Will C. Hendrix, Jr.


 

Preferred Name: Will

Nickname/Call Sign: Will

Date of Birth: July 26, 1935

Highest Military Grade Held: Major

Hometown: Austin, TX

Biography

Major Will C. Hendrix Jr., served as a Command Pilot flying the F-100 with the Indiana Air National Guard.  After retiring from the IndANG, Hendrix started a second career in marketing and sales at Cummins, the global power leader of diesel engines. He later made successful runs as a franchise owner for GMC Truck, Mack Truck and Freightliner Truck dealerships, before monetizing his investments and taking a second retirement in 2008. At age 82,  he serves as the Partner and Senior Advisor of Seven Seven Capital, LLC.

(source: Bloomberg.com)

Will Hendrix – Caterpillar Club

A RICOCHET?

Will HendrixIt was early March, 1974, in Terre Haute, Indiana. A beautiful morning with scattered clouds and 10 miles viability. A brisk wind was blowing 250 at 23 knots adding a little more pressure to the  upcoming gunnery practice at Atterbury Range.

“Lance 31” was a flight of four F-100 Ds loaded with 100 rounds of ball ammo, 4 – 25lb practice bombs, and otherwise “clean” ( the Arab oil embargo was upon us so we flew clean most of the time these days – great fun!) I was flying as Three and looking forward to some good scores this day. These Super Sabres were some of the oldest in the Air Force but were taken care of by guys with many stripes on their sleeves, so we had the utmost confidence in their flying capability.

Taxi out, take off, join up all went normally. Range cleared us in “hot” for the first event; strafe. Kind of bumpy on final, using plenty of rudder to keep pipper on target, pressing on each pass, short bursts, need to make the last pass a good one, everything looks good…get it ON there! Long burst (had more bullets remaining than I thought I had…). Range calls, “That’s a FOUL, Three!” I pull up the nose, add power, and acknowledge the call. Almost immediately the engine starts to compressor-stall – LOUDLY! I pull the throttle back and attempt to read the gauges but the  vibration is too severe. The engine is choking and belching and losing power. I call Range to advise “…my engine has quit – maybe picked-up a ricochet” (that call was a mistake!). The RAT has come on to provide hydraulic pressure. Habit causes me to keep on trimming as airspeed bleeds off. I tell Range that I will attempt to head for an open area and then eject. As airspeed drops through 220kt and altitude is climbing through 3,000 ft, I assume the position. Armrests raised, the canopy blows, squeeze both triggers, don’t remember anything else till I come-to hanging in the ‘chute…quiet riding in this thing…wonder where the airplane went? My wingman had joined-up with me as I climbed and reported the fire coming from the nose and tail. He observed the ejection sequence then stayed with the gliding Super Sabre as it meandered off to the east at about 200kt.

We were equipped with the new “explosive-opening” type parachute. When it opened the whip caused my helmet to come off; I couldn’t see it hanging by the oxygen hose, below the survival kit. The wind was moving me over the ground at a good clip and being dragged with no helmet on didn’t seem like a good idea. Then a large stand of trees came into view – it appeared that was going to be the landing place. Those trees had no leaves as yet, just pointy, jagged limbs sticking out. I made myself as small as possible and crashed into a big walnut tree. The chute hung-up in the tree top and I was left hanging about 12 ft from the ground. Using the recently-installed Tree Lowering Device, I shinnied down to a safe landing. The range safety crew were there in 15 minutes with their 4×4 rescue truck.

Meanwhile the silent Super Sabre was gliding several miles to the east, past the town of Edinburg, and gently set down in a corn field a mile from town. It skidded about 1,500 ft across the unplowed field, through a fence, over the grass berm, and put its snout onto the shoulder of I-65, southbound lanes. There was no fire or obvious signs of damage; only missing its canopy, seat, and pilot.

The Indiana State Patrol was quickly on the scene to block all lanes of I-65 for fear of “hot guns and bombs.” This was a Saturday morning, the only available crane was at the Army base at Fort Knox, KY, they couldn’t come up there till Monday, so the jet sat by the closed roadway until it was removed late Monday. The traveling public of Indiana was not happy to make the lengthy detour. The Governor of Indiana was not happy since this was the third jet fighter from a local base to crash on his State in ten days! (The first two were fatal to the pilots.) He declared an immediate grounding of the fleet!

THREE CLAIMS TO FAME

  1. First Super Sabre to soft-land by itself.
  2. Best-trimmed ailerons to keep wings level for five miles of gliding
  3. First use of new “explosive-opening” ‘chute with no serious injury to the pilot (our P.E. guy packed our ‘chutes using an “incorrect” procedure, according to the tech. order).

EPILOGUE

The dead Super Sabre was hauled to Terre Haute for inspection; the wings were sent to North American in California for re-use, the vertical fin and associated plumbing was used on another jet at Hulman Field, the fuselage was used as a fire/rescue training aid at Hulman Field. The engine was found to have NO damage to the compressor section (no ricochet!), instead, the No. 6 main  bearing had seized and caused a 12 in. piece of the mainshaft to be ripped out and blown through the side of the engine and fuselage.

The Governor lifted the order; I was flying the following Saturday, 9 Mar 74.

Units Assigned

1961 Luke AFB, AZ (F-100)
1961 Nellis AFB, NV (F-100)
1962-1965 79th Tactical Fighter Squadron (F-100)
1965 416th Tactical Fighter Squadron (F-100)
1965-1966 613rd Tactical Fighter Squadron (F-100)
1966-1976 IndANG
1976 Retired IndANG

Awards & Decorations

 Air Medal (with Oak Leaf Cluster)
 Vietnam Service Medal

Orville Wright Achievement Award – Order of Daedalians

Flight Info

F-84 F
F-100 C/D/F

Military Education

Civilian Education

Texas A&M University

Biography

Biography

Major Will C. Hendrix Jr., served as a Command Pilot flying the F-100 with the Indiana Air National Guard.  After retiring from the IndANG, Hendrix started a second career in marketing and sales at Cummins, the global power leader of diesel engines. He later made successful runs as a franchise owner for GMC Truck, Mack Truck and Freightliner Truck dealerships, before monetizing his investments and taking a second retirement in 2008. At age 82,  he serves as the Partner and Senior Advisor of Seven Seven Capital, LLC.

(source: Bloomberg.com)

Caterpillar Club

Will Hendrix – Caterpillar Club

A RICOCHET?

Will HendrixIt was early March, 1974, in Terre Haute, Indiana. A beautiful morning with scattered clouds and 10 miles viability. A brisk wind was blowing 250 at 23 knots adding a little more pressure to the  upcoming gunnery practice at Atterbury Range.

“Lance 31” was a flight of four F-100 Ds loaded with 100 rounds of ball ammo, 4 – 25lb practice bombs, and otherwise “clean” ( the Arab oil embargo was upon us so we flew clean most of the time these days – great fun!) I was flying as Three and looking forward to some good scores this day. These Super Sabres were some of the oldest in the Air Force but were taken care of by guys with many stripes on their sleeves, so we had the utmost confidence in their flying capability.

Taxi out, take off, join up all went normally. Range cleared us in “hot” for the first event; strafe. Kind of bumpy on final, using plenty of rudder to keep pipper on target, pressing on each pass, short bursts, need to make the last pass a good one, everything looks good…get it ON there! Long burst (had more bullets remaining than I thought I had…). Range calls, “That’s a FOUL, Three!” I pull up the nose, add power, and acknowledge the call. Almost immediately the engine starts to compressor-stall – LOUDLY! I pull the throttle back and attempt to read the gauges but the  vibration is too severe. The engine is choking and belching and losing power. I call Range to advise “…my engine has quit – maybe picked-up a ricochet” (that call was a mistake!). The RAT has come on to provide hydraulic pressure. Habit causes me to keep on trimming as airspeed bleeds off. I tell Range that I will attempt to head for an open area and then eject. As airspeed drops through 220kt and altitude is climbing through 3,000 ft, I assume the position. Armrests raised, the canopy blows, squeeze both triggers, don’t remember anything else till I come-to hanging in the ‘chute…quiet riding in this thing…wonder where the airplane went? My wingman had joined-up with me as I climbed and reported the fire coming from the nose and tail. He observed the ejection sequence then stayed with the gliding Super Sabre as it meandered off to the east at about 200kt.

We were equipped with the new “explosive-opening” type parachute. When it opened the whip caused my helmet to come off; I couldn’t see it hanging by the oxygen hose, below the survival kit. The wind was moving me over the ground at a good clip and being dragged with no helmet on didn’t seem like a good idea. Then a large stand of trees came into view – it appeared that was going to be the landing place. Those trees had no leaves as yet, just pointy, jagged limbs sticking out. I made myself as small as possible and crashed into a big walnut tree. The chute hung-up in the tree top and I was left hanging about 12 ft from the ground. Using the recently-installed Tree Lowering Device, I shinnied down to a safe landing. The range safety crew were there in 15 minutes with their 4×4 rescue truck.

Meanwhile the silent Super Sabre was gliding several miles to the east, past the town of Edinburg, and gently set down in a corn field a mile from town. It skidded about 1,500 ft across the unplowed field, through a fence, over the grass berm, and put its snout onto the shoulder of I-65, southbound lanes. There was no fire or obvious signs of damage; only missing its canopy, seat, and pilot.

The Indiana State Patrol was quickly on the scene to block all lanes of I-65 for fear of “hot guns and bombs.” This was a Saturday morning, the only available crane was at the Army base at Fort Knox, KY, they couldn’t come up there till Monday, so the jet sat by the closed roadway until it was removed late Monday. The traveling public of Indiana was not happy to make the lengthy detour. The Governor of Indiana was not happy since this was the third jet fighter from a local base to crash on his State in ten days! (The first two were fatal to the pilots.) He declared an immediate grounding of the fleet!

THREE CLAIMS TO FAME

  1. First Super Sabre to soft-land by itself.
  2. Best-trimmed ailerons to keep wings level for five miles of gliding
  3. First use of new “explosive-opening” ‘chute with no serious injury to the pilot (our P.E. guy packed our ‘chutes using an “incorrect” procedure, according to the tech. order).

EPILOGUE

The dead Super Sabre was hauled to Terre Haute for inspection; the wings were sent to North American in California for re-use, the vertical fin and associated plumbing was used on another jet at Hulman Field, the fuselage was used as a fire/rescue training aid at Hulman Field. The engine was found to have NO damage to the compressor section (no ricochet!), instead, the No. 6 main  bearing had seized and caused a 12 in. piece of the mainshaft to be ripped out and blown through the side of the engine and fuselage.

The Governor lifted the order; I was flying the following Saturday, 9 Mar 74.

Units - Education - Awards - Flight Info

Units Assigned

1961 Luke AFB, AZ (F-100)
1961 Nellis AFB, NV (F-100)
1962-1965 79th Tactical Fighter Squadron (F-100)
1965 416th Tactical Fighter Squadron (F-100)
1965-1966 613rd Tactical Fighter Squadron (F-100)
1966-1976 IndANG
1976 Retired IndANG

Awards & Decorations

 Air Medal (with Oak Leaf Cluster)
 Vietnam Service Medal

Orville Wright Achievement Award – Order of Daedalians

Flight Info

F-84 F
F-100 C/D/F

Military Education

Civilian Education

Texas A&M University