A Note From the EditorAirVenture: Two Weeks 'Off' of Work
By Harold Cannon, Editor - Warbirds Briefing, EAA 466240
EAA AirVenture Oshkosh is always a blast, and this year it was fantastic. Our crew included three out of five of our kids and an extra school friend. Camping next door were friends and fellow warbird owners from Tennessee. Our home Warbirds squadron (Squadron 1) is very T-34 heavy; this year was time for the ’34s to come back. We got in a lot of formation practice over at Menominee, Michigan, and then showed our stuff during the arrival event on Monday and again on Tuesday. Between arriving early for the show, the pre-AirVenture formation warm-up in Menominee, and staying to the end, it was nearly two weeks off work. That was the fun part. Catching up after coming back to a busy profession was the part that kept Briefing from getting back to you until now.
Formation flight is demanding, and if done with training and attention, it isn’t unduly dangerous. Aircraft have a way of demanding our best and not accepting anything less. During the recovery phase of our T-34 flight on Tuesday I was suddenly reminded of those demands. After passes over the show center in two configurations and a lower-altitude pass down 36in diamonds in trail, you would think that most of the potential for excitement was done. Not so.
As the tenth aircraft in the flight on short final to runway nine, I found myself configured and on speed for touchdown on the left side of the runway at about 100 feet AGL. Suddenly rolled hard to the right by disturbed air, I experienced an uncommanded roll to the right. Things are never as bad as you think they are, but the element behind me swears this was a 90-degree bank.
Very quick full aileron left, top rudder, and full throttle got the North 40 out of the top of my canopy, and I found myself on speed, right side up, and now ready to land on the right side of runway nine. All ended well. I really wasn’t too upset until I heard my incident described by a stranger in a bar the next night. If any of you have a picture, I want it!
General Charles Boyd
That’s the story as far as the not-so-good type of excitement goes. As far as the good type of excitement, General Charles Boyd learned to fly in the T-34 as an aviation cadet in the ’60s, flew jets in Vietnam, and spent time as a prisoner of war. (Okay, that last part wasn’t so good.) Upon return, his Air Force career saw him attain the rank of full general (four stars). He describes the T-34 as the “bookends of his flying career.” General Boyd was kind enough to discuss the ’34 at Saturday afternoon’s Warbirds in Review. Look for that video soon on the EAA Video Player website.
General Charles Boyd’s T-34
General Boyd isn’t the only military flier to return to aviation later in life. Victor Hernandez took 40 years off flying after retiring from his military career - spanning World War II, Korea, and more - and returned at age 89 by way of the light-sport route. To read about that story, click here.
Fly safe. See you here next month.