2012 Jim W. Vestal
My first jet flight in 1961 doing a S&S story on the ROK Air Force fighter pilot training.
My first jet flight was a Stars & Stripes army newspaper
photographer working on a story about the training of
jet pilots in F-86's for the Republic of Korea. Tom Powell
was in the T-33 upper left, the bureau chief at the time
as we flew over Korea in 1961. We played loop-the-loop
headed for a meeting with a flight of four F-86's. After
getting my pilot to lean left so I could show that he was
a Korean, I asked him for a barrel roll over the other
four jets. Unfortunately it was quickly too high and I
barely got this shot as we rolled upside down
and I lost sight of the jet fighters.
An A-10 Warthog tank destroyer
played tag with my T-38 test
pilot for a story on them.
Speaking of upside down , this was done over West Sacramento as I flew in a
F104B supersonic fighter to celebrate Armed Forces Day and program to be held at
McClelland Air Force Base that weekend. A motorized Nikon F2 was mounted to a
special camera rack the mechanics rigged just for me. I wanted it in front of the pilot,
but there was no room for it there. The picture with the other Century Series fighter
flying over the State Capitol was on the previous page - the reason to go into the sky,
my idea for another opportunity to fly in a jet aircraft, May 1968, for Armed Forces Day.
The picture appeared
as the cover for the
Leica Historical Society
of America quarterly
magazine distributed
worldwide in 2004.