The Historic Birddog Carrier Landing by Major Buang-Ly

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On 29 April 1975, cialis sale Air Force Major Buang-Ly of South Vietnam began a daring escape with his family. Loading his wife and five children into a Cessna O-1 "Bird Dog", he took off from Con Son island south of mainland Vietnam. Under attack by enemy fire from the ground, Buang-Ly managed to make it out to sea where he began a search for the US Naval ships in the area. As luck would have it, he managed to spot the USS Midway as she was taking in the evacuating helicopters. Crewmembers on board the USS Midway spotted the small aircraft shortly after. Attempts to contact the aircraft failed and the plane only circled the carrier with his landing lights on. Because of the large number of helicopters, the carrier was having many craft ditch alongside the carrier after dropping the passengers off. Rescue boats would then pick up the survivors. However, a spotter onboard Midway reported seeing around four people in the Cessna. All thoughts of having the plane ditch were quickly abandoned as the craft was severely overloaded. It was thought unlikely that all passengers could be rescued from the plane quick enough.

However, the Cessna began to swoop over the carrier. This occurred three times before Major Buang-Ly managed to drop a note on the fourth pass. The note simply read, "Can you move the helicopter to the other side, I can land on your runway, I can fly for one hour more, we have enough time to move. Please rescue me! Major Buang, wife and 5 child." Captain Larry Chambers of the USS Midway quickly ordered all arresting cables to be stowed and the helicopters on deck to be moved, if they couldn't be moved fast enough, they were to be pushed over the side of the carrier. He ordered any and all volunteers to the deck to help with moving the choppers. Midway crewmembers of all ranks hurried to the deck and began to work.

Once the task was finished and the deck clear, the Cessna lined up with the carrier. The ceiling was 500 feet, visibility reduced to 5 miles, and it began to rain. To make matters worse, the wind picked up to 15 knots and 5 additional helicopters landed on the Midway. Captain Chambers ordered those helicopters immediately pushed overboard and the ship to speed into the wind at 25 knots. Meanwhile, the ships radio crew broadcasted numerous messages in both English and Vietnamese about the downdrafts generated behind carriers. Crewmembers lined the deck, watching the Cessna make its final approach. Witnesses report that no one was breathing at that point.

However, Major Buang-Ly managed a perfect landing in the proper zone. The Cessna touched down, bounced once and came to a stop almost to the bridge of the Midway. The crewmembers on deck immediately broke into wild cheering and they swarmed the small Cessna, clapping and congratulating the Major. Buang-Ly was then escorted to the Bridge of the Midway where Captain Chambers himself congratulated the Major for, "his outstanding airmanship and his bravery in risking everything on a gamble beyond the point of no return without knowing for certain a carrier would be where he needed it." The crewmembers of the Midway actually set up a fund to help the Major and his family settle in the United States. The Cessna can still be seen today in the aircraft museum in Pensacola, Florida. Major Buang holds the honor of being the first VNAF fixed-wing pilot to ever land on a carrier