Good article in American Rifleman

Big Al1Big Al1 Senior MemberPosts: 7,087 Senior Member
In the current issue, there's a true story sent in by a fighter pilot in the Korean War. He was on a training mission in his P80 Shooting Star when his left tip tank would not transfer fuel. This causes an unsafe imbalance and makes it impossible to land safely with the extra weight on the wing tip. After trying everything including emergency jettison of the tank, he was told to eject in a safe area for pick up. Instead, he rolled back the canopy, which was safe to do below 220 MPH, and shot three holes in the tank with his 1911 .45. The fuel drained and he landed safely.
I worked on T-33's for many years, the trainer version of the P80. When refueling, you could not fill the tip tanks completely. You had to go from side to side and fill each tank partially, until each side was full. Other wise the plane would tip over.
Only recorded event where a pilot shoots his own plane to correct a maintenance problem.

Replies

  • knitepoetknitepoet Senior Member Posts: 19,019 Senior Member
    Better shooting his own plane than his own maintenance chief :tooth:
    Seven Habits of Highly Effective Pirates, Rule #37: There is no “overkill”. There is only “open fire” and “I need to reload”.


  • BAMAAKBAMAAK Senior Member Posts: 4,321 Senior Member
    So did he have to roll the plane upside down for the fuel to come out?

    I worked on C-141s when I first joined the USAF and when full of fuel, something like 150,000 lbs worth, the wing tips would be like 4 feet off the ground. With the wings empty, it was like 9 feet. Working on planes was cool for a while but glad I didn't make a career of it. Dirty, filthy high stress job out in the elements. I like my desk :tooth:
    "He only earns his freedom and his life Who takes them every day by storm."

    -- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, German writer and politician
  • NNNN Senior Member Posts: 23,987 Senior Member
    :yikes:
    A Veteran is someone that served in the Military, it does not matter where they served.
  • TeachTeach Senior Member Posts: 18,428 Senior Member
    B-52 wingtips flex 22 feet from ground to air position- - - -that's why they have "tip protector" landing gear just inboard of the drop tanks. That's also where they got the name "Wobbly-winged wrinkle-bellied bastige!" On the ground the sheet metal under the cockpit wrinkles like Nancy Pelosi's face before the nip and tuck crew went to work. In the air, they're smooth and straight.
    Jerry
    Hide and wail in terror, Eloi- - - -We Morlocks are on the hunt!
    ASK-HOLE Someone who asks for advice and always does something opposite
  • Big Al1Big Al1 Senior Member Posts: 7,087 Senior Member
    Let's drop Nancy out at 30,000' and see if she straightens out!!

    He flew the plane with the wing tip down so it would drain, took about a half hour.
  • BAMAAKBAMAAK Senior Member Posts: 4,321 Senior Member
    We crawled around on a BUFF in tech school, glad I didn't get orders to a SAC base. I did get orders to Minot ND after cross training and RAN to the personnel office to put in for a BOP. Ended up in Vegas :)
    "He only earns his freedom and his life Who takes them every day by storm."

    -- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, German writer and politician
  • TeachTeach Senior Member Posts: 18,428 Senior Member
    Kadena launched 3 BUF's every 4 hours, 24/7 for several years. I was there from 1970-73, working automatic flight control and compass systems, and flying a mission occasionally if one needed a little repair on the way to the target. To put 3 in the air, we got 5 ready to fly, 6 times a day. Strategic bombers aren't intended to fly that often, or carry 37,500 pounds of high explosives every mission. We wore out all the B52D's and most of the G-models doing that! Between Okinawa, Guam, and Thailand we flew 1,000 BUF missions a month for several years, and the donkeyhole politicians still managed to lose!
    Jerry
    Hide and wail in terror, Eloi- - - -We Morlocks are on the hunt!
    ASK-HOLE Someone who asks for advice and always does something opposite
  • NNNN Senior Member Posts: 23,987 Senior Member
    Heck, we were happy to get airborne off the hot pad 3 times in an afternoon with 10--- 500 pounders.
    A Veteran is someone that served in the Military, it does not matter where they served.
  • sarg1csarg1c Senior Member Posts: 1,707 Senior Member
    Teach wrote: »
    B-52 wingtips flex 22 feet from ground to air position- - - -that's why they have "tip protector" landing gear just inboard of the drop tanks. That's also where they got the name "Wobbly-winged wrinkle-bellied bastige!" On the ground the sheet metal under the cockpit wrinkles like Nancy Pelosi's face before the nip and tuck crew went to work. In the air, they're smooth and straight.
    Jerry
    Jerry, were you in SAC?
  • Fat BillyFat Billy Senior Member Posts: 1,813 Senior Member
    Seems to be some people around that know BUFFs pretty well. I had a guy tell me that when a BUFF was fully loaded with bombs including wing pylons they would take 'em off with minimal fuel and gas them once in the air. He said with a maximum bomb load and full tanks it was too heavy to get off the ground. I was told this while the teller was consuming a bit of bourbon. True or BS? Just asking. :confused: Later,
    Fat Billy

    Recoil is how you know primer ignition is complete.
  • Big Al1Big Al1 Senior Member Posts: 7,087 Senior Member
    True!! And he probably was consuming a bit of bourbon!!
  • TeachTeach Senior Member Posts: 18,428 Senior Member
    Fat Billy wrote: »
    He said with a maximum bomb load and full tanks it was too heavy to get off the ground.

    The bomb loaders on Okinawa found some leftover 1,000 pounders from the Korea era stashed away in a bunker, and for a while, we launched the BUF's with thousand-pounders in the bomb bay and 750's on the wing pylons. They had to gas up after takeoff with that load, and the takeoff roll involved some serious pucker factor! The normal load was 34 750's in the bay, and 24 500's on the wings. I seem to remember the takeoff weight for that load was 280,000 pounds.
    Jerry
    Hide and wail in terror, Eloi- - - -We Morlocks are on the hunt!
    ASK-HOLE Someone who asks for advice and always does something opposite
  • 5280 shooter II5280 shooter II Senior Member Posts: 3,923 Senior Member
    True. It's easier to take off with a full bomb load and get gassed up in the air. There's a couple of BUFF vets here.......but I've been close to the receiving end.........seeing and feeling a string of 5s' is pretty amazing........30 seconds of HELL for the guys in the impact zone.

    I'm getting antsy, my issue of AR should be here by now!
    God show's mercy on drunks and dumb animals.........two outa three ain't a bad score!
  • USUFBUSUFB Senior Member Posts: 830 Senior Member
    True. It's easier to take off with a full bomb load and get gassed up in the air.

    Yes, I imagine it's much easier to "bomb up" on the ground and refuel in the air than the other way around. :jester:
    Sometimes, I lie awake in bed at night wondering "Why the heck can't I fall asleep?"
    NRA Life Member
  • 5280 shooter II5280 shooter II Senior Member Posts: 3,923 Senior Member
    Yeeeeah...........getting an air to air reload doesn't turn out well for the recipient..........:tooth:
    God show's mercy on drunks and dumb animals.........two outa three ain't a bad score!
  • TeachTeach Senior Member Posts: 18,428 Senior Member
    sarg1c wrote: »
    Jerry, were you in SAC?

    Yep, our motto was "SAC sucks- - - - -but a suck for SAC is a blow for freedom!" I was at Little Rock with the B-58's and Q-model tankers (SR-71 refuelers), Okinawa for 3 years, and 2 years at Castle AFB CA where rookie pilots trained on BUF's. Then I ended up at Korat Thailand, working on a bunch of fighters with no training whatsoever on their systems. Naturally, they bumped me up to assistant shift chief- - - -making sure the guys who knew what they were doing weren't drunk, stoned, hung over, or otherwise unfit for flight line duty! My boss was a 20-something year E-6 who thought breakfast and all his other meals came out of a gin bottle! Fun stuff!
    Jerry
    Hide and wail in terror, Eloi- - - -We Morlocks are on the hunt!
    ASK-HOLE Someone who asks for advice and always does something opposite
  • sarg1csarg1c Senior Member Posts: 1,707 Senior Member
    I was in SAC from '62 to '65, (B-52), then I was in missle until '67 at Vandenburg til I came home. 72nd and 92nd bomb wings.
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