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November 21, 2009

Daredevils of the Sky

Back in 1959, the Air Force pilots stationed out at Nellis AFB would test their skills -- and have a bit of fun -- racing their jets at breakneck speeds through the Grand Canyon, sometimes low enough to kick up spray from the Colorado River.

RAF pilot Ron Dick was an instructor pilot, part of an exchange program between the U.S. and the Brits, training students in the Lockheed T-33. Dick, who later served as an Air Vice Marshal in the RAF, was at the controls when these films were shot from the back seat of a jet during two flights through the Grand Canyon, back in '59 and '60.

Environmentalists may be horrified at the thought of hotshot pilots tearing through the canyons, but I'm positively teary-eyed with nostalgia for a time when the military -- and the rest of our nation -- wasn't ensnared in a paralyzing web of regulations and prohibitions.

Thanks to Mike Talbot of Universal Space Lines (and a fellow JAG Corps officer in the California State Military Reserve) for pointing me to this footage.

Posted by Mike Lief at November 21, 2009 10:18 AM


when men were men

Posted by: Us and Them at November 21, 2009 09:38 PM