|United States Navy||
Tuesday 28th February,1961.
|NATC Whiting Field|
|Naval Aviation Cadet James F. Strickland|
The damaged cockpit section of BuNo 140033
Jim in the front seat of a T-28 Trojan
prayed and pulled."
Almost 50 years on it is still hard for Jim to believe that within a year of beginning his Naval Aviator training he would become a member of the exclusive Caterpillar Club.
On Tuesday 28th February,1961 two T-28B Trojans from VT-3* NATC Whiting Field were flying a routine training flight when they were involved in a mid-air collision.
The accident took place in clear skies south east of Munson, Black River State Forest, about 45 miles northeast of Pensacola, at around 3.30 in the afternoon.
In the front
was instructor pilot LTJG
Herbert French, of
and Jim, from
Savannah, was occupying the backseat. The events happening outside
were, at that time, obscured from Jim who was under the hood flying a
Radio Instrument training flight when the other T-28 shooting a
penetration came down through the top of his aircraft.
In the other aircraft, BuNo 140033, events were also happening quickly as the damaged aircraft became uncontrollable. Both instructor pilot LT Andrew E. Braunchweiger and student LT Manoel van der Haagen Silva bailed out safely.
Within a short time a helicopter recovered the three survivors and returned them to Whiting Field an auxiliary of NAS Pensacola.
*Training Squadron 3 was commissioned on May 1, 1960, at South Whiting Field. Its primary mission was to instruct student Naval Aviators in radio instruments, formation flying, and air-to-air gunnery.
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