RENO • LAKE TAHOE SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE
TARPA CONVENTION 2003 RENO, NEVADA SEPTEMBER 9, 10, 11
FEATURES: CONVENTION 2003
PRESIDENT ' S MESSAGE
Bob Dedman A DAY IN . . . VENERABLE EDITOR' S NOTE
LOCKHEED L049 by Bob Allardyce
John P. Gratz
EARLY DAYS ON THE 747 by Clark Billie 20
N.Z. ON 18 WHEELS
by Larry Crosson VOLUNTEER WORK
by Laurie Woolett
COAST TO COAST, ALMOST by Larry Bobbins 28 MORE TAILS FROM THE TRAILS by Jim Breslin
POLE TO POLE 42
by Kino Valazza SPOTLITE by Edward Kuball
RENO RACES, A POEM by Mike Larkin
Material contained in TARPA Topics may be used by non-profit or charitable organizations. All other use of material must be by permission of the Editor. All inquires concerning the is publication should be addressed to : John P. Gratz, Editor TARPA TOPICS 1646 Timberlake Manor Parkway Chesterfield, MO 63017
Front Cover Courtesy: Zephyr Cove Resort Back Cover: USAF, Thunderbirds
TOPICS is an official publication of TARPA, a non-profit corporation. The Editor bears no responsibility for accuracy or unauthorized use of contents.
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John P. Gratz 1646 Timberlake Manor Pkwy Chesterfield, MO 63017-5500 (636) 532-8317 firstname.lastname@example.org ASSOCIATE EDITOR David R. Gratz 1034 Carroll 1 2 1 St. Louis, MO 63104 (3 4) 4 -9353 email@example.com GRAPEVINE EDITOR Gene Richards 2840B Sherwood Ave 20 Modesto, CA 9535 0 ( 9) 49 2 - 0 39 1 firstname.lastname@example.org HISTORIAN Felix M. Usis III 1276 Belvoir Lane 2 6 6 Virginia Beach, VA 34 4- 74 6 (757) 4 20 -5445 email@example.com FLOWN WEST COORDINATOR John S. Bybee 2616 Saklan Indian Drive #1 Walnut Creek, CA 94595 (9 2 5)93 8 -349 2 firstname.lastname@example.org INTERNET WEBMASTER Jack Irwin 2466 White Stable Road Town and Country, MO 63131 (314) 432-3272 email@example.com TARPA TOURS COORDINATOR Jean Thompson 11 Shadwood Lane Hilton Head Island, S.C. 29926 (843) 681-6451 OFFICERS AND DIRECTORS, 2000 - 2001 PRESIDENT
SECOND VICE PRESIDENT
Robert W. Dedman 3728 Lynfield Drive Virginia Beach, VA 23452 (757) 463-2032 firstname.lastname@example.org Charles L. Wilder 14 Underhill Rd. Howell, NJ 07731-2316 (73 2 ) 3 6 4-5549 email@example.com H.O. Van Zandt 1810 Lindbergh Lane Daytona Beach, FL 32128 (386) 767-6607 firstname.lastname@example.org Rufus Mosely Box 1871 1080 2 1 Foley, AL 36536-1871 ( 5 ) email@example.com Harry A. Jacobsen 848 Coventry Street 0 68 8 Boca Raton, FL 334 7 (56 7) 997- 4 jojhaj @gateway. net Rockney Dollarhide 1 Riverside Farm Dr. Crescent, MO 63025 (636) 938-4727 firstname.lastname@example.org William Kientz 14981 Chateau Village 6 01 Chesterfield, MO 3 7-7701 ( 6 3 6 ) 39 1-5454 email@example.com Jack Irwin 2466 White Stable Road Town and Country, MO 63 13 1 (3 1 4) 43 2 -3 2 7 2 firstname.lastname@example.org John P. Gratz 1646 Timberlake Manor Pkwy Chesterfield, MO 6 3 017-55 00 ( 6 3 6) 53 2 - 83 1 7 email@example.com
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PRESIDENT 'S MESSAGE As we prepare for the coming summer activities and travel, I hope that you all seriously consider going to Reno for what I believe will be one of the finer conventions we have ever had. A lot of work has been already done and more will be forthcoming so please, do not let our volunteers down. In this issue you will find all the information you need to sign up and enjoy the hospitality that Reno and TARPA has to offer. Please register early so that they may get a head count for planning the events. Also, you will be guaranteed your choice of tours. Believe me, there is something for everyone in Reno and Tahoe. Our editor, John Gratz, has informed me that you folks have rallied to the cry and submitted a lot of letters and articles. We both thank you for that. After all, TARPA is YOU and we like to hear something about what you are doing or have done. On a personal note, my "Congo" article in the Topics was picked up by Flight Journal and published and I have had lots of replies to it. Never thought I would see my name in print. We have 15 new members since the last Topics and I would like to welcome you all to TARPA and hope that you will enjoy being a part of what I feel is one large family. Be active in the organization and you will be rewarded ten fold. Our conventions are always great fun and the "hospitality" room is THE place to meet old and new friends. The more people show up, the better deals we get from the hotel. We have already negotiated a "free cocktail" party before the banquet, so now, all we need is you. A Pilots dream, something FREE! As you may or may not know, I have served on the TARPA Board for ten years now, 7 as ist. vice president and 3 as president. I believe it is time for me to step down and bring in some new leadership, new ideas and hopefully, more members. I want to thank our membership for supporting me. I have enjoyed my time with wonderful board members and I will continue to support TARPA in any way I can. You will have a very fine slate of officers to select from so exercise your right to vote and come to the business meeting. Since this is my last official letter, use and I would like to thank our many friends for the kindness and backing through the years and we will be seeing you soon. Stay healthy and happy, as always
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EDITOR'S NOTE It is said that one should be careful what is asked for, because one may get it. We asked you for stories and articles for TOPICS and letters for GRAPEVINE and you answered the call famously. We thank you. Now if that would carry on as a new tradition, this job would be made much more doable. In this issue, we once again feature and emphasize TARPA Convention 2003 in Reno, Lake Tahoe and environs. Several modifications have been made to the schedule and a very prominent speaker, Mr. Paul Poberezny, has been added to the Banquet program. Mr. Poberezny is President of The Experimental Aircraft Association and is well known to all aviation enthusiasts. Clearly, the committee and their special assistant, Vicki McGowen have been and continue working diligently to take advantage of their exciting locale, the venue and the Reno Air Races to make this year the best ever. As noted above, the number of contributions to this issue has been gratifying. We have several from regulars, but also some very interesting narratives from newly discovered authors. The first time writers include Clark Billie, Larry Crosson, Buck Pratt, Larry Robbins, Dino Valazza and Laurie Woolett. Dino Valazza is shown in this issue as a new member, but he may be at 94, our oldest new member. Among the previous contributors again on display herein, are Bob Allardyce, Jim Breslin, Bill Dixon, Mike Larkin and Bud Kuball. We are grateful for these stories and we are hoping that those of you still on the fence will take a little time and join the writers club. Your reward will be the satisfaction of discovering your hidden talents and confounding your friends. Last year, the post-convention issue of TOPICS contained a lot of color photographs of attendees and other sights and points of interest. The feedback was very positive, so I would like to ask all of you digital camera owners planning to be with us in Reno to help us by taking all the pictures you can and then, please identify each of your subjects, and them send them to us on a CD. I would now like to say a few words about our retiring President, Bob Dedman. Bob and his beautiful wife Ilse have been TARPA stalwarts for many years. They were active volunteers at numerous Conventions before Bob accepted the position of First Vice-President. Now, after three years as President he will step out of the spotlight, but I am sure that he and Ilse will continue to volunteer as they have always done. In all the many years of TARPA's existence, no President has ever been faced with the difficult problems that Bob had to confront. The demise of our great airline was a disaster primarily for the active employees, but it led to many drastic changes for us in TARPA and all of the TWA retirees. Bob Dedman faced these problems with determination and resolve. Bob went to the Senate hearings and kept communicating with every person who had a possibility of giving us assistance. He can take pride in keeping a steady hand on the tiller. While speaking of our current President, I am mindful of the recent loss of former Presidents Dave Davies and Russ Derickson. Our first President, John Ferguson, has been gravely ill for some time. We owe them all our gratitude for keeping us on course.
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SECRETARY/TREASURER REPORT MAY 15, 2003 As of May 15, 2003, the membership is as follows: (R) Retied: 985 (A) Active: 110 6 (E) Eagles: 45 (H) Honorary: 46 TOTAL: 2200 There are also 55 subscribers to Topics, and 18 who receive complimentary copies. We have added 15 new members since the last Topics, they are listed in this issue. Here is the financial report for the first four months of 2003: 1/1/2002: Opening Balance Income Expenses Cash Flow Balance 4/30/02
$39, 2 59 . 5 1 $41,105.65 $ 15, 1 33 . 3 1 $ 25,97 2. 34 $65,231.85
There are still 186 members who have not yet paid their 2003 dues, please check to be sure yours are paid, thanks. Quite a few of you have paid ahead. 123 have already paid 2004 dues, 17 have paid up through 2005, 4 through 2006, 6 through 2007, and the champion, John Boyce, is paid up through 2010!!! IL O. Van Zandt and I continue to update the e-mails of all members. Please send your correct e-mail address to: firstname.lastname@example.org as well as to me. Mail to the following members has been returned as "undeliverable". Can anyone help us to update their addresses? Capt. Manual Martinez, returned from: 1403 W. Windsong Dr., Phoeniz, AZ 8 5 0 45 Capt. Dave E. Meyerholtz, returned from: 1080 La Reina Dr. , San Marcos, CA 92069 For future correspondence with me please use: P.O. Box 1871, Foley, AL 36536-1871, Phone: 251955-1080. E-mail: email@example.com
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NEW MEMBERS Dino Valazza 2241 Via La Brea Palos Verdes Est., CA
Gerry Gillies (Ruth) 1359 El Monte Dr. Thousand Oaks, CA 91362
Bob Rafferty (Marilyn) 134 Eagle Dr. Four Seasons, MO 6 5 0 49
Herbert Rose (Merle) 106 Conagra Court Morrisville, NC 27560
Leonard Severson(Melissa) 2152 Lee Ridge Dr. O'Fallon, MO 63366
John L. Bedker II Box 9 0 37 Breckenridge, CO 80424
Tom O' Connor (Barbara) 8911 Cedar Drive Shawnee Msn, KS 66207
Leonard Irlacher (Judy) 19117 Kishwaukee Val Rd Marengo, IL 60152
Dennis Hergert (Bonnie) 8 Springdale Lane Sherman, CT 06784
Jim Hammonds Jr. (Sandy) 1273 Eureka Av. Los Altos, CA 94024
Tom Girtman (Charlotte) 2965 Antler Dr. Doylestown, PA 18901
Tony Isger (Kathleen) 2772 Connie Circle Orange Park, FL 32065
Robin Rodgers (Judy) 4814 19 th Av. NW Gig Harbor, WA 98335 (May-Dec) & 176 Ridge Road Jupiter, FL 33477 (Jan-Apr)
Bernd Klopfer (Joy) 353 North St. Ridgefield, CT 068 77
Kenneth Park 520 S. Peninsula Av. New SmyrnaBch,FL32169
Photos in this issue of TOPICS courtesy of Larry Crosson, Edward Kuball, Larry Robbins, USAF and Zephyr Cove Resort PAGE 6 ... TARPA TOPICS
September 8th Thru
Enjoy the Sights & Sounds See Reno and Surroundings See Your Friends - Make New Ones See The 40th Anniv. Reno Air Race See The 50th Anniv. Performance of USAF Thunderbirds PAGE 7 ... TARPA TOPICS
Dear fellow TARPAN ' s, The old military saying is "Don't let the draft board get you, and for God's sake don't enlist". I seem to have disregarded both those sound pieces of advice, and become the chairman of the 2003 RENO TARPA CONVENTION. I had volunteered to help my good friend Capt. Bill Kirschner as his vice-chair for the aforementioned convention...Bill, with the outstanding assistance of Vicki McGowen. McGowen Marketing here in Reno had laid all the groundwork of hotels, tours, air-races, etc., and presented everything in the March TOPICS. Then Bill called me one night, and asked me to take over for him, as a close friend had suffered a near fatal accident, and would need his personal attention to facilitate recovery. As all of you know, this is vintage Bill Kirschner...he would step out of his skin without hesitation to help someone else,. Of course I said yes, which brings us to the present. With the support of Pres. Bob Dedman, and Editor John Gratz. I have assembled a great group of local board members. Capt Chuck Lancaster, Capt Justin Livingston and wife Barbara, Capt Herb Wheeler and wife Donna, Capt Jim Winchester and wife Mott, Katie Buchanan and my wife Joann to work with Vicki McGowen and myself. Together we have worked out the details of the convention and banquet that will be an outstanding event for all who attend. In addition to our tours of Virginia City, Fallon NAS (Top Gun), Fabulous Lake Tahoe and the National Air Races, we have secured Paul Poberezny, Founder and Chairman of the Board of EAA, a true "pilot ' s-pilot" as our convention speaker...and of course RENO...a fabulous and exciting 24-7 city, with your Silver Legacy hotel smack in the middle of it all. Now...it 's up to you, we 've set it all up...you just have to come and enjoy. The last couple of years since 9-11 have been tough on everyone...especially our beloved air travel industry. It's time for you all to fly, drive, whatever to RENO September 8 - 12. AND PARTY! ! I look forward to seeing you all here...Capt Guy Fortier, Convention Chairman
TARPA 2003 RENO/LAKE TAHOE Convention Committee Convention Chairman - Captain Guy Fortier Vice Chair â€“ Captain Justin Livingston Registration and Treasurer - Captain Herb Wheeler Tours - Captain Chuck Lancaster Hospitality â€“ Katie Buchanan Banquet Dinner - Captain Justin & Barbara Livingston
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Reno in 2003! Reno, Nevada...the fascinating, exciting, entertaining, and one of the most famous cities in America will be the site of our 2003 TARPA Convention. Join us in September of 2003 as we headquarter in downtown Reno at the newest and most exciting hotel in Reno, the Silver Legacy. Experience historic Virginia City and the Bucket of Blood Saloon, cruise scenic Lake Tahoe aboard a sternwheeler headed for Emerald Bay, visit the Donner Museum in the Sierra Nevada Mountains or the Fallon Naval Air Station Base, and of course experience the National Championship Air Races. The official dates of the 2003 TARPA Convention will be Monday, September 8, 2003 with departure on Friday, September 12, 2003. We will have tours Wednesday and Thursday to fabulous and fascinating destinations and on Friday we will participate in the National Championship Air Races to be held just outside Reno. Our headquarters hotel is the Silver Legacy Resort in downtown Reno. This unique Victorian era hotel is stately and elegant with dark woods, marble floors, and features international antiques and rich art collections and nostalgia of Nevada's silver mining era. Rising from the casino floor, housed within the world's largest composite dome and measuring 18o feet in diameter is the 120 foot high automated mining machine. Collected treasures from Europe, the Far East, and Africa are routinely showcased in the hotel lobby, including fine carpets, richly carved furnishings, fabulous gold and crystal chandeliers, paintings of the times, precious carousels, brass street lamps, and antique cars and planes. The hotel offers six unique themed restaurants including the award winning Sterling's Seafood Steakhouse, Fairchild's Oyster Bar, Victorian Buffet, Sweetwater CafĂŠ , Fresh Express Food Court and Sips Coffee and Tea. The hotel connects to both the Eldorado Hotel Casino and Circus Circus offering over 18 restaurants in total that you sign directly to your hotel room bill. Top name entertainers in concert perform throughout the year include such superstars as Tony Bennett, Natalie Cole, Bill Cosby, Jay Leno, and Harvey Korman and Tim Conway. Catch tomorrow's stars at the Catch-A-Rising-Star Comedy Club, with two shows nightly Tuesday through Sunday. The Silver Legacy also offers 85,o 0o square feet of casino space, a variety of unique and elegant retail boutiques, a 8,050 square foot Health Spa with state of the art exercise equipment, whirlpools, steam rooms, outdoor pool and sundeck, and massage therapy. Other amenities include free airport shuttle, free covered parking, and free transportation to the Air Races. The room rate for our convention is $76.00 for Monday through Thursday nights. A small block of rooms are being held over the weekend for those that might want to catch the finals of the Air Races. Rooms will be $129.00 for Friday and Saturday nights. In addition there is a $3.00 energy surcharge and 13.5% room tax per night for each room. This is an incredible deal for our TARPA members. We'll see you there! We will see you in Reno in September! PAGE 9 ... TARPA TOPICS
TARPA 2003 Reno, Nevada Tour Information Fallon NAS Base Tour — Tuesday, September 9, 10:00am — 4:00pm The Naval Air Station Base in Fallon, Nevada is the Navy ' s premiere tactical air warfare training facility. NAS is home of the Naval Strike and Air Warfare Center, the Fighter Squadron Composite 13, Strike Fighter Wing Detachment, and the Construction Batallion Unit 16. The Naval Strike and Air Warfare Center is a consolidated command to enhance aviation training effectiveness. The STRIKE U, TOPGUN, and TOPDOME is the center of excellence for naval aviation training and tactics development. The command will train more than 55,000 visiting air wings each year. They maintain F/A-18 Hornets, F-14 Tomcats and SH6oF Seahawk helicopters. Security clearance is required so advance reservations are a must. Our tour will include private motor coach transportation and luncheon at the Silver State Officers club.
Virginia City — Tuesday, September 9, 10:00am — 4:00pm If history intrigues you then this tour is a must. Home of the Nevada gold and silver rush in the 1800's, Virginia City still maintains the original saloons, sidewalks, schools and opera house of the era. There are fascinating stories and lots of history for you to experience at your leisure. Boot Hill, the cemetery within walking distance of town is a favorite spot. Lunch will be held at the Gold Hill Hotel, the oldest hotel in Nevada. We'll take a scenic ride on the original Virginia — Truckee Train, and visit the historic Delta Saloon. This is the real old west.
Lake Tahoe — Wednesday, September to 11:00am — 11:00pm Our excursion to Lake Tahoe will truly be one of the highlights of our 2003 Convention. This magnificent blue water surrounded by majestic mountains is just an incredible site. We will visit the Ponderosa Ranch for a "Hoss" Burger (or chicken breast sandwich). Have a tour of the famous Cartwright Ranch house and have a few hours to enjoy the history and shopping in the genuine old town where Bonanza was filmed so many years ago. After lunch we'll head to South Shore to allow a few hours to experience the hotel, casinos, and shopping at the Lake. Enjoy a cocktail at the top of Harveys for an incredible view of Heavenly Ski Resort, Mt. Tallac, Emerald Bay, and of course Lake Tahoe. About 6:00pm we will head over to Zephyr Cove and board the MS Dixie II sternwheeler boat. We'll have a great dinner with your choice of New York Steak, Grilled Salmon, or Chicken, salad, and dessert will be included. The dinner dance cruise will last 3 1/2 hours under the full moon. The tour includes private motor coach transportation, admission to the Ponderosa Ranch, lunch, and the dinner dance cruise.
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National Championship Air Races â€” Thursday, September 11, 8:ooam â€” 4:00pm This incredible aviation event is what we came to Reno for. Enjoy the only Air Races in the world while being entertained non-stop by the Thunderbirds, other air stunts and demonstrations, access to the pit and the pilots, and of course incredible aviation souvenir shopping. The tour includes group transportation to the Stead Airport, reserved bleacher seating, pit passes, lunch at your leisure, and return transportation at the time of your choosing. For those that might want to enjoy more than one day of the Reno Air Races, the hotel is holding a small block of rooms at a higher rate for Friday and Saturday nights. You can purchase reserve seating tickets for Friday, Saturday or Sunday in advance on the attached form. You can also purchase pit passes each day. 2003 is the
Anniversary of the National Championship Air Races. Don't miss it!
Reno City Map
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TARPA 2003 Reno, Nevada Schedule for September 8-12, 2003
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A Day In The Life Of A Venerable Lockheed L-049 by Robert W. Allardyce At 6:00 am, mid-August, 1958, it was already hot when we climbed aboard the crew bus that took us from Chicago's Palmer House hotel to Midway Airport. Grousing about the sticky humidity, the 45-minute drive gave us time to wake up a bit before collecting our senses for the preflight and the 8:oo am departure. Flight 79, nonstop to San Francisco, was, as usual, full; 81 passengers in its single-class coach configuration. The Lockheed L-049, we recall, was, to many, a thing of beauty. The first of the Constellation series, the 049 seemed to have been modeled after an inverted hot dog. It had a graceful arch to the fuselage. Parked on the ramp, it looked something like a giant dragonfly perched on a Lilly pad. From a distance, gear up; it looked slick enough to slip along among the molecules of air without drag. But, like everything, the beauty was in the eye of the beholder. Most 049's, close up, looked as though they had suffered devastating cases of small pox. The L-049's heyday was pre-radar. Too many flights through those midwestern hailstorms had left the leading edges of the wings and the nose of the fuselages badly pockmarked. The dents, many the size of golf balls, increased the aerodynamic drag to the point where we used to keep crib sheets for each airplane noting how much additional power it took to hold chart cruise speeds. Some 049s were as much as 30 mph slower than the spec's. This, of course, required extra fuel and resulted in heavier takeoff weights. And so it was with the ship we had that day. July and August of 1958 had not been kind to TWA's fleet of 049's. The R-3350's were blowing cylinders like popcorn. During those two months, for example, I was scheduled for 8 nonstop round trips to Chicago from San Francisco. The flight pairing was Flight 78 to Midway and 79 back home. The flight that day was my 7th. The day before had been the first time we made it nonstop in either direction. The other flights had been interrupted by cylinder failures, each of which required us to deviate to Kansas City, or some such, and change airplanes. What with all of the practice, we had gotten quite proficient at the engine failure checklist's process. It was later determined that our engine overhaul facility at Kansas City, Kansas, when flushing out crankcases, had been pumping fine steel grit from other engine failures into the internal oil ducts of newly overhauled units. It didn't take long for those microscopic little buggers to cut the hearts out of newly overhauled engines. By August 1958, TWA was running out of spare engines. Midway's runway 22L, in 1958, was badly in need of resurfacing. It was like a washboard. The summer's heat made the buckling even worse. Once, in point of fact, the vibration during the takeoff run shook a wing tip-tank loose from a L-1049G . During our takeoff roll, the resulting vibration was so bad that we had difficulty reading our instruments and monitoring the 049's touchy R-335o cylinder head temperatures. The 049's old-fashioned cast aluminum cylinder heads and the cowling need to cool them put the pilots between a rock and a hard place. Opening the cowl flaps for
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more cooling increased the drag and therefore the length of the takeoff run. On really hot days, with less than 6,000 feet of runway to work with, many flights barely cleared the fence and had to dip their left wing, turning down W. 83 Ave., so as to clear the buildings that lined the street. I often wondered how all of this appeared to the people who lived and worked in those buildings. At times, it must have seemed to them as though they could reach out and touch us as we roared by. Be that as it may, if black coffee had not jolted the cockpit crew awake by the time takeoff roll surely would. they taxied onto the runway, the Reaching cruise altitude of 16,000 or 17,000 feet, if you could make it that high, took a full hour. It would be about then that the cabin temperature had dropped to where the passengers could quit fanning themselves and cursing air travel. The Cabin Attendants would be passing out breakfast trays. Something of a routine had begun to permeate the cockpit. The conversation progressed from sex to salary and on to seniority. With summer schedules in full force, and being stuck on the lowly 049, not much time was needed to discuss seniority. Our talk of sex was more bluster than of industry. By the time we passed Scottsbluff, we had revisited our dinner the night before at Chicago's famous Berghoff s. Berghoff, for those unfamiliar with it, had gotten Chicago's very first liquor license after prohibition had failed. Berghoff became famous, in part, because of their family owned a l00 year-old recipe for their famous Dortmunder-like beer. (We were on layover, so we hadn't had any beer, of course. I was told the beer was delicious.) Berghoffs was also famous for its ornately hand carved wooden standup bar where, at the turn of the century, they sold beer for a nickel and served free sandwiches. Showing hardly any signs of wear, the original black and white marble tile floor was still there. All of the waiters were men. They wore tuxedo trousers, white shirts, and bow ties. When they took orders for a table, they never wrote the selections down. They remembered them and, rumor had it, they never made a mistake. It was that night, while waiting for our food, that we learned not to exhale though your nose while eating super hot fresh horseradish on thick chunks of Russian black bread. And, of course, we listened as the skipper, Vernon L. Rife (flew west in December, 1980), spoke in loving terms about his Minnesota roots and his hobby, breeding and training purebred English setter hunting dogs. We were just beyond Elko, Nevada, as I recall, when one of the hostesses came to the cockpit to tell us that number two engine was streaming oil over the wing. I went back to look. Sure enough, there was a river of black oil cascading over the skin. Vern told me to feather it. I punched the button. Nothing happened. This 049 had not yet been modified with the then new prop feathering system. The prop kept windmilling, increasing the drag. Because, as the airplane slowed, the cylinder head temperatures were creeping towards their red lines, we couldn't add much power to the other three. Vern had the copilot call ARINC for clearance to Reno and a lower altitude. As it turned out, we couldn't wait for clearance. With the drag of a runaway prop in addition to the pockmarked skin, we didn ' t have a choice. We were going down. Vern gave up trying to maintain altitude and, just as he pulled the power off, number 4 blew a cylinder. We feathered it. We were down to two engines, one cabin compressor and, of course, one air conditioner. As we descended, or - more accurately - fell, it became clear that, even with METO power, the airplane didn't want to fly. By the time we dropped through 8,000 feet, Vern had the copilot radio telling ARINC that we were unable Reno. We would attempt to reach Fallon Naval Air Station, instead. Fallon had crash equipment and a Meat Wagon.
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If one disregards various mountain peaks in the vicinity, 8,000 feet put us about 3,000 above the terrain. It didn't look to Vern like we would even make Fallon. A crash landing was the probability. Thumbing the Hostess Call Button, Vern told me to tell young lady to prepare the cabin and the passengers. To my surprise, when the hostess arrived in the cockpit and I relayed Vern's command, she plucked a magazine from the pouch on the back of the pilot's seat, sat down on the jump seat, and began to thumb through the pages. I had never seen anybody freeze. I told her this was no joke. She kept turning pages. The copilot noticed what was going on, turned towards her, leaned over, and at the top of his lungs, roared, "Get off your ass!" She jumped like she was shot. The copilot went back to broadcasting, "Mayday." I returned to embedding my fingerprints in the armrests of my seat. Vern called for 10% flaps and shortly after that, as if it had a mind of its own, the 049 decided to fly. We were, maybe, 1500 feet above the ground. Even the cylinder head temperatures unexpectedly decided to cooperate. They were hovering just above 200 degrees. A discussion followed. Reno looked possible. I let go of my armrests. Reno, we recall, was United Air Lines country in those days. United always kept their DC ' s clean and polished. UAL ' s task was made easier because the Pratt Whitney power plants didn't hemorrhage oil like the Wright R-3350s. Even though the sun had set and it was dark, the UAL guys were upset when our grimy oil covered 049 squatted on their runway and headed for their tarmac. They parked us far away from the terminal where their passengers wouldn't see us. They sent a bus out to truck us back to civilization. Vern telephoned LAX Dispatch. They were ferrying a L749 for our passengers. The 749 had fewer seats than our 049, so some of our passengers were given over to United. We were told we were to crew the 749 and complete the Reno - San Francisco leg. The ferry crew would wait for the repairs and ferry the 049 to wherever it was needed. The three of us headed for the coffee shop. I got one bite out of my sandwich and I was paged. LAX maintenance had assumed number two engine was a washout. They were sending an engine and a crew of mechanics on our engine carrier. They wanted to know if a cylinder change was all that number 4 needed, or must they send two engines? They wanted me to check number 4 ' s magnetic sump plug and the Cuneo oil filter for aluminum chips and steel grit and telephone the results. UAL ' s mechanics were kind
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enough to lend me a tug, a work ladder and a battery operated work light to tow out to our hapless airliner. They were not so generous with their clean shop rags. I had to raid our airplane's lavatories for paper towels. Being far enough out in the boonies so no one could see me, to keep my uniform from getting oil soaked, I stripped down to my underwear. An hour or so later, I could report that the sump plug and the Cuneo were not contaminated. Only a cylinder change was needed. Knowing the smell burnt oil would be with me until I could get home and shower, I wiped as much oil off my body as I could and got dressed. I don't recall how long we waited for the 749 to arrive, but I remember I was exhausted. The vise like grip I had on the arm rests of my seat and the work opening the cowling, etc., had worn me out, so much so, that the long drive home over the San Mateo Bridge was nearly my finish. For those who have driven it, the road light installation can have an almost hypnotic affect on a tired driver. Twice an alert truck driver behind me saw my car begin to wander. I had dropped off to sleep. He jolted me awake with blasts of his air horn. I opened the window and waved my appreciation. After the second nod off, I drove the rest of the way with my head in the cold wind. As we approached SFO, Vern Rife told us he had had it. He was going to retire to Minnesota and breed and train his beloved English Setters. With vacation, etc., the record shows that Vern retired in January 1959.
Early Days on the 747 by Clark Billie In May 1970 I was rated on the magnificent 747. The actual day of the rating was May 6th and our instructor was none other than Captain Dick "Pete" Forristall. Mr. Lyn Mayfield from the Denver office of the FAA presided. The flying was all done at Salina, Kansas (7:45 actual aircraft time in planes 17102 and 17103 â€” rating 1:45 17102). The hardest part was to keep your hands off of the yolk during auto-land to prevent trip to CWS (Control wheel steering). Little did I know that I would fly the 747 for the next 26 years. What a great aircraft! As I look back through my logbook there are so many familiar names. In initial training at JFT Glenn Fitzgerald, George Gillard and Harrison Finch were the very senior Captains in our initial class. Ground instructors included Al Derienzo, Ted Yeazel, John Buckmaster, Herb Shanks and how about Janie Simpson at the front desk? Soon after completion of training on July 5,1970 I was assigned flight 3 from JFK-ORD-LAX with Captain Gene Wiebel and F/E Howard Jespersen. Flight 3 to LAX routine. The next morning we planned Flight 708 and left the ramp office to climb the jetway at gate 35. Captain Wiebel was flying the leg (most Captains were restricted as we were all new on the 747). I was
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busy loading the INS' for flight to JFK when the First Class Cabin Attendant appeared behind the Captain (DCS was checking bags- remember Director Customer Services? A whole ` nother story!) Gene was preflighting his side as she motioned to me for attention. I advised Gene that she wanted to talk to him at which time he said, "go ahead" without turning. She described an irate passenger in first class who had used the "bomb" word. Again Without turning or interrupting his routine, Gene simply said, " Have him removed " . The cabin attendant looked to me as I shrugged my shoulders in agreement and she left the cockpit. We were soon advised that a security person had removed the passenger to the jetway but that the irate passenger wanted his bags removed. In those days it was not required to leave the bags of removed passengers and we were ready to depart so the Captain advised, " NO, we are ready to go now" . Soon we were advised that a scuffle was taking place in the jetway. It seems the passenger was traveling with his wife and two sons (big boys about 20 years old) and they were not happy. Next event we witnessed was the California Highway Patrol coming up the jetway stairs then the handcuffed group going down the stairs and into the patrol car! Good story if it ends there? It doesn't. Now we start the engines and taxi to runway 24 left. After completing the "Before Takeoff' checklist Gene applies power and calls for water injection (early 747'S all had 3400lbs of water 40kt available to the engines, about 1:45 min, the switch was in front of the F/O). Next event, callout as Captain transitions from tiller steering to rudder pedals. Just after 100kts , before VI and abeam the TWA terminal all hell breaks loose as #1 engine fails in a very loud seeming explosion! Easy decision! STOP! We abort, advise the tower and Howard begins the shutdown procedure as the EGT pegs! Over 1000 degrees Centigrade, and not moving. Clearing the runway the EGT slowly comes down and we taxi back to the gate. Here's the kicker. By this time the press and TV coverage is in the terminal because of the passenger incident and, of course they hear the explosion and immediately assume we've had a bomb go off! Chaos in the terminal, but not onboard, as Captain calmly handles the passengers and agents, then the press. It ' s becoming a long day! A couple of hours later maintenance completes repairs to the engine. The variable stators on JT9-D are all connected and controlled by links much like a watchband, and if one link breaks the stators slam shut. This results in an immediate and horrendous compressor stall when the engine is at full power. Maintenance repaired the stator link and borescopes the engine and saw no damage in spite of 1000 degrees C for about 30 seconds. Finally we are on our way again, this time a late but successful flight to JFK. End to story? Last verse. When we arrive in the New York area Dispatch advises that the irate passenger had paid for tickets with a bogus credit card. Poetic justice! P.S. Ask me in Reno about my Captain Wiebel (BOS lawyer) story at Orly Field!
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NEW ZEALAND ON EIGHT WHEELS by Larry Crosson Do you like beautiful scenery? Do you enjoy good food? Do you enjoy meeting interesting and congenial people? If you haven't been to New Zealand - don't go. That's what I tell friends and family that allow me to bend their ears about our dream trip of two months in New Zealand. I tell them not to visit because "You'll want to move and live there." My wife Judy and I, along with two other couples, spent February and March of 2002 aboard our Harley Davidson motorcycles touring both north and south islands of New Zealand, and yes, drains and toilets DO swirl in the opposite direction in the southern hemisphere. I have had a long standing dream of visiting New Zealand. The ground work for this trip started about four years ago when my friend Paul Schubarth (retired TWA pilot) and his wife, Debbie lobbied me to get a Harley Davidson motorcycle. Paul got his a year earlier and had ridden to Alaska. Judy also applied wifely pressure and I succumbed. She soon tired of being a passenger so she took the Motorcycle Safety course and got her own Harley. Before the Harleys', Paul had organized snowmobile outings, coined "66 capers" in the Wind River mountains of Wyoming. While debriefing in front of a warm fireplace on a plus 6 degrees Wyoming winter night, someone suggested a change of venue; someplace warm the following winter. Guess that would have to be south of the equator. In a weak and selfish moment I volunteered to plan a motorcycle "caper' to the land of the Kiwis. Seven couples, the usual snowmobile group, thought it a great idea. This was the winter of 2000 and two years later three couples were able to make the trip. We shipped our own motorcycles via container ship rather than renting at $150.00 per day for each machine. Two couples rode two-up. Judy and I had our individual machines, and did not succumb to our friends' pleas to help carry their hairdryers. Since we weren't planning on riding everyday we wouldn't be distracted by the meter running on rentals while we took a rainy day off, or lying in the sun, or the five days we spent hiking the Milford Track in Fiordlands on the South Island. New Zealand consists of two main islands. Each about four hundred miles long, separated by a three hour ferry ride through the Cook Strait. The distance from Cape Reinga at the northern most tip of the North Island, to Bluff on the southern most tip of the South Island, is a similar distance from Seattle to San Diego, with many other similarities. The square mile area is about the same as Colorado. Don't count on seeing a lot of wild life. New Zealand has no native animals and no snakes. They have birds and a few that even fly. Deer and Elk are imported, farmed, and raised as cattle. They have a problem with a fur bearing possum that was brought in by settlers for commercial purposes. Some escaped and with no predators, have overrun both islands. They play havoc with the flightless bird population. They are nocturnal so we never saw a live one, but many victims on the roads. The motorcycles were shipped to Auckland five weeks ahead of our airline departure of 31st of January, 2002. Since we were to be gone over two months, there were limited bargains on full fare tickets and not wishing to go through the agony of standby, Judy found positive fare tickets on Air Pacific for $1,100.00 per person round trip from LAX to Auckland with a three hour stop in Fiji each way. They were arranged through a travel agency called Destination
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Australia, (800-251-1257). The normal fare was $950.00 but since we were staying over thirty days there was a $150.00 surcharge per ticket. Without additional charges it included a positive space ticket on American from SFO to LAX where we joined our friends for rest of the trip. A 747 from LAX took us to Fiji, and a 767 on to Auckland. We left LA in the afternoon January 31, the sun set once, and we arrived February 2nd. Our return left the afternoon of March 2nd, the last day of Fall in New Zealand. After a six hour ATC delay in Fiji, we missed our American connection LAX to SFO. We finally arrived home in Santa Rosa, CA at 10 PM the 2nd of March, the same day, and the first day of Spring! New Zealand has about 3.5 million people. The entire South Island has less than one million and Auckland, one of the largest cities in the world in square miles, houses about onethird of all New Zealanders. The atmosphere and vegetation of Auckland is reminiscent of San Diego fifty years ago, if any one can remember that far back, a modern city with every urban convenience; even bungee jumping from the downtown landmark, the Sky tower, which dominates the skyline. Boats and marinas are everywhere; one boat for every three New Zealanders. Boating and gardening are two of the big pastimes and it shows. We spent five days touring Auckland before our iron horses arrived. Adjusting to being a pedestrian where they drive "on the wrong side of the road" was a challenge. Once on the road, driving seemed more natural than walking in congested areas. Small towns' roundabouts on a motorcycle were a real eye opener. While in Auckland we stayed at the Rose Park Quality Inn Hotel. Nice location, away from traffic and walking distance to downtown as well as many small marinas, parks, shopping, and restaurants. February 8 (after a one day delay getting our Harleys through Customs) we mounted our trusty steeds and headed toward the Coromandel Peninsula, southeast of Auckland. We leave the congestion of the city in a few miles and see the last of what we call freeways, the rest of the country is mainly two lanes, nicely surfaced roads. There were many one way bridges. One i mpressed us. It was a half mile long and had a railroad track in the middle of its single lane. Two wheel machines and railroad tracks are not compatible. We started in brilliant sunshine and one hour from our destination had our first fun time riding in the rain. No fun at all. We started the journey with no lodging reservations, except for the guided walking tour of the Milford Track. This worked fine for the first few nights until we got into towns that were having local art shows and summer festivals; the whole town was "chockers" (New Zealand for `no room at any inn!') After that we generally made reservation the day before. We generally rode 150 to 250 miles per day. We were visiting during a summer that the locals considered quite wet. We were lucky and had only a few rainy days while riding. Due to weather and rough seas, the ferry from North Island to the South Island was canceled on the days either side of our Cook Strait crossing. Our ferry ride was smooth and sunny. PAGE 23 ... TARPA TOPICS
The motels we stayed in cost between $40 to $70 U.S. a night. They were clean and reflected the pride of their mostly Mom and Pop owners. We even had several proprietors insist we use their private garages for our Harleys, leaving their own car outside. Our plan was to efficiently head for the South Island to be sure of making our Milford Track guided tour reservation; a 33.5 mile hike through gorgeous scenery. During this guided tour, each person carries a light pack. Accommodations were quite modern; clean sheets, hot showers, good meals and all supplies must be brought in by helicopter. We opted for private rooms. Bunk house accommodations for the more flexible or younger person are available. For the more rugged (younger at heart) one can obtain a permit and be one of the 48 hikers allowed per day unguided access to the Milford Track. If you opt for this unguided option, there are basic facilities along the track; but you carry your own bedroll and food. During our track, it rained four out of five days. The upsides of the wet days were magnificent waterfalls and conservation of sun screen. The two days following our soggy trek were spent basking in gorgeous sunshine in a resort town on the shore of Lake Te Anau. From here we rode to Bluff, the southern most city. We then headed north, serpentining between the east coast and the west coast. We stayed three nights in Christ Church, (Judy's and my favorite New Zealand city.) It is also the historic jumping off Mitre Peak. Milford Sound point for Antarctic Expeditions. Here, we also had our bikes serviced at the local Harley dealership. The owner being a young Philadelphian who, on a visit three years earlier, used only one half of his round trip airfare and stayed in New Zealand and bought the business. We took an all day train excursion across the South Island to the west coast city of Greymouth and back. It was a gorgeous sunny day over the Arthur Pass in the Southern Alps. Beautiful alpine scenery, but the luxurious train ride could not compare had we instead taken our trusty motorcycles. From Christ Church we headed to the north eastern corner of the South Island to Bleinheim, ' one of New Zealands ' many wine producing areas. It s quite similar to our own Napa and Sonoma counties but with fewer people. Back on the ferry northbound; another smooth crossing but somewhat saddened to be leaving the rural South Island behind. While we were in the Southland, we met New Zealanders who had never been to the North Island. The ferry docks at Wellington, the Capital, and we spent many days exploring. We stayed in an area reminiscent of Sausalito, Ca. with funicular railways leading up steep hills to beautiful homes with their garages at street level. From a male perspective (i.e. non-shopper) one benefit of motorcycle touring is the lack of space for transporting "treasures". Pain and George Peck, our third couple from Cora, Wyoming, discovered "purchase and ship home". The Cora post office looked like a miniature warehouse when they returned home to collect their mail and packages. We zigzagged our way back up the North Island with every mile filled with breathtaking scenery. We passed through Auckland, stop and go in rainy rush hour traffic (even paradise has some draw backs). We spent a few days in the resort town of Paihia on the Bay of Islands, an area rich in early colonial New Zealand history. A comparatively short history, having been originally settled by Europeans in the 184o's. PAGE 24 ... TARPA TOPICS
Of course the native Maori people's history is much longer going back hundreds of years, a history similar to our Native Americans with the arrival of European settlers. Since we'd been to Bluff, the most southern point, we had to go to Cape Reinga, the most northern point. With only six days left, we drifted back south to the Rose Park Hotel in Auckland and the end of a dream journey. We logged over 4200 miles on the left side of the road. During my two months down under I was continually directionally confused, (sometimes more than just directionally). I could usually figure north and south, with the sun arcing to the north, but was rarely sure of east and west. It took a lot of head scratching when on a coastal road to decide if it was the Pacific Ocean or, on the other side of the island, the Tasman Sea. With only two days left we dropped our bikes off for their sea voyage home leaving us once again pedestrians. After two months away it's always good to return home, but I sure miss New Zealand.
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Volunteer Work by Laurie Woolett In 1997 I started to do a little bit of volunteer work with a humanitarian aide organization called Food for the Hungry International. It has been as either a logistician or an administrator - never a flying position. When I last wrote I was in Dushanbe, Tajikistan doing volunteer work for a local humanitarian aide organization getting supplies into Northern Afghanistan. I spent most of my time in Tajikistan but managed to get into Afghanistan once. Afghanistan is a beautiful place in its starkness. Nothing but dirt in every direction - never see any trees except for very small groves in sheltered valleys. The riverbeds were mostly dry due to the long drought they have had which helped, as the dry riverbeds were the best roads. I was in two villages - Rustaq and Chah Ab. These towns had always been in the hands of the Northern Alliance and there was very little war damage. The people were mainly suffering from the long drought causing crop failure. It snowed while I was there turning the dirt into mud - mud everywhere. Everything is made from mud - houses and the walls surrounding the compounds. A house wall is built with sun dried mud bricks and then plastered with mud. The ceilings are layered with branches, about one inch in diameter, then a woven grass mat, and then mud. On the roof the last layer is mud mixed with chopped straw. They are sloped to let any water run off but usually have to be renewed every year. All the mud walls made for very drab villages. The villagers were so poor that a lot of them would tear down parts of their houses to get, and sell, the roof beams for firewood. We distributed shoes to children, warm clothing to families, food obtained through World Food Program ( WFP), and seeds, mainly wheat, in hope of enough moisture to be able to plant that spring. (They were able to plant and had a good harvest). Living in the former Soviet Republic of Tajikistan was a great experience. During the Soviet hay- days the people were looked after from the cradle to the grave - but not any more. Everyone used to be employed by the Soviets would build many factories to make widgets and other doohickeys. Raw material would be shipped in and the factories produced their required quotas. The final product was shipped back to the Soviet Union. Everyone was happy with free or cheap medical and the promise of pensions. With the fall of the Soviet Union the factories closed and the workers joined the unemployed. Medical benefits were greatly reduced or stopped. So did pensions. You see much begging and men, women and children going through garbage cans. The roads were falling apart and the traffic police were corrupt. They would stop motorists and try to coerce money from you. I always played dumb and claimed that I didn't understand what they wanted and would only show my international drivers license. They always let me go with a salute.
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I flew from Munich to Dushanbe, and return, on a Russian TU-155 (154?) - the Russian trisurprisingly jet. It was a smooth, comfortable plane. Didn't even have a seat belt sign but it did have the bombardier's position in the nose. Both places are strong Moslem countries. Pork chops were but a dream. It is nice to experience different cultures however "it was a so-so place to visit but I wouldn't want to live there". Last August I went to Bukavu in the Eastern Congo. I was there for 3 months so I was unable to attend the convention in Chicago. Bukavu is on the southern shore of Lake Kivu separated from Rwanda by a narrow river. In 1997 I was in Goma at the northern end of the Lake. Bukavu was once a pretty town with many finger peninsulas venturing out into the lake. In the days of colonialism it was a resort town with a lot of large homes but now the entire infrastructure is falling apart. There is usually water but electricity is a sometime thing. I have never seen such bad roads. Although our office was in South Kivu province our OFDA grant was to supply seeds and tools to interior sites in Katanga province that were east of the Congo River. The Kinshasa government controlled the country west of the Congo River while the rebels controlled east of the river. Our sites were between Lake Tanganyika and the river. You could not get to the area by road but once there you could get around by road(?). As a result we had to charter airplanes to fly everything into the sites, including trucks and fuel. My main job was to schedule the flights and plan the loads. At first we were chartering Russian IL 7 and 8's. The 8's had a plexiglass nose position and also a tail gunner's slot. Our biggest problem turned out to be the Russian crews who only came to work when they felt like it. After 10 days of "maybe" flights we managed to charter a Buffalo out of Nairobi. This worked out far better but very expensive. While trying to distribute the seeds we were often interrupted by local tribal guerrilla wars. Mainly the Mai-Mai. These were a group of local militia who rubbed their bodies with ash and attacked naked. Just thinking of it scares me. It finally got completed. While there the Rwanda government removed their military from the Eastern Congo. They were the stabilizing force in the area. The MaiMai then said that they were going to take Bukavu. At one time they had the town surrounded on three sides, the fourth side being the Rwandan border and lake. We evacuated the town and crossed the river into Rwanda to the town of Cyangugu. With a name like that it had to be a fun place. Things quieted down after a couple of days and we returned to Bukavu. When people ask me if I miss Bukavu I tell them that I miss goat meat on the menu and ants in the sugar bowl. I have been asked to return next August so it looks as if I will miss the convention in Reno. Hope somebody finds this as interesting to read, as it is to do. PAGE 27... TARPA TOPICS
Coast to Coast, Almost by Larry Robbins Off I went: The weather was marginal, the Loran Navigation System never locked on, and my Ground Positioning System was acting up. I had entered the wrong headings on my Flight Plan, and my only compass was plus or minus 30 degrees off. It all started when a gentleman who flew with me last summer fell so in love with my Great Lakes open cockpit biplane that he bought one for himself. He lives in Northern California and the airplane he purchased was in Maine. He asked me to fly it cross-country for him. Well, you know the answer. 1 8 Jul (Thurs) It was o-dark hundred hours in the Santa Cruz Mountains, July 18, 2002. I rolled out of bed and complained "only fishermen should have to rise this early". My Great Lakes crosscountry from Maine to California would start with an American Airlines flight from SFO to BOS departing at 0630. After a 6-hour wait at the BOS Logan Airport I departed on US Air Express to arrive at RKD, that's Rockland Airport in Owlshead, Maine. I arrived at 2230 to find that the annual Jazzfest was in town. By midnight I found the last room in town (actually 15 mi. away), but only for one night.
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19 Jul (Fri) Next morning I was off to the airport to get to work. I would review all pertinent records for accuracy and legality. That done, I pulled the Great Lakes out of a dilapidated hangar and gave her a thorough inspection. The a/c had not flown in over a year and a "top end" overhaul was performed on the engine with four jugs being changed. It was now time to become a test pilot. The fuel valve leaked but that problem was solved. During the run-up the mag drop was marginal but acceptable. The airplane flew and landed nicely but the standby compass, my only compass, was off. I thought I could live with it. Wrong. That night I was lucky enough to find a room? Except when I arrived at the motel nobody ever heard of me. There were no rooms within 25 mi. of Rockland. After ten minutes of making a scene the owner offered me his guest home (normally $5oo/weekend) for $60. Boy, am I good. That night I treated myself to a Maine specialty, a double steamed lobster dinner for $19. Yum. Well, I was walking down the motel path and I came across a man walking his dog. He has a nice coat, I said. He said, Yah, it's far (that's Maine for fur) you know. My son in NH says the folks up in Maine are a bit slow. 20 Jul (Sat) Next morning I was off to Nashua, New Hampshire, or so I thought. I had to wait for the wx to clear. That afternoon it cleared to 1,800 ft. ceiling and marginal VFR to Nashua. Off I went: the wx was marginal, the Loran Navigation System never locked on, my GPS was acting up, I had written the wrong headings on my flight plan and my only compass was + or - 30 degrees off depending on my course. Flying at 1,300 ft., landing 1/2 hour later, by sheer skill and cunning I found Nashua. 21 Jul (Sun) I took the next day off to gather my composure. I stayed with my son, Scott, and his family in Brookline, NH. 22 Jul (Mon) The next day I flew the a/c to Hanscom Field, Mass. to an avionics shop for the necessary repairs. It would be ready the next afternoon. 23 Jul (Tue) Guess what! Thunderstorms the next afternoon--in fact, a squall line. Quite a thunder and lightning show. I continued to lodge with my son and family but planned to leave for my next stop, Danbury, CT the next morning. 24 Jul (Wed) Not. I arrived at the airport at 0930 to find out that the new compass was 30 degrees The a/c had to be demagnetized. Someone left the master switch on and the battery was off. dead. A degausser would be available at o800 the following morning. It is both illegal and unsafe to attempt to fly long distances over unfamiliar terrain with your only compass unreliable. The delays continued. Back at the motel pool I tolerated kids screaming "Marco Polo" for an hour and was forced back to my room to watch CNN. New England sure has great fishbaked Boston scrod at Legal Seafood made for a great dinner.
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25 Jul (Thurs) More surprises, the a/c did not need to be demagnetized. The EGT gauge was affecting the standby compass, so it was relocated (gee, it has only been that way for 12 years!). By that time it was 2 p.m. and I was finally off to Danbury, CT where my friend Ernie had everything arranged. Yea! The DXR airport had two FBO ' s but NO tie-downs for transient a/c. Not to worry, Ernie had assured me that he had a hangar for me. The only problem was that it was not his hangar. The owner showed up and wanted to know why my biplane was in his Learjet spot! I don't know? By the way, the Loran still could not find its position after a $350 upgrade by the factory. Oh well, off I went to dinner at Down The Hatch for fish and chips. 26 Jul (Fri) That ' s what was being reported around Lock Haven, PA. I waited for the weather to move out. In the meantime, I pulled the lower panel and took the Loran antenna off and checked the coaxial cable from the antenna to the coupler to the Loran Computer. All is in tact. Replace and reboot. Voila! It worked. The warm front was stalled over the Ohio Valley and rains continued over western and central PA. This front is moving slower than a Santa Cruz banana slug. 27 Jul (Sat) I arose early and checked the weather. I went back to bed. By noon the weather was the same! Departure airport overcast 1,800 ft., destination airport 1,200 ft. overcast with rain and thundershowers moving in. I wasn't into SCUD running so I submitted to the weather gods and went to the mall. Didn't look good till Monday. Monday's forecast looked like a good corridor (clouds and sun) all the way to Kansas City. Good night. 28 Jul (Sun) Six a.m. Sunday morning and the front was passing. The weather was zero/zero and forecasted to be miserable all day with rain showers the following day. Two p.m., 1,200 ft. overcast and 2 mi. visibility. I wondered when I would see the sun. Dinner would be at Rosie Tomorrows. I indulged in steak instead of seafood figuring that might be a good omen to transverse from New England across the Ohio Valley to the Midwest cattle country. I would be leaving tomorrow come hell or high rain. 29 Jul (Mon) I left, and the good news was that I was finally out of the high rent district. The other good news was that I was stuck in the low rent district. Low broken clouds and three to six mile visibility put me down at Lock Haven, PA. I flew up Bald Eagle Valley at 2,000 ft. with my tail in the clouds looking for the airport. The hills to my left were 2,500 ft. Another front was moving into Pittsburgh and Youngstown. I figured I might be there till Wednesday. There were no good restaurants in Mill Hall. I might starve to death! I took a taxi back to Lock Haven to a nice home style Italian restaurant. The waitress asked what kind of salad dressing I would like. I asked, what do you have. She answered Italian. I think she might have migrated from Maine. 3o Jul (Tue) On the way to breakfast I observed a horse and buggy, you know, the kind the Amish use, sort of a black cubicle with a window in the back. Sure enough a man with a beard dressed
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in black stopped at the Quick Stop, went in, and bought some soda pop for his two kids in the buggy. So much for au naturel. I had a nice visit to the Piper Museum, home of the Cub. My eyes feasted upon one of the legendary Piper Super Cruisers that flew around the world in 1947. One of the stops was at Shemia, Alaska on the tip of the Aleutian chain. Now that's scary. When I flew into Shemia in the USAF in a 4-engine transport on a good day the weather was always 200 ft, mi. visibility and a 3o-mph cross wind. You had to look out the side window to see the runway. The weather finally looked good so I knew I would be cooking on all four cylinders going six legs in two days, Lock Haven, PA to Kansas City, MO. I headed down the road to Aungsts Family Restaurant for dinner (that's pronounced Unks here in central PA). 31 Jul (Wed) Beautiful morning, two cups of coffee, filed a flight plan, and I was off. The fuel strainer drain cock stuck open during preflight and I spilled a gal fuel on the ramp before I could turn the fuel valve off. That problem solved I was on to the run-up. Right mag drop excessive but corrected with mixture. During climb out my RPM was dropping but was corrected by leaning the mixture. High-density altitude I thought. I barely made it to 6,500 ft. when my fuel gauge read "full"! Remember the stuck drain cock? I went to call on the radio for an immediate descent and landing at the nearest airport when the radio went dead. It seemed that the alternator CB was popped. I reset it and the fuel gauge and the radio returned to normal. However, the amp gauge read +6o amps on the red line. So I became the manual regulator pulling and resetting the CB every five minutes to keep the battery charged but not to let it blow up. Back at the ranch my engine was losing power. The RPM was dropping but I leaned the engine to maintain 2100. I switched to the right magneto and almost lost the engine, back to both. I could not maintain altitude and was descending. At that point I was checking out all the farms below looking for a field to land in. Oh yeah, time to pull the alternator CB. I managed to level off at 2,500 ft. and by manipulating throttle, prop, and mixture, could only maintain 75 mph. I scanned my charts for all the small airports near by. No fuel, no maintenance, no service. Not much better than an open field. I called Dayton approach and requested direct Dayton Airport. Approved. It took a very long 15 minutes to go 20 miles. I maintained my altitude until I was within gliding distance of the runway. When the power was reduced the engine backfired " pop pop". There was no going around. After I cleared the runway I checked the engine and 1500 rpm was the most I could get. Not enough to maintain flight. When I pulled the throttle to idle the engine quit. I was sure glad I was over Ohio and not the Rockies. 1 Aug (Thurs) The airplane was at the local FBO (Fixed Base Operator) for maintenance. I decided I would return home to California for a few days so I could get some clean underwear. A few days, hell. How bout a few months. While the airplane was being repaired I went to the Reno Air Races, bought property in Costa Rica, moved my daughter into her new apartment at Cal Poly, got my flight physical, and renewed my CFI ' s (flight instructor certificate). It seems PAGE 31 ... TARPA TOPICS
that because the airplane sat so long before I picked it up in Maine (200 flight hours in twentyfour years) that things dried out, wrinkled, and cracked, just like an old man. The fuel solenoid was pouring fuel into the engine. Sixteen hundred dollars later they said, "It's fixed". (Remember that!) Well, by then I had a real job (?) (A pseudo pilot position), but that's another story. So I found a replacement pilot who managed to nurse the airplane to Tulsa, Oklahoma where he landed with only 30 psi in two of the four cylinders. It then needed a complete top-end. It seemed that the last top-end (20 hours ago) was not done properly. Don't even ask what that cost! 17 Oct (Thurs) Oh no, what's that alarming noise? It was my alarm clock. It was that oh-dark hundred time again and I was reminded that it was time to be a test pilot. After six packets of peanuts American Airlines delivered me to Tulsa, Oklahoma. The hangar queen (at that point she would have to earn the name of airplane) waited for me at Riverside/Jones Airport in Tulsa. I met the very helpful and friendly maintenance folks at Southwest Aviation and found that everything was in order. The airplane had been loitering around the Midwest for over two months and nobody had stolen my survival kit, flares, expensive camera, loaded colt 45, white scarf or leather gloves. Oral Roberts, you done good. The maintenance manager, Barry, agreed to fly a test hop with me they next day. That made me feel good. 18 Oct (Fri) We flew for an hour. The engine ran good, sounded good, and felt good. It was a go. "Barry", I asked, "would you like to fly"? "Sure, thanks". The next thing I knew we were upside down, dishing out of a botched up aileron roll and my portable $900 GPS was hanging by its antenna wire held to the windscreen by a small suction cup! Barry said he learned aerobatics in maintenance school. A good time was had by all. I went to my hotel room and completed my flight plan to the West Coast. It was a beautiful, clear day. I would punch out of there the next day. 19 Oct (Sat) The next day arrived but I would not be going anywhere. Low overcast skies and rain adorned Tulsa. Oh well, I would watch the first game of the World Series and try again Sunday. I had a great pork chop porterhouse dinner at the Marriott. 20 Oct (Sun) It rained in the morning. While checking the ELT I accidentally set it off and didn 't know it for 10 minutes. (The Emergency Locator Transmitter sends out an emergency signal to all within radio range.) How embarrassing. Afternoon "beautiful", so off to Amarillo, Texas I went with a fuel stop at Clinton, Oklahoma. On the outskirts of Amarillo I found The Big Texan steakhouse where I mailed a 72-oz (yikes) T-bone steak to each of my boys. 21 Oct (Mon) Considering the excessive fuel flow, continuing headwinds, mountain temperatures, an ELT problem, and a history of engine problems, I decided to take the time to change my flight plan and go south through Tucson rather than over the mountains to Albuquerque. 22 Oct (Tue)
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Tuesday morning in Amarillo the weather was marginal VFR (Visual Flight Rules), but VFR nonetheless. There was a line of thunderstorms in southwest New Mexico moving NE. I would try to beat that storm to Tucson. I didn't. So, there I was in Portales, NM for what would be six days. The weather had been 800 ft overcast and 1 mile visibility with light drizzle or rain during the days and thunderstorms at night. How did one entertain oneself while in Portales? It was not easy. After reporting to Motel 8 I decided to have a beer. At the local watering hole, Goober McCods, I observed a local cowboy downing a pitcher of beer, no glass, just the pitcher. He was working on his second as I finished my bottle of Modela. There were a dozen folks in the bar and everyone had a cigarette in his or her hand. I observed the Midwest way of life: eat fried food, salt everything, and smoke. Being a Californian I had to adjust to their way of life. 23 Oct (Wed) As the days went on I ate at the more poorly lighted restaurants so nobody could see the continuing food stains on my shirts. Why couldn't I drip on the back of my shirt where my coat would cover up the drips? Up until this point doing laundry was merely a wish so I became very creative. I changed my underwear every day? I change front to back then inside out. I even tried upside down, but that didn't work! The trip had become much longer than expected so fortunately during this lull I was able to catch up on doing my much needed laundry chores. 24 Oct (Thurs) I spent the day creating three different routes to fly out of Portales: Over the mountains to Alamogordo, south to Roswell, or even SE to Carlsbad. I would beat the weather yet. I was bound and determined to "get out of Dodge" (Portales) before the Annual Peanut Festival arrived the coming weekend. All three motels in town would be booked to capacity. Dinner was at the Roosevelt Hotel and baked quail was the meal of choice. The chef even gave me his secret recipe. 25 Oct (Fri) The sun was rising and I was at the airport, as they say in the Midwest, gnawing at the bit. Well, the sun wasn't really coming up; the sky was just getting lighter. Eight hundred feet overcast and one mile visibility. But I would be ready when it clears. I put suntan lotion on my face, gassed up, and preflighted the airplane. I packed my suitcase in the front seat, and obtained the winds at 9,000 ft. I completed my flight plan and pulled the aircraft out of the hangar. It finally cleared by 1400L. There was only enough day left to make it to Alamogordo via a fuel stop at Roswell, NM. One last weather check (it was a beautiful, clear day in Portales). Weather check revealed low ceilings in route "VFR not recommended", Roswell 1,200 ft overcast 5 mi and mist and not improving. I felt like Fearless Fosdick. Wasn't he the character in Li'l Abner with a black cloud always over his head? I took the suntan lotion off my face, unloaded the aircraft, put the flight plans back in my flight bag, and pushed the Great Lakes back into the hangar. As predicted, due to the Peanut Festival, Motel 8 was full, but I found a quaint, little B&B in the middle of town called The Morning Star run by a retired English teacher named Faye. After checking in I was off to The Cattle Baron for their Friday night special, prime rib.
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26 Oct (Sat) Saturday morning and it was Peanut Festival time! A solid rain fell outside so I knew I was not flying anywhere. I had a nice breakfast with Faye and a personable couple from Santa Fe who were visiting their son who attends Eastern New Mexico University (also the site of the infamous Peanut Festival). Rain put a damper on the outside food vendors, but I could not pass up the Texas curly-Q potatoes. Inside the buildings were hundreds of arts and crafts booths and there were hundreds of people visiting them. This is the biggest event of the year in Portales. I bought a jar of sweethot green pepper sauce, a special rack for grilling stuffed jalapenos wrapped in bacon and, of course; I could not leave without a bag of peanuts. For dinner I would go Mexican and rent a few videos for afterward. I could not stand to watch the weather channel another day. During our breakfast chats Faye was very curious about what I was doing in Portales. I told her my mission and said I was writing a journal and I asked her if she would like to read what I had written so far. She said she would enjoy reading it. I left my story with her while I went to dinner. 27 Oct (Sun) During the night there were thunderstorms and low ceilings persisted in the morning. At breakfast Faye returned my story, totally corrected! Confirmation that people have lots of time on their hands in Portales. At noon Roswell was 600 ft overcast and 6 mi. Thank goodness for Sunday football. The next day weather prediction called for Portales to be on the trailing side of a double low-pressure area. I would try to fly out then. 28 Oct (Mon) I arrived at the Portales airport at 8 a.m., 500 ft broken and i,000 ft overcast. On went the suntan lotion, I --- oh, you know the routine. When it lifted to 1,800 ft broken I was out of there and headed for Roswell at 1,000 ft. Halfway there the weather went to 7,000 ft scattered. I climbed to 6,500 ft (2,500 above ground level) and planned to fuel up at Roswell and then on to Alamogordo. As afternoon approached there were thunderstorms around Roswell and around the 9,000 ft pass enroute to Alamogordo. While I contemplated my fate, I photographed numerous sights of UFO landing fields just north of Roswell. While descending for landing I encountered light to moderate turbulence. The building cumulus on the mountains to the west convinced me to change my next destination from Alamogordo to the Best Western in Roswell. The weather gods said it would be dry the following day. My alarm was set for 0515L. 29 Oct (Tue) As planned, the alarm went off. All I knew was that I had to get the aircraft moving. I was certain that Jerry, the owner of this beautiful flying machine, had put me on the Ten Most Wanted List. I had begun this journey in July and it was almost November and I still had his airplane. First leg: Roswell to Alamogordo. The locals said to fly south down Highway 285 then west to stay out of the mountains but I chose to follow the Honda River due west over the Sacramento
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Mountains to Sierra Blanca then down the valley southwest to Alamogordo. Enroute I experienced light-to-moderate turbulence but this was the most picturesque part of the trip. Second leg: On to Deming, NM. The headwinds continued at 10 to 20 knots (that's 20% of my true airspeed). I would fly down the VFR corridor, about 3 miles wide, to avoid White Sands Proving Ground and five restricted areas. I flew so close to the Air Force fighters out of Holloman AFB that I could see the whites of the pilot's eyes. After landing late in the afternoon in Deming, I asked for the ever-so-popular "one hundred dollar hamburger". Not in Deming. In Deming they were free! I kid you not. A fridge full of hamburgers and all the fixings. Build your own and zap it in the microwave. After two free burgers (who says pilots are cheap) I was off to Cochise, AZ. Third leg: Free hamburgers, yes, mineral oil, no. I was getting low on oil and planned to top off at Cochise. I called ahead and, guess what, no mineral oil. I made the mineral oil stop at Lordsburg, NM. Winds 15 gusting to 22. I had made many fuel stops in the past but this was my first oil stop. Fourth leg I was then off to Cochise. The best route always is to follow the highways through the mountain passes, not the Victor Airways. Gee, I think I was around when Victor Airways were invented and now they are obsolete. Just a subtle reminder of how time flies. In a notso-subtle moment my daughter once reminded me that I was so old I was going down the bad chute. Hey, age is only a number. I arrived in Cochise and that evening I was bombarded by bats flying about. From little green UFO men in Roswell to bats in Cochise. What would be next? 30 Oct (Wed) The next morning after breakfast at 7 am, I turned in my motel key and waited with my suitcase and brain bag for my ride to the airport. The van driver (actually the motel owner) was 45 minutes late. The motel front door was locked and I could not go to a pay phone to call for a taxi because I have 3 piles of baggage by my feet. The driver finally shows up and we exchange ?niceties?. I keep my cool and avoid fisticuffs. God forbid I should get blood on Jerry' s airplane. Needless to say it was a very quiet ride to the airport. The weather was beautiful and I was off to Bermuda Dunes, CA to visit an old friend. First fuel stop was Casa Grande. I followed Highway 10 over Tucson and Davis Monthan AFB, the bone yard for obsolete aircraft. I got vectors for a great view, my camera was ready, oh shoot, I was out of film. The perfect Kodak moment lost. From Casa Grande I flew over the Sonoran Desert to Buckeye, an uneventful leg. Buckeye to Blythe was uneventful again, but that California sun sure felt good. Blythe to Bermuda Dunes. I landed at an airport lined with homes on one side of the runway. My friend, Larry, met me and we were off for sushi. 31 Oct (Thurs) I enjoyed visiting with my friends who live in the high rent district. Would you believe the trick-or-treaters travel in a convoy of golf carts! That was quite a culture shock for a
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country bumpkin like me who lives in the small mountain town of Felton. 1 Nov (Fri) Final leg: Bermuda Dunes to Reno, no, to Las Vegas, no, to Watsonville, no, to Sonoma, no, to Monterey. Ha! Come on Jerry, make up your mind. Bottom line, Bermuda Dunes to General Fox Airport (Lancaster), to Paso Robles, to Watsonville, CA. The smog was so bad west of the San Bernardino Mountains, barely 3 miles visibility, I chose to fly up the east side where I had a beautiful view of Big Bear Lake off to my left. There were strong winds and light turbulence up the Salinas Valley into Watsonville but I had a great view of Soledad Prison and the Pinnacles National Monument. Jerry found a hangar in Monterey and after a two-day rest in Watsonville the aircraft now sits in Monterey California. This entire ferry flight should have taken two weeks. I do believe I have set an open cockpit coast to coast record of 108 days, 22 hours, and 30 minutes, taking into account, of course, the 3-hour time change and the return back to standard daylight time. For your convenience I am available for ferry flights. Editors Note: Larry Robbins owns his own Great Lakes antique biplane and gives acrobatic flights and scenic tours over Monterey Bay in California. His aviation career includes service with the USAF, TWA, Corporate, and General Aviation. He flew with TWA beginning in 1968 and was based in SFO & JFK. During his flying career he has flown the T-34, T-37, C-124, C-13o, Lear Jet, Aerostar, and many general aviation types. Opting for working conditions Larry flew as Flight Engineer on the B-727, and B-747.He has flown the Paciifc and Southeast Asia and most of Europe.
His business "BiPlane for Hire" is now for sale as he is retiring to Costa Rica with his wife Ginny.
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More Tales From the Trails by Jim Breslin Being an Active or Retired Flight Crew member, we all know the most often -asked question of us at a cocktail party; "Have you ever had any close calls?" And of course, we have. You don't spend tens of thousands of hours in an airplane without having a harrowing experience or two to share with your expectant hosts, and because all of these stories are true, they are all the more gripping to listen to. I have two such nightmares that leave me in a cold sweat each time they creep into my dreams, though these many years later. The first such incident happened before I broke into the Major League of Aviation. I was working for an airline at that time known as Quebecair, which was headquartered in the tiny town of Rimouski on the south shore of the mouth of the St. Lawrence river in Canada. Quebecair's domain of operation was the hinterlands of the Province of Quebec and Labrador where enormous hydro-electric projects were planned to get underway. But before that could happen, there were vast acres of forests and timberland that had to be cleared. And hence, an army of lumberjacks showed up for the lucrative jobs that these projects afforded. Now before I get too deep into this saga of life in the unforgiving world of aviation, there is one lesson you need to learn about lumberjacks. Don't ever try to separate a lumberjack from his chain-saw. That would be akin to snatching the pacifier from a baby's mouth in The Mall of America. They are going to scream bloody murder and you are going to appear like the child-molester you aren't. If he wants to hug his chain-saw during the flight, don't traumatize him by depriving him of the only security blanket he's ever known since he was a baby. You have to think of it as his pacifier of sorts. Well, we were ready to "button 'er up" on the ramp at Sept-Iles (pronounced Set Eel) one night when the Flight Attendant burst through the cockpit door and announced in no uncertain terms that there was an uncontrollable behemoth back there in the cabin and either he gets off of the plane right now or she's getting off. "Which is it going to be?",she demanded of me. "Well, what's the problem?", I asked her. "This bozo in row three is so drunk that he can't even slur the name Montreal, in English or French, let alone tell you what country he's in. He refuses to stow his chain-saw under the seat in front of him and as for the seat belt, he's already told me where to stow that. More than that, he is threatening to tear the seats out of their moorings unless I bring him another Pepsi and Rum toute suite. " " Well, why don't you let the agent take care of it?", I reasoned with her. "I've tried that.", she argued, "but he trembles so bad each time I try to drag him back up the steps that I can ' t keep a grip on him. " " Well what about the police constable that I saw in the terminal building when we arrived for the flight?" "Oh, when he saw the agent's sleeve come off in my hands he took off for important business downtown."
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# @%$I@ (expletives), I muttered to myself, if you want things done properly you've got to do them yourself, and so I got out of my seat and put on my uniform jacket, but not before rubbing the cuffs of each sleeve against one another to buff-up the luster of my four Captain's stripes. And similarly, I rubbed the scrambled-eggs on the bill of my cap before setting it down on my head at a jaunty angle to give me a no-nonsense, swash-buckling appearance. Then I took one last look in the mirror to be sure that I looked like a real Captain before entering into the cabin. When I opened the cockpit door and did a reconnaissance sweep of the cabin in front of me, there he was, just as described, occupying most of row three - no not lying down, but sitting straight upright, his chain-saw cradled lovingly on his lap. The man had no neck, just this enormous head wedged in between shoulders that could have been two sides of beef. This prehistoric behemoth made Paul Bunyan look like Tiny Tim - remember Tiny Tim? - Tiptoe Through The Tulips? Although I hadn't given any thought to a Plan B, let alone a Plan C, I quickly made up my mind to trash Plan A and walked swiftly towards the back of the plane where I could turn around and get another perspective on my target. There was no doubt in my mind that I had made the proper decision in trashing Plan A. That would have been like breaking wind against thunder. "Well .. ?," the Flight Attendant wanted to know as I made my way back to the cockpit. "Don't worry," I tried to console her, "I'll think of something.", I said as I motioned to the agent at the bottom of the steps to "button 'er up, but don't leave the station". "Oh I'm going off duty now Sir." he said as he saluted me, "but Jean-Pierre will be here to help you if you need anything further." The runway situation at Sept-Iles (pronounced Set Eel) was of the triangular variety, very typical of the day, with runways joining together end on end but headings varying by 120 degrees from one another. "Tell the Tower we're ready to start engines and that we'd like to taxi along all three runways to check out our compasses before returning to the gate." It took about fifteen minutes or so, and as we drew back up to the gate Jean-Pierre was there to greet us as promised. Well no sooner had Jean-Pierre entered the cabin than Igor the Gorilla was up and out of his seat and down the steps, thanking all on board for the wonderfully smooth flight and vowing that he would only ever fly Quebecair from now on. As I watched him crossing the ramp, cradling his chain-saw in his arms as gently as though it was a Stradavarious, he turned to everyone watching, and with tears of gratitude welling-up in his eyes, he blew us a kiss before being swallowed into the darkness of the night. And so because of heroic action and dedication to duty on everyone's part, we all survived, and lived to fly another day. I promise you that every word of this story is true. Who could ever make-up such a preposterous fairytale?
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Now if that put a giggle on your funny-bone, I have another story of incredible heroism and disregard of personal safety to share with you. This story happened after August to, 1964 when T.W.A. gave me my first opportunity to move up to the Major League. At that time things were moving so fast at T.W.A. that no sooner had I graduated from one school than I found myself being awarded a bid to move on to another venue of opportunity. Hence, much of my probationary year was spent in the classroom learning about compressors and turbines and air-conditioning systems, and diodes, and battery busses, and such as that. One day as I was emptying my-mail folder at Kennedy Airport, I came upon a note from Captain Church. It read, "Please stop by my office at your earliest convenience." Oh oh, I thought. ' ' Come on in Jim. Have a seat. I know that it isn t your fault but you re coming up to the ' end of your probationary year and we don t have any Fitness Reports on you. And so instead of providing us with one report each month as is policy, I'm asking you to get a Fitness Report from each Captain that you fly with from here on in. We know that it hasn't been your fault but we must have at least a half-a-dozen Fitness Reports in your file before you come off of probation." With that we shook hands and he assured me that I had a wonderful career ahead of me at T.W.A., and he wished me well. "
Well I'm not one to spread gossip about people who aren't present to defend themselves, but I also empathize with those people who are dying to know the inside story, and so as you try to identify the major player in this event about to unfold (not me), pick a number between 4 and 6 and then add an alphabet letter between o and o. Now the rest of it is up to you to figure out. My lips remain sealed. I thought it strange as I went through International School in Kansas City that the senior instructors there would send out a heads-up to we new-hires that cast a disparaging image on a handful of Captains who, it was rumored, were terrorizing the International Division. At best, it was said, they did march to a different drummer. Well don't you know, on my first flight after my meeting with Captain Church, and with the dreaded Fitness Report in hand, I drew the Ace of Spades as my Captain, and so, without prejudging, I decided to wait and observe - operate by the book, I told myself, and put in an honest day's work for an honest day's pay. I was to be the third set of pilot's eyes in the cockpit and would sit in the Observer's Seat immediately behind the Captain. Being new to the operation I didn't know a soul on the crew except that the First Officer had to have been one of the twenty-year veterans who had suffered through years of stagnation at the airline up `till that time. And so off we went, destined for a station-stop in Frankfurt before continuing on to Zurich. Other than the recitation of the Check Lists, not a word of friendly conversation was uttered throughout the flight. No Flight Attendant dared venture into the cockpit, not because they were boycotting cockpit members per se, but because they just wouldn't expose themselves to
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the potential abuse from the Ogre who occupied the left seat. And so as we made our way across the Atlantic, that dreaded Fitness Report began to seem more and more ominous to me and I began to cower from the thought of having to present it for judgment. Each time I looked at my Flight Bag I was reminded of the monster that lay hidden inside of it. Finally I decided to put it out of my mind until the return trip to New York, and to decide then whether to expose it or not to the Captain ' s wrath. Let' s just wait and see, I thought to myself. Upon our arrival in Zurich I thought it would be prudent to stay out of sight and to lock myself in my room so as not to expose myself to any suggestion of impropriety, especially since I had not yet completed my probationary year. When I went down to the breakfast room the following morning I was confronted by my Captain who sat directly opposite me as I entered the room, while the rest of the crew were gathered together in a far away corner. What to do? You can't just ignore the Captain by passing him by, I reasoned, but as I walked towards him he pulled up his newspaper in front of his face, and with a sense of relief, I veered away from him to join the crew at the other end of the room. And so it was off to Frankfurt to take on fuel and to plan the crossing of the Atlantic. When all of that was done and we sat in the cockpit awaiting our clearance from Frankfurt to New York, the First Officer's seat remained curiously empty. What had become of him? I never learned, only that as our departure time approached my Captain growled at me to get into the First Officer's seat. "It was time for me to do some work", he went on. Once we got to altitude, the dreaded document that lay hidden inside of my Flight Kit began to haunt me once more, and each time I glanced down at it, it continued to grow more and more ominous. But by the time we had reached 30 degrees west, I had reasoned that based on the picture that the ground-school Instructors in Kansas City had painted for us, I really had nothing to lose. Even if I did get a vilifying report from this Captain, I reasoned that it wouldn't be considered with any serious consequences. If, on the other hand this Captain's hand were to confuse the grading numbers and mistakenly give me a glowing report, that report would be worth its' weight in gold. It was worth the gamble, I reasoned. And so after I had given our position report at 30 west, I reached into my Flight Kit and drew out the Fitness Report that had been haunting me ever since I'd signed-in at New York two days before, and asked, "Captain, would you mind filling out this Fitness Report for me please?" He seemed baffled as he scanned the form briefly before stuffing it into his own Flight Kit on the floor beside him, and with a distrusting look on his face I thought I saw him wince as though he felt I was trying to trap him into doing something he had never done before. Nothing more was said about the dreaded Fitness Report until after I had gotten our Domestic Clearance from Gander, when he pulled it out of his Kit once again and began to study it more carefully.
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"What is this?", he wanted to know. "And what am I supposed to do with it?" "Well, it ' s a Fitness Report Sir. You take each item on the list and you give it a grade as you see fit, and at your pleasure Sir. " "How long has the Company been doing this?", he wanted to know. "Oh, I don't know Sir - for as long as I've been here anyway." Then I watched as he wetted the tip of his pencil on his tongue and began putting marks on my report card. "How is this?, he grumbled as he handed the form back to me, inferring that I should check it for mistakes. Well I sat there in disbelief as I digested the perfect score he had assigned to each topic when he suddenly grunted impatiently, "Now what am I supposed to do with it?" As you can imagine, I was afraid he might lose it, or forget to turn it in at New York and so I assured him that, "I'll make sure that it gets to the proper folks in New York once we get there.", and he seemed somehow relieved that I had spared him the trauma of having to go to the Chief Pilot's office to explain his grading technique on a form he had never seen before. A few more weeks went by when another note from Captain Church appeared in my mail folder. "
Come in Jim. Take a seat. Congratulations, I see you ' ve completed your probation in exemplary fashion. Mary, bring in Jim's file will you please." As we waited for that, he welcomed me to the domicile while cautioning me to keep up the good work. When my file appeared, the conversation between us drifted into chit-chat as he thumbed through my file page after page. And then all at once he paused before flipping back to a page that had almost slipped by his relaxed scrutiny. "Good God Almighty", he exclaimed, "what did you do to get this?" "What Sir?" "This Fitness Report from Captain So and So? " When I revealed the story in detail just as I've told it here, I thought Old Charlie was going to bust a gut. He was rolled over in laughter as he got up out of his chair to shake my hand, and then quipped, " Son, you ' ve got some pair of brass tentacles. I don 't need to see any more." With that he closed my folder and I was never called to his office again. And that was the way I liked it. So if you've ever had any close calls, write them down and send them in to Tarpa Topics. They're always eager to print epics of valor and heroism under fire, written by such humble Aces as myself.
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FIRST CIRCUMNAVIGATION OF THE WORLD OVER BOTH POLES (A Record-breaking and Scientific Flight in a flying Tiger Boeing 707) by Dino Valazza In early autumn of 1965 Fred Austin was telling me that the Explorer 's Club, Lowell Thomas, Jr. and he had been considering the possibility of a scientific and record breaking flight over both poles, preferably in a Boeing 707. He had approached TWA, but was told that it was "No Go;" that they couldn't spare the airplane. nor would they want their logo on it. However, Bob Prescott of Flying Tigers told him they could provide a plane for one week, but it would have to include their pilot, navigator, and flight engineer. I asked Fred if I could go along, but he said he already had two flight engineers. A few days later he called me and said he would need another flight engineer, so I became part of the crew. Altogether there were five pilots, three, navigators, and three flight engineers. Along with Fred Austin, commander of the flight, Jack Martin, chief pilot of Flying Tigers and Captain of the airplane, and Jim Gannet, a Boeing test pilot, we had two more pilots from TNVA, Bob Buck and Harrison Fitch. Flight engineers were Jim Jones, manager of FIE at LAX, Val Valazza, and Gene Olson from Flying Tigers. Navigators included one from Flying Tigers, one who had retired from TWA, and one from a navigation school. Also on board were Bob Prescott and his son, Lowell Thomas, Jr., Bert Balchen, an Arctic explorer who had already been over both poles, a reporter from Time Magazine, a reporter from the Los Angeles Daily News, a cameraman who would document the flight, and a priest. Preparation for the flight was quite hectic. I was involved as a "gofer" for Fred Austin. He asked if I could get him a motor generator to convert the 400-cycle aircraft electrical system to a 6o-cycle system for the Teletype, which was essential for publicity on any record-breaking flight. The motor generator weighed over 30 pounds, so I asked Fred if we really had to have it. He said, "Yes," so it was installed. In addition we needed a camera in order to do a photographic mosaic of both poles as we flew over them. When we asked the owner of the camera, he said, " Fine and dandy, you can have the camera, but I go with it." We also had a scientist who was going to take samples of the oxygen, ozone, and carbon dioxide in the upper atmosphere. This required installing an air lock in the side of the fuselage. Litton provided an experimental Inertial Guidance System-one unit only-with a crew of two to operate it. However, the navigators were in charge of navigating the flight. There were glitches in preparing the airplane. We had to install a rubber bag (10 ' X20 ' ) in the forward part of the airplane to carry extra fuel in order to extend our range an extra four hours. We installed 20 seats in the rear of the cabin to accommodate Colonel Rockwell, his CFO, and the balance of other personnel on board. When the aircraft was ready we flew it to Palm Springs where an air show was in progress. The sponsors wanted all the publicity they could get. Bob Prescott of the Flying Tigers was going along with us on the rest of the flight, but we dropped off his son in Palm Springs. In mid-afternoon we left for Honolulu where the flight would officially start. We experienced so many delays in preparation that we were unable to leave Honolulu until evening, thus ensuring the flight over the North Pole and into London was entirely during darkness. En route the recirculating fan overheated, filling the cabin with smoke and panicking some of the passengers. It was necessary to restrict all circulated air in the cabin in order to provide a blast of PAGE 42 ... TARPA TOPICS
cooling air for the Inertial Guidance System. During the flight to London the Inertial Guidance System proved its effectiveness by showing that we were off course by some 50 miles due to heavy unanticipated crosswinds. The navigators eventually corrected this on their next fix. The flight over the North Pole was otherwise uneventful. On our arrival at Heathrow, Bob Prescott was informed that his son had been killed when the Lear jet returning him to Burbank had crashed into the San Gorgonio Mountains; he left immediately for the United States. In addition, London was a rough stop for us. First of all, because we arrived so late we could not use the long runway, which we would require with a full load of fuel. Secondly, nobody would let us have a new recirculating fan without authority from Boeing in Seattle; that took another hour or so. Finally, we were able to take off, but with a stop in Lisbon. Had we been able to carry a full load of fuel, we would have flown directly to Buenos Aires. In Lisbon we had another of the "glitches" which seem to accompany record breaking flights. The crew was stuck in the terminal elevator for a half-hour. We finally took off from Lisbon and arrived in Buenos Aires in the early morning. Here we refueled and resupplied the plane. We were then ready to leave for the South Pole with our next stop being Christchurch, New Zealand. This was the most exciting part of the trip as it was daylight for the entire crossing of Antarctica. We circled the South Pole twice; looking down from 37,000 feet we could see the little black spots that indicated the holes where the living quarters were located. Some 15 minutes after leaving the South Pole, the people from the Inertial Guidance system came to me and said," We'd like to tell the navigators, but maybe you'd better do it. It appears that we are off-course by about fifteen to twenty degrees." The problem appeared to be that the Flying Tiger airplane did not have a Polar Path compass, and the two 360's circling over the South Pole had recessed the gyros. I went to the navigators and casually mentioned, "You know that the gyros might have been recessed ." They immediately took a fix and gave the pilots a course correction. We arrived in Christchurch, New Zealand about midnight, refueled, and then took off for Honolulu, arriving there midmorning. Everyone in the crew was being photographed in jumpsuits with the exception of Bob Buck, he wore his TWA uniform. I recall that 73-year-old Colonel Rockwell, standing next to one of the hula girls while being photographed, was gently massaging her behind. On our way back to Burbank, I went back and sat next to Colonel Rockwell and said, "Back there in Honolulu I noticed that you were fondling one of the hula girls. He immediately became very defensive, but I told him I wished I had had that chance. He then whispered to me with a glint in his eye, "She had absolutely nothing on under her muumuu." We arrived in Burbank in late evening. We had set some new records, having circumnavigated the world over both poles in 52 hours and 20 minutes. We had made some scientific discoveries, one of those being the fact that there were holes in the ozone layer over both poles. We were able to talk to our families, using a phone-patch with the Collins single sideboard H. , from some 35,000 feet over the South Pacific. Most of all, we proved the reliability of the Boeing 707. We arrived in Burbank with only one major "squawk." Captain Fred Austin "went west" in March of this year. Only Bob Buck and I are left from the TWA crew. We ' ll all miss Fred, a great gentleman. PAGE 43 ... TARPA TOPICS
SPOTLITE by Edward "Bud" Kuball Well, Ralph and Myrna say they need something to fill up the newsletter, so this should do it. I'm from the Midwest, North Dakota to be exact, and while in high school took a fancy to flying. After a few lessons, I received my license and my dad bought me a Piper Cub airplane, which I flew to an air show in Minnesota and won 501bs . of Land-O-Lakes butter for being the youngest (16 years) pilot there. Enrolling in the Naval Aviation College Program, I attended the University of Colorado before being sent to Florida and Texas for flight training. During the Korean War, I was a Navy Carrier Pilot but never saw combat as I was attached to the 6 t ' Fleet on the East Coast. I did do a six-month cruise in the Mediterranean area aboard the aircraft carrier, USS Coral Sea CVA-43, where I enjoyed checking out the bikinis on the French Rivera. Upon completion of my Naval service (4 years), I was employed by the airlines and my first base was in Michigan where I lived on a lake and flew my small amphibious aircraft off the lake to go to work. Next, after a short stint in New York City, I was sent to Cairo, Egypt, where our flights were to North Africa, Europe, the Middle and Far East. While there I climbed one of the pyramids (Cheops) in Giza and also took a trip with my cook, Mohammed, a guest and my rifle. I drove my Ford station wagon over to Suez and then down along the Red Sea. About halfway down Egypt, we headed west across the desert to Qena on the Nile River then followed the river back to Cairo, staying in "rest houses" along the way. When the war over the Suez Canal broke out, the base was closed and all Americans were evacuated from Alexandria, Egypt, by the U.S. Navy. Based again in the USA, I was temporarily assigned to the former Belgian Congo (Zaire) during the Rhodesian Crisis. There we flew diesel fuel from Leopoldville to Elizabethville in a Boeing 707 aircraft. On the descent during the return flight, the 144 55-ga llon empty barrels would " oil-can " giving us some jungle " music. " (Remember the song: Bongo, Bongo, Bongo, I don't want to leave the Congo??) During the Vietnam War years, the U.S. Military would charter airline aircraft to augment their troop-carrying capacity and we would ferry an empty Boeing 707 aircraft from New York to Travis AFB near San Francisco, fill it up with troops (180), and fly them to Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) with stops at Honolulu and Okinawa. I was married at this time and in 1970 pulled my four children out of school and took them on a six-week around-the-world (eastbound) tour. (Keep in mind that my airfares were free and hotels at 50%.) I threw in a two-week hunting safari in Africa (Kenya), topped off by hiking to Gilman's Point (18,635 feet) on Mt. Kilimanjaro. We had 17 pieces of checked luggage including two rifles and ammunition-that would be a difficult trip in today's world! ! !Also, during the mid-70's, I spent a couple of years flying for Saudi Arabian Airlines out of Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. While there, we went on a camping trip using a Toyota Corolla as our RV. We drove from Jeddah to Medina (where Mohammed was buried), to Riyadh (the capitol), to Mecca (where Mohammed was born) and back to Jeddah, camping in the desert all the way. Another time, after a short vacation in the U.S., we flew from New York to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Spending a few days there, and then on to Johannesburg, South Africa, we rented a mini-motor home (on a Toyota chassis) and camped in Kruger National Park for a few days, finally returning to Jeddah via Nairobi, Kenya. Once on my days off, I took my youngest son (14 years) who was attending an American school in Jeddah, on a skiing trip in Africa-that ' s right-Africa, the Atlas Mountains in Morocco, to be exact. There are some 13,000 feet peaks in this range and that's why we have the Sahara Desert. Anyway, by flying to Casablanca (Play it again, Sam) and renting a car, we drove about 50 miles southeast
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of Marrakech to the small ski area. A ski area we liked better was Isola 2,000 about a twohour drive north of Nice, France. As skiing is one of my many passions, I found my season cut short when I started going with the Chapter 8 (the Mexican Connection) on their trips to Mexico that usually is right in the middle of our ski season. To counteract this, I went in our summer to New Zealand, Chile and Argentina. By doing this I actually managed to increase my skiing days and one season chalked up 6o days of skiing the most I've ever had. In Chile, at some of the smaller ski areas, I ran across what might be called an "economy" ski lift. This was a bar that four people would hang onto which was attached to a cable that ran about 3/4ths of the way up the mountain over a pulley and back down the mountain to a man sitting behind us with a small gasoline motor. This man, upon getting four "thumbs up" would then, somehow, engage the cable to the motor and away we would go. At the top it was fun to see how many could get off the bar without falling. I think this was the only place where going up the mountain was more fun than skiing down! Speaking of passions, another of mine is firearms. I am a "gun nut" of sorts and a fan of Weatherby rifles. I've owned five of themâ€”a.22, two .300's, a.340 (with a custom stock), and a .46o (the World's most powerful rifle). I load all of my ammunition, including my Ruger revolver, in caliber .44 Remington Magnum -a "Dirty Harry " special. I ' ve hunted both coasts and midwest of the USA and Canada, including Alaska as well as Africa (Egypt and Kenya) and Australia (Arnhem Land east of Darwin). Anyone want to buy some heads?? By the way, when my children present me with a new grandchild, I buy that child a new .22 caliber rifle with a 4 power telescopic sight and their name and birth date engraved on the receiver (The girls get one too-they could be little "Annie Oakleys"). So far, I've purchased eight rifles and counting! River rafting is also high on my list of things to do and mostly with Commercial Outfitters. I took my kids down the Colorado River, through the Grand Canyon from Lee's Ferry to Lake Mead. Also, did Cataract Canyon on the Colorado River between Moab, Utah and Lake Powell and West Water Canyon on the Colorado River above Moab. The Green River of Utah was also a favoriteâ€”the "Gates of Lodore" section was great, and also Grey and Desolation Canyons below Sand Wash in a one-person "Sport Yak" to the town of Green River, Utah. Below the town, I took my i6-foot Alumacraft boat with a 25 horsepower motor down to the confluence of the Green and Colorado Rivers and then upstream to Moab. The Yampa River of Colorado and Utah (one of the last free-flowing rivers in the US) was done exiting at Echo Park just before the confluence with the Green River. One river I did by myself was the Yukon. Flying up to Whitehorse, Yukon Territory with my 12-foot Zodiac raft in a bag, I rented a 15-horsepower motor and went down river to Dawson City. This was 46o river miles and took 13 days. Early on, my raft flipped over and I lost all my booze which made for a dry trip (internally). In this area at another time, I did a canoe trip (with five others in three canoes) down the South Nahanni River in the Northwest Territories, Canada (the River of Mystery it is called). This river flows out of the Mackenzie Mountains on the Yukon-Northwest Territories border and it flows southeast into the Liard River which flows into the Mackenzie River that flows north into the Arctic Ocean. This was a two-week trip and we had to portage around Virginia Falls-which are twice as high as Niagara Falls in the US and Canada. Another good raft trip was a five-day trip down the Kali Gondaki River in Nepal. This was down after a today trek with REI along the foothills of the Himalayas. This raft trip cost us as much as a similar one in the US and all the equipment and rafts (Avon) were new. A few days in the Royal Chitwan National Park topped off this adventure. In Alaska, we did the last 100 miles of
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the Copper River which empties into Prince William Sound near Cordova. Now-how about motorcycles? they weren't really my passion, but I liked them a lot. When living in Saudi Arabia I bought a used Honda twin street bike. It had a nice sound and was great for running around the narrow back streets of Jeddah. In Las Vegas, where I live now, I had a 125cc Honda on-and-off which was okay for foolin' around in the desert. Then I bought a Yamaha. 98occ "Virago" street bike which would go like hell until I ran it into the side of a truck and wiped it out and busted up my left leg. One day, when reading the newspaper (I do read once in awhile, you know), I saw an ad for Honda Gold Wing motorcycle owners to go to Australia for a three-week tour. That sounded like fun to me-except for one small detail-I didn't have a motorcycle. So, I signed up anyway to ride in the "sag" wagon that follows the bikes. However, when I arrived in Sydney, I thought that this wouldn't be any fun, so I rented a Harley Davidson Sportster 920cc (couldn't find a bigger one). With 30 bikes we would ride in three staggered groups of 10 bikes and I would ride in the third group in the last spot on the right side. One nice sunny day between Canberra and Wagga Wagga my bike wouldn't run so it was placed in the trailer and I rode in the van. A short while later, a Nissan pickup came our way and the driver dozed off and ran right through the third section of bikes, killing two people instantly and injuring others on four other bikes, sending them to the hospital. The people that were killed (a retired couple from Vermont) were riding in my spot. It was my lucky day! Anyway, the 5,000 mile three-week tour was from Sydney to: Canberra, Adelaide, Alice Springs (Ayers Rock), Tennant Creek, east to Rockhampton on the Coast and down the Coast and over Harbour Bridge to Sydney. After this, I flew to New Zealand and hiked the Milford Track, billed as "Most Beautiful trek in the World." However, the trekkers cheated a little as one section of the walk was closed due to avalanche danger so the promoters brought in a helicopter and flew everyone around the closed section. During the mid-80's, I did a lot of backpacking and car camping, hiked up Mt. Whitney (14,495 feet) with a full pack and spent the night on top. Did the same across the Owens Valley on White Mountain (14,242 feet). Flew to Stockholm with my camping gear, rented a car and went up the Swedish Coast into Finland and then to the northern most point of Norway (Nordkap) and down the Norwegian Coast to Denmark and then back to Stockholm. Another time, I flew to Paris and did the World War II beaches in Normandy. There are campgrounds near or on Omaha and Utah Beaches and a great museum in Caen. Sailing anyone? Have you ever had the urge to sail around the World?? Well, I got over that real fast by joining a sailing club. We usually had about 20 people sign up for a cruise so we would charter three sailboats in the 40 to 50 ft. range and split the cost among us. Our favorite sailing area was the Caribbean, mostly the US and British Virgin Islands. We also had a sailout of the French Island of Martinique in the Windward Islands. Since we were an airline group and could fly cheap, one year we flew to Greece and did some of the Greek Islands. Another time, we went to Tahiti in the Society Islands and chartered out of Raiatea, sailing from there to Huahine and Bora-Bora. One time we flew to Auckland, on the North Island of New Zealand and sailed north to the Bay of Islands. After this, a couple of us took a side trip to Bali, Indonesia. One day I was reading in the newspaper about a promising adventure in the South Pacific. I called the number and a woman answered saying that she had chartered a 65foot racing sloop with a paid Captain for two years to sail around the South Pacific and wanted a few (three or four) paying passengers to help alleviate the cost. I signed on for a month and flew to the Kingdom of Tonga, a group of about 170 islands 1,600 miles west of Tahiti, where she met me at the airport in Nukualofa and took me aboard the sloop "Scott Free" to meet
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the others. We sailed among quite a few of the islands-sometimes having one all to ourselves. Every day at 16:00 hours we had cocktail hour on the fantail. I coined a new phrase over there-"Home is where your cocktail hour is"â€”a takeoff on the Escapees motto of " Home is where you park it. " By the way, for you history buffs, this area is where Captain Bligh and some of his men were placed in a longboat after the Mutiny on the Bounty. This was my last sailing trip (at least for now). I don't like the confinement of a sailboat-one just can't step out of it like you can an RV. I presently live in a mobile home park in Las Vegas where I spend about half my time and have a 30 ft. "Scotty" motor home. This motor home is built on a Dodge 4x4 cab and chassis, which is a great vehicle for my skiing trips. Purchased in November 1995, it now has 120,000 miles on the odometer. SYDTROW-SeeYouDownTheRoadOW(orwater) Bud Kuball
P.S. Gee, I almost forgot trains. Riding trains can be fun, especially on the older (steam) ones. Some of the trains I am especially fond of are as follows: The Indian Pacific from Perth to Sydney in Australia; The Alaska Railroad "Moose Gooser" from Anchorage to Fairbanks; The Polar Bear Express from Winnipeg to Churchill (the Polar Bear Capitol of the World) on Hudson Bay; the ski train from Bergen, Norway to Stockholm, Sweden and out of Vienna, Austria to Prague, Czech Republic and to Budapest, Hungary. An innovative conception by the Durango and Silverton narrow gauge railroad in Colorado to convert one of their boxcars into an RV by putting in bunks, stove and refrigerator was a great idea. They would tack this car onto the end of the train and drop it off on a siding near the Animas River halfway between Durango and Silverton. There you could fish, hike or take life easy and a week later, they would pick you up and bring the car back to Durango. One train that I would like to take is the Trans-Siberian Railroad from Moscow to Vladivostok, Russia. For those of you wanting to visit the Galapagos Islands off the coast of Ecuador, the (interesting) way to do it is to fly to Quito, the capitol, elevation 7,000 plus feet and take the "train' `to Guayaquil on the coast. This one-car train is actually a school bus with train wheels. Have your hotel pack you a box lunch as the train leaves before dawn; it takes all day winding down the mountains to the coast, arriving about sunset. Down Mexico way the train between Los Mochis and Chihuahua, in northern Mexico, which parallels Mexico's famed Copper Canyon, is an interesting ride-plus they have a well stocked bar car. Back in the U.S. the Cumbres & Toltec narrow gauge steam railroad between Chama, New Mexico and Antonito, Colorado (about 7 hours each way) is a high altitude-Cumbres Pass 10,015 feet-scenic ride, especially in the fall when the Aspens are turning. No alcohol is allowed on this trainâ€”not even a glass of wine. How uncivilized! ! PAGE 47 ... TARPA TOPICS
MEMORIES FROM THE ROAD by Bud Kuball
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Taxi inbound, taxi slowly, Taxi proudly past the stands. People clapping, people cheering, Wave now, smiling to your fans. To the pits, dismount, relaxing, Glowing in the setting sun. ' This year s work is nearly over, Reno's toil is nearly done. Mortal men now pay you homage, Mortal men, who do not fly. Take their trophies, take their tribute; This shall pass... and then, "Good-bye". But your names shall be immortal, And your fame will never die. Modern Knights in shining armor, Riding stallions in the sky!
Climbing high to meet the challenge, Joining up in stacked formation; Like an angry swarm of hornets Down the "chute" with engines whining: Red Baron 's jet has set the pace: "Gentlemen, you have a race!" For the fans, it's most exciting, Arc of smoke from red jet rising! Now past the pylons, blurred and flashing Through the Vale of Speed they're dashing, `Round number seven speeds are building, Pressures in the engines mounting! Past the Starting Flag at Reno, In September desert glow, Past the unseen crowds assembled " " Cheering madly, shouting GO !
But I must go and I must rest now, For I am old, and I am weary. I have flown too many winters, over oceans dark and dreary. Seen too many summer squall lines, Seen their lightning, green and eerie, Seen too many mornings ' sunrise Through sleepless eyes bloodshot and bleary.
But come wake me in the morrow When the skies are clear and sunny, When the Warbirds sing their music, When their magic fills the air! With no limits to their power, With no limits to their speeds; Then I'll tell you more of Reno, And of Racing pilots' deeds.
"Go Tsunami! Go you Strega! " "Go White Lightnin'! Go Rare Bear Go you modern gladiators, Fly you swiftly through the air! Fly as fast as you would care to, Fly as low as you may dare, 'Til the Checkered Flag at Reno " Signals "VICTORY in the air.
Climb your mount now to the heavens, Engine cooling, killing speed; Checking gauges, checking pressures, Checking damage to your steed. Gear and flaps now coming downward, Concrete rising to your wheels, Kissing earth, canopy opens, Cool fresh air, how sweet it feels!
Of White Knights in shining armor, Riding fire-breathing stallions; Of the battles I have witnessed In the desert north of Reno. Of fearless aviators dying, Of fearless men who keep on flying, Men whose fortunes have been sold, ' In their quest for Reno s Gold.
Gather `round me, younger pilots, Gather `round me, future aces, Gather `round me, little children With bright eyes and shiny faces. Sit beside me, pretty damsels, Dressed in satin, dressed in laces; And' I'll tell you many stories Of the epic Reno Races.
Reno Races by Michael J. Larkin'
By request of the editor's wife, Morrie O'Connell sent this recipe that he copied from an old Skyliner. The banana cake was for years one of the most popular of the numerous examples of, "The Finest Food in Flight." Ed. TWA Banana Sour Cream Coffee Cake Sometime this month, TWA will serve its 14 millionth piece of banana sour cream coffee cake. It's a long-time favorite dessert of TWA passenger's and one that's been included in TWA menus off and on since October 1972. "We've replaced the banana cake with other pastries from time to time to allow variety for our frequent passengers, but it's remained a standby," notes Mike Duaurte, director-dining service programs. Mike estimates that so far nearly two million dark slightly overripe bananas have been used to make this cake for TWA "Real bananas are the key factor in the good flavor and moistness of this cake," Mike says. "Once, when costs were rising significantly and we were looking for ways to economize, we looked into the possibility of substituting banana puree, banana chips, freeze-dried bananas, banana flavorings or canned bananas. The cake wasn't nearly as good and we stuck with the original recipe.' Over the years, many passengers asked flight attendants for the banana sour cream coffee cake recipe so they could bake it at home. Here it is. Banana Sour Cream Coffee Cake cup butter cup sugar eggs cup mashed bananas cup sour cream teaspoon vanilla cups sifted flour teaspoon baking powder teaspoon baking soda teaspoon salt cup finely chopped nuts cup sugar teaspoon cinnamon Preheat oven to 350째. Grease a 7 1/2" X 12" pan. In bowl, cream butter until light. Gradually beat in sugar. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Add mashed bananas, vanilla and sour cream. Sift together flour baking power, baking soda and salt. Fold into the creamed mixture, stirring just to blend. In another bowl, combine finely chopped nuts, sugar and cinnamon: Sprinkle half of this mixture over the bottom of the tube pan. Spoon in half the batter. Sprinkle the remaining nuts over the batter and cover with remaining batter. Bake approximately 25 minutes.
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CAPTAIN HAROLD E. JAYNES FEBRUARY 17, 1922 — APRIL 10, 2003 Harry was born February 17, 1918. His love of flying never left. Fishing was a close second love and, at telling stories he was the best. Harry loved TWA and mourned its demise with all of us. Harry had three daughters, all professionals and one son, "the best math teacher in Texas." I was his wife and I miss him very much. by Googie Jaynes IN
CAPTAIN JOSEPH G. SAVICZ APRIL 30, 1930 — APRIL 9, 2003 Joe Savicz was very proud of the fact that he was a pilot for TWA for 34 years. He, his wife Holly and sons Bart and Peter lived in Kansas City, Missouri throughout his career until 1986 when they moved to Phoenix and Sun City, Arizona. Joe always loved flying. In the Air Force, he flew the F-86 Saberjet in Korea and in 1953 Joe received the Distinguished Flying Cross. I'm sure that all who knew him remember that he loved to tell jokes, especially ones with a dialect or those that were somewhat risque. Joe retired in 1990 as a Captain flying the Boeing 747 on the International Routes. He was thoroughly enjoying retirement, living on a golf course, playing golf and traveling. by Holly Savicz PAGE 51 ... TARPA TOPICS
GUS V. BORGHESE DECEMBER 6, 1923 MARCH 9, 2003 Gus was born in Long Island City, New York in 1923. He grew up across the street from Emily, the love of his life. As a young man, Gus joined the Navy after Pearl Harbor and served in the Pacific. In 1944, while he was on leave, Gus and Emily got married after Gus proposed during a romantic horse-drawn carriage ride around Central Park. After boot camp, Gus attended flight school training through the Navy for two years at Louisiana State University. Emily and their two month old son, Augie, joined Gus in Louisiana. After the war, Gus began a fruitless search for a job. One day in 1945 during a heavy snowstorm, Gus saw the blinking light of TWA. As a last resort, he decided to take a chance and he stopped to inquire about a job. He ended up being hired as an aircraft cleaner and the rest, as they say, is history. Gus definitely loved flying. He progressed from being an aircraft cleaner to being a TWA pilot engineer. His flying career spanned from piston engine airplanes to the 747. Gus also spent many productive hours teaching instrument flying. Being a life-long avid flyer, Gus, along with Emily and sons Augustus, Vincent, Steven, and James enjoyed many trips in their Cessna 310. He also shared his love of flying with his six grandchildren and one great grandson. Gus was an active member of the Caldwell Aviation Association in Caldwell, New Jersey. He was the FlyOut Coordinator and Weather Advisor. Gus and Emily enjoyed owning antique cars. They belonged to two antique car groups that went on several outings. Gus was also an active member of Activities Unlimited in Haworth, New Jersey. An avid historian, Gus possessed a wealth of knowledge about Abraham Lincoln. Gus was loved and respected by many and will be missed by all who shared in his life. His love for flying and for life will live on in the memories shared by those he knew and loved. When we by Gus Borghese Family look to the skies, we'll be thinking of Gus.
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CAPTAIN FRED L. AUSTIN NOVEMBER 22, 1914 â€” MARCH 8, 2003 From his first solo flight in December 1933, to a 31 year career at TWA, to his record-setting around-the-world polar flight, through his retirement as an airline president then airliner manufacturing corporation president, Captain Fred L. Austin attained his dream of airline captain and aviation executive. Captain Austin began his flying career at his hometown of Trona, California, flying charters into the Sierra Nevada and L.A. Basin in his Kinner powered Hammond 100 biplane. During the mid `30's, Fred flew for the Wilmington-Catalina line in Douglas Dolphin Amphibians. On April 1, 1939, he received his T&WA checkouts in the DC-3 (45 minutes) and the DC-2 (30 minutes.) During the war, Captain Austin flew the Aleutians in DC-3 ' s/C-47's followed by instructing in C-46's in Homestead, Florida. His Career with TWA took him through numerous management positions in Kansas City, Wilmington, New York, and finally Los Angeles. During a LOA in 1965, Fred and TWA Captain Harrison Finch organized the first flight around the world via the North & South Poles. Along with TWA Captain Bob Buck, numerous media and scientific personnel, and a 707 leased from the Flying Tiger Line, they also set 8 world speed records. This trip was followed a year later by another round-the-world flight in a Jet Commander Corporate Jet, putting him in the record books again with an additional 22 speed records. Fred started a commuter airline in 1967, and by 1972, had turned Golden West Airlines into the largest commuter airline in the world. In addition, Golden West bought Catalina Airlines, so 35 years after flying to Catalina, he was now president of an airline flying to Catalina Island, the route he knew so well. In 1974, Fred left Golden West and became President of Short Brothers USA, producer of commuter airliners. This took him to his retirement in 1986. Captain Fred L. Austin is survived by Joyce, his loving wife of 44 years and former TWA Hostess Supervisor; five children (including 3 pilots); numerous (future pilot) grand- and great-grandchildren; and so many close friends from the QB's, OX-5, Aero Club, and many others. PAGE 53 ... TARPA TOPICS
JOHN SOULE OCTOBER 4, 1909 â€” MARCH 24, 2003 John Soule was born in Anacortes, Washington on October 4,1909. His father was farmer, mayor and owned the General Store. His mother was a friend to many Indians since they had saved her life at 4 years of age. Nothing much had been invented yet, hardly toys for the children. But John and his two younger sisters had a most happy childhood that bonded them forever. The entire family was known for their great sense of humor. On March 24, 2003 John succumbed to slowly progressing Alzheimer ' s in Santa Rosa, California. He was interred in Anacortes next to his beloved sisters in a beautiful little church built in 1897 by the Soule Family. It was an unusually sunny day with glorious snow-covered mountains visible all around. Even the Marines were there for John! John caught the aviation bug early in life watching barnstorming. His first logbook shows planes like Aeronca K, Taylor Cub, Stinson 105, Porterfield Zephyr and others flying around Seattle. He became a member of OX5 club later. On May3,1942 , John logged his first flight at Flushing while he was a mechanic at TWA LGA. In 1944 John joined the Marines and was a 1st Lt . of TMB134 on Pelelieu. His real rank was "Dad". He went to China for peacekeeping at wars end. After the war, he was hired back by " TWA to become a Flight Engineer. He was "Flight Deck Man of the Year 1965 . Then, in 1967 John went to MAC flying to Vietnam. His last logbook entry was for 9/30/69 HNL-KNTD. John retired on November 1, 1969. Sixty years of excitement and fun, while always meeting most wonderful people along the way. John then enjoyed more than thirty years in good health. He loved the community of Geyserville, California piloting his Cessna for the neighbors and anyone who'd fly with him including his dog. He was a little legend at the winery next door as PR man. John's great loyalty to his Country, TWA, the Marines and so many friends and his wonderful sense of humor are his legacy. Many big and little relatives adored him in fact, girls in general by Gisela Soule loved him. It was a privilege to have shared his last sixteen years.
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IN MEMORY OF RALPH L. CHARLES NOVEMBER 6, 1899 â€” FEBRUARY 2, 2003 t1
Ralph Charles was born November 6 , 1899 in Middletown, Ohio. In 1913 at the age of 14, he left home and moved to Dayton to become a skilled welder. Five years later in 1918, after WW I ended, he got a job with the Dayton-Wright Airplane Company as a Mechanic and Welder. While working there he would occasionally see Orville Wright, who was a Director of the company, walk through the shop area. He worked on the steel fuselages of the aircraft being built. As Ralph observed the process of designing and building aircraft he got the bug, and designed and built his own one seat aircraft and a later 3-person model. On September 24, 1925 he married his wife Leona, while still with Dayton-Wright. Around 1927 Ralph left Dayton-Wright and moved to Zanesville, Ohio where he set up shop at Wheeler's Field and began building airplanes. He opened the Charles Aircraft and Motor Company and built 5 aircraft. His buddy Mr. Dutro would throw sticks of dynamite out of Ralph's plane over Zanesville to get the locals to come out to Wheeler field for rides and shows. Sadly the depression took its toll on Ralph and he lost nearly everything. He and Leona packed up and moved to Columbus in 1929, with what little they had left. Thanks to some friends, he was hired by Transcontinental Air Transport (TAT) in January 1930 as a Mechanic and would also help Capt. John Collings ferry Ford Tri-Motors to Dearborn for baggage pod modifications. A year later, in June 1931 Ralph was upgraded to a pilot and began flying the Ford Tri-Motors for the renamed company called Transcontinental & Western Air, TWA. He flew both the Columbus-Indianapolis-St. Louis and Columbus-PittsburghHarrisburg-Philadelphia-Camden-Newark routes. Quite often during his turnarounds in Newark, he would talk with TWA Technical Adviser Col Charles Lindbergh. During one of his flights back to Columbus, they flew into some severe turbulence over Buckeye Lake. It was so bad, that it flipped the Ford upside down for a time. He and the pilot managed to get the aircraft righted again and landed at Port Columbus but all of the passengers got off and took a train for the rest of their trip. Ralph stayed with TWA until 1933 when they closed the Columbus Crew Base and moved the Eastern Headquarters to Kansas City. He did manage to get a ride on the new Douglas DC-1 PAGE 55 ... TARPA TOPICS
one time. TWA wanted everyone to move to Kansas City, but Leona didn ' t want to. So not wanting to move his wife and daughter out there, he quit the company and got hired on with the Pennsylvania Railroad. He spent the next 7 years there and then opened a machine shop in Columbus. Shortly thereafter a friend of his at Atlantic Caribbean Airlines wanted him to move to San Juan and fly for them. Ralph moved his family down there in 1940 and began flying Stinson Tri-Motors to St Thomas and St. Croix twice a day for the airline. In 1943 he and his family returned to Columbus and was hired by Curtiss-Wright as a test pilot. He test flew mostly SB2C "Hell Diver" aircraft but also a number of other WW II aircraft. After the war ended he opened and operated the Charles Alignment Service on the east side of Columbus until 1964. At that time he closed the shop and moved to Perry County and bought a house north of Somerset. The next several years were spent building a mighty theater size Pipe Organ. He obtained a Robert Morton Organ Console from a theater and proceeded to build the rest of it by himself. He set up a small theater in his basement that held 200 people and had a number of concerts and recitals for many charitable organizations. On September 25th,1995 Leona, his wife of 70 years passed away on their Wedding Anniversary. Living alone now his interest in aviation returned and a desire to climb back into the cockpit and take to the skies. With the help of Retired TWA Capt. Don Peters, a quick ride in his first jet aircraft was arranged courtesy of Executive Jet Aviation. He located and purchased an Aeronca "Defender" and named it "Blue Boy II" after one of the early aircraft he had built in the 1920 's. With the help of neighbors and friends he began flying again and built his hours to where in 1997 at the age of 98 became the " Oldest Active Pilot " on the FAA's list. In January 1999, Ralph ' s friends Don Peters and Dr. Joe Van Balen and the Editor arranged for Ralph to fly TWA' s L-1011 simulator and enjoy the " Royal " treatment at the Charles A. Lindbergh Memorial Training Center in St. Louis. On November 7, 1999, a huge 100th birthday party was held in his honor at his home. Willard Scott of the NBC Today Show was there to film the event. As a result of that party, his neighbor Dr. Joe Van Balen, through their contact at NBC-TV arranged for Ralph to visit Cape Canaveral and view a Space Shuttle launch. A later trip was made to Houston to fly the Space Shuttle simulator. Ralph's health began to deteriorate in mid 2002 and went from bad to good to bad. He came down with pneumonia in January 2003 and after a rough battle, which looked like he had 2nd won, succumbed to the illness on February 2003 at the age of 103. Ralph's lifespan touched 3 centuries. He had lived longer than powered flight itself. Ralph always said, "Don't hang out with old people they make you old, boil your water and drink two "Old Milwaukee's" a day!" by Jim "JET " Thompson, Ret. Capt. Don Peters, Dr. Joe Van Balen
JANUARY 29, 1930 â€” MARCH 11, 2003
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JUNE 19, 1921 — OCTOBER 3, 2002 My dear husband Captain William M. Youngblood loved flying from the time he was seven years old, when he wrote to Santa Claus asking for an airplane just like "Lucky Lindy's." He started flying as a CPT Student and, soon thereafter he became an instructor. He joined TWA in 1942 in Washington, D.C. and flew for the ICD division of TWA for three and a half years. For the next thirty-six years he flew the line and retired from JFK International in 1981. After retiring, he started the Oasis Air Flying School in Palm Springs, California. He finally retired again in 1991 and devoted his time to playing more golf. Dub passed away from complications of pneumonia after a six-week illness. by Korky Youngblood
CAPTAIN DONALD E. GRINTER DECEMBER 12, 1923 — MARCH 23, 2003
IN MEMORY OF CAPTAIN JAMES D. M O O RE APRIL 16, 1925
MARCH 23, 2003
JANUARY 2,1924 — MARCH 6, 2003
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CAPTAIN GEORGE R. CASTERLIN SEPTEMBER 9, 1930 - APRIL 16, 2003
CAPTAIN RUSSELL G. DERICKSON SEPTEMBER 2, 1918 - APRIL 24, 2003
CAPTAIN JOSEPH L. FLOETER FEBRUARY 15, 1940 - JANUARY 16, 2003
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Another Day In The Life Of An L049 by Robert Allardyce The recent spate of tornadoes in the Midwest gouged up a memory. This one has to do with SFO ' s Oklahoma City flight - circa 1955. The late Captain Burdick " Burdie " Stone (Flew West in 1988) was in command and the late Robert Forrest (Flew West in 1996) was the First Officer. I was the FE. The story begins, as many do, with us reporting to Dispatch at OKC 's airport to originate our return trip to SFO, via LAX. It was early afternoon and, off to the west, we could see a wall of purplish gray clouds. The dispatcher informed Burdie that there was solid line of thunderstorms stretching from Mexico City, in the south, to Saskatoon, Canada, in the north. There was no way around them. These were the days before the 049's were fitted
Those who knew Burdick Stone would never accuse him of backing away from a challenge. He didn't blink in the face of this one. After all, like all of his fellow pilots of the day, Burdie had been picking his way between the sparklers - - searching for the soft spots, between - - for much of his career. Birdie's only comment to me was, "Fill her up." "Her," being our pockmarked Lo49 with 89 passengers aboard. Soon after takeoff, over Texas, we were nosing into the line of thunder boomers. In one dark spot after another, the rattle of hail on the fuselage turned from snare drum intensity to kettle drum-like booming. Several times there was a static build up; a big blue ball that momentarily blinded us as it discharged. Dutifully, Burdie would do a 180 and, when in clear air, headed south, parallel to the line towering Cu's. Finding no openings, Burdie eventually headed back north. Still no soft spots. Keeping track of the fuel, I eventually had to tell Burdie that getting to LAX was looking marginal. Burdie began looking for some place to land and refuel. That spot turned out to be a World War II B-17 base at San Angelo, Texas. Within a few minutes Burdick had the Connie on the ground. Turning off the runway, he headed towards the terminal. While the people in the tower were most hospitable, the airport terminal looked like it was deserted. It was raining cats and dogs. We parked and waited. Eventually, a lone shadow appeared to chock our wheels. Fortunately, their small APU was capable of powering our cabin lights, etc. We shut down the engines. What was missing, however, was a set of stairs that could reach our cabin's door. San Angelo's air service didn't include airliners the size of our Connie. There were no deplaning ramps. Burdie and Bob Forrest had to use the Jacob ' s ladder to deplane. One of the tower operators came to the lobby to talk with Burdie. He told Burdie that our Connie was the biggest airplane to land at San Angelo since the B-17s left at the end of the war. Our arrival was quite an event. The tower operator had telephoned the local radio station. They were sending a crew to the airport to interview the pilots. Burdie was also told there was
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a tornado in the area and we were obligated to deplane the passengers and, for their protection, bring them into the terminal. While the Jacob's ladder was useful under some conditions, it didn't seem all that handy when it came to unloading 89 passengers; some of them elderly and one disabled. Then, since dinnertime had come and gone, there was the problem of feeding everyone. With a tornado approaching, the owner of the airport's restaurant closed shop and sent everyone home. Worse, we had landed because we were short of fuel. Unfortunately, there was no high-octane fuel available at San Angelo. San Angelo's commuter planes didn't require it. The tower operator resolved the issue by telephoning the Air Force Base in Abilene. They agreed to send a fuel truck. Abilene was some 100 miles away. Once on its way, the truck would take a couple of hours to get to San Angelo. All of this I learned after I snaked my way down the Jacob's ladder and ran for the terminal. There I found the flamboyant Burdie thoroughly enjoying being interviewed by the local radio station. A nervous Bob Forrest was trying avoid the microphone that was being poked into his face. Little details, such as deplaning the passengers, seemed to be the furthest thing from Burdie's mind. With a grandiose gesture, he told me to handle it. A quick search turned up two large flat baggage pushcarts. Each was about 4 ' x8 ' , roughly the size a sheet of plywood. With two or three inches of rainwater on the ramp, one cart could be used for ferrying the passengers between he airplane and the terminal. Behind the restaurant I found 50 or so empty Coca Cola bottle crates. Interlocking them for stability, I stacked them on the other pushcart so they became two flights of stairs. Using the Jacob's ladder for a handhold, and with the help of the two hostesses, we led each passenger down the improvised stairway and onto the other cart. When it was full, I pushed it over to the terminal and let everyone off. One passenger was disabled to the point where I had to Fireman-carry him down the stairs. I don't recall how many trips were required to unload the passengers. I do recall leaving my uniform jacket in the cockpit to keep it dry. Otherwise, I was soaked to the skin. Even my shoes were full of water. By the time the airplane was empty, the owner of the restaurant had arrived, fired up the griddle, got the coffee pot working, and opened for business. Our hostesses went to work behind the counter and, soon, people were being fed. Burdie was still being interviewed. Bob was nowhere in sight. After a while we were told the tornado had passed and, a bit after that, the Air Force's fuel tuck arrived. The Air Force guys told me that they would operate the truck, but they wouldn't touch the airplane. Burdie had squeezed in time to give me a fuel load. I used the cabin's escape hatches to get out onto the wings and do the honors. It was still raining. By the time we were ready to reload the passengers, the rain had stopped. Nevertheless, there were still a couple of inches of standing water on the ramp. I still needed the pushcart to keep our passengers' feet dry while ferrying them to the airplane. A couple of passengers pitched in to help me fireman-carry our disabled passenger up the Coke crate stairway. Eventually, we PAGE 60 ... TARPA TOPICS
got everyone back aboard, including a thoroughly interviewed Burdick Stone. By the time we took off the skies to the west were clear. I recently read where two pilots were fired for undressing in the cockpit. Fortunately, no one made a stink about me stripping to my Jockey shorts, wrapping with blankets, and hanging my shirt, pants and socks up to dry a bit before landing at LAX. Burdie didn't even seem to notice. It was, after all, all part of a day's work - - a day's work that still evokes a warm glow within me when I think of the "good old days" and the wonderful people who populated them.
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What Hospice of the Valley Meant to Me by William Dixon
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To steal ideas from one person is plagiarism; to steal from many is research.
by Gene Richards Check the little homily in the upper right corner of this page and the following pages and you'll see a bit of humor that I wish I could claim as my own. I borrowed them from a fellow named Steven Wright, and that is as much as I can tell you about him. I do know that he has a fertile mind and I do not want to be accused of plagiarism. Therefore as soon as everyone has finished I will return everything to Steven. I was overwhelmed by the response of our members to the plea of John Gratz for material. PLEASE don't stop. The best part of the job (besides the pay) is to have a first hand look at all the notes and stories that come to me and to Rufus. When you send a note to Rufus with your dues, he forwards it to me (sometimes with help on the signature) for publication. If you don't want your remarks in print you'd better say so on your note.
Several people sent detailed accounts of certain periods of their lives. I urge everybody to put in writing their history for the next generation. I am disappointed that I cannot tell my grandchildren about my grandparents because none of my grandparents put anything on paper. Bob Balser has shown me the history he has put on a DVD. Stu Nelson sent a riveting account of his time in Korea. Barney Rawlings has written a book about his escape and evasion in Europe in WWII. Lew Judd sent some good material on flying the Connie. Wayne Haggard and Wes Ament have previously sent in artitles. Bill Dixon, Dave Richwineâ€“ the list goes on and on. As a group we have had more excitement, fun, tragedy and tears then any other group in the country. Put it on paper. I can't get everything into this issue but trust me, the excess won't go to waste. I need more.
From Gordon Hargis Always glad to hear from Gordon whose memory bank keeps me updated with interesting trivia from years gone by and more Burma Shave jingles. No, Gordon, I didn't remember those poems, I took them from the book The Rhymes, the Signs, the Times by Bill Vossler. Gordon also upbraided me for misquoting the address of our commuter pad from thirty years ago and he filled me in on the long forgotten phone number. Am I right, Gordon, that you quit flying the Pâ€“51 when you reached Eagle plus 5?
For Tom Hitchcock Tom, the pictures you sent of you and the Convair 88o are interesting and we would like to know more about you and Don Germeraad, the Convair Chief Pilot. Unfortunately the pictures you sent won 't reproduce well. Can you give us an update?
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What happens when you get half scared to death twice?
From Gene Hammon, Captain It was my lot in life to work as a Flight Engineer Instructor at the Jack Frye Training Center in Kansas City during my first ten years with TWA. In the early days of that job, the ratings were conducted in the aircraft type to be flown rather than doing the entire program in a simulator as is done now. Lots of time was spent flying around the beautiful northwest Missouri countryside. St. Joseph's Municipal Airport was a favorite place we used to make practice instrument approaches and conduct landings. It was there during one of the many training flights I worked that I came closer to "buying the farm" than at any other time-- either during my 32 years with TWA or during my sixteen years flying in the Naval Reserves. Captain Markt Meyer was in command and I was the operating Engineer. Markt ' s trainee was a Lufthansa Airlines Captain who was to be rated in the 707 using their procedures under a training contract with TWA. The flight plan called for a two engine out practice approach. Fortunately we had a fan engined 331 for the training flight. It's light empty weight and the power available on just two engines, plus Markt's flying skills and quick thinking saved our hides that day. Lufthansa's two engine out procedure called for an approach profile that early on, pretty well matched a no flap approach. Only the slats and the first notch of flaps were used to get set up. The bug was set at Vref plus 8o knots as I recall. Once the decision was made that the landing was assured, for some insane reason, full flaps were then selected, the bug was reset to Vref and the remainder of the pro -
file was pretty much a dead stick, decaying airspeed descent. The rudder trim was left in and the pilot used opposite rudder as necessary with the trim taken out by the pilot's command. On approach to the south that day, I guess the head wind must have increased because we came down to bug plus five well short of the runway, a little low, and still sinking. The Trainee had kept the two operative engines somewhat spun up but rather than give up on the approach, he tried to save it by suddenly adding copious amounts power to the two "good" engines, which happened to be number one and number two. Markt was on the throttles by then and quickly pushed up the other two and took control of the aircraft. Nothing much happened in the power department. However, in what appeared to be a slow motion video, the view out the front window started slewing to the left. Markt wisely chose to keep flying speed and ground contact avoidance rather than trying to climb and fly a rejected landing profile, otherwise I'm sure we would have done a lovely wing over into the ground. While we waited impatiently for three and four to wake up and give us power to accelerate enough for rudder effectiveness, objects on the horizon continued to slew left and rows upon rows of soybeans in the field located just west of the airport, flashed by at about a hundred feet below. As I recall, we were heading due west and still at loo feet and at bug speed when three and four finally roared to life with that wonderful fan buzz sound of a 707 at full power. Markt must have instinctively remembered there were no obstacles out that direction and exchanged loss of directional control for time. Thank God we were not making the approach to the
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Eagles may soar but weasels don't get sucked into jet engines. north or simulating engines one and two out, or today there would be some sort of historical marker explaining why there was such a large crater in downtown St. Joe. For years after that flight every time Captain Meyer and I saw each other, one or the other of us would ask, "Have you roasted any soybeans lately?" I can recall only bits and pieces of our conversation after things settled down and we had managed to re—swallow our hearts and shake the legs of our pants to see if anything fell out, but I think the Lufthansa Captain's first words were something like, "Ve vill haf to retink our two engine out procedures." From Barney Rawlings Dear Gene, During my time with TWA the airline experienced at least six criminal attacks attributed to Arab terrorist organizations. These attacks resulted in the deaths of 97 TWA passengers and crewmembers, and the damage or destruction of five TWA jet airplanes. When I first heard about the crash of TWA 800 in July of 1996, I naturally assumed that such terrorists were responsible. I followed with interest the FBI and NTSB investigations resulting in a theory that the "probable cause" was an explosion in the center—wing fuel tank from an unidentified electrical spark. I still believe it likely that Flight 800 went down as the result of Arab terrorist activity. I have no quarrel with Arab people in general — only the ones who attacked us. And I do not accuse the FBI or NTSB of any sinister activity in connection with Flight 800. I simply believe these hard—working people got it wrong. It is encouraging to note that a former member of the NTSB — Doctor Vernon L. Grose has written a letter to the current NTSB Chairman recommending that the Flight 800 investigation be reopened to again examine the evidence. Doctor Grose was a member of the NTSB in 1983—84. He initially supported the center—tank explosion theory, and later reconsidered. From Ken Juergens About 3o pilots attended Joe Schneider's memorial/funeral service in Ottawa, Kansas on July 27, 2002. It was a nice service with many nice things being said about Joe. Joe at the time was single, having been married and divorced three times. His son gave a nice eulogy during which he said, " MY DAD LOVED WOMEN, BUT HE GOT ALONG WELL WITH DOGS" Of course the dogs he was referring to were all his pets, not his wives -- I have known all his wives and none were dogs, quite the opposite as all were and are beautiful and charming women. After the service we all went to a pool hall/bar to have lunch and drink a few beers in memory of Joe. Most of the pilots were at one time at the MKC domicile. The visiting was fun and brought back many old memories. Joe would have enjoyed it. Joe and I flew many, many months together during the 1970's on the DC—9 based in MKC. We always had lots to talk about as we were both from Cincinnati. PAGE 65 ... TARPA TOPICS
Borrow money from pessimists—they don't expect it back.
SENTIMENTAL JOURNEY By Barry Shiff I advanced the thrust levers of the Boeing 757-200 and a pair of flaming Niagaras propelled TWA Flight 347 along Runway 30L at St. Louis with 76,400 pounds of enthusiastic thrust. This was not the beginning of an ordinary flight; it was the beginning of the end of my career with TWA. In two days, I would be 6o years old. By federal mandate, I would be an ancient pelican, an airman too old to continue life on the flight deck of an airliner. Irrespective of being forced out of the left seat, good fortune smiled at me during my last flight. It was Father's Day, June 21, 1998, and no father could have received a finer gift. My son, Brian, was seated to my right. He had begun his career with TWA in 1989. Having him follow in my footsteps and being my first officer during this final flight was so much more meaningful than ribbon—wrapped ties that somehow never got worn. It was an affirmation that he approves of who I am and what I have done with my life. No father could ask for more. In the passenger cabin was another son, Paul, who works for Jeppesen and recently earned his commercial pilot certificate. Seated nearby was eight—week—old Brett, Brian's son and my first grandchild, who was making his first flight as I was making my last. He was nattily dressed in a miniaturized pilot's uniform complete with shoulder boards, wings, a tie, and a photo I.D badge, which were artfully handcrafted by Brian's wife, Lynn. Such lineage suggests that there will always be a Schiff on a
seniority list somewhere. Also in the cabin were my friends Glen Beattie, Erik Bernstein, Mick and Mary Ann Jennings, Bruce Kaufman, and Doug and Sue Ritter, who had purchased tickets to share in the celebration. We reached our assigned cruising altitude of 35,000 feet 21 minutes after liftoff. I relinquished control of the airplane to Brian, took a deep breath, and gazed out the left cockpit window. Not much below seems to have changed during the past 34 years. The small towns and farms of central Missouri still dot the rolling terrain as far as the eye can see. Aviation, however, has changed since I was hired by TWA in 1964 to fly the right seat of a Lockheed Constellation: *In those days, the captain was an absolute dictator; there was no crew— resource management, and what he said was law even if it led to carnage. * During my first checkout in a jet (the Boeing 707), there was no 250—knot speed limit below 10,000 feet, which made the experience all the more thrilling at low altitude (especially when maneuvering to avoid general aviation traffic). * Kerosene cost only ten cents per gallon. Fuel burn was of little or no consequence, so we flew across continents and oceans at high speed with three or four engines. Airline survival today depends on efficiency, which is why twin—engine airplanes cruising more slowly are the rule rather than the exception. * Economics and advanced technology did away with the flight engineer, although I remain convinced that removing the third
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I'd kill for a Nobel Peace Prize.
crewmember from the cockpit was not in the best interest of safety. * During the early years of my career, stewardesses passed out chewing gum and small packets of cigarettes with every meal. * There was no sterile–cockpit rule, and pilots were allowed to talk to one another when below 10,000 feet. Not only is this now banned, but airliners are also equipped with cockpit voice recorders that can snitch on a violator. (When the CVR was introduced, we were convinced that the chief pilot had a receiver in his office with which to monitor cockpit conversations as they occurred.) * Pilots used to walk through the cabin during flight to socialize with their passengers or assuage their fear of flight. Current regulations forbid a pilot to leave the flight deck except in response to a "physiological necessity. " * We were allowed to invite passengers to the cockpit during flight. (My favorite visitor was John Wayne.) Today, the FAA bans this courtesy on U.S. air carriers. Foreign airlines are not so restricted. * There used to be good–natured kidding between pilots and "stewardesses." The same thing today can result in a sexual harassment suit. * The cockpit used to be a club for white men only although not by design. Thankfully, the flight deck door is now open to increasingly more women and minorities. Although I concede that most of these changes are beneficial, I cannot allow this opportunity to pass without commenting on the intrusive security screening to which crewmembers are now subjected when
reporting for duty. Although such humiliation while in uniform might pacify the public and the FAA, there isn't a pilot I know who couldn't smuggle arms aboard his aircraft if he were so inclined. Another significant change involves passenger attitude. When I first walked in public while in uniform, I could see heads turning in my direction and sense respect for my profession. It made me feel proud. That is when taking an airline flight was an adventure. But as the magic carpet began to evolve into an airborne conveyer belt, passengers began to view airline pilots more like bus drivers. My reverie was interrupted when Brian advised that ATC had approved our request for Flight Level 180, the lowest we could fly without encountering uncontrolled traffic. The sun was low on this, the longest day of the year, and I wanted to use this last opportunity to share some of my favorite sights with our passengers. We passed Shiprock (near Four Corners, the only place where four states come together at a common point). We then made S–turns over Monument Valley where giant monoliths cast shadows as long as our contrails. Finally we arrived over the Grand Canyon, the grandest sight of all. The floor of the canyon was already dark, but the west–facing walls were ablaze with shades of red, orange, and yellow as they basked in the last remnants of a spectacular sunset. It was my sunset, too, the last time that I would be allowed to fly a Canyon Tour in command of a TWA airplane. We returned to FL350 for the short remainder of our journey to Los Angeles,
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which provided more time for reflection. People always ask about emergencies. I have been fortunate and never had so much as an engine failure, although I did shut down a few engines for precautionary reasons (each time in VFR conditions and near a suitable airport). Messrs. Pratt, Whitney, Rolls, and Royce have been kind to me. I also have had a variety of mechanical difficulties, but none were threatening. Most of my problems have been the same as those experienced by others who ply the airways for a living: weather. I have had my share of confrontations with blizzards, thunderstorms, wind shear, icy runways, and the like. My most effective weapon in combating such powerful adversaries was the encouragement provided by TWA for its pilots to exercise command authority and divert to an alternate when this appeared to be the wisest course of action. Every pilot—in—command-whether flying a Boeing or a Beech--has the same weapon of discretion in his arsenal, but some fail to use it. I have been blessed with a remarkably fine career and have enough wonderful memories to fill a book. Many of these are from when I was in TWA ' s International Division and flew around the world once a month: 10 days of adventure and excitement followed by 20 days at home. Such highlights included flying an on—pylon around the Sphinx while on base leg to Cairo, being cleared (via HF radio) for an approach to Bombay while more than a 1,000 miles away (because the tower
would be closed upon our arrival), and making approaches to Hong Kong's Kai Tak Airport. This required aiming for an illuminated checkerboard on a hill and getting as close to it as one dared before turning sharply onto short final. Nor will I ever forget my first Cat IIIb landing at Paris where the ceiling was zero and the visibility was less than the length of our fuselage. The best memories, however, involve the people of TWA, and I will miss them the most. Airline life also has sour notes. For 34 years, my family never knew for which holidays I would be home and for which I would not; making plans more than a month ahead of time was always a gamble. When on reserve, I never knew whether that phone waking me in the middle of the night was a wrong number or Operations calling to tell me that TWA needed my presence more than my children did at a birthday party or graduation ceremony. Nor will I ever forget the three days enveloping Christmas of 1971 during which I spent the holidays staring at the walls of a cold motel near O'Hare in Chicago. A winter storm had disrupted my schedule and intermittently knocked out electrical service. My Christmas meals were lonely and served by Denny's, the only open restaurant within walking distance. My final flight was highlighted by the comments of well—wishing controllers, faceless friends who helped to keep me out of harm's way for more than 34 years. Eavesdropping pilots also added notes of levity and poignancy to the occasion.
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The early bird may get the worm but the second mouse gets the cheese.
While approaching Los Angeles, I reminded myself that this flight probably would be judged by its landing. Such is the way passengers grade pilots. Unfortunately, every pilot makes an occasional landing that registers on the Richter Scale, and I am no exception. I learned long ago, however, that one must maintain a sense of humor about such things. After a bad landing, I would apologize to my passengers for the abrupt arrival and add "that this was one of my better landings." If that didn't relieve anxiety in the cabin, than perhaps the comment of one flight attendant did: "Ladies and gentlemen, Captain Schiff has requested that you keep your seat belts fastened until the airplane-or what's left of it--comes to a stop at the gate. " There was an outbreak of applause following touchdown, not so much because of my landing. Our passengers probably were releasing nervous energy after realizing that they had survived a flight commanded by a 6o—year—old captain. While taxiing toward the gate, I found myself riding the brakes and moving progressively more slowly, as if wanting to prolong my career even if by only a minute. Brian looked in my direction; he knew what I was doing; he knew what I was thinking. I could not help thinking about how it was of no consequence that I had never scratched a TWA airplane or passenger; it did not matter how much experience I had accrued during 26,000 hours in the air. I was being set aside only because I was about to celebrate a birthday that had been arbitrarily chosen by the FAA to be an airline pilot's last. Someday, I hope, there will be a
more equitable way to determine when an airline pilot's career should end. The FAA's age—6o rule is one of the few remaining bastions of legalized age discrimination. Earlier that day, when departing Los Angeles for St. Louis, ground control had cleared us to Runway 25R, which is a considerable distance from our gate. Brian noted my dismay at having to taxi so far and tried to obtain a clearance for nearby Runway 24L, our usual departure runway. No luck; we were to taxi for miles to the distant runway or not taxi at all. While grumbling and responding to the Taxi Checklist, I did not notice the fire trucks pulling alongside our wingtips. But I did notice the torrents of water arcing above and from each side of the airplane, a form of salute sometimes accorded retiring airline captains. I then understood why we had been told that "flow control" necessitated such circuitous taxi routing. I was grateful and honored. But I could only wonder what my passengers had thought as fire trucks began to spray the airplane. I quickly explained over the P.A. what had happened before anyone might think that our airplane was on fire. That had been almost 12 hours earlier. After coming to a stop at the gate, I set the parking brake, shut down the engines, and responded to the Secure—Cockpit Checklist for the last time. A gate agent entered the cockpit with a wheelchair that had been requested for me by one of my "friends." It was tempting. Where, I wondered, had those 34 years gone?
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The sooner you fall behind the more time you'll have to catch up.
PILOTS ' HELL Mac died at the controls of his plane and went to pilots' hell, where he found a hideous devil and three doors. The devil was busy escorting other pilots to various "hell rooms." "I'll be right back, don't go away," said the devil, and he vanished. Sneaking over to the first door, Mac peeked in and saw a cockpit where the pilot was condemned to forever run through preâ€“flight checks. He slammed that door and peeked into the second. There, alarms rang and red lights flashed while a pilot had to avoid one emergency after another. Unable to imagine a worse fate, Mac cautiously opened the third door. He was amazed to see many beautiful, scantily clad flight attendants answering to a captain's every whim. He quickly returned to his place seconds before the devil reappeared. "Okay, Mac," said the devil, " Which door will it be, number one or number two? " "Uummm, I want door number 3," answered Mac. "Sorry," said the devil. "You can't have number 3. That's flights attendants' hell."
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The problem with the gene pool is that there is no lifeguard.
From Jim "JET" Thompson Gene, You're doing a wonderful job continuing the " Grapevine " section in Tarpa Topics, keep it up. I just finished reading the November 2001 issue and recognized with much sadness the names of three that I knew or knew of in the Flown West section. The 1st was Capt. Sal Fallucco, one of the small group of TWA Pilots that flew the Pope at one time or another. I saw Sal one time several years ago here at Capt. Larry Earhart ' s retirement party. Sadly I wasn 't able to talk with him. The 2nd name I recognized was Capt. Charles Kratovil. I'd never met him but almost felt like I knew him. I'd read about him way back when I was in Jr. High School and read the book "Jet Flight 808". This was the story of an airline flight from JFK—FCO and everything that was involved in it. The story centered around Capt. Kratovil flying a TWA 7o7–331B nicknamed the " MATS MULE" for it' s use in the MATS operation several years before that. It's interesting that one of my fellow co—workers here at US Airways read the same book a number of years ago and we began talking about it a few months ago. One statement in the book stands out in my memory & it was when someone ask Capt. Kratovil what was the largest airplane he ever flew. He replied that the Ford Tri— Motor was the largest aircraft he'd ever flown compared to what he had flown up until that time the Ford was a huge aircraft. After that, nothing else was near as large by comparison. The 3rd person I knew personally
and that was A.T. Humbles. I ' d met A.T. on a TWA Seniors tour of the Holy Lands way back in the early 1980's . I'd gone along with my parents on the trip and was able to meet many other TWA Retiree ' s. A.T. seemed to keep everyone laughing most of the time with many stories & just his wonderful personality. When we took off from Amman, Jordan on the return home, the Alia 747 had used up most of the runway. A.T. looked out the window & calmly said, "We didn't leave much runway left over." One story he told comes to mind about one of his training flights on the old Martin 404. He had flown it around and made a pretty good landing but happened to bounce it once or twice. The instructor told him to take off again and he'd show him just how a good landing was made with the 404. So off they went again and this time with the instructor doing the landing. A.T. said, "We came in Sr touched down and bounced, and bounced and bounced down that runway about 5 times." " When we finally stopped I looked over at the instructor and said if I'd have known you wanted me to land like that I'd have gladly done that." He said the instructor was so mad he never said another word other than to taxi to the hangar and shut her down. I remember sitting there laughing like crazy at hearing that story. I just thought I'd pass along these thoughts and memories of the 3 names I recognized. I ' m sad to see them fly west. P.S. I was sure sorry to see the old Boeing 307 Stratoliner ditch in Puget Sound yesterday. I'd seen it at OSH last summer and it looked beautiful even if it was in PAA livery.
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Half the people I know are below average.
From Ernie Meyer Hi Gene. Thought you might be interested on my first meeting with Ted Hereford. I was sorry that the fine man has "Gone West." ' I was sad to read of the `going west of Ted Hereford in the last issue of TARPA TOPICS. In December of 1963, I was a very new, `new–hire ' TWA cockpit crew–member in simulator training on Baltimore Avenue in Kansas City. Being homesick and having a few days off over the Christmas holidays, I managed to obtain an A.C.M. pass from Linda, the pretty red–headed secretary on the second floor of the training center. I wanted to fly to California to be with my wife and family. Once on board the crowded Starstream Jet to Los Angeles and San Francisco, I met my fellow A.C.M. ' er, Ted Hereford who had also been in Kansas City for a training assignment. After reaching cruise altitude, we went into the lounge area of the 707 and had a soda (or something.) What a contrast we were. Ted, a true `Sky God' who had never flown in any capacity other than Captain and me, an ex–U.S.A.F. pilot who was in training to be a `Connie ' Flight Engineer. Ted was at the top of the pilots seniority list and there was my name 1,617 numbers below his. We had a good conversation en–route to California. We learned of each others flying experiences and his encouraging comments helped me through future training assignments at T.W.A. Before parting at LAX, he gave me advice, " Save your money son, you never know when this trip will come to an end!" I remembered that advice throughout my career. So long Ted. We will miss you. From Floyd Martin, radio operator: I started with TWA 11/4/40. 2 years at Fresno and 15 years with ICD. 15 years as FRO with 12,000 flying hours. The finest group of people in the world. FRO's were terminated 6–3o– 57. Many have flown west. From J.R. Sturns (J.R., I had a tough time reading your signature. Let me know how close I came. Ed.) Will first introduce myself: I was with TWA from 1940 till 1979- 31 years being a flight dispatcher. As a result I knew hundreds of the pilots and other crew members. I subscribed to the TARPA magazine for a number of years. I think Earl Korf was one of the first men I knew -- he of course being a legend -and was featured in TARPA a few years back. I have known him since 1942. He is still living -- address being P. o. Box 153, Lincroft, N. J. 07738.
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If at first you don't succeed, destroy all evidence that you tried.
We have kept in touch thru these later years -- talking to–him last evening. He is now 98. He has been active in the last few years --but now his health is declining. He no longer drives; keeps in touch with his "dit–dot–dit" facility. But now his PSA is very high, he has lost one kidney (probably from cancer) and has high blood pressure. Luckily his son lives with Earl and his wife so his needs are well taken care of. It is painful to walk. I recall he always bragged about walking from airport to town or vice versa at each station where he worked. From Earl Korf (Aged 98) I am mixed up on my dues. Spent most of 2002 in hospitals and rehab centers. Think I have not sent in dues don't want to lose Tarpa Topics so please accept this check good luck to you and TARPA. Keep it coming. For John Boyce You are now paid up through the year 2010. So, ignore the yellow envelopes for the next 7 years and be sure to send your dues in Jan., 2011!!! Regards, Rufus From Mike Larkin I' m not sure if this has been featured in TARPA TOPICS or not, but we have a breakfast group of TWA pilot retirees in KC that meets on Tuesday mornings at the Corner Cafe in Riverside near the old airport. We have around 75 members, usually around 40 show up. After breakfast, we go play golf. I have distributed TARPA applications to all non–members. I hope it has been fruitful. Captain Richard Heinisch (Bubba) seems to be the instigator of this group, and holds court at the Head Table. He usually has three or four political cartoons which lampoon his favorite leader, "Bubba" Clinton. The group is known as the R.O.M E.O's, Real Old Men Eating Out. From time to time, we have out of town guests show up, such as Larry O'Day from Florida. Please forward to all ex—TWA types that they are welcome to attend when in KC. 0830 hours on Tuesday mornings. From Paul Husak Back in the DC2 days when the captain would visit the cabin to welcome his passengers individually, Otto Ferguson had this story to tell. He was interviewing his passengers and one, an elderly lady said to him that she had to use the rest room but the man inside refused to come out and could the captain help. Otto told her he would see what he could do. After trying he had to inform the woman that the man was still inside, would not come out and there was nothing he could do. The lady said "but captain you have to do something as I
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If everything seems to be going well you have obviously overlooked something. just have to go." It was agreed that Otto would hold a blanket around the seat and a burp cup would be used. After the operation was completed here are Otto's comments: "She did a neat job, not a sprinkle went overboard". From Bill Miller Sad to see Gerry Bradford `flew west.' I remember our flight together not so long ago. So many wonderful gentlemen at TWA. I know we won't forget them. From Warren Berg I thoroughly enjoy reading the TARPA TOPICS because it deals with so many old friends from 1945 to 1983 when I retired from TWA. I was director of Ground Training at the MKC training Center when I retired. From Bob Buck, Jr. Enclosed please find our check for our membership renewal. It is a pleasure joining TARPA and contributing to the cause of a great airline's great group of flight crew members! For the record, I am the son of Bob Buck and work for Delta. The same first and last names often cause confusion... Dad's clever one with the mischievous smile. Thanks for all the efforts of TARPA, especially the great publication! TWA always has and will have a special place in my heart. From Dean Phillips I know I'm getting old and my memory is not as good as it used to be, but here's my dues and I do believe Bobbe and I attended the Chicago TARPA convention. We were cleared by security to board an airplane, but we didn't make the convention attendee's list. We remember and miss TWA and the good old days. From John Lein Still feeling like a young birdâ€”therefore the 40 bucks. Must say that I've been fortunate in my health, excluding a knee replacement and some back surgery. Dear Mr. Mosely, I am one of those "TWA brats," born in 1935, the year my dad got on with the company. No man ever loved his job more! His generation is pretty much gone, but I'd love to hear anyone's recollections, anecdotes, etc. concerning Captain Hal "Blackie" Blackburn. Many Thanks, Dr. Robert W. Blackburn 4210 Bemis St. Oakland, CA 94605
Tel. 510-562-0906 Fax 510-562-5625 Email firstname.lastname@example.org PAGE 74 ... TARPA TOPICS
A conclusion is the place where you got tired of thinking.
From Frank Spedding I was so happy to receive the march 2003 TARPA TOPICSâ€”hell I didn't know if we went down the tubes or not. Now that most of us are in the "old fart" category it's great to read about old friends. Hope this finds you in good health and able to partake in a few cool ones. From Herb Riebeling I finally made it to 75 on March the 11th. I am an EAGLE. I can hardly believe it. I really appreciate your teams work publishing TARPA TOPICS. Enclosed is my $80.00 check for the next two years. My kids all wanted to know what I wanted to do for 75th birthday. I said " I am going skiing in the morning and flying in the afternoon and I did. That is the happy news. The unhappy news is that I had to place my wife Madeline de Verteuil Riebeling (TWA Hostess) in Manor Care nursing home here in Reno. I was unable to take care of her at home even with outside help. This nursing home costs $5800 per month. Those of you who have been putting off getting Long Term Health Care Insurance had best look into getting a policy while your healthy and can qualify. I got my policy in 1999 at age of 71. My coverage was for $100.00 per day with an inflation clause so mine is up to $115.00 per day now, I also have life time coverage not just 3 years or 5 years. I also have in Home or in Nursing Home coverage. This cost each of us $2933.00 year. I did not realize how much nursing home care was going to go up and I wish I had gotten S200.00/ per day. I have coverage with General Electric Financial Assurance, Long Term Care Division. I understand that John Hancock also has coverage now. I hope that you will never need it. From Ted Herman Gene, I retired effective 1 Nov. 1985. This was voluntary as I could have flown until May `86 but I wanted to make sure I would be off on 6 Nov. My reason was simple: I wanted to go to Lake Placid and play hockey with my hero, Gordie Howe. There was a program called "Reach For the Stars" which had four teams: Detroit, Chicago, Boston and Toronto. Each team had 2 NHLers on it. The Red Wings had Gordie Howe and Bill Gadsby. Since I was born in Detroit and named one of my 6 sons after Gordie this would be a lifetime dream come true. I was lucky enough to be accepted to play for the Wings. I played hockey 3 more time with Gordie: once more at Lake Placid and 2 more times in Montreal. One of my friends (another TWA Capt.) said I was crazy to give up 6 months pay. (He died 3 years later.) I still play hockey, once a week in the summer and twice a week in the fall, winter and spring. At age 77 I consider myself very lucky to be able to do this. And I can die happy having played hockey 4 times with Gordie Howe!!!
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From Bill Halliday Dear Rufus, Thanks for serving as Treasurer. Enclosed is my check for my 2003 TARPA dues. Flight in 1947 On my first TWA International flight, our radio operator was Harry Stitzel great guy! 1
Flight in 955 I was fortunate enough in October 1955 to serve as copilot on a special flight of newspaper ' reporters to inaugurate onestop service on a Connie from TWA s west coast to London. Who was the radio operator? Harry Stitzel! Meeting in 1992 About ten years ago while waiting on line at a local store, I looked up and there he was Harry Stitzel! Meeting in 2003 Last week Harry came by for a visit and we covered a lot of TWA history. We had a very enjoyable time reminiscing. That was the first I heard about a TWA flight being hit by antiaircraft fire over the Atlantic during WWII. They were very lucky to make it to an airport. It ' s amazing how some people keep showing up in your life. Articles by Bob Allerdyce, Dave Richwine and Bill Dixon were excellent reading. You men put out a first class magazine. Gracias!
From Don Sypkens (I'm still on the farm) Wonderful book— time goes by too fast. When in Kansas City stop by the American History(?) Museum. It ' s open 9—4 most every day. We have a Connie, Martin 404 and a DC3 which TWA bought in 1941.
From Dave Wadsworth I've been confined for 3 months with a combination of a fracture of the pelvis bone from the hip socket, which was not operated on. I was making good recovery on that, but unfortunately caught a deadly germ at the `re—hab', which gave bad intestinal problems, plus pneumonia and flu. Am sending the extra amount to cover the future year. The work you people do makes it worthwhile. Good hearth to all.
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When everything is coming your way, you're in the wrong lane.
From Roger Lengel Rufus—Noticed your `new' address and I remember correctly, you are from that area. The check is for `Eagle' status and I'm now 75 1/2—is Eagle' still 75? Another couple of aches but better off than most. And again, thanks for your TARPA work. From Barbara Elder (Mrs. John Elder) John is still in a nursing home since he fell and broke his hip. I know he wants to keep his membership active. Thanks. From Jim McElroy Rufus — Thank you for the e—mail message reminder. Don't know how I missed this; must have been my retirement and moving out of St. Louis that distracted me. Took a while to get organized at home again. We finally got settled again in San Juan, and Cathy's 85 year—old mother came to visit for a couple months. A perfect houseguest, and she can cook. Shortly after she returned home to see the last of the springtime NY snows, we left on a cruise. Took a six—day Windjammer cruise that visited several islands and many beaches. Cathy said it was the best vacation she had ever experienced. Now I'm back to trying to get organized a bit after several years of neglected accumulation. Got a few PC problems thrown in, but I'm working with Dell, my ISP, and Norton to get the problem corrected. Been following the war in Iraq on Fox News. Hopefully, that situation will be resolved soon. From Russ Bowen Rufus—Sorry to be tardy with the dues but since retirement I've been so busy! Life is good for this Eagle and his `Clipped Wing' wife of 61 years. Paradise Valley Estates, our residency, is a military retirement community with lots going on. A very active Pacific Northwest TWA Ambassador group keeps us in touch. And TARPA continues to do its excellent job. Many thanks. From Frank Karshick Please excuse my late payment of the TARPA dues. I just turned 85 and it seem that the older I get the less I get things accomplished. I spent three months in the hospital in the year 2002 and have been on the road to recovery ever since. Feel pretty good now and I am looking forward to a good summer. Best regards and keep up the good work for TARPA.
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Everyone has a photographic memory, some just don ' t have film. From George Tittinger A little extra to help something that gives me so much pleasure. From Clancy Green Thanks for all the good work you guys do! "Eagles" are people tooâ€”so I enclose $40. hope to see you In Reno. From Dave McGualy Hey Rufusâ€”Do they still have speckled trout on the Bon Secour? From Roger Salmonson Will use this last day of the year to get our TARPA dues sent. We read the Dec. issue of TARPA TOPICS from cover to cover, pictures were grand! Sorry to have missed Chicago but hopefully we will see `you all' in Reno. From Mrs. John Ferguson Muriel Ferguson reports that John, TARPA 's first president, is in extremely poor health. John, thank you for your wonderful efforts to get TARPA together and Muriel, thank you for the excellent care you are giving John now. Ed. (I'm sure John and Muriel would like to hear from their friends. 238 Park Way, Front Royal, VA. 22630) From Jim Meagher Thank you for TARPA TOPICS and all your work, I always look forward to the next issue. From Barry Otto It's been a hectic year for me. I lost my wife in January due to cancer which she had been fighting for three years. I'm pressing on here in Orange City at John Know Village, a continuing care community. I have fond memories of Foley. I spent some time in flight training at Barin Field, even stopped by for a visit a few years ago. May look it up again in May on my way to Houston. From Barrie Mootham. About time I visited my favorite magazine, eh? I want to extend my thanks to all the crew members who made the TWA years the greatest. Also special thanks goes to you pilot leaders and volunteers who made our lives better. I'm still aviating and loving it in our picturesque Ca. No $l00 hamburgers though, I get a little pay to fly C310R's for Comstock Air out of SAC. And it ' s nice to see TWAer ' s in print, i.e. Bob Buck, Barry Schiff, Charles Jackson, etc. PAGE 78 ... TARPA TOPICS
My mechanic told me, "I couldn't repair your brakes, so I made your horn louder."
Actual logbook write ups and repairs as found at QANTAS. P = The problem logged by the pilot.
S: Evidence removed.
S = The solution and action taken by the engineers
P: DME volume unbelievably loud. S: DME volume set to more believable level.
P: Left inside main tire almost needs replacement. S: Almost replaced left inside main tire.
P: Friction locks cause throttle levers to stick. S: That's what they're there for.
P: Test flight OK, except autoland very rough. S: Autoland not installed on this aircraft.
P: Transponder inoperative. S: Transponder always inoperative in OFF mode.
P: No. 2 propeller seeping prop fluid. S: No. 2 propeller seepage normal. No ' s 1, 3 and 4 lack normal seepage
P: Suspected crack in windshield. S: Suspect you ' re right.
P: Something loose in cockpit. S: Something tightened in cockpit. P: Dead bugs on windshield. S: Live bugs on backâ€“order.
P: Number 3 engine missing. S: Engine found on right wing after brief search. P: Aircraft handles funny. S: Aircraft warned to straighten up, fly right, and be serious.
P: Autopilot in altitudeâ€“hold mode produces a 200 f pm descent. S: Cannot reproduce problem on ground.
P: Target radar hums. S: Reprogrammed target radar with words.
P: Evidence of leak on right main landing gear.
P: Mouse in cockpit. S: Cat installed
Lew Judd sent some very interesting information and stories about the early Super Constellations. I'm going to save some of the more technical data for a later date and let you in on some of his stories. There a lot more of these stories out there and now that we're all safely retired we can print (most of) them. Ed. PAGE 79 ... TARPA TOPICS
Hard work pays off in the future, laziness pays off right now.
From Lew Judd When the super Connies were introduced in 1952, they were the ultimate in travel. They were 17 feet longer than the original constellation 10' in front of the wing and 7'aft. These planes were the most luxurious in the sky. Every night at midnight east coast time, the non–stop flight to Los Angeles left New York. In Los Angeles, the non–stop left for New York at nine west coast time. All the celebrities and movie stars used these flights. Howard Hughes who owned TWA, also owned RKO and show people knew what airline to take. The plane held 72 first class passengers. There were eight berths, similar to Pullman berths. Four upper and four lower. A large circular lounge in the rear was stocked with goodies and liquor. A large compartment up forward, between the cockpit and the galley, for the berth passengers, had seats that swiveled to face each other and tables that could be mounted in between for those folks who wanted to eat breakfast in comfort. A very large lavatory with ample space to use as a dressing area, created some memorable moments. Those of us who flew the non–stop, got an unusual chance to see the celebrities as they really were. JIMMIE DURANTE I recall a flight when Jimmy Durante and entourage were on board and the flight time was only 6 hours and 25 minutes from L.A. to N.Y. We knew we had a hell of a tail wind but the term jet stream hadn't been invented yet, however we set a new record. He invited the crew, to view the show he was doing for Max Liebman's Show of Shows in Manhattan, at one of the theaters, which was
being utilized as a TV stage. It was to be the first one done in color. Of course we accepted. I heard nothing more about it and assumed the invitation had been forgotten, surely one of the secretaries would have called to make arrangements. The morning of the show, the following week, I was sound asleep, having just arrived home from flying the non–stop, when the phone rang. My sixteen year old son answered the phone, the voice said "Hi this is Jimmy Durante. Is your Dad home?" my son was so excited he dropped the phone on the floor, where it bounced a few times. When he brought it into the bedroom and handed it to me, I had it backwards, which didn't make too much difference, because my earplugs were still in. Finally, getting everything straightened out, I apologized, explaining why I had taken so long to answer the phone correctly. Mr. Durante, Gentleman that he was, apologized for waking me up, knowing how tired I must have been after the long flight. I tried to reassure him, that I didn't mind one bit. He asked me if I would mind calling the other cockpit crew members, inviting us to meet him at the stage door. When we arrived and knocked at the door, the stage doorman barely opened it. I said Mr. Durante invited us to see the show. Jimmy was busy in conversation with several of the show people. He looked towards the door and excusing himself came right over. He recognized us at once, even though he had only seen us in uniform sitting in the cockpit. He called us by name and told our wives how much he had enjoyed the flight. He asked if we wanted to watch the show on the new color television, or see it live. We chose live. His stage presence was such, that the neon applause light wasn't needed.
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Ambition is a poor excuse for not having enough sense to be lazy.
After the show, we went down on the stage to thank him and tell him how much we enjoyed the show, he thanked us for coming! He also said, if we were in Los Angeles and didn't have anything to do, to come over to his house at any time. If it had been any one else, I would have just put it down as bullxxxx, but from Jimmie Durante, I believe the offer was genuine. Of course we never took him up on it. A really outstanding gentleman. A really outstanding show.
AVA GARDNER The most memorable lady was Ava Gardner. She was in the berth, when we landed at N.Y. It didn't take us long to taxi to the terminal, where the news media and photographers, were waiting for the celebrities. When all of the passengers debarked, the mechanics would taxi the plane to the hangar, on the other side of the airport. The flight crew would ride
with them, as our cars were parked over there. Ava decided she would ride over to the hangar with us and use the lavatory to get ready while we were enroute. She didn't lock the door and as we taxied, the door swung open, there stood Ava, stark naked, in front of the wall to wall mirror. All of us including the taxiing crew, could see her, in all her glory, just by turning our heads and looking aft. When she saw us looking, she didn't close the door, just waved her hand. As we all gazed enthralled, the airplane continued on past the end of the taxi strip and out into the dirt. A call from the tower alerted the taxi crew, who quickly made a hard right turn back to the pavement, causing the door to swing shut and ending our view of the gorgeous Ava. When we reached the hangar, an Aero Stand, (hydraulically operated stairs), was pushed up to the door and Ava disembarked to the accompaniment of cheers, whistles and clapping from the enchanted crew. With a smile she blew us a kiss.
From Betty K Johnson I am sending my dues for the next year. I'm told that as a survivor I don't have to pay duesâ€” but your publication is important to me. Unfortunately, most of the news is unhappy reading of many old friends passing, but the rest of the news is interesting to me and I want to continue getting it. Thanks for all you hard work. From Bob Willcutts Receiving the November 2002 TARPA TOPICS was like receiving a great Christmas gift. I enjoyed every page. Thanks (to the staff) for the hard work and your contributions to TARPA. By the time you read this my coâ€”pilot class of June 15, 1953, will have passed its fiftieth anniversary with TWA. I remember the day well. I would like to hear from the rest of the class. Where are you guys and what are you doing? Gene
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A clear conscience is usually the sign of a bad memory.
From Russ North Gene, The other day some of us were over at Fantasy of Flight and while nosing around in their restoration area came across this beat up old fuselage. Close inspection showed that it had once belonged to TWA and was Nâ€”40415 one of the original 40 type 404's that TWA bought. I understand that this particular aircraft had been purchased from Piedmont and probably had numerous owners after TWA. I believe I saw this plane at Tampa, in Provincetown Boston colors back in the late 70 ' s or early 8o's. This plane was interesting to me as I upgraded on the Martin's and had flown many trips in this particular bird, that is until TWA furloughed my coâ€”pilot and sold my airplane. Now the good part, Fantasy of Flight plans to restore this plane to like new and if their past restorations are any guide it will be well done, just hope it has TWA markings.
Fifteen years ago Sue and I left the good life in Santa Clara County, California, (Silicon Valley) and moved to the San Joaquin Valley and Modesto. I can't say that I went kicking and screaming but certainly Modesto was not a retirement Mecca and our reasons for moving were family oriented. I had to send maps to most of my old friends who said, "Where the hell is Modesto?" We found the people to be friendly and we quickly made new and dear friends. At that time Modesto was a small city of about 120,000 but it still had a small town atmosphere. There were no computer stores or big box retailers and only two movie theaters to cater to our entertainment needs. I could drive anywhere in town in 20 minutes and never had to look for a parking space. Life was good, if somewhat quiet.
Things have changed. People no longer ask about Modesto, they just pick up the latest rag at the supermarket checkout counter. Between a randy congressman and some gruesome and tragic murders we have built a booming economy catering to the news media. The population is well over 200,000 and growing rapidly. (300,000 in the metropolitan area.) Traffic is congested and parking at a premium. I no longer have to drive to Sacramento or San Jose for my computer needs. We have 25 new movie screens and a performing arts center is under way. Silicon Valley without the cool summers. A bon mot about Modesto. More wine is fermented, processed, bottled, and shipped from Modesto than the next ten cities in the world combined.
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Are Turbines Ruining Aviation? We gotta get rid of these turbines, they are ruining aviation. We need to go back to big round engines. Anybody can start a turbine, you just need to move a " Switch from "OFF " to "START, and then remember to move it back to "ON" after a while My PC is harder to start. Cranking a round engine requires skill, finesse and style. On some planes, the pilots aren't even allowed to do it. Turbines start by whining for a while, then give a small lady-like poot and start whining louder. Round engines give a satisfying rattle-rattle, click-click BANG, more rattles, another BANG, a big macho fart or two, more clicks, a lot of smoke and finally a serious low pitched roar. We like that. It's a guy thing. When you start a round engine, your mind is engaged and you can concentrate on the flight ahead. Starting a turbine is like flicking on ceiling fan. Useful, but hardly exciting. Turbines don't break often enough, leading to aircrew boredom, complacency, and inalterition A round engine - at speed - looks and sounds like it's going to blow at any minute. This helps concentrate the mind Turbines don't have enough control levers to keep a pilot's attention. There's nothing to fiddle with during long flights Turbines smell like a Boy Scout camp full of Coleman lanterns. Round engined planes smell like God intended flying machines to smell. I think I hear the nurse coming down the hall. I gotta go. Ex-round engine driver.
This actully is from The Knights of the Round Engine Table. Eight years ago / pil ots three of them were Aces one was Joe Foss his Marine Group shot down 72 Japanese, Foss26 Congressional Medal of Honor plus other listed in his newspaper regarding a critical condition. The other two no longer Four meetings a year to honor Lingburgh , Doolittle; live here Now 40 members no dues. Wright Brothers, and Rickenbacker.
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