Holloman SecondTour

I came back to Holloman from Pt Mugu to be test director of the RF4C Category II test program. I was very proud of our efforts. We started about 2mos late yet finished the year and a half program about 3mos early. We met all the requirements and even exceeded the planned number of test flights.

  HollomanRF4_3   HollomanRF4_4

Test Pilot

An example of the tests we flew is when I flew the low level test of a panoramic camera on the RF4C. I flew at 750 knots (redline), about Mach 1.3, at an altitude of 200ft. At the time the F4 still had a down spring in the control system which provided an artificial feel that made the aircraft feel like it had positive stability in the approach configuration (the Navy insisted on this because of carrier operation, I think they later took it out as did the AF). Unfortunately at higher speeds it made the plane very susceptible to longitudinal instability (use to call it the JC maneuver). So on this flight I would make the turn to the straight away, slam the throttles into burner then grab the stick with both hands, lock my knees and brace my shoulder against the seat and canopy with my arms ridged. When the run was complete I would bring slight back pressure on the stick and retard the throttles. The term JC was a result of the common expression uttered by many upon first encountering the instability "Jesus Christ". The correct term for the condition is PIO (Pilot Induced Oscillation).


Combat Training

As the program was winding down I volunteered for Vietnam and left for combat training at Hurlbert, Fl (next to Eglin AFB) about two weeks after signing the final test report.


Aircraft Flown

RF-4C, F-100, A1E, T-33