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"Me and Crazy Horse"  Torque Rolls, "P" Factor, and Gyroscopic Precession Cox_ba12




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Post  Kim Wed Mar 29, 2023 8:36 am

So, after 23+ years of dreaming (literally), saving up funds just to spend them on other pursuits, accompanied by a bunch of general waffling, I finally pulled the trigger on flying Crazy Horse.  A bucket list item for a lot of guys, it was the whole freak'n bucket for me.  Everything and anything I do from this point on will just be decorative sprinkles compared to that life-changing afternoon in Florida.

Crazy Horse is a TF-51 Mustang with a complete rear cockpit, including flight controls and instrument panel.  All fighters went from "P" for Pursuit, to "F" for Fighter when the U.S. Air Force became its own branch of service in 1947.  The "T" is added to denote "Trainer", and means that this is no Mustang with just a seat bolted in place of the original radios.  

Stallion 51 Aviation in Kissimmee, Florida, operates two TF-51's called Crazy Horse, my flight was in the #2 Mustang.  The flights range from birthday rides to a comprehensive training course in the WWII fighter for new Mustang owners.

A complete briefing and de-briefing is included, and pilots get their instruction time entered in their Log Book.  This was a big deal to me, and Crazy Horse got its own, un-blimished set of pages for for this single flight.  Somehow, the entry doesn't seem to do the moment justice, so it'll be enhanced with some photos when I get in the mood.

During start-up, my biggest fear was that I'd awake, as had always happened, when my brain could no longer tolerate the silliness, and put an end to the fantasy.  Not this time...six big blades had flashed by when Steve clicked on the mags, and we were engulfed in a very brief puff of smoke, followed by a roar and shot-gun after fires from the short stacks of the Packard-Merlin engine.

Nope...my brain had no sarcastic comments this time, as it bordered on going into shock.

I got to follow through on the controls as Steve launched us from Kissimmee's airport.  Just as big a factor as torque and "P" factor (sort of torque's weakling wanna-be little brother), the 11 foot Hamilton Standard prop imparts a huge amount of gyroscopic precession on the relatively small airframe behind it.  So, at high power and low airspeed, any elevator input has to be carefully moderated to prevent an uncontrollable roll on take off.  I'd heard of precession killing many fledgling pilots in Sopwith Camels during WWI, but it never came to mind with the Mustang.

Once clear of the airport's traffic area, I got to take the controls as we climbed above the scattered cloud deck.  The Florida sky can be seemingly full of sailplanes, but few are able to fly above the cumulus that marks the top of their thermals.

The Mustang is fairly solid in roll and sensitive in pitch, and I was corrected many times for not watching my attitude more closely.  Surprisingly for me, rudder doesn't play much of a role in flying the P-51 when at it's full gallop.

This was to be an "out of the cockpit flight", with most references being visual, and only occasional checks of the instrument panel.   With Steve in charge of the mixture and prop, I had the throttle and flight controls.  In this case, the tachometer got little attention...everything revolved around manifold pressure and altimeter.

After a series of stall demos, Steve pitched the Mustang about 30 degree up, into an aileron roll.  Then my turn came: pull up...up...now slam the stick to the left against my leg as the horizon rotates around the long nose....recover level.  Then another one, with slightly less coaching from Steve as I guess I had proven I wouldn't freak out and back off the aileron input while inverted.

Next was a barrel roll, which I've always described as a "sloppy loop".  A near vertical pull, with aileron fed in once the nose was good and high.  Over the top inverted, and blending the roll and recovery to level at the same time.  Insanely wonderful, but it was my stomach's undoing.  That little bit of G force made me sick, and I told Steve to take the controls while I pulled my strategically-placed sick sack out for active duty.

By plan, I hadn't eaten anything since breakfast (which may have help induce the illness), so after wasting 3 precious Mustang minutes and not fouling the cockpit, I was back up and ready to take the controls.  No more aerobatics, but just as wonderful, as I sat there, gently rocking the wings and mumbling to myself, "I'm flying a Mustang...I'm flying a Mustang!"

Looking out over the 51's wings, I also tried to imagine being a late-teen or twenty-something kid, flying a plane that would be totally happy to kill him or her on it's own...much-less facing people whose job it was to blast the Mustang from the sky.  It's an easy day dream I've had many times, but this trip put it into a new perspective.  Respect...Man...Respect.

Back in the pattern after an overhead break, Steve wheel-landed the Mustang as I once again followed him on the controls.  He then had me "S-turn" back to ramp, to make sure no one ventured in front of the fighter.

We shut down, with good friend and fellow "nerd-of-all-trades" Rory Rubel acting as photographer of the event.

So, it happened...and everything in the world seems a bit tamer now.

Thanks to Steve and Stallion 51 for that indescribable hour.

I'm crunching a video of Rory's footage and that from Crazy Horse's three cameras, and will post it soon.


"Me and Crazy Horse"  Torque Rolls, "P" Factor, and Gyroscopic Precession Dsc_0219
"Me and Crazy Horse"  Torque Rolls, "P" Factor, and Gyroscopic Precession Dsc_0220

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"Me and Crazy Horse"  Torque Rolls, "P" Factor, and Gyroscopic Precession 130_16

A bit of exhaust / oil debris for my Warbird DNA Album  lol!

"Me and Crazy Horse"  Torque Rolls, "P" Factor, and Gyroscopic Precession Crazy_10



Yeah, this definitely needs to be dressed up a bit.


"Me and Crazy Horse"  Torque Rolls, "P" Factor, and Gyroscopic Precession Log_bo10
"Me and Crazy Horse"  Torque Rolls, "P" Factor, and Gyroscopic Precession Log_bo11


Last edited by Kim on Mon Apr 03, 2023 8:56 am; edited 10 times in total
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Post  rsv1cox Wed Mar 29, 2023 9:52 am

I got the chills Kim!!!

More later - Bob
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Post  roddie Wed Mar 29, 2023 10:25 am

OMG! Damn! Great write-up man!! I felt like I was right there with you!!! Thumbs Up Thumbs Up
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Post  akjgardner Wed Mar 29, 2023 11:29 am

WOW, that Awesome Kim
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Post  rdw777 Wed Mar 29, 2023 12:56 pm

Congratulations Kim!!… A once in a lifetime experience you will never forget!!!…. I think I detect juuusst a bit of Macho in that last open canopy shot…. Rightly so Very Happy
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Post  fredvon4 Wed Mar 29, 2023 2:30 pm

KIm for the group. You read on FB

I learned about Stallion 51 and Crazy Horse (they have a few other planes you can fly) back in 2005 from my co worker in WDC (older black Test Officer) who had this same bucket list item. Later that year he came out to see me for a meeting at Ft Hood and had his photo album of his Crazy Horse flight...I was so damned jealous !! Your text here is great but the Way my buddy went on and on about every aspect of the training and flight and debriefing, I know in person there would be all sorts of "there I was" with arms and hands describing the loop or roll. I have the bucks but not the body. Like you (now) I had a License (too long ago) and my Own Rotek Rally 2B sport Ultralight (only aerobatic on back then) of course aerobatics at 52MPH can not compare to a merlin Mustang...Oh so jealous
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Post  Kim Wed Mar 29, 2023 7:03 pm

Got the video edited down and posted.  It's a bit long by my standards, but I wanted to include the pre-start check list on the intercom.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7K9Tey3EHKw
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Post  GallopingGhostler Wed Mar 29, 2023 8:08 pm

Kim, congrats on the ride of a lifetime. Thumbs Up cheers
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Post  TLAnderson Wed Mar 29, 2023 8:32 pm

Excellent video Kim. Congratulations. Lucky You.
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Post  MauricioB Wed Mar 29, 2023 10:13 pm

Dear friend Kim, what a beautiful experience you have shared with us here.
He really feels that amazing feeling, like he's right there. I am very happy for you, it really is an incredible experience.
Thanks for sharing with us.
I am surprised by the angle of the flaps applied at the time of landing, they seem to be at 90 degrees!!...
A hug friend!
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Post  roddie Wed Mar 29, 2023 11:06 pm

Kim, interestingly; my youngest brother was down in FL. for the past 2 weeks, at a "fly-in" community called "Spruce Creek" see here not very far (due North) from Kissimmee. He'd shared a property there; 15 or so years ago, and had to go back, just to be in that atmosphere again. You know that feeling.

He sent me pics of this Mustang a few days ago..

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My brother "Jeffrey Stephen Jordan" has a LOVE for full-scale aviation. He's often asked me why I'm only interested in models.
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Post  Oldenginerod Thu Mar 30, 2023 2:06 am

Hey Kim.  I'm envious, but on the other hand, how much does a left Kidney go for these days? lol!
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Post  Ken Cook Thu Mar 30, 2023 4:17 am

Coolest thing EVER!!!!!
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Post  getback Thu Mar 30, 2023 5:27 am

You are the MAN ! Brother now that is an experience to never forget . Happy for you !! Very Happy
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Post  Kim Thu Mar 30, 2023 7:19 am

Thank You Guys.
This was a really Big Deal for me.
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Post  rsv1cox Thu Mar 30, 2023 7:53 am

Well, just watching my heart rate was around 120, can't imagine what your's were.  

I enjoyed watching the motion of the ailerons and flaps.  Lost my breakfast on your roll.  Smile  "Get the nose up...up...up."  Like you had a couple of hundred hours in type.  

While in the Navy I had the great privilege of starting the F4U Corsairs big radial.  I have never forgotten it.  Earlier classes got to taxi it around but they suspended that by the time I got there.  



Last edited by rsv1cox on Thu Mar 30, 2023 12:13 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Post  Kim Thu Mar 30, 2023 8:36 am

Oldenginerod wrote:Hey Kim.  I'm envious, but on the other hand, how much does a left Kidney go for these days? lol!

I would have almost traded my left kidney for this!!!  lol!


Last edited by Kim on Mon Apr 03, 2023 10:16 am; edited 1 time in total
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Post  getback Thu Mar 30, 2023 10:56 am

Damn Kim , just watched the video and got the feeling you were experiencing (well from my office chair) Its been a lot of years since i have been up and was taking fling lessons 50 YAG pretty much and can imagine what was going through your mind as this was finally taking place in your life to fill the void and dreams as a kid ! I was about to solo at 15-16 yrs. old and had gotten sick a few time under the pressure of S turns over elect. wires and landing with cross winds and about hitting the tower/house and my Dad that was standing outside watching me do my first landing Shocked The plane seemed smooth for a fighter and sounded Good ! This Site Rocks! And no I didn't solo darn it Sad
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Post  Ken Cook Thu Mar 30, 2023 3:21 pm

A few years back "Panchito" the B-25 was flying at Mid Atlantic Air Museum. It was time for a bit of oil and the service guys were getting it readied up. My son and I walk by and comment on the oil on the ground where he informs me that this is known as the "Parking spot". If it isn't leaking, it isn't flying. He comments on how big my son and I are and tells us to hand the huge oil jugs up to him. I will say that those radials are thirsty buggers. I loved partaking in helping out. I can only imagine flying in one.
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Post  HalfaDave Fri Mar 31, 2023 5:39 am

Hi Kim,
Thanks for the very cool ride... Off my bucket list ! Laughing Cool
I got my Dad in a ww2 TigerMoth, then a bubble canopy Canadian one.
Also, he was observer/tail gunner in a Sopwith 1 1/2 Strutter. (Bolton club, very cool)
He loves to this day, the memories.
Also,
The aileron differential on a Mustang is cool.
With that much flap, must have needed 1/2throttle just before touchdown...
Just curious,
Dave
P.S. The only time I was in the air was in a high performance glider. Two hours of bliss.
I puked when the spoilers got pulled for landing.
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Post  andrew Fri Mar 31, 2023 10:26 am

What a great flight -- an absolute envy for all of us who watched the video.  I have the opportunity to fly (well, ride) fairly frequently with a good friend of mine, but, even though in a Twin Comanche, it certainly would not come close to a Mustang ride.  He has also done a Mustang flight, but I don't remember the name of the plane -- although he is a high time pilot, he was impressed.

I've been doing some mechanic work for him over the past two weeks -- one of the jobs was to get his Half Track running.  I'll just have to imagine driving through France at 15 mph while you're overhead doing a victory roll in a Mustang with invasion stripes.

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Post  crankbndr Fri Mar 31, 2023 2:08 pm

Wow!! That is the coolest ride I have ever seen! Only thing missing is machine guns. BBBRRRRRrrrratatatatatatatat
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Post  Kim Fri Mar 31, 2023 5:32 pm

getback wrote:Damn Kim , just watched the video and got the feeling you were experiencing (well from my office chair) Its been a lot of years since i have been up and was taking fling lessons 50 YAG pretty much and can imagine what was going through your mind as this was finally taking place in your life to fill the void and dreams as a kid ! I was about to solo at 15-16 yrs. old and had gotten sick a few time under the pressure of S turns over elect. wires and landing with cross winds and about hitting the tower/house and my Dad that was standing outside watching me do my first landing Shocked The plane seemed smooth for a fighter and sounded Good ! This Site Rocks! And no I didn't solo darn it Sad

Hey Eric,
It's a shame you never got to solo.  

A long time ago, the local charter/training business took out an ad in the local paper, with the pitch,  "Solo a plane for $500!".   I got jumped at the diaper factory for exaggerating the cost of getting a pilots license, and had a tough time explaining to those hillbillys that the solo was just the first step in getting your license.  At the time, in my area, the first solo USUALLY occurred around 10-15 hours of instruction, with 40 hours minimum to test for your actual pilots license.   I didn't like the people running things then, and considered the ad to be a "bait & switch" rip-off, with a bunch of fine print.

Most students go over 40 hours a bit, and I once dated a woman (for a very short time) that went all the way to 300 hrs before finally passing.  We weren't together very long before I discovered that she was blowing through the money she'd gotten from her ex-husband during their divorce.  Too long a story to bother with, other than saying that the IRS was bearing down on her for not reporting the settlement, and acting like she'd won a lottery.  I got feeling that she was looking to me for a solution, so quickly pulled the lever on that one!

Yeah, the Mustang, when it's up to speed and trimmed is REAL steady, which makes sense with it being a gun platform.  The controls are unboosted, but I'm sure a little adrenaline would make the plane crank real hard.  Though this is why you won't see a Mustang cutting around like a Pitt's Special at airshows...it a big, heavy airplane.
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Post  Kim Fri Mar 31, 2023 5:36 pm

andrew wrote:

I've been doing some mechanic work for him over the past two weeks -- one of the jobs was to get his Half Track running.  I'll just have to imagine driving through France at 15 mph while you're overhead doing a victory roll in a Mustang with invasion stripes.

"Me and Crazy Horse"  Torque Rolls, "P" Factor, and Gyroscopic Precession Half_t10

TOO COOL ANDREW!!!!!!!
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Post  Kim Fri Mar 31, 2023 5:37 pm

crankbndr wrote:Wow!! That is the coolest ride I have ever seen! Only thing missing is machine guns. BBBRRRRRrrrratatatatatatatat

Yeah...for me, was the ultimate deal.
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