From Bud Cheney:


 My Air Force Flight Training class 62-B, was the last class to go through Primary and Basic  training at two  different bases.  Because our primary class was shortened, we did not get any night flying in the T-34 (Mentor) or T-37 (Tweety Bird or 7,000 pound Dog Whistle) at Bainbridge Ga.  Basic was at Craig AFB, near Selma, Alabama.  After we were semi-proficient in the T-33, We were assigned night flying qualification.


My instructor, Captain J.R. Disheroon and I did a night qualification dual ride, and then he turned me loose, to night solo.  Because of landing weight restrictions, I had to go out to our training area to burn off fuel.  After about 10 minutes in the area, The engine of my T-Bird began vibrating.  The Vibrating Engine emergency checklist didn’t help, so I declared the emergency and started back to Craig.   

Enroute, the tower advised I shoot a simulated flameout approach, which I did.  On the downwind leg, Because of the lack of Approach Lights and the darkest night in Alabama history. (That’s my story and I’m sticking to it) I misjudged my distance to the approach end, and turned in early.  (better than late).  I now see I’m high and fast, the engine feels like it’s coming out of the airplane and I can’t read the instruments because of the vibrations. About 500 feet, I shut it down, about the exact same time the flight commander in Mobile Control say go-around you’re too hot,  I suavely replied, NE Ne Ne Ne Negative I’ll ta ta ta ta take the ba ba ba barrier.   The T-33 required 1000 ft. AGL to eject.  

    Got it on the runway, opened the canopy, raised the speedbrakes, good braking, no blown tires, hit the center of the barrier, took out all the big chain and half of the small chain, before stopping.  I’m proudest of the fact that I unhooked the oxygen before diving over the side,  sparing myself the indignity of hanging by my helmet from the aircraft.  

I got out my flashlight and looked in the tailpipe.  Thank God, several  turbine blades missing, almost all the rest broken off to some extent.  I got to do 5 simulated flame out patterns the next day with the Assistant Flight commander and visit all the other flights on base, to relay my expertise.  My picture in the class yearbook, sitting in the link trainer, titled “Barrier Engagement” 

The airplane required a new engine, new gear doors, and  the main wing spar magnafluxed.  My flight suit required several washings.

Bud Cheney


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