5 December 1956 – A Northrop XSM-62 Snark, 53-8172, N-69D test model, fitted with a new 24-hour stellar inertial guidance system, launches from Cape Canaveral Missile Test Annex, Florida. It wanders off-course, ignores destruct command, disappears over Brazil. It is found by a farmer in January 1983. The Day They Lost the Snark By J.
Douglas Keith Acheson
The story (from the Summer 2013 issue of the Intake) says that Keith “Herb” Acheson “had the misfortune of having his inexperienced Number 3 run into him during a flight in the F-100C. Damage to Herb’s aircraft was extensive causing aircraft controllability to be at a premium when he attempted to slow to landing speed. The lowest airspeed where aircraft controllability was adequate was 250 KIAS. Having been endowed with the fastest airborne tricycle ever, Herb decided to try and land it. He flew the approach and landed at 250 KIAS, luckily [he] got a good drag chute (180 max) and stopped before having to take the barrier. Herb gets the title of “fastest landing speed in a Hun – 250K.” Note: Number three aircraft was class 26’d and they repaired Herb’s aircraft by replacing its aft section from the one from Number Three!
After UPT, Keith “Herb” Acheson flew an F-89 as a brown bar. He later converted to TAC (Tactical Air Command) and flew the F-84F (Thunderstreak). After 18 months he checked out in the F-100C/D and logged almost 1000 hours in the Hun. In the late 1970’s Herb flew the delivery of 2 ‘C’ Huns to Turkey.
Herb later went to the A-7 conversion at D-M and flew a Sluf (the LTV A-7 Corsair II, which pilots called the “sluf” short for “short little ugly F***er”) for 2000 hours.
While he says he “never dropped a hostile bomb” he does admit to “strafing the hell out of the acoustic scorer at Smokey Hill and Hardwood Range”.
Col. Keith “Herb” Acheson (Ret.) commanded the124th Fighter Squadron Iowa National Guard from 1989 to 1991. An article on Father’s Day in 2013 in Radio Iowa tells of a Father/Son duo with lots of flight time. “…Keith Acheson of West Des Moines flew several different jets from 1968 through 1991. He says it was a surprise when his son Travis first told him he wanted to do the same around the time his son was a sophomore in college… his son, Travis Acheson, says he had been aware of what his dad did.” Travis said, “I can remember when he flew the F-100 and the A-7.”
Keith and his son have flown for a combined 50 years.
See the video of Keith and his son Travis at the 132nd Fighter Wing, Des Moines, Iowa at Keith’s video link. https://cyberspaceandtime.com/F-16_training_flights_at_Des_Moines’_132nd_Fighter_Wing/QFCfpsk_O-U.video