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Thread: Sled driver flies higher than ever...

  1. #1
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    Sled driver flies higher than ever...

    I'll welcome Phillbo's thoughts on this passing...
    Celebrated SR-71 pilot, author and Vietnam hero Brian Shul has Died. His presentations and books made him prominent, but his valor made him a hero.
    I'm sure the Major was welcomed by his many predecessors as he made his final approach for a smooth landing......Ben
    The future is forged on the anvil of history...The interpreter of history wields the hammer... - Unknown author...

  2. #2
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    What an incredible story. Thank you for posting this. I just sent it on to my SIL---who I have no idea where he is at the moment.

    There is an open question in my mind---he retired as a Major WTF

    Maybe they were still pissed at him for crashing that AT-28D
    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity, an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty” ---Sir Winston Churchill
    "Political extremism involves two prime ingredients: an excessively simple diagnosis of the world's ills, and a conviction that there are identifiable villains back of it all." ---John W. Gardner
    “You can’t go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending.” ---C. S. Lewis

  3. #3
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    Major is the highest rank attainable without additionally accepting the command of a desk...Major Shul only liked commanding the airspace around him......Ben
    The future is forged on the anvil of history...The interpreter of history wields the hammer... - Unknown author...

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    Very interesting. I'll have to ask my SIL about that. I think (and could be wrong) that he was a pilot trainer on the B-52s when he made Lt Col. Subsequent to that he went to Kandahar International Airport and was at a desk as the senior AF officer. He clearly prefers a cockpit as his office. He's in heaven in the B787

    His current office:

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    I'm sure you know this Ben but it could confuse some of us lesser folk---the seats are aligned with the control yoke when they are in the flight position. To allow entry to the seats without climbing over things the seats move side to side. The B-52 has no such creature accommodations.

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    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity, an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty” ---Sir Winston Churchill
    "Political extremism involves two prime ingredients: an excessively simple diagnosis of the world's ills, and a conviction that there are identifiable villains back of it all." ---John W. Gardner
    “You can’t go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending.” ---C. S. Lewis

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Grubb View Post
    Very interesting. I'll have to ask my SIL about that. I think (and could be wrong) that he was a pilot trainer on the B-52s when he made Lt Col. Subsequent to that he went to Kandahar International Airport and was at a desk as the senior AF officer. He clearly prefers a cockpit as his office. He's in heaven in the B787

    His current office:

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Wow, that sure is a sleek cockpit! Especially when compared to a B-52 cockpit.

    The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible - Arthur C. Clarke

  6. #6
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    The B-52 cockpit, even on the latest upgrades is archaic---which is understandable in a plane that first flew in 1952! The pilots have little room to move without hitting tubing or shrouds---cramped is an understatement.
    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity, an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty” ---Sir Winston Churchill
    "Political extremism involves two prime ingredients: an excessively simple diagnosis of the world's ills, and a conviction that there are identifiable villains back of it all." ---John W. Gardner
    “You can’t go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending.” ---C. S. Lewis

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Grubb View Post
    The B-52 has no such creature accommodations.
    Options like that were not optional on the government nickel......Ben
    The future is forged on the anvil of history...The interpreter of history wields the hammer... - Unknown author...

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Grubb View Post
    I think (and could be wrong) that he was a pilot trainer on the B-52s when he made Lt Col. Subsequent to that he went to Kandahar International Airport and was at a desk as the senior AF officer. He clearly prefers a cockpit as his office.
    I'll clarify that by saying that just because your rank goes up doesn't mean they take your wings away...You still get to fly, but you don't get the choice (and deadly) combat assignments or other high risk opportunities...But just like senior NCO's don't pick up cigar butts from the parade ground, General Officers don't get daily patrol assignments in a combat zone...There are exceptions such as Col. Robin Olds who, as Commander of the 8th TFW in Thailand in the mid-60's, made sure that he led as many fighter missions as he thought he could get away with...

    In doing so he not only became a triple ace, but was awarded 40 separate Air Medal commendations, so many that even loading the ribbons with Silver Oak Leaves, they took up an entire row of ribbons on his dress blues...After his promotion to Brigadier General on his return from SEA, he accepted the assignment of Commandant of Cadets at the Air Force Academy, but still had himself assigned enough stateside air assignments to maintain his active flight status...Even Chuck Yeager, who became an ace in one day during WWII and the first pilot to exceed the speed of sound, still made sure he got combat flight assignments, flying 127 missions over South Vietnam after attaining the rank of Brigadier General...

    I didn't know Major Shul, but I'll speculate that he may have been one of those guys who avoided promotion opportunities just so he could push the envelope up in the thin air......Ben
    The future is forged on the anvil of history...The interpreter of history wields the hammer... - Unknown author...

  9. #9
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    "He clearly prefers a cockpit as his office."
    - Dave

    Perfectly sums up what a warrior is. His survival is astounding.

    Hunter
    I don't care if it hurts. I want to have control. I want a perfect body. I want a perfect soul. - Creep by Radiohead

  10. #10
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    I got a call from my SIL---who is in Japan. He never heard of Major Shul---but he loved the story

    I asked about the Major question----without expressing his own opinion he said it becomes more political the higher you go. He also said that officers that sit on promotion boards tend to promote people whose careers have followed a similar path to theirs. He said there is a name (and now I forget it) for the group of U-2 and SR-71 pilots---they tend to be a bit "different".

    He also said that at the Major level you can be primarily a pilot with few other duties. As soon as you go to LT Col administrative duties begin to kick in---which is exactly what happened with him.

    He also mentioned that he had a General in Barksdale who flew with him (in the right hand seat) on occasion to maintain his flight status. As the aircraft commander, he as the pilot, assumed a superior position to the co-pilot General
    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity, an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty” ---Sir Winston Churchill
    "Political extremism involves two prime ingredients: an excessively simple diagnosis of the world's ills, and a conviction that there are identifiable villains back of it all." ---John W. Gardner
    “You can’t go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending.” ---C. S. Lewis

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Grubb View Post
    He said there is a name (and now I forget it) for the group of U-2 and SR-71 pilots---they tend to be a bit "different".
    Habu referred to the SR-71 and A-12 and their aircrews...I haven't heard of a nickname common to both Blackbird and Dragon Lady pilots...Different?...Yeah, they were that alright......Ben
    The future is forged on the anvil of history...The interpreter of history wields the hammer... - Unknown author...

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