McCain Watch: “Great Pilot?” Meh — not so much

Finally a major media source has taken up an issue that those pesky bloggers have been writing about for months: John McCain’s reckless and dangerous history as a Navy pilot. From the LA Times:

Mishaps mark John McCain’s record as naval aviator

John McCain was training in his AD-6 Skyraider on an overcast Texas morning in 1960 when he slammed into Corpus Christi Bay and sheared the skin off his plane’s wings.

McCain recounted the accident decades later in his autobiography. “The engine quit while I was practicing landings,” he wrote. But an investigation board at the Naval Aviation Safety Center found no evidence of engine failure.

The 23-year-old junior lieutenant wasn’t paying attention and erred in using “a power setting too low to maintain level flight in a turn,” investigators concluded.

The crash was one of three early in McCain’s aviation career in which his flying skills and judgment were faulted or questioned by Navy officials.

In his most serious lapse, McCain was “clowning” around in a Skyraider over southern Spain about December 1961 and flew into electrical wires, causing a blackout, according to McCain’s own account as well as those of naval officers and enlistees aboard the carrier Intrepid. In another incident, in 1965, McCain crashed a T-2 trainer jet in Virginia.

But wait! There’s more!



  1. There is a great article from RollingStone that lays out this stuff and much more. Check out the link on my blog today to read the entire post. It’s great stuff.

  2. OMG, I can’t wait to show my husband this. He’s been saying all along, “Why is McCain a hero for being shot down? Sounds to me as if he was a big failure. If he were a Navy captain on a ship and it went down there would be a big investigation.”

    I kept saying “Don’t be mean, he really was a hero.” Apparently his risky behavior began long ago and he has never changed.

    He will be very pleased to be vindicated in his opinion!

  3. And all that happened BEFORE he was captured and tortured.

    It all adds up.

    He’s impulsive, tempermental, and dangerous.

    Unfit. For. Command.

  4. “He’s impulsive, tempermental, and dangerous.”

    That was my exact thought, Dave. Being ex-military and from the field of undercover investigations, we veered away from bringing people into the team with “John Wayne” attitudes. Their implusive actions were a danger to the rest of us and the operations.

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