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a true story of an event in my life--i still find unbelieveable--what a good foreman i had to trust me so--otis--any image i add is one of my paintings--


Submitted:Jul 21, 2008    Reads: 108    Comments: 0    Likes: 0   


8/18/05 'KING COBRA P-63'

OTIS WAS WORKING IN THE ENGINE INSTALLATION DEPT. AT THE LAKE CHARLES, LA ARMY AIR BASE--IN CIVILIAN HANGER #3--DURING WORLD WAR 2--THIS WAS THE MOST FASCINATING THING OTIS HAS EVER DONE IN HIS LIFE--OTIS IS NEARING 80 YEARS OLD NOW--

OTIS HAD THE PRIVILEGE TO SEE MANY OF THE WORLD WAR 2 MILITARY AIRCRAFT AND TO WORK ON THEM--IN THE DEPARTMENT THAT HAD THE DUTY TO REMOVE AND INSTALL NEW ENGINES--THIS WORK WAS ALL DONE AS PERFECTLY AS POSSIBLE--AN INSPECTOR CHECKED EVERY THING THAT WAS DONE--THIS PRODUCED A GREAT ADMIRATION IN ME OF THE QUALITY OF MILITARY AIRCRAFT --DONE AS RIGHT AS HUMANLY POSSIBLE--

OTIS HAD A GOOD FOREMAN AND GOOD FELLOW WORKERS--SOME OF THEM WOMEN--I WAS PRESENT WHEN MY FOREMAN WOULD RUN AN ENGINE AFTER WE HAD INSTALLED IT--THE ENGINE WAS RUN FOR A CERTAIN PERIOD OF TIME AND THEN STOPPED AND THE OIL WAS CHANGED--IF THERE WERE 'BIG' METAL PARTICLES ON THE MAGNETIC DRAIN PLUG--THIS ENGINE WAS DECLARED 'BAD'--I NEVER SAW THIS HAPPEN IN THE 33 MONTHS I WORKED THERE--THE BASE CLOSED SOON AFTER THE WAR WAS OVER--

JUST SOUTH OF HANGER #3 SAT A BELL AIRCRAFT -A P-63 KING COBRA--TRI-CYCLE LANDING GEAR--A VERY SLEEK SINGLE ENGINE FIGHTER--IT WAS OF A UNIQUE DESIGN--THE V-12 ALLISON LIQUID COOLED 1325 H.P. ENGINE WAS MOUNTED INSIDE THE AIRCRAFT IMMEDIATELY BEHIND THE PILOT--THE DRIVE SHAFT TO THE PROPELLER RAN UNDER THE PILOTS' SEAT AND TO A GEAR BOX ON THE NOSE OF THE AIRCRAFT--TO WHICH THE PROPELLER WAS MOUNTED--THIS ALLOWED A 37 MM CANNON (1-1/2 DIAMETER BULLETS)- TO BE MOUNTED JUST AHEAD OF THE PILOT AND THE GUN BARREL COULD BE PUT THROUGH THE HOLLOW PROPELLER SHAFT--

FOUR 50 CALIBER MACHINE GUNS WERE ALSO MOUNTED IN THE WINGS--THIS AIRCRAFT WAS USED MOSTLY BY THE RUSSIANS FOR LOW LEVEL ATTACKS--OF COURSE PROVIDED TO THEM BY THE UNITED STATES--

ONE DAY MY FOREMAN TOLD ME TO GO ENTER THE KING COBRA SITTING SOUTH OF HANGER #3--START THE ENGINE--WARM IT UP--CHECK THE MAGNETOS--2 OF THEM--WITH THE PROPELLER IN THE LOW PITCH POSITION--AT ABOUT 1500 RPM--AND THEN OPEN THE THROTTLE FOR A FEW SECONDS TO SEE IF THE ENGINE WOULD REACH ITS FULL RPM--ABOUT 3000 RPM---OF COURSE THE WHEELS WERE CHOCKED AND THE BRAKES SET--

I COULD NOT BELIEVE MY FOREMAN WAS GOING TO LET ME DO THIS--AND I STILL WONDER ABOUT IT TODAY--BUT I SURE ACCEPTED THE CHALLENGE--

NO PROBLEM STARTING THE ENGINE AND DOING THE MINOR CHECKS--THEN I OPENED THE THROTTLE ALL THE WAY--THE AIRCRAFT WAS SO POWERFUL THAT IT STARTED TO SLIDE THE WHEEL CHOCKS--I WAS NOT GOING TO FLY THIS MACHINE-SO I CUT THE THROTTLE--WHAT AN EXPERIENCE --THIS JUST A ONCE IN A LIFETIME EXPERIENCE--I NEVER GOT THIS CHANCE AGAIN--HOW FORTUNATE FOR A YOUNG MAN LIKE I WAS AT THIS TIME--

MY CHILDHOOD DREAMS HAD COME TO ME BEYOND MY IMAGINATION--

OTIS ENGLISH





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