Just watched General Yeager “jump” another airplane taking off. It was cool.
General Yeager, with an Admiral in the backseat, was circling above, waiting for our friend to get aloft. As our friend taxied out and started to roll – heading to our left, we couldn’t find General Yeager.
Our friend rotated; suddenly we hear an engine roar and General Yeager came screaming out of the sky from the right to catch up to our friend.
And jumped him.
Ha ha. What fun! They had briefed to do some formation flying. What fun to watch the master.
They flew off out of sight in formation and had a lot of fun.
I remember the time General Yeager with me in the backseat, was flying our friend’s P-51 on the wing of our friend in his T-28 and another P-51 in formation with us.
We hadn’t gotten 20 minutes out from the airport when the lead airplane, the T-28 starting spewing smoke.
T-28 declared emergency. We heard a pop and he was turning heading down for the fields. There were two perfectly good-looking fields for an emergency landing.
And a road. No wires.
We kept circling and watching over him.
Our friend landed beautifully on the road. But uh oh. There’s a truck moving on a crossroad and….stopped very close to the road our friend was landing/rolling out on.
Why doesn’t that guy back up? Surely he can see the airplane!
The T-28 missed the windshield by inches. And ultimately came to a stop. Our friend was okay too.
Both P-51s kept circling.
I imagined we were in World War II – and we were making sure the enemy didn’t pitchfork our friend to death as reportedly they had in some instances in World War II.
When we saw that he was okay and help was on the way and he radioed us to continue on and he’d meet us at our destination in another plane later that day, we continued on our course.
They never did find out what caused the rod to break and hit the engine. Can you imagine all the things that could go wrong, including throwing a rod that breaks the engine causing one to have to ditch a plane in enemy territory during war? That’s why General Yeager also always appreciated his crew chief and maintenance guys – they kept his plane running well – kept that aspect safe.
When I contemplated this, I just admire, thank, and respect our veterans over and over and over again.
c. PMN III