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Richard Jernigan

Posts: 2316
Joined: Jan. 20 2004
From: Austin, Texas USA

Frivolity 

quote:

ORIGINAL: estebanana

Happy birthday Richard, I hope your frivolity went well!


It did indeed. We went to the Universal Studios amusement parks in Orlando, and rode all the roller coasters in honor of my 80th. They are a bit more thrilling than the old wooden ones of my childhood! They get the adrenalin pumping. Took more than fifteen minutes, though.

I encountered what was a new (to me) amusement park technology.

You sit in your seat and fasten your seatbelt. They turn out the lights and project a 3-D movie on the screen, simulating impossible feats of flying through space, encountering obstacles which you blast through, etc. The platform your seat is fastened to is jolted, tilted, accelerated etc. in sync with the movie. it gives a realistic impression of a succession of hair raising stunts.

I rode two of them before I realized it was a souped up version of the cockpit flight simulators used to train pilots. Sometime in the late 1970s I visited my college room mate Tom F. in Munich. He knew some of the people at Siemens, who at the time were (may still be) the industry leaders in cockpit flight simulators. We got a tour of the facility, and had interesting conversations about the computer technology and programming environment required to support the real-time action and imagery.

Yesterday I relished the thought of those serious looking German guys with their white lab coats, clipboards and precisely trimmed beards, saying, "Hey, what if we juiced this thing up a little and made it look and feel like you were flying way too fast among the New York City skyscrapers?"

There were immense, dense crowds, 30-minute waits even in the express lines. An employee told us Christmas was their busiest day of the whole year. I've forgotten most of an obscene song I once learned, but the chorus went "My God, how the money rolls in."

RNJ
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 28 2017 20:01:32
 
estebanana

 

Posts: 7168
Joined: Oct. 16 2009
 

RE: Frivolity (in reply to Richard Jernigan

Excellent, considering your new OctoAgent status we will be respectful and not dock your 2018 frivolity allotment- Pending Approval from Chief Frivolity Commissar Barkell. Next time try to stay within the fifteen minute limit.

On an separate topic, I wanted to know since your dad flew you around in a Stearman, what was the last jet he was checked out in? I'm just curious about the earliest to latest aircraft he flew. He must be one of the few aviators to fly very early to mid century aircraft. I'm also curious who flew the biggest stretch from early to late.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 29 2017 0:38:18
 
Richard Jernigan

Posts: 2316
Joined: Jan. 20 2004
From: Austin, Texas USA

RE: Frivolity (in reply to estebanana

Dad learned to fly in a deHavilland DH-4, a WW I plane the Army Air Corps was still using in the late 1920s, since they couldn't afford a fleet of new planes. The "DH" was developed in England, but many were bought by the Army Air Service for WW I. The American version was powered by the 400 horsepower Liberty V-12, making it a hot airplane. He also flew the Curtiss JN-4 "Jenny." Both planes began production in 1916.

The latest jet he was checked out in was the F-105.

His open cockpit biplane wasn't a Stearman. It was a Spartan C3-225. The "225" was for the 225 horsepower supercharged 7 cylinder Wright J-6 radial engine. That model Spartan held the altitude record for a while, due to its supercharged engine, which retained power in the thinner air at high altitude.

But speaking of Stearmans, Dad's former partner in the Piper dealership and the East End Airport in San Antonio owned the world's largest crop dusting business in the 1950s-early 1960s. Uncle Bob's planes dusted crops from the state of Washington to Brazil. He owned several Stearmans with high lift wings and souped up engines.

An airport bum named Clinton Frakey worked for Uncle Bob as a mechanic. Clinton was fired when he won a $150 bet that he could loop a Stearman with a spray boom attached. Clinton was last seen in Venezuela when he took off in his J-3 Cub with the announced intention of going to see Angel Falls.

But between being fired and going to Venezuela, Clinton ground looped his Cub in a stiff crosswind at Stinson Field in San Antonio. He ended up on his nose, with the tail sticking up almost vertically.

Uncle Bob donated shop space at Stinson, where he rented three of the four hangars, for Clinton to rebuild his Cub. Everybody told him to buy a new crankcase and crankshaft, but Clinton took his old crankcase to a machine shop to have it line bored, and had the crank trued up on a lathe.

When it came time to re-license the Cub, none of the San Antonio FAA inspectors would go on a check ride with Clinton. Finally a newly transferred inspector agreed to go with him.

They took off from Stinson on the south side of town, bound for San Antonio International on the north side. They swung a wide arc to the east of the city, avoiding heavily populated areas. Just as everyone had predicted, the crank seized up and the engine stopped about half way around.

As Clinton deftly piloted the Cub to a dead stick landing in a corn field, he said to the inspector in the back seat, "Don't you just love flyin'? Ain't it just so quiet and peaceful up here?"

RNJ
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 29 2017 4:43:35
 
estebanana

 

Posts: 7168
Joined: Oct. 16 2009
 

RE: Frivolity (in reply to Richard Jernigan

So I guess Clinton was a fighter pilot in WWII? Or just insane?

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 29 2017 6:40:08
 
BarkellWH

Posts: 2639
Joined: Jul. 12 2009
From: Washington, DC

RE: Frivolity (in reply to estebanana

quote:

On an separate topic, I wanted to know since your dad flew you around in a Stearman,


Just a side note regarding the Stearman aircraft. I am a member of the Far East Luncheon Group in Washingt0n, DC, whose members are diplomats (most retired), national security professionals, and journalists, all with experience and interest in Asia. One of our members is William (Bill) Stearman, a long-retired, elderly Foreign Service officer who has written a book of memoirs entitled "An American Adventure."

Bill Stearman's father was Lloyd C. Stearman, who was principal designer of the WWII Stearman aircraft that bears his name. He was also first President (and, in effect, founder) of Lockheed Aircraft Corporation (Now Lockheed Martin), and he founded Stearman Aircraft Corp (now Boeing-Wichita). Lloyd Stearman is in the National Aviation Hall of Fame.

Bill

_____________________________

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With the name of the late deceased,
And the epitaph drear, "A fool lies here,
Who tried to hustle the East."

--Rudyard Kipling
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 29 2017 14:17:57
 
Piwin

Posts: 1814
Joined: Feb. 9 2016
 

RE: Frivolity (in reply to Richard Jernigan

quote:

you sit in your seat and fasten your seatbelt. They turn out the lights and project a 3-D movie on the screen, simulating impossible feats of flying through space, encountering obstacles which you blast through, etc.


My father brought us kids to the Disneyland amusement park in Paris two or three times when I was growing up. They had (perhaps still have) a ride like that. Star Wars themed. You boarded a civilian transport ship with a newbie robot pilot who made mistake after mistake until you ended up right in the middle of the final battle between the Empire and the Rebellion around the death star.

Anyways, happy birthday!

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 29 2017 14:54:59
 
Ruphus

Posts: 3540
Joined: Nov. 18 2010
 

RE: Frivolity (in reply to Piwin

quote:

ORIGINAL: Piwin


My father brought us kids to the Disneyland amusement park in Paris two or three times when I was growing up. They had (perhaps still have) a ride like that. Star Wars themed. You boarded a civilian transport ship with a newbie robot pilot who made mistake after mistake until you ended up right in the middle of the final battle between the Empire and the Rebellion around the death star.

Anyways, happy birthday!


Think I´ve been in the same thing in Californian Disney World in 1977.
-Wait! Not really same. It was like a cinema with moving seats.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 29 2017 16:27:26
 
Piwin

Posts: 1814
Joined: Feb. 9 2016
 

RE: Frivolity (in reply to Ruphus

quote:

It was like a cinema with moving seats.


Yes that's basically what it was. Though, if I remember correctly, we didn't have seatbelts like the one Richard described but we had one of those bars that come down like on a rollercoaster.
After that ride we'd go watch that ridiculous 3D movie where Michael Jackson is the captain of a spaceship walking around with a gremlin on his shoulder. 3D was nauseating back then.

_____________________________

"I have now eaten the banana. The deceased, Mr Apricot, is now disarmed."
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 29 2017 16:56:28
 
Richard Jernigan

Posts: 2316
Joined: Jan. 20 2004
From: Austin, Texas USA

RE: Frivolity (in reply to BarkellWH

Some of my earliest memories are of Stearmans, though by then they were called Boeing Kaydets. They were the Army Air Corps' primary trainers in the early 1940s, the first planes that aviation cadets learned to fly.

Dad was part of the cadre that went from Brooks Army Air Field to open Randolph in San Antonio. Much larger than Brooks, Randolph became the primary training center for the buildup prior to WW II overseen by Chief of Staff Henry "Hap" Arnold.

There was a large grassy quadrangle behind our quarters. My pals and I would lie on our backs in the grass and admire the Kaydets flying over. They were beautiful planes with sky blue fuselages and yellow wings with the insignia of a white star in a blue circle.

The Line Chief, the senior non-commissioned officer in charge of aircraft maintenance, was a friend of mine. At age three I would sneak off down to the flight line, a couple of blocks away, and learn some of the fine points of aircraft maintenance. Returning home I would be placed on extra duty for going absent without leave, but it was worth it.

RNJ



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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 29 2017 18:18:24
 
Richard Jernigan

Posts: 2316
Joined: Jan. 20 2004
From: Austin, Texas USA

RE: Frivolity (in reply to Richard Jernigan

I'm pretty sure I have posted this before, but here we are in the Spartan. I'm the little kid who always looked at the camera instead of where I was told to.

We stopped over in Kerrville, on the way back to San Antonio from the Gillespie County Fair at Fredericksburg, to see Dad's first cousin. Her husband took the photo with his 4"x 5" Graflex, and developed and printed it in his darkroom. Dad and Carl Crawford, who ran Dad and "Uncle" Bob's flight school, had put on an aerobatic show at the fair.

Carl had a Great Lakes biplane, painted in the same orange and black as the Spartan. Carl had an English bulldog which rode in the front cockpit. Landing before the spectators, the bulldog would be peering over the side, wearing his aviator's helmet and goggles.

Before he went overseas for WW II in 1942, Dad sold the Spartan to Frank Tallman, Jr., a stunt pilot with a collection of antique and vintage planes. Tallman and his planes were in a number of Hollywood movies. I heard that the Spartan was among the planes destroyed in a hangar fire in the 1950s.

RNJ

(The 2nd photo is a Spartan with a fresh version of the factory paint job, same as Dad's plane.)





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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 29 2017 18:38:08
 
Richard Jernigan

Posts: 2316
Joined: Jan. 20 2004
From: Austin, Texas USA

RE: Frivolity (in reply to estebanana

quote:

ORIGINAL: estebanana

So I guess Clinton was a fighter pilot in WWII? Or just insane?


Clinton was one of a population of airport bums, who started hanging around airports as kids in the 1920s-1930s. Clinton, like many others, eventually learned to fly and held a variety of jobs at smaller airports. Also like many others, Clinton's spirit of adventure sometimes overruled his good judgment.

Licensed and highly qualified mechanics, flight instructors, businesslike stunt pilots like the Cole Brothers, and other upstanding members of the aviation community were often invited to dinner at our house, but Clinton never was.

Last time I saw Carl Crawford was in 1957. Carl must have been in his sixties by then. He was crop dusting at Raymondville in south Texas. I heard of a bet he had made and went to the little airport on Sunday. Carl showed up with a paper bag of ham sandwiches and a six-pack of the soft drink Grapette. Then he climbed into his plane and broke the Guinness world record for the most consecutive loops. I don't remember precisely, but I think it took more than two hours.

Carl was an adventurous man, but his judgment and safety record were well respected.

RNJ
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 29 2017 19:45:09
 
pundi64

Posts: 226
Joined: Jul. 29 2016
From: Thailand

RE: Frivolity (in reply to Richard Jernigan

Great read, thanks for the Frivolity.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 29 2017 20:33:30
 
Paul Magnussen

Posts: 1406
Joined: Nov. 8 2010
From: London (living in the Bay Area)

RE: Frivolity (in reply to pundi64

quote:

Great read, thanks for the Frivolity.


Ditto. Too bad you don’t have a picture of the bulldog in the front cockpit, with the goggles. Did anyone ever tell their kids that the dog was flying the plane, and the bloke behind was the passenger?
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 29 2017 22:03:30
 
Richard Jernigan

Posts: 2316
Joined: Jan. 20 2004
From: Austin, Texas USA

RE: Frivolity (in reply to Paul Magnussen

Carl's bulldog was the occasion of a number of other stories.

Attached by a long leash to the landing gear, he guarded Carl's Great Lakes when Carl was away. I never knew of the dog actually biting anybody, but I don't remember any stranger getting close enough to incur the risk. He could behave ferociously.

With friends the dog was almost sloppily affectionate.

On a different trip to Fredericksburg the dog caused some consternation. I know it was a different trip because my mother, my brother and I were sitting in the 1937 Buick Roadmaster, watching Dad and Carl put on an airshow, when a man walked up and said we were urgently required back at the motel, something to do with a dog.

Mom drove the gray Buick expertly. When we arrived at the motel, no one was in the office, but there seemed to be a commotion out in the yard. The motel was built in a hollow square, with a grassy area and a few trees in the middle.

Outside we found several motel employees being held at bay by the bulldog, while one of the maids complained vehemently of having been put up a tree. She was still up there.

Mom called off the dog. The manager began to expostulate. Mom calmly reminded him that they had been warned that the dog was in Carl's room, and on no account was anyone to try to go in. She pointed out that the manager had acknowledged the warning and had agreed to the situation before we left for the fairground after breakfast. The manager began to raise his voice. The dog did not take well to anyone threatening Mom. He growled belligerently, and poised for attack. He wasn't on his leash.

The manager retreated to the office, we took the dog back to Carl's room, sat with him for a while to reassure him, and calm gradually began to settle in.

The dog figured indirectly in my being allowed to ride in the Spartan at all. It was feared that I was so small that I might accidentally slip out from under the seat belt and go over the side. The adult size shoulder straps for aerobatics were useless for me. My brother was big enough to ride in the biplane.

I didn't see it as a safety issue. I considered it a question of human rights, and raised the subject frequently. Carl finally saw a solution. In those days there were still saddlers and boot makers on the banks of the San Antonio river, a short way downstream from downtown. Carl borrowed me one Saturday and took me down to have a harness and leash made for me, like the one the bulldog wore while flying.

On Saturday mornings Mom would bring us boys to the airport, along with coffee and cake for the employees and customers. When the saddler's work was done Carl rigged me up in the harness and swung me around the office on the leash. Then he asked, "Mrs. Jernigan, can Richard ride in the Spartan now?" It was agreed that I could.

RNJ

(Dad was a car nut, as well as an airplane enthusiast. Fifty years later Mom mentioned that we had the Buick because she had vetoed an even bigger Packard.)



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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jan. 12 2018 3:50:38
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