Tech Rep  

Thomas M. Simundich

These leisure activities were occasionally interrupted by the horn going off indicating a scramble of Rivet Amber. I would run to the plane and start initializing the LN16. When the navigators came up the ladder to the Nav seats I would give them the status of the LN16, salute them, say, "Good bye, good luck" and exit the aircraft. A funny thing about that salute, when I was an enlisted man I would go around the block to avoid saluting. A launch, takeoff, landing and recovery of Amber and Ball were poetry both in sound and motion. As they took off at night the beacon light on the top of the planes would send out long rays of light. On clear days one could see in the distance their landing lights. The level and sloped contrail vestiges would trace the aircrafts' descent path into Shemya. I remarked to Dunc Wilmore that the takeoff and landings of Amber and Ball were glorious. He said, "You should have been here to see Reggie Urschler fly Lisa Ann. On night takeoffs he would buzz the main building. If he had to be up then they should be up. On approach to Shemya Reggie would radio the control tower that he suspected a hydraulic link. He would request a tower flyby so that they could give him a visual assessment. He would get the ok and then fly down the runway at an altitude of 50 ft. When he passed the control tower he would put power to the engines, climb and start banking to the left. When he was over the water he would start dumping fuel, giving a rooster tail effect. He would keep the tight turn until he lined up again on the runway. He would then "grease" Lisa Ann on the runway. Quite dramatic!" 

The two major incidents during my stay at Shemya were the loss of Rivet Ball and Rivet Amber.

On the night that Rivet Ball was lost the winds were up and the runway was icy. In the Rivet Amber hangar we were told that Rivet Amber was going to divert to Eielson. Rivet Amber, even with fan-jets and thrust reversers, had to have a much lower threshold of crosswinds to land than Rivet Ball. We didn't mind this news in the Amber hangar since when the plane was gone the ground crew could screw off. We heard the sound of Rivet Ball landing. Sometime later Dick Maddux came running into our rec room crying, "Ball went off the end of the runway and has broken its back. Everyone is OK!" Later I recall Russ Howard with his hands burned and bandaged from sliding down the rear hatch escape rope describing the incident with his engaging humor and giggle in his voice. Poor Maj Achor, the Ball pilot, was sitting there with a smile listening to this but his eyes telling us that his mind was on other events. I admired his presence of mind that when he saw that a crash was unavoidable to kill all power to prevent a fire. The survivor's said that fuel was spouting from a breach in the wing. I believe that Maj Achor along with his co-pilot Capt. Usto Schulz (aka SAM) saved their crew.

Logan Delp
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Kingdon R. Hawes (Webmaster)
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