Military, Silverhill, Alabama

The Flying Adventure
Herbert Lieb

         Herbert entered the Army Air Corps, October 3, 1942 and had his basic training in Miami Beach, FL. After basic, he was assigned to the Military Police in Avon Park, FL. He was then transferred to Champaign, IL for training in Air Navigation and Link Trainers. Upon completion of his training in Champaign, IL, he was transferred to Marianna, FL as an Air Navigation and Link Trainer instructor. During this time Herbert accumulated many hours in the Link Trainer, enough to qualify for a civil pilot license if he so desired after his discharge.

     In June, 1945 Herbert was transferred back to the Army Infantry, where he shipped to the Philippine Islands. In late August, 1945 Herbert was among the first 180 men of the Army of Occupation to land in Korea, where this story begins.

     Herbert, and one of his buddies, acting on orders to investigate a strange looking mound that showed up on some air photos, found that the mound concealed railroad tracks and a Japanese Radar Station. During their investigation they came up on a warehouse and found a crate containing a Japanese bi-wing trainer. Since there was no U.S.O., no Bob Hope, or recreation, and being that Herbert was an old Link Trainer instructor, he decided they should assemble the plane and fly it. Armed with only a hammer, pliers and screwdiver they proceeded to work. Once the plane was assembled, the only thing left was to attach the small 5-cylinder engine. However the Army had different plans and took the engine before they had a chance to install it. Herbert was determine to fly this plane with or with out an engine.

     He decided to turn the plane into a glider by hooking it up to a Japanese Army truck, which they had converted from running on charcoal to gasoline. Next Herbert had some calculating to do as the open field was only 800 feet long, ending with large, deep drainage ditch. He figured that the truck had to reach a speed of 40 MPH to get the plane airborne. This would require 200 feet and adding the 100-foot tow cable, the truck would be 300 feet down the field before he would be airborne. This allowed Herbert only a short flight distance of 200 feet and approximately 100 feet to land, as the truck had to stop for the ditch.

     Herbert successfully made his flight even though it was short lived. He did manage to sustain a flight distance of 200 feet at an altitude of 15 feet. He was forced to make a crash landing, severely damaging the aircraft.

Written by Charles Canning