by C. D. Tad' Foran
I'd been flying '86Ds in the 181st FIS, Texas ANG since about 1957. In 1960 I took a job in Terre Haute, Indiana and transferred to the Indiana Guard flying 'Hogs", F-84Fs. I flew the 'Hog' for a couple of years, then returned to Dallas and rejoined the 181st, which was then flying F-86Ls.
I got recurrent in the '86 and decided to build up some flight time by going to Terre Haute with mother guy, Jack Sallee, to get a spaghetti dinner. The Ops Officer at Terre Haute owned a great Italian restaurant and it seemed like a good excuse to get in a weekend hop.
Jack took the Lead and I got on his wing. We left Dallas in perfect VFR weather. I loosened up after we got to altitude and we were just kinda 'hanging out' without paying any attention to where we were at or going. After about 20 minutes, Jack broke in "I'm not sure where we are'" I looked around and it looked like either Arkansas, East Texas, or Southerri Missouri to me. (Jack's compass had locked up and he hadn't noticed.)
I called up "Star Gazer" and a friendly voice answered - 'What can I do for y ou?" Jack advised that he was a little uncertain of his position and would appreciate a fix. This was complied with in short order, and we decided to land at Blytheville, Arkansas, a SAC base, get some gas, then proceed to the spaghetti dinner.
Upon landing at Blytheville, we were greeted with the typical SAC comments - "What the hell are you raggeddy-ass militia pokes doing on our field?" We advised that all we wanted was some fuel and we'd be gone as soon as they topped us off. (We never told them we were lost!)
Transient alert gassed us up and ready to go in record time. Jack and I jumped into the aircraft and started cracking them up. After a few minutes, Jack came on the radio and told me he couldn't get his started engaged and that I would have to shut down and see what we could do next. After much cussin' and discussion, we decided we'd go over in the line shack and see what they could do. The starter and generator on an '86L were the same unit and there was none on the base as Blytheville was all B-52s.
After about an how discussing alternatives, I mentioned that I'd heard some guys in the Korean War had started an F-84 by 'windmilling' the engine with anther guys exhaust and using the air start circuit. We mulled this over and took another look at the dismal Blytheville scene. What the hell, let's give it a go!
I taxied out in front of Jack's '86 and asked the transient alert guy to watch and see if I was burning the nose off Jack's airplane. I ran it up to 100% and waited for some good news. After awhile it became obvious that this wasn't going to work. About this time, four Marine A-4s showed up and were watching all this mickey mouse goings on and laughing like crazy. I shut it down as one of the Marines walked up and suggested they push my airplane a little closer to Jack's. Seemed like a good idea to me so we proceeded.
About this time a little blue sedan drove up. It was the Aerodrome Officer who wanted to know "What the hell is going on?" I described the plan to him and he looked absolutely shinned. (Remember we're on a B-5 2 base') He shouted, "I know there has to be some kind of regulation against this sort of thing!" I suggested he mind his own business and go down the ramp and count missiles on his B-52s or something. Looking at the situaction, he decided this was a good idea and left.
I started up again and very shortly, all the troops started waving and clapping. I crated my neck and looked around Sure enough, there was heat coming out of Jack's Lailpipe. Now I'm low on fuel again, so we got a quick center-point fueling on my airplane, and without further ado, activated a previously filed flight plan and hauled out of Blytheville. After we were airborne, we decided to hell with the spaghetti dinner and re turned to Dallas and went to the club for a couple of beers. Obviously, we did NOT elaborate our problems and solutions in the '781' but just noted that the starter didn't work. Years later at the Rhein-Main "0" Club, we confessed our 'sins' to the wing maintenance officer. He just shook his head.
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