Monday, August 01, 2011

XXX--A True Raven Story--XXX

All good aviation stories start and/or end with a disclaimer, "TINS". The decoding of that acronym is something like "this is not spoofing." Or so they tell me.

This is not my story, but I know several Ravens therefore I have little reason to doubt it:

  By now I expect most of you have seen the remarkable photo taken of a
Navy F-18 just at the instant it broke the sound barrier.  But as any
student of aviation history will tell you, just about anything that's ever
been done by a Navy jock has been done previously (and better) by a Raven.

In looking through some old photos I came across the attached, and since
many years have passed and much of Project 404 is no longer classified, I
can now tell the true story of William (Billy) Buzzard and the amazing
supersonic Bird Dog.
 
In May of 1969, Buzzard decided that the tech order limiting airspeed for the 0-1 was somewhat conservative, and set about proving this notion by mixing a fuel that was roughly equal parts 115/145 avgas, lau-lau and some hot sauce he got from a Hmong woman in Longtienne.  I think he threw in a handful of mothballs, too. 
At 0745 on the morning of May 13th, he took off
from Longtienne and headed toward the Plain of Jars.  I was flying on his
wing, mostly in a spirit of idle curiosity but also to spot the wreckage.
Buzzard climbed to 10,000 feet, opened the throttle and shoved the nose
down.  I was at 2000 feet, and as he passed me on his way to aviation
history I caught the photo with my trusty Pentax.  Not only had Billy
Buzzard broken the sound barrier in a Bird Dog, he had done it with the
cockpit windows open:  surely a record that would top just about anything!
 
Alas, Billy Buzzard's record was never recorded.  Elated by his success,
he headed for Vientiane where he landed, stole a jeep and drove to Ecole
d'Lulu where he engaged a "student" from the Ecole for another record
attempt.  He took off from Vientiane with the "student" in the back seat,
vowing that he would be the first Raven to get a supersonic air start.  I was
unable to keep up with him as he crossed Ritaville Ridge at approximately
300 knots, and he was never seen again. 
Perhaps the air start procedure (dicey at best in a tandem-seat aircraft) distracted Buzzard at a critical moment, or maybe he was hit by a missile fired by some jealous F4 jock from the Triple Nickel (a gun kill by a 555th pilot being most unlikely).  Who knows?  I like to think that he headed out across the Pacific until he found a tropical paradise and is still living there today, older but no wiser at all than he was in 1969.  In any event, I often think of Billy Buzzard and his supersonic Bird Dog, and I'm sure glad I found the photo that proves the truth of this story.  TINS

7 comments:

Murphy's Law said...

LOLOL! Love it! That's great.

But I can see his mistake right there--he has an O-1. If he'd done it with an O-2, he'd have had no problems. Everyone knows that the O-2A was the real terror of the skies in Route Pack VI....or at least they will when those stories are unclassified.

The Donald said...

Well, as long as we're swapping stories, you should try that in a Breezy...

The Donald said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
hitman said...

That's almost as amazing as the one about the Army Puke that got a Mig kill in an OV-1 Mohawk using 2.75 FFARs.

The Freeholder said...

Daggone it! That keyboard was on my *work* computer!

Anonymous said...

Well it is true that an A-1 Skyraider got a gun kill on a MiG-17, but I've never seen anything on a Mohawk scoring with FFARs.

hitman said...

Try this,Anonymous http://www.modelingmadness.com/reviews/korean/cleaver/ussr/tmc17f.htm