Letter to the Editor: Is anyone interested in my experience flying fighter planes?

Boot Gordon

The P-63 airplane was my favorite fighter. After flying the P-39, which we called the “widow maker,” (we lost nine boys in nine days at Victorville, California, and 30 in 30 days while at Ephrata, Washington.) we got the P-63’s. 

It looked like the P-39, but it had a different tail, was bigger, had a four-bladed prop, a larger engine and a turbo supercharger. (We called the P-39 engine “the Allison time bomb.”) 

The P-63 also had a Laminer Flow wing that didn’t stall at high speeds. And the P-63 did not tumble. It was a dream to fly, but — like all fighters — you had to fly it every second.

That’s what I think happened at the Dallas Ft Worth Airshow: I bet the pilot was taking a picture of the B-17, dropped his camera, tried to find it and crashed.

The P-38 was actually my favorite because it saved my life a couple times — though I liked the P-47 Thunderbolt which we called “the jug,” the P-51 Mustang and the F-80. 

I suspect I’m the only WWII fighter pilot still alive that flew all those U.S. Army fighters. Maybe I should give a talk about them, the shooting down of Admiral Yamamoto by my 70th Fighter Squadron, fighter tactics, flight training, and combat stories? Anyone interested?

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