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Short Stories

Charlie's Nose Job
by John Harris
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"Charlie" was another black, glass nosed, dual control airplane, just like "Easy". Charlie lived a short, unhappy life.
At Kunsan, she developed a recurring nose gear indication problem. The red light would come on sometimes, and they didn't really think the nose gear was unsafe

Griff DeNeen and crew landed after their mission and the nose gear folded during the landing roll. Griff had checked it down according to the procedure, yet it collapsed. Bert Wells, the navigator was riding in the glass nose. As the forward progress of the airplane ground away the nose, Bert frantically scrambled to stay away from the grinder. As Griff said, he plastered himself to the top and hung on to whatever was available. All he got was bruises and a terrible fright.

Pilot Griff DeNeen
"Griff DeNeen, Pilot"
Charlie's Nose Job
"Charlie's Nose Job"

Where the glass nose had been, down to the pavement was only about ten inches and Bert's legs were in that opening and he kept them raised until the airplane stopped. Griff said it looked strange with the two legs sticking up in front of the windshield, and when the airplane came to a stop, they slowly lowered. He wondered if Bert was all smashed. Bert was so sore from the exertion that he couldn't get out of bed the next day.

I remember that there had been trouble with that same nose gear previously. The airplane was eventually wrecked when a go around was attempted at on one engine. It was a training flight and the nose gear green light went out and the red came on when the guy flying was all set to land on one engine.

Charlie was repaired and went back to work flying missions. That is, she flew missions until that last flight with Jesse James when she was wrapped up on a single engine approach.

-- John Harris
13th Pilot
John Harris