Don't know the exact firebase but it was VN around 1968 and the pilot flew directly through a live fire lane that he'd been cautioned about twice. Read the article about the picture long ago but can't find it now.
If you look closely, you will see that the all silver Cariboo has PT6A turboprop engines. I vaguely remember New Cal Air (?) of New Jersey converting a Cariboo ... I also vaguely remember the son of the company owner dying in a crash of their only prototype. That was back in the 1990s.
The Caribou in the original picture was one of two from New Cal used at that boogie at Turners Falls, MA. A few more screen grabs from that TV show attached; poor quality, but remember they're from a TV show taped off the air 18 years ago. For those who have never seen one close up, they give you an idea of how big it is. A New Cal Boo was also used at Pepperell, MA, but had to operate out of Nashua, NH because its gear was too wide for the runway at Pepperell. You're right about the turbo conversion and about the death. As I recall, the FAA began sharply limiting (to 35 or so) the number of jumpers allowed in a Boo, making it economically less attractive for a boogie. Somewhere I have video of a spectacular "low pass" by the Caribou at Pepperell. The people who had gathered on the runway to moon the departing aircraft dropped to the prone position, pants down, as they saw the gear approaching.
(This post was edited by howardwhite on Jan 31, 2008, 5:38 AM)
Jan 31, 2008, 3:08 PM
Post #17 of 33
Re: [howardwhite] What is this plane? #27
[In reply to]
I had a little experience with two DHC-4 caribous that hauled jumpers. The first was one that Gary (Elevator) Olsen brought to Coolidge in 1988(?) where I hellped strip the paint, got a bit of time as copilot on, and made a few jumps out of before Gary and Larry Hill flew it to Africa for cargo work. The angle of attack on short final is somewhat disconcerting the first few times, but in the hands of a competent pilot, it has impressive performance capabilities. I considered Elevator a competent pilot, and I was pleased to get some stick time with him in this one.
This Caribou, N700NC, belonged to Jim O'Meara and was at Elsinore for a while in 1994. I got a little stick time in this one, too, but unlike Elevator, O'Meara was not a competent pilot and scared the hell out of jumpers several times. The last load it flew at Elsinore, the left engine threw a rod on the way to altitude. O'Meara elected not to shut it down and was barely able to maintain enough altitude to get back over the dropzone for exit. In fact, a few jumpers elected not to jump because of the low altitude. I wasn't on that load because I'd already told O'Meara I wouldn't copilot with him and would not get in any airplane he was flying. The airplane ended up going up to Alaska. I later heard that the plane crashed after the elevator control system failed and the pilots lost control of the airplane in flight. I don't know if O'Meara still owned the airplane when that happened. I do know that shortly before O'Meara left SoCal, the DEA was looking for him and the airplane left suddenly one night, leaving a bunch of people holding worthless jump tickets O'Meara conned them into buying. On the engine failure flight, the rod broke, detached one cylinder from the case, cracked the case and left one of the fuel/air intake manifolds hanging loose, meaning a highly combustible mixture was being sprayed all over a windmilling engine. It was purely luck that the fire damage wasn't worse. When I explained to Hobbs, the copilot/mechanic with very little round motor time and 0 large airplane experience, just how hazardous a situation O'Meara had put him and the rest of the load in, Hobbs packed up his tools and left.
Jan 31, 2008, 3:28 PM
Post #20 of 33
Re: [JerryBaumchen] What is this plane? #27
[In reply to]
Hi Jerry, I never heard the whole story of Lowe's involvement with Elevator's Caribou, but if memory serves, the one that came to Coolidge was the second Caribou Elevator worked on. I do believe it came to Arizona not long after Jim Lowe died. I agree with you. Elevator is, indeed a damn good pilot. I haven't seen him for many years, but I heard a rumor a couple years ago he was in poor health.
I'm sure you I were on the load out of the Boo that Larry Hill spotted .He did'nt trust anyone that knew how to spot and put us out on top of the AF jet!!!!!! I heard it before I saw it,oh and Tony Dell was pulling his legs straps tight on the way to the formatiom.I guess his rig lifting off his back about 6or8 inches in free fall got his attention!!!!!!!