Coyote Heritage ~ January 2010

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. (Ret) Bill Gilliland
  • 190th ARW Historian
Last month we told you a story about how Captain Bill Fry (center with harness) and Lt. Gene Crackle (far left) had been the first two pilots to sign up for the new squadron to be formed at Hutchinson. We also told you how they had checked each other out in the F-80s (actually the T-33 trainer version) they would be flying at Hutchinson.

Here's some more of the story according to Fry. "Neither of us was current, but Crackle did have recent jet experience. Wichita had a flight simulator, and I spent a couple of hours in it before we flew. My first flight with Crackle was an experience. I had never been in a jet airplane and guess I expected something like an afterburner takeoff which did not happen in a T-33 trainer. After getting down the runway about halfway, it was like getting smacked with a board and we were airborne."

After getting off to a rough start, Fry was determined to improve. The next day, he and Crackle went up again, and to make a long story short, after some maneuvers, and some pretty tough tests by Crackle, Fry won a steak dinner, a bottle of whiskey and some respect from Crackle. Such was the beginning of flying operations at the 117th.