I’m Jerry Olson, the gentleman on the right is Clyde East, the leading ace from my Dad’s P51 fighter group during WWII.
The P51 behind us is Lil Margaret, decorated as his plane was during WWII.
This P51 (actually an F6D) may be the the only remaining reconnaissance version of the P51 still flying.
I’m a retired computer exec. I started out maintaining, programming, and designing computer systems for Sperry. This lead to managing large computer installations, primarily those with serious stability issues. This experience lead to a move to Houston, TX, to correct the stability problems at Shell Oil’s Geophysical Processing Center, Sperry’s largest commercial computer installation. Following that, I moved down the road to Johnson Space Center. My task, to insure Sperry’s computer systems were mission ready to support the Discovery Return to Space Mission (STS-26) after the Challenger shuttle disaster.
Because my father was a pilot, I always had an interest in flying. In 1977, I started pilot training and quickly became thoroughly addicted to flying. In Feb. of 1978, I purchased a 1976 Cardinal RG, which I still own, fly, and maintain.
After becoming a pilot, my interest in my Father’s flying and his P51 fighter group, 10th Photo Reconn Group, only intensified. I began researching and studying the WWII history and missions of all their pilots. Then, in 2008, I had one of those opportunities of a lifetime. By an almost impossible confluence of coincidences, I met my Dad’s WWII wingman at Stallion 51 in Kissimmee, FL. I couldn’t miss his reunion with the P51 when he flew Crazy Horse 2. Just listening to their stories has overwhelmed me with the sacrifices and extraordinary service these men gave our country. For anyone interested in the story of that meeting, here’s a link to a great article put together by Dave O’Malley at Vintage Wings of Canada.
I spent 4 years in the Air Force from 1964 through 1968 in a highly classified, little known organization called AEDS; Atomic Energy Detection Systems. Since that time the organization has been renamed to AFTAC; Air Force Technical Applications Center, and some of what we did has been declassified. I always loved our motto, “In God We Trust, All Others We Monitor.” We monitored and analyzed nuclear explosions and related activity world-wide, for enforcement of the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.
If you’re going to AirVenture this year (2014) stop by Phillips 66 Plaza and take a look at NASA’s WB57F. These aircraft were built for better all-round performance, and higher payload capacity than the U2 could provide. There were only 21 of these aircraft built, NASA has the last two flying. We had three of them, designated as RB57F’s, while I was stationed in Japan in the Air Force. We used them for high altitude nuclear air sampling and photo over-flight missions up to 80,000′.
I’m happily married to a very special lady, and have one daughter who is expecting our first grandchild in November. I’ve always had a very special relationship with my daughter, and am looking forward to being a grandpa to her little girl. As special as a father – daughter relationship is, I can only imagine the joys of having a granddaughter.
I’ve always worked on everything I’ve owned, computers, cars, boats, motorcycles, airplanes, Corvettes, and all types of engines, including aircraft engines and Corvette racing engines. And, I’ve always enjoyed tackling difficult problems. Developing the engine drying system naturally just seemed another challenge to tackle, especially after just overhauling the engine in my Cardinal, due to a corrosion induced cam failure. After using the drying system on my Cardinal for a couple years, I’m convinced it eliminates water from collecting inside the engine, and consequently results in a significant drop in engine corrosion. And, the data seems to confirm that conclusion.