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Richard Palm (PAO)
Top Gun


Reged: 04/30/04
Posts: 5388
Loc: PUDBY
Eisenhower's Piloting Experience
      #436903 - 03/27/17 09:48 PM

I thought this was interesting. In his book, At Ease: Stories I Tell to Friends, Dwight Eisenhower wrote this summary of his piloting experience, in the chapter on his time with MacArthur in the Philippines:

In the beginning of 1936, we fixed up a field outside the city limits, selected a few students, and started a miniature air force. The students learned rapidly and I decided to take flying lessons, informally, from Captain Lewis and Lieutenant William Lee, the American instructors. Because I was learning to fly at the age of forty-six, my reflexes were slower than those of the younger men. Training me must have been a trial of patience for Lewis and Lee.*

Little more than thirty years had passed since Kitty Hawk. One had to react alertly to changes in sound or wind or temperature. The engines were good but the pilot who asked too much of one, in a steep climb, for example, learned that the roaring monster could retreat into silent surrender.

The seat of the pants was a surer guide to navigation than the few instruments and beacons we had. The pilot depended on his eyes, scanning terrain for landmarks, amd on his ears to tell him that all was well under the cowling. There was a compass to help, when mineral deposits didn't excite it into a dance. Other instruments were few and fairly primitive. Once the pilot left the ground, he was on his own, lord of all he surveyed or its victim. He was alone as he never could be in cities or towns.

To attract attention for a landing or a message, we buzzed a building until its occupants ran out. They never knew whether we were just visiting or in trouble. To communicate was a simple matter: you wrapped a message around a stone and dropped it as close as possible to them. We did have maps. One slight problem was that tropical landscapes, viewed from several thousand feet up, bore slight resemblance to the best map. In my examination for a pilot's license, on July 19, 1939, I wrote:

"To locate position on map get into clear area where ground is visible. Seek prominent landmarks such as railways, rivers, main roads, cities, which may be readily located on map. If possible, fly low over a railroad station or other structure on which name of locality may appear.

"If these means do not immediately help, then fly compass course toward a general area of known fair weather, and again seek landmarks, etc."

In other words, just keep flying until you run out of gas or your luck changes. But it was fun and at the end of the tour, I had 350 hours in my flight log.

After World War II, I had ceased to fly altogether, except that once in a while, on a long trip, to relieve my boredom (and demolish the pilot's), I would move into the co-pilot's seat and take over the controls. But as the jet age arrived, I realized that I had come out of a horse-and-buggy background, recognized my limitations, and kept to a seat in the back.
________________________________________
* After a time Lewis left, was replaced by a Lieutenant Parker, who, in turn, was replaced by a Lieutenant Anderson -- all of which suggests that I wore out lieutenants fairly fast.


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Richard Duxbury (Dux)
Top Gun


Reged: 05/15/04
Posts: 5468
Loc: Minneapolis/Tucson
Re: Eisenhower's Piloting Experience [Re: Richard Palm (PAO)]
      #436984 - 03/29/17 03:31 PM

Thanks Richard for that historic aviation info about Ike.

My wife and I have toured the Eisenhower library, museum, and his original small house. Also found out he wanted to attend the USNaval Academy but was rejected -thus West Point.

Regards,

Dux -and the single most important message during the various tours was his final warning about the Military-Industrial Complex.


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Randy Sohn
Gradn Exlated Ordre of teh Fyling Fingres


Reged: 08/31/01
Posts: 23187
Loc: Savage, MN - U.S.A.
Re: Eisenhower's Piloting Experience [Re: Richard Palm (PAO)]
      #436992 - 03/29/17 07:59 PM

Quote:

* After a time Lewis left, was replaced by a Lieutenant Parker, who, in turn, was replaced by a Lieutenant Anderson -- all of which suggests that I wore out lieutenants fairly fast.




Head shakin' mode here, somehow made me recall those days when I was on the Stand Bd. at SAC hdqtrs. at Offutt AFB <g>.

best, randy


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