Director of Flying Safety for the 26th Air Division



Climbing up an F86

Flight Safety

In September 1956, I was reassigned to the 26th Air Defense Division on Long Island as the flight safety officer for the division. ADC had a typical accident record for the post WWII AF. For example, we lost 4 airplanes (3 F-86Ds and a T-33) in 6 weeks from one squadron in 1956 or 57. Three pilots were killed. Amazingly, neither the squadron commander nor the Wing commander was fired. Our accident rate at that time for F-86Ds was about 25 to 30 per 100,000 hours flight time. Today the loss rate for fighters is about 2 per 100,000 hours.

We took great pride in our ability to fly instruments. I remember seeking out thunderstorms to fly formation (2 ship) through, then kidding anyone who didn't hang on to the wing. More than once I remember being probably within 3 feet of the leader bouncing around. All you could see was the star on the leader’s wing which appeared close enough to touch.


Aircraft Flown

F-86D&L, T-33, B-25

Beaver, C-47, C-45




  T33 C47


  beaver SNB

C45 (SNB)




Gayle and Steve - Winter on Long Island 1957