Veteran Stories:
Douglas Smith

Air Force

  • Douglas Smith, October 2009.

    Douglas Smith
Enlarge Image
Listen to this story

"My last checkout with my instructor, he made me do a roll and hyper, I forgot that I had to increase my airspeed and went into a stall."

Transcript

I went to the YMCA when I was younger and we had a group leader who eventually went in the air force. I can’t remember, George Williams I believe his name was. And he joined the air. He was the leader of the group that I participated in at the YMCA. He eventually joined the air force while I was there and he got lost over Britain somewhere, into the Atlantic Ocean I believe. And I think that prompted me more than anything else to join the air force. And aviation was a fairly new thing in those days and it, I enjoyed learning about it and I thought maybe I’d like to be a pilot and when this opportunity came along, that was my reason I guess for joining the air force. Like my training, it was on Cornells, which is the greatest little plane I ever flew, I thought. I enjoyed it very much. I tried to buy one as a matter of fact after the war but they disappeared. You could do anything you wanted with them, they just felt so safe to me. You could manipulate them any way you wanted to go and they did it for you. So we were soloing in those days maybe, well, some of us soloed in four to four, five, six hours and some it took 20 hours, it depended on the person. And it was a frightening deal, I’ll tell you. My last checkout with my instructor, he made me do a roll and hyper, I forgot that I had to increase my airspeed and went into a stall. This was the double cockpit, one in the front, one in the back in the Cornell. And I thought, well, this is me finished, when I did that. And he made me land the plane and I made the smoothest landing I ever made in my life when I come in, for some reason. And it saved my bacon. I think. He never he said but I think.
Follow us