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Hot Stuff, Hot Landing,
Hot Brakes, Hot Collar
Spring 1967

Dick Reichelt

Some of you remember, after flying around with her strapped to your butt, you and the C-141 were one. You and it could do anything asked of you. My fantasy mind worked overtime once in a while. Your landings are great, you consider passenger comfort, you take care of your crew, and you sit there staring out at the world.

Just suppose you were called on to be the first one to land the 141 on ... an aircraft carrier -- the USS Forrestal. Well, sure we can do it! Imagine talking to the skipper.

"Air force to skipper - what are your winds down there?"

"Forrestal To AF -- 25 kts."

"AF to skipper, can you give us 35kt hull speed?"

"Forrestal To AF -- We'll try sir."

"OK nav, help me out on this, We'll be coming in at stall + ten for an 80kt touchdown minus the 25 kits of wind, minus 35kts ship speed into the wind. Our touchdown will be at 20kts deck speed. Full flaps, auto spoilers, full reverse open, we'll tell 'em to hang onto their hats! Plop. Success! Tie us down."

Wakeup, with the sun in your eyes ... you dozed off.

Well in the beginning it wasn't like that. After the flight check and route checks, my east coast squadron sent you out with another new Aircraft commander, two greenies on their first solo trip

I drew a fellow that trained at the same time as I did and was ready also, Very personable and with a boyish grin I met Capt. K. and off we went to Europe. I think it was Lajes, Frankfort, Athens. Outbound, swapping legs as we went.

Set to leave Athens K's leg, our request for 120,000 lbs was denied. 'Can't have it you guys, you're taking 8 pallets out of here and picking up cargo from Iraklion, figure out your landing weight limit and that's all the fuel you get. Uhg! We studied that somewhere. Back into the book, we were gonna be heavy no matter how little fuel we put on. We figured a fuel load, filed for the very short flight to the island.

Off we went, the intrepid K at the controls. Short flight, blue skies, hot day, and down we come, 8000 foot runway dead ahead. Good approach early on,. Short final-not good, we are going too fast and too high.

There are some temple ruins, columns and statues near the end of the runway sitting on a cliff rising 50-60 ft. out of the swirling, splashing surf. That was too much for K because he slowed the descent and ballooned high above the end of the runway and proceeded to fly down (read: over) the strip at 50 feet. "one thousand, two thousand", I'm co-pilot counting the freakin' markers going by. "K! Land this mother! Three thousand, 4 thousand, 4 ½, K!" Boomp, we're down, spoilers, reverse, brakes, BRAKES! Four feet STANDING on 4 brake pedals. I'm certain the engineer and navs were dragging something of their own too!

The great 141 STOPS! Engines still in reverse open are snorting, popping, and belching. blowing sand ,straw ,and corruption across the windows. OUT of reverse, lookout front. Oh my God, we have stopped a mere 10 feet from the 60 foot drop to the sea. Thank you Jesus!

Hard left turn and taxi in. Then I have my first introduction to the two footed rudder pedal mambo. My footwork would have made Fred Astare delighted. The cockpit is quiet. We deplane. We're not done. Back to the book, to figure out whether the thermal plugs in the wheels are gonna blow. The book says stay away, sit on your hands for two hours, and did we say stay away?

Three hours later, my turn and off we go into the wild blue yonder, same wheels, same tires, Thanks again StarLifter. You did OK.

Heading home.

Sadly, whether this incident had any bearing on it or not, K., poor guy, got passed over for promotion (2nd time) and finished his 20 years at a reduced rank. I wished him well.


Richard (Dick) Reichelt      richreichelt@msn.com

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