Footage Of F-100 Pilot Crashing Due To The ‘Sabre Dance’
The Sabre Dance Pilot.
Although tragic, this video became the single most important piece of training footage as soon it was recorded. The then new F-100 Super Sabre was finicky at best when it came to handling, prone to yaw and pitching up at low speeds. This is exactly what went wrong that day.
Lt. Barty Ray Brooks had just a 15-minute flight intended to ferry new F-100 between bases. Upon takeoff, he realized that there was something wrong with his nose wheel and opted to land at Edwards Air Force Base because it had a longer runway.
“Most of us quickly learned to deal with low-and-slow issues—we avoided them!”-Jack Doub | Vietnam F-100 Pilot
Although he flew F-86 Sabres during the Korean War, this jet was new to him. Adding an afterburner as well as a slew of new flight characteristic, Lt. Brooks found himself doing a standard emergency landing that quickly went south because of them.
Approaching too slow, the F-100 developed adverse yaw and roll coupling. We’re not pilots so we’ll try not to butcher this, but according to the report we read, Brooks applied opposite aileron and not rudder making the situation worse. He then did it again to try to correct that roll and the plane spun out of control resulting in the crash you’ll see in this video.
It’s heartbreaking to watch and it’s a clear reminder that pilots may have the coolest job on the planet but they also put their lives on the line for every single flight.
Following this incident, there were rumors that Brooks actually survived the crash but later died of asphyxiation. There’s no truth to any of that. This film was also used for safety training purposes where it became known as the “Sabre Dance.”