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Classic Wings Magazine WWII Naval Aviation Research Pacific Warbird Digest
When Hollywood Ruled The Skies - Volumes 1 through 4 by Bruce Oriss

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 06, 2017 8:50 pm 
Wing Commander

Joined: Fri Sep 24, 2010 1:25 am
Posts: 229
Xray wrote:
As alluded to, "Bud" Holland was considered a B-52 virtuoso and routinely did things in the big aircraft that no one else could or would, including flying at angles of attacks so steep that fuel streamed out of the wing tank vents - And this at airshows. He once, among many other reckless stunts which culminated in the fatal crash at Fairchild, buzzed his daughters softball team, entered a 70 degree bank and nearly fell out of the sky. It appears he had just enough altitude to recover, that time.
I heard he was known to be determined to roll the big bird, haven't seen where he actually had.

An acquaintance of mine was offered to fly as Bud's Co-pilot that day on the ill-fated Fairchild B-52 crash, but he refused. He told me that nobody in the squadron would fly with him because they considered him dangerous. That is the only reason that senior leadership (O-5's and higher) were the crewmembers, and not company or field grade officers.

Interesting videos showing some of Bud's antics in the B-52:



There used to be a real good writeup concerning Holland, link I have to it is dead.
Basically all of the info in the wiki writeup but alot more comprehensive.

The copilot on the Yakima range photo mission stated that on the last pass he calculated the B-52 was going to impact and repeatedly screamed for him to pull up. He looked over and Holland had a glossy, goofy look on his face and seemed froze. He thought he had target fixation and pulled the yoke himself, and Holland chewed him out and called him a big kittie - He calculated they cleared the ridge by less than 20 ft, and the photographers wisely scrambled away for their lives.

When they got to the ground he stormed into squadron commander McGeehan's office and said look, this guy is nuts and I am not flying with him any more. I'll gladly give my life for this country but I'll be damned if I give it flying with some maniac - I'd prefer a court marshal.
McGeehan told him don't worry, it won't come to that - From that day until the crash he sat in the right seat whenever Holland was flying, hoping his looming retirement would commence before a crash.

Years back on some obscure forum there was a post discussing the crash and Buds daughter was posting.
She stated that the reason he made such a sharp turn [after the waveoff] was because there was a nuclear storage area which aircraft are forbidden to fly over, and he had no choice but to turn sharp to avoid it.
I didn't feel qualified to offer an opinion on that then and don't now, but if I had to, I'd say BS.
[McGeehan's son also posted in that thread, he was easy on the girl but wouldn't accept that Bud had no choice but to enter a fatal turn, stall the jet and crash to avoid a nuclear storage area].[/quote]

OD/NG wrote:
That may be true, I don't know. The Air Force does stipulate restrictions of flyovers over sensitive areas, including nuke storage facilities. Even if it were true, he should have abandoned the turn, rolled wings level to get his lift vector perpendicular to the ground and accepted flying over the sensitive area. Holland was teflon. Even if it were true, why would he think he would get in trouble this time versus all of the previous things he did wrong in the past? He even had half the senior leadership on board his aircraft as witnesses. Surely, if he got in trouble they would have recognized that overflying the nukes was the only option for a safe outcome. I'm sure they would buffer him from getting into trouble if that were the case and the crash didn't happen.

Let's assume that restriction of overflight of a nuke storage facility is true. There is not a leader in the Air Force that would advocate not flying over it and putting a national resource (B-52) and pilots' lives at stake. There is precedence for how the military would react for a prohibited overflight of a sensitive area:

1) Military as well as civilian aircraft have inadvertently flown over the prohibited area (P-56) of the White House without authorization by accident. Do they get in trouble? Yes. Do they go to jail? No, most don't if it is an accident and not intentional.

2) Both Military and civilian planes have over flown the Restricted areas in and around Area 51/Groom Lake either without authorization or by accident. Same thing. Yes, they get in trouble, but usually their careers (military and civilian) aren't in jeopardy provided it was an honest mistake and not intentional.

Just my opinion, but I don't believe for one second that was even a thought in Holland's mind about not overflying the Nuke storage area. Why would he "all of a sudden" have a conscious and not break a rule when he had been doing it his whole career? Especially, when his life depended on it?

It doesn't pass common sense in my opinion. But, we can "what if" and play armchair quarterback all day. The bottom line is that we will never know, and I could be entirely wrong.

I agree, scenario doesn't pass muster.
From what I recall, he was coming in on a landing approach and was waved off for a KC-135 on or in the vicinity of the runway. Surely he could have aborted the approach in a safe and routine fashion without either overflying a restricted area or pulling an aggressive, dangerous maneuver - And true, if he did overfly the restricted area, he was obviously not the guy to be worried about reprimands.

He was to retire in a scant 30 days, he saw his glory days of hot dogging in a heavy bomber coming to a close and very likely wanted to give himself and all who saw him fly something to remember.

He does have his defenders and I think its a desperate attempt by them to throw a little spit shine on his soiled name.

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