105 N. Alister Street
Port Aransas, TX
|This terrible video has brought in many emails
and commentary. This is just a sampling: (New comments are
at the bottom of this page.)
|From Don Eastman:
"When I was a student at
the USAF Test Pilot School at Edwards AFB in 1962, our instructors show this
film to the Test Pilot Classes to illustrate the effect of over rotating or
pulling into too high of a angle-of-attack in century series fighters. The
story of the crash was an F-100 from George AFB was making touch and go
landings at Edwards AFB and did a go around. The irony of the crash was that
the pilot did not die from the crash or fire, but from drowning when he
barfed into his face mask. The end of the film, which was not in the video
showed the cockpit sliding out of the flames and didn't burn. Some of this
may be of interest to your viewers. Our modern fighters sure have changed
this over rotation situation at higher speeds."
|From Craig Middaugh:
"Here is some information on the F-100 Crash. The
aircraft in question is F-100C 54-1907 flown by Lt. Barty Brooks on Jan 10,
1956. The landing gear would not extend and the pilot was attempting to land
on a foamed runway at Edwards AFB. While trying to make a slow approach, the
aircraft entered a undesirable nose high attitude and despite the
application of full power, Lt. Brooks was not able to get back into the
flight envelope. Commonly referred to as the "Sabre dance", the swept wing
of the Super Sabre made it susceptible to control problems when it
approached stall speed which cost the lives of many pilots during the
operational career of this aircraft."
|From Bill Dye:
In the early 70's I worked for Rockwell
International on the Space Shuttle. There were lots of ex- North American
guys there (obviously) and most had worked on the early jets, many at
Edwards. I remember mentioning this crash that was in a few Hollywood films
(the one in your video section). One guy (aero engineer on the F-100) told
me that they were testing something else . . I want to say B-52 landing
tests but I can't remember. They had a bunch of cameras on the end of the
runway for these tests. The F-100 (chase plane) called in and had some sort
of problem and wanted to land. He was advised to eject but wanted to 'bring
her in'. Someone had the presence of mind to turn on the cameras that were
for the other test (I think they knew that bringing her in wasn't a good
idea . . . The rest is history. I have no idea if what this guy told me is
true . . But it's the hear-say that I recollect.
|From Wikipedia, via Matt Fay:
This article is about the uncontrollable upward
movement of the F-86 Sabre. Sabre Dance is the name given to a particularly
dangerous behavior of swept wings, which became apparent in the USAF with
the introduction of the F-86 Sabre. When a swept wing starts to stall the
outermost portions tend to stall first. Since these portions are behind the
center of gravity, the overall lift force moves forward, pitching the nose
of the aircraft upwards. This leads to a higher angle of attack and causes
more of the wing to stall, making the problem worse. A large number of
aircraft were lost to this problem on landing, leaving the plane tumbling
down the runway.
The most notorious incident was the loss of
F-100C-20-NA Super Sabre 54-1907 during an attempted emergency landing at
Edwards AFB, California on January 10, 1956 which was caught by film cameras
set up for an unrelated test. The pilot fought to retain control as he rode
the edge of the flight envelope, but fell off on one wing, hit the ground,
and exploded with fatal results.
|From Mike Helm:
Great site!!! This looks very similar to the
training film we saw on weather days during USAF Pilot Training in 69-70.
The old heads called it the "Sabre Dance." It was shown to impress upon us
what happens when you run out of airspeed, altitude and ideas all at once.
It was purportedly a film of a bad landing where the pilot came in too slow,
tried to stop a high sink rate with a high angle of attack, realized that
wasn't working, hit the burner too late to try to fly out of it, and
crashed. Had to keep the airspeed up on the Hun; it was very underpowered.
Word was also that the pilot survived the crash but died from asphyxiation
when he vomited into his mask. Bummer. The guy right ahead of me in my class
got the only F-100. I got an A-37 in which I did a Vietnam tour followed by
a couple of years in the Maryland ANG before getting out. Hope this helps.
From Ed Lloyd:
I just viewed the film "Sabre Dance" and the
comments following.............. As Paul Harvey says " now for the rest of
The real truth of the story is......... the pilot
flying the F-100 C was a low time in type assigned to the 1708th Ferrying
Wing at Kelly AFB. The time frame was around mid 1950s. Lt. Barty Brooks,
known as Barney Brooks was assigned to ferry, F-100C, 54-1907 from Palmdale
to points east. The F-100C had no wing flaps and landed pretty hot
comparatively speaking. Another feature of the F-100 was the nose gear strut
would rotate 360 degrees when the scissors pin was removed.
When towing the aircraft it was common practice
to remove the scissors pin. Lt. Brooks missed this on his preflight. On
departure from Palmdale, when the gear was retracted, he got an unsafe nose
gear. His wingman observed that the nose gear had rotated 90 degrees and
would not go in the well. The nose gear door was open. This set the stage.
The flight elected to hop over the mountain
northeast of Palmdale and land at Edwards AFB due to the long runway.
Edwards was geared up for some B-47 / B-52 tests or emergency. When Lt.
Brooks appeared in the area with his emergency, the runway was foamed in the
center to help with the nose gear problem if it did not straighten on
He made his approach and proceeded to slowly get
behind the power curve. He was attempting to reach the foamed area on the
runway and over rotated, got too slow and basically stalled the
aircraft.........the rest is history. I flew the F-100C,D,F and if flown
properly, it was an honest, solid flying airplane. It brought me through 320
combat sorties in VN. Now "you know the rest of the story"...........
Ed Lloyd, Col. USAF (Ret)
More from Ed Lloyd:
Jay, I just viewed your web site, quite a
surprise in seeing the various suites dedicated to specific aircraft.
If you ever expand into the jet age in a big way, suggest you consider the
'Super Sabre Suite'.
You know we flew that bird from the early 50's,
through the cold war period, on into the 70's when it was finally retired.
We sat nuclear alert all around the Soviet Union with nuclear weapons
uploaded. Each was "one way trip" into Russia.
Not much if anything has been told about the
F-100's role in deterring the Russians from taking bold steps during the
cold war. They knew we were prepared to dump nuclear weapons all over their
country. The F-100's would have been the first in.........never to return.
From Bill Haynes:
"Join my compliments of your video site to all the
others I'm sure you've received. The newly formed Super Sabre pilots group
is enjoying your 'Sabre Dance' video, especially."
"But some of the 'expert' opinions on that
incident are way off the mark. That's OK, as long as others like Col. Ed
Lloyd straighten it all out at the end."
"I flew the F-100 on 187 combat missions in
Vietnam and loved every minute of it (well... almost!). The statements about
it being unstable or difficult to land must be from those who had only a
flight or two in it, or perhaps are merely quoting hearsay."
"I was a student at the Edwards Air Force Test
Pilot School when this poor guy was killed, and the story from Col. Lloyd
agrees with what we were told at the time. We also heard that the pilot, who
had very little time in the bird before being turned loose to ferry it, was
hyperventilating (breathing hard and fast) due to stress. The F-100 had us
on 100 % oxygen all the time because of possible fumes in the cockpit
pressurization air, and hyperventilating 100% O two can make you pretty
"The guys who laid the foam also contributed by
starting it at the very beginning of the runway, causing this inexperienced
pilot to believe he had to set it down right on the runway threshold. The
saddest thing of all is this: There was no need to foam the runway nor do
anything unusual, as an unlocked nose wheel on an F-100 will track just fine
when you let the nose down after touch down. I also question that anyone
ever told him to bail out."