Friday, April 5, 2013

The Friday Flyby - 05 April

Strike Fighter Squadron 94
"The Mighty Shrikes"
That gorgeous aircraft depicted above belongs to a squadron home based at Lemoore (where The WSO, Big Time and Little Bit are now stationed) and was once commanded by a very great man. Those in the know will know of whom I speak. (Uh, yes. Okay, I can see that makes sense. After a fashion. And those who don't know won't know, right?) Hint: his picture is over on the right, near the top. Retired Navy. (Okay that was two hints.)

At any rate, I stumbled across that particular picture on Google Images. It's very easy to stumble across aircraft pictures. Type in the squadron you want and presto! Aircraft pictures galore. (Or just type in the aircraft name/type.) Heck, it's the Internet, you can get pictures of anything. (But keep the Safe Search ON, okay? Sometimes what pops up ain't fit for normal, God-fearing folks!)

For instance, type in "obscure WWI aircraft" and this came up (well, among many other things) -

That's a Fokker Spider, which I had never heard of, until just now. Which may have been hours, if not weeks ago, by the time you read this. Just sayin'...

So, how about some world famous sh!t hot fighter pilots?
Oberst Erich "Bubi" Hartmann
352 Kills
Ritterkreuz mit Eichenlaub, Schwertern und Brillanten

Top Scoring Ace of All Time
Rittmeister Manfred von Richthofen
80 Kills

Pour le Mérite
Top Scoring Ace of WWI
Air Marshall Billy Bishop
72 Kills
Victoria Cross
Major Richard Bong
United States

40 Kills
Medal of Honor
Top Scoring American Ace
Captain Eddie Rickenbacker
United States
26 Kills
Medal of Honor

Top Scoring American Ace of WWI
Colonel Greg "Pappy" Boyington
United States
26 Kills
Medal of Honor
All of the men above were highly decorated, extremely successful fighter pilots. So were this next group of fellows. Perhaps not as famous, but just as effective in the air. One you might know, three you might not. But these next pilots are my personal heroes. 

Brigadier General Chuck Yeager
Went from private to general!
Brigadier General Robin Olds
Commanded my old outfit, the 8th Tactical Fighter Wing
The Wolf Pack

16 Kills WWII and Vietnam
Brigadier General Steve Ritchie and Colonel Chuck DeBellevue
Vietnam War Aces
Flying My Favorite Aircraft

The F-4D Phantom II
Tail Number 66-7463
(That jet in the banner, up top!)
So there you have it, some of my favorite fighter pilots. Note that I said "some", there are many more. Like my son-in-law, Big Time. Of course, that's a little different. He's family!


  1. Ah.. the F4D! Proof that if you stick a big enough engine on a brick, it'll fly!

    My son loves the plane pics on your blog.

    I recognized two of your personal heroes photos. Yeager and Olds.


    1. I used to work on the Phantom (a long, long time ago). The engines were big, powerful, noisy and smokey. It still was an excellent bird, an awesome sight to behold while in the air, a classic according to some. (Yes, I AM partial to that aircraft. 7463 in particular.)

      I'm glad your son likes the plane pics. Does he have any requests? I'll do a whole post on his favorite(s) if he'd like. I personally can't get enough aircraft pics and stories.

      Thanks for reading!

  2. Your post today reminded me of Flight Level 390 back when it was online. Dave had a column of his favorite flyers on the right side of his page. It included the luminaries above but also included Ripley and some weird guy I never heard of. Sadly, the sight went offline overnight a few months back and was taken down. I enjoyed watching the Phantoms at Selfridge back in the days when my folks lived there. They would give a whole new meaning to the term, "eat my dust."

    1. Looks like Flight Level 390 is available, doesn't appear to have new content. ( The right side of the page (sadly) has no flyers. I see the site went away but I read on a couple of forums that Dave perhaps was making a comeback. I hope so because from what I saw, looks like good stuff!

  3. You couldn't possibly include ALL of our fighter pilot heroes, but Bud Day is one o' mine. In addition to all o' the above.

    1. Bud Day is indeed a stud. Of course, I did say these were "some" of my favorite fighter pilots. I have so many and will no doubt list them in some future Friday Flyby.

      At least that's the plan.

  4. I didn't realize you were in the Wolfpack. I spent a week in Kunsan with a broken jet, another week on a SHAREM exercise- hunting ROK subs, and the Wolfpack hosted close to 20 aircraft from CVW-5 two winters in a row when they had launched in the Yellow Sea for a cycle and the deck got socked in by fog. I wasn't in one of the (lucky?) aircraft, but apparently the 'pack welcomed them with open beers and lots of camaraderie.

    1. If I recall correctly, we members of the Wolf Pack had a great deal of respect for our comrades in Naval Aviation. Yes, looking back on it, my four years at Kunsan was probably the best assignment of my career.


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