Released from active duty in the Air Force and starting a non-flying civilian job, Dick Taylor misses aviation and joins a local Air National Guard squadron. But instead of Stratotankers, he flies Fairchild Flying Boxcars and later, in the Air Force Reserve, Grumman Albatrosses. Click here to read the 12th chapter.
The KC-97 Stratotanker was way too slow to easily refuel B-47s, but the bomber pilots learned how to fly in tight formation at near-stall speeds and do it with finesse. Dick Taylor spent many hours flying 100-mile refueling racetracks in the sky, usually over the southeastern U.S., but sometimes even over North Africa. Click here to read the 11th chapter.
Assigned to a like-new KC-97 Stratotanker at MacDill AFB in 1956, Dick Taylor learned much about the plane just from flying it in front of thirsty B-47s: from the trivial (it never spent much time in its namesake, the stratosphere) to the essential (take lots of engine oil on a long trip).
Finally joining the Air Force's Strategic Air Command, Dick Taylor and his wife move to Florida, and Dick begins training in air-refueling techniques in the KC-97 Stratotanker.
For advanced flight training in Texas, Dick Taylor and his class try their hands at the B-29, which by the mid-'50s was used as a trainer. And yet, although huge and pressurized, with a third guy in the cockpit (flight engineer), it still had a castering nosewheel.
Learning to fly the B-25 was a joy to Richard Taylor ... and also a pain, dealing with a castering nosewheel and crafty instructor pilots, as we learn in Richard's continuing memoir.
Jumping straight from the T-6 to the B-25, Richard Taylor gets to experience not only a huge airplane but one that requires two crew (giving new meaning to the term "solo"), and also experiences the joys of winter in Oklahoma.
In the fifth chapter of his memoir, Richard Taylor moves to Enid, Okla., in 1955 to begin basic flight training. Ground school includes the requisite navigation courses (albeit celestial navigation), Morse code, and even the operation of atomic bombs.
Richard Taylor continues his memoir with the final section of primary flight training: navigation, night flight, and IFR. After a short delay to avoid not one but two hurricanes in North Carolina, he graduates and is ready to go on to basic flight training in Oklahoma.
In the third chapter of his aviation memoir, Richard Taylor begins flight training in a Piper PA-18 Cub -- including being "kicked out of the nest" for his first solo before he had 10 hours of flight time -- and then moving on to the (comparatively) massive T-6 Texan.