Cessna L-19 Bird Dog (N5194G)
It would only look better if it were towing a glider being used for a scenic flight!
There are endless war stories involving the venerable Bird Dog. One of the most fascinating involves Maj. Bung-Ly, a South Vietnamese Air Force pilot who crammed his wife and five children into a Bird Dog on April 29, 1975, to escape the North Vietnamese takeover of South Vietnam. They took off from Con Son Island, skirted enemy ground fire, and headed into the Gulf of Thailand with the hope of finding a rescue ship rumored to be somewhere out there. After a long overwater flight and running low on fuel, Bung-Ly finally spotted USS Midway, its flight deck jam-packed with helicopters. He circled the ship a few times and then flew low over the deck to drop a note written on a chart. It pleaded for some helicopters to be moved so that there would be room for him to land. The Midway’s captain, L.C. Chambers, did not believe that the seven occupants of the Bird Dog could survive a ditching in the rough sea, so he ordered $10 million worth of Huey and Chinook helicopters scuttled overboard to allow Bung-Ly and his family a shot at landing on the rain-soaked, windswept flight deck. They landed safely. AOPA.org
@Chris Croft - great story, thanks for telling!
A fascinating story. Thanks for sharing, Jan.
@Chris Croft, next time please mention that Captain Chambers already had orders to ditch the Helos. He was aiming for both better weather and deeper ocean in which to follow those orders. Major Bung Ly only shortened the schedule. More than adequate justification.
skylab, apparently you failed to notice my comments were a direct quote from AOPA.org which I cited at the end of the article. If the article leaves out certain facts, I suggest you contact the source of this article and enlighten them. The fact remains that Capt. Chambers made a bold decision,faced with a unique situation to make a ready deck to help Maj.Bung Ly and his family. I suppose you could say Capt. Chambers did not carry out his orders since he scuttled the aircraft in poor weather and shallower seas
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