Rare-Plane Detective in Las Vegas (favorite alternate for Travis C-133 drivers) is taking pre-orders. Check their web site:

Cal Taylor

Anigrand C-133 Kit

First of all, I don't get a cent from this. Just info for the crowd. Now a 1:72 resin cast C-133 model by Anigrand, for those who won't live long enough to finish a vacuform kit! That is a 30" wingspan. The markings are for 62008 at the NMUSAF, but a little work will give you lots of other choices. I've seen some shots of the moldings and they look pretty good. Rare-Plane Detective, in Las Vegas (favorite alternate for Travis C-133 drivers!) is getting the kit soon. Here is a link.
Just for other info, I sent Anigrand a package about the C-132. They seem to be looking at doing one in 1:144 scale, about 17" span.
Cal Taylor

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Veterans' Day, 11-11-11

We honor and respect all Veterans' and their families:

Monday, November 7, 2011

When "Challenger" Flies

Thanks to Albert Rice for the following video. If this doesn't give you chills, you're older than I am! :)

Click on the text at the top of the video screen to go to the YouTube site, then on the lower-right icon for full-screen viewing.

More appropriate posts coming as we approach Veterans' Day on 11-11-11.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Supersonic Flights: Sonic Booms

Thanks to Bill Neely for the following link to a great video:

Click on: Sonic Booms

Monday, October 17, 2011

Jumbo Landing in Crosswind

Although quite interesting, a number of people within the aviation community feel that this sequence may be faked. Some of the reasons given are that there are no visible navigation nor landing lights, the crosswind component appears to change significantly between the two final segments shown in this video, and braking appears to be too sudden. You decide . . . .

Monday, October 3, 2011

Angel Flight: In Memory America's Fallen

Outstanding video, thanks to Jack Slocombe.

Click on: Angel Flight

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Huge C-133 Model

Geaorge Maiorana is nearly there with his big model. He says that all electrics, motors and servos are installed. The landing gear works. Now, he is closing in on painting. I sent a disc with 50s color schems that had the DaGlo markings. This picture is a while back. He now has the props mounted and partial markings. Wingspan is about 13'.
Cal Taylor

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


Thanks to Sandy Sandstrom for this; I think we can all relate:

Aviators: Once the wings go on, they never come off whether they can be seen or not. It fuses to the soul through adversity, fear and adrenaline and no one who has ever worn them with pride, integrity and guts can ever sleep through the call of the wild` that wafts through bedroom windows in the deep of the night.

When a good pilot leaves the `job' and retires, many are jealous, some are pleased and yet others, who may have already retired, wonder.

We wonder if he knows what he is leaving behind, because we already know.

We know, for example, that after a lifetime of camaraderie that few experience, it will remain as a longing for those past times.

We know in the world of flying, there is a fellowship which lasts long after the flight suits are hung up in the back of the closet.
We know even if he throws them away, they will be on him with every step and breath that remains in his life.

We also know how the very bearing of the man speaks of what he was and in his heart still is.

Because we fly, we envy no man on earth.

-Author Unknown

Monday, September 5, 2011

C-133 production line

In case you ever wondered what the C-133 looked like, earlier in its life. here's a shot of the production line. Look at those huge bits and pieces lying nearby. I still haven't figured out just how the ever-growing airplane was staged from one place to another. Just part of over 1,200 C-133 images I have collected. More to scan!

Cal Taylor

Saturday, August 27, 2011

C-133 disk

A heads up to folks. I'm assembling a C-133 disk that will have lots of photos and some video. There will be about 1,000 pictures, if I can get permission from people who have sent me pics, over the years. I have lots of video from the McChord stop of 61999, some flight test (stalls) video from Edwards and a 20-minute film of 61999 doing an Alaska mission. That is my summer project. I also have every picture or illustration from my book (about 300) and 140 double-size pages from the 84th ATS/MAS scrapbook. I have a binder of pictures to scan and add to the collection.
This shot shows 40135 on display for an AF inspection of the first airplane. I wish I had put it in the book.
Cal Taylor

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Picture for Runaway Prop

Here is the illustration by Fred Ludekens, used in the story, "Runaway Prop." It shows the C-133A in a severe pitch-up, dropping the Thor out the back end. The story has this event occurring at the bottom of a steep descent from 11,000', followed by a steep climb to make the jettison at 200'. I'll leave it to the experienced pilots to discuss the aerodynamic realities of such an event.

Cal Taylor

Friday, August 19, 2011

Runaway Prop

That 's the name of a short story by Frank Harvey, published in the Saturday Evening Post in May 1959. It is one of only two fiction accounts I have read that featured the C-133. The other was a novel by Clive Cussler, in which a C-133 lands at an AF station in Greece and is destroyed on the ground.

Harvey's story is pretty gripping and brings to mind several actual events. If you want to read it, email me at I'll figure out how to attach it to my web site, eventually.

Cal Taylor

Additional Note from Dick Hanson:

In less than two hours, 7 of you responded to my e-mail with Runaway Prop attached, and 3 of those indicated the Clive Cussler novel Cal referred to is "The Mediterranean Caper."

To scan the Wikipedia posting on this book, click on:

To actually purchase the book online for $1 + postage, click on:

Additional comment by Jim Maloney:

The Mediterranean Caper ( also published as Mayday) is an action-adventure novel by Clive Cussler published in the United States in 1973. This is the 1st published book featuring the author’s primary protagonist, Dirk Pitt. It was nominated for an Edgar award by the Mystery Writers of America for "Best Paperback Original Novel of 1973."

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Island Enterprises C-131 and C-132

Brian Stegner sent a shot of three C-133 models and one C-132, all with 20" fuselages. They aren't painted, yet. The shot was of a QC stage. But, they look really good. I'm having the C-132 painted the same as the early C-133s--white top and da-glo stripes. No word on pricing but it looks like folks will get their money's worth. BTW, I have no financial interest in IE.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Noise levels in the C-133

I had a recent email from Jan Monroe, whose husband "can't hear for ****" (her words). He had 4,000 hours in the C-133 plus Tweet time. I found some pages in an Edwards flight test report that dealt with noise levels in the airplane, including a nice graph the length of the fuselage. Maj Monroe may try a claim with VA, which his docs recommended. I'd be happy to send the info to anyone else who is trying that route. Just email me at

Cal Taylor

New C-132 Model

Island Enterprises is building a brand new carved Filipino model of a C-132. I sent a bunch of technical date, including a huge 3-view drawing. Brian Stegner says it looks beautiful. As soon as it arrives, I'll post pictures.

Here's their web site:

Brian's dad is Bob Stegner, who was once NCOIC of propulsion at Tachi and Travis.

Cal Taylor

Dover Mini-Reunion Planning Update

I've logged 23 affirmative replies, for a total of 39 people to attend on Saturday, 8 Oct 2011.

As initially announced the idea is to have a little beer & wine at the AMC Museum in the afternoon, then dinner at Dover Downs.

Sandy will be getting back to me with more details which I will forward to the e-mail list of affirmative replies.

If you haven't replied, and still have serious intent to attend, please let me know ASAP at the following e-mail address:

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Douglas C-132 Model

I've been advised there is a C-132 (not C-133!) model for sale on e-Bay, asking $249. To check it out, sign in (or register) to and enter "Douglas C-132" in the Search window.

To learn more about the airplane that was never produced, go to the following link to Cal Taylor's website.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Dover Mini-Reunion Planning for 8 Oct 2011

The idea is to have a Saturday evening dinner with a cash bar at Dover Downs, and before we get specific, we'd like to know how many of you have serious interest in attending. The AMC Museum could be open in the afternoon, with wine and beer available as before.

We don't intend to make a mailing, so our e-mail list and word-of-mouth is our total "marketing plan." If you are seriously planning to attend, contact anyone you know who may also be interested, and within the next ten days (by 2 Aug) let me know at the following e-mail address your intentions and the number of people we could count on from your party. Then Sandy and his Dover team will come up with a specific plan (i.e. menu options, cost/person and a deadline), and I'll get back to those who reply by e-mail.

Contact: Dick Hanson at


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Airwar, by Edward Jablonski

These two large books have been waiting to be read for four years. They are classics and are excellent! Jablonski covers the entire WWII period and tells the stories of the Battle of Britian, Pearl Harbor, English night bombing and the Dambusters raid, among others. He has lots of names, some never heard of and others well known (Billy Mitchell, Yamamoto, Guy Gibson, "Sailor" Malan, Barnes Wallis, etc.). We have all heard or read these tales, but Jablonski's treatment is as exciting as Dale Brown's works. These books are a painless way to refresh yourself on air power and its applications from the 1930s until the A-bomb.

Discovery Flight Deck

Thanks to Bill Neely for this link to a website for a 360 degree view (both side-to-side and up-and-down; don't miss the ceiling with the up and down arrows at the bottom) of the Space Shuttle Discovery crew cabin flight deck.

Click on:
Discovery Flight Deck

Discovery (OV-103), the third of NASA's fleet of reusable, winged spaceships, arrived at Kennedy Space Center in November 1983. It was launched on its first mission, flight 41-D, on August 30, 1984. It carried aloft three communications satellites for deployment by its astronaut crew.

Other Discovery milestones include the deployment of the Hubble Space Telescope on mission STS-31 in April 1990, the launching of the Ulysses spacecraft to explore the sun's polar regions on mission STS-41 in October of that year and the deployment of the Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite (UARS) in September 1991.

Discovery is named for two famous sailing ships; one sailed by Henry Hudson in 1610-11 to search for a northwest passage between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, and the other by James Cook on a voyage during which he discovered the Hawaiian Islands.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Flying Status for Flying Safety

Know any "old pilots" out there? Thanks to Jerry Coleman, here's an authentic military order, dated 22 May 1939, from Chief of the Air Corps, Maj. Gen. H. H. Arnold. I know you can't read the fine print without a magnifying glass, but it says that the Chief is "deeply concerned that senior and older pilots take no unnecessary flying risks and thus jeopardize their valuable experience to the Air Corps.," and basically any pilot over 47 years old, regardless of rank or experience, must ride "shotgun" for a younger pilot.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Dawn over Kitty Hawk

Thanks to Cal Taylor for his following comment:

I just finished Walter Boyne's excellent book, Dawn over Kitty Hawk. It is a fictional account of the entire story of the Wright Brothers and their contemporaries, from before the first flight until long after. Boyne does an excellent job of detailing the rivalry, cooperation, accomplishments and failures of Langley, Bell, Chanute and many others. It's available in paperback, probably at your local used paperback store.

To find it online @ Barnes & Noble for $1.99 paperback (or $6.99 Nook book), click on:
Dawn over Kitty Hawk

Also to go to an interesting related website reported earlier on this blog, click on:

Monday, June 27, 2011

Gear Problem

Thanks to Dick Strouse for this one:

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Phantom Ray's First Flight

Thanks to Dick Strouse for this link to a new video of Phantom Ray's first flight; Boeing's unmanned fighter aircraft.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Vance AFB Video

Thanks to Ted Feindt for this link to a great YouTube video, with Toby Keith's "Courtesy of the Red, White & Blue"

Click on:
Vance AFB JSUPT Video

(Joint Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training)

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Wright B Flyer

Thanks to Jim Dunn for the following:

For all Aviation and History buffs. One of the team members is a college classmate and fellow AF retiree. Jim Dunn

Thought you might enjoy seeing our new Wright B Flyer aircraft in flight over the runway at Dayton. It's named the Silver Bird. Don Stroud

Wright "B" Flyer has a new website:

But the format and content have been updated. We still have a page or two to add, and many photos, but the new site is up and functioning. Please visit the new site and let us know what you think.

Tim Gaffney

Timothy R. Gaffney Wright "B" Flyer Inc., Trustee
Phone (cell): 937.219.8277
Fax: 937.424.8112

Saturday, May 21, 2011

USAF Aircraft Since 1947

Thanks to Rick Spencer, here's a link to an incredible collection of photos of USAF Aircraft since 1947, including our beloved Cargomaster:

Friday, May 20, 2011

Helicopter Operating Limit

Thanks to Bob Jenkins for the link to the following video:

Defining the Limits. Helicopters operate to ships in the most demanding of environmental conditions. Accurately-defined operating limits, with suitable safety margins, are essential for giving operators the confidence to operate to the limits when it's needed most. Whether it is a small or large ship helicopter interface trial, consultancy, or full program management, Prism Defence has the skills to safely and accurately define the limits.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Model (Correction)

George Maiorana said I over-estimated. The scale is 1:16.5 with an 11' wingspan. The covering will be FliteMetal, a sticky-back aluminum (sounds like speed tape), which George will emboss with about 500,000 rivets.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Really BIG model

George Maiorana builds huge models. He has been working all winter on a C-133 with a wingspan of about 18' (1/10 scale). The fuselage and wings are joined and he is now applying a finishing fabric. This will eventually fly. It has working landing gear that looks like the original real stuff. The ailerons and flaps will work, too. He will install the receiver and the motor wiring soon.

Cal Taylor


Thanks to Sandy Sandstrom for contributing a story worth reading:

Star Dusters Newsletter

Retirees Affiliated With Lockheed Martin Leadership Association


By Bill Weaver, Chief Test Pilot, Lockheed

Among professional aviators, there's a well-worn saying: Flying is simply hours of boredom punctuated by moments of stark terror. But I don't recall too many periods of boredom during my 30-year career with Lockheed, most of which was spent as a test pilot. By far, the most memorable flight occurred on Jan. 25, 1966.

Jim Zwayer, a Lockheed flight-test specialist, and I were evaluating systems on an SR-71 Blackbird test from Edwards. We also were investigating procedures designed to reduce trim drag and improve high-Mach cruise performance. The latter involved flying with the center-of-gravity (CG) located further aft than normal, reducing the Blackbird's longitudinal stability.

We took off from Edwards at 11:20 a.m. and completed the mission's first leg without incident. After refueling from a KC-135 tanker, we turned eastbound, accelerated to a Mach 3.2 cruise speed and climbed to 78,000 ft., our initial cruise-climb altitude.

Several minutes into cruise, the right engine inlet's automatic control system malfunctioned, requiring a switch to manual control. The SR-71's inlet configuration was automatically adjusted during supersonic flight to decelerate airflow in the duct, slowing it to subsonic speed before reaching the engine's face. This was accomplished by the inlet's center-body spike translating aft, and by modulating the inlet's forward bypass doors.

Normally, these actions were scheduled automatically as a function of Mach number, positioning the normal shock wave (where air flow becomes subsonic) inside the inlet to ensure optimum engine performance. Without proper scheduling, disturbances inside the inlet could result in the shock wave being expelled forward - a phenomenon known as an "inlet unstart."

That causes an instantaneous loss of engine thrust, explosive banging noises and violent yawing of the aircraft, like being in a train wreck. Unstarts were not uncommon at that time in the SR-71's development, but a properly functioning system would recapture the shock wave and restore normal operation.

On the planned test profile, we entered a programmed 35-deg. bank turn to the right. An immediate unstart occurred on the right engine, forcing the aircraft to roll further right and start to pitch up. I jammed the control stick as far left and forward as it would go. No response. I instantly knew we were in for a wild ride. I attempted to tell Jim what was happening and to stay with the airplane until we reached a lower speed and altitude. I didn't think the chances of surviving an ejection at Mach 3.18 and 78,800 ft. were very good. However, g-forces built up so rapidly that my words came out garbled and unintelligible, as confirmed later by the cockpit voice recorder.

The cumulative effects of system malfunctions, reduced longitudinal stability, increased angle-of-attack in the turn, supersonic speed, high altitude and other factors imposed forces on the airframe that exceeded flight control authority and the stability augmentation system's ability to restore control. Everything seemed to unfold in slow motion. I learned later the time from event onset to catastrophic departure from controlled flight was only 2-3 seconds. Still trying to communicate with Jim, I blacked out, succumbing to extremely high g-forces.

Then the SR-71 literally disintegrated around us. From that point, I was just along for the ride. And my next recollection was a hazy thought that I was having a bad dream. ― Maybe I'll wake up and get out of this mess -- I mused. Gradually regaining consciousness, I realized this was no dream; it had really happened. That also was disturbing, because I COULD NOT HAVE SURVIVED what had just happened.

I must be dead. Since I didn't feel bad,- just a detached sense of euphoria- I decided being dead wasn't so bad after all. As full awareness took hold, I realized I was not dead. But somehow I had separated from the airplane. I had no idea how this could have happened; I hadn't initiated an ejection. The sound of rushing air and what sounded like straps flapping in the wind confirmed I was falling, but I couldn't see anything. My pressure suit's face plate had frozen over and I was staring at a layer of ice.

The pressure suit was inflated, so I knew an emergency oxygen cylinder in the seat kit attached to my parachute harness was functioning. It not only supplied breathing oxygen, but also pressurized the suit, preventing my blood from boiling at extremely high altitudes. I didn't appreciate it at the time, but the suit's pressurization had also provided physical protection from intense buffeting and g-forces. That inflated suit had become my own escape capsule.

My next concern was about stability and tumbling. Air density at high altitude is insufficient to resist a body's tumbling motions, and centrifugal forces high enough to cause physical injury could develop quickly. For that reason, the SR-71's parachute system was designed to automatically deploy a small-diameter stabilizing chute shortly after ejection and seat separation. Since I had not intentionally activated the ejection system--and assuming all automatic functions depended on a proper ejection sequence — it occurred to me the stabilizing chute may not have deployed.

However, I quickly determined I was falling vertically and not tumbling. The little chute must have deployed and was doing its job. Next concern: the main parachute, which was designed to open automatically at 15,000 ft. Again I had no assurance the automatic-opening function would work.

I couldn't ascertain my altitude because I still couldn't see through the iced-up faceplate. There was no way to know how long I had been blacked-out or how far I had fallen. I felt for the manual-activation D-ring on my chute harness, but with the suit inflated and my hands numbed by cold, I couldn't locate it. I decided I'd better open the faceplate, try to estimate my height above the ground, and then locate that "D" ring. Just as I reached for the faceplate, I felt the reassuring sudden deceleration of main-chute deployment.

I raised the frozen faceplate and discovered its uplatch was broken. Using one hand to hold that plate up, I saw I was descending through a clear, winter sky with unlimited visibility. I was greatly relieved to see Jim's parachute coming down about a quarter of a mile away. I didn't think either of us could have survived the aircraft's breakup, so seeing Jim had also escaped lifted my spirits incredibly.

I could also see burning wreckage on the ground a few miles from where we would land. The terrain didn't look at all inviting — a desolate, high plateau dotted with patches of snow and no signs of habitation.

I tried to rotate the parachute and look in other directions. But with one hand devoted to keeping the face plate up and both hands numb from high-altitude, subfreezing temperatures, I couldn't manipulate the risers enough to turn. Before the breakup, we'd started a turn in the New Mexico-Colorado-Oklahoma-Texas border region. The SR-71 had a turning radius of about 100 miles at that speed and altitude, so I wasn't even sure what state we were going to land in. But, because it was about 3:00 p.m. , I was certain we would be spending the night out here.

At about 300 ft. above the ground, I yanked the seat kit's release handle and made sure it was still tied to me by a long lanyard. Releasing the heavy kit ensured I wouldn't land with it attached to my derriere, which could break a leg or cause other injuries. I then tried to recall what survival items were in that kit, as well as techniques I had been taught in survival training.

Looking down, I was startled to see a fairly large animal – perhaps an antelope- directly under me. Evidently, it was just as startled as I was because it literally took off in a cloud of dust.

My first-ever parachute landing was pretty smooth. I landed on fairly soft ground, managing to avoid rocks, cacti and antelopes. My chute was still billowing in the wind, though. I struggled to collapse it with one hand, holding the still-frozen faceplate up with the other. "Can I help you?" a voice said. Was I hearing things? I must be hallucinating. Then I looked up and saw a guy walking toward me, wearing a cowboy hat. A helicopter was idling a short distance behind him. If I had been at Edwards and told the search-and-rescue unit that I was going to bail out over the Rogers Dry Lake at a particular time of day, a crew couldn't have gotten to me as fast as that cowboy-pilot had.

The gentleman was Albert Mitchell, Jr., owner of a huge cattle ranch in northeastern New Mexico and I had landed about 1.5 mi. from his ranch house--and from a hangar for his two-place Hughes helicopter. Amazed to see him, I replied I was having a little trouble with my chute. He walked over and collapsed the canopy, anchoring it with several rocks. He had seen Jim and me floating down and had radioed the New Mexico Highway Patrol, the Air Force and the nearest hospital.

Extracting myself from the parachute harness, I discovered the source of those flapping-strap noises heard on the way down. My seat belt and shoulder harness were still draped around me, attached and latched.

The lap belt had been shredded on each side of my hips, where the straps had fed through knurled adjustment rollers. The shoulder harness had shredded in a similar manner across my back. The ejection seat had never left the airplane. I had been ripped out of it by the extreme forces, with the seat belt and shoulder harness still fastened.

I also noted that one of the two lines that supplied oxygen to my pressure suit had come loose, and the other was barely hanging on. If that second line had become detached at high altitude, the deflated pressure suit wouldn't have provided any protection. I knew an oxygen supply was critical for breathing and suit-pressurization, but didn't appreciate how much physical protection an inflated pressure suit could provide.

That the suit could withstand forces sufficient to disintegrate an airplane and shred heavy nylon seat belts, yet leave me with only a few bruises and minor whiplash was impressive. I truly appreciated having my own little escape capsule.

After helping me with the chute, Mitchell said he'd check on Jim. He climbed into his helicopter, flew a short distance away and returned about 10 minutes later with devastating news: Jim was dead. Apparently, he had suffered a broken neck during the aircraft's disintegration and was killed instantly. Mitchell said his ranch foreman would soon arrive to watch over Jim's body until the authorities arrived. I asked to see Jim and, after verifying there was nothing more that could be done, agreed to let Mitchell fly me to the Tucumcari hospital, about 60 mi. to the south.

I have vivid memories of that helicopter flight, as well. I didn't know much about rotorcraft, but I knew a lot about "red lines," and Mitchell kept the airspeed at or above red line all the way. The little helicopter vibrated and shook a lot more than I thought it should have. I tried to reassure the cowboy-pilot I was feeling OK; there was no need to rush. But since he'd notified the hospital staff that we were inbound, he insisted we get there as soon as possible. I couldn't help but think how ironic it would be to have survived one disaster only to be done in by the helicopter that had come to my rescue.

However, we made it to the hospital safely--and quickly. Soon, I was able to contact Lockheed's flight test office at Edwards. The test team there had been notified initially about the loss of radio and radar contact, then been told the aircraft had been lost. They also knew what our flight conditions had been at the time, and assumed no one could have survived. I explained what had happened, describing in fairly accurate detail the flight conditions prior to breakup.

The next day, our flight profile was duplicated on the SR-71 flight simulator at Beale AFB, Calif. The outcome was identical. Steps were immediately taken to prevent a recurrence of our accident. Testing at a CG aft of normal limits was discontinued, and trim-drag issues were subsequently resolved via aerodynamic means. The inlet control system was continuously improved and, with subsequent development of the Digital Automatic Flight and Inlet Control System, inlet unstarts became rare.

Investigation of our accident revealed that the nose section of the aircraft had broken off aft of the rear cockpit and crashed about 10 miles from the main wreckage. Parts were scattered over an area approximately 15 miles longand 10 miles wide. Extremely high air loads and g-forces, both positive and negative, had literally ripped Jim and me from the airplane. Unbelievably good luck is the only explanation for my escaping relatively unscathed from that disintegrating aircraft.

Two weeks after the accident, I was back in an SR-71, flying the first sortie on a brand-new bird at Lockheed's Palmdale, Calif. assembly and test facility. It was my first flight since the accident, so a flight test engineer in the back seat was probably a little apprehensive about my state of mind and confidence.

As we roared down the runway and lifted off, I heard an anxious voice over the intercom. "Bill! Bill! Are you there?" "Yeah, George. What's the matter?" "Thank God! I thought you might have left."

The rear cockpit of the SR-71
has no forward visibility--only a small window on each side--and George couldn't see me. A big red light on the master-warning panel in the rear cockpit had illuminated just as we rotated, stating: "Pilot Ejected." Fortunately, the cause was a misadjusted micro switch, not my departure.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

In Honor of Our Veterans

Watch this awesome video of the Vietnam Memorial Flight of a restored F-100F.

Click on the red link (not the photo):
Bud Day Returns To His F-100F

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Dover Mini-Reunion



Dover C-133 Crew Mini-Reunion (Saturday evening dinner only)

Plans in the works! Stay tuned for details!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

America's First Jet Flight

Thanks to Bill Neely, check out this video of America's First Jet Flight of the XP-59A, October 1942.

Click on: America's First Jet Flight

Friday, May 6, 2011

Wake Island 1941

Just for comparison, here is a USN photo of Wake Island on 3 Dec 1941. A tug from Portland, OR and its crew were there to dynamite coral heads in the lagoon, to make the landing area for the PanAm clippers safe.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Wake and Harriers

Here is a great shot of a Harrier 4-ship over the Wake Island runway, from Brian Stegner. It must take a big piddle pack to move a Harrier across the water! The picture was 25" wide, as it came to me. I reduced it to 5". It anyone wants the BIG one, email me and I'll bounce it to you.

Cal Taylor

Monday, May 2, 2011

Royal Air Force Forum

I recently discovered this site. It is fascinating. I posted some things that might bring answers from folks in the RAF. They included a bit about the two RAF officers who did exchanges to the 84th and the hope that someone might know how a big metal model of the C-133 ended up in RAF Transport Command colors and was found in an antique shop in Perth, Western Australia. Lots of other interesting stuff. There are many C-133 folks who could legitimately post on the site, I think.

Cal Taylor

Friday, April 29, 2011

C-133 models

Brian Stegner's father, Bob Stegner, was the propulsion NCOIC at Tachi and Travis. Brian been in the PI for some years. He is now working with Island Enterprises, in Angeles City, which is producing what Brian calls the Gold Standard in models and other products. Check their web site at I have no involvement other than passing on the word about the company. Look forward to a C-124 and C-133 that will be better than anything else out there. I supplied official USAF marking specs.

Cal Taylor

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Curt Budd gone west

Curt Budd, Jr., advised me that his father, Curt Budd, Sr., died in March 2011. Curt Budd was one of the C-133 pioneers at Dover. He went from C-124s in the 1st to an early copilot class in the 39th, where veterans of the 1700th Test Sq were the instructors. He shows up on twelve pages of my book, an indication of his willingness to share his experiences.

Those included interesting interactions with the RAF, during an RON at Hemswell and a 20,000 pound Navy overload at Norfolk. At Christmas 1959, per sealed orders from the 39th commander, he picked up sixty cases of liquor at Chateauroux. That light load was for Christmas parties in the 39th and US Customs.

Curt also commented that the early, more experienced C-133 crews thought that takeoffs a few knots above Dash One numbers made for better performance. He thought that younger pilots might have had more problems with stalls in heavy-weight climbs, when they went strictly by the book.

Thanks, Curt.

Cal Taylor

Fifi Flies Again

"FIFI" First Flight with New Engines from Hangar Workshop Productions on Vimeo.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Wright-Patt Museum

Thanks to Fred Dietsch for the following link to an amazing "virtual tour" of the museum:

1. Click on the “MAP” in the upper right hand corner to bring down a visual menu of the different sites within the museum......

2. then click on a “dot” within that site to view the exhibits from that camera angle..........

3. and then click and follow the arrows around the exhibits, or spin the blue "fan" on the MAP, OR after selecting a camera position, close (X) the MAP and use the buttons at the bottom to zoom, un-zoom, rotate, or go full-screen.

4. You can see C-133, S/N 62008 in the Cold War section, from camera positions #070, 071 & 076.

It doesn't get much cooler than this!

Click on:

USAF Museum Virtual Tour

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Col George Frum gone west

Bobb Dep,Jr., informed me on 13 Apr that Col George Frum died on 24 Mar 2011. Col Frum was a C-133 pioneer. He participated in the turboprop testing by the 1700th Test Sq and then was part of the C-133 initial cadre at Dover. At Dover, Frum was known for using a tech order to boost him in the seat. One day, Ray Burleson relieved him in the seat, and found the TO. He pitched the book out the windown, just missing Frum. Later, Frum went to the 84th MAS, at Travis, before becoming commander of a maintenance squadron. One of his most interesting missions at Travis was as AC of one of the C-133s that moved a propeller shaft and propeller for USS Coral Sea from Travis to Atsugi, Japan. Col Frum was at the 2010 Travis reunion, where he toured 61999. He was, I believe, 93. Cal Taylor

Thursday, April 7, 2011

End of Winter 2010/11, List & Book VIII

I. James Madison by Jack N. Rakove

II. The Law by Frederic Bastiat

III. Present at the Creation by Dean Acheson

IV. Economics in One Lesson by Henry Hazlitt

V. The Math Book by Clifford A. Pickover

VI. Before the Dawn by Shimazaki Toson and translated by W.E. Naff.

VII. The Calvin Coolidge Autobiography

VIII. The Citizen's Constitution, An Anotated Guide by Seth Lipsky

For some time I have been wanting to bring this text to the attention of C-133 crewmembers, as the Constitution was meant to be read and discussed for its meaning, context, and intent by all. But, the time for its inclusion onto our reading list just hasn’t seemed right until recently. Now, with the populist advent of the Tea Party and with the insidious encroachment of government upon the lives of the people, the Constitution seems to have once again risen as the proper defender for individual rights. I write this the day after Judge Vinson declared Obamacare unconstitutional with his opening statement a citation from Federalist No.51 written by Madison in 1788, “If men were angels, no government would be necessary… and in the next place oblige it (the government) to control itself.”

In the early years after the Constitution was introduced to the people it was on their lips during their evening meals, their social gatherings, their political meetings, and their religious services. Critical examination was everywhere as noted by de Tocqueville in what possibly is the most powerful and influential work ever written about early America, his Democracy in America (click on title for March, 2010 Review).

Sophisticated discussion of the rights given by the Constitution to each individual was extended into the frontier of our country. The simplistic but powerful words created a message not for an enlightened elite, but for the people as a whole. Citizens were deeply involved with the philosophical arguments about how the Constitution enhanced their personal values of self-reliance and the pursuit of their happiness.

Without a centralized authority one could dream to be all that he could be. The intent of the words were clear to each individual, and for the first time in history a nation was conceived for the people and by the people to ensure their personal and economic freedom. It became a new day for all mankind and a brighter day for the world.

But, political commitment to the “original intent” of the Constitution began to change with the presidency of Theodore Roosevelt in the early 20th century. In understanding where in the American political tradition the idea of unlimited, redistributive notions as fairness were created one needs to look no further than Roosevelt as the original big government liberal. In 1910, T.R. proffered a general right of the community to regulate the earning of income and use of private property to whatever degree the public welfare may require it. In other words, redistribution of an individual’s wealth by the government at its finest.

All who believe in this sort of redistributive governance know the Constitution is their enemy in implementation as it bypasses the preference aspect that established the protection of equal natural rights as the permanent task of the government. The national government, in T.R.’s view, was not one of enumerated powers but of general powers, and the purpose of the Constitution was merely to state the narrow exceptions to that rule. Progressives reject the assumption that the power of the people is the general rule and that the power of the government is the exception.

Historians point to the demise and rejection of this most basic, historic understanding of our Founding Fathers originally outlined by Hamilton in the Federalist Papers as the time that government quit talking about the Constitution as our country’s guiding general principle. Progressivism, then and today, is a sophistic argument that erodes respect for individual personal and economic freedoms that are our bedrock beliefs and subordinates them to the demands of the State.

Sadly, during the 20th Century, members of both political parties and much of the judiciary have embraced this departure from original intent; and, that has led us to an unparalleled place in our nation’s history, the specter of fiscal default regarding our national debt that now exceeds $200 trillion in unfunded liabilities. The political victories by Progressives of the past 100 years may cost us our country, as their Faustian model of debt, dependency, and default is failing here and throughout through out the world.

However, many Constitutional scholars are now hopeful that Judge Vinson’s decision overturning Obamacare may return the political branches to the government of limited and enumerated powers that the framers envisioned, and de Tocqueville spoke so glowingly about.

So, no matter your political affiliation, if you believe that the Constitution is our guiding light for real people to grapple with real issues, then The Citizen’s Constitution is the ultimate user’s manual. It takes you through the nation’s founding document, phrase by phrase such that one can understand how we got here; and, thusly one can decide independently if we are continuing on the founder’s path to creating a country following those ideals first presented in our Constitution.

Lastly, this is the final review for the Winter List and I will now turn my attention to a Summer List. It has been fun and I hope that it has helped you through this winter of historic cold and snowy weather that we first experienced as young adults during our missions to Dow AFB, or the sub-freezing temperatures of Sondestrom AB, to the unheard of wind chills experienced only in Thule, and finally the short days with little sun in Alaska; except, of course, for those of us spending the winter in Key West. Key West was the site of my first mission during the Cuban Missile Crisis those many long years ago. Enjoy!

P.S. I would like to thank Dick Hanson, our web master, who spends much time and effort keeping the site afloat. Without him, we would not have it. If you get a chance, you might want to thank him as well.

Richard Spencer

39th ATS, DAFB 1962-1965

Thursday, March 31, 2011

C-133 on Facebook

A Facebook site for C-133 has been set up.!/group.php?gid=217652143790 Only five people on it, right now, but it is another link. Cal Taylor

Saturday, March 26, 2011

From Sea to Shining Sea

Thanks to our 133 colleague, James Mitchell, for the following link....

Go to the following website and read the Story of "Thank You, Soldiers!" then click on the YouTube link below the name of the video at the bottom:

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Bob Depp, Sr.

Yesterday, 22 Mar, Bob Depp, Jr. told me his father died on 6 Nov. He was assigned to the 39th and the 84th and flew with 1st crews, too. I had the honor of meeting him only via correspondence, when he gave me great stuff for the book. Bob, Jr. is at

Cal Taylor

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Winter 2010/11, List & Book VII

I. James Madison by Jack N. Rakove

II. The Law by Frederic Bastiat

III. Present at the Creation by Dean Acheson

IV. Economics in One Lesson by Henry Hazlitt

V. The Math Book by Clifford A. Pickover

VI. Before the Dawn by Shimazaki Toson and translated by W.E. Naff.

VII. The Autobiography of Calvin Coolidge

30th President of the United States
In office
August 2, 1923 – March 4, 1929

This read was not on the original list that I suggested for the winter 2010/2011. But, after receiving it as a Christmas gift from my daughter-in-law who sent it along with the ‘buzz’ she heard as a terrific read, I could not resist the temptation to spend a weekend with it. “Silent Cal”, scrupulously honest and a man of few words, was the 30th President of the United States taking office upon the sudden death of Harding.

Elected in his own right in 1924, he gained a reputation as a small-government conservative Republican and presided over the “Roaring Twenties”. Coolidge elected not to run for a second full term and departed office with considerable popularity. Subsequently falling out of favor during the depression and the Progressive movement toward bigger government, he was resurrected during the Reagan years as an icon of thriftiness.

Most of the recent autobiographies by public servants tend to be a “mile wide and an inch deep” where they write the script that defends their actions and excoriates their enemies. Few are worth reading. But, Coolidge’s along with Grant’s and Acheson’s are the opposite, they can be more rightly described as a “mile wide and a mile deep.”

For some time I have touted Grant’s and Acheson’s as the two best autobiographies by America’s public servants. Each detailed their lives and decisions within the context of the chaos they faced during their tenures without ad hominem attacks upon their political enemies. They were true memoirs about their lives and times spread over hundreds of pages of script by their own hand. Each was interesting and informative; and, we still live with many of the decisions they ushered into our thread of life. These were bonafide works of history that became a part of the critical documentation of the workings of our government.

But, Coolidge takes a slightly different tact with his. In a mere 247 pages he describes his life and the Presidency in minimalist terms loaded with amazing insights about the American people. As one historian noted, “He embodied the spirit and hopes of the middle class….” Following his terse speaking and writing style, not only was Coolidge silent about his enemies, he never mentions them. He felt that a large part of his success was linked to his refrain from abusing other people. Coolidge knew the words of a President have an enormous weight and were to be used judiciously.

Coolidge fits well the stereotypical view of early New England citizens with their responsible, honest, hard working ethos that settled the country, leaders during the Revolution; and, mostly, just wanted to be left alone to pursue their own path to happiness with their families that a free country with limited government provides. However, when called upon for public service, they were quick to respond with honesty and hard work. During those early years they never shirked their civic duty and they were fully trusted by their fellow man. That was Coolidge: quiet, unassuming, trustworthy, responsible, a family man, and above all actually had the best interest of his constituents in the forefront of his policies. He always felt that being entrusted with public service was of the highest calling. Many view Coolidge as the most underrated President ever to serve the country.

It is likely that the first two chapters, “Scenes of My Childhood” and “Seeking an Education”, will be of most interest to C-133 Crew members. As New England sages were quick to note, the education of a child should begin several generations before birth. Further, one’s power over the future depends upon what one does with himself in the present. It seems that within these two chapters is a description of the childhood and the quest for education that many of us had upon joining the USAF. At our last reunion, many of the attendees mentioned how grateful they were to have been part of an organization that helped them fulfill those dreams of their childhood.

The Autobiography of Coolidge is a pithy insight from a seemingly ordinary man who became President largely through the trust the people had in him; and, it was successful because of the trust he had in the people. The declaration of the belief by the people in his presidency was his greatest satisfaction.

Coolidge and the people believed that wealth comes from industry and from the hard work of human toil; and, for that reason Coolidge worked to create an economy that would not unduly burdened either group. It was to be an economy that enriched each in all forms of life, and it came to be called “The Roaring Twenties”. What better proof of his success? Enjoy!

Richard Spencer

39th ATS, DAFB 1962-1965

Last Winter Book Review to Come:
(watch for the Summer List)

VIII. The Citizens' Constitution by Seth Lipsky