December 8, 2020 at 9:21 AM #10865
One weekend in February or March of 1975, I was flying Little Mountain.
That wasn’t unusual. it was a nice day, so we were flying. There seemed to be a lot of wuffos out, but that wasn’t terribly unusual either.
So, as I’m walking my glider over to the parking/breakdown area by the telephone poles, I get intercepted by these two older gentlemen. I was nineteen. *Everybody* was an older gentleman.
They start talking to me about the flying. That was very usual. But… this wasn’t the usual wuffo kind of questions. This was more like a debriefing. What about this, what about that, how about this other thing?
All stuff I’d thought about, and had answers for.
Yes, it could be dangerous, but it didn’t have to be. We picked our conditions, because we weren’t flying to a schedule. We weren’t going any great distances, so there wasn’t much chance of the “get-home-itis” that’s killed a lot of general aviation pilots. Similarly, we weren’t likely to fly into a big storm, and if one happened, well, the LZ was right there. The equipment was very simple, there weren’t many things that could jam or fail. Just assembling it and doing a walk-around was practically the equivalent of a hundred hour inspection… and other sales pitches on safety.
The phrase “hundred hour inspection” slid by without a blink from them, so my inclination was to think they had or at least had had some connection with aviation.
One guy had done most of the talking, and finally we got to the question that was usually gotten to with a wuffo. Sometimes it was a statement of “You’d never get me to do that”, but most often it was a question: “Do you think I could do that?”
At this time I would like to emphasize that the question I am about to ask this wuffo was not meant quite as literally as it may seem seeing it written down here. Really. But the exact phrasing, of both question and answer, is burned into my memory.
“Have you ever flown anything?”
There was the briefest of pauses. He looked at his friend and grinned, just slightly. His friend looked back with possibly a teeny bit more grin.
“Oh, I got me some time in some military stuff.”
O-o-kay. Probably both high-time military pilots. I’m a little embarrassed by my phrasing.
“Then you probably wouldn’t have any problems with this, other than everything happening so much slower.”
There was probably a little more, but the big question had been asked and answered, and eventually I went back to breaking down my glider.
Shortly afterward in the Sun-Telegram, there’s a short article: “Norton Air Force Base Commander General Charles Yeager retires from the Air Force”. They had a picture of those in attendance. My two wuffos were Chuck Yeager and Bud Anderson.
Oh, yeah. I asked Chuck Yeager if he’d ever flown anything.
Godspeed, Chuck.December 8, 2020 at 10:05 AM #10866December 8, 2020 at 11:07 AM #10870
I’m glad they ran into YOU!December 8, 2020 at 3:13 PM #10872Jana PivkovaGeneral Member
That’s pretty funny Tim! 😂 Thanks for sharing. We need more stories please!!! 🙏December 10, 2020 at 10:56 PM #10886Thomas EvansGeneral Member
Agreed! Great story and one to be shared.
A one of a kind, pilot’s pilot and true hero.
So long Chuck.
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