Richard V. Benson
Richard V. Benson went to pilot training after attending the University of Northeast Boston earning a BA in Business. At the age of 21, he joined the Air Force as an aviation cadet and was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in September of 1953. After gunnery training at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, in the North American AT-6, T-28, and the Lockheed T-33. His first operational assignment was flying F-86F’s and he was assigned to what was known as K55 in Korea. (It’s now Osan Air Base).
While in Korea he trained and deployed to Japan (Okinawa and Formosa, now Taiwan) during depot maintenance of the F-86. When he got to his Fighter Day Wing at George AFB in California, the unit was flying the F-100A. He traveled to the North American Palmdale Facility to pick up brand spanking new F-100 A’s his unit. His impression of the F-100A was that pilots experienced a lot of compression stalls and stability problems with the short tail. He called it an extremely “hot” airplane but luckily had no personal issues with the craft.
Dick remembers his first flight in the F-100 as lining up next to the flight lead, stroking the afterburner, hearing a loud explosion, and very rapidly accelerating. His training was uneventful except for those compression stalls on almost all phases of flight. He was aware of the small tail of the aircraft which made it unusually dangerous to land and operate at high angles of attack. Later he flew the F-100C model with the larger tail and improved engine design which had eliminated the compressor stalls.
He’ll tell you that the “A” model was subject to PIO’s (Pilot Induced Oscillations) which were sustained or uncontrollable oscillations resulting from efforts of the pilot to control the aircraft and made the plane appear to be “porpoising” while switching between upward and downward directions.
After his time with the F-100 at George was up, he left the Air Force as a newly married man and got a job with an electric utility company in New Hampshire where he stayed for 34 years. He retired in 1993.
Dick hasn’t flown since he left the Air Force but his local Rotary Club gifted him a flight in a P-51 from the Collins Foundation. He recalls it was very loud and heavy-handling airplane and it terrified him.
- Pilot Training
- 9/1953 Commissioned 2nd Lieutenant
- Gunnery training, Nellis Air Force Base, NV (AT-6, T-28, T-33)
- Korea, K-5 (Osan Air Base)
- 1955-1956 479th Fighter Day Wing, George AFB, CA (F-100A/C)
Awards & Decorations
Military & Civilian Education
- BA/Business, University of Northeast Boston