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The Air Force Used To Look At Accidents Much Differently

The Intrepid Blue Suiter In the Film “No Sweat” Just Won’t Stop Trying to Kill Himself

In the United States Air Forces Europe (USAFE) training film “No Sweat”, one incredibly fortunate blue-suiter does so many different things to put himself in potential danger that it had to be quite a trick to write so many of them into the script. The pilot’s problems started the night before his flight when he got a little bit too well-oiled on that wonderful German beer. The next day his problems started with lack of crew rest. Or, he failed to sleep it off. He didn’t check the Notices To Airmen (NOTAMS), for if he had he would have realized the Direction Finding (DF) freq at his destination had changed. He didn’t hack the weather check and made a bad assumption about enroute and destination WX conditions. He knew his North American F-86D Sabre Dog jet had a gripe about a cabin pressure seal, and on top of that he used up all of his available oxygen trying to work over his hangover.

Official US Air Force Photograph

Forced to wake up and smell the hypoxia, our still-lucky knucklehead is forced to fly at low altitude where he can breathe. Which, inevitably, creates a fuel problem. As in using it up too quickly. Which is exacerbated when he realizes his use of an incorrect DF frequency has pushed him off course. What else? Well the lack of attention to weather comes back to haunt him (as it usually does) when his destination is socked in. He is forced to divert, and his low-altitude transit to the divert uses up most of his fuel. Then he tries to Class-A mishap himself one last time when he fails to operate his emergency landing gear release system correctly, which nearly results in a nose-gear-and-drop tanks-only landing. To add final insult to miraculous lack of injury, he flames out on the taxiway…due to fuel starvation.

Official US Air Force Photograph

The film really is entertaining in a cringeworthy shaking-my-head sort of way. Examples of mishaps experienced by USAFE are used to make the film’s point even before the blue-suiter arrives for his day in the box. And let’s face it- many of us have been bitten by overlooking a thing or two in preflight. This guy’s whole flight was doing its best to kill him. There’s lots of nice Sabre Dog footage in there though.

Here’s a piece of trivia for you: The jet he flies in the film, North American F-86D-45-NA serial number 52-4129, was flown by USAFE beginning in 1954 and operated in NATO countries until 1961, when it was transferred to the Yugoslavian Air Force. Hopefully their pilots flew it better than the “pilot” in the film. Enjoy “No Sweat.”

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Written by Bill Walton

Bill Walton

Bill Walton is a life-long aviation enthusiast and expert in aircraft recognition. As a teenager Bill helped his engineer father build an award-winning T-18 homebuilt airplane in their Wisconsin basement. Bill is a freelance writer, an avid sailor, engineer, announcer, husband, father, uncle, mentor, coach, and Navy veteran. Bill lives north of Houston TX with his wife and son under the approach path to KDWH runway 17R, which means they get to look up at a lot of airplanes. A very good thing.

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