Unusual End of Runway Duty

 I hijacked this from Facebook.  Read on Loyal Reader….

By: Dennis Cole

I had told this story on another Facebook page but thought some might enjoy it here.

In about 1974 at MacDill AFB the weapons load crews would take turns working the arm and de-arm end of runway. One afternoon, my crew was at the end of runway 22. We had spent the day arming up the F-4Es. At that time, they would give us a flight line pass so we could clip on the rear view of our car and drive our own vehicle to the end of runway. This day I drove my car. I was Crew Chief, my crew would chock the aircraft and connect the comm cord so I could talk to the pilot to ensure their switches were off, safe and normal. Then the crew would begin the process of removing safety pins and buttoning up panels.

Once the comm cord was connected and I verified aircraft safe the pilot asked, whose Mustang that was. I told him it was mine. He asked me if I wanted to race it. I asked what he drove. He said, “This”, I smiled and shook my head no but then realized I didn’t want to miss such an opportunity.

He said, ” I am the last sortie of the day, right?” He was right. He said, “I will pull onto the runway that will give you time to pack up and line up next to me on the taxiway, when you see the burners light, that will be the go signal.”

“You’re on”!

We lined up, when the burners lit I nailed it. The smoke rolled of the rear tires as the Mach 1s 428 Cobra Jet motor would up and I shot off the line. I watched in my rear view mirror as he got smaller in the mirror. It didn’t take too long until he started getting bigger in the mirror and at about the 1/2 way point down the runway as he passed me. The pilot giving me the thumbs up as I did to him. I am glad the tower said nothing, they could see it all.

Was kinda foolish, could have gotten a lot of trouble but sure wish camera phones were around back then.

Dennis Cole's photo.
Dennis Cole's photo.
Dennis Cole's photo.

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