Cover image for Feet wet : reflections of a carrier pilot
Feet wet : reflections of a carrier pilot
Gillcrist, Paul T.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Novato, CA : Presidio Press, [1990]

Physical Description:
vii, 348 pages, 12 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations ; 24 cm
Personal Subject:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
V63.G5 A3 1990 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
V63.G5 A3 1990 Adult Mass Market Paperback Central Closed Stacks

On Order



Paul Gillcrist was a navy carrier pilot for almost thirty years, from the early days, of flying propeller planes from straight deck carriers, to the days of high-tech, lethal "teen" jets and supercarriers. In his remarkable career - from "nugget", to competent jet aviator, to test pilot, to Vietnam fighter pilot, to air wing commander, to head of "Fightertown, USA," Gillcrist flew the F-8 Crusader, F-4 Phantom, F-14 Tomcat, and a myriad of other tactical aircraft. He took part in the Navy's transition to jet aircraft, when accident rates were high and many feared that jets would not be able to operate in the harsh, demanding environment of "blue water ops." Gillcrist saw the introduction of critical innovations - the angled deck, steam catapult, optical landing system - that saved carrier jet aviation from extinction. Few aviators have had such varied and fascinating experiences, and few could write about them with such eloquence. Available now in a new hard cover reprint edition, Feet Wet (aviator talk for reaching the safety of water) is a chronicle of adventure, heroism, courage, and humor, with some of the most exciting passages ever written on flying. From his magical first flight - the sheer exstasy of being airborne, to the heart-pounding excitement of his first night "trap," the terror of ejecting from a test plane spinning out of control, to dodging SAMs and jousting with MiGs over Hanoi - Gillcrist takes the reader into his world and vividly conveys what all pilots live for - the tremendous "high" of all-out flying. As part of his absorbing stories. Gillcrist shares technical information on carrier aviation; the reader sees, step-by-step, how an airplane is launched, and then trapped again on a small deck aboard a moving ship - this, the most dificult feat in aviation. Paul gillcrist retired in 1985 after a 33-year career as a naval aviator. He commanded a fighter squadron, a carrier air wing, a major jet base, and as a flag officer, the Pacific Fleet fighter wing. He flew 167 combat missions in three Vietnam combat deployments, for which he was awarded seventeen combat decorations. Paul Gillcrist is also the author of Tomcat! The Grumman F-14 Story, Crusader! Last of the Gunfighters, and Vulture's Row: Thirty Years in Naval Aviation (all three titles are available from Schiffer Publishing Ltd.).

Reviews 1

Library Journal Review

Admiral Gillcrist's 33-year career parallels the development of postwar naval aviation and its revolutionary use of jets aboard aircraft carriers. His memoirs are filled with flying stories (his own adventures and those of his shipmates) of hairsbreath escapes and occasional tragedies, all proving something we already knew; this is dangerous work. There is also history on postwar carrier developments in general, and on how naval aviation adapted to the challenge of the Vietnam War. While some subject background would aid the reader in understanding this capably and enthusiastically written history, it is still a remarkable window into the high-pressure world of the carrier pilot. For those closer to the field, the account rings with absolute authenticity.-- Mel D. Lane, Sacramento, Cal. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.