The F-102 Delta Dagger
The primary mission of the F-102 Delta Dagger was to intercept and destroy enemy aircraft. It was the world’s first supersonic all-weather jet interceptor and the USAF’s first operational delta-wing aircraft. The F-102 made its initial flight on Oct. 24, 1953, and became operational with the Air Defense Command in 1956. At the peak of deployment in the late 1950s, F-102s equipped more than 25 ADC squadrons. Convair built 1,000 F-102s, 889 of which were F-102As.
The F-102 Delta Dagger fighter jets belonging to the 16th Fighter Interceptor Squadron of the 51st Fighter Interceptor Wing at Naha Air Base, Okinawa were deployed to Vietnam.
F-102 pilot alone in the cockpit of a KC-135
‘During the Vietnam era, I was stationed in Okinawa, as a pilot, flying the F-102. I had just finished an R&R to the states and was returning to Okinawa. To get back, I caught a “hop” in a KC-135 (Jet tanker) from Travis Air Force Base, California, to Okinawa. Normally, the passengers sit in the back of the aircraft, where many times it is also packed with cargo, such as spare engines, etc. In this flight, there were about five to ten passengers, as I recall.
‘About half way through the flight, I decided to walk up to the cockpit and chat with the pilots. I was wearing my fighter pilot flight suit. (In the KC-135, the entrance to the cockpit is not blocked or locked. It is not unusual for a passenger to walk up front and talk to the crew members).’
‘We chatted about “pilot things,” such as: Where are we now, what are you using for navigation aid, (before GPS) how is the fuel going and what is our ETA … those kind of things. After about fifteen minutes, the Copilot, sitting in the right seat, asked if I would like to sit in his seat for awhile, while he took a break. The AC (Aircraft Commander), who sits in the left seat, agreed, so I slid into the right seat, as the copilot departed.
10 minutes of KC-135 flying time
‘After about ten minutes, and more “pilot talk,” the AC said he was going to go back and get a cup of coffee. He got up and left the cockpit. So … there I was, the only pilot in the cockpit and I have never piloted a KC-135 before! I sat there and contemplated and marveled at the situation (the aircraft was on autopilot).
‘After about ten minutes, the AC returned and we started chatting again. He asked, “How long have you been flying the KC-135?” I replied, “About ten minutes … I’m an F-102 pilot.” No comment! End of chatting.’
Daisley concludes; ‘I logged 10 minutes of KC-135 flying time in my Air Force flight log!’
Photo credit: U.S. Air Force