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View Full Version : Thought You Might Like This Mustang Pilot's Story....



Sturmtrooper
09-21-2007, 10:07 AM
My girlfriend has a co-worker whose father was a Mustang pilot.
The following is a true story told by 1st Lt. Gene O. Eaton.
(sorry if it's kind long, but it's worth the read)http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/25.gif

In 1945 I was with the 508th Fighter Group,468th Fighter Squadron stationed on the air base at Mokuleia in Oahu, Hawaii. Our main duty was the defense of the Hawaiian Islands and we trained for air-sea rescues and worked off of radar. Our group worked three-eight hour shifts. My squadron was on duty at two a.m. until noon and during this time ,we were on alert ,and ready to go, within thirty seconds after we got a call for help.

During this same year, a shipping/receiving depot was moved to our airstrip on Mokuleia. Partially assembled p-51s were shipped in from the United States in boxes to the depot. The fuselage was in one box, the wings in another, landing gear, engine and the other parts in additional boxes.

The P-51s were assembled at the depot and it was our duty to fly them to Pearl Harbor landing on Ford Island ,where the planes would be loaded onto carriers for transport to areas in the pacific theatre. We also needed to make a determination of the plane's readiness and identify any problems during this short flight.

Landing on Ford Island's runway was risky since it was only 2,800 feet long and we were used to flying into an 11,000 foot runway. Also making the landing difficult was the fact that the trade winds usually blew in from the southwest over the sea toward the mountains, which would not allow us to fly in from the sea and land toward the mountains, because there wasn't enough room with the tailwind. So, we had to leave early in the morning before the winds shifted in order to land into the wind coming in from the sea toward the mountains, because of that short runway.

My first trip was a little bit scary because, well, 2800 feet wasn't very long and we were flying planes that had never been flown before. When we took off, we hoped that everything had been put together correctly. On that first trip to Ford's Island in a new
P-51, our flight leader was the squadron commander and I was flying number two in a flight of four. On the way over, the flight was uneventful as the planes had been put together properly and we had no problems. But I was a little anxious when we came in for the landing and I saw that short runway; the squadron commander was landing on the left side of the runway, I was behind him landing on the right side. When I saw him turn off about three fourths of the way down the runway, I felt a lot better because if he could do that on the short runway, then I was pretty sure I could also. We landed; our planes were loaded onto a carrier, and we were picked up by our group commander, who was in a stripped-down B-25, for the ride back to Mokuleia. We had to wait until the trade winds changed in order to take off toward the sea, as the B-25 needed all of the runway and a head-wind.

On our second trip, we did our preflight check the day before to look for any problems we could find on the planes. Everything seemed in order, and the next morning the same four pilots taxied out in four new P-51's to take off again for the trip to Ford Island. I was flying on the squadron commander's wing and we took off.

A P-51 produced a lot of torque, which required that you use a lot of trim tab to help hold your rudder in order to counteract the torque. I had set my trim tabs for take off and started down the runway. As the P-51 was getting up to speed, I noticed that I had to use up the entire rudder to keep the plane straight. When I rolled additional trim tab to help straighten up, the plane shot to the left. I realized, in that split second, that the rudder trim tab must have been wired up BACKWARDS !

As I shot across the runway behind my flight leader I had to do something quick because I couldn't stop and I was headed for the side of the runway where there were trees. I yanked back on the stick and had just enough speed to get airborne and make it over the trees. However, once I was in the air the plane began to stall and I started losing altitude and by this time I was out over the ocean. Luckily, I was able to regain flying speed but not before coming down within a few feet of the water.

I re-joined my flight group and we landed on Ford's Island and pulled up beside the carrier. They immediately threw a winch over the side to hook on to the airplane while I was still in it.

I knew that I had to write up a report on the plane's performance to tell them that the rudder trim had been wired backwards. The ship hands were yelling at me to get out of the airplane because they wanted to get it up on deck. I stayed in that plane until I had finished writing my report in huge letters, with exclamation points; to make sure that the problem was fixed before the next pilot flew this P-51.

1st Lt. Gene O. Eaton
508th Fighter Group, 468th Fighter Squadron
Currently living in North Vernon, IN.

Sturmtrooper
09-21-2007, 10:07 AM
My girlfriend has a co-worker whose father was a Mustang pilot.
The following is a true story told by 1st Lt. Gene O. Eaton.
(sorry if it's kind long, but it's worth the read)http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/25.gif

In 1945 I was with the 508th Fighter Group,468th Fighter Squadron stationed on the air base at Mokuleia in Oahu, Hawaii. Our main duty was the defense of the Hawaiian Islands and we trained for air-sea rescues and worked off of radar. Our group worked three-eight hour shifts. My squadron was on duty at two a.m. until noon and during this time ,we were on alert ,and ready to go, within thirty seconds after we got a call for help.

During this same year, a shipping/receiving depot was moved to our airstrip on Mokuleia. Partially assembled p-51s were shipped in from the United States in boxes to the depot. The fuselage was in one box, the wings in another, landing gear, engine and the other parts in additional boxes.

The P-51s were assembled at the depot and it was our duty to fly them to Pearl Harbor landing on Ford Island ,where the planes would be loaded onto carriers for transport to areas in the pacific theatre. We also needed to make a determination of the plane's readiness and identify any problems during this short flight.

Landing on Ford Island's runway was risky since it was only 2,800 feet long and we were used to flying into an 11,000 foot runway. Also making the landing difficult was the fact that the trade winds usually blew in from the southwest over the sea toward the mountains, which would not allow us to fly in from the sea and land toward the mountains, because there wasn't enough room with the tailwind. So, we had to leave early in the morning before the winds shifted in order to land into the wind coming in from the sea toward the mountains, because of that short runway.

My first trip was a little bit scary because, well, 2800 feet wasn't very long and we were flying planes that had never been flown before. When we took off, we hoped that everything had been put together correctly. On that first trip to Ford's Island in a new
P-51, our flight leader was the squadron commander and I was flying number two in a flight of four. On the way over, the flight was uneventful as the planes had been put together properly and we had no problems. But I was a little anxious when we came in for the landing and I saw that short runway; the squadron commander was landing on the left side of the runway, I was behind him landing on the right side. When I saw him turn off about three fourths of the way down the runway, I felt a lot better because if he could do that on the short runway, then I was pretty sure I could also. We landed; our planes were loaded onto a carrier, and we were picked up by our group commander, who was in a stripped-down B-25, for the ride back to Mokuleia. We had to wait until the trade winds changed in order to take off toward the sea, as the B-25 needed all of the runway and a head-wind.

On our second trip, we did our preflight check the day before to look for any problems we could find on the planes. Everything seemed in order, and the next morning the same four pilots taxied out in four new P-51's to take off again for the trip to Ford Island. I was flying on the squadron commander's wing and we took off.

A P-51 produced a lot of torque, which required that you use a lot of trim tab to help hold your rudder in order to counteract the torque. I had set my trim tabs for take off and started down the runway. As the P-51 was getting up to speed, I noticed that I had to use up the entire rudder to keep the plane straight. When I rolled additional trim tab to help straighten up, the plane shot to the left. I realized, in that split second, that the rudder trim tab must have been wired up BACKWARDS !

As I shot across the runway behind my flight leader I had to do something quick because I couldn't stop and I was headed for the side of the runway where there were trees. I yanked back on the stick and had just enough speed to get airborne and make it over the trees. However, once I was in the air the plane began to stall and I started losing altitude and by this time I was out over the ocean. Luckily, I was able to regain flying speed but not before coming down within a few feet of the water.

I re-joined my flight group and we landed on Ford's Island and pulled up beside the carrier. They immediately threw a winch over the side to hook on to the airplane while I was still in it.

I knew that I had to write up a report on the plane's performance to tell them that the rudder trim had been wired backwards. The ship hands were yelling at me to get out of the airplane because they wanted to get it up on deck. I stayed in that plane until I had finished writing my report in huge letters, with exclamation points; to make sure that the problem was fixed before the next pilot flew this P-51.

1st Lt. Gene O. Eaton
508th Fighter Group, 468th Fighter Squadron
Currently living in North Vernon, IN.