One afternoon JD came into the flight room, slammed his kneeboard and checklist down on the table, and exclaimed to his student, “I wish I had my brains and your hands!” This is the back story, provided by the student…
“One of my most memorable flights was when I was flying solo and Jack Dyer, my instructor, was flying in the back seat of the wing aircraft with student Bruce Mason. Bruce led the first portion of the mission and then gave the lead to me so that I could lead through the various formation maneuvers. I was flying a very smooth platform for Bruce and in the process lost track of where I was in our assigned tube (working area). While studying the HSI to determine our exact location I realized we were getting dangerously close to one of our borders and, as I started a 90* bank turn looked over and saw Jack slamming his fists on the canopy rails in Bruce’s back seat and thought to myself, “Yep, I’m about to bust out of our tube.” I managed to stay in the tube and not bust the ride, but it was only by the grace of God. Jack said if I had lowered the gear at that point, they probably would have crossed into the other tube.
Upon returning to Vance we were parked in different rows. I caught an early tram back to the squadron building and Bruce and Jack caught a later tram. After hanging up my parachute, g-suit, and helmet I went to the snack bar, got a Coke, and sat down at our desk in the flight room. To help with the workload of flying formation, there were a couple of guest IPs from other flights and the room was full of debriefing crews. When Jack came in, he came over to our table, where I was sitting, slammed his checklist onto the desk, which got everybody’s attention, looked at me, and said, “Pipkin, I wish I had your hands and my brains. I would be the best fighter pilot in the U.S. Air Force.” As you can imagine, that got quite a laugh from everybody in the room. And, I didn’t know whether to say, “Thank you” or “I’m sorry.”
Jack was a great instructor. I’m glad I got to fly with him.”
Jack is still a dear friend of mine today, and I agree, a great IP!