What we did in our spare time at George AFB.
Larry Sharp, Jeff Hofer, Pat Huey and Jay Lillie. They let me tag along because I was the JEEP. Jeff was my Trainer. Pat taught me how to fly and Larry was my best man.
We would roam the Mojave Desert with Warriors and Arrows.
Pat was working mid-shift and was trying to build his hours towards the instructor license. On Sundays, he’d pick me up and we’d go flying. Anywhere. Some where along the line he’d give me the airplane and nap. On day, I asked to teach me how to land if I had to. He did. We were , no….I was doing touch and goes on Rabbit Dry Lake. We were in a Piper Arrow. On one pass, I put it down and throttled up for the touch and go. The plane felt “loose”. Pat had retracted the landing gear on me. When I noticed, he looked over and said, “This is what we call low level in Nebraska”. I yanked the stick back and said, “This is what we call max climb in California”.
Most of the time Pat would fly and I would navigate. On one trip I was totally lost and he knew it.
“Where are we, Walt?”
“Hell if I know.”
“Where do you think we are?”
“We’re supposed to over General Fox airfield. A 5000 ft strip with no services. But were not.”
Pat asked me what the altitude restriction was and a said 4000 feet.
“Taking her down”
At 4000 he asked me what I saw. There were nine SR-71’s parked on the ramp. It was their depot repair site.
Dick Rutan offered us jobs if we put in eight years in the Air Force. Damn. Didn’t take the offer.
The guys that owned these Vampires and Meteors would take them up on the weekends and bang around the pattern for fun. Great hobby.
Greenamyer’s ground crew were sitting in front of the hangar munching KFC. They were getting “Red Baron” ready for an altitude record flight. Good chicken.
I had weekend duty or some other bullshit that made me miss this trip. Darryl dumped her in the desert on the attempt so these were the last pictures of the “Red Baron”
That’s Larry up there in the orange(?) jacket checking out a F-4 “Wizard” at Edwards AFB airshow. A Wizard is an ex-Thunderbird. They’re modified for the T-Birds. Note the lack of a gun sight. On a regular F-4 the kick steps were hinged at the top. On wizards they were hinged at the bottom so T-Birds wouldn’t scuff their boots.