“Some people are like Slinkies - not really good for anything,
but you still can't help but smile when you see one tumble down the stairs.”
The second poem is not that nice!
Grab me there, Kae, and I'll follow you anywhere. The Mustang is legendary.On 23 November, 1954, I flew one (A68-124) for my first and only time. I was a 20 year-old sergeant pilot, newly graduated and jet trained, with a total of 302 hours flight time and only 40 hours piston solo time behind me. And that piston time was in piss-ant Tiger Moths and Wirraways — nothing approaching the mighty Merlin-powered Mustang.No twin-seat Mustangs in those days and I couldn't get the engine started. Our flight-commander was seeing me off. He jumped up onto the wing, waved his hands around the cockpit and the glorious V-12 engine roared into life. There is no other sound on this earth that brings such joy to a boy's heart. My boss patted me on the back, shouted into my ear to have fun, and left me to it.I spent a very memorable hour teaching myself to fly the legend, with the Pilots' Notes open on my lap to guide me.I can completely understand why that old guy in the video was on the brink of tears when remembering that wonderful aeroplane.
The Mustang was voted the World's Best Fighter on Foxtel's 10 Best Fighters. It was a close run thing between the Spitfire and the P51, but the extended range and firepower, plus the very long service life of the Mustang whacked it into first place.Back in the 80's, Australian Army "Bird Gunners" (Anti Aircraft) used to practice on drogue targets towed behind a Mustang. An unforgettable sound.Skeeter, you are a lucky, lucky man to have managed to wangle the pilot's seat of one of the magnificent aircraft. I'd sacrifice my left one for such an opportunity
That poem High Flight has a special significance for old Geezer-Americans like me. As I said at Crit's, when I was a child it was recited every night on television when the station signed off, with flying fighters superimposed over an American flag. I was too young to really understand it, but I thought it was beautiful.
Pedro, it was all good luck and no good management on my part. Just happened to be in 25 Squadron when word came through that the squadron's Mustangs were being taken out of service. It was decided that this would be the last chance for us young jet jockeys to fly a real aeroplane. The RAAF kept a few in service as tugs for towing air-air target banners until the late 1950s.Rebecca, the poem had special significance for me too. I had not heard of it until after I had actually experienced high flight in a single-seat fighter. The accuracy of the poem's descriptions when I first heard it impressed me greatly.It became an anthem for fighter pilots world wide. It is still often quoted but, sadly, mostly at funerals these days.
My dad had it framed & hanging above the stairway in the last house we lived in as a family. I sure miss him.
1. http://ca.youtube.com/watch?v=6eUnDbesxio2. http://ca.youtube.com/watch?v=FgoBwJkgVUE3. http://ca.youtube.com/watch?v=JC5A8GxGVdc4. http://ca.youtube.com/watch?v=p8ZnIl4-RfMalso for Skeeter: http://ca.youtube.com/watch?v=JrjINENyGaQCheers
Thanks, Minicapt, I enjoyed them all.In video #2, one of the two Mustangs showed RAAF markings and it looks like serial number A68-104 which became VH-BOB. For the amazing history of that survivor, see Mustang joy flightsPedro, it's not too late for you. You can go for a ride in A68-104. Check out that site for details.Sadly the A68-124 that I flew was sold for scrapping on 23/01/1959 and will fly no more.
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