Jet Bomber in the Eye
One of our faithful readers who goes by "Grampz" was a WB-47
pilot, who took these bombers into typhoons even though the aircraft
designers (Boeing) said those jet engines would "flame out" in the heavy rain,
and the wings could snap off...
There were no rules for flying a jet airplane into a
tropical storm so we made it up as we went along, and then
they wrote the book based on our method of operation. Sort of on
the job training, which was scary as heck in a bird with flexible wings
capable of scribing a 32-foot arc at the wing tips. What does the
tech order say? "Don't fly into a thunderstorm". Try flying into a
deluge of super-cooled water at 30,000 feet and see what it does to a
jet engine and airframe when it instantly turns to ice.
I'll tell you what the water in the wall cloud did to (6) jet
engines: as we penetrated the wall cloud and got into heavy water,
the entire engine instrument panel would do violent gyrations with engine
rpms and engine exhaust temps fluctuating wildly -- pretty scary!
Never could figure out why the water didn't put the fires out, but it
And how about this one?....... we were moving thru the wall cloud so fast
that we actually would build up a bow wave on the windscreen, just like a
motor boat. I believe that the short amount of time that we actually
spent in the wall cloud itself was the saving grace. We'll never
know, but I'm here to tell about it.
The author spent several years flying B-47s for the Strategic Air
Command, then moved into the weather version of the aircraft (WB-47) from 1963-1969,
with the 55WRS and 9WRW (California),
53WRS (Puerto Rico), 54WRS (Guam), 56WRS (Japan), 57WRS (Hawaii), and Det 2, 57WRS
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