a D-TALE

by Jack Spider' Webb

I flew with the Oldahorna Guard unit at Tusla in '58-'59. One summer we deployed to Gulfport, Mississippi, for summer camp and rocketry on the range over the Gulf of Mexico. We launched from Tulsa on a hot summer morning in flights of four for the 2+ hour flight to Gulfport. Our cps plan called for take-off "sans burner to save fuel as that was a very long leg for the F-86D." That was a questionable procedure in itself.

Being a 2nd It., I flew #4. As we approached the Gulfport area Lead asked for a fuel check. the low man on fuel would assume the lead so as not to have to jockey the throttle much in formation. #3 assumed the Lead and reported the field in sight and was told to report on inital about 5 miles out.

We lined up in echelon formation for a left break and Lead reported "On initial'. The tower replied, "Not in sight. Continue.- Over the end of the runway, Lead reported "in the break". Again, the Gulfport Tower said, "No in, sight! You are over Keesler AFB, which is 12 miles east of Gulfport!"

By that time all four aircraft had pitched out and had their gear down ready to land. Pull the gear and flaps back up. Lead proceeded with a missed approach and headed west to Gulfport. The rest of us followed like a flock of stray geese. When Lead finally Saw the Gulfport airfield, he called the tower in a high pitched tenor voice and was cleared to land on runway 22, which had adequate length to land. But he lined up on runway 18 which was too short. The tower advised him of such and to took for 22. Cleared to land, his responses now became soprano in nature.

Meanwhile, the rest of us are milling around north of the airport and all of us are now in a world of hurt fuelwise. Finally, Lead is on the ground and 2 and 3 followed. I was sucking fumes by then, finally touching down and starting to taxi off the runway. As I pushed the throttle forward to get on the taxiway, I felt no response from the engine. FLAMEOUT! I called the tower and requested a tug in pull me to the ramp. John Rudolf, our Ops Officer, came out with the tug and jumped up on the wing- "What's the matter Spider?" I stuttered "Flameout!" He reached into his fllightsuit and brought out the most beautiful bottle of bourbon I'd ever seen. I took a big gulp. "Only the laundry man and I knew how scared I was."


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