After the 98th BW maintenance crews had worked it over, our crew proceeded to give it a test hop. On our first takeoff attempt, the #1 engine went over the red-line with an over-speeding prop. Throttling back, it came within normal control limits again. A little farther down the runway and a little faster, it again went over the red-line with too much RPM. Not being able to bring it back under control, the AC chose to abort the takeoff.

Flight aborted due to runaway
propeller on # 1 engine.

He was unable to control the steering with braking, we burned the tires off and left the runway and came to a very rough and bumpy stop. The aircraft and our crew were grounded for about 30 days with many safety investigations. They grounded our aircraft and said the crew should have continued the takeoff and just let the prop fly off (ha, ha!)

(Editor’s note: my recollections are that when a prop spun off from overspeed, it had a number of directions it could travel. These choices included: 1) spinning into an adjacent engine. 2) spinning into the fuselage like a 2 x 4 passing through a heavy duty table saw. 3) or, it might, if you were lucky, go spinning off into space. The odds for the latter result, never looked favorable to me.)

As far as our crew was concerned, our A/C was the “best” and very safety conscious. He was a West Point graduate with WW II experience. He remained at Yokota as a “Launch Officer.” Later on, when he returned to the States, he went to Davis Monthan for a starter, and eventually flew B-47s and then on to B-52s. He was also assigned as an Air-Safety officer over the Western U.S. I believe he had a total of 36 years when he retired as a L/C and we have kept in close contact through the years that followed.

(Author’s note: This aircraft was to be named MY FRIEND IRMA in honor of Lt. Solomon’s wife Irma. She is a doll. We were having the nose picture painted when we were told to test fly the aircraft. The Japanese artist (Rembrandt) had started painting the outline and background. He said, in broken English, “No can take, paint wet”. After telling him we had no choice. He said, “You go slow and fly low.” After the accident he said, “You go slow but fly too low.” We were having My Friend Irma [I believe she was Arlene Francis] as a nose picture with the words KING SOLOMON’S LITTLE MINDS painted in below.)

Captain Richard Gardner became our new A/C. He was also a WW II pilot, but did have a history of bad accidents on his record. I can say this now, as he is deceased. We flew several missions and our Navigator was replaced by Ottis Bryant. He didn’t stay with us very long for good reason. He was replaced by Capt. Douglas Hassing. Doug had been flying with a relative (see Introduction notations) and wanted a transfer to our crew. He was a WW II veteran, flying out of England with the 100th Bomb Group. If you know their history “they caught hell from the Jerrys.” He was a top navigator as far as we were concerned.

On a couple of our missions we were forced to land in Korea. We landed at Taegu and also, Seoul. At Seoul, the front line was only six miles away. I watched the fighters and other aircraft leaving and returning. They really had their job cut out for them. I went to bed in a Marine bunker made of ammo crates and a tarp overhead. It did not compare to a Holiday Inn, but did the job. At Taegu they had a new runway being constructed and warned us to use the temp one parallel to it. Another aircraft had decided against this and ended up on recently poured concrete. It also hit a cement mixer and you can guess the results.

End of Page 3 of 5 — The Kerrin Coyne Story

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