6 May, 1948--ATU#5, NAS JAX. After completing 2 day flights of dive bombing and instrument work in a F4U, we were scheduled for night carrier break-ups and rendezvous with a flight of seven students and one instructor off Mayport, Florida. Our flight went well and we returned to JAX for landing. I was 4th in line at the break-up for landing. I lowered my gear and completed downwind checks only to find that gear indicators showed main gear up and tail wheel down. I checked the hydraulic pressure with my f1ashlight--it read zero. I advised the tower, climbed to 2,000 feet and circled the field while my flight landed. The tower told me to wait for a second group to land. Then I slowed to 95 knots and pulled the pin on the C02 bottle which blew the gear down. Indicators--AII Down and Locked. On my downwind leg the entire air station went dark. Not a light showing anywhere on the base … AND no communication with the tower. After about 5 minutes, the tower called me and advised to continue circling. Several minutes passed as a truck was positioned at the approach end of the runway with its headlights on. The tower asked if I could land under these conditions. The truck headlights illuminated maybe 399 to 400 feet of the runway, beyond that it was completely black. I said "No." The visibility was not good enough for me to land especially without flaps. Then my fuel warning light came on … indicating 50 gallons remaining. I notified the tower and was told to "Wait one."
Then suddenly all the lights came back on whereupon I immediately turned downwind to land. At that point, I was told by the tower that I was number two to land as a NATS R5D was inbound and had priority to land first. I do not remember how much fuel I had left when I taxied up to the hangar but it must have been fumes. After 2.9 hours, most at high power, I was just happy to be safely on terra firma. My plane captain was not quite so happy.