TARPA CONVENTION 2005 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania September 26 â€” 30 2005
CONTENTS TARPA TOPICS THE MAGAZINE OF THE TWA ACTIVE RETIRED PILOTS ASSOCIATION DEPARTMENTS:
' PRESIDENT S MESSAGE 3 Charles Wilder
REMEMBERING TWA 26o 19 A TALE OF TWO CAPTAINS 23
EDITOR ' S NOTE John P. Gratz
by Hugh Prather JOSEPH "JOSE" GRANT
SECRETARY/TREASURER 5 Rufus Mosely
by John P. Gratz FLOWN WEST
GRAPEVINE Gene Richards
LAST FLIGHT OF LIBERATOR 41-1133 by William F. Cass
MON AMI CLAUDE by John P. Gratz
THE MARTINS by Ed Betts
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 Inside Front Cover: Courtesy of Rich Dunoff PCVB
The Sandia Mountains, Front Cover: Albuquerque, NM.
TOPICS is an official publication of TARPA, a nonprofit corporation. The Editor bears no responsibility for accuracy or unauthorized use of contents.
Back Cover: The answers to the March issue Flag recall question.
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FLOWN WEST COORDINATOR
John P. Gratz 1646 Timberlake Manor Pkwy 1 Chesterfield, MO 630 7-5500 (636) 53 2 -8317 email@example.com David R. Gratz 1034 Carroll 2 1 St. Louis, MO 63104 (3 4) 4 1-9353 firstname.lastname@example.org Gene Richards 284oB Sherwood Ave Modesto, CA 95350 (209) 492-0391 email@example.com Felix M. Usis III 1276 Belvoir Lane Virginia Beach, VA 23464-6746 (757) 4 20 -5445 firstname.lastname@example.org John S. Bybee 2616 Saklan Indian Drive #1 Walnut Creek, CA 94595 (9 2 5)93 8 -349 2 email@example.com Jack Irwin 2466 White Stable Road Town and Country, MO 63 1 3 1 (314) 43 2 -3 272 firstname.lastname@example.org
OFFICERS AND DIRECTORS, 2003 - 2004 PRESIDENT
Charles L. Wilder Jackson, NJ 08527-4058 email@example.com Guy A. Fortier Incline Village, NV 89450 firstname.lastname@example.org
122 Wild Dunes Way (732) 833-2205 Box 6065 (775) 83 1 -3040 Box 359 6 (775) 588-4223
SECOND VICE PRESIDENT
William A. Kirschner State Line, NV 8 9449-359 6 email@example.com
Ed Madigan P.O. Box3565 Incline Village, NV 8 954 0 (775) 831-1265 firstname.lastname@example.org Robert C. Sherman 1201 Phelps Ave. San Jose, CA 95117 (408) 2 46 -7754 email@example.com Rockney Dollarhide #1Riverside Farm Dr. Crescent, MO 63025 (636) 938-4727 firstname.lastname@example.org William Kientz 14981 Chateau Village 6 01 01 Chesterfield, MO 3 7-77 ( 6 36) 39 1-5454 email@example.com Jack Irwin 2466 White StableRd. 1 Town and Country, MO 6313 (3 1 4) 43 2 -3272 firstname.lastname@example.org Robert W. Dedman 3728 Lynfield Drive Virginia Beach, VA 23452 (757) 463-2032 email@example.com John P. Gratz 1646 Timberlake Manor Pkwy Chesterfield, MO 63017-5500 (636) 532-8317 firstname.lastname@example.org
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' PRESIDENT S MESSAGE
Welcome to the 218 th celebration of the signing of the US Constitution. Nine days prior to our convention in Philadelphia, the 218 th anniversary of the signing of the Constitution occurred in Independence Hall. Philadelphia is full of historical sites and was the capital of the nation from 1790-1800. Also, the Supreme Court made its home in the Old City Hall from 1791-1800. ' And, don t forget that the Declaration of Independence was signed in Philadelphia. It is also the site of the Liberty Bell and where the First Continental Congress met in 1774. There is far too much history to relate in this short letter. Come to Philly and join us September 26-30!
As usual, there will be optional tours, "a mandatory hospitality room," a welcome reception and the usual final banquet. We think that you will enjoy the entertainment that we have planned. Recently, our Board of Directors held our semi-annual meeting at the Hyatt Regency Penn Landing on the Delaware. The members of the board were very impressed with the hotel and its location. Many of the rooms overlook the river with outstanding views. We have a splendid convention planned with some outstanding tours. Many of you have seen some of the sights, but Philadelphia has added a beautiful National Constitution Center and is completing the landscaping the park area from the Constitution Center to the Independence Visitor Center and the Independence National Historical Park. Longwood Gardens were developed by the DuPont family and will be a highlight of the tours. Although one day is not enough time to relax and enjoy the beauty of the Park, everyone will marvel at the landscaping and flowers. At our Board Meeting, we selected San Francisco for our 2006 meeting. Finding a hotel within our financial constraints proved challenging, but the Hyatt at the Waterfront and the Westin St. Francis came through with acceptable offers. In addition, the both hotels are beautiful and are located in excellent locations. I strongly urge you to join us in Philadelphia this September. Our publication and the annual convention are the highlights of our organization. TARPA TOPICS is outstanding, but nothing can replace the comradery of sharing old tales among friends. Make your plans to stay with us in the hotel. The Hyatt has given us a very nice area for our Registration and the Presidential Suite " " for our Hospitality Room. Those freebees are based upon us meeting a quota of room nights. As they say in my home state of Louisiana, Yawl Cum!
Charlie PAGE 3 ... TARPA TOPICS
EDITOR'S NOTE This issue of TOPICS offers you another opportunity to sign up for the TARPA Convention 2005 in Philadelphia. The hotel and its location are really outstanding. We don' t want to be redundant. Charlie said it all. Suffice it to say, that anyone who has given any serious thought to the great events of our Nation's founding there, is sure to be impressed by visiting the actual sites where it all began, now in a beautiful renovated neighborhood. You will also find several slightly unusual stories from the TWA's colorful past in this issue. Two of these recount tragic aircraft accidents and their aftermath. Ironically, the two accidents, though years apart, both had their beginnings in Albuquerque, New Mexico. We got the idea for one of these, that of our ill-fated Flight 26o of February 1 9, 1955 from Klete Rood when he sent 5oth the Front Page story from the Albuquerque Journal on the Anniversary of the Accident. That story was helped along by Chris Clark. Chris introduced me to Hugh Prather, a mover and shaker in Albuquerque. Hugh is one the man who has kept the memory of all the people on Flight 26o alive for the last 50 years. The other story idea came from my old SFO friend, Dick Carter. Dick sent an article from The Friends of the Air Force Museum Magazine. Surprisingly, that article was based on a book with which this Editor had played a small part in researching. TOPICS also included a promotion for the book, "The Last Flight of Liberator 41-1133" in the November 2000. Because of its relevance to the story of the Flight 26o accident, we are also including a reprise of the Martin 202 and 404 stories by our dear friend the late, great TWA and TARPA historian, Ed Betts. We also include a happy story of the life and times of one our most senior Members, Joe Grant. After getting to know Joe and his wife Marga on the Cruise Convention last year, we asked him for a tale of his Arabian Nights in the 1940s and of his adventures since. It was hard to get Joe to do it because of his busy schedule, but we think it was worth the effort. His and ours. As promised in this space last month, we have put the names with all the flags from former TWA destinations on the back cover, and on the front cover we have chosen to display Sandia Peak at Albuquerque. It looms over that city and is a dominant feature of the Rio Grande valley. To us it represents a feature related to our two stories of tragic accidents, both of which began with flights that originated in Albuquerque.
Photos in this issue of TOPICS courtesy of: William F. Cass, Ona Gieschen, Joe Grant, Hugh Prather and Serge Prevot.
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May 18, 2005
As of May 1, 2005, the membership is as follows: (R) (A) (E) (H)
Retired: Active: Eagle Honorary:
851 61 547 477 1,936
There are also 44 subscribers to Topics and 19 who receive complimentary copies. We have added 12 new members since the last Topics. They are listed later in this issue. Following is the financial report for the period from January 1, 2005 thru April 30, 2005: 1/1/2005: Opening Balance Income Expenses Cash Flow Balance 04/30/2005:
$66,748 . 73 .28 $54, 2 79 $29,575. 2 9 $24,703.99 $9 1 ,45
We still have a number of members who have not sent in their 2005 dues. Please check the label on your envelope. If it indicates 2004, please send in your dues. We have thirteen new members, but would like a lot more. Please mention to your TWA pilot friends that we would like them to join us in future events. They can contact me or go on the web site at www.tarpa.com to get an application. Hope to see all of you in Philadelphia in September.
Ed Madigan PAGE 5 ... TARPA TOPICS
Minutes of the April 21, 2005 TARPA Board meeting Philadelphia, PA Board members present: Charlie Wilder, Guy Fortier, Ed Madigan, John Gratz, Bill Kientz, Bob Sherman, Bob Dedman. Absent: Bill Kirschner, Jack Irwin and Rockney Dollarhide. President Wilder called the meeting to order at 0830. President ' s Report: President Wilder reported on the site inspection for the 2006 convention in San Francisco. It was decided that the event would be held at the Hyatt hotel on Fisherman's Wharf. A presentation was then made by a member of the Philadelphia Convention Bureau welcoming us to the city and offering to help in any way possible Secretary/Treasurer's Report Ed Madigan reported that at this time we are in good financial shape with approximately $90,000 in the bank. There are still 304 members who have not paid their 2005 dues. Ed will send group e-mail to the full membership with regard to the upcoming convention in Philadelphia and as a reminder to those who have not yet sent in their 2005 dues. Director ' s Report: Bill Kientz inquired about the support given for the furloughed Pilot's fund. Ed Madigan reported that up to this time $720 has been collected. Bob Sherman reported that he is continuing to work with the TWA senior's coordinator to bring our honorary list of members up to date. Bob Dedman will research the by-laws regarding the provision to award excess money from the Convention fund. Topics Editor: John Gratz bought us up to date on the publishing and mailing of the magazine along with ideas for future issues. New Business: President Wilder appointed a committee, composed of Bill Kientz, Guy Fortier and Bob Dedman to explore possible sites for future conventions.
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A replacement has to be found for the web site master, as Jack Irwin will be resigning from that position. There being no further business, President Wilder adjourned the meeting at 10:32 AM. Respectfully submitted, Ed Madigan Secretary/Treasurer P.O. Box 35 6 5 Incline Village, NV 8954 0 1.126 5 775 .8 3 email@example.com
New Members Ruth Richter Holden 674 Church St San Luis Obispo, CA 9340 1 Lv2aur@hotmail.com
Keven McClaugherty (Kim) 15605 Waterfall Rd Haymarket, VA 20169-1920 firstname.lastname@example.org
Benjamin Brown (Allene) 154 Pinelynn Rd. Glen Rock, NJ 07452 email@example.com
Roger C. Moore (Lillian) 16739 Pepperview Ct. Wildwood, MO 63005 Rv4drvr@aol.com
Tom Tillet (Katy) 10336 N. 135 th Way Scottsdale, AZ 8 5 2 59 firstname.lastname@example.org
Chet Johnson (Anne) 18 Paraje De Verano Placitas, NM 87 0 43
Don Southam (Paula) 5 8 95 Rolling Oaks Ct. Naples, F134110 email@example.com C. J. Kemper (Gwen) 1503 w. Highway 116 Plattsburg, MO 6 4477 firstname.lastname@example.org
Dave Phillips 8 Wood Hole Ct. Henderson, NV 89052 B747fedave@aol.com Michael Day 12811 Hodgson Ave Cedar key, FL 32625sunshi email@example.com
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Dana Pyle (Kathy) 661 West 58 th Hinsdale, IL 60521 Albert Huck (Lela) Colonial Center P.O. Box 334 La Paz Mexico
ANOTHER REASON In case you need another reason to join us in Philadelphia, we suggest you consider how this beautiful, one of a kind painting would look in your favorite room. We were able to show it in full color in the March 2005 issue and you can refer to that in order to better appreciate its quality. We hope that as many of you as possible have a chance to participate when we raffle it away at our gathering in the new improved Historic Philadelphia!
This could be yours! Mrs. Betty Green has donated this beautiful oil painting by John Pettijohn to be raffled by TARPA as a fund-raiser. Clancy suggested that to her before he passed away. She has informed us that Clancy obtained this painting himself by winning a raffle at an early TARPA Convention. As you can see, the old wings and cap emblems and the last versions have been added to the frame making a more dramatic presentation. We intend to have it on display at the Philadelphia Convention to promote greater interest and participation. PAGE 8 ... TARPA TOPICS
Schedule for TARPA 2005 Convention Philadelphia, PA Date Depart Return
MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 26 Noon 1800 1400 1600 1600 1800 Evening
Registration Open Board of Directors Meeting — Board Room Hospitality - Presidential Suite Open for dinner Septmbr27
900 1000 1630 2030
1700 1500 2000 2200
Registration Open Franklin Institute Science Museum or Philadelphia Museum of Art U.S.S. New Jersey Battleship Tour and Lunch Welcome Reception — Independence Visitors Center Philadelphia Pig Roast, Hors d'oeuvres and Cash Bar Wednesday, September 28 Registration Historical Tour of Philadelphia & Constitution Center U.S.S. New Jersey Battleship Tour and Dinner Hospitality Suite Open — Presidential Suite
Thursday, September 29 Registration Open 800 1300 General Membership Meeting 830 1000 Longwood Gardens & Lunch 1030 1600 Hospitality Suite Open - Presidential Suite 1600 1800 Farewell Reception 1900 1800 Banquet Dinner & Dancing Special Guest Entertainment 1900 2300
Friday, September 30 Check-out
We have a small block of rooms for those that might like to stay a few more days in Philadelphia The times listed above are bus departure times, please be in the hotel lobby at least 10 minutes prior to assure an On-Time Departure. PAGE 9 ... TARPA TOPICS
2005 Convention Tour
Handicapped: All of the tours and sites listed are accessible for handicapped or those with limited mobility. There may be a few limitations at historical sites and aboard the Battleship. If you will require assistance or have mobility issues please make a note on the comment section of the registration form.
Franklin Institute Science Museum Tuesday, September 27, 10:00am — 4:00pm The Franklin Institute is the most visited site in Philadelphia; with over a dozen new attractions including a 3D Theater, indoor Sky Bike, the sports Challenge, a giant walk-through heart, four floors of interactive, electrifying exhibits, IMAX movies and the Fels Planetarium. Currently the showcase exhibit is on the Titanic in the main hall. Of great interest to TARPA members will be the Franklin Air Show. This exhibit contains a pilot training center showcasing the historical and contemporary facets of aviation and aeronautical technologies, and the life stories of a broad spectrum of aviation pioneers. The exhibit includes original Wright Brothers' drawings, a Wright Model B Flyer, a T-33 jet, and an interactive flight simulator. The IMAX theater presents; Lewis & Clark: Great Journey West; Forces of Nature; and Titanic; and Home of Freedom: a vibrant seven-minute signature film that captures the pulse of Philadelphia and the voices of its people. The daily demonstrations include fascinating project such as the Liquid Air Show, Paper making, Space Boot Camp Show, the Observatory, and the Spin ride. This tour includes motor coach transportation, admission to the museum, IMAX Theater, and lunch in the Franklin Café . - ORPhiladelphia Museum of Art Tuesday, September 27, am
Showcasing more than 2,000 years of human creativity; the collections and special exhibitions at the Philadelphia Museum of Art present masterpieces of painting, sculpture, decorative arts and architectural settings from Europe, Asia and the Americas. The striking neoclassical building is an oasis of beauty and enriching activities including lectures, concerts, films, and interactive family programs. This is truly an outstanding art museum presenting works by Cezanne, Monet, Poussin, Renoir, Rubens and Van Gogh. Works of modern artists are also included. The tour will include round trip motor coach transportation, admission to the museum, and lunch in the Bistro Restaurant.
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U.S.S. New Jersey Battleship Tuesday, September 27, 11:ooam - 3:00pm History comes to life on our tour of one of the largest and most decorated ships in the U.S. fleet. ii stories high, nearly 3 football fields long, and at 45,000 tons of living history, this is the " must-see " on the Camden Waterfront. During WWII, Korean, Vietnam, and Beirut, thousands of sailors and Marines sailed with the Battleship New Jersey proudly serving on the nation's most decorated ship. The ship is permanently berthed as a museum and memorial. The tour will include round trip transportation, admission, and a casual lunch before we return to the hotel in time to get ready for the opening reception. Welcome Reception — Independence Hall Visitors Center Tuesday, September 27, 4:30pm — 7:00pm We are going to welcome the TARPA members in style this year with a welcome reception including hosted Philadelphia Pig Roast, hors d'oeuvres and a cash bar on the terrace of the Independence Visitors Center. Centrally located in historic district, the center overlooks the New Liberty Bell Center; Independence Hall, Carpenters Hall, and the new multi-million dollar Constitution Center. The Visitors Center features interactive kiosks introducing you to the history of Philadelphia and gives you an introduction to all there is to do and see. The tour includes round trip motor coach transportation, admission to the center, and the reception. There will be a cash bar. Historical Trolley Tour of Philadelphia Wednesday, September 28, am — 3:00pm This tour promises to be one of the most interesting and entertaining of the week. We have chartered the popular Philadelphia Trolleys with guides to provide a 2-hour comprehensive guide to the city. This will include all of the fascinating intrigue of Philadelphia including the Art district, City Hall, Lemon Hill, Philadelphia Zoo, Chinatown, Antique Row, Old City, Market Street, and finally the historic district including the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, Carpenters Hall, Christ Church, and admission to the all new multi-million dollar National Constitution Center. The center America's first and only museum devoted to the Unites States Constitution. This contemporary and moving experience includes over 200 interactive and multimedia exhibits, film, photographs, text, sculpture and artifacts to engage and inspire every American. Lunch will be on your own at the intriguing Reading Terminal. One of the most interesting spots in Philadelphia, the market is regarded as the largest farmers market in America. This food emporium houses over 8o merchants selling every imaginable variety of produce and prepared foods. Enjoy Pennsylvania Dutch breakfast, authentic Philadelphia Cheese steaks, or award winning chefs that prepare sandwiches, seafood, or salads, and Amish homemade breads, pies, and jams. We have allowed for an hour at lunch and an hour at the Constitution Center. The tour includes transportation, guides, and admission to the National Constitution Center.
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Longwood Gardens Thursday, September 29, 10:30am â€” 4:00pm This magnificent garden was originally created by industrialist Pierre S. Dupont and offers 1,050 acres of breathtaking landscapes, woodlands and meadows, 40 indoor/outdoor gardens, 11,000 types of plants, spectacular fountains, 400 performing arts events, festivals, and holiday displays. The gardens are located about 45 minutes from Philadelphia in Kennett Square. The tour includes round trip motor coach transportation, admission including a 90 minute guided tour, and lunch at the Terrace Restaurant. Final Banquet Dinner Thursday, September 29, 6:oopm â€” 11:oopm Join us for a final evening of friends, laughter, entertainment, and fine foods in the Columbia Ballroom at the Hyatt Regency Penn's Landing. The evening will include a no-host reception; your choice of a complete grilled fillet of beef or grilled shrimp & seared scallops dinner, wine, and special entertainment.
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There is nowhere else in the world where so much American history comes to life than in Philadelphia. This is the city where American democracy was born, where culture, music and the arts abound, and where incredible dining and shopping options are endless. Although Philadelphia proudly honors our nation's strong heritage, it is by no means stranded in the past. When you visit this celebrated city, be prepared for more than just a history lesson. What makes Philadelphia and its countryside so special is the unique blend of experiences you have to come here in person to discover. This might be four centuries of history or modern day neighborhoods, legendary battlefields, cobblestone streets and Colonial architecture; old-fashioned covered bridges, quirky museums, hidden gardens in quaint city enclaves, bountiful gardens, upscale shopping, and of course world-class dining. The city offers so much to do and see we struggled to fit it all in for our TARPA members. We will visit exciting sites such as Independence Hall, overlooking the new Liberty Bell Center; the Franklin Institute Science Museum, or the Philadelphia Art Museum; the USS Battleship New Jersey, the nations most decorated battleship; Longwood Gardens, a spectacular botanical garden; and have an opportunity to tour the entire city on a guided trolley tour. All tours will include transportation, admission fees, and lunch (except the Historic Philadelphia tour. We will have a lunch stop at Reading terminal however lunch is at your own expense.) There are so many other wonderful options that we encourage you to come in a few days early or stay a few days later and enjoy all this wonderful city has to offer; The Kimmel Performing Arts Center, the all new Constitution Center, the Philadelphia Zoo, Betsy Ross's House, the Rodin Museum, the Academy of Fine Art, Chinatown, the U.S. Mint and the Aquarium across the river in New Jersey. Philadelphia is the largest city in Pennsylvania and the fifth largest city in the United States (approximately 1.5 million people). William Penn founded the city back in 1682. During the American Revolution, the fight for freedom took hold here at Carpenter ' s Hall in 1774. In July of 1776 the Declaration of Independence was signed here at the Independence Hall. In 1787, our nations founders came to Philadelphia for the Constitutional Convention. Once the Constitution was written, Philadelphia served at the capital city of the new nation from 1790 to 1800. We hope you will join us for a truly memorable convention in Philadelphia in 2005. "The City of Brotherly Love"
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2005 Convention Lodging
The site for the TARPA 2005 Convention will be the Hyatt Regency at Penn's Landing. This luxurious hotel is only four years old and is located at 201 Columbus Blvd., on the Delaware River. Many of the 346 rooms will offer lovely views of the water. The hotel has been awarded four diamonds by AAA and has an award winning restaurant; Keating 's River Grill and Bar. The Hyatt has a fabulous location only minutes from Society Hill, South Street, Market Street, and the historical mile. Each room is equipped with: Data ports for internet access (nominal fee) Hairdryers Coffee makers In room safes Iron and ironing board Daily newspaper The facility also has a complimentary health club, indoor pool, sundeck, and sauna. For reservations, you can go to our website www.tarpa.com website and click on the Hyatt Regency Penn 's Landing link or call the hotel directly at 215-928-1234 or utilize Hyatt Central Reservation at 800-233-1234. Be sure and mention you are with the TARPA group to be extended the special group rate of $149.00 per night plus tax (14%). The hotel offers valet parking or self-parking. Valet is $21.00 per night while self-parking is $16.00 per night. For specific driving directions to the hotel please see their website at www. pennslanding.hyatt.com, click on area guide, and then click on maps & directions. Airport shuttle service is offered by a number of companies including Liberty tours at $8.00 per person. It is not necessary to purchase shuttle tickets in advance. You will find the airport service counter in the transportation area adjacent to baggage claim. Taxi service is available for about $22.00. See you in Philadelphia in September!
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THE SUNDAY JOURNAL
Remembering TWA 260
HUGH PRATHER IS ON A MISSION TO KEEP ALIVE THE MEMORY OF A 1955 PLANE CRASH THAT TOOK 16 LIVES IN THE SANDIAS Story by TOBY SMITH Of the Journal
With a crew of three and 13 passengers,
hen the 12-year-old boy in Espanola lifted the Albuquerque Journal off his front porch that Sunday morning, he stared wide-eyed at the big, bold type across the front page. The headline said, "Air Liner Search Continues." Moving into the living room, the boy, Hugh Prather, read of a TWA plane with 16 aboard that had taken off from Albuquerque the day before, Feb. 19, 1955, bound for Santa Fe. No one had heard from the plane since. The mystery put a hammerlock on Prather, a seventh-grader fascinated with flying. Just before Prather headed off to junior high the following Monday, a second banner headline grabbed him: "Plane Found; None Survives." The story of the missing airplane crashing in the Sandia Mountains struck like a stomach
including three from New Mexico, Flight 260 left Albuquerque at 7:03 a.m. Just after takeoff, the pilot radioed the tower that all was fine. Then nothing â€” for 24 hours.
punch. Fifty years later, Prather remembers, "I felt sick." For the next few years Prather thought of the TWA plane every time his parents drove to Albuquerque. As the family motored south from Bernalillo to North Fourth Street, he'd study the west face of the Sandias. "The sight always mesmerized me." As time passed and Prather went off to college, got married, started a career, raised a family and tended grandchildren, what happened to the TWA plane faded from his thoughts. Then, last summer, as the 50th anniversary of New Mexico's worst airline disaster approached, his life began to change. "When I look at that rock cliff today," says Prather, "it's with a whole different feeling."
This TWA Martin 404 is identical to the airplane that crashed in the Sandias in February 1955.
Wanting to know more After serving as an APS teacher and principal, and as superintendent in Los Lunas, Prather retired in 1992. The next year he and his wife, Kay, moved to a house just west of Tramway Boulevard. Coincidentally, if you drew a line directly east from the Prathers' home, you'd nearly intersect the spot in the Sandias where the TWA plane went down. Last July, Prather, a compact, bearded man, decided to hike to the site, leaving from the Elena Gallegos Open Space. It took him two tries to get there, but when he did he immediately recognized something special. "I sensed I was entering a cemetery," he says now. "It was an eerie, strange experience." The pull that Prather experienced as a youth 50 years before turned into a life force almost overnight. The crash became an interest far greater than any hobby. Since last summer, Prather has traveled out of state to visit colleagues of the pilot of the TWA plane. He's talked to the pilot's relatives and met with locals who brought down the bodies of the crash victims; read and reread investigations of the crash; and last month went to an air museum in Kansas City just so he could poke about the cockpit of an identical version of the TWA Martin 404 that crashed in Albuquerque. This interest isn't driven by some ghoulish obsession. according to his wife. "Hugh's touched on something that so many people remember so well," says Kay Prather, who grew up in Los Alamos and has a vivid recollection of the accident. What particularly stirs her husband, and what he may try to turn into a book, is a story of human elements. Of death, yes, but also of the great determination of one man who fought to get to the truth about the crash, and, Prather hopes, of lasting remembrance of the event itself.
Numerous questions With a crew of three and 13 passengers, including three from New Mexico, Flight 260 left Albuquerque at 7:03 a.m. After Santa Fe, the final destination for the twin-engine, 40-seat aircraft would be Baltimore. The pilot, Ivan Spong, 44, a strapping Kansas farm boy who had first soloed at 14, had made this trip before. In fact, he'd done it 12 times that month. His co-pilot, Jay Creason, had flown it 25 times in all. Spong would head north out of Albuquerque, following the Rio Grande Valley, and then make a dogleg east-northeast to Santa Fe's airport. The short hop would take 29 minutes. The weather at the airport was reasonably clear, though a winter storm was heading in from the east. Just after takeoff, Spong radioed the tower that all was fine. Then nothing - for 24 hours. Searches were mounted across the state, but no plane turned up. On Sunday morning a cargo pilot spotted a glint of metal deep in the Sandias. Later that day, rescuers braved hip-deep snows and numbing temperatures to reach the wreckage and 16 bodies, all aboard had died instantly. The flight attendant, Sharon Schoening, was found in the tail section, near the galley. She was likely fixing coffee when the plane hit the mountains. Why did the plane hit the mountains? When the Civil Aeronautics Board issued a lengthy probable-cause report later in 1955, one word leaped out. Ivan Spong's route, the report stated, had been "intentional." "That was damning," says Prather. So damning that Spong's widow in Kansas City received crank telephone calls and vicious letters. So damning that a fellow TWA pilot, Larry DeCelles, grew furious. DeCelles insisted Spong wasn't suicidal. DeCelles had flown with Spong before and considered him a "by the book" pilot. What's more, DeCelles knew Spong had no financial problems nor did he suffer from depression. Spong and his wife had recently adopted a 4-year-old boy. No way. DeCelles told himself, did Ivan Spong plow that Martin 404 into the mountain on purpose.
The Sandia Peak Tram runs just north of the site where TWA Flight 260 crashed in 1955
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A pilot's mission DeCelles pushed for another investigation. He cited probable problems with the plane's fluxgate compass located on the wingtip. DeCelles himself had problems with the compass when flying a Martin 404. A second CAB report, issued in 1956, omitted the word "intentional" but refused to clear Spong. The terrain was visible, the CAB said, so the pilot or co-pilot should have spotted ground indicators, such as the Rio Grande. The amended report suggested Spong tried to take a shortcut to Santa Fe. Horsebleep, said DeCelles. For the next four years DeCelles fought with pit-bull tenacity for another CAB study. Twice he climbed the Sandias on foot to ponder how a plane flying at 9,000 feet had veered so far off course. DeCelles became convinced that visibility that day was not good, though two other CAB accountings said otherwise. DeCelles argued that a man in the North Valley who had watched the TWA plane take off had been misunderstood when he told the CAB about cloud cover. Indeed, DeCelles was able to show that 85 percent of the mountain was obscured that morning, and the crew could not have seen it in time, particularly if faced with a faulty compass reading and a snowstorm. In 1960, the CAB issued an unprecedented third report. It said Spong could not have flown the plane intentionally into the Sandias, and that very likely the
plane had fluxgate compass malfunctions. The CAB concluded that Flight 260 deviated from the approved flight plan for "reasons unknown." Last year Hugh Prather stood in Larry DeCelies' home in Scottsdale, Ariz. The TWA captain is 83 and white-haired. His health is good, though his memory is not as sharp as he would like it to be. To Prather, however, DeCelles is special. "He is a true hero." A visit to the site On a bluebell of a day last fall, a Journal reporter and photographer joined Prather on a visit to the TWA crash site. In good weather it takes about 21/2 hours to walk there from Elena Gallegos. Prather has been to the site at least three times, working his way past the ruins of a century-old stone house said to have once belonged to sheepherder Domingo Baca. As the trail crossed creeks and snaked up leafy hillsides, the path grew steeper. There were no cairns, no arrows saying "TWA Canyon," the unofficial name of the site. Stopping to sip from a water bottle, Prather checked his GPS. "This way," he said, pointing. Farther into the Sandias the whirring noise of the tram, erected 11 years after the crash, could be heard overhead. A few minutes later, a towering, incisor-shaped wall of rock appeared. standing guard over a narrow canyon.
Hugh Prather has made at least three trips to the canyon where the TWA plane went down. He hopes to erect a memorial there. PAGE 21 ... TARPA TOPICS
Flight 260's tail reportedly hit the eastern face of that jagged spire first, then broke off. Much of the plane followed, pancaking to the ground below. There were no flight data recorders, or black boxes, in those days. DeCelles believes that Spong, in the final moments of the flight, suddenly realized where he was. In desperation, he attempted to reverse the 74 foot-long plane that was traveling about 200 mph. He attempted to put the Martin 404 into a bank and a climb. It was like attempting a U-turn inside a one-car garage. Deserving a memorial Over the last half-century, souvenir hunters have carted off crash items ranging from seats to silverware. Surprisingly, there is still much that remains scattered along a 150-yard slope that runs beneath the rock face. The first thing a visitor sees is a 4-foot by 4-foot wing section that leans against a boulder. The scrap says "416," part of the plane's registration number, 40416. Lying here and there are four of the plane's five tires, including a smaller nose tire, with rubber intact. One of the plane's two engines is perched on a rock. Another lies farther up. Electrical wires dangle from a hunk of metal-like icicles. A sheet of metal says "WA" in faded red. It's the airline's logo, minus the "T." Five decades ago, the TWA plane was white, Everything left is now gray and half-covered with heavy vegetation. Staring at the strewn bits and chunks, Prather said, in a near-whisper, "Sobering, isn't it?" Before leaving on one trip to the site, Prather typed a few sentences about the crash and asked people to be respectful of what remained. He stuck his note inside a Ziploc bag and placed it beneath a rock on a ledge at the entrance to the debris field. Someone stole the Ziploc bag. The 50th anniversary of the crash has caused Prather to propose that a permanent monument be placed at the site, one that names all the passengers and crew and their hometowns. Prather has talked to a few members of a group of former TWA employees who meet regularly in Albuquerque to celebrate an airline that, after 70 years of service, disappeared ingloriously in 2001. There is interest in Prather's idea of mounting a plaque somewhere in the debris field. He has made one himself and plans to talk to Cibola National Forest officials about installing it. Taking a seat on a rock in the quiet canyon and stroking his white beard, Prather said that more than anything, the crash needs to serve as a reminder that life is precious and can be swiftly snatched away. "I don't think any of those 16 people that morning thought that their next cup of coffee would be their last." PAGE 22 ... TARPA TOPICS
A Tale of Two Captains by Hugh Prather
TWA 26o had stayed in my mind for nearly a half century. I was only 12 at the time the accident happened, but the impression it made was powerful. As the 50th anniversary approached and I dug into the archives of the Albuquerque Journal, it was clear I wasn't going to find the answers to some of the questions running through my mind: what were the professional reputations of Ivan Spong and James Creason? Did anyone remember Sharon Schoning? Finally a Google search uncovered a TWA Topic Bulletin Board on the Smilin' Jack site and last September 2nd I posted: ' Greetings, I'm looking for anyone who flew for TWA in the mid-50 's . I m a native New Mexican and was 12 years old in 1955--the year TWA flight 26o left Albuquerque at 7:03 on Saturday, February 19th for Santa Fe and tragically ten minutes later crashed into the cloud shrouded Sandia Mountains east of the city. The accident made quite an impression on me. I have hiked to the crash site in the Sandias and have begun establishing a memorial at the site for the 16 people (13 passengers and 3 crew) who died in the crash. I'm particularly interested in visiting with anyone who knew any of the crew (I.R. Spong Captain, J.J.Creason First Officer, Sharon Schoening, FlightAttendant). I'm also very interested in visiting with anyone who flew or crewed on a Martin 4 0 4, the aircraft type that was involved. I'd be happy to call you if your keyboarding skills are as poor as mine.
Many thanks--Hugh Prather
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Several helpful people responded with information about Robert Serling's book The Probable Cause which I ordered. The response that really sent me down the pathway to understanding the crash and the wonderful spirit that exists among TWA pilots came on September 19th. Captain Chris Clark, now living in Overland Park Kansas wrote in part: To Hugh Prather: Reference to TWA flight 26o crash at Albuquerque, I am very familiar with this accident as I was flying the same flight that month. I knew Ivan Spong well and had flown with him on DC-3,s. I will be happy to assist you any way I can. However THE REAL EXPERT on this is retired Captain Larry DeCelles, who thoroughly investigated this accident. He wrote the report that caused the CAB to revise their incorrect official accident report. Chris affirmed Captain Larry DeCelles role as the prime mover in clearing what the initial CAB report had called "intentional" error on the part of Captain Spong, and he also extended an invitation to come to Kansas City to get to know a Martin 404 up close and personal in the Kansas City Air Museum. I put that on my calendar for early January.
Captain Larry DeCelles
With Chris's help I was able to find Larry's phone number in Prescott, AZ where he and his wife, Janet, spend their summers. I called, and a more gracious person, I have never encountered. I explained to Captain DeCelles my interest in TWA 26o and that what had begun as a quest to establish a memorial for the passengers and crew was becoming a commitment to tell the full story in the form of a book. Larry indicated that he had written an autobiography of his years as a pilot for his family and that his children had had it personally published for each member of the family. He indicated that if I was careful with his personal copy he would allow me to borrow it. We made arrangements to get together at his home in Scottsdale on December 30th .
Our visit only added to my already growing respect for Captain DeCelles. He recounted some of his memories related to his five year efforts to get the CAB to understand the true cause of the accident. He also proudly showed me his father's pilot license bearing Orville Wright's signature, and was equally proud of his family. He entrusted me with his book, and I promised to return it personally. Larry also committed to doing some serious digging in his garage files and promised that what he could find related to TWA 26o he would share with me the next time we were together. On January 13, I flew to Kansas City to meet Captain Clark and accept his invitation to get acquainted with a Martin 404. Chris met me at the airport, and after a bite of breakfast we headed for the Kansas City Air Museum. He serves on the museum Board but insisted on paying full fare for himself and me to tour the Martin. What an experience! His first question was, "What
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do you want to know about the 404?" and I responded with, "How about simulating a pre-flight inspection and we can go from there." Go from there we did. He walked me around, through, in and out of the former Eastern Airlines museum craft. Of particular interest was the time he spent showing me the fluxgate compass operation that Captain DeCelles had determined was the major cause of the accident. (two photos attached) By mid-afternoon, we were ready for lunch, but first went by the TWA museum that ' s coming into being at the Special Events Center. Chris wouldn't let me stay at a hotel, so as we arrived at his home we were greeted by Carol Clark and graced with a delicious dinner. Chris had a board meeting back at the museum the following morning, so I tagged along and spent my morning touring the museum proper and going through the Constellation that has been so beautifully restored. After lunch, Chris answered some more questions about the 404 and then walked me through the DC3 that is in late stages of restoration. I thought I had finally talked him in to letting me treat for dinner, but as we were picking up the Chicago Pizza, I found that he had already covered that. That evening he copied some pages from his 404 flight manual that related to the fluxgate compass. Early the next morning he drove me to the airport, and left me to marvel at some of the most gracious hospitality I've ever encountered. On March I, I returned Captain DeCelles' book. He and Janet put my wife Kay and me (and our two dogs) up for the night by letting us pull our RV into their driveway. Larry had already let us know that he was taking us as his guests to a gathering of TWAers the following noon there in Scottsdale. During the morning he and I began reviewing the stacks of documents he has retained related to his work on moving the CAB officials to understand the true cause of the TWA 26o accident. These and some video he shared were some of the greatest primary source materials that an aspiring author could ask to view. The luncheon was further confirmation of what a wonderful organization TWA had been. At the table Larry and I shared were Captains Harry Mokler, Paul Kelly, Cliff Raub, and Rut Barr. What an amazing group. I was able to share with those present that on February 19, 2005, a solitary hiker made his way to the debris field of TWA 26o and attached a memorial to the largest piece of debris remaining, a marker that briefly described the accident, credited Captain DeCelles' role in clearing Captain Spong's name and listed the three crew and thirteen passengers who lost their lives that February morning a half century ago. What I didn't share then, but will now is how much I respect all of you Captains who flew all of us safely for so many millions of miles, and what wonderful friends Chris Clark and Larry DeCelles have become.
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JOSEPH "JOSE" GRANT by John P. Gratz Recently, several TARPA Members sent me copies of Jose Grant ' s hometown newspaper in which he was featured. Their story was told from the local business angle. Everyone at TWA for any time knows of the famous puzzle rings he has made. Since I had spoken to Jose on our Cruise last year about doing a story for us, this made me more determined to push him some more. After many telephone calls, and mailings both email and ground, I was able to piece together this short story about his long life and all of his fascinating life adventures. He told me many humorous and interesting stories about events from his adventures as he traveled the world. Joe Grant, like many TWA pilots was born on a farm, but unlike most, his family farm was in Florida. Not one to be kept down on the farm, Joe left to see the world. There were twelve kids in his family, of which Joe was the second. Times were tough back then and his mom and dad often had trouble feeding the family. There were some days that they had no food at all. The kids tried to help by selling what little produce they could on the local streets. At age 19 Joe decided to take his motorcycle and head out on his own. He hit the road in search of fun and excitement. He took odd jobs throughout the South, then Texas and on to the Midwest. Eventually, he got together with his younger brother Roy, and worked as an airplane mechanic in Buffalo, New York. Before too long Joe got a job at the Glenn L. Martin Company in Baltimore. It was good steady work and, while there he took courses in aeronautical engineering at the Maryland Institute. He and his brother saved their money and soon bought a Curtiss Wright airplane. Of course they had not learned to fly yet, but they were undaunted and charged ahead. They paid five dollars an hour for flying lessons and were soon full-fledged aviators. They soon launched a new career flying as barnstormers. Theirs was a familiar story as they just landed anywhere that they could scare up a crowd. Aviation had almost no rules or regulations in those days and they were free as birds. Joe and Roy only had 25 hours between them when they began taking passengers up for $2.00 each and before long, they had made quite bit of money considering the times and the value of a dollar. Joe considers himself lucky for flying in an era when," there was no CAA or FAA to keep us from killing ourselves." We didn't even need a License before the Department of Commerce took on the job of issuing them. We learned a lot from other pilots hangar flying during times of bad weather. Those were the days of OX-5 airplanes, prohibition and good old home brew. We had it all! However, as barnstorming became less attractive, Joe went to work for Pennsylvania Central Airlines and then for TWA flying overseas on ICD, the Intercontinental Division. While there, Joe was picked to go to Saudi Arabia to help set up an airline, because as World War II was ending, President Roosevelt gave King Abdulla Aziz Ibn Saud a DC-3, and TWA supplied the crew. Before Joe returned to the USA, they had five DC-3s.
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Joe says he has no idea why he was picked, but it could have been they thought he was dumb enough to enjoy it. Dumb or not, he did enjoy it very much and became friends with the King Ibn Saud. At the time, even the King's palace was made of mud, sticks, straw and whatever else they could find, but he was a truly great man with all the qualities of leadership. He had many wives through the years and also many children. His Majesty and his brothers put the country together and made peace with all of the people. Thus, the King had brought the various diverse groups of Arabs together to form Saudi Arabia, a Nation which is today one of the most wealthy countries anywhere, with several world-class cities and a truly modern infrastructure as well. The King was a man with very large hands and when he would use my shoulder to get into the co-pilots seat, it felt like a large bear had a hold of me. He was generous to me as time passed. He offered me several wives and a plentiful supply of gold to stay, but I wasn't interested in either. Joe says that in those days the King was not nearly as wealthy as he would become later. He did eventually give me some sacks of gold, and some of silver, but I gave them to all of the folks that worked for me and told them to share. Joe chuckles now when he thinks of his two years there in the midforties, and the tremendous differences in the Kingdom since he was there. In those days, there were only small wadis or villages, and even Riyadh was small. Jeddah was the only town with a dirt airport. It had no lights and it wouldn't even support a DC-3 when it rained. Dhahran was the only airport with paved runways. So, we started an airline without airports at any of the villages except Jeddah and Dhahran. It was like the old barnstorming days, we would test a spot and land. Sometimes they would get stuck, but they always got out eventually. He says that when sandstorms prevented landings at the destination, they would just pick a spot and land. He tells about the time the first scheduled flight was delayed and someone said his Majesty was sleeping and we would have to delay the flight until he awakened. Joe doubted that it was true, but all things must have a beginning, even airlines like that one, with TWA's help. TWA also helped start airlines in Ethiopia, Iran, and Ireland. They also helped Air France and Lufthansa return to international flying. In addition to his natural charm and wit, Joe "Jose" Grant is known around the world for his famous puzzle rings. They have fascinated him, since during his times in Cairo; he met Bakhar, a White Russian silversmith at Shepheard's Hotel. Bakhar would gather pieces of silver, melt them down, and make puzzle rings. Joe bought one. Later, he learned that puzzle rings were created by ancient Egyptians to mark married women. They consist of three to as many as twenty bands woven together in intricate designs. The theory was that if a woman took the ring off, she would not be able to put it back together! Joe had lots of down time waiting in airports and hotels, so he was constantly playing with them.
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After he moved to Kansas City, he decided to try to make one of "Bakhar's rings." He taught himself how to design meld and weld the rings and, then after he moved to Connecticut in the early 1950s, and while he was still flying for TWA he started selling them, and around the time of the move, Joe said he decided that he needed a suitable name for his enterprise. Since he was selling a lot of things to Magicians, he named his business, "Jose's Mystic Rings." The name stuck and was picked up by his many friends, especially TWA crewmembers. Over the years Joe's "sideline" has grown into a rather large enterprise. Jose Grant Jewelry at one time had sixty employees. Now there are seventeen people working on manufacturing and sales with Joe's son Edward as President. However, Joe himself can still be found most days working in the store designing rings and jewelry. Joe talked his wife Marga into marrying him after a two-year courtship all over Europe. They first met when Joe was on a Frankfurt layover. During their courtship, if Joe flew to another European station, Marga would arrange to meet him there. They have now been married for forty-four years, and after all those years, Joe gives her all the credit for keeping him focused on his ring business. The ever-cheerful Jose Grant sums it up by saying that designing jewelry is like flying; it has no boundaries. After his return from the Middle East, he was based at Kansas City, Boston and New York. During his next twenty years flying for TWA, Joe flew DC-3s, all models of the Connie, Convair 88o's and the 707.
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Time and Circumstances March On
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The Last Flight of Liberator 41-1133 by William F. Cass During World War II, stateside B24 Liberator accidents involving fatalities reached a total of 490. Of this number, 31 occurred in 1942,1 and the remains of one of those Liberators, Army Air Forces serial number 4 1 - 11 33, is now believed to be the most frequently visited military (or civil) wreckage site in the world today. 41-1133, a D model Liberator, crashed into a mountain in northern New Mexico during a thunderstorm on the evening of April 22, 1942, while on the return leg of a roundtrip training flight between Albuquerque and Kansas City. The wreckage's location is typical of many remote, high altitude impacts with mountains, in this case just about 200 feet below the crest of a 10,242 peak in the Cimarron Mountains of the Sangre de Cristo Range of the Southern Rockies. The mountain, called Trail Peak, is quite unique since it is a very prominent feature in the landscape of Philmont Scout Ranch, the fabled, 137,000-acre high adventure base of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA). Philmont's summer attendance now numbers about 22,000 Boy Scouts and their leaders. Philmont is the largest camping/backpacking operation in the world. Of the 22,000 annual participants, several thousand make the trek up Trail Peak to see the wreckage and have been doing so since Philmont attendance starting growing immediately after World War II. When 41-1133 crashed into Trail Peak at approximately 8:20 P.M. on that April 22 nd, Philmont was very much in its infancy. The nearly 128,000 acres of land, including ten mountains over 10,000 feet, had been donated to the BSA as two separate gifts in 1938 and 1941 by Waite Phillips, a prominent Tulsa oilman and philanthropist. Just as Philmont was in its infancy, so was the Army Air Force's training program for heavy bomber pilots. The story of the flight, its crew, and their training base involves a striking number of coincidences and also reflects how desperate the Army Air Force was during the early days of the war. That particular B-24 bomber was one of 16 assigned to the Combat Crew Training School (CCTS) at Albuquerque's Kirtland Field. The school was unique in that it was not staffed by the USAAF Training Command. Rather, its instructor pilots and ground staff were all employees of Transcontinental & Western Air Inc., the organization that would emerge from the war known as Trans World Airlines (TWA). The school traced its origins to early 1941 when an unacceptable number of Lend-Lease aircraft being ferried from the United States to Britain were being lost due to pilot error. Jack Frye, CEO of TWA, met with Hap Arnold to outline a training program for civilian pilots who were ferrying PAGE 31 ... TARPA TOPICS
the planes (principally Lockheed Hudsons and Consolidated Liberators) under contract to the Royal Canadian Air Force. Neither the USAAF or RCAF could spare pilots for the ferrying work, so the level of flying expertise of the free-lance pilots frequently left a lot to be desired. TWA, which at that time was the dominant domestic operator of a four-engine landplane (the Boeing 307) got the contract to train the ferrying crews and pulled some of its best pilots off regular routes to comprise the staff. Otis Bryan, then TWA's Chief Pilot, became superintendent of the "Eagle Nest Flight Center." Albuquerque was chosen as the school's location due to its being in the sunbelt, because Albuquerque was also on the TWA route network, and the fact that Jack Frye owned real estate in New Mexico. Bryan headed a staff that was dominated by ex-Navy pilots, including Joe Carr whose instructing role also included navigation. One exception to the Navy background was the Chief Instrument Flying Instructor, Harold F. Blackburn, an army reservist who had flown B-2s in the early 1930s. By autumn 1941, all parties agreed that TWA was turning out well-qualified crews. However, the RCAF wanted more control. Both the USAAF and, especially, the Royal Air Force, would have ' preferred that TWA continue the training. The RCAF won the argument, however, and TWA s Eagle Nest pilots started packing their bags to head back to their respective stations. Their aspirations of returning home and flying DC-3s or Boeing 307S were thwarted since Jack Frye successfully lobbied Hap Arnold to start TWA' s training Army Air Force Ferry Command crews on the B-24, especially since B-24s were coming off assembly lines in San Diego in ever-greater numbers (it would eventually become the most produced American military aircraft of the war with over 18,o00 manufactured). The school was now known as the "Jack Frye Four-Engine School." To each B-24 aircraft, TWA assigned a first pilot instructor, a first officer ("copilot instructor"), and a flight engineer instructor. Student crews consisted of two first pilot candidates, a flight engineer trainee and a brand new radio operator. By early 1942, the school had grown dramatically from its early days when the equipment consisted of three Lockheed Hudsons, several AT-6s for instrument training, and one LB-3o, the export version of the B-24. By mid-1942, the school was operating 16 Liberators. Another change occurred in early 1942 when the operation, now known as the Combat Crew Training School or "CCTS, " started receiving trainee pilots who had just been assigned to Army Air Force Combat Command bomber groups which were forming up in early 1942. The CCTS curriculum reflects how eager the USAAF was to get newly rated pilots into B-24 left seats. The course lasted only one month, and each student crew got 24 hours in the air. Usually, several crews went up in the same ship and simply traded places mid-flight. A young second lieutenant with little more than 200 hours would get only 12 hours of pilot flying time before graduating. Many of the lieutenants had gotten a few hours in a B-18 before arriving in Albuquerque, but most had completed advanced school flying the single-engine AT-6 in a multi-engine curriculum due to shortages of twin-engine trainers at that time. Later in the war, the multi-engine bomber transition would require several months and over four times as much time as pilot in command. Kirtland Field, Albuquerque, New Mexico
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The ill-fated crew of Liberator 41-1133 arrived in Albuquerque on March 29, 1942. Nearly all of the new pilots were recent graduates of Aviation Cadet Class 42-B; of the 4o pilots arriving, half had graduated from Stockton and the other half from Mather (both advanced flying schools, located in California). The composition of the instructor staff had changed also. While there were still TWA line pilots in key positions such as superintendent, many of the other first pilots and most of the first officers were not originally from TWA which was then suffering its own personnel problems since so many pilots were reservists then being called up for active duty. If the shine was still on the lieutenant bars of the newly arrived pilots, the paint on some of the airplanes was just barely dry. Liberator 41-1133 had arrived at the CCTS directly from Consolidated's S an Diego plant only three weeks before and had only 120 hours on it when it took off on its last flight on April 22, 1942. There were eight men on board. The first pilot and CCTS operations manager was Robert O. Redding, a 27-year-old Nebraska rancher who also was a reservist captain in the Army Air Forces. He was scheduled to be called up for active duty in July 1942. Assisting him as the "first officer" (instructor copilot) was Jonas Ruff who, until January, had been an instrument maker at the Department of Commerce's Weather Bureau in Washington. At age 32, Ruff was one of the older first officers on the staff, but he had logged several thousand hours flying time, held an instrument rating and commercial license, and had completed the B-24 transition course in late January. Robert 0. Redding Jonas Ruff Redding and Ruff were good friends and had flown together before in Panama in the mid-30s when Redding had piloted Fokker Trimotors for the infant airline that eventually became Panamanian Airways. Ruff, originally from San Jose, California, had been employed in Panama as an instrument technician at the Canal Zone and had flown part-time there as a commercial pilot. Another civilian on board was George Van Hoozer, the 29-year-old flight engineering instructor who had joined Transcontinental & Western Air (TWA) as a mechanic after service in Panama as a Navy seaplane mechanic. He had been promoted to mechanic instructor shortly before the Eagle Nest school opened. He, along with his wife and infant daughter, had moved to Albuquerque in the autumn of '41. He had only recently started flying as an engineering instructor. Van Hoozer had graduated at the head of his mechanics class at Glenview Naval Air Station in the early 1930S and was planning on accepting the engineering instructor ' s job and commission that the Army Air Force had quite recently offered him. The Army trainees were all in their early to mid-20s . Lt. Roland Jeffries, almost 22, had been a prominent Eagle Scout in Kansas City in the mid-1930s and was one of 21 Eagles selected to join the "Sky Scouts, " an Explorer post sponsored by TWA. 1940s That unit was the forerunner of the popular Air Explorers of the later
George Van Hoozer PAGE 33 ... TARPA TOPICS
and 1950s. Being a Sky Scout was a heady experience; the boys met weekly at the TWA main hangar and learned about navigation, aerodynamics, meteorology, airframes and powerplants, and maintenance directly from TWA employees. Not every Boy Scout council prospered during the Great Depression, but the Kansas City Council did; the professional Scouter in charge, known as "The Chief," eventually became the popular two-term mayor of Kansas City in the 19505 and was the inspiration behind the city's professional football team, the Kansas City Chiefs. His name was H. Roe Bartle. Jeffries had been employed in the insurance industry in Kansas City before reporting to Thunderbird Field, near Phoenix, Arizona, for primary flight training in July of 1941. Whereas Jeffries' education had been limited to a few night courses after high school, his fellow lieutenant, Charles O. Reynard, Jr., was educated far above standards required of aviation cadets. His M.A. from Harvard had been awarded in June 1941. He had been a scholar and gifted athlete at Hiram College in Ohio from which he had graduated with honors in 1939. Unlike Jeffries, he had done primary in California, at Oxnard, and then had gone to basic flying school at Bakersfield (Minter) along with Jeffries in September of 1941. The flight engineer trainee was a happy-go-lucky, 25-year-old auto mechanic from North Jay, in south central Maine. Corporal Philip Macomber had grown up on a farm, been active in the local Grange, and satisfied his need for speed on a big Harley which he had ridden to Florida on his vacation in 1940. He had entered the service in the summer of 1941, trained at Westover Field in Massachusetts, and arrived in Albuquerque from Pendleton Field in Oregon where he had been th assigned as a B-17 mechanic with the 18 th Squadron of the 34 Bomb Group. The remaining trainee was the radio operator, 22-year-old Duane Peterson from Worthington, Minnesota. Corporal Peterson was regular army and a quiet type who had come to the CCTS from the 325 th Air Base Group at Salt Lake City Army Airfield. The instructors and trainees had a lot in common. Many were very musical; Blackburn had actually led a regional band that played in western Nebraska and neighboring states in the mid-2os. Reynard and Jeffries were excellent singers while Van Hoozer was a talented guitar and harmonica player. Half of them at one time had been mechanics of one type or another. Blackburn and Van Hoozer held A&P ratings, Macomber had attended automotive trade school before becoming a mechanic at a North Jay garage, and Ruffs first jobs out of high school were in automotive instrument and major appliance repair. The crew's ties to the land ran deep. Blackburn and Redding both grew up on western Nebraska farms. Macomber and Ruff both were raised on dairy farms, and Reynard lived in a small community where his family kept a dairy cow in the small barn behind their home. As a youngster, Van Hoozer came from Windsor, Missouri, a rural community where his father was a produce farmer. Only Jeffries was a big city boy, but having been a nature counselor at Scout camp put him in close touch with the great outdoors. The crew could have been described as "All-American," coming from, as they did, the East and West Coasts, the Midwest, the West, the South, and the Northern Plains. Both Reynard and Jeffries had come down to Albuquerque from two bomb groups then forming th in Salt Lake: Jeffries from the 366 th Squadron of the 305 Bomb Group and Reynard from the th 367th Squadron of the 306 Bomb Group. Both young pilots had impressed their superiors during their few hours in a Douglas B-18 which is how they qualified as first pilots.
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The CCTS ground school was intense, and there was a Link trainer for maintaining instrument flying proficiency. In fact, the Army Air Forces subsequently adopted the TWA-generated Liberator flight instruction syllabus for the B-24 transition schools that would be opening in the months ahead (Smyrna, Maxwell, etc.). However, in Albuquerque, a trainee pilot just watched for the first couple of hours aloft, then was allowed to handle the big bomber in flight, and eventually got to approaches to stalls, steep turns, takeoffs and landings, and a couple of hours under the hood. Three successful landings meant that the new pilot was considered safe in the airplane (for early 1942). The final exercise or "graduation flight" consisted of a fairly long cross country, partially flown at an altitude of at least 20,000 feet in order to orient the trainee crew with oxygen procedures. Young pilots from big cities frequently got to see loved ones. Jonas Ruffs cross country had been to San Francisco. Typical destinations for the long training flight included Chicago, Minneapolis, Miami, Washington, and even New York. nd
The April 22 graduation flight was to be a relatively short one, however. The destination was Kansas City â€” due largely to the fact that Harold Blackburn, he pilot who by then had succeeded Otis Bryan as superintendent, was on hoard because he had to attend management meetings at the TWA corporate headquarters in Kansas City. They were off at 8 A.M. and were not flying to Kansas City on the regular airways since this was a training flight involving direct navigation instead of simply flying the radio ranges. Reynard was flying in the left seat and Jeffries was serving as navigator on the outbound leg; their roles would be reversed on the return leg. The weather was not b ad at takeoff. Although the wind had been from the east at seven knots and mere was a 7,000-foot scattered to broken ceiling, flying conditions were expected to deteriorate as the day progressed.
Harold F. Blackburn
Redding was bumped as the instructor pilot and rode the outbond leg on the cockpit jumpseat. Blackburn had assumed copilot duties in addition to seeing how much Lt. Reynard had absorbed in the preceding three weeks. The flight was uneventful, and their late morning landing in Kansas City was attended by glorious weather. In fact, there was a huge, high pressure system over the eastern half of the country that day. It was a homecoming for half of the crew. Blackburn, who would be going into high-level meetings at the company offices that afternoon, had been living in Kansas City as a TWA check pilot before moving to Albuquerque and was still an Army Air Forces reservist at Kansas City ' s Richards Field. Providentially for him, he would not be returning to Albuquerque that day. Redding, who at age 18 had been one of the youngest airmail pilots in the country, had ties to both civilian and military aviation in Kansas City. Van Hoozer would hang around the airport all day and visit with old mechanic friends as well as make phone calls to former neighbors. The day, however, belonged to Lt. Roland Jeffries. His lovely fiancee had met him at the airport. in the few hours he had in town with her, they set their wedding date for the weekend immediately following his graduation from the CCTS when he would be given several days leave. The others, with most of the afternoon free, wound up at Country Club Plaza, Kansas City's newly completed, trend-setting shopping district. Lt. Reynard's afternoon was cut short by his responsibility as return leg navigator. He checked into the weather briefing office on the second floor of the municipal airport terminal and was PAGE 35 ... TARPA TOPICS
greeted with a less than encouraging picture. The late afternoon takeoff was proudly watched by Mary Casey, Jeffries' fiancee, and Jeffries' mother along with other members of the Jeffries family who had been able to come out to the airport to see him off. The weather picture was not one to gladden the hearts of newly rated pilots. Barometric pressures and ceilings were falling at Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Raton, and Las Vegas (New Mexico). Fifty minutes after takeoff, Peterson radioed a position report as being 25 miles northwest of Newton, Kansas. At 7:35 P.M., Redding called Las Vegas radio, indicated that `1133 was 25 miles east of the station, and requested an instrument clearance. Las Vegas at that time had a 300-foot ceiling, heavy rain, and a 27-knot wind from the southwest. Redding almost certainly got weather from Las Vegas and would have learned that conditions to the south and southwest were just as bad, if not worse, in thunderstorms, but that Santa Fe was reporting a 6,000-foot ceiling and Trinidad, Colorado, was reporting a 5,000-foot ceiling. '1133's next contact, garbled due to lightning in the area, indicated that they were on instruments at 14,000 feet and about 70 miles north-northwest of Las Vegas. There were no further transmissions, and one can only conclude that Redding, faced with severe storms ahead, had decided to fly north then west where higher ceilings were reported. He may have hoped to break out north of Santa Fe and then head down to Albuquerque with adequate visibility. The worst storms were being reported south of Las Vegas, although the terrain there is relatively flat compared to the 10,000â€”13,000 foot peaks in the Cimarron Mountains to the northwest of Las Vegas. Based on reported surface air temperatures, the freezing level would have been at roughly 12â€”13,000 feet around 8 P.M. At 8:45 P.M., the bomber was declared overdue when it had not arrived within 45 minutes of its ETA. At midnight, the status was moved to "missing." April 23 rd proved to be a rotten day for flying, and only a few search planes got out late in the day. The search was conducted primarily in the Las Vegas area; CCTS planes combined regular orientation and training activities with the search. Finally, on May 1s t, the aircraft commander of one of the CCTS B-24s noticed a dark, disruptive pattern in the trees near the crest of a mountain about ten miles southwest of Cimarron, New Mexico. The pilot, Howard Kincheloe, a former Navy Catalina flier, took his Liberator down and confirmed the wreckage of `1133. Kincheloe had briefly flown for Pan Am out of Miami after his naval service in Panama, but tired of airline flying and had spent nearly all of 1941 in the Dutch
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East Indies, instructing Dutch aviation cadets in instrument and basic flying. He and his wife had just escaped the Japanese shortly after Pearl Harbor. Flying as Kincheloe's first officer, was Harold H. "Hutch" Thurston, a young pilot with a commercial ticket, who had joined the CCTS in January 1942 after designing autopilots for Honeywell in Minneapolis. He had graduated from the University of Minnesota with a degree in aeronautical engineering. A search was planned for the next day. Hal Blackburn flew up to the Philmont Ranch in a BT-13 accompanied by another BT-13 with two senior officers from Kirtland Field aboard. Their plan was to climb the mountain on May 2 nd , but that was not to be due their late arrival and depth of snow at the mountain's base. They got a pre-dawn start on May 31 d , and arrived at the crash site with packhorses around noon. Their guide was Elliott ("Chope") Phillips, son of Philmont's donor. The Phillips party was not the first to arrive on the mountain. Bruce Bull, a neighboring rancher from Black Lake, had managed to make his way up Trail Peak after seeing several B-24s circling the mountain the day before. Due to the cold weather, the crew's bodies were rather well preserved.
Harold H. "Hutch" Thurston
Redding, Jeffries, and Macomber had been catapulted through the canopy and were found just in front of the wings. Ruff, Peterson, and Van Hoozer were found in and around the wings' trailing edges. Reynard was found still strapped into the aft compartment. Based on evaluating the broken wristwatches at the site, it was deduced that the crash had occurred around 8:20. The pilot's altimeter was found; its pointers were fairly tight and indicated an altitude of 10,050 feet. An examination of the marks on propellers, destruction pattern in the trees, and extent of damage to the plane, Blackburn and the other pilots concluded that `1133 had been in level flight and doing nearly 200 MPH at the time of the crash. They also concluded, based on the condition of the propeller, that the number four engine had been shut down at some point before the impact. The bomber had come to rest on the edge of the mountain's southwestern ridge, but the impact site had been about 250 feet further down the mountain in heavy woods. Although there was no evidence of explosion or fire, `1133 was completely destroyed by the crash and broke up in a predictable pattern. Forward of the wing roots, the fuselage and nose section were completely demolished. Each wing had parted from the fuselage. The aft-compartment remained, but was unattached to the tail which survived relatively intact, but upside down. Interestingly, the heading at impact was east-northeast, suggesting that Redding had abandoned his plan to skirt north of the storm, had made a 18o, and was heading for safety to the east. Residents of the area, including Chope Phillips, recall the storm on the night of April 22 nd as being much more severe than the typical spring storms for which the Rockies are well known. Scuttlebutt back at Kirtland ran along the lines of, "Poor guys, iced up and went in." B-24s, with their Davis wings, were not known for their ability to tolerate even moderate ice, and any '24 doing 200 MPH in level flight cannot be described as carrying much ice. The Form 14 (accident investigation report) obliquely suggested pilot error. That, of course, was long before aviation science described the downburst/ microburst phenomenon which was almost certainly the ultimate cause of the crash.
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The bodies were packed out by horse to the Philmont Ranch and then driven to a mortuary in Albuquerque. The subsequent funerals were held in the crew's hometowns over the next ten days. Captain Redding's death was a tough blow for Blackburn since they were close friends; Redding was very much Blackburn ' s protegee. Redding's ashes were dropped over his farm in Minatare, Nebraska, by Blackburn who had flown up in a Liberator. 41-1133 was not the last Liberator to crash in the Rockies; it was at the leading edge of a tragic trend that would take thousands of lives in training accidents during World War II. The dearly won peace eventually did arrive in 1945, of course, and Philmont became an increasingly popular destination for thousands of Scouts and Explorers as well as an exciting summer job for a select band of college-age Eagle Scouts. One of the latter group was an Eagle from Illinois. After serving on the Philmont summer staff in the late 40s, he would subsequently become a naval aviator and shortly thereafter a U.S. Congressman. He also served in several presidential cabinets. His name is Donald Rumsfeld. By the late 1940s, 1133's olive drab paint had faded from the remaining airframe parts. Later, some of the movable pieces were carted off to denser woods to minimize general aviation pilots calling in a "new" crash. Today, considering the years of UV radiation at 10,000 feet, lightning, wind, hail, and storms, one has to search hard indeed to find a few flecks of red, white, and blue paint from the national insignia on the now sunlight-silvered wings and fuselage. In July of 1942, the Army Air Force assumed direct control of the Albuquerque CCTS. Many of the original B-24s were flown to Smyrna, Tennessee, which became another B-24 transition school. Blackburn went on to manage TWA's Intercontinental Division for the rest of the war and flew several, unauthorized " guest missions " over Occupied Europe in Lightnings and Spitfire Mark 1 Xls with the Seventh Photo Reconnaissance Group based at Mount Farm, England, during 944 . The group's commander, Colonel Clarence Shoop, had been a classmate of Blackburn's at March Field in the early 1930s. Blackburn later flew the Atlantic many times in Lockheed Constellations. He retired from TWA in 1961 after flying 707S on the New York to Paris run. Blackburn died in 1989 in Oakland, California. Howard Kincheloe became a test pilot for Consolidated and later was a Corsair production test pilot for Chance Vought in Connecticut for the balance of the war. Postwar, he was a corporate pilot and retired from subsequent work in the aerospace industry in the early 80s , moving to Las Cruces, New Mexico, where he died in 2001. Hutch Thurston went on to fly TWA 747's on the San Francisco to London route before his retirement. The trek up Trail Peak became a very popular sidehike for many groups camping at Beaubien and Crater Lake, two of Philmont's many staffed camps. From Beaubien, the roundtrip sidehike requires about a half day and involves climbing a 35 percent grade. Most of the climb is in dense woods, but near the mountain's crest there are several rock fields. The wreckage remains on the edge of a large rock fall immediately below the mountain 's southwest ridge. Typically, seven or eight crews (8o to 90 people) climb the mountain each day during Philmont's camping season which runs from mid-June through late August. In the 1950s and 60s , more campers climbed Trail Peak, but with the growing popularity of a Philmont expedition, trek itineraries were modified to spread the load around the Ranch to avoid overuse of certain camps.
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Fortunately, Trail Peak still continues as a popular sidehike for most crews hiking Philmont's high, South County. The mountain's sad legacy is an enduring reminder of World War II's cost, something we and future generations should all remember.
This article is a condensation of the book, The Last Flight of Liberator 41-1133, and is reprinted with permission of the author, William F. Cass.
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Mirror, mirror on the wall, who's the biggest one of all? What is the biggest airplane ever built? People usually think it's the most talked about at the time, for years that would have been Uncle Howard's HK-1, Spruce Goose. Then, for a long time, more than thirty years, we liked to think it was the Boeing '747. Now, all we've been heating about lately is the Airbus A-380. Well, the HK-1, at an empty weight of 300,000 lbs. (less than the max. fuel load on a B-747) is kind of a light weight, but let's forget weights and performance data and look only at physical dimensions: To convert meters to feet, multiply meters times 3.28
And let's not quibble about other details, like "passenger vs. cargo", mass produced vs. one of a kind", "the Russians copied somebody else's" â€” let's just talk the "largest airplane ever built", size wise: Hughs HK-1: Wing Span: 319' 11" [abt.] 97.5m Length 218' 6.25" 66.6m Height 79' 3.5" 24 m The Spruce Goose is a bit on the short side, but as high as the A38O and it has a wing span about thirty feet greater than the AN225. I'd say the Spruce Goose is still #1, followed by the AN225, the A380 and the runt of the litter, I guess, is the B-'747. Well, I don't know where Uncle Howard is now, but if it's someplace where they laugh a lot, he certainly has more to smile about than most. The Hughs HK-1 can now be seen at the Evergreen Aviation Museum, McMinnville (Portland area) OR. Visit their web site at: www.sprucezoose.org
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CAPTAIN DEAN W. MILLER NOVEMBER 21, 1919 â€” MARCH 30, 2005 Dean was born November 21, 1919, in Gilman, Illinois. He later moved to Valparaiso, Indiana, where he graduated from high school. He attended Valparaiso University for three years of premed classes. He was smitten by the flying bug" and he began flying lessons. He and his father bought his first airplane - a Porterfield. After getting his instructors license he was hired by Louisville Flying Service, Louisville, Kentucky, to instruct young men to fly in preparation for World War II. On September 2, 1942, he joined TWA's ICD Division. He felt very privileged to fly with accomplished TWA Captains, M. O. Bowen, Howard Hall, Swede Golien, Bob Buck, Larry Trimble, and Joe Carr, :o mention a few. Dean loved to fly and would have continued after his 60th birthday, had it been allowed. Dean bought his second plane from Army Surplus while living in Alexandria, Virginia, during the war.
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Dean and I were married in April 1943 (I was working as Secretary to Kemper Jacks, Superintendent of Flying for ICD). Dean flew as Captain on 9 different TWA planes, from DC-3s to 747S. He logged over 35,000 hours and 37 years for TWA. Dean ' s sons and family were very important to him. He encouraged his sons in sports. He spent summer months coaching baseball and teaching them to swim, water-ski, and sail. Several summers were spent camping in the middle and western states. He provided his family with every opportunity to see the world. He later had his third plane, a Piper Tri-pacer. Upon retirement, we built a house at Lake of the Ozarks where Dean became an avid golfer. He made many friends at the Lake where he also served on the Airport Board in Camdenton, Missouri, for a number of years. At this time he owned a Piper Arrow. Dean has been a member of TARPA since its inception. He was a member of ALPA, TWA Seniors, Heart of America Seniors, TWA Lakers, AOPA, EAA, St. Peter's United Church of Christ and Lake Valley Country Club.
Dean died on March 30, 2005, of Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia. His wife Alice of 62 years, sons, Dean W. Miller II and wife, Gregory N. Miller and wife, four grandchildren and spouses, and five great grandchildren survives him. We had a wonderful life and will miss his love and wonderful sense of humor. by Alice Miller
CAPTAIN JAMES E. PAXTON OCTOBER 30, 1925 - NOVEMBER 1, 2004 Our Dearest husband, Dad, Grandpa and friend, retired TWA Capt James E. Paxton passed away at his home in Tempe Arizona with his family by his side. He lost a valiant battle with cancer. His wife of 55 years Anita, two daughters Pat and Carrie, two sons Jim and Mike and their spouses, nine grandkids, his brother Bob and several nieces and nephews survive him. Jim's career in aviation spanned 39 years. Ten years in the US Army Air Corps and US Air Force and 29 years with TWA. Jim was born Oct 30, 1925 in McDonald Ohio. Jim ' s passion with aviation began as a youth building model airplanes.
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In 1943, with his mother ' s permission, Jim enlisted in the US Army Air Corps at the age of 17. He rose thru the ranks to Master Sergeant and was a flight engineer on a B-29 crew. In 1947 He met his wife Anita on the island of Guam. They were married in Chicago, Illinois on June 15 1 949. Jim ' s career with TWA started in September 1953, as a Flight Engineer on the Lo49 Connies, based out of Kansas City. Jim rose through the ranks to Captain on Boeing 727's. During his last year of flying, his wife Anita accompanied him on his flights. He flew his last flight in February 1982, retiring from TWA after 29 years. He was an avid golfer. He loved to travel and he loved to spend time at their cabin at the Lake of the Ozarks. In 1982 Jim and Anita moved to Tempe, Arizona, enjoying the climate and golfing. An extraordinary man, Jim was an untapped source of knowledge. He loved to joke, tell stories about the old days in aviation and the service. He was kind generous and giving. He also left many friends. We are all going to miss him.
ANDREW A. M AN DEL MAY 11, 1968 â€” APRIL 27, 2005 My brother, Andrew, passed away April 27th, 2005, from bile duct cancer. He was 36. Andrew achieved his lifelong dream to follow in our father's footsteps November 30, 1999, when he was hired by TWA as a 727 First Officer. He also flew on the 717 when the 727 fleet was retired. American Airlines furloughed him on March 2, 2002. Andrew led a full life in those short 36 years. Born in Valley Steam, New York, he grew up in Danbury, Connecticut, and then attended the University of Washington in Seattle graduating in 1991. He was a member of the Husky Marching Band, both as a trumpet player and for two years as the Drum Major leading the band in the 1991 and 1992 Rose Parades. Andrew portrayed "Unitus" the lion â€” the mascot for the 1990 Goodwill Games in Seattle. As his flying career progressed, he was a flight instructor while working the ramp for Horizon Airlines. He moved on to a FAR Part 135 job at West Isle Air, flying people and cargo to the San PAGE 43 ... TARPA TOPICS
Juan Islands, then back to Horizon as F/O on the Dash 8, and finally with TWA. Last spring he was hired by Ameriflight, flying single pilot captain on the Metroliner, building valuable PIC turbine time. Andrew loved sports. Seldom seen without a baseball cap, he was a diehard Yankee fan even though he worked part time for the Seattle Mariners. He missed very few Washington Husky football games since he began school and was always the first one at the tailgate. He married his long time girlfriend, Debi Powell, the twirler of the Husky Marching Band, in July of 2000, and their beautiful daughter, Maggie Jane was born June 17,2004. Debi recently told me although his furlough was a tremendous disappointment, and things that they wanted to do had to be put on hold, they looked back on it as a gift of time that they had been able to spend together creating many special memories. If you knew or flew with Andrew and would like to share your experience with his daughter, please send a letter to: Maggie Jane Mandel 12054 Hiram Place NE Seattle, WA 98125 If you would like to read more about his health battle, he has a website: www.drewmandel.4t.com Andrew and Debi fought his cancer with amazing grace, courage and always his infectious sense of by Cindy Mandel (TWA F/O 951110) humor.
CAPTAIN FRANCIS E. JENKINS APRIL 28, 1912
MARCH 21, 2005
CAPTAIN JOHN L. BEEDE JUNE 3, 1921 FEBRUARY 26, 2005
EUGENE J. DOLAN MARCH 27, 1921 — FEBRUARY 17, 2005
CAPTAIN ROGER N. SALMON SON OCTOBER 11, 1921 — FEBRUARY15, 2005
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CAPTAIN CLAUDE GIRARD JUNE 25, 1921 — MAY 17, 2005 Captain Claude Girard, Honorary TARPA Member, passed away at his home in Poitiers, France May 17, 2005. His wife Dorothee and his children were present at the time. Claude was a longtime TWA International Vice-President of Flight Operations before retiring in 1992. He began his aviation career as a Free French Air Force pilot during World War II. He received his wings after being trained at various U.S. Army Air Force bases in the United States. After he received his wing, Claude remained at Turner Field in Georgia as an instructor on B-25s. After the war, he applied for a pilot job with TWA, but was told that only U.S. citizens were able to get the necessary licenses. He was however offered a position in the Paris Flight Dispatch office. Claude worked his way up all the way to the position of Vice-President of Flight Operations- Int'l. Claude was always highly motivated and dedicated to his job with TWA. He continued to offer his advice and suggestions to top management officials long after he retired. Claude Girard was an institution in his own right. He earned the respect of all his fellow employees and lasting friendship of most of them. His wife Dorothee and his grown children, Philippe, Laurent, Catherine and Alain and four grandchildren survive Claude. by editor
CAPTAIN JOHN W. HARPSTER, JR. MARCH 22, 1920 — MAY 13, 2005
IN MEMORY OF CAPTAIN EDWIN MYERS, JR. DECEMBER 31, 1928 — MARCH 27, 2005
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CAPTAIN NEIL WHITEHURST MAY 15, 1925 — DECEMBER 20, 2004 Neil was born in Kansas City and spent his early years there. He graduated from high school in California and joined the U.S. Army Air Force. After pilot training, he was stationed in Montgomery, Alabama where he met his wife Margaret Queen. They were married January 6, 1945. After his Air Force duty he joined TWA on Nov. 12, 1951 as a First Officer and retired as an International Captain in 1982. Neil was called back twice during the Korean Conflict. During his career with TWA he flew the DC3, DC4, Martin 404, and as Captain on Connies, DC9 and International 707. Also he flew many years with the Missouri Air National guard at St.Joseph, Missouri. He leaves his wife Margaret of Scottsdale, Arizona, two children, Keith Whitehurst of Henderson, Texas, and Kathy (Ron) Sextro of Chandler, Arizona. Two grandchildren, Gregory (Amy) Sextro of West Milton, Ohio, and Ray (Cheryl) Sextro of Cortez, Colorado, and seven greatgrandchildren. Neil and Margaret moved to the Phoenix area in 1977. He was a work- alcoholic and did numerous remodeling projects on their home. He also liked to play three-par golf and had four holes-in-one. While in Kansas City he coached youth swimming teams and was an accomplished swimmer. Many friends will remember the fun retirement parties Neil and Margaret hosted starting in 1981 and continuing for many years. Neil was a good person-family man, pilot, and friend. We'll miss Submitted by G.C. (Jerry) Dunfield & the Whitehurst Family. him.
CAPTAIN ALVIN R. KNUDSEN NOVEMBER 30, 1910 — APRIL 22, 2005
CAPTAIN ROBERT A. CHRISTIANSEN JULY 15, 1931 — MAY 16, 2005
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IN MEMORY OF CAPTAIN THOMAS W. ANDERSON SEPTEMBER 25, 1918 — MAY 29, 2005 Tom Anderson was hired by TWA September 6, 1944. He was a longtime TARPA Member who attended many TARPA Conventions before his health required that he had to go into a nursing home. Unfortunately, Tom has been afflicted with dementia for the last several years and did not remember his good old days at TWA or those with his friends in TARPA. by Virginia Converse Anderson
CAPTAIN WILLIAM D. MCMINN DECEMBER 31, 1915 — MAY 23, 2005
CAPTAIN CLIFTON C. DAVIS JANUARY 25, 1921 — JUNE 2, 2005
IN MEMORY OF CAPTAIN JACK L. BAKER AUGUST 29, 1928 — MAY 23, 2005
IN MEMORY OF CAPTAIN CHARLES M. HORSTMAN AUGUST 1, 1914 — MAY 23, 2005
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FLIGHT CREW MEMBER
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Airline Dictionary The airline industry, like any other, has a specialized dictionary. These are words and phrases that are used commonly by airline employees for which the meanings may not be obvious to outsiders. * Ticket Agent - A superhuman with the patience of a saint, the herding ability of an Australian sheepdog, the E.S.P. abilities of Uri Geller, the compassion of a psychoanalysts, and the tact of a diplomat. They have mysterious abilities to control wind/rain/snow/fog and all other weather phenomenon. They are capable of answering three questions at one time, while talking on the phone, and without stuttering or choking on their tongue. * Non-Revenue Passenger - Usually can be identified by the fact that these passengers are in first class and are dressed in pilot or flight attendant uniforms. Non-revenue passengers are permitted to fly first class free of charge to prevent revenue passengers from being able to pay first class passenger charges. (huh) * Carry On Bag - An item, usually of large dimensions, which somehow managed to fit under the passenger's seat on the inbound flight. Regardless of what the passenger says the following are not acceptable as carry-on items: bicycles, steamer trunks, refrigerators, truck tires, or wide screen projection TVs. * Passenger - A herding creature of widely varying intellect, usually found in pairs or small groups. Often will become vicious and violent in simple and easily rectified situations. When frightened or confused these creatures collect into a group called a "line." This "line" has no set pattern and is usually formed in inconvenient places. * Group - A large loud pack of passengers (see passenger) traveling together. The group leader, who has the tickets, usually waits in the bar until the required pre-board time of five minutes before departure, or until there are no seats left together, whichever occurs last. Reservation agents are prohibited form pre-assigning seats to groups as this may convenience them. * Flight Schedule - An entertaining work of paperback fiction. ( gone forever) On Time - An obscure term, meaning unknown. *Air Traffic Control - A game played by airline pilots and air traffic controllers. The game has no rules, and neither side knows how it is played, but the goal is to prevent flights from arriving in time kw passengers to make connecting flights. * Pre-Board - Passenger who arrives at the gate five minutes before departure. * Voluntary Oversale - A passenger who arrives at the gate as the jetway is coming off the flight. * No-Record - Any passenger booked through a travel agency.
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* Sign - An airport decoration. Usually unnoticed except by small children. Its primary function is to hide the location of various areas of the airport, i.e., gate numbers, rest rooms, baggage claim, etc. * Position Closed - This is a sign posted at various counter locations, which when interpreted by the passenger says, "Form line here." * Baggage Claim - The most difficult area of the airport to find. It is usually hidden by numerous " signs saying, " Baggage Claim Area. * Fog - A natural weather phenomenon which usually occurs around an airport while the surrounding areas are clear. Fog is controlled by the airlines and is used to delay flights.
A PILOT LOVIN WOMAN by Michael J. Larkin There are many saints in Heaven, And not a few in Hell, And on this Earth you'll find some too; And this their tale I'll tell. For there's a certain breed `o woman, With a certain, sexy flair; Who's attracted to those `flyboys', Whose hearts are in the air. You've seen her at the o Club, She's young and blonde and cute; ' With a sweaty, stinkin pilot Still wearin' his flight suit. And tho' she cooks his meals, and Bears his kids, and cleans the house, She'll always be a `mistress' to.. This airplane lovin' louse!
His only love that's true. Aye, laddie, she's a hero, And when she goes and dies, She'll be taken right to Heaven, In those same blue azure skies. Lord knows she suffered long enough, Her life was one that's tough; A' married to that fighter jock, With all his `rightous stuff. And there she will discover A fact that's loud and clear: He must have landed somewhere else! "Ain't no fighter pilots here." But lonely for Eternity she'll Not have to endure, There's a thousand bomber pilots here; ....And they're all in love with her!
For his first love will always be That cloud -filled azure blue, And that will ever, always be
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Rules for flying When one engine fails on a twin-engine airplane you always have enough power left to get you to the scene of the crash. Blue water Navy truism; there are more planes in the ocean than there are submarines in the sky. Never trade luck for skill. The three most common expressions (or famous last words) in aviation are: "Why is it doing that?" "Where are we?" and "Oh Shit!" Weather forecasts are horoscopes with numbers. Progress in airline flying; now a flight attendant can get a pilot pregnant. Airspeed, altitude or brains. Two are always needed to successfully complete the flight. A smooth landing is mostly luck; two in a row is all luck; three in a row is prevarication. I remember when sex was safe and flying was dangerous. Mankind has a perfect record in aviation; we never left one up there! Flashlights are tubular metal containers kept in a flight bag for the purpose of storing dead batteries. Navy carrier pilots to Air Force pilots: Flaring is like squatting to pee. Flying the airplane is more important than radioing your plight to a person on the ground incapable of understanding it or doing anything about it. When a flight is proceeding incredibly well, something was forgotten. Just remember, if you crash because of weather, your funeral will be held on a sunny day. Advice given to RAF pilots during W.W.II. When a prang (crash) seems inevitable, endeavor to strike the softest, cheapest object in the vicinity as slowly and gently as possible. The Piper Cub is the safest airplane in the world; it can just barely kill you. (Attributed to Max Stanley, Northrop test pilot) A pilot who doesn't have any fear probably isn't flying his plane to its maximum. If you're faced with a forced landing, fly the thing as far into the crash as possible. (Bob Hoover - renowned aerobatic pilot) If an airplane is still in one piece, don't cheat on it; ride the bastard down. PAGE 51 ... TARPA TOPICS
Though I Fly Through the Valley of Death I Shall Fear No Evil For I am at 8o,000 Feet and Climbing (sign over the entrance to the SR-71 operating location Kadena, Japan). You 've never been lost until you ' ve been lost at Mach 3. (Paul F. Crickmore - test pilot) Never fly in the same cockpit with someone braver than you. There is no reason to fly through a thunderstorm in peacetime (sign over squadron ops desk at Davis-Monthan AFB, AZ, 1970). "Now I know what a dog feels like watching TV." (A DC-9 captain trainee attempting to check out on the `glass cockpit ' of an A-32o). What is the similarity between air traffic controllers and pilots? If a pilot screws up, the pilot dies; If ATC screws up, the pilot dies. Without ammunition the USAF would be just another expensive flying club. If something hasn't broken on your helicopter, it's about to. If the wings are traveling faster than the fuselage, it's probably a helicopter â€” and therefore, unsafe.
Pilot In Heaven... A minister dies and is waiting in line at the Pearly Gates. Ahead of him is a guy who's dressed in sunglasses, a loud shirt, leather jacket, and jeans. Saint Peter addresses this guy, "Who are you, so that I may know whether or not to admit you to the Kingdom of Heaven? " The guy replies, " I ' m Joey Shasta, retired pilot, of Pittsburg PA. " Saint Peter consults his list. He smiles and says to the pilot, "Take this silken robe and golden staff and enter the Kingdom." The pilot goes into Heaven with his robe and staff. Next it's the minister's turn. He stands erect and booms out, "I am Joseph Snow, pastor of Saint Mary ' s for the last 43 years. " Saint Peter consults his list. He says to the minister, "Take this cotton robe and wooden staff and enter the Kingdom." "Just a minute," says the minister. "That man was a pilot and he gets a silken robe and golden staff. How can this be?" "Up here, we work by results," says Saint Peter. "While you preached, people slept; while he flew, people prayed. "
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I OWE MY MOTHER My mother taught me TO APPRECIATE A JOB WELL DONE. "If you're going to kill each other, do it outside. I just finished cleaning."
Flyboys By James Bradley Flyboys, by James Bradley, is an account of the fate of eight Navy airmen in World War II. It is a gripping history of an event that was purposely hidden for over 50 years and a must read for anyone with even the slightest interest in that terrible period. The term ` Flyboys ' was used to describe the thousands of young Americans swept up by the times, taught to fly, and sent in to the thick of battle. The particular Flyboys in this book were eight men unfortunate enough to be shot down over a small Pacific island, Chichi Jima. Another Flyboy shot down over Chichi Jima, Ensign George Bush, future president, was rescued by a submarine after ditching his TBM. Bradley does not limit the book to the fate of these men but reaches many years before the war and illuminates the mindset of the Japanese people, and particularly the Japanese Military, during the century before WWII. I find this book to be masterfully written and a compelling look at a tragic time. I took a particular interest because as a young Navy Ensign I had the opportunity to visit Chichi Jima and Iwo Jima sometime after WWII. Chichi Jima appeared to me to be a small, subtropical paradise, with a mild climate, beautiful greenery and plenty of water. Prior to that trip I had never heard of Chichi Jima and, of course, had no idea of what went on there during the war. (Iwo I knew all about.) Recently General John Rogers, USAF(Ret), owner of a flying service here in Modesto, spoke to my Rotary Club. He had flown Bradley and President Bush to Iwo and Chichi in his BizJet. Bradley is the son of one of the survivors of raising the flag on Mt Suribachi during the battle of Iwo Jima. His previous book is Flags of Our Fathers .
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My mother taught me RELIGION. "You better pray that will come out of the carpet."
From Mike Brenan Hi Gene, We've all heard the old adage about the hazards of running out of airspeed, altitude and ideas all at the same time. Well I have a new little twist for that. First, a little background: When I retired in 1997, Roselyn and I moved down here to the Burnt Store Marina located on Charlotte Harbor between Fort Myers and Punta Gorda. After a few years we built a new home in the same development with only a lake and a thousand feet of mangrove swamp between us and Charlotte Harbor. In August of last year I had to have more surgery. (I 've been fighting one type of cancer or another for twenty-four years now and every once and awhile the doctors tell me, "This part has to go", or "Perhaps you would be better off without that part.") I had just come home from having my second kidney removed when hurricane Charlie wandered into the Gulf of Mexico and took up a northeasterly path toward Tampa and St. Petersburg. Unfortunately for us it did not maintain that heading but veered even more to the right toward Charlotte Harbor and our community. Most of the folks evacuated inland. Roselyn and I elected to stay. Now in most of the planes I have flown 140 knots is rather slow. Well, I can attest when your house has that much airspeed it's damn fast. I knew that the house was well built, and it turned out to be strong enough with one exception. Old Charlie seemed determined to come in through the double front doors. I really wasn't feeling up to arguing with him, but then again I'm a Marine. Roselyn found some bamboo poles and by using them, moving some furniture, and propping our bodies against the pile we managed to hold the doors shut for an hour and a half before Charlie moved on. While we were thus occupied he did manage to completely destroy and remove the screened cage around our swimming pool along with a few roof tiles and most of our landscaping. Well, so much for airspeed. As for altitude, the forecast was for a tidal surge up to eighteen feetâ€”our house is just about ten feet above sea level. (The highest point of land around is
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My mother taught me LOGIC. Because I said so, that's why."
the tenth tee at the golf course across the streetâ€”it's about fourteen feet.) I'm getting a little short on ideas, but I've got my eye on the access hatch to the attic. Luckily the surge was only about eight feet. Another couple of feet and we might have had an interesting choice of seafood in our swimming pool. Of course the story doesn't end there. The community was devastated, no electricity, water, phones, cell phone towers all down. The hospital where I had my surgery had most of the roof blown away. None of the gas stations could pump gas. And I was in need of dialysis. Roselyn managed to find a clinic not too far away that had electricity and could take me; meanwhile she waited in line for gas. My own recovery and the community's has been a slow process. I'd say akin to a race between a turtle and a snail. I'm back to playing a little golf and taking a few trips. The most positive aspect that Charlie brought has been a wonderful sense of communityâ€”with neighbors helping neighbors. I'm sure there are many heroic tales from Charlie's visit, but I would like to nominate my wife, Roselyn for the Semper Fi award.
From Roger and Anita Walker Salmonson By the time you read this you'll be back from a happy time with our friends. Looks like no hurricanes! Roger and I are sorry that we had to miss the convention this time. Our health and the death of my only son in August make it impossible. Anyway we've moved and should have sent the new address. We missed getting the last issue of Tarpa.
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My mother taught me about TIME TRAVEL. "If you don ' t straighten up, I'm going to knock you into the middle of next week!"
Snow Train To Reno By Tex Luedtke Kudos a bunch to our hosts Lynn and Bill Cottrell for doing such a wonderful job organizing and coordinating events for the Ambassadors' "Snow Train" trip to Reno February 1 â€” 3. Bill and Lynn chartered our own `private' railway car for the trip. The weather man promised good weather for the 66 Ambassadors who traveled and we were not disappointed. The ten car train, including two domed observation cars, originated in Emeryville with stops at Martinez, Suisun, Sacramento, and Roseville, picking up club members along the way. Guy Fortier, Roger Leach, and Bill Kirschner drove down from Lake Tahoe to join us in Roseville. Ted and Maxine Misselwitz, from Mercer Island, WA, flew down, spent the night before at the hotel across from the train station, and were in position for the 8:3o AM departure. Our Ambassadors started arriving even before 8 AM and the deli and Subway stores across the street from the station did a brisk service in coffee and bagels. In less time than you could say "PARTY" the atmosphere was created. We gathered along the railroad siding at the appointed time of 8:15 to board the `yet to arrive' Snow Train, where we were informed that our train was delayed and we should return to the station to wait. Other trains arrived and departed as we continued to "stand by" until our cars chugged in an hour and a half later. We were reminded of the many times we waited for airplanes and traffic congestion before boarding. All were watching for a headlight down the track to announce the arrival of our train. Someone said they saw a light at the end of the tunnel, but thought it might be New Jersey. No amount of delay was going to spoil our good humor. As per instructions, we brought our own lunch as the train did not provide food for the trip up. Boarding the train at Emeryville, we saw extra sacks and boxes being loaded. Marian and I brought an ice chest loaded with premixed Bloody Marys, celery stalks, and precut lemon slices. Beverly Vance brought a big bag of munchies; Claude Thomas, along with Cheryl and Jim Higgins brought back up supplies for more bloodies. On the previous Snow Train trip, we ran out of the magic potion before Suisun and they wanted to be sure that did not happen again. On our arrival we had one drink as our dinner reservations were for Roxy's which closes at 9:30 PM. Dinner was excellent and we were thankful to get back to our room and bed for a restful night after the stressful day. PAGE 56 ... TARPA TOPICS
My mother taught me LOGIC. Because I said so, that's why."
Wednesday, 2 Feb., was an open day for all and members took the time to shop, gamble, visit the car museum, which I understand is excellent, and look around town. I heard we had some winners! Dinner was at the Santa Fe Hotel â€” Basque Restaurant and that is an experience in itself. Cocktails at six, dinner at seven. We even had more of the locals join us: Herb Reibling, Chuck Lancaster, Herb and Donna Wheeler, Ed and Susy Madigan and Joann Fortier, train travelers Guy Fortier, Roger Leach, and Bill Kirschner. Dinner is served family style including soup, salad, appetizers, entree choice of pork loin or steak, with side dishes of ranch beans, French fries, and a medley of steamed vegetables. Wine is served with the meal and some believe it is home made. The food was excellent and the wine was "so so;" I may have seen Ernie and Gay Meyer turn up their noses at the wine as they are vintners themselves. Even though the `hunchback' showed up again and we received a `lasso' lesson, it was a great evening!
After an early breakfast the next morning we departed the hotel, walked to the railroad boarding area, where we awaited the arrival of the train with trepidation, due to our recent experience with performance of the train. Believe it or not, we were boarded at 1o:15 AM and the train departed on schedule. We were encouraged and never doubted a routine trip back to the Bay Area. Weather was perfect and the snow scenes were delightful in the daylight. Short lived â€” even before Truckee, about an hour's ride out of Reno, we took a siding to await the passage of another train with a higher priority. We were amused and had a good laugh when the "Key Holidays" representative made the announcement that he had called the railroad dispatch office from his cell phone and they did not answer the phone. We figured the railroad probably had not paid their phone bill. This became the norm as we proceeded and experienced more delays. We even had to wait for a "work train" to pass. Thank goodness for the resourcefulness of our group, as the Bloody Marys, wine, and snacks had been replenished during the stay in Reno. We had stroltroubadours, John the accordion player, a banjo player, and a card trick performer. Could have used this guy the night before at the gaming tables. The infamous raffle was held during the return ride and proved to be a success. Bill & Lynn Cottrell along with JoAnne Westfall sold the raffle tickets and conducted the raffle. Ted and Maxine Misselwitz won "the complete refund" for their trip which was the big prize. The second prize was the 50/50 split of the raffle money, which J. P. O'Mahoney laid claim to. J. P. said she PAGE 57... TARPA TOPICS
My mother taught me MORE LOGIC. "If you fall out of that swing and break your neck, you 're not going to the store with me."
had never won anything in her life. The tee shirt winners were Mary Lou Layman and Roger Leach; the "Snow Train" sweat shirt was won by Jan Ellis; Vi Pasley won the railroad hats; the calendars were won by Ted Misselwitz and Roger Leach; and the "Movie History Book of Trivia" was won by Sally Gibson.
The story does not end here. We arrived at Emeryville, only two and a half hours late, and found the Emeryville Fire Department swarming the parking lot with engine lights flashing. An older van/camper had a propane leak and the firemen had started to cordon off the parking lot for safety. Jim and Cheryl Higgins' SW was parked almost immediately in front of the offending vehicle.
The firemen would not allow us to push Jim's vehicle to another area for his start up. Jim's comment was "the end of a perfect trip!" Marian and I, along with a few others managed to exit the parking lot before the lot was completely sealed off. Have no idea about when the rest of the Ambassadors managed to depart the parking lot at Emeryville.
My personal comment on the trip is that our group will have a good time anywhere, anytime, in any kind of situation. The camaraderie experienced on this trip truly demonstrates what the true TWA Family is about. P.S. Like always this is a small world. Sitting in another car we found Jack Broomfield and his wife enjoying the trip.
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My mother taught me FORESIGHT. "Make sure you wear clean underwear, in case you're in an accident."
From Stu Nelson Bill Kirschner and Ed Madigan agreed that the enclosed might be of interest for the "Grapevine." This venture was in honor of my 80th birthday. I had planned to jump with my sons several years ago, but never managed to do so. I also flew Marine Corps fighter/attack planes for 26 years and thought I'd get a free one! President Bush spurred me on with his 8o birthday jump a year ago; I thought I'd better get moving before I was too old for this sort of thing. Hey Stu â€” I never could understand someone jumping out of a perfectly good airplane. Tell me why. Gene Dear Gene, I never thought I would ever jump out of a perfectly good airplane either. I once thought of leaving a wounded, not so good F4U Corsair in Korea, but managed to nurse it home. Including Reserve time I flew fighter type aircraft for 26 years and thought I ' d get a free jump or ejection butâ€” never happen! When former president Bush bailed on his 80 th birthday, I figured that I'd better get moving before I would be too old for this sort of thing. Accordingly, I gave it my best shot last February. We climbed to 12,500 feet in a Twin Otter with a large sliding door on the left side of the plane. Accompanied by two others, I exited via the large door, and we free fell in a spread eagle formation some 6,000 feet at which I, as pre-briefed, left the formation in an upward direction. In
seconds in a free-fall configuration, the body reaches terminal velocity of 120 miles per
hour. That normally changes abruptly, but in my case, the twisted shroud lines, which I had to separate, resulted in a two-stage speed reduction. My next move was to locate the landing area, and proceed in that direction. Unlike a round parachute, the parallelograms shaped ones have a flap, which is called a brake, at each wing tip. Activating this creates drag and the chute turns in that direction; both are lowered for the landing flare.
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My mother taught me about HYPOCRISY. "If I told you once, I've told you a million times, don't exaggerate!"
Both optimists and pessimists contribute to the society. The optimist invents the aeroplane, the pessimist the parachute. G B Shaw
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My mother taught me IRONY. "Keep crying, and I'll give you something to cry about.
From Bob Balser "BLACK DOG" SAVES A CAREER A group of us new co-pilots were receiving landings at St. Joe. The captain was Leon Vestal. When it was my turn I got into the right seat and someone in the doorway of the Martin 404 remarked to Leon, "Bob's never flown anything but single engine airplanes". So Leon laughed, feathered an engine, and said "Okay, you've got it". He was great. Well, the transition too many engine airplanes was not too difficult but to fly with another pilot took a bit of getting used to. I soon learned that the "other pilot" was called THE CAPTAIN. Now I know this is hard to believe but all captains are not alike. My first line trip on the 404 was MKC to Newark and back with many stops. The captain would only say two words on each leg, "Up Gear". He would reach over and put the gear down himself. At each station he would go out of his way to speak to the baggage handlers and fuelers but not to me just to show how insignificant I was. My second trip was just the opposite. The captain was apparently a wanna be check pilot. He asked me questions about TWA flight ops, FAA regs and landing minimums the entire trip. Of course, if I had given a few right answers he may have eased up on me. I was vaguely thinking of quitting TWA and returning to active duty in the Navy when I started my third trip. I was scheduled to fly with a captain called "Black Dog". Well just the name brought images of a black bearded monster. I thought - what the hell, I'll give it another try. As soon as we had leveled off he turned and said, "Where do you live?" I said I lived in a house with three other co-pilots (George Seaborg, Gene Richards, and "Sport " Horton). He sort of exploded. He said, "You live with guys?" He said it three times. Each a few decibels louder. He then gave me a detailed dissertation on the advantages of living with girls and admonished me to "get out of that House". He had me laughing the whole trip. I later had many flights with "Black Dog " and enjoyed every one. His somber exterior belied his dry humorous side. He once had a hostess laughing so hard she was almost hysterical. He could charm a nun out of her habits.
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My mother taught me about the science of OSMOSIS. "Shut your mouth and eat your supper. "
Despite his laid back attitude "Black Dog" was an excellent pilot. (You may have heard of him). He saved my career.
George Seaborg, Sport Horton, Gene Richards, Bob Balser Wickenberg, February, 1 954 .
"The scientific theory I like best is that the rings of Saturn are composed entirely of lost airline luggage."— Mark Russell "I never liked riding in helicopters because there's a fair probability that the bottom part will get going around as fast as the top part. " — Lt. Col. John Wittenborn, USAFR. "It only takes five years to go from rumor to standard operating procedure." - Dick Markgraf "Real planes use only a single stick to fly. This is why bulldozers & helicopters — in that order — need two." — Paul Slattery "I've flown every seat on this airplane. Can someone tell me why the other two are always occupied by idiots?" — Don Taylor
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.My mother taught me the CIRCLE OF LIFE. "I brought you into this world, and I can take you out."
From Bob Adickes Max Conrad as a legendary pilot, with an incredible number of flying hours, someone told me over 60,000 hours
â€” this poem was sent to me by Capt Cliff Raub, one of my associates in
the TWA ICD military operation. Perhaps this effort by Max Conrad may be of interest to your readers in your next TARPA column. I always enjoy your contributions, to your fellow TWA ers. By night on swift enchanted wings I fly Bright stars above become my Rosary Each star a lonely prayer which bids me try To live in faith and hope and charity. At times I seem to Question truth above And even doubt sublime eternity Yet countless stars tell me a Holy Love Will watch and care for me, eternally All through the night I prayed my Rosary On Heavenly Beads where only Angels trod How can I ever doubt Life 's mystery When first at dawn my humbled soul is awed? The generous sun gives me so tenderly Another day â€” that I may live, for God. Max Conrad
As a pilot only two bad things can happen to you. A; One day you will walk out to the aircraft knowing that it is your last flight in an airplane or B; One day you will walk out to the airplane not knowing that it is your last flight in an airplane...
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My mother taught me about STAMINA. "You'll sit there until all that spinach is gone.
Notes to Ed Madigan along with dues.
From Fred Morse Enclosed are my 2005 dues. I forget if I paid last year or not. If anyone has a record of that and I didn't, let me know and I'll get off another check Lord willin', I'll reach fourscore later this year, it will be my tenth five year plan plus three. Still have those five year pins and wish they were still coming. I'm one of those few staunch New Yorkers still in the Empire State, notwithstanding twenty inches of snow today. Happy I can still push the snow blower. I see Jim Smith on occasion. Jim fodtha is one of the chief cook and bottle washers at the Freeport Food Kitchen, and I deliver Kathy and a group of church ladies prepare once a month. Our health is fine, regular checkups, but all of the aforementioned mature frailties such as `where are my glasses' are noted on a regular basis. Our best wishes to all for a happy, healthy new year.
From Ed Flynn I have just gotten off the phone talking to John Gratz. He gave me your address and said you were the man for me to send some money to for Tarpa dues. I would like to explain why I have been delinquent in paying. In May, my wife Joan and I moved from Tucson, AZ to Bluffion, SC after nearly 25 years in Tucson. Believe me after such a length of time it is a great task and I am no longer a `spring chicken'. I tried very hard to notify everybody concerned of our move but somehow overlooked Tarpa.
Three things you never want to hear in the cockpit. The FE says, " Damn it! " " The FO says, "I 've got an idea! " The Captain says, Hey, watch this! "
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My mother taught me about CONTORTIONISM. "Will you look at that dirt on the back of your neck!"
My son Jerry, who lives in Reno, just over the hill from you, had called me from Wyoming where he was visiting with Bob Norris. He mentioned seeing a copy of the last Tarpa News, and read a story in it about Ted Weaver. He had heard me talk about Ted for many years and had given some flight instruction to Ted's grandson, Teddy La Comette. So Jerry found the article very interesting and called me to see if I had read it. It was then that I realized that I had not received a copy of TARPA for some time. Thus my call to John Gratz, who said he is mailing me a copy of that issue right away. So my thanks to both of you. I am enclosing a check for $50 and if that doesn't cover what I owe please let me know. If it is too much, put the excess into the Tarpa account. I am sure that you remember that I interviewed you for your job with TWA. I still have my interview records and looked up the date. It was 11/04/64 and I noted that you were a New York Airways Copilot with 1600 hours flying time. I was 84 last November and am again enjoying some relatively good health. Two years ago, I had two Cardiac Arrests caused by a viral infection of my heart. After a month in the hospital, I came home and started my recovery with lots of tender, loving care from my wife. As soon as I could get around, I started Cardiac Rehab, and have continued ever since. I go three times a week to the facility in the hospital and work out on a treadmill and stationary bike for an hour each session. The nurses monitor my heart throughout the period and keep records of my progress for the Doctors. Now I am able to do just about what I want to do. It is amazing what the Medical profession is capable of doing today. This got a little longer than I had intended, but John asked me to fill you in on my activities. Thanks again, Ed, and I know that all your work for TARPA is much appreciated. From Jim Mock It was good to talk with you again, if you get to Branson give us a holler. We have the Caravelle Theatre with the best shows in town, and the Caravelle Recording Studio, the best this side of Nashville and the equal of any. We also have the Gateway Inn of the Ozarks , which is located right next to our theater on W 76 Country Blvd. It keeps us real busy and we love it. Have a wonderful New Year and thank you for taking on such a big job. PAGE 65 ... TARPA TOPICS
My mother taught me about WEATHER. "This room of yours looks as if a tornado went through it."
From Norma and Hugh Graff Thanks again for all you did for us to enjoy our trip to N.O. and the cruise. What a job, even with "Magic" Vicke! ! ! It was a wonderful trip even though we were sick most of the time. Fortunately I had taken meds with us but we still had to see a doctor. Have a good 2005 and hope to see you in PA.
From Walt Gunn I like round figures so the overage for the Stamp Fund â€” great Topics format. If you don't have a copy of A Life Aloft let me know and I'll send one. 5 or 6 of the vignettes are Playboy/ Esquire caliber. From Bill Bainbridge Enclosed is my check for 2005 dues. I really enjoy the TARPA TOPICS and hope to make it to the next convention. Keep up the good work. From Jane and Ford Blaney I' m sending $40 for Ford's 2005 dues although he is an Eagle. Thanks for all your work on making the New Orleans trip and cruise such a fun time. Happy holidays to you and your wife. From Dick Carter No reason why we older retirees should be given reduced annual dues. We retired at full retirement and well afford the full dues thankes for taking on the Secy/Treas job. From Russ Bowen The best of luck on your new job at Tarpa and many thanks!
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From Lum Edwards As always, appreciate what you guys do to hold this organization together. Am sending full dues as a regular member `cause I feel like a regular. Hope all is well. Have a great 2005. From Keith Taylor Please apply the enclosed check on my current dues and use the rest to apply on the great work all you volunteers do. From Korky Youngblood The enjoyment, laughter, memories and tears that come with reading the TARPA Magazine, â€” makes looking forward to the next issue a pleasure. My congratulations to all who work to put this magazine together. A job well done!
Any flight over water in a single engine airplane will absolutely guarantee abnormal engine noises and vibrations. There are Rules and there are Laws. The rules are made by men who think that they know better how to fly your airplane than you. Laws (of Physics) were made by the Great One. You can, and sometimes should, suspend the Rules but you can never suspend the Laws. More about Rules: a. The rules are a good place to hide if you don't have a better idea and the talent to execute it. b. If you deviate from a rule, it must be a flawless performance. (e.g., If you fly under a bridge, don't hit the bridge.)
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MON AMI CLAUDE by John P. Gratz As you noticed in our Flown West Section, my friend Claude Girard died May 17 of this year. Claude was my friend for almost twenty years. He was always kind and generous to me and to my wife Patricia when we were together. He was charming and quick witted, and he had a great sense of humor. On the job that he loved so much, he could be sharp tongued and gruff. He was known for his salty, even peppery words. Patricia and I first got to know Claude when we were living in Chantilly, France a short distance north of Paris Charles DeGaulle Airport. I had many occasions to talk with him about TWA business at the airport before we had any social contact. We had a typical French lunch once or twice in which we discussed TWA's business. Some time later, I invited him to visit our apartment in Chantilly for a California style barbecue. I knew that he once lived nearby and so I also thought he would enjoy seeing his old neighborhood. After that, Pat and I met occasionally with Claude and his wife Dorothee in Paris for Sunday lunch, great food, abundant parking and it is free on Sundays. In recent years, a few of Claude's many friends asked me to write about his life experiences. I was always intrigued by stories from the time of the "Greatest Generation," in World War II and the start of our International Operations. Many TWA pilots had already told me about their experiences during those times. And since some of their stories have previously appeared in these pages, I asked Claude to tell me the story of his life leading up to and throughout his forty-six year career with TWA. It did not come easy, but over time he was persuaded to share it with us in TARPA TOPICS. As Claude often said, "he was just a stupid little French kid who got lucky," but he was certainly not stupid, and it took more than luck to survive and succeed as well as he did. He was born in Epinal, in the Vosges region of France and was in love with flying from an early age. He flew both sailplanes and light airplanes there in the mid-thirties before moving to Paris. After the Germans occupied France, Claude was drafted for forced labor, and was scheduled to be deported, but before the time came to board the train for Germany, he escaped and joined the underground resistance. He was trained with various guns and explosives in the resistance, but that didn't last too long before they were forced to disband by the pressures of the constant German searches. Claude then decided to leave France and join the Free French Forces abroad. The best way to leave in those days was to head south across the Pyrenees into Spain. That was the same route followed by many downed British and American pilots during the war. Barney Rawlings was one of them. Of course, Claude was quickly arrested by Spanish police and incarcerated in San Sebastian. There he met some of those allied pilots, and before too long, they were all released after the U.S. Government paid their ransom. From Spain they went to Lisbon, Portugal and boarded a ship for North Africa. For his valor in escaping, Claude was given a choice of services. He naturally chose to join the French Air Force. That put him on course for U.S. pilot training in the usual manner of the time, with Primary on PT-19s at Craig Field Alabama, Basic at Shaw in South Carolina and Advanced PAGE 68 ... TARPA TOPICS
on AT-10s at Turner Field Georgia. He also checked out on B-25s there and remained at Turner Field as a Flight Instructor. After the war, Claude applied for a job flying for Air France, but he also called TWA at 10 Richards Road in Kansas City after learning that TWA was about to begin service to Paris and beyond. Air France told him that he would need six months of training without pay! That was the end of that. He again tried TWA, this time at their Paris office. There, he met with "Swede" Golien who told him of the necessity of having a U.S. pilot license. Swede offered to help, and also offered Claude a job at the TWA Flight Dispatch office. There he worked for Clyde Williams in Dispatch but he also needed a U. S. Dispatcher's license. But getting that dragged on for so long that Larry Trimble suggested he work as acting Station Manager in Geneva. In 1952 Ed Frankum approved the purchase of a DC-3 to carry engines all over the International Region. Claude flew as co-pilot on it with TWA pioneers, Swede Golien, Joe Carr, Neal Lytle, Gordon Granger and Larry Trimble. In 1957 ETT-12 came along, and about that time Claude was sent to Kansas City for checkout on the Martin 202 and 404 as well as for TWA Captain training. Next, he checked out on the famous "Ontos" a war surplus Fairchild C-82. This aircraft became well known by all TWA International employees and it has been featured in TOPICS several times in recent years. The failure rate of the turbo-compound engines on our Connies kept "Ontos" and Claude hopping, and for the next five years he flew to every TWA Station and Alternate, such places as Algiers, Tripoli, Baghdad, Basra, Dhahran, Bombay, Cairo, Nairobi and Manila. One time the whole list was visited with John Armstrong of Kansas City Training along to make the training films for other pilots route qualifications. Eventually, Claude was given the title of Staff Pilot Overseas, and problems with his U.S. Dispatch License having been solved; he also obtained that license after passing all the required tests. After Jack Robertson returned to the states and opened the position, Claude was given the title of Director of Flight Operations-International. He then went back to Kansas City in 1962 and checked out on the Boeing 707. Later, he was promoted to Staff V.P. Flight OperationsInternational after Larry Trimble retired in 1970. Later, Claude was made a full TWA Vice President at the same time as Vern Laursen. Claude Girard went on to serve twenty- two years in that capacity. Over the years Claude made many friends in the Middle East. Owing to the many years of TWA service to the several nations there. He had friends from all the different ethnic and religious groups. He could be a real diplomat and that talent was put to the test many times. Some time ago, he shared a book with me about the hijacking of Captain C.D. Woods and crew and their subsequent ordeal after they were forced to land in the Jordanian Desert as a full blown war raged all around them. As I remember, the war was caused when the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine declared war against five free nations. Yasser Arafat was their leader and they were
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trying to overthrow King Hussein of Jordan. Our flight 741 was the first of four aircraft forced down. Our aircraft and the others from BOAC, Pan Am and Swissair were destroyed after their passengers and crew had been evacuated. Captain Woods, First Officer James Majer and Flight Engineer Al Kiburis were held for three weeks after the passengers had been released. Al Kiburis told me later that the crew spent a lot of time hugging the ground as bullets flew. Claude's book described the difficult negotiations that TWA top management officials and he were involved in at the time as heavy fire tore into their hotel. After retirement, Claude continued to stay active in aviation as a consultant. This was a natural step and allowed him to draw upon the unique and vast experience he had acquired throughout his forty-six years of employment with TWA. It could be said that Claude was present at the creation, starting when TWA' first began its overseas service in 1946 until the difficult years after deregulation. During those years, in the course of his duties, Claude had established relationships with numerous airline managers, government officials and various associations. Those relationships proved to be most helpful in his new occupation as aviation consultant. He kept busy in these endeavors for nearly ten more years until his heart began to dictate a more relaxed schedule. It became necessary for him to have a pacemaker eventually, but in the end, even that was insufficient to help his brave heart do its job. Claude Girard was an institution, colleague and friend to all of us. He will be missed.
(Left to right: Guy Picollier, Capt. Claude Girard, F/O Pete Boe and F/E Lucien Pic Picollier)
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Claude Girard, My Boss and My Friend In 1963 Paris Dispatch, which had been operating in Orly since 1946, was closed and its area of responsibility transferred to Shannon and Rome Dispatch offices. Its staff then manned Paris Operational Planning office in charge of the entire International Region in close coordination with MCK Operational Planning. In 1974, TWA moved from Orly to Charles de Gaulle Airport along with International Flight Operations and Paris Operational Planning housed in the TWA Services Building. All the former dispatchers that had become Managers Operational Planning were asked by Claude to maintain their FAA dispatcher's license valid by attending annual dispatcher recurrent training in MKC. In December 1979, following an important improvement in international communications network, the number of TWA dispatch centers became redundant, it was then decided to close the last two dispatch offices remaining overseas, Shannon and Rome Dispatch offices. Claude as Staff VP Flt Ops, was convincing enough to obtain the re-opening of a Paris Dispatch office using Paris operational Planning FAA licensed staff after a refresher dispatch training in MKC. This was the only TWA Dispatch office left overseas. In 1983 when Paris Dispatch operating cost became too high and TWA again in difficult economical times, a new budget squeeze was forced upon Claude. He had no other solution than to reluctantly close Paris Dispatch Office again, just keeping Guy Gossez and me as his Paris Flight Operations staff. The responsibility for overall eastbound and westbound dispatching was then transferred to JFK dispatch office. In February 1985, TWA started B767 ETOPS operations. Claude was instrumental in coordinating all aspects of operations over North Atlantic. The 6o minutes rule required use of enroute alternates in Greenland and Northern Canada that were not always useable due to adverse meteorological conditions or lack of ground equipment. Claude managed to get a passenger step airlifted to Sondrestromfjord so that passengers could deplane in case of diversion. TWA was a pioneer in twinengine jet operations over North-Atlantic what is nowadays the majority of the NAT traffic. In June 1985, Claude had to have a triple bypass surgery. Few days after the operation, he insisted to be kept advised of all aspects of airline operation. He had his JEPCO manual with him and we had to bring him weekly revisions so that he could keep his manual up to date. This happened also at the time F847/14 June 1985 a B727 was hijacked enroute from Athens to Rome to Algiers and Beirut. I was alone in charge of Paris Flt Ops office with Guy Gossez as assistant. Claude felt really frustrated to stay in hospital away from this incredible hijack. We kept him advised but he was really not pleased to be away from action. He entered back in his office when the Captain called me on the phone after landing at Larnaca saying everything was OK after his escape from Beirut. In 1987, considering that JFK dispatch office was not adequately manned to achieve the best possible fuel saving objectives required to reduce TWA operating cost and in view of the increase in intra-Europe flights, Claude managed to convince NYC Flt Ops Management that it would be cost effective to re-open a Dispatch office in Paris. Thanks to the re-hiring of former Shannon and Paris dispatchers, he managed to build up a new team of experienced European professionals who could efficiently handle the entire TWA international scheduled flights, many non-sked and other airlines flights. To enhance fuel saving objectives, Claude even proposed and obtained that PAGE 71 ... TARPA TOPICS
Paris Dispatch took responsibility of Eastbound dispatching from and into U.S gateways during a six-month period. This was a daring experience that Claude managed to sell to NYC Fit Ops. However U.S dispatchers union raised serious objections as it meant that American jobs were taken over by overseas dispatchers and this trial had to be stopped. During the first Iraq war in 1992, Paris Dispatch Office, under Claude's active involvement, dispatched MAC Flights to and from Saudi Arabia and later on MAC cargo flights via Pacific up to Honolulu where flights were taken over by Lax Dispatchers. Claude and his Paris Flt Ops office staff represented TWA interests in such forum as IATA NorthAtlantic and Europe technical groups. Being active members of these groups we also attended, as members of IATA technical delegations, ICAO regional technical meetings where all Provider States were getting together once a year to discuss with airline representatives the technical and procedural improvements required by the necessity to accommodate an always increasing number of flights in airspaces limited by political boundaries and military reserved areas. Improvements in navigation, ATC procedures, separation criteria were bitterly discussed with provider states. All improvements that north-Atlantic flights enjoy nowadays are the result of many years of hard work by active airline technical representatives such as Claude and his team along with IATA technical staff. At the same time, Claude had managed to setup a network of friendly links with all North-Atlantic oceanic control center chiefs to better serve TWA interests in getting favorable treatment to TWA NAT flights whenever necessary. During the ICAO NAT meetings which ideally took place in Paris where ICAO headquarter is located, Claude managed to invite all oceanic centers chiefs attending that meeting, Shanwick, Santa-Maria, Reykjavik, Gander, New York to a nice luncheon where informal discussions would often bring more benefits to TWA than formal exchanges in the plenary session. TWA was the only airline to offer this kind of treatment to Oceanic Center chiefs. That was not really well accepted by other airlines representatives. Anyway, that was TWA money well spent! Even though, others considered some of his proposals controversial in the business, Claude was highly respected for his deep knowledge of what is an efficient airline operation and for his creativity in finding practical. solutions. His determination to have his solutions put into action was also legendary. His innovative spirit greatly influenced the individuals working with him, either in Flight Operations or in Flight Dispatch Office. We went through many big storms, such as strikes, wars, hijacks, bombs, mechanical problems etc and our innovative spirit was always there to give the best possible service to our passengers as well as to keeping cost down. Claude was a very hard worker, as tough with himself as he was with his employees. With him nothing was impossible, there was always a solution. When he gave you a problem to solve, better not to leave any stone unturned. All possible solutions had to be explored, checked and doublechecked. But he could also be very close to his employees, concerned by their personal health or family problems. He could be a nightmare for certain colleagues in other departments as his vocabulary could become very colorful at times, to say the least, but also very friendly with, for ' example, those station managers he appreciated as being efficient and motivated TWAers . He was also very much concerned for TWA crews well being during their overseas layovers. He was always working hard on selecting the best hotels as far as comfort, location, and security are concerned but always within the tight TWA budgetary envelope he had to follow.
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Claude lived 24 hours a day for TWA until he was 72 when he retired. Quite an exceptional achievement as until his last day in office he didn't lose any bit of his impetus in trying to find ways to help save TWA from catastrophe. Well into his retirement he kept a keen interest in TWA affairs, closely watching TWA's downspin into bankruptcy with a deep sadness. Claude was a great man and a great boss. I have been privileged and proud to work under his leadership for 38 years. Lucien Bigeault Former Director International Flight Operations May 26, 2005
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THE MARTINS BY ED BETTS GRAPEVINE BY DICK GUILLAN M OONSHINERS BY A.T. HUM BLES NOT TOO LATE FOR HERSHEY BID!
THE ACTIVE RETIRED PILOTS ASSOCIATION OF TWA FEBRUARY 1990
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POST-WAR AIRLINERS By mid-1948, the airlines had made most of their decisions with regard to four-engine equipment (already delivered or on definite order for the Constellation, DC-6 or Stratocruiser), but not so with the twin-engine variety. The only postwar two-engine airliner then flying was the M202's by NWA. Five airlines had the CV240 about to enter service (American was the first, in August). The ' CAA gave the scheduled airlines until the end of 1952 to retire the DC-3. United didn t approve of the M3o3 and cancelled their order. The project was dropped by Martin and they tried to make ' a tax-free donation of the one prototype to the Navy. The IRS wouldn t approve of the gift, so Martin destroyed the plane and all of its records in order to qualify for a tax write-off. TWA had seen a number of changes it top management starting with the resignation of Jack Frye Fl1m in February 1947, followed by Paul Richter. Frye became President of General Aniline and Co. LaMotte T. Cohn, who had been the senior member of the TWA Board of Directors, was the President as of 4/24/47. Jack C. Franklin (VP Engineering) took a leave of absence in September, and joined General Aniline. Lou J. Koepnick was named Chief Engineer. On 6/1/48, Cohu resigned ' and took the position as President of Consolidated Vultee. R. C. Loomis, TWA s Engineering Pilot (and head of Domestic Overhaul) resigned and also went with Consolidated Vultee. POST-WAR AIRLINERS During most of the war years TWA operated into 25 domestic stations (service to EWR, HUF and PHX was temporarily suspended). The DAY-DCA route was added in 1943 and TOP as a stop on the transcontinental route in 1944 .1 In May of 1 945, the PIT to BOS route via Albany and Williamsport was authorized. By mid-1948, TWA was operating into 58 stations on its domestic routes. Most of the additions were in the Ohio Valley and to the east, and many were small airports. The DC-3 did a fairly good job, as many stops were less than a half hour flying time apart and the advantage of a pressurized cabin or more speed was not too important (then). It did require the pilots to plan the descent from cruise altitude to landing at 300' per minute and the hostess to remind the passengers to chew on their Chiclets chewing gum (a gift after boarding) to equalize the change in pressure. A number of CV240's had problems with the pressurization system and were operating unpressurized. Since Mid-1943 TWA had been studying every possibility for a DC-3 replacement. All potential aircraft had certain advantages (or disadvantages) as to how it would operate (also considering the cost factors) on the short flight segment. For the first four years after the war, TWA's main objective was to be competitive on the long-haul segments (as well as the International Division) by utilizing the 4-engine equipment (Connies, DC-4s and Stratoliners). The subject of how much severe turbulence an airplane can take and not "come unglued" has always been debatable between engineers who designed the plane, company recommended procedures, CAA/FAA and the pilots who experienced the turbulence. TWA lost two airplanes flying into thunderstorms: a Fokker F-10A (1931), which had more than the usual share of adverse publicity because football coach Knute Rockne was among those killed and in 1944, a TWA DC-3 fell out of a storm near Hanford, Ca, killing all 24 on board. On 8/29/48, a NWA M2o2 literally fell out of the sky after entering a storm area near Winona, Minn., killing all 37 on board. The flight originated from MDW and was letting down for an
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approach to Minneapolis. The last reported altitude was 7,000 ' . One item of important evidence was known immediately...parts of the aircraft were separated by over two miles, indicating an in-flight problem. Before an official investigation began another incident occurred. A second NWA M2o2 had flown through the same area about an hour later, encountered some turbulence including a couple of severe jolts, and landed at MSP with no problem. The plane continued with a flight to Duluth and return. On the ground, at MSP, a mechanic noticed a discontinuity with one wing. Further investigation showed a failure in the step-splice, which joined the outer wing panel to the center section. All of the remaining 24 NWA M202 's were immediately grounded. Later on in the investigation it was determined that 5 other planes had fatigue cracks in this critical area, three of which had minute cracks in both wing joints! Another wing, which had been-used for the factory static tests, was found to have small cracks that had been covered by chrome paint. This wing had been cycled 1,885 times with a load from 30 to 100% over designed maximum strength. The airplane that crashed had 1,321 flying hours, which was about the average in NWA's fleet of 202s. The immediate "fix" was to beef up the wing root fitting or splice and frequent inspections of the affected areas. This was considered temporary, until 3,000 hours of flight. The CAA added: "After 3,000 hours of flight have been accumulated on the aircraft or before, the airplane will be modified at the Martin plant with a permanent correction which involves extensive structural changes to the wing." After the preliminary modification, the 202S were in the air again, one month after the accident. The stigma, however, remained. Ironically, on the same day as the crash, another NWA 202 experienced a serious problem when the front cargo door blew off. A safe landing was made at Spokane, although extensive damage was done to the fuselage, center wing and stabilizer. During the "teething" period with a new airplane there were always some initial "bugs" which needed correction. If safety was involved there was an "AD" (a CAA Airworthiness Directive), which would mandate a correction or modification within a specified period of time. Some of the early AD's for the M2o2, which the NWA pilots experienced the hard way (flying the line), had to do with cracks in the cabin heater system, problems with the propellers, autopilot servo system and excessive hydraulic leaks. One AD ordered the removal of all fiberglass (or rubberized) and vinyl lining from both the forward and aft belly cargo compartments as this was acting like a blotter for leaking hydraulic fluid. Oxygen tanks or lines were also located in these areas, which added to the potential fire hazard. One NWA flight experienced such a fire. There were a number of cases where a failure of the nose gear centering cam made it impossible to lower the nose gear for landing (another ` AD ' ). One very enterprising pilot had this situation and, before landing, ordered all passengers to sit or stand as near to the rear of the cabin as possible. With this tail-heavy load he was able to hold the plane in a nose-high attitude during the rollout to a stop after landing (no brakes were used) on the runway. The engines were then stopped. The nose remained high, and a flatbed truck was positioned to where the nose wheel would normally be supporting the plane. One by one a passenger would move forward and the nose gradually settled on the truck's bed. The truck then towed the plane to the ramp. There the passengers deplaned without further incident. The only damage to the plane was where the tail had scraped the runway due to the nose-high attitude.
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In answer to my request, a number of retired NWA pilots wrote or called telling about some of their early experiences with the 202. Although there were quite a number of problems, many serious, the consensus considered it a fine airplane to fly and a big improvement over the DC-3. In addition to the aforementioned, there were problems with the two-stage blower sticking. There was one case where the factory had reversed the rigging, so that it was actually in high blower at takeoff and low altitudes...and several "jugs" were blown before the situation was determined. There were several cases of the prop tips striking the runway. The modification was to lengthen the gear oleo struts 2" and tilt the engines up 1 1/2 ". There was one isolated case where a complete tool kit was discovered sealed inside a wing! The Martin had two unique features associated with the wing flap system. One was the unloading valve, which prevented the flaps from lowering beyond a position as set by the pilots if the airspeed was too high or, if the speed was exceeded at a certain position, the flaps would retract to correspond with the limit allowed (by the unloading valve) for that speed. This made some approaches and landings very interesting as the flaps could be changing position according to the speed, regardless of the selection made by the pilots. The other feature was a device for keeping a constant center of gravity whenever the flaps were extended. This was a series of torque tubes connected from the flap drive system to the horizontal stabilizer. When the flaps were lowered (or raised) the stabilizer would change its angle of incidence. This eliminated the usual practice of having the passengers sit in certain empty areas or seats during takeoff with a light load. There were two problems with this system. It was very noisy, as the connecting tubes were located beneath the cabin floor If the direction of the flaps was reversed, while they were in motion, the tubes could break. A broken tube left the stabilizer in a out-of-neutral position. One problem that NWA experienced early, which had not been determined by all of the usual wind tunnel experiments, flight tests, proving runs or " dress rehearsal " flights was a major passenger inconvenience. The one lavatory, along with a small galley, was located at the rear of the cabin. There was no compartment for passengers to store their coats or a storage area for the cabin attendant to use for used trays, dishes etc. With a near-full load of passengers, and a complete meal service, there was often a logjam of dirty dinnerware blocking the aisle to the "John" in case of need. One at a time, the 202 ' S (11 had already delivered) were returned to the Martin plant for a modification...the last row (four seats) was removed and a storage bin for coats replaced the former area for the galley, along with a "jump seat" for the attendant. The galley was moved to the front of the cabin. This made it a 36-passenger airliner, but far more comfortable. The year 1949 started off with more changes in TWA ' s management. On January 1st, Ralph Damon was elected President. Later in the year, Lou Koepnich resigned and Robert W. Rummel became Chief Engineer. Bob had been hired in mid-1943 as assistant to Jack Franklin, to evaluate and arrange for the procurement of new aircraft. Bob had been a stress analyst with Hughes Aircraft in 1935-1936, and more recently (before joining TWA) the Chief Design Engineer with Commonwealth Aircraft. After 40 years as company President, Glenn Martin retired (but remained as Board Chairman) and Chester C. Pearson became president. Other airline Chief Engineers included Charles Froesch
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of Eastern and Jack Herlihy of United (Herlihy was the Chief Engineer for TAT 1928-1930) who were investigating, or negotiating for, a DC-3 replacement. TWA, Eastern and United were the three major airlines that had not made orders to replace their DC-3s. The choice had narrowed to the Martin, with a modified wing and a longer cabin (4 additional passengers), which would be pressurized, or the CV240. All three agreed that the CV240 wing was too small and the flaps were inefficient, which made the stall warning characteristics questionable for operating or maneuvering into small airports. The CV240 was faster in cruise, but the major difference was the M2o2 had a 7 mph less stall speed and its minimum airspeed before buffeting occurred was 25 mph less in the clean (flaps up) configuration and 20 mph less with 12 degrees flaps. Cohu stood adamant against any major changes...there was an ample supply of orders from other customers, as is. According to Bob Rummel, Martin and Convair were making proposals and counterproposals, many of which were minimal or little change. The problem was that the claim for better and better performance by both companies was with no change in design or operating limits. This he reported to Howard Hughes. Hughes suggested a series of competitive tests between the two aircraft, the results would be a secret between the three companies involved. The conditions of the demonstration flights, to be held at Hughes' Airport (Culver City, Ca), were agreed upon: A Martin pilot (George Rodney) would fly their plane with a Convair man as copilot; and a Martin copilot would be with Bob Loomis flying the Convair. Other representatives of the 3 companies would be in the cockpit (or cabin) observing. According to George Rodney, he and the plane spent about 6 weeks with the tests that included a number of extra demonstration flights with Hughes. He also told how Loomis on two occasions almost lost the Convair due to a high angle and excessive yaw on a single-engine takeoff (engine cut at V-2). Ralph Damon (himself a pilot) was reported to have had the "hell scared out of him" on one such demonstration. TWA (and Hughes) favored the Martin, and Martin needed the contract. They also needed orders for a minimum of 100 airframes to break even. It was an "on again off again" situation and on three occasions a tentative agreement was cancelled. Finally, Hughes phoned Eastern's President, "Eddie" Rickenbacker, and an agreement was made for the necessary orders. A new Martin plane, dubbed the 404, was tentatively ordered by TWA (and also by Eastern), which would incorporate all of the features or modifications requested by the two airlines. These included a longer cabin (4o-passenger) that was pressurized and numerous other improvements over the 202. A new flight test and CAA certification program would be required. A premature announcement was made to the TWA stockholders in the 1949 annual report (the final contract was not signed until 2/22/50, TWA was still negotiating with Convair): TWA ordered 30 Martin 404S (later increased to 40) at a cost of about $500,000 each. The price for a 2-engine Martin Liner had more than doubled in 3 years. In late-1946 the price for a 202 was $204,000 and by mid-1947 it was $247,000. The price for a new 202A was $408,000. Pending the certification and deliveries of the M4o4, twelve Model 2o2A's would be leased, with an option to buy. The 202A was a modified 202 (still not pressurized), and did not require a new CAA certification. Among the improvements were a heavier wing and fuselage structure, a better cabin
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heating system, increased fuel capacity (350 gallons) and an increase in the maximum operating weight. Another improvement was to use the P&W R2800-CB-16 engines, which ran a lot cooler than the CB-18 series with the same horsepower (2,400). Apparently TWA figured their pilots on the Martin would never be in the air long enough on any one leg to get tired: the autopilot was not ordered. Soon after TWA's order was announced, Eastern announced their order for 6o of the 404's. Howard Hughes also ordered one. NOTE: Very special thanks go to Bob Rummel for all of his help and suggestions with the first part of this series (any technical errors are my fault in copying or ignorance of the subject). Also to Brooks Johnston (President of RAPA) and a number of former NWA pilots with their input, and George Rodney (Martin pilot). How do you replace the venerable DC-3?
The Answer: MARTIN 404 SPECIFICATIONS Wingspan: 93 ft. 3 in. Length: 74 ft. 7 in. Height: 28 ft. 5 in. Wing Area:864 sq. ft. Empty Wt.:29,129 lbs. Loaded Wt.: 44,900 lbs. Max. Speed:312 mph @ 14,500 ft. Cruise Speed: 28o mph @ 18,000 ft. Climb: 1,905 fpm (initial) Range: 1,080 miles Powerplant: 2 - Pratt & Whitney R-2800 CB-16 Double Wasp engines, 2400 hp each.
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THE MARTINS 1950-1951 by Ed Betts ' A NOTE BY THE AUTHOR: Before continuing with the Martin story I d like to make an explanation of what is to follow. About 200 pilots and former members of the TWA engineering, overhaul and maintenance departments helped me with the input by letters, tapes and phone calls. After about 40 years since these events took place, many confessed to a hazy recollection as to an exact date (many logbooks are buried deep in an attic or have been disposed of) so this probably will not be in a chronological order. It will be an estimate on my part as to where this fits in with the Martin story. Also, quite a number of the pilots almost apologized that they could not help with the input or stories; they spent hundreds, or thousands, of hours flying the Martins with a routine operation. With a few exceptions, the consensus was that the M4o4 (not necessarily the 2o2A) with the P&W R28000B-16 engine was a great airplane to fly, a challenge and lots of fun (when everything was working according to the Flight Operations Manual). All of immediate postWWII commercial aircraft or engines had many initial "bugs"; the Martins, in the early stages, had more than their share. (Ed Betts) The first part of the Martin story began in the May 1989 ` Topics' with a review of what aircraft and engines were available or proposed to the airlines in the post-WWII years. TWA's choice of a twin-engine aircraft to replace the DC-3 for short haul flights had narrowed down to the Martin or Convair. Martin had proposed a larger version of their Model 202 (40 passengers), which would be pressurized; Convair already had their Model 240 in production. Both airplanes used the new P&W R2800 engines, which were rated (wet) at 2,400 hp. Howard Hughes requested a series of competitive demonstration flights between the two companies and the results were to be a secret between the three parties involved. A Model 202 Martin, similar to one currently in use by NWA, but with modifications, was used to simulate the Model 404. A major modification was a new step splice, or joint, which connected the two outer wing panels to the center or main spar.
A NWA 202 crashed on 8/29/48, in a thunderstorm or turbulent conditions, when an outer wing panel broke at this joint. Investigation found several of NWA's 202S had evidence of metal fatigue or minute cracks in this critical area. The immediate fix was a modified and beefed up joint, but the stigma had already been created that the Martin was a "jinxed" airplane. TWA's engineers, headed by Bob Rummel, were satisfied the new joint would be as safe as any airframe currently designed. The Convair outperformed the Martin in many categories, such as speed with the same power and weight, but the Martin was far superior with the single engine flight performance on takeoff (at 44,900 lbs). It also had a lower stall speed (or warning of same) in all configurations of flaps and gear. TWA considered this important for operating in or out of airports with short runways. An agreement was signed on 2/22/50, for the purchase of 30 aircraft. Eastern, at the same time, ordered 6o. Howard Hughes ordered one and the US Coast Guard two (in 8/51 TWA increased its order to 40, bringing the total orders to 103, which was the break-even number for Martin to possibly make a profit). Pending delivery of TWA's order, a separate agreement was made for Martin to build and lease to TWA (with an option to buy) 12 of the modified 202 (36-passenger) version, dubbed the 202A. This model did not require a new CAA Type Certificate and deliveries of all 12 were promised within a few months. It was not pressurized. The CB-16 engine was brand new to the industry when they went on the TWA M202A. This engine had a new type of forged cylinder head, a 3" wider
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impeller that gave it much better altitude performance than its predecessors. The Martin engine cooling was far superior to that of the later-Model Convair 340, which resulted in lower cylinder head temperatures and better altitude performance than the same engine on the Convair. Also, with the introduction of the low-tension ignition system there were fewer problems with a rough engine. Two weeks after the agreements were made another NWA 202 suffered a fatal crash on ' 0 3/7/5 , while making an approach to MSP. It was at night with a 900 ceiling and visibility 1/2 to 3/4 with fog and blowing snow. The wind was down the runway at 27mph with gusts to 40. What was known about the accident was that the plane was 128' below the ILS glide path and 650' left of the localizer when it struck a well-lighted flagpole, tried to go around and about 3.8 miles from the field the left wing panel separated. The subsequent CAB investigation found no fault with the airplane's structural integrity, particularly in the area of the joint (the flagpole hit the wing outboard of this area). The NWA pilots did not agree with the "probable cause" (pilot error). As far as the veteran passenger knew, from what he read in the papers, a wing had fallen off another NWA Martin 202, and he chose to fly in a DC-3 (or other aircraft) or take the train. TWA' s (Howard Hughes) choice of the Martin created a great deal of apprehension among the `junior' pilots who would be flying the airplane in spite of assurances that all of the structural problems were corrected. TWA's engineers submitted their specifications, which included numerous improvements over the 202. Jack LeClaire, who had an engineering background, worked on the cockpit specifications, which included instrument locations and lighting arrangements. As worked progressed at the factory Don Crowley and Mark Antes, from the ground school training, attended NWA's 202 classes and then were briefed by Martin at the Baltimore plant on the 202A differences. A team of maintenance instructors, headed by John McNelley, was checked out by Martin and P&W. Bert Cooper was in charge of Flight Training. Starting 7/25/50, and continuing through 3/1/51, a series of "Martin Grams" (bulletins) were periodically issued to the pilots and certain ground personnel describing the aircraft, engines and other pertinent information. Deliveries were ahead of schedule and TWA accepted the first plane on 7/14/50. Jack LeClaire made the acceptance tests. Bert Cooper and Martin Chief Test Pilot, Pat Tibbs delivered it to MKC. The plane was unpainted except for TWA's usual TWA red stripes and the logo of that circa. The delivery schedule was now: 4 aircraft in July, 4 in August and 4 in September. TWA announced that scheduled flights would begin on 9/1/50. In the interim the "Buddy Club" (Flight Instructors) were checked out which included (alphabetically): Dick Colburn, Joe Imeson, Fritz Jenkins, Al Knudsen, Andy Lundin , Max Parkinson, Gale Storck, Roy Thrush, Busch Voigts and Bronson White. There were some pretty senior supervisor pilots ( MKC based) giving line time such as Earl Fleet, Howard Hall and Les Munger. The course was one week of ground school and 8 hours of transition (3 landings for a copilot) followed by 30 hours line time with a supervisor. For the DC-3 pilot it was quite a transition to the tricycle gear Martin that had nose wheel steering, reversible props and numerous other modern features. Some described it as if flying a "pinball machine" with all of the warning lights and gadgets, switches and levers. For example: the DC-3 had 22 items on the `before starting engine' check list (at an origination), the Martin had 44. Before taking off with the Martin the fluxgate compasses had to be erected, the auto feather turned on and checked (and the manual feather), the usual run-up and mag check, after the flaps were lowered a check of engine in high blower, turn on the ADI and fuel pumps, turn off the cabin heater fan,
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put the cowl flaps in trail and "pour the coal to it". By contrast, the DC-3 pilots often made their engine run-up check while taxing, were ready to go at the end of the runway and, without slowing down (if cleared for takeoff), were on the roll as the copilot (hopefully) put the cowl flaps in trail. TWA, however, had confidence in their pilots, as the time allowed in the scheduled flying time for all flights was 5 minutes after leaving the gate to the time off; if over 5 minutes, the crew had to radio operations the reason for the delay (lo min for Connies or DC-4s). The ADI (Anti-Detonate Injection) was a mixture of water and alcohol which was used with the usual full-rich gas and air combination burning in the engine for cooling during takeoff or a goaround when maximum power was needed. With ADI, the engine was rated at 2400 hp, without it the maximum was 2,050 and there were weight restrictions company dispatch would have to ` ' compute. Basically, the max takeoff weight for the M202A was 43,000 lbs wet (using ADI ), 40,000 lbs dry. For landing it was 41,000 lbs wet and 40,000 lbs dry. Auto feather was probably the most controversial feature with the Martin as it had to be in operation for every takeoff (except to ferry the airplane for repairs by a special dispatch clearance, and no passengers or nonrevs). A number of questions were raised why the Wright BD (2500 hp) engine wasn't used without the necessity of auto feather. George Rodney, engineer and testpilot with Martin during the development stages of the 202, had this comment: The system created a lot of problems for the pilots and maintenance for quite a while after the 202AS were introduced; one engine feathering on takeoff because of a system malfunction rather than an engine failure. There were also a number of embarrassing minutes following the pre-takeoff check when the engine feathered. In order to restart the engine a mechanic had to be posted outside with a fire extinguisher (per a CAA regulation). S0000, there you sat, at the run up area waiting for a mechanic to arrive in a truck with the fire extinguisher and take his post while you started the engine again. The auto feather was turned off after lift off and a safe speed with the first power reduction, the ADI was turned off after reducing to climb power. A number of pilots confided that they never used auto feather unless there was a check pilot or CAA inspector aboard. As mentioned in the introductory article with regard to post WWII aircraft, the Martins had two revolutionary features (compared to the DC-3) for the pilots to consider during and approach and landing, or when the flaps were extended. One was the excellent center of gravity range (CG), which eliminated the usual restriction where the hostess moved passengers to empty seat areas for takeoff or landing. This was due to the horizontal stabilizer arrangement, which provided for automatic adjustment of the angle of incidence of the stabilizer with actuation of the wing flaps, thus, providing the best CG location during takeoff or landing. The TWA arrangement was quite an improvement over the original Martins that had a series of torque tubes connecting the flap drive system to the horizontal stabilizer. The old torque tube system was located under the cabin floor and was very noisy when operating. It was subject to breaking at an inopportune time for the pilot, leaving him with a very out-of-trim situation with the elevator controls. TWA's system eliminated the torque tubes and used a combination electrical and mechanical system to adjust the stabilizer. On the 404 there was a red warning light on the forward panel to alert if the flaps and stabilizer were out of phase. Both the Model 202A and 404 had aileron boost. Elias LeBoeuf (engineering) told about an early problem with this system. "The variable incidence stabilizer, operated by an electric motor, had a habit of freezing up during winter operations which rendered the stabilizer inoperative at the worst possible moment. We finally corrected the problem by ventilating the motor and controls to the fuselage and covering the mechanism with a rubber
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boot. The main cabin heaters were always becoming inoperative when flying in to icing conditions. This was finally corrected by replacing the combustion air pressure regulator with a ventilated type." Both model Martins had a built-in protection for the wing flaps which prevented them from lowering above certain airspeeds (or they would retract if this speed was exceeded) such as takeoff (12.5 degrees) was 165 kts, approach (24 degrees) 130 kts and landing (45 degrees) 105 kts. The minimum landing speed at the max weight, with full flaps and 50' over the approach end of the runway was 90 kts. It was the during the transition from approach to landing speeds when a number of pilots had their ego broken...if they were too fast the flaps weren't in the position selected, and when they did slow down the flaps extended which cause a higher nose attitude and a series of "balloon" type landings or bounces. As Ben Young aptly described it..."the Martin was not an airplane you flew, you aimed it. On final approach you put the end of the runway 3/4 of the way up in the windshield and aimed it until touchdown, then on with the gust lock." The Martins were accepted and introduced during the summer and fall months when there was not much occasion to fly in icing conditions. Another feature new to the TWA pilots was the hot air system for anti-icing the leading edges of the wings and tail. The pilots were used to the inflatable rubber boot system for de-icing. There will be much more to follow on this subject when discussing the winter operations and the M4o4. The Martin was designed for a fast ground time at intermediate stops. The passengers would load by the rear steps while the ground service personnel utilized the forward door. If refueling was needed (and the equipment available) the plane had an under wing system which eliminated the need for ladders and climbing around in freezing weather (the standard over wing fueling was also available). This almost developed into a tragedy on 8/30/50, when Gene Fox (later a maintenance instructor) was refueling for a pilot check operating from the KCK overhaul base. After unhooking the nozzle from the wing it was carried to the bumper of the fuel truck. The pump engine was engaged to supply power to reel in the hose and, at that time, some 8 gallons of gas poured out on the pump engine and it was ignited. He was able to disengage the clutch and stop the flow of fuel, but the fire had burned his hands, neck, face and ear. The truck suffered some damage, but not the plane, as his lead man extinguished the fire and drove the truck away. Gene was hospitalized for 8 days plus a month recovering from the burns. Following this incident TWA came up with a new procedure that required a check of the nozzle with a screwdriver, after it was removed, which assured it was completely closed. Later, a nozzle was perfected that eliminated this check. Prior to the inaugurating of service a series of publicity and demonstration flights were made to the stations (all east of MKC) that would initially have Martin service. After the mechanics and ground service personnel were checked out there was the usual proving runs for the benefit of the CAA. Urb Kampsen, on dispatch duty at the time, told about John Collings' reaction to one, which was set up to go MKC to DCA with a fuel stop at CMH. John asked: "why the fuel stop? " When it was explained the plane didn't have the range to go nonstop he remarked: "What the hell kind of an airplane is this?" Dick Colburn and Dave Richwine flew one of the proving runs (MKC-LGAMKC) on 8/17-18/5o; another was flown by Ed Flynn and Floyd Valentine. There was little publicity given when service began...TWA President Ralph Damon was afraid the press would rehash some of the old NWA problems. Initially there were two daily flights (each direction) between MKC and LGA on 9/1/50 (I don 't know the inaugural crews other than Ed
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Flynn flew one MKC-MDW-PIT-LGA). By late September, with all 12 planes in the fleet, there were 5 daily departures from LGA and one from PHL. All went by way of PIT and from there 5 flights landed at CMH and DAY enroute to MDW (1), CVG (1), STL (2) and MKC (2). Eastbound there were the same originating stations and enroute stops to LGA and PHL. The shortest flight (63 miles, 30 min) was between CVG and DAY, the longest (420 miles, 2:15) from PIT to MDW. Total daily (scheduled) flying time for the fleet averaged 66* hours, which was flying time for about 30 bid captains. The pay for a full month (85 hrs 1/2 day, 1/2 night) for an 8-year captain was about $3,200 a month, the same for the DC-4. This compared to $1025 on the DC-3, $1,298 on the small Connies. Copilots still had no bid privileges (other than domicile and vacations) and were paid a maximum $570 monthly salary after 5 years (domestic). TWA initiated the "A" Plan retirement in May of 1950. TWA personnel had been well briefed on the problems NWA had experienced, which included cabin heater fires, control problems in icing conditions and hydraulic leaks. On 9/4/50, just three days after TWA inaugurated service; NWA suffered another serious accident although there were no injuries or fatalities. Brooks Johnson (our RAPA President) was on his first captain trip on the equipment and was getting line checked by Ira Bortles. It was a hot day and both pilots had their side windows open as the takeoff roll was started out of Billings, Montana. In a short time after
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accelerating rapidly the cockpit suddenly filled with smoke and Brooks attempted to abort (the runway had a 2 to 3 degree downward slope) about the halfway point). What had happened, and unknown to the crew, was that the hydraulic (mineral oil in those days) fitting in the emergency brake system (at the accumulator) failed and was squirting fluid on the inverter in the area creating the smoke (there was no fire). A letter from Brooks tells what occurred in the remaining seconds during the abort. The NWA problems with the 202 continued for the net four months. On 10/13/50, a training flight crashed near Alemelund, Minnesota, following the right propeller reversal enroute, killing all six aboard. On 11/7/50, 22 lives were lost when the plane crashed into a mountain during an approach to Butte, Montana. Snow showers were reported in the area of the crash and the plane hit about 30' below the crest of an 8,250' ridge. NWA voluntarily grounded its remaining fleet of 202 'S for a week to inspect all center wing sections, as there was possible turbulence associated with the weather. Another possible cause was the aileron controls as the plane had a reputation among the pilots for being "squirrelly " with certain icing conditions. The CAB accident report, issued 6/22/51, found no fault with the airplane and blamed the pilot and NWA's operating procedures. Their recommendations were more of an edict and effective (retroactive) to early 1951. The CAB ordered higher ceiling and visibility minimums. The establishment of a concentrated pilot training program for all pilots. A comprehensive inspection of all NWA aircraft. Limited operations to 150 miles for 2-engine aircraft (225 miles for 4-engine) unless an airport having higher weather minimums was available within such distances and restricted flight schedules to allow sufficient time to accomplish necessary maintenance. These were all temporary restrictions pending the pilot training program and aircraft inspection. However, the 202 ' s were out of the NWA operations by the time this edict was issued. On 1/16/51, a flight experienced a sudden loss of control in cruise and crashed near Reardon, Washington, killing all to aboard. The were no positive clues as to the probable cause other than the crew radioed "they were out of control and going in". The remaining fleet of planes were again grounded, however the NWA pilots had already announced they would never fly them again. They were parked until late in 1951, when they were either sold by or leased from NWA. During TWA's first winter with the 2o2A's there were numerous problems, either Mechanical or with icing conditions. In February 1951, John Collings issued an operations bulletin with an order that no flights would be dispatched into a known or forecasted area where icing conditions existed. I don't have many examples of the very early problems, but here are a few: Joe Bartling told of one with auto feather which gave him the best view ever at the "Rudy Patrick Monument to Grain and Seed" (I think this might be a grain elevator near the old KC airport). On another flight he could not maintain assigned altitude between MDW and DAY with METO power because ice had built up on the wings so fast that the "anti-ice" couldn't cope with it. Joe also told how the prop reversers were good for dispersing fog, if needed: He had taxied out from MDW one night, but the fog was too thick for takeoff. It was now so thick he couldn't see to return to the ramp, but by reversing the props he could blow about 20' or 30' of forward visibility and, gradually, through this sequence he crept back to the ramp before the tanks went dry. Joe also told how he once set a record by going through two engine starters on a very cold morning, when the oil congealed and they overheated. Bob Adickes told of an interesting trip (naturally it was at night and stormy) over Wheeling at 8,000' with the ice from the props banging on the fuselage.... with takeoff power he was barely able to maintain 105 kts until he was finally cleared to a lower and warmer altitude. PAGE 85 ... TARPA TOPICS
Ed Flynn told about a flight out of PIT when light buffeting occurred and the control wheel slowly started to roll to about the 45-degree position with the aircraft straight and level. All that could be observed on the wings were several streaks of ice behind the leading edges and ahead of the ailerons. On another flight he had taxied out of LGA during heavy wet snow. The wings and tail were glycoled and watched carefully. The wind was strong from the NW and he was facing 90 degrees to runway 3] while waiting takeoff clearance. When cleared to go another visual inspection was made (the temperature right at freezing) and soon after airborne he discovered the rudder wouldn't move. The LGA weather was worsening and the PIT weather was clear, so proceeded there...all the time trying to loosen the rudder. PIT maintenance found the entire left side of the fin and rudder covered with ice and the gap between was solid clear ice. It was necessary to use 50 gallons of the hot glycol to remove the ice. Dick Hempel was copilot with Will Knudsen one dark night and, after landing and reversing at Louisville, every light in the plane (including landing) went out. The 202A had all electrical items connected into one master circuit breaker. He also mentioned that things got so bad that ALPA Council 3 (KC) had an emergency meeting to consider grounding the airplane. Reggie Plumridge recalled how when TWA first got the 202A everyone, including himself, was afraid to fly in turbulence. One night between MDW and FTW he hit the worst turbulence he had ever been in (before or after) at a low altitude. Several times he lost control of the plane and couldn't read the instruments... but the airplane held together. One of the passengers sent a note to the cockpit to settle a bet that at one time the airplane was upside down. D.H. Smith checked out in 1/16/51, and told about one of his experiences after departing MKC on a night when the area was well infested with thunderstorms. He had been cleared to maintain 3,000 ' on an easterly heading. Upon reaching this required altitude for temporary separation, the power was reduced and the plane was performing exceptionally well...it continued to climb, even with the power off, the nose pointed down and the gear extended! This smooth, but rapid rise, continued until reaching 9,500' and then all hell broke loose with hail, heavy rain, moderate turbulence and lots of cloud-to-cloud lightning. The Martin performed admirably. TWA had one 202A damaged when it ran off the runway after landing at Louisville on 1/20/51. On 2/19/5] another 202A was damaged when the gear folded after the landing at DAY. TWA was experiencing a number of malfunctions with the warning system at the time. Stan Corey was copilot with Dale Fulton and sent a copy of his report at the time. Stan also told about another incident when he was copilot with Dale on 3/19/51, when they taxied through a lot of slush prior to departure on a flight from CVG to CMH. After takeoff the plane wanted to dive down and to the right when the flaps were retracted. By returning the flaps to the takeoff position, the problem was temporarily corrected. This was among many of the TWA pilot experiences with an unexplainable control problem due to an icing condition. The 3/1/51 "Martin Gram" told how the public was accepting the TWA Martins with great enthusiasm. They liked the convenience of being able to carry on and of their own baggage, the low noise level, the comfortable and spacious interiors, the high speed in the air and the reduced ground time at intermediate stops. It also named a few `annoying ` problems such as difficulties with the prop reversing mechanism (installing new blade switches), cabin heater difficulties (were being corrected by removing the combustion air blowers) and miscellaneous difficulties with such accessories as landing gear warning lights, the engine cowl flap mechanism, engine supercharger and carburetor system. Einar Einarson (Overhaul)
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explained about the gear warning problems, which were primarily with the nose gear because of the location of the position indicator switch box. Moisture collected in this area. When a suitable epoxy was developed this was sealed off. In the meantime the "pogo stick" was installed on the cockpit bulkhead and a hole was cut in the step up to the cockpit, which allowed a view of the lock mechanism pushing. If it was not locked the pilot used the stick to push the nose gear lock plunger to a down and locked position. Einar also told how TWA tried to soften the main gear struts, which were as stiff as two telephone poles, by installing a hydraulic damper piston in the drag strut assembly. As far as the pilots were concerned, the M202A had a very stiff gear. As mentioned before, the joint (or splice) that connected the outer wing panels to the main spar were of major concern to pilots who flew the Martins. TWA did not have a failure at this joint during the entire tenure of the Martin fleet, but it did cause extra inspection and care by the overhaul base. John Rouche, Structural Engineer at KCK, told about this. John also told of a serious flaw discovered early with the 202A, the upper engine mount attach bolt. The mount was somewhat unconventional in that it had only 3 attach points to the firewall. TWA experienced one failure of this bolt during a landing (don't know the pilot or place), fortunately the plumbing and cables provided enough support to allow the pilot to taxi to the terminal where the unusual droop was discovered. The bolt was found to have suffered some corrosion and a fatigue failure. The fix involved reaming, a larger bolt and more frequent inspection periods. "Murphy's Law" prevailed on one occasion; fortunately the takeoff was aborted before any damage was done. The 15-gallon ADI tank and 15-gallon alcohol tank were installed in opposite wing fillets; there was always concern that a switch in service would happen, and it did happen at MKC. On the takeoff roll when the ADI cut in the engines torched badly along with a very noticeable drop in power, which led to the abort. A letter from Bill Murphey summed up the situation at the time. He checked out as c/p in August of 1950. Later he tried to drop his qualification on the 202A because the airplane had such as bad reputation (NWA problems). On the day his landings (3 in 90 days) expired he was assigned a trip, refused to take it and was fired by his Chief Pilot, Jim Eischied. Thanks to the efforts of Ray Johnson, Ed Breen and others, he was "unfired" the same day. About the same time the pilots appealed to the MEC for help with regard to the Martin problems and possible corrective action. Many of the MEC members were flying the Martins at the time so there was little problem getting their support. A committee of Bob Buck, Bob Adickes and Bill Murphey was formed to make an investigation and a report. They went directly to Martin and were surprised to learn from their engineering staff that many serious uncorrected problems still existed on TWA's aircraft. Following the committee's report the MEC held a special meeting to discuss the TWA pilot stand as a possible boycott or refusal to fly the Martin was under consideration. A letter from Floyd Hall describes what transpired: As a result of this meeting a joint TWA-ALPA committee of Bob Buck, Joe Bartles and Arne Lundberg was appointed who would make an independent investigation and report on the Martin situation. Bob added how Arne's engineering background was valuable to this effort. They made recommendations for about 6o modifications. Ralph Damon promised full company support. Starting in March of 1950, there had been many changes in TWA ' s fleet when the first of 28 L749A Connies were delivered. The five Stratoliners were sold and DC-4 's were shifting from the International Division to Domestic. Many of the pilots were qualified on all of the equipment: DC-3, DC-4, Martin and the three models of the Constellation. It wasn 't easy to keep
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current with the required three takeoffs and landings every 90 days. Due for delivery in 1952 was the new "super" L1049 model, which would require a separate rating. The new equipment hadn't increased the pilot ranks as the DC-3's were phasing out. There had been furloughs and many of those hired as late as July of 1948 never returned. Hiring resumed again on 5/14/51 and a total of 85 copilots were added during 1951, making a total of 1,041 on the system. "Dutch" Holloway ' was #1, and junior man was Vern Laursen, hired 11/26/51. Vern was also TWA s youngest pilot as he was the last to reach age 60 (February 1987). The first M4o4 test hop was on 7/11/51, by "Pat" Tibbs. Also under test was a new "white top" paint job for TWA. If it proved satisfactory the L1049's would be delivered with the same motif and the current fleet of Connies and Martins painted as they came through overhaul. A month later TWA announced that it had increased the order for the M4o4 from 30 to 40 aircraft. However, the KCK overhaul base received a severe blow on 7/13/51, when the rampaging Missouri and Kaw Rivers overflowed the dikes protecting the airport and flooded the area. There were 11 TWA planes in for overhaul and 6 were hastily prepared to evacuate. One 202A was among those unable to fly and was damaged. Clarence Kulp with a Connie (a mechanic was copilot) flew the last plane to escape...just ahead was Glen Knudsen (also with a mechanic as copilot) flying a Martin. The runway was very wet and, according to Clarence, the 202A used all of the runway and, just at lift off, one engine had a big backfire. He thought they had "bought the farm", but it was a successful evacuation. John Collings had issued an order that nobody was to take any chances by ferrying planes out of the already flooded airport. Later, according to Urb Kampsen, crew records requested the names of the pilots...Urb filled in "Smiths" for the unknown copilots. When Collings looked over the reports he remarked that there were a lot of "Smiths" with the airline, and with a smile complimented all for a job well done. Bob Buck included a copy of a letter Ralph Damon sent the 3 committee members, which illustrates the company cooperation at the time. This is dated 8/21/51: The TWA pilots had been stalemated with contract negotiations since early 1950. Karl Ruppenthal was MEC Chairman; negotiating were Dave Kuhn, Fred Austin, John Murphy and Dick Ruble. On 10/]]/5], a contract was finally signed that had many of the senior pilots complaining that they were "sold down the river". Copilots (after 2 years) had full bidding privileges and they were on increment pay (the same base scale as captains + 48% of the applicable flight pay). Copilots were no longer considered temporary apprentices...it could be (and was) years in the right seat for a $10 large number. Although there was no big increase for the Captains, all pilots received a flat a month retroactive pay. The M4O4 received its CAA certification in October and a month later the first plane was accepted and delivered by Jack LeClaire (Jack accepted 11 of the 2O2A and 36 " " of TWA's 4O4s) to MKC. The TWA ground school and Buddy Club were more than just busy with all of the training: new copilots, 749A Connies, qualifying pilots new to the Martins (both models), checking out those already qualified on 404 differences, copilots or pilots who were bidding different equipment (or transferring to or from International) and the usual semi-annual proficiency checks. TWA had 12 M4o4s by the end of 1951; the remaining 28 were due by June of 1952. Both TWA and EAL planned to inaugurate service in mid-January of 1952. One important test flight by "Pat" Tibbs was witnessed by a group that included Floyd Hall, Bob Buck and Bob Adickes from ALPA. The TWA representatives included Clarence Robey, Jack LeClaire, Russel Rourke and Gordon Granger. This was to demonstrate a single-engine takeoff with
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a maximum gross weight of 44,900 lbs. The original certified weight was 43,750, but the M404 received a new certification by the CAA. ALPA wasn 't convinced, particularly if the temperature and humidity factors were considered at a high elevation airport. On the day of the tests it was 92 degrees with a high humidity at Baltimore. On the takeoff roll the engine was cut at Vi (the point of the decision to abort or continue), it auto feathered and, according to several of the men observing from the ground, with little climb staggered around for a landing. Bob Buck remarked: "A brave guy indeed!". Russ Rourke had been with P&W during WWII as a service engineer and came to TWA in 1945 as a planner (in later years was VP-System Planning). He had observed the first takeoff and reported the takeoff distance to V] and initial climb was acceptable, but from there on it was marginal. On he next flight he sat in the jump seat and reported it wasn't as frightening from the air; for more altitude it would be necessary to use full takeoff power (with water injection) instead of METO. However, the CAA wouldn't go for the additional time (more than the 2 minute maximum) without increasing the water injection tankage. The pilot group wouldn't go along with the increase in weight (and certain company reps were in agreement) and TWA operated the M4O4 at the 43,650 max during its entire tenure with the company. Eastern, however, operated theirs at the CAA maximum 44,9 00. It should be noted that Eastern didn't operate out of some mile-high airports such as ABQ. If compared to today's jumbo jet weights this 1,250 lbs difference appears trivial, but it was important to TWA's marketing as it could mean the difference of 7 or 8 passengers if a high fuel load was necessary for a flight, or it could be a restriction for "fueling through " at an intermediate stop. The alternative would be a maximum of 5 minutes (3 of them dry) at full takeoff power. The Martin design permitted excellent engine cooling compared to other commercial aircraft of that era. Norm Parmet, Power Plant Engineer (later VPEngineering) told about TWA tests to have this raised to a 5 minute limit. Norm was no stranger to the Martin aircraft; he was a B-26 pilot in WWII. I am not certain of the timing, but Norm Parmet had the task of correcting the auto feather problems during the early stages of the M202A. The system pickup was mounted on the front of the engine and was a hydraulically operated device connected to the engine torque meter system. A hydraulic line was connected to this device and routed over the cylinders to the rear of the engine, where the hydraulic signal was converted to a signal to feather the prop in the event the pressure in the line dropped below a certain value. TWA had a number of cases where the external line froze causing an auto feather to occur. The correction was to change the line where it connected to the pickup on the front of the engine. It was rerouted to the base of the cylinders where the surroundings were much warmer. Later, the line was replaced with one having an electrically heated blanket and the problem went away never to reappear. Russ Rourke also included an observation about stall characteristics. I realize a lot of this is technical, but it certainly helps describe what we were flying back in those days. Quoting Russ: It was not exactly "Murphy's Law", but one incident was certain to happen, and it did happen on 12/8/51, when a M4o4 training flight landed at St. Joseph, Missouri with the gear up. It was often the practice by the instructor on a transition flight to disarm the aural warning in the cockpit that the gear wasn't down and locked when the power was reduced with the flaps extended. The loud horn could be a distraction when practicing stalls or other maneuvers where the gear was not required to be lowered. Roy Thrush was the instructor pilot during a training flight when the gear should have been down; nobody, including another pilot in the jump seat, realized the mistake until it was too late and a smooth belly landing was made. The training procedures were changed PAGE 90 ... TARPA TOPICS
and the aural warning system was not to be deactivated. George Falkner and Dick Hempel were pilots on one of the M4o4 proving runs from MKC to DCA and return; both men wrote me their reflections about the trip and I will try to combine their accounts...it was a lulu! The load was about 15 observers; half were CAA and the others from TWA or Martin. Ceilings were 200' to 400' with fog and freezing rain from STL east. About half way to STL, the antiicers were turned on. They didn't work, so they returned to MKC for a plane change. It was later determined the wiring was backwards so the systems could not operate. No problem on the second attempt to STL, but Terre Haute was below limits on the next leg so proceeded to IND. Dayton was the next stop, but it was below limits so proceeded to CMH. However, over DAY the cabin compressor broke which required an emergency decent enroute to CMH. The next stop, Wheeling, was below limits so the flight was cancelled for the night. The next morning it was off again to DCA. The weather was fair. However, when taxiing out, it was discovered the flight controls were still locked with the unlocking lever swung aside. A Martin rep on board, Phil D'Ambarogi, was summoned to the cockpit and he tore down the side panel and re-adjusted the mechanical levers which locked the controls... another delay, and on to DCA. Next day they returned (same route, the weather good), but leaving DAY they had a red gear nose light after retraction. They cycled the gear several times and, in any position, the light remained on. George decided to proceed direct to MKC. The passengers were briefed for a possible gear collapse after landing. This included removing the emergency exits (windows) which made the cabin very noisy and cold, the passengers cinching the seatbelts tight and bending over with a pillow on top of their knees during the landing and the emergency equipment standing by. The landing was without incident. The CAA approved TWA with the M4o4, although they did frown on the Martin man fixing the lock controls instead of a TWA mechanic. It was later determined a 25 micro switch was the fault with the gear warning light. Another note by the author: this second "chapter" about the Martins has been a rather negative description of what was basically a fine airplane (and engine) and probably too technical (I'd like to take the CAA written exam again). There were more than the usual teething "bugs" experienced when a new airplane was introduced. Much credit goes to our ALPA representatives, TWA engineers, maintenance (and instructors), check pilots and the line pilots for making the airplane "airworthy". A great deal was learned the hard way, by experience. Also, many thanks to the TARPA members who answered with their help...I didn't have a chance to answer each of you personally. More of your input is to follow. I had a lot of help from many other sources, including (alphabetically): Bob Adams (Electronics), Marc Antes and Warren Berg (ground school), John Bing, Einar Einersson, Gene Fox, Harry Gann (Douglas Aircraft), Keith Hagy (ALPA Engineer.), Brooks Johnson (NWA), Elias LeBoeuf, Lee Maupin, Norm Parmet, Les Patt, Jon Proctor, John Rouche, Russ Rourke and Bob Rummel.
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Martin 404 engine cowling blew off in flight, note the dent on the outer wing panel.
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Published on Jan 28, 2010