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Everyone knows how dangerous it can be for planes to do low passes over crowded neighborhoods. Yet that didn’t stop this B-36 Peacemaker from doing that decades ago.
The huge bomber did a low pass over a Fort Worth neighborhood in 1954, leading to reports of snagged antennas from roofs and even structural damages to other houses and utility poles.
Lt. Col. Kleinwechter of the US Air Force said this about the infamous “buzz job”:
“For a person to draw his flight pay, he was required to fly at least four a month, and 100 hours each year.”
The pilot, Thad Neal, and his crew were scheduled for a few weeks’ leave that month, so they were set up for a “pilot proficiency mission” to get in the required flying time. Neal also had visitors that day who wanted to see the plane up close. And so the crew set off, with Thad trying to fly directly over his house.
“As we flew down the highway I recall seeing cars stop and people head for the ditches. [….] We landed and went home to prepare for our vacation not realizing the furor that was going on in Headquarters.”
Apparently, one man had already demanded his TV antenna be returned, claiming a jet pod had removed it from his roof. Another claimed the jet exhaust set fire to a telephone pole. Claims were also made regarding cracked plaster and pictures falling off of walls.
“When it was all over he had to fine Thad. I believe it was for $250.00 and he was taken off the promotion list for a couple of years, but as he left the General’s office, General Ryan told Thad that was the best buzz job he had ever heard of.”