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"There were planes going by me on all sides."

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"I got a test hop in my bird, 637, which has finally gotten back from Tsuiki.

The bird itself was fine, but the sight and the radio compass were out. The fact that the R/C was out made the mission a bit hairy.

There were all kinds of cloud layers, and I just went ahead and climbed right on through them and got on top. I had maintained a heading in the climb, so when I was ready to come on down, I just made a 180 and started on through.

Luckily, it worked out all right and I came on back with no sweat. 

When I got back to about K-55, I slowed down to do my stall series and all of a sudden the sky was full of planes from all the outfits around the area.

There were planes going by me on all sides. One element from the 51st even tried to slow down to stay with me. By then I had my gear and flaps down and was in idle. They sure looked silly.

As soon as I got down from that ride, I went to chow and then rushed back to the line to give Capt. Halphide his orientation ride in the T-bird. We had 971, which is on loan to us from the 18th. They should have kept it. It is a '49 model which doesn't even have an ejection seat.

I spent about five minutes in it before I started it -- just trying to figure out how it was set up.   It had the old system for using the same button for interphone and radio, and since I had never been in a bird like that before I had a couple of bad moments when I transmitted over the radio when I meant to be on interphone. 

Then when I went to make my emergency fuel check, I couldn't find the switch.  I finally came across a switch labeled "FOR TEST ONLY".  I figured that it was as good as any and pushed it.  Imagine my chagrin when all that happened was the inverter test light blinked.  I had to call the crew chief over to show me where the test switch was.

After we took off it was almost like being in a porpoise in an F-86; the fuel in the underslung tips [tanks] sloshed back and forth like mad. 

Then to top it all off, I almost ran head-on into a flight of F-84s on the way back from K-2.  I was tuning the radio compass, and Halphide had his map out and was studying it like mad.  The first thing I new, there were '84s on both sides of me.  Luckily, they saw me in time and got out of the way in time.

When I got down from this ride, I found that I was scheduled to give Kitchens his first AND second chase rides in the F-86.  We did get in the first one, but we were forced to call a halt to it since it was five thirty.   He gave me a good ride. 

So now I am about ready to call it a day and hit the hay.   I figure it is about time."

Lt. William Starr
June 24, 1954

Notes on slide:

"Myself flying a T-33.  Korea, February 1954"