The “Mad Major”

What ain’t wind is rain, what ain’t rain is snow, what ain’t snow is wind . . .  and all of it is cold and gray! There is just no way around it, this time of year is depressing. And so I look for ways to keep that aviation spirit alive. It’s tough to live in the aviation world every day if you are ground bound due to weather for multiple days at a time. Just an opportunity to fly vicariously can keep me going for a little while, and so I read a lot and spend some time cruising the net in search of flying stories. Of course the Pilot to Pilot Network keeps me thinking ahead all the time as I search for more interesting aviation people, places, machines and stories.

And, you know, some of you are willing to get involved with me in this search. I do believe every pilot has a story to tell or share. There have to be literally millions of accounts of aviation daring, humor, confusion, or success out there. I just love it when I hear from you with one of these great little aviation nuggets.

One of my aviation buddies is a retired American Airlines pilot named Chuck, and he has sent me a couple of great stories to pass along in the past. I was out of town this past week searching for a new story and some warmer weather and while I was gone, Chuck did it again. He forwarded to me a great video about the ‘Mad Major,” one Charles Carpenter, and his role as an innovative aviator flying a Piper L-4 H “Grasshopper.”

Not content to simply note enemy positions and movements from aloft, the “Mad Major” made some rather startling modifications to his little bird and took the fight to the unsuspecting Germans and their tanks.

I simply cannot resist sharing this story with you all. Click the like below to see the whole video and enjoy a little known piece of aviation history.

For now . . .

Capt. “T”

So long  . . . .

Tom Speerstra

Author: Tom Speerstra

Tom Speerstra has had an enduring love affair with aviation for over 40 years. Countless adventures have been enjoyed flying students, people, paper, and parcels in everything from Champs to Citations. He has held positions as both Chief Pilot and Director of Operations for Part 135 carriers and holds an ATP, MEII, SES ratings and a Citation type rating. Tom makes his home in Michigan with his wife Elizabeth and Pappy “the dog” Boyington.