my picture with T-28 565, pulling chocks for someone
(After) Ironically, it's the
same aircraft that I bellied in, probably a few days later.
Although 565 was
returned to the line after repairs were made, I don't think it was
graduated, so I'm quite sure that this is really a "before and
after". Thought you might find the pictures and report
* * * * * * * *
We didn’t normally fly on Saturday, but this was
one of those rare times when we did. (I guess we were a little behind).
an early morning dual ride, Max, the dispatcher assigned me 565 for a
trip. It was January 19th, four days after my 21st birthday.
went well until just about the first clearing turn which coincided with
first power reduction. As I brought the prop control back to climb
reduction gear in the nose case of the engine failed and broke the
casting. All the oil exited the sump and came out through the
and other openings, flaming as it passed the exhaust stacks. It
the daylights out of me. Any attempt to sound “cool” on the radio
miserably. I don’t know which was the higher pitch, my voice or
of the engine at take-off power, running away from the now disconnected
decided that I had to get busy if I wanted to make it to Momma K's for
evening meal. The emergency canopy opening feature failed.
God for that! I was really too low for a successful
the canopy didn't open I started looking for options. Off my left
could see the runway that I had just departed. Out the front I
see much of anything due to the coating of oil on the windscreen.
thought I could at least make it back to the infield where I knew there
pine trees. I set up the 105 knot glide and hoped for the
didn't attempt to lower the gear since I had no hydraulics and I needed
distance I could get, preferably from a clean airplane.
I was able to make it back to the runway and
touched down just about the 800 foot mark. As the fuselage
the runway, the prop hit the concrete and was flung up into the air,
down and making a hole in the cowling in front of the windshield and
hole in the right wing as it departed. At the same time, the
slammed to the emergency open position, since the handle had been
that position. I guess it was a little out of adjustment.
am thankful for that since an open canopy would have altered the
and perhaps allowed flames to enter the cockpit.
I jumped out of the cockpit with my seat pack
still strapped on and made tracks. My classmates who witnessed it
still laughing forty years later as they described my
Edmundson drew a cartoon of Pogo, the possum, wearing a seat pack,
crazy, shouting "Mr. Martin! Mr. Martin!. That cartoon is
the 57-U class book.
At the evening meal at Momma K's, I had to stand
up in a chair with a napkin on my head, flapping my arms, admitting to
landing”’ and proclaiming that I was a "Proud member of class 57-U"
565 was returned to service after some yeoman
work by the maintenance people. My logbook shows that I flew four days
after the usual trip to medical and the debriefings that normally
an incident. In that logbook, the January 19th entries
1:23 dual and :03 solo.
That's about all there is to it. I'm still
attributing the success of the whole thing to some extraordinary luck,
excellent instructors and perhaps some intervention from
a total of about 80 hours at the time, skill and experience were
in the order of attributes. A half century and some 20,000 flying
later, it remains one of the memorable moments of a career aloft.
"before" picture was ironically
taken by a classmate, perhaps just a few days before, or it could have
been taken the same day.