The Lord made only so many perfect heads -

December 17th, 2014

We had gone to see the Oak Ridge Boys, invited Patty Wagstaff, a well-known aerobatic aviator.

General Yeager introduced them as usual, in Oroville, CA. We had enjoyed the show and were chatting with the band afterwards.

Chuck looked at Jimmy, former bass with the Oak Ridge Boys, and long dark brown hair to General Yeager and remarked: The Lord made only so many perfect heads…..

The rest he covered with hair.

Jimmy (Oak Ridge Boys) shares with General Yeager

The Lord made only so many perfect heads, the rest he covered with hair – Chuck Yeager

Jimmy then loaned Chuck some of his hair.  (Patty Wagstaff in background right – photo bomb :-) or photo bombshell!

William Lee joined in later and loaned Chuck some of his beard.

Pretty darn fun!

c. GCYI

Chuck Yeager: Where I Was on December 7, 1941 When the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, Hawaii

December 8th, 2014

I had entered the Army Air Corps September 9, 1941, fresh out of high school and a summer of work, huntin’, swimmin’ and fishin’.

On December 7, 1941; I was stationed at Moffett Field in California, still a crew chief, although I had applied for pilot training.

I was walking downtown when I heard over the radio – that the Japanese had attacked Pearl Harbor. All military personnel were ordered to their bases.

Was California next? Or….what was next?

c. GCYI

November 23, 1943: Off to war. And England.

December 2nd, 2014

November 23, 1943: Off to war. We got on the Queen Elizabeth to cross the Atlantic Ocean to war. There were 25,000  - one third sleeping, one third eating, one third puking. Then we switched every 8 hours.

They had three bunks on top of each other. You definitely didn’t want to be on the bottom – somebody cut the top two so they fell on the bottom one.

It was a long week going to England.

We got to our base – it was a sea of mud. What a mess. We waited for some airplanes.

Stay tuned.

c. PMN III

Chuck Yeager-ism: Key to a Happier Life

November 30th, 2014

Find what you like to do and make your lifestyle fit your income (not the other way around).

Stop and Go’s – Practice Flying

November 6th, 2014

I hadn’t flown in about a month so needed to practice take-offs and landings. General Yeager said he would rate my landings.

Gulp. :-)

As I taxied out, I listened to AWOS – 250 degrees, 6 knots – and headed to runway 3-2.

As I took the position, I heard someone calling approach in the opposite direction. I called, You do realize I am taking off. Do you see me?

Plane: Just doing approach, no problem we see you.

Me: Oh. I see you. So you’re not landing.

Plane: No.

I waited for him to pass a bit more overhead and took off, vaguely wondering what landing challenges I might have. I had gotten into a habit of flaring too high and letting it settle into the right height. Not a good method.

I had finally made myself get lower and was doing well Oct 10.

Then Oct 12, former, recent, bad habit – the wind was 15-20 right down the runway and it caused regression.

General Yeager shook his end good-naturedly after we had taxied in. “Why do you do that?”

I shook my head. I didn’t keep up my speed. Dumb. Distracted by the big headwind instead of just flying.

Today, I flew by myself. First landing, I made myself go lower. I landed on two wheels, bounced and then landed…and landed…and landed. I was fully conscious of each movement and was never feeling on the edge. The bounces were not porpoising or problematic. It was almost enough of a bounce though to add a little power.

The second landing wasn’t bad – three pointer – but then a gust of wind pushed my left wing up, headed me left. I put in left aileron, held control, and it was fine.

I taxied back to the middle line stopped.

After I checked the trim and the cockpit, I took off again.

I sorted out my pattern, came in at a nice slow speed, flared well, three point landing by kissing the ground and staying down. Stopped in time to turn off at the first turn-off.

General Yeager asked me how I did. He was really asking how I felt I did. I said First two not so good, last one just right.

He said, “Your second one was a good three-pointer.”

Me: Until the gust got me.

General Yeager smiled. We both knew – I corrected, what’s my worry?

c. GCYI

 

 

1947: Recording the Shock Wave on the X-1

October 13th, 2014

Ridley put holes in the horizontal stabilizer and connected them to a recorder. Each flight he could see what the shock wave was doing.

c. GCYI

Broken Ribs Before Breaking the Sound Barrier

October 13th, 2014

Last night, after eating dinner at Pancho’s Glennis and I decided to go riding. Glennis suggested a race back to the corral.

As I got very close, in the lead, I saw someone had closed the gate.

My horse and I pulled about 3 g’s trying to avoid the fence. Well…. my horse pulled 3, I flew over the fence and cracked a couple of ribs.

We didn’t want to go to the base doc – they’d ground me.
So the next day, we go to the local vet. He patches me up and says, “Don’t do nothin’ strenuous.”

I go to Ridley and tell him, “We got a problem.”

Ridley contemplates this, went into the hangar, found a broom. and sawed off the end. We practiced me sitting in the X-1 and closing the door with the broomstick with my left hand.

It works on the ground.

Tomorrow is the big day. Let’s hope it works tomorrow in flight.

c. GCYI

Capt Yeager meets Howard Hughes

September 13th, 2014

General Yeager’s says: I read this today: Sept 13, 1935 – Aviator Howard Hughes, Jr., of Houston, set a new airspeed record of 352 mph with his H-1 airplane (Winged Bullet). 

I met Howard Hughes after I broke the sound barrier. He wanted to know more about it to design more airplanes. I liked him; interesting guy.

Some say he was crazy. He wasn’t.

At Edwards, the press would ask for a comment or interview re a black program. We’d decline. So the media would make up all sorts of nonsense to try to get us to speak to them and rebut the nonsense.

The bait didn’t work for us at Edwards.

Or for Howard apparently.

c. GCYI

It Has a Handbook Doesn’t It? F-100 and Crossfield

September 8th, 2014

I had flown the F-100 a lot and had delivered one to Scott Crossfield to fly. I asked him if he wanted me to check him out.

No, it has a handbook, doesn’t it? said Crossfield arrogantly.

Me: Be my guest.

And I walked out.

A few days later, Paul Bickle, Assistant Chief of the Flight Test Engineering Laboratory at the time and said, “Come on over here a minute.”

I asked: Why?

Bickle: Just come.

I went over there and saw the F-100′s nose sticking through the hangar wall.

He had taken out two other F-100s. What a mess.

He had lost his hydraulics, so no brakes, went right up the ramp, into the hangar and the hangar stopped him after his nose poked through.

 

General Yeager Fixes his Gun on the F-100

September 5th, 2014

I got a call from one of my men in my squadron (“D”) in the 1950′s. He was telling me some stories:

D: One night I heard a big bang about 11 o’clock at night. I wondered what the heck it was and went out to see. You were banging on the F-100′s guns.

Me: Yeah, I thought: the maintenance guys are gonna kill me. I was making the group tighter.

D: And you won the gunnery meet.

Me: Yeah.

D: I had a gun mis-function – jammed. I was hittin’ the rag. I still had some I could shoot  so I asked that they put 10 on one side and 10 on the other. With 20 in one gun and none in the other, you know!, the plane would yawl. They disqualified my shoot because I didn’t put them all in one gun. I thought that was a bad deal.

D: Another time, both of us had been up to the Cuddyback. Driving the jeep and I was in the passenger seat. We had stopped at the four corners, you know if you turned one way it took you to Edwards, and I asked you – what would you like to do when you got out of the Air Force.

You said: I’d like to have an automobile garage where I took cars with problems, put them in an assembly line and whatever was wrong when they went in, I’d fix them right up so they came out right on the other end.

Gen Yeager: I still like to work on cars but they’re so damned complicated now you can’t do anything.

D: When you went to Russia, Jackie gave you some perfume to give to Glennis and Glennis would have them in the house so she gave them to my wife. My wife still has them – they’re still sitting up on the shelf.

D: Remember Lavin?

Yeager: Yeah he was going to intercept us so we flew on the deck and he flew right by us. Heh heh.

D: Afterwards, all us guys are laying around on the grass laughing like heck.

D: I remember you (Yeager) used to have us over to your house – like a squadron party. Your favorite thing to do was to make ice cream and we had fresh ice cream. And fresh pizza. Those were the days.

c. GCYI