Seventeen Words of English

 

    Marines were not the only pilots to fly at the Rose Garden. This is a

story about one that  darn near made a "full stop" out of a "touch and go".

 

     The voice was American booming out in a Texas twang: "Namphong Tower,

NamPhong tower   Tiger 12... 15 miles out for staight in for touch and go

bounce pattern".

 

     In the time had been at The Rose Garden  and had never heard of the

"Tiger" call sign.  So I whipped the landing numbers out, then out of curiousity

added a "SAY  TYPE AIRCRAFT". As the Marine pilots generally used Rose Garden as the

call sign, I  knew that this aircraft was a transient.

 

    The Pilot replied in his Texas drawl: "Namphong Tower, Tiger 12 is a

flight of two TEE TWENTEE EEEIGHTS".

 

    I replied, "Tiger 12, Namphong Tower,  check three miles, copy flight of

two T28's."

 

    Texan:  <Click!> <Click!>

 

    A few minutes later, The Texan radios: "Namphong Tower, Tiger 12, 3

miles.

 

    I answered back: "Tiger 12, Namphong Tower, check gear down, wind 210 at

2, cleared  for touch and go".

 

    Texan: "Tiger 12."

 

    The two T28s flew a 360 over headbreak and established separation for

the downwind  portion of the flight pattern. The T28's did a few touch and gos. When

the Texan  flight leader asked for a full stop.

 

    Texan: "Tower, Tiger 12 turning base, requesting full stop."

 

    I replied, "Tiger 12, wind calm, cleared to land, Tiger 11, number 2,

extend downwind    for separation."

 

    The T28 rolled to a stop about mid field turned around and taxied back

up the landing  runway. This wouldn't do as the wing man Tiger 11 was

number 2 and expecting the runway to be clear for his T&G",

 

    I requested: "Tiger 12 Taxi Clear of runway, Tiger 11 execute missed

approach".

 

    The T28 on the runway with the Texan pilot stopped on the runway next to

the tower.

    The canopy opens and out hops a tall American. There is a copilot

remaining  in the aircraft but his helmet barely clears the side of the canopy.  While 

the tall pilot  is walking up to the tower. The radio announces in a very

broken English: "Tiger 12      request takoff." I give the permission and

wait for the Tall American.

 

    The Tall American climbs the steps. When he reaches the top I see he is

another one of those pilots with velcro patches. No identifying items

on his flight suit. He only    tells me that they are training some foreign pilots He would appreciate

us allowing  these flights to use Namphong as a training area.

 

    Meanwhile the two T28s are  doing some touch and go's. The Texan thanks

me and says  one more thing:"Oh, by the way, these trainees only speak 17 words of

English."

    He then  walks back to the edge of the runway. The wing man is doing

pretty good  T&G's. The plane with the solo pilot is turning base.

 

    T28 with solo pilot (in broken English): "Tiger 12, request touch and go."

 

    I reply: " Tiger 12, wind calm, cleared for touch and go."

 

    T28 with solo pilot (seeing Texan on edge of Runway): "Tiger 12, request full stop."

 

    Tiger 12 came down hard on the starboard main wheel, bounced in the air.

Came down came down hard on port main wheel, bounced again. This last bounce took

the aircraft  off the runway into the dirt. It was headed straight for the radar unit

at mid field.  It crabbed from one side to the other as it bounced on alternate main

wheels.

 

      Without much time to think, I pulled the crash alarm. This sounded a

loud claxon  type horn in the radar control room. This horn was supposed warn

everybody to bail out and run for it in the radar control room. No doors opened, nobody

came out. The  T28 was about 6 feet  off the ground still wiggling from side to side

still headed for the radar site. About 100 yards short of the radar site the pilot

somehow regained control, clearing the radome by about no more than ten feet!

The T28 appeared to lose altitude after clearing the radome and hit the ground

once more in a puff of dust. Finally the pilot, climbed up from the dust and

reentered the patten.

 

      A half a minute or so later the phone line to the Radar Control room rang.

 

     Cpl Schnell, "What the #!*& did you do that for? Thats really loud!

Turn it off!"

 

     I answered: "Well I guess it doesn't matter anymore".

     Then turned off the alarm and hung up the phone.

 

     Some how the solo pilot got the plane back on the ground and picked up

the Texan.

 

     Texan's Voice over radio: "Tiger flight will depart the pattern to the West.

 

     I answered: "<Click> <Click>!"