I just saw this article and I couldn’t resist. It almost raises my opinion of the candidate, except that it lowers the term “clowning” to its most dangerous level: a foolish show-off. I’ve tried to be a neutral and apolitical clown, but if I don’t speak my truth I’ll just explode.
Like a big ol’ esploding ceegar!
Mishaps mark John McCain’s record as naval aviator
By Ralph Vartabedian and Richard A. Serrano / Los Angeles Times
Southern Spain, about December 1961
McCain was on a training mission when he flew low and ran into electrical wires. He brought his crippled Skyraider back to the Intrepid, dragging 10 feet of wire, sailors and aviators recalled.
In his 1999 autobiography, “Faith of My Fathers,” McCain briefly recounts the incident, calling it the result of “daredevil clowning” and “flying too low.” McCain did not elaborate on what happened, and The Times could find no military records of the accident.
When he struck the wires, McCain severed an oil line in his plane, said Carl Russ, a pilot in McCain’s squadron. McCain’s flight suit and the cockpit were soaked in oil, added Russ, who nonetheless said McCain was a good pilot.
The next day, McCain went to the flight deck with his superior officers and some of the crew to inspect the damage. A gaggle of sailors surrounded the plane.
Clark Sherwood, an enlistee responsible for hanging ordnance on the squadron’s planes, recalled standing on the deck with McCain. “I said, ‘You’re lucky to be alive.’ McCain said, ‘You bet your ass I am,’ ” Sherwood said. “He almost bought the farm.” Sherwood, now a real estate agent in New Jersey, said he considered McCain a hero.
Calvin Shoemaker, a retired test pilot for the Skyraider’s manufacturer, Douglas Aircraft, said extended low-level flights are difficult in any aircraft and for that reason Skyraiders were seldom flown at altitudes below 500 feet.
After hearing a detailed description of McCain’s record, Shoemaker said the aviator appeared to be a “flat-hatter,” an old aviation term for a showoff.