Ever Wonder What It Was Like To Fly an F-100 in 1955?

SSS Member Arnold “Eb” Ebneter had 1200 flying hours when he entered USAF Pilot Training in 1953 as an Aviation Cadet and snagged an F-86, followed by an F-100 in 1955.  He’s had an amazing flying career and has meticulous records of the early “supersonic flight” era.


The Story begins….18 January 1955 – Eglin AFB, Florida – F86F 24759

“It’s a big airplane and mean and ugly-looking – but right now it’s grounded because the vertical tail fin is too small to provide adequate damping at supersonic speeds.  It is the first real live F-100 that I have ever seen, and I am impressed. We flew into Eglin the night before in a pair of F86F’s, and we have a little time to look around the flight line at this base in Florida where fighters are tested as weapons systems.

I am a 2nd lieutenant assigned to the 452nd Fighter Day Squadron at Foster AFB, and although less than a year out of flight school I am flying what we regard as the Air Force’s premier fighter, the North American F86F Sabre. We are scheduled to get an improved version of the Sabre, the F86H, in a few months, but we look at the F-100, Super Sabre, and man, well, it’s love at first sight – wouldn’t it be great if we got the F-100 instead?  Where can I go to sign up?

At the moment, though, the F-100 is sort of in limbo; it suffered a structural failure, killing North American’s chief test pilot, George Welch when excessive yaw developed during recovery from a high-speed dive. The vertical tail was too small, and now all the Super Sabres are grounded awaiting a taller tail and a graft to extend the wingtips slightly to further increase high-speed handling.

25 April 1955 – Larson AFB, Washington – F86F 24700

I am the assistant maintenance officer for my squadron, and one of my duties is to test fly the airplanes following an engine change. We have deployed the squadron to Larson for a firepower demonstration for the Army at Yakima.  The test card calls for climbing the airplane to 45,000 feet, recording engine temperatures and pressures on the way. This is usually followed by a supersonic dive through 35,000 feet, and then it’s playtime to bum up the rest of the fuel before landing, not that excess fuel is a problem on the ’86. In fact, since the normal duration of a flight without external drop tank fuel is about 45 minutes, some would argue that you’re low on fuel when you take off.

Anyway, it’s playtime, and I’m back at 35,000 feet, so I bring the throttle to idle, raise the nose, and slow to about 120 knots. Then it’s full left rudder and stick all the way back.  The Sabre rolls into a lazy spin to the left, nose oscillating up and down with each turn.  I count off six turns and then think, “I wonder what it will do if  put in full right rudder while keeping the stick full back.” I try it: full right rudder, the spin slows and stops after about half a turn; the airplane shudders slightly and then starts spinning to the right, a little faster and more nose-down. After six turns to the right, I perform a standard recovery.  What an airplane!  Who could ask for anything better than an F-86? It is absolutely the most honest airplane I have ever flown.  (It still is.)  A few aerobatics and it’s back to Larson – fun comes in small doses.

As I go back to the squadron, the Ops officer says, “Hey Eb, you’re going home early – they’ve canceled the ’86H and we’re getting F-100’s instead. And they must be serious because they’re starting a ground school for the maintenance types on Monday and we want you to attend because you’re the assistant.”

12 August 1955 – Foster AFB  F-100C 31761

First flight in the F-100! My instructor, who will fly chase in another F-100, briefs me on how we will conduct the flight. I listen carefully – after all, Nels has a total of 66 hours in the airplane; I have none. Nels stresses that, on take-off, after lighting the afterburner the airplane will accelerate very rapidly (we are not carrying any external fuel); be sure to disengage nose wheel steering at 100 knots, begin a rapid rotation at 145 knots so that the airplane will be airborne as it reaches 150 knots. Retract the landing gear and accelerate to 450 knots for the climb and shut down the afterburner. I do everything as briefed: line up on the runway, run up to full power check the engine, everything’s ok, release brakes, light the afterburner and away we go, and how! Nels is right – it accelerates smartly, and I forget to disengage nosewheel steering at 100 knots (no sweat, the F-100 has beautiful nosewheel steering, and you can use it at any speed you like). We’ve rolled about 3000 feet, and there are 145 knots. Obviously, at this acceleration, one has to rotate smartly to be airborne at 150, and I do so. I don’t know if I lifted off at 150 knots, but I found myself airborne in the worst “JC” (Jesus Christ!) or pilot-induced oscillation (PIO as it’s now called) I’d ever experienced. The airplane was pitching up and down wildly almost striking the ground at the bottom of each cycle.

Fortunately, I had the sense to relax (at the top of a cycle) and that combined with the rapid acceleration led to things quickly smoothing out to something that seemed more normal.  Nevertheless, I couldn’t help but wonder, is this thing this tough to fly?  No time to worry though, climb to 35,000 feet, level off, light the afterburner and accelerate to Mach 1.1 in level flight.

  • The airplane does it smoothly, just a slight nose heaviness at Mach .88, trim it out, no wing roll or vibration as we go through Mach 1.0.  The only anomaly is that the airspeed indicator hangs up at Mach .94 and then suddenly jumps to Mach 1.02 (caused by the shock wave traveling across the static port on the nose boom). I tried a single roll at Mach 1.1, and it was stable. Later, we learn not to do continuous consecutive rolls at supersonic speed due to a phenomenon called “inertial coupling.”
  • After several rolls at supersonic speed, the combination of gyroscopic precession forces and lack of aerodynamic damping allows the angle of attack to increase to the point that the airplane suddenly goes out of Control, seemingly wanting to fly backward. I never encountered this, and my curiosity was satisfied by others’ descriptions of it since I could see no practical value for the maneuver. We do a couple of stalls – the F-100 doesn’t have a well-defined stall like other airplanes, but at about 135 to 140 knots it begins to settle rapidly – control can be maintained right down to about 105 to 110 where you run out of elevator authority. I only slow to 130 on this first flight – Nels is screaming, “Don’t get so slow – don’t get so slow!” Come on Nels, after what you told me about how to take off in this thing; I’ll never believe you again (and I don’t.)  We head back to the pattern to see about getting this machine on the ground.

Landing is always the final test. We enter initial at 1500 feet at 350 knots just like in the F-86. We put the speed brake out, pitch out to downwind.

  • As I roll the wings level, there are 250 knots, landing gear handle down, in turn to base with a little power to hold off at the end of the runway and slow to 180 knots. Man, at 180 knots on final this thing is whistling. Our hard-wing (no slat) F-86F’s had to fly final at 150 so I didn’t think 180 would be much different but we seem to be coming in twice as fast.  No time to think about that, time to -care to the touch down at 150 knots (no slower, or you’ll bang the tail), lower the nose, and pull the drag chute handle. Damn! When that drag chute pops out, it decelerates just like it accelerates! In a hurry! I barely need to touch the brakes before turning off the runway. Our 10,000-foot runway now seems a lot shorter!

16 August 1955   Foster AFB  F-IOOC 31761

It is my second flight in the F-I00C. Nels briefs me again on how to take off. I nod “uh-huh, yup,” and off we go. This time, when we reach 145 knots (the F-100 and I) I apply smooth, steady back pressure to rotate to a shallow climb attitude just like in the F-86. The ‘100 lifts off smoothly at about 160 knots, and we’re on our way, no fuss, no muss.  (Later the lift-off speed in the book will be revised to 160 knots.)  I learn that several other pilots have had worse first take-offs than mine, several having bounced off the runway again after the initial lift-off.  We all revert to the F-86 takeoff technique.  (We also note that Nels does not fly his own airplane as briefed.)  I don’t know if Nels changed his briefing, but, fortunately, the word got around, and the wild first take-offs ceased.

30 August 1955  Foster AFB to George AFB  F-I00C 41746

It is my seventh flight in the ‘100, and I am part of a team headed for George Air Force Base to participate in the Bendix Trophy Race as part of National Air Races held annually on Labor Day weekend. The Bendix Race is a coast-to-coast cross-country event, and for the last few years, it has been flown by jet fighters. The 1954 race was flown by Republic F-84 F aircraft at a record speed of 621 mph, and for 1955 the Air Force will show off its first true supersonic fighter, the F-100.

Originally, the Bendix Race involved different types of airplanes, but since no individual can afford a jet to compete in 1955, it is now a military event. To inject some competition into the race, the Air Force has set up two teams of 3 F-100s, one from George AFB and one from Foster AFB. The race will start at George AFB and finish at Philadelphia International Airport, the 1955 air race site. The team from George should have a considerable edge in this race because they have been flying the F-100 for over a year while we at Foster have only had it for a little more than a month.

However, our Team Foster has done its homework well.  North American has furnished us with preliminary data on the cruise performance of the airplane and some points immediately emerge: a 2000-mile flight can’t be flown supersonically, fuel consumption while in afterburner simply precludes that. Use of the afterburner will be restricted to take-off and climb to cruising altitude.  I have plotted the data for the airplane with and without external drop tanks and a couple of interesting facts emerge:

  • at full throttle, without afterburner, at 28,000 feet, the airplane is only about 10 knots slower carrying drop tanks that it is clean;
  • with the drop tanks it only needs one refueling stop to make the 2000-mile trip;
  • without drop tanks it requires two stops climbing to 41,000; and
  • at 41,000 feet it can make 2000 miles with one stop without drop tanks, but due to the lower temperatures at 41,000 feet the true airspeed (and hence ground speed) is less for the clean airplane

The best flight profile turns out to be carrying drop tanks at an altitude of 25 to 30,000 feet depending on the wind. I point this out to the squadron commander, and he and the group commander, who was among the first to check out had ted the profiles and confirmed that the fastest way is at medium altitude with the drop tanks installed. We receive a visit from the TAC director of operations, Col Francis S. Gabreski (31 victories in WWII and Korea) and I brief him on how we plan to win the race.  I am impressed by Gabreski; I don’t know if he was impressed by me, but if he harbored any skepticism about my flight plans, at least he was kind enough to conceal it, and I thank him for that.

Upon arrival at George AFB, we find that our rival team has not even considered the idea of using the drop tanks – it is after all, illogical. It soon develops that we are to have a race between three F-100s at 41,000 feet (or higher) without tanks and three F-l00s at 28,000 feet (or less) with drop tanks.  I am confident the Foster team will win; the only thing that could produce an upset is unusually strong winds above 35,000 feet. I know this is unlikely in late summer. Then suddenly, the day before the race, the airplanes for the George team appear sporting drop tanks. I think, “Uh-oh, they’ve finally figured it out! Well, I guess it’s going to be a tight race, after all.” But then, the evening before the race I find out they still have doubts.

While at Philadelphia, Col. Carlos “Tote” Talbott is called away on other business, and I get the job of flying 31777, the Bendix winner, back to Foster. I’m accompanied by an F-86F that we also have on display, and we plan to go by way of Wright-Patterson AFB in Ohio because the ’86 doesn’t have enough range for a non­stop flight to Foster. Also, because of the short runway at Philadelphia (7000 feet – short for an F-100), we elect to de-fuel the F-l00’s drop tanks; internal fuel is more than ample for the short hop to Wright-Pat. While de-fueling is in progress, I am approached by one of the George pilots. He proceeds to tell me that we have won by a fluke and that there are several things, which if they had done the, or had had better luck, they should have won.  Finally, I can take it no longer, and I tell him, “The only way you could have won was to go at 28,000 feet with drop tanks just like we did and had a faster airplane.” He turns red, spins around and stomps off. The other George pilot, my friend from the bar the night before the race just grins and says, “Obviously,  you’re right, the race is over, so how about explaining it to me.”  I do.

The flight to Wright-Pat is uneventful – the F-100 has no trouble keeping up with the F-86, but when we arrive I am still slightly too heavy on fuel for an immediate landing. The F-86 lands and I circle the area for a few more minutes to bur fuel. While circling, the tower comes on the radio and says, “Air Force Three One Triple Seven, what is your honors code?” Col Talbott landed at Wright-Paterson several times during the trial flights in preparation for the Bendix.  As a bird Colonel, he is “honor code 7” and therefore must be met by the duty officer and a staff car as soon as he lands.  I am still a 2nd Lieutenant, so I answer, “Ten.”  The tower doesn’t even give me a “Roger.” They do clear me to land, however, when I report on initial a few minutes later, there is no staff car to greet my arrival.

28 September 1955  Los Angeles Int’l to George AFB F-100C 41806

I have just taken off from Los Angeles International Airport in a brand new F-100C. It has been flown twice by the factory test pilots for a total of 2 hours, and it is probably the newest airplane I will ever fly.  We are required to fly by visual flight rules (VFR) on the first leg of the delivery flight, and since we were delayed by overcast in Los Angeles and thunderstorms over West Texas,  we just make a short hop over the San Bernardino Mountains to George.  Having made that first flight VFR and verified the airplane for ourselves, we can then proceed to Foster on instrument flight rules (IFR) if needed to the following day.

It is a pleasure to fly a brand new airplane; just like driving a brand new car. It even smells new, just like a new car. However, just because an airplane is brand new, it doesn’t mean you don’t have anything to worry about. Doyal “Champ” Wyrick picked-up a new F-100 Los  Angeles on the 10th of November 1955 expecting to fly it non-stop directly back to Foster since, for once, the weather was good all the way. Over El Paso, at 41,000 feet, the airplane suddenly started to nose up slightly. Doyal applied forward pressure to the stick to bring the nose down, but there was no response. Neither did it respond to trim. Aileron and rudder were still effective, and by using a combination of turns and power adjustments, Doyal was able to maneuver the airplane down to 15,000 feet in a desolate area east of El Paso, where he then ejected, because it would obviously be impossible to land the airplane.

The ejection seat and parachute worked as advertised.  I flew out to El Paso in a T-33 the next day with a North American tech rep to investigate. Before departing Foster we looked at the elevator control linkage on another F-100 and concluded that the only way to make the airplane behave the way Doyal’s had was for one particular bolt to be missing. When we got to the crash site the tail of the airplane was still relatively intact, so we rolled it over, removed an access panel and sure enough, the bolt was missing. We found the bolt lying loose in the compartment but never did find the nut. The nut was supposed to be of the self-locking type and we concluded that it was either never installed at the factory or had just been run on part way (“finger tight”) and had worked loose. In any event, we recommended a change to use a castellated nut and a cotter pin to ensure positive locking and the accident board agreed.

17 October 1955  Foster AFB  Beech C-45G 11601

The F-100 is grounded and we are getting our flying time in anything that is available, in this instance, the old Twin Beech, or C-45G, as it is known in the Air Force. The grounding is after a series of engine failures related to engine bearing seals and the lubrication system.  Since we expect to be down for a couple of weeks, the CO asks for volunteers to check out in the C-45’s attached to the base. We will fly as first pilots and with the other squadron members as co-pilots – in this way we will all be able to satisfy our flight time requirements for flying pay (four hours per month) and, incidentally, learn a little bit about how the other half (multi-motor drivers, ugh!) lives. One member of our squadron has considerable (about 50 hours) of time in a Twin Beech owned by his father. Marv is immediately appointed instructor pilot (IP) based on this vast experience.

We will fly as first pilots and with the other squadron members as co-pilots – in this way we will all be able to satisfy our flight time requirements for flying pay (four hours per month) and, incidentally, learn a little bit about how the other half (multi-motor drivers, ugh!) lives. One member of our squadron has considerable (about 50 hours) of time in a Twin Beech owned by his father. Marv is immediately appointed instructor pilot (IP) based on this vast experience, and since I have considerable experience in recips, I am next to checkout. We take off at about five in the afternoon, climb to altitude, do a couple of stalls and then shut one engine down, feathering the prop.  We then go back to the base and land.  After landing, we go to the base ops cafeteria and have a hamburger while waiting for it to get dark.

After it is suitably dark, we take off.  Immediately after take-off, Marv pulls the mixture control to cut-off on one engine to simulate a failure of the engine. I identify the “dead” engine, feather the prop and continue straight ahead. After flying about halfway to Waco we finally have enough altitude to safely turn back to a downwind for a landing.  We finally reach 1000 feet as we get abeam the end of the runway. Cylinder head and oil temperatures on the good engine are at the red-line and it is a relief to be able to reduce power for the landing. The landing is “no sweat.” Marv signs me off as qualified to fly the C-45.

I load up two other “co-pilots” who need to log two hours of night-time apiece and after restarting the feathered engine we charge off into the gloom. Four hours later, I make my first landing in a C-45 with both engines running. Check-outs were a little less formal in 1955. But then, why not? After all, a supersonic fighter pilot can fly anything if it’s got enough power and controls that you can move. (Some of our brethren will later find out the hard way about trying to fly with controls that you can’t move.)

During the grounding period, we receive a copy of the films of the “saber dance” accident at Edwards AFB just before the airplanes were grounded.  A ferry pilot had picked up a new F-100 at Edwards AFB  to ferry it to Dover, Delaware on the first leg of a delivery to an overseas destination. Immediately after take-off, the nose gear refused to retract. The wingman determined that the nose gear had cocked 90° after lift-off because the nose strut scissors hadn’t been connected, and the gear would not go into the wheel well. The pilot then extended the gear, which went back to the down and locked position satisfactorily, but the wheels remained cocked.

The ferry mission was aborted and the decision was made to land at Edwards because of its proximity, long runway, and excellent crash-rescue facilities. Since no one knew for sure how the airplane would behave on landing when the cocked nosewheels finally touched the runway, the fire department elected to foam about 3000 feet of the Edwards runway where it was believed the nosewheel would touch down. The ferry pilot burned the fuel down to normal landing weight and began his approach. However, on final he apparently became overly concerned about achieving minimum touch-down speed, let the airplane get too slow and then at the last instant decided to go around. He was well below the minimum touch down speed as he started around and he elected to use the afterburner.

The sudden increase in thrust caused the nose to pitch up and induced a PIO which diverged until the airplane rolled off to the right and crashed, exploding in a huge fireball. The entire crash sequence was photographed by a battery of cameras alongside the Edwards runway. Reviewing these films was a sobering experience for every F-100 pilot. The film has also reappeared many times over the years whenever Hollywood needs a spectacular crash scene. The irony of this accident was that a normal approach and landing would have sufficed. The foam was unnecessary, as tests showed that nosewheels would caster to the trail position after touchdown

23 November 1955  Foster AFB  F-100C 41740

The F-100s are released to fly again and I have been placed on orders as a test pilot. This is based on my vast experience of 19.5 hours accumulated in 14 flights in the airplane.  I follow the test card faithfully and everything works as advertised.  It’s good to be back.

6 December 1955  Foster AFB  F-100C  41855

This is my first flight in the f-100 with the -21 engine.  The J-57 P-39 engine in our early F-l00’s is rated at 10,200 lbs thrust for the normal engine with 14,800 lbs with the afterburner. The -21 increases these ratings to 10,600 and 16,000 respectively. The additional thrust is quite noticeable on takeoff.  I make it from brake release to 40,000 feet in 3minutes and 55 seconds.  I cheated a little by trading airspeed for altitude during the last part of the climb, passing through 40,000 feet at only 150 knots, but it’s a pretty respectable performance for a stock airplane fresh off the squadron flight line.

About this time we also lose our first airplane to a spin. One of the neighboring squadron’s pilots on his first flight in the airplane attempted to do a loop starting at 30,000 feet. Even the F-100 couldn’t quite manage that and when the airspeed was gone it entered a spin starting at about 38,000 feet.  The pilot used the standard spin recovery technique to no avail down to I 0,000 feet where he then ejected successfully. The airplane continued to spin virtually flat until it hit the ground. As a result of this accident, the spin test program was accelerated, and it was learned that normal spin recovery techniques were less than optimum for the F-100. It was learned that the rudder was relatively ineffective during the spin but with ailerons applied in the same direction as the spin, could produce enough adverse yaw to stop the rotation and permit a recovery.  We were all told to learn the new spin recovery technique, but not practice it.

The pilot, who ejected successfully from this first spin at Foster was probably fortunate since the ejection system was still a manual operation requiring the pilot had to assume the ejection position, raise the seat handles to blow the canopy, squeeze either trigger to eject, undo his lap belt when clear of the airplane, kick clear of the seat, and pull the rip-cord to open his parachute. Undoing the lap belt, seat separation, and parachute deployment were later made automatic to minimize altitude loss during ejection. The pilot was supposed to try to beat the automatic system. While the automatic system undoubted saved lives, it could be deadly to a pilot bailing out in a flat spin; the ejection seat velocity would very nearly match the vertical velocity of the spinning airplane so that seat separation and parachute deployment would occur at nearly zero relative wind velocity. With no airstream to stream the parachute, it was possible for the pilot to become entangled in his own parachute and thereby prevent its opening.  Several pilots were lost this way, but in 1955, the pilot’s reaction time allowed sufficient airspeed to develop in free fall so that the parachute was able to function normally.

29 March 1956 Foster AFB F-100C 4175

I have been doing a cruise performance test on the F-100 to find out what the fuel consumption really is when the airplane is flown at normal cruise speeds and altitudes.  The North American data that we used for planning the Bendix Race was quite accurate for flights at maximum (full throttle) cruise, but when we slowed down to a more normal cruise of 0.88 Mach we found that the factory data was optimistic by 10 to 15 percent. I have set up and flown a series of cruise control tests to determine the fuel flow figures that we should use for practical cross-country flight planning. Theoretically, we can get maximum range by using a cruise-climb profile where the power is set at maximum cruise and then 0.88 Mach is maintained by allowing the airplane to slowly climb from the initial level off altitude. I initially leveled at 41,000 feet and now two hours later I am at 49,000 feet. Surprisingly, however, cruise-climb is not the best way to get maximum range from the F-100. Our curves show that, with 275-gallon drop tanks installed, maximum range is achieved by climbing to 43,000 feet and then maintaining a constant cruise speed of 0.85 Mach.

Indicated Mach No. (0.88 True.) This usually works out to a true airspeed of 500 knots, a nice round figure for cross-country planning.

30 May 1956 goose AB to Keflavik AB, Iceland  F-100C 42003

We have spent four days at Goose waiting for weather. Actually, the weather has been no problem for the F-100s, but the seas have been running over 20 feet over the route and the Grumman SA-16 Duck butt deployed as a navigation aid at the mid-point of the landing would be unable to land to pick us up if we bailed out over water. Maximum allowed wave height is 16 feet. On may 30t\ the seas are down to the required 16 feet. I am not optimistic about our chances of getting into a one-man life raft in 16-foot waves even if  I’m wearing an exposure suit (more commonly knows as a “poopy suit.”)  I conclude it would be best to avoid a bail-out.

It is 1332 nautical miles from Goose Bay to Keflavik and the F-l00C needs a 30-knot tailwind to make it. We get just 30 knots. The trip is uneventful until passing the southern tip of Greenland and I find I am starting to get cold, very cold; in fact, I haven’t been so cold since I used to deliver newspapers on a bicycle in Wisconsin on a January morning before sunrise. It seems that the solution to the heat and vent the problem was to wire the heat exchanger valve to the fully open or cold position. This is safe, but on a long flight at high altitude, the cockpit will get COLD. Since I am freezing in my “poopy suit,” I renew my vow not to go swimming in the thing.

Our flight of four arrives at Keflavik and breaks up into two flights of two. I am leading the second flight, and we make an en route instrument penetration to find ourselves under a 2000-foot overcast ceiling with about three miles visibility in blowing snow. The wind is 40 knots with gusts to 65, but it’s right down the runway. We are cleared to enter initial for landing but as we near the breakpoint we are told to break out and re-enter as Air Defense Command (ADC) wants to launch two F-89s on a practice intercept. Unfortunately, the first F-89 has a problem on take-off and ends up blocking the runway.  We are told to hold, so I declare minimum fuel. The tower sends us to the other runway, but we’ll have a 90-degree crosswind with gusts to 65 knots!

As we re-enter initial for the cross-wind runway we’re now down to about ten minutes of fuel and I tell my wingman, “Let’s keep the pattern loose, so we’ll get down on the first try.” The cross-wind will be from the left on final, so I use a very gentle (for an F-100) break to downwind since I am expecting an extra 50 or 60 knots of ground speed on base leg. I break, roll out on downwind, drop the gear and then bank steeply to get on the base leg quickly. I have ample room to line up comfortably on final. Then I hear my wing call, “What a bomber pattern – number four going around!”  He is a hotshot lieutenant from another base and obviously doesn’t appreciate my pattern.  However, I have nicely squared away on final, and as I flare at the end of the runway, I have plenty of control to stick the left wing down and cancel out the cross-wind.  It is a surprisingly smooth easy landing, and I don’t deploy the drag chute.

As I clear the runway, I watch my wingman break:  he’s hot, it’s tight, he pulls streamers turning to downwind. The gear goes down, and he turns to base and is really smoking.  He turns final in about a 90-degree bank, but it is hopeless, he overshoots the runway so badly that he is forced to go around. To my surprise, he re-enters for the overhead pattern, but this time his break and pattern are about twice as large as mine; he gets down OK. That evening at dinner he apologizes.  “I  should have followed you around that first pattern.  I shut down in the parking area with the fuel gauge reading zero.”  Well, live and learn. I will not encounter another crosswind like that until 12 years later in Vietnam. Thanks to its high approach and landing speeds, the F-100 could handle such crosswinds with ease.

31 May 1956  Keflavik to Bitburg AB, Germany  F-l00C  42003

Twenty-four hours after landing at Keflavik we are on our way to Bitburg, Germany, on the final leg of our delivery flight.  Last “night” I went to the Officers Club for a late dinner and didn’t return to the BOQ


Stay tuned for 19 more pages!