From: email@example.com (CDB100620)
Subject: Re: jet fighters, 1939
Date: 20 Oct 1997
Jack Woolams, the Bell test pilot, was assigned to Muroc to flight test the
P-59. Some P-38 pilots were also stationed at Muroc at the other end of the
field. They were quite curious about the secret project and the civvie
pilots. Contrary to regulations, pilots talk, especially to other pilots,
especially at bars, and soon the Bell pilots knocking back a few at a Rosamond
watering hole were boasting that they were testing an airplane that could fly
without a propeller. The army flyboys maintained that such a thing was
impossible and that the Bell pilots were a bunch of liars.
Jack Woolams made a trip into Hollywood, visited a costume supply house and
rented a gorilla suit. One day he took off in the P-59 dressed in his gorilla
suit and sought out a lone P-38. He pulled alongside the P-38 and waved. So
the army pilot saw not only an airplane without a propeller flying along just
as nice as you please, but also one being flown by a gorilla!
That evening at the Rosamond watering hole, Woolams asked the gathered army
pilots if they'd heard that a gorilla had escaped from a nearby traveling
circus and was seen near Muroc. A couple of the army pilots looked at each
other, but all denied knowing anything about a gorilla. And they also stopped
calling the civilian pilots liars.
As Woolams said, "Fun is always better than a fight."