Tamiya 1/48th Scale Skyraider of VA 215
Well, it seems like forever and a day since I’ve posted model anything on this great site. Life has been crazy-laid off-job search-landed new job and so on. I am truly inspired every time I log onto this site- such great talent and comrade- good stuff. Yesterday, I took a keen interest in Ramon R. Lomeli’s article on his Able Dog of VA215 “Barn Owls” while serving on board of the USS Hancock circa 1966 because a great long time family friend of mine by the name of Bruce Whitcomb was also assigned to VA-215 Barn Owls and flew off the USS Hancock. As a kid growing up, Bruce was always bigger than life, navy pilot, airline pilot, and private pilot, driver of many fast cars and motorcycles. He is truly a gentleman first class, and possesses one wicked dry sense of humor to boot! About 10 years ago, I built him a model of the Skyraider he flew while on flight duty on the Hancock. Building that model for Bruce was truly an honor for me and I am happy to know that he truly appreciated my gift and displays it proudly in his study. Awhile back, that model was damaged during a cross country move and found its way back to my workbench for an overhaul and an upgrade to the display case that houses it (carrier deck, Barn Owls badge and his Navy Wings). Along with the broken model and his Wings came a short history of his aviation career. I thought some of you would enjoy it….
Chronology of an Aviator’s Career
-Entered Navy pre-flight training Sept 1957
-Primary training: Soloed in T34 Mentor, March 13, 1958
-Basic training: Flew T28 B and C
-Carrier qualification flying the T28C, landing on the USS Antietam August 28, 1958
-Instrument training in the T1A (TV2) – final phase of basic training
-Advanced training in the AD Skyraider, AD6 & 7 (AIH)
-Navy Wings and Commission June 1959
-Assigned to VA 215. Made two cruises to Westpac. USS Lexington and USS Hancock
(Made Centurion on the Hancock-100+ landings)
-Assigned shore duty NAS Miramar. Flew T1A, S2F COD, C45 (SNB), C47 and C117
-Flew F9F8T as instrument instructor
-In 1964, after 7 years and 3 months in the Navy, returned to civilian life and was hired by American Airlines, February 8, 1965.
-Flew DC 6 & 7 as engineer and co-pilot on Electra and Convair 990 out of Chicago
-Transferred to San Francisco early 1967 and flew the Boeing 707 and 747 as co-pilot.
-Transferred to San Diego February 1974 and flew Captain on the 727, 707, 757, 767 and MD-11
-Retired September 6, 1997
5 additional images. Click to enlarge.