Functional Check Flight, April 28, 1971

My crew pulled alert duty on our first day in-country and we were directed to bring back an airplane that broke down at Bien Hoa.   So we deadheaded there via Binh Thuy with a crew from the 346th squadron.
The commander of the 346th TAS was flying with one of his crews on that mission and giving them what amounted to a check ride.  What was bad was that in some of his criticism the crew members were right and he was wrong!  He really seems to go out of his way to give his troops a screw job.  I guess he does things like this to keep the morale from getting too high.
We cranked that beast up at Bien Hoa, did a couple of max power runups and a high-speed taxi check then loosed the surly bonds of earth.  We flew a functional check flight (FCF to all you future Air Force dependents)--climbed on up to 11,000' and pulled a propeller blade angle check, then returned the bird to TSN.  It worked like a champ, so we don't know why it broke in the first place.  By the way, due to my (ahem) exceptional in-depth knowledge of aircraft systems, consistently flawless judgment, and nerves of steel I've been designated an FCF AC.

Flying With My Squadron Commander, April 29, 1971

I was in the 776th Tactical Airlift Squadron and Col. Cooper was my squadron commander.  This day he flew with my crew and I had a chance to sit in the copilot seat.  He didn't fly often, so he tried to get some instrument approach practice, but it was not meant to be.
On to Danang and another animal act over refueling.  I also learned that there was no onload for Quinhon (our next stop) so I asked Hilda (Saigon airlift control) whether we really needed to go there and they said yes.  This was Col. Cooper's leg and I flew the right seat.  About 10 minutes out of Quinhon, the nav called in and we were directed to fly on to Tan Son Nhut.

It was kinda fun for me flying the right seat.  I don't get to do it very often and with Col. Cooper I felt like an instructor.  He does OK for a guy who doesn't fly as his primary job, but he was a little slow at times and didn't catch some things as they happened.

He planned on radar vectors to an ILS at TSN, but their radar was out.  So he decided to make an ADF/ILS, but the thunderstorms on all sides made the ADF's pure static and we ended up plunging through the clouds without a clearance.  He finally decided to give up the idea of making an instrument approach when approach control told us to hold for 20 minutes at some radio beacon.  So we broke that off and went VFR (which we should have done BEFORE we started mucking around in the clouds).

It was pretty interesting--it's a different sort of challenge to instruct so your student won't think he's being instructed.  I took care of the old boy.


Vietnam and Cambodia


Taiwan (CCK)



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