TWA ACTIVE RETIRED PILOTS ASSOCIATION
60TH ANNIVERSARY TWA INTERNATIONAL SERVICE 1946 - 2006
Give us a hand, pay your dues!
CONTENTS TARPA TOPICS THE MAGAZINE OF THE TWA ACTIVE RETIRED PILOTS ASSOCIATION
MILAN LAYOVER by Al Mundo
by Barry Schiff
SFO ‘06 MOVIE TOUR by Jeff Hill, Sr.
I’LL QUIT TOMORROW 43 by Clyde Nixon
by Bob Buck
AROUND THE WORLD FLIGHT
John P. Gratz
GRAPEVINE Gene Richards
by Barry Schiff
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
TWA ACTIVE RETIRED PILOTS ASSOCIATION
TOPICS is an official publication of TARPA, a non-profit corporation. The Editor bears no responsibility for accuracy or unauthorized use of contents.
60TH ANNIVERSARY TWA INTERNATIONAL SERVICE 1946 - 2006
Cover Credits: Marc Brecy, Patrick Chateau, Jon Proctor, and Dan McIntyre.
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EDITOR ASSOCIATE EDITOR GRAPEVINE EDITOR FLOWN WEST COORDINATOR INTERNET WEBMASTER
John P. Gratz 1646 Timberlake Manor PPkwy Chesterfield, MO 63017-5500 (636) 532-8317 firstname.lastname@example.org David R. Gratz 1034 Carroll St. Louis, MO 63104 (314) 241-9353 email@example.com Gene Richards 2840B Sherwood Ave Modesto, CA 95350 (209) 492-0391 firstname.lastname@example.org John S. Bybee 2616 Saklan Indian Drive #1 Walnut Creek, CA 94595 (925)938-3492 email@example.com Jack Irwin 2466 White Stable Road Town and Country, MO 63131 ( 314) 432-3272 firstname.lastname@example.org
OFFICERS AND DIRECTORS, 2005 - 2006 PRESIDENT FIRST VICE-PRESIDENT SECOND VICE PRESIDENT SECRETARY/TREASURER SENIOR DIRECTOR DIRECTOR DIRECTOR INTERNET WEBMASTER PAST-PRESIDENT DIRECTOR OF HOSPITALITY EDITOR
Guy A. Fortier Box 6065 Incline Village, NV 89450 (775) 831-3040 email@example.com William A. Kirschner Box 3596 State Line, NV 89449-3596 (775) 588-4223 firstname.lastname@example.org Dusty West 7031 NW Cosby Dr. Kansas City, MO 64151-1605 (816) 741-8697 email@example.com Ed Madigan P.O. Box3565 Incline Village, NV 89450 (775) 831-1265 firstname.lastname@example.org Robert C. Sherman 1201 Phelps Ave. San Jose, CA 95117 (408) 246-7754 email@example.com Rockney Dollarhide #1Riverside Farm Dr. Crescent, MO 63025 (636) 938-4727 firstname.lastname@example.org William Kientz 14981 Chateau Village Chesterfield, MO 63017-7701 (636) 527-5134 email@example.com Jack Irwin 2466 White Stable Rd. Town and Country, MO 63131 (314) 432-3272 firstname.lastname@example.org Charles L. Wilder 122 Wild Dunes Way Jackson, NJ 08527-4058 (732) 833-2205 email@example.com Robert W. Dedman 3728 Lynfield Drive Virginia Beach, VA 23452 (757) 463-2032 firstname.lastname@example.org John P. Gratz 1646 Timberlake Manor Pkwy Chesterfield, MO 63017-5500 636) 532-8317 email@example.com
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PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE KUDOS to all who provided a truly outstanding convention, September 22-25 in beautiful San Francisco...to Charlie Wilder and Vicki McGowen, who set up the Westin St. Francis as our convention site.. .to Tom and Jeannie Standifur and their convention committee for producing an exciting selection of tours, and all the background registration volunteers. Special thanks also to Ed Madigan, who handled all the financial matters and collected the registration forms...in addition to his regular duties as Treasurer, Bob Dedman and Dedi Young, along with their crew handled the sometimes frantic Hospitality Bar, which everyone seemed to enjoy. The Board of Directors held their meeting on Thursday, the 21st before the convention began... and were able to report their progress to the General Membership Meeting. At that Membership Meeting, a slate of new officers was presented and voted in by the members in attendance. To my surprise, I was selected to succeed Charlie as your new President...but don’t worry, in truth we just played musical chairs. Everyone is still on the Board...just with new titles. The one exception is the addition of Dusty West as your new Second Vice-President...we welcome Dusty and his lovely wife Lee to the Board...they have been involved with TARPA and our conventions for some time...and will be valuable members. On to the future...the board has approved a seven day cruise out of Long Beach, CA., to the Mexican Riviera, October 14th thru 21st, 2007. The ship is the Royal Caribbean “Vision of the Seas”...sister ship to the “Grandeur of the Seas” we cruised on in 2004. Details are in an article in this issue by Vicki McGowen, and registration forms are available from her now. We have mostly balconies... but sign up early for good selection. One final thought...those of you who attended the convention, let any of your friends who didn’t, know what a good time they missed. And be on the lookout for anyone not a member to join... just supply a name and address to me, Ed Madigan, or any other board member, and we will take it from there.
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EDITOR’S NOTE With this November 2006 issue of TARPA TOPICS we complete ten years of labor designed to maintain the traditions of TWA and its pilots. This milestone makes us the longest serving in the twenty-seven year history of TARPA TOPICS since it was organized as the TWA Active Retired Pilots Association in 1979. It has been a time of many emotional events as our airline and our industry suffered from many tragedies. For TWA it was a time of downsizing and pay cuts, Icahn and his vicious dismantling of our proud heritage. It was a time of great loss of friends and fellow employees on Flight 800 and finally the bitter end of TWA when it was taken over by American. All of those things, and much more of our history from the past, some good some bad, have been recalled in the pages of TARPA TOPICS. The covers of this issue reminds us of the glory days after World War II and the start-up of TWA’s International Service in 1946. For fifty-five years TWA flew to the Continents of Asia, Africa and Europe from North America. For a time, TWA offered Round the World flights. During most of those years, TWA and PanAm were the two airlines that dominated all international service. In this issue, we have a story about a flight around the world by Barry Schiff, a new contributor to TOPICS, but a prolific writer in many other publications. Barry also sent a story of interest for us called, “High Flight.” Jeff Hill describes one of the tours at the San Francisco Convention, and he also sends another page on his TOPICS CD project. Clyde Nixon describes the origins of the Special Health Program that he organized for TWA its pilots and other employees in 1973. Ona Gieschen sent us her story of the beginnings and early history of our Flight Engineer crewmembers. We reprint with permission, Bob Buck’s article in Air Line Pilot that celebrated the 75th Anniversary of ALPA. Wise words from a legendary aviator. Our normal Departments, Reports, Grapevine and Flown West are included, as well as a sneak preview of our 2007 Cruise Convention in October. Our Convention Specialist Vicki McGowen sent us that page. As usual, we solicit all of our Members and friendly readers to contribute their own stories and recollections so that TARPA TOPICS can continue to provide the glue needed to keep us all together. We represent millions of untold stories and thousands of individuals. Its time for you to share your piece of our history.
Photos in this issue of TOPICS courtesy of: Marc Brecy, Lou Burns, Patrick Chateau, Dan McIntyre and Barry Schiff PAGE ... TARPA TOPICS
SECRETARY/TREASURER REPORT AUGUST 31, 2006 As of August 31, 2006 the membership is as follows:
(R) Retired: (A) Active: (E) Eagle: (H) Honorary: TOTAL:
832 61 529 201 1,623
There are also 44 subscribers to Topics and 10 who receive complimentary copies. We have added ten new members since the last Topics. They are listed later in this issue. Following is the financial report for the period from January 1, 2006 thru August 31, 2006: 1/1/2006: Opening Balance Income Expenses Cash Flow
$55,290.29 $54,932.49 $42,668.02 $12,264.47
As mentioned above we have ten new members, but would like more. Please contact your TWA pilot friends and ask that they join us in future events. They can contact me or go on the web site at www.tarpa.com to get an application.
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We just completed a great convention in San Francisco. Plans are now being made for our 2007 convention to be held aboard the “Vision of the Seas”. We will be departing out of Los Angeles on October 14th, returning October 21, 2007. Hope to see you aboard. Respectfully Submitted,
NEW MEMBERS Charlie Anderson (Donna) 9 Beaver St. San Francisco, CA 94114 firstname.lastname@example.org
Alec Hodgins (Jeanne) 1014 Dorcey Dr. Incline Village, NV 89451 email@example.com
Sidney R. Norris (Carolyn) 140 Consolation Church Rd. Whitesburg, GA 30185 firstname.lastname@example.org
Bill Amundson (Marie) 120 E. 36TH St New York, NY 10016 email@example.com
Robert D. Mitchell (Patti) 80618 Prestwick Pl. Indio, CA 92201 firstname.lastname@example.org
Bennie Clay 2093 Fort Halifax St. Henderson, NV 89052 email@example.com
Thomas W. Higgins (Sharron) 2462 Glen Canyon Rd. SCOTTS VALLEY, VA 95066 firstname.lastname@example.org
Richard P. Siano 10 Augusta Dr. Annandale, NJ 08801-1605 email@example.com
Ray Rotge (Beverly) 6494 Bennett Valley Rd. Santa Rosa, CA 95404 firstname.lastname@example.org
Art Porzio (Carol) 280 El Portal Way SanN Jose, CA 95119 email@example.com
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TARPA BUSINESS MEETING MINUTES September 25, 2006 Westin-St. Francis San Francisco I.
Call to Order
President Wilder called the meeting to order promptly at 8:30 a.m. Directors present were: Charlie Wilder, Guy Fortier, Ed Madigan, Bob Sherman, John Gratz and Bob Dedman. II.
Pledge of Allegiance
Reading of the “Flown West Members” by senior director Bob Sherman. III.
President Wilder in his opening remarks thanked the convention and hospitality committee’s for a job very well done at the 2006 San Francisco convention. Congratulations were extended to R. C. Downing and Rudy Truesdale on reaching their 100th birthday this year. Thank you to Community America Credit Union for their donation of $3500.00 to help pay for our final banquet. President Wilder sent a floral bouquet to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the TWA/UAL collision over the Grand Canyon. President Wilder was also present and presented a bouquet while in attendance at the 10th anniversary of the TWA FLT. 800 disaster held in Long Island. Capt. Jeff Hill was thanked for his excellent work in producing the CD-ROM of “TARPA Topics” and for his monetary contributions to TARPA. IV.
A. Vice-President Guy Fortier along with Convention Planner Vicki McGowen gave a presentation on the Mexican Rivera Cruise to be held October 14 - 21 out of Los Angeles. Both Nashville, TN and Branson, MO are under consideration for the 2008 convention. Please make your choice known to the BOD to help in their decision. B. Treas. /Sec Ed Madigan reported TARPA was in good financial shape with approx $68,000 in the bank. PAGE ... TARPA TOPICS
Please update your address changes as soon as possible to continue to receive “TARPA TOPICS” in a timely manner. It is each members responsibility to update the “TARPA DIRECTORY” with their current information. If you cannot access the Directory any Director can be of help. C. John Gratz asked for pictures and comments of the San Francisco convention to be published in “TARPA TOPICS.
A number of by-law and policy changes were voted on and approved by the general membership. These will be available shortly at www.tarpa.com for your review.
VI. Election of Officers Capt. John Rohlfing presented and the membership approved the following Board of Directors: Capt. Guy Fortier Capt. Bill Kirschner Capt. Dusty West Capt. Ed Madigan Capt. John Gratz Capt. Bob Sherman Capt. Rockney Dollarhide Capt. William Kientz Capt. Jack Irwin Capt. Bob Dedman Capt. Charlie Wilder
President First Vice President 2nd Vice President Sec. Treasure Topics Editor Senior Director Director Director Webmaster Dir. Hospitality Past-President
VII. DAP Presentation Capt. Joe Montanro was honored for his work and gave an excellent presentation on the DAP fund. Contact Joe if you would like a handout on the status of the fund.
VIII. Adjournment There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 0955. Respectfully submitted, Capt. Ed Madigan
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TARPA BOARD OF DIRECTORS SEPTEMBER 21, 2006 WESTIN-ST. FRANCIS SAN FRANCISCO Attendees: Capt. Charlie Wilder, Capt. Guy Fortier Capt. Bill Kirschner Capt. Ed Madigan Capt. John Gratz Capt. Bob Sherman Capt. Bob Dedman Capt. Mike Forsyth Capt. Dusty West Vicki McGowen
President First Vice President 2nd Vice President Sec. Treasure Topics Editor Director Dir. Hospitality SFO Convention Guest Convention Planner
Meeting called to order and started promptly by Pres. Wilder with greetings to all
Presidents report. An update on Jose Grant and his upcoming 100th birthday.
1406 Pres. Wilder presented a floral wreath at the ten year Flt. 800 ceremony on Long Island in Remembrance. 1407 Pres. Wilder to make a presentation to Dedee Young and Katie Buchanan at the business meeting for roles and hard work during our conventions at the hospitality suite. Also he will make a presentation Joe Montanaro for his dedicated work on the DAP plan. 1410 Recognition for Tom and Jeannie Stadifur and committee for their professional hard work on the 2006 SFO convention. 1411 The subject of convention attendance came up again and the thought was suggested by Capt. Gratz to tell who ever is interested in a convention that Rif you show up and are listed on the roster, maybe your buddies will too. 1412 A change in the By-Laws was suggested by Pres. Wilder for a vote at the business meeting to a tenth non voting member to the TARPA Board. All agreed, as this had been voted on and approved at the April BOD meeting. 1414 Another change to article 5, sec. 2 to add E mail as a legal way for TARPA board members to vote. Motion was made by Capt. Fortier and seconded by Capt. A. Kirschner. Passed unanimously. To be voted on at the business meeting.
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1415 Since the April minutes were not made public Capt. Kirschner made a motion to accept them as written and will be presented at the business meeting. Seconded by Capt. Fortier, passed unanimously. To be voted on at the business meeting. 1418 Capt. Wilder wants to add to the funding section of the by-laws, that in the event there is an excess of funds left over from a convention, that money may be placed into the next convention fund or donated to charity determined by the BOD. Capt. Fortier made the motion to accept the addition as written, seconded by Capt. Madigan, passed unanimously. To be voted on at the business meeting. 1422 Capt. Wilder brought up the TARPA Directory updates. This was discussed in detail and it was decided to continue the bi-annual up-date in even years. It was suggested by Capt. Wilder that they be delivered them to the membership in writing only on request to save money as they are readily available on the TARPA web site. A motion was made by Capt. Kirschner to approve this method, seconded by Capt. Madigan, passed unanimously. Capt. Sherman would like to see a timelier update of the directory web site if he could ever get a hold of the web master, Capt. Jack Irwin. 1432 Capt. Wilder would like a change to the fiscal policy item 3 area of the by-laws in regard to R That in the event an BOD meeting is called prior to the convention, that subject to prior approval the TARPA President can approve normal reimbursement for airline tickets on the lowest prevailing economy airfare and by the most direct route, when necessary. A motion was made by Capt. Kirschner for approval, seconded by Capt. Madigan, passed unanimously. To be voted on at the business meeting 1448 The 2007 convention cruise was discussed at length. It will be on Royal Caribbean Vision-Of-The Seas, out of the Port of Long Beach. Sign up will begin at the SFO convention. Good job all a round by Vicki, Ed and Guy. 1507 First Vice Presidents report. Capt. Guy Fortier presented a possible solution to using Branson, Mo. as a convention site for 2008, with the conventioneers transiting Kansas City, Mo. for a few days prior to departing by bus for Branson. As he pointed out, this would resolve the travel problem presented by having to transit Springfield, Mo. by airline. 1520 Nashville, Tenn. was also mentioned as a site. The decision for 2008 was tabled until Vicki compares prices etc. between the two sites. The BOD will decide upon the site at the spring BOD meeting. 1521 Second Vice Presidents report. Capt. Kirschner had nothing to report other then due to a family member being married in Jacksonville, Fla. on the 23rd of Sept. he will miss his first TARPA convention for the first time since 1988.
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Capt. Kirschner volunteered to contact some TWA pilots in Los Angeles regarding the 2007 TARPA Cruise, to get their attendance. 1522 Directors report. Director Capt. Bob Sherman stated that 94 pilots had passed away since the 2006 convention, with one more that morning. Capt. Sherman has been trying to contact former TARPA Board member, Capt. Harry Jacobson to no avail. It was mentioned that they move back and forth between Colorado and Florida. He is checking on it. 1525 Editors report. Capt John Gratz brought us up to date regarding TWA memorabilia being donated to the C.R. Smith Museum in Dallas, from Capt. Ed Betts collection, as he was our historian for several years, prior to passing on. The collection was transported to the site by Capt. Gratz and Sherman. Capt. Gratz mentioned that Capt. Black Dog Davisâ€™s book Goggles will be for sale at the SFO convention. 1540-1550 Short break. 1551 Capt. Mike Forsyth gave the convention report for this SFO convention, explaining various items such the banquet and tours. 1558 Convention planner Vicki McGowen brought us up to date regarding the tours in detail and assigned various board members to lead different groups. 1616 Under other business a ten dollar per day donation is going to be requested for each couple attending the hospitality suite with signs at check in and in the individual packets. 1620 A motion was made by Capt. Kirschner to adjourn, seconded by Capt. Madigan, passed unanimously. Minutes respectfully submitted, 22 Sept. 2006, 1555hrs.
Capt. Bill Kirschner
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San Francisco 2006 Convention Attendees “ALLARDYCE, ROBERT W. and BARBARA” “ANDEREGG, BARTLING P. and MARY FRAN” “ANDEREGG, JIM” “ANDERSON, CHARLES W.” “ARENAS, FRED and JUDY” “BACH, PETER” “BARBIER, PHIL and LIN” “BELISIE, KERI” “BELISLE, PHILLIP M. and LESLIE” “BEUERLEIN, EDWARD W. and JOAN” “BISHOP, RON and MARY” “BOTTIERI, HENRY F. and GEORGETTE” “BURNS, LOU” “CAMBRIA, CRAIG and RENEE” “CHAMBERLIN, ROY W. and MARY” “COLBERT, LUKE and SUZANNE” “COLBURN, GEORGIA” “COLLING, EDWIN L. and CATHERINE” “COTTRELL, WILLIAM R. and LYNN” “CUSHING, CHARLES W. and PATSY” “DAVIS, RICHARD A. and MARCIA” “DAVIS, THEODORE A.” “DAY, P. RUSSELL and CAROL” “DEDMAN, ROBERT W. and ILSE” “DEGLER, KENNETH R. and RUTH ANN” “EDDY III, JOHN E. and JANET” “ESCOLA, RICHARD D. and ALICE” “EVANS, DIANA” “FETHERMAN, BETTY JO” “FORSYTH, M.G. “”MIKE””” “FORTIER, GUY A. and JOANN” “FRIBERG, RICK” “GARRITY, CHUCK and PAT” “GRATZ, DAVE” “GRATZ, JOHN P. and PATRICIA “ “GRAY, NORMAN and CAROL” “GREEN, EVERETT R. and JESSICA” “GREENE, R. NATHAN and ELLEN” “GREENWOOD, TOM and SHARON” “GUTHRIE, MARK H. and JAYNE” “HAASE, DAVID” “HALL, HOWARD F.” “HALLSTEIN, RAYMOND H.” “HAMMONDS, JR., JAMES W. and SANDY” “HANDY, RUSS and MARGE” “HANLIN, ROBERT L. and LYNN” “HIGGINS, JAMES E. and CHERYL” “HILL, SR, JEFFRY J. and SHARON” “HOFFMAN, BARRY E. and DIANE” “HOFMEISTER, HOWARD F. and COLLEEN” “HOLMES, ALAN J.” “HOOPER, JACQUELINE A.” “HOPPE, TOM and DINAH” “HYDORN, MARSHALL and INGE CLARK” “JACOBS, CARL and MAE” “KAPPLER, NICOLE” “KIDD, JOHN R. and RAE” “KROSCHEL, TOM and CAROL” “LEACH, M. ROGER and BARBARA” “LOCKE, LESLIE” “LORENTZ, ARTHUR”
“MADIGAN, ED and SUSY” “MALY, STAN and CHERYL” “MARR , BOB” “McCARTER, HARVEY J. and MARILYN” “McKENZIE, VERNON C. and EVADINE” “MEYER, ERNEST R. and GAY” “MISSELWITZ, THEODORE F. and MAXINE” “MOLINARIO, RICHARD T. and SANDRA” “MONTANARO, JOE A. and IRENE” “MONTEMURRO, FRANK and SANDI BADASH” “MOORHEAD, BARBARA” “MOSELY, RUFUS and MARILYN” “NICOLAIS, MARIO A. and ROSEMARIE” “NIXON, C. CLYDE” “O’CONNELL, MORRIS J. and CAROL” “PEEK, JOHN T. and VICKIE” “PENDERGAST, RICHARD and RUTH” “PHILLIPS, DEAN L. and B0BBE” “PILOT, GERALD N. and JEAN” “POLK, WILLIAM M. and GALE” “POWELL, W. “” DEWEY “” and JOAN” “RAGER, BETTY” “REHBOCK, ALAN R. and GLORIA” “ROBERTS, DAVID A. and MARY” “ROHLFING, JOHN A. and GINNY” “ROSENTHAL, DONALD M. and ELSIE M. FLETCHER” “ROTGE, RAY and BEVERLY” “RUHANEN, ARTHUR U. and ESTELLA HOEY” “SAAKS, DAVID and RHONDA” “SALMONSON (WALKER), ANITA” “SCHMIDT, CARL M. and JOAN” “SCHONEBERGER, BERT and LINDA” “SCHRUPP, BILL and PATRICA” “SCHULZ, DAN and PAT CURENTON” “SHERMAN, ROBERT C. and ALICE” “SIMMONS, DALE E.” “SNAVELY, ORREN L. and MARILYN” “SOKOLIK, GERRY and SANDY” “STANDIFUR, TOM A. and JEANNE” “STANTON, JAMES E. and MARILYN” “STEWART, NAOMI and MARTHA BASSFORD” “STIMMEL, MANFRED H and PETRA” “STOCK, WALTER A.” “TARBOX, JOAN and NEAL JOHNSON” “THOMAS, CLAUDE” “THOMPSON, JEAN” “THURSTON, HAROLD and JANE” “TOBIN, LARRY and BARBARA” “TODD, KATHY and SHIRLEY HILDEBRAND” “TODD, SAM and JOYCE” “TURNER, IVAN L. and ROSE” “VAN ZANDT, H. O. and PETRA” “WALDO, WALTER J. and ELLIE” “WEST, LYLE and NANCY” “WEST, S. R. and LEE” “WETHERELL, RICHARD J.” “WHEELER, HERBERT K. and DONNA” “WILDER, CHARLES L. and HELEN” “WOODRUFF III, HENRY S. and NANCY” “YOUNG, DIDI”
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TARPA CONVENTIONS DATE May 79 May 80
Overland Park, KS Glendale Manor
Las Vegas, NV
Las Vegas, NV
Roy Van Etten
D. Colburn/C Downing
Las Vegas, NV
St. Louis, MO
New Orleans, LA
Grand El Conquistador Clarion
Colo. Spgs., CO
San Diego, CA
St. Louis, MO
Palo Alto, CA
Al Mundo/Council 41
Virginia Beach, VA
Dick Davis/Carl Schmidt
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Rood/ Slaten Bob Dedman
DATE Sep 01 Sep 02
Philadelphia, PA Chicago, IL
Cancelled account â€˜9/11/01 Hyatt Regency
Sep 03 Reno, NV Silver Legacy Guy Fortier Nov 04 Gulf of Mexico Grandeur of the Seas Ed Madigan Sep 05 Philadelphia, PA Hyatt Regency Charley Wilder Sept 06 San Francisco St. Francis Tom Standifur
233 135 205
*While they are not named in this record, wives of Convention Chairs and various committee members played very significant in roles presenting almost every one of our TARPA Conventions.
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Milan Layovers Hotel Dino by Al Mundo On a recent auto trip from Eastern France down through Switzerland to Florence and Rome, we took the opportunity to swing a bit to the right of the most direct route and drive along the western shore of Lake Maggiore. The interim destination was a little town fondly remembered by all who flew international flights 842/843 with a Milan layover. It has been some years since the crews had stayed in the city of Milan so of course I am referring to the town of Baveno and the Hotel Dino. From the moment you drive through the entrance gates, the complete renovation of the hotel is readily apparent. We were there in late April and the abundant and beautiful floral displays in the courtyard are enough to delay your entrance to the hotel for more than a few minutes. The first thing that attracts your attention upon entering the lobby is the relocation of the reception desk, which used to be to the left at about the eleven o’clock position. The new desk is located directly across from the old one and is an awesome fixture in of itself with its beautiful rosewood and black marble counter. And who was standing behind the counter in her customary position but the familiar and well known patroness, Margarita Zacchera along with her daughter, Gabriella. As I approached the desk to say hello, I was greeted with a big warm smile from Margarita, pointing her finger and saying “TWA”. Immediately, one felt at home again. A fair amount of time was spent renewing acquaintances and discussing old times and memories. Whether from other retirees who have stopped by or from former TWA station folks, Margarita was well versed on the treatment and status of TWA employees after the AA takeover. She expressed particular concern over how “her crew members” had been treated [all former TWA employees and retirees in Italy were initially granted TWR pass privileges on AA but these were subsequently withdrawn following the filing of a lawsuit by FCO retirees]. In the years since suspension of TWA service to Milan, the hotel has undergone a complete makeover and enlargement with the addition of an adjacent building on the north end. The corridor, which leads to the dining rooms, has been converted into an art gallery with a world-class display of paintings. Due to our time restrictions we did not have an opportunity to look at any guest rooms but I assume that they too are sporting a new décor and furnishings. Taking advantage of the beautiful weather, we opted for lunch [TWA discount!] on the terrace over looking the lake, which not only evoked many memories but unequivocally, remains one of the most scenic venues in the world. But for the five hour drive to Florence ahead of us and a firm commitment in Rome, it would have very easy to have lingered for a few more hours if not days. After a short stroll through town, we had to take our leave but do plan to return for a more leisurely and longer stay. For anyone planning a visit to the Dino, a new autostrada has reduced the time from the airport to the Baveno exit just north of town to about 30 minutes. There is a website for the hotel PAGE 17 ... TARPA TOPICS
[firstname.lastname@example.org] but unfortunately it does not list room rates. Another website, www.jpmoser.com/grandhoteldino-r.html does display room rates and other pertinent data. The rates vary with the season and are different for a lakeside or street side room. Promotional rates are also available for different times of the year including summer months but I would suggest calling Margarita directly to obtain a “TWA rate” [011-39-0323-922204]. Due primarily to the dollar/euro exchange rate, Europe in general and Italy in particular has become quite expensive, but even so the room rates at the Dino are fairly reasonable for this caliber hotel when compared to equal or even lesser quality hotels in the country. For example, I obtained a room for two at the Cavalieri Hilton in Rome through Expedia [no Hilton Int. airline discounts] and the cost came to $390.for one night, breakfast NOT included. That came to another $95.for two! Fortunately these costs were reduced considerably when our travel group arrived the next day but I would not recommend dining at the Hilton unless you’ve recently inherited an oil well. [THIS STOPOVER WAS PART OF A LongER TRIP TO ROME TO PARTICIPATE IN THE CEREMONIES OF THE 500TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE SWISS VATICAN GUARD. ANOTHER STORY FOR ANOTHER TIME]
Left, Hotel reception staff. Below, View from hotel.
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ixty-eight years ago,TWA hired me as a copilot on DC-2s and DC-3s. One of the first captains I flew with said to me, rather gruffly,“Join ALPA right away.” “What’s ALPA?”I asked. “It’s our union—join it!” I did and have had no regrets through all the years. ALPA, at that time, was basically a negotiating organization, with Dave Behncke running the show. He was a tireless worker, and I can think back to him sitting at his desk in a second-floor office on Cicero Avenue in Chicago, late at night, poring over papers or writing them. In negotiations—and I witnessed some—he remained relatively quiet until, generally late at night, the opposition was punchy with fatigue.Then Dave would seem to gain strength, come out of his quietude, and achieve a favorable
agreement. He was a master at this. But we weren’t just a bargaining organization.Ted Linnert, an engineer who once worked for Matty Laird, a famous pilot from the heyday of air racing, got ALPA’s Engineering and Air Safety Department going. We started as a whistle-blowing outfit regarding anything we felt unsafe. We were involved in many confrontations. I remember well the battle to get radar, but gradually the manufacturers, the FAA, and the airlines themselves recognized that ALPA’s Engineering and Air Safety Department gave valuable advice and approval. It was part of ALPA’s becoming respected. In the beginning, airline flying was something between barnstorming, and the advance of technology. I started in DC-2s.The appellation “All-Weather Airplane”was attached to
PHOTO COURTESY OF THE AUTHOR
By Capt. Robert N. Buck (TWA, Ret.)
Capt. Bob Buck the DC-2, but it was far from what one could call“all-weather.”However, pilots believed it and flew in just about any weather out there.
Who Is Bob Buck? Pilot, author, éminence grise, aviation legend—Capt. Robert N. Buck (TWA, Ret.), now 92, living in Vermont and writing his eighth book, is one of those elder statesmen of ALPA and the airline industry who has been everywhere, seen and done it all, and known everybody. In 1930, newly licensed at 16, Bob Buck set a junior transcontinental speed record in his Pitcairn Mailwing open-cockpit biplane. He went on to set other records, but a newspaper reporter urged him to find a steady job as an airline pilot so he could afford to get married. At the age of 23, he went to work for TWA as a copilot on DC-2s, which were more transitional than today’s pilots might realize: the airplane leaked like a sieve, and its pilots spread ponchos on their laps to pro38 • Air Line Pilot August 2006
tect the paperwork while flying in rain. Two years later, F/O Buck became Capt. Buck. In 1943, he began a brief 1-year stint as TWA’s chief pilot—brief because he wanted to return to line flying and weather research. For his weather research flying in the B-17 and a beefed-up P-61 Black Widow night fighter, U.S.President Harry S Truman presented him, as a civilian, with the Air Medal, and ALPA honored him with the Association’s Air Safety Award in 1963. Capt. Buck retired in January 1974 as TWA’s senior B-747 captain, ending an extraordinary flying career in which he never scratched an airplane. His favorite airline flying was the B-707 era, when pilots enjoyed the astonishing performance and reliability of the new jet airliners, the service to passengers was still gracious, and the skies had not yet filled up.
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Today he still flies light airplanes and gliders with his son, Capt. Robert O. Buck, recently retired from Delta. Capt. Buck’s classic Weather Flying, now in its fourth edition, graces many a pilot’s bookshelf. His autobiographical North Star Over My Shoulder, published by Simon & Schuster in 2002, is a must-read for every pilot. Written in a captivating style as easy-going and graceful as the man himself, North Star chronicles a life of adventure and discovery, plus the enormous changes from radial engines, rag wings, and contact flying to today’s jet fleets and satellite navigation. Air Line Pilot asked Capt. Buck to contribute some reflections on ALPA’s 75th anniversary and his 78 years in aviation.—Jan W. Steenblik, Technical Editor
A Salute to Today’s Pilots “Part of the flavor of early aviation was its heroes, performing deeds that seemed impossible in their time; the history book is full of names, some deserving and some not, as lucky one-shot stunts put a few people on the front pages. Some of the great names I look up to for their skill and courage. But my heroes are the unknown, unheralded airline pilots who fly without incident or accident, making decisions, stopping potential disasters before they happen, flying all night to see dawn through scratchy, tired eyes; fighting bad
weather in all seasons from ice to thunderstorms; away from home and family for at least half of every month. You see him, and now her, walking through the airline terminals, wheeling their black brain bags and overnight cases, unnoticed except for the uniform. They will retire and disappear into the world of senior citizens.They have taken thousands of people safely from one place to another,across continents and oceans, but few know them or bestow on them the laurels they deserve— these are my heroes. “I do not include myself in this
category, because our days were so different; while they were scary at times, they were never dull. We had fun, and the flying never felt like drudgery.Pilots of recent times have a tougher job, harassed and intimidated by a multitude of regulations, the overpopulation of the skies, and the lack of freedom. We were explorers, but those who maintain their concentration and command in today’s conditions are heroic in ways that are all too easy to ignore.” —Capt. Bob Buck, North Star Over My Shoulder
We didn’t turn around and surrender to a line of thunderstorms.The pilot’s task was to find a way through, and all kinds of theories existed: “Go where the rain is heaviest…Go where the rain is lightest, ditto for lightning…Study the tops and go where they’re the lowest.” There were many theories. But willynilly, we went through, and we had some wild rides. Many years later, when I was researching thunderstorms in a B-17 and a P-61, I’d fly right through the ugly-looking things. Most interesting to me was that I never flew anything in the B-17 or P-61 any worse than thunderstorms we had flown in DC-2s and DC-3s. Navigation was via the A-N, or auralnull, radio range. We listened in our headphones for the Morse code for A (. –) or N (– .); when we were on the beam, the dits and dahs cancelled each other out. Static from snow and certain types of rain blocked out the signal, so when you picked up the signal again after losing it, you had to find out where you were.The off-course area contained two A quadrants and two N quadrants, so when reception resumed and we heard an A or N, the question was, Which quadrant are we in? We used various procedures to solve the problem, but the A–N range was a navigation system with inherent ambiguity, and it could lead pilots astray—sometimes with fatal results.
After World War II, the start of international flying, and four-engine aircraft, bargaining became tight-lipped. The 1946 TWA pilot strike brought it to a head.The strike was settled with an arbitration agreement, and few today realize the importance of its outcome to all pilots. Copilots should know that TWA’s strike and arbitration in 1946 gave them their proper role. The agreement called for a board of three—one from TWA’s management, one from ALPA, and a neutral appointed by the Labor Department.The management man, George Spater, was a lawyer, and a fine gentleman. I became, with much misgiving, the pilot representative. Judge Frank Swacker, placed by the government, was a fine old gent, with many years of experience behind him. We had 13 items specifically set for us to settle, but the one that had deep importance was, What should copilot pay be? This wasn’t simply a matter of money, but principle.TWA management tried to establish that the copilot was an apprentice and therefore should receive paltry pay. ALPA argued that the copilot was no longer an apprentice, but a necessary and valuable part of the flight crew. Some of management’s evidence was nasty in their attempt to demean copilots. Judge Swacker told Spater and me to go off and settle as much as we could, and come back to him with anything
we couldn’t settle. So Spater and I retired to a room at the Blackstone Hotel in Chicago and negotiated. Spater’s principle was that neither side should give or get all, and that a settlement we could live with was to the good of the future. On copilot pay, he made an offer—not what I would have liked—but not too bad. It was sufficient to destroy the apprentice concept. After some up and down, back and forth over pay, we signed off on the copilot issue.The important point was, it made certain that copilots were necessary crewmembers, a big step for the future. I’d have liked to have gotten more money for the copilots, but I felt strongly that Swacker, being old-school, would support the apprentice idea, and I’d better take what I could get. Later, when we met with Swacker, we showed him our agreement. After reading it, Swacker looked up at me and said,“Bob, you got him there—I’d never have given that much.” It was one of my life’s most wonderful moments of relief. Now long retired, I look on ALPA as an important and respected part of the airline industry, with memories of past conflicts resolved, and an assurance that ALPA will cope with the turbulent future, because current and future generations of pilots will rise to the challenges of their day as my and other generations of pilots have done. August 2006 Air Line Pilot • 39
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HIGH FLIGHT Flying the Lockheed U-2 “Dragon Lady” by Barry Schiff Maj. Dean Neeley is in the forward, lower cockpit of the Lockheed U-2ST, a two-place version of the U-2S, a high-altitude reconnaissance aircraft that the Air Force calls “Dragon Lady.” His voice on the intercom breaks the silence. “Do you know that you’re the highest person in the world?” He explains that I am in the higher of the two cockpits and that there are no other U-2s airborne right now. “Astronauts don’t count,” he says, “They’re out of this world.” We are above 70,000 feet and still climbing slowly as the aircraft becomes lighter. The throttle has been at its mechanical limit since takeoff, and the single General Electric F118-GE-101 turbofan engine sips fuel so slowly at this altitude that consumption is less than when idling on the ground. Although true airspeed is that of a typical jetliner, indicated airspeed registers only in double digits. I cannot detect the curvature of the Earth, although some U-2 pilots claim that they can. The sky at the horizon is hazy white but transitions to midnight blue at our zenith. It seems that if we were much higher, the sky would become black enough to see stars at noon. The Sierra Nevada, the mountainous spine of California, has lost its glory, a mere corrugation on the Earth. Lake Tahoe looks like a fishing hole, and rivers have become rivulets. Far below, “high flying” jetliners etch contrails over Reno, Nevada, but we are so high above these aircraft that they cannot be seen. I feel mild concern about the bailout light on the instrument panel and pray that Neeley does not have reason to turn it on. At this altitude I also feel a sense of insignificance and isolation; earthly concerns seem trivial. This flight is an epiphany, a life-altering experience. I cannot detect air noise through the helmet of my pressure suit. I hear only my own breathing, the hum of avionics through my headset and, inexplicably, an occasional, shallow moan from the engine, as if it were gasping for air. Atmospheric pressure is only an inch of mercury, less than 4 percent of sea-level pressure. Air density and engine power are similarly low. The stratospheric wind is predictably light, from the southwest at 5 knots, and the outside air temperature is minus 61 degrees Celsius. Neeley says that he has never experienced weather that could not be topped in a U-2, and I am reminded of the classic transmission made by John Glenn during Earth orbit in a Mercury space capsule: “Another thousand feet, and we’ll be on top.” Although not required, we remain in contact with Oakland Center while in the Class E airspace that begins at Flight Level 600. The U-2’s Mode C transponder, however, can indicate no higher PAGE 21 ... TARPA TOPICS
than FL600. When other U-2s are in the area, pilots report their altitudes, and ATC keeps them separated by 5,000 feet and 10 miles. Our high-flying living quarters are pressurized to 29,500 feet, but 100-percent oxygen supplied only to our faces lowers our physiological altitude to about 8,000 feet. A pressurization-system failure would cause our suits to instantly inflate to maintain a pressure altitude of 35,000 feet, and the flow of pure oxygen would provide a physiological altitude of 10,000 feet. The forward and aft cockpits are configured almost identically. A significant difference is the downlooking periscope/driftmeter in the center of the forward instrument panel. It is used to precisely track over specific ground points during reconnaissance, something that otherwise would be impossible from high altitude. The forward cockpit also is equipped with a small side-view mirror extending into the air stream. It is used to determine if the U-2 is generating a telltale contrail when over hostile territory. Considering its 103-foot wingspan and resultant roll dampening, the U-2 maneuvers surprisingly well at altitude; the controls are light and nicely harmonized. Control wheels (not sticks) are used, however, perhaps because aileron forces are heavy at low altitude. A yaw string (like those used on sailplanes) above each canopy silently admonishes those who allow the aircraft to slip or skid when maneuvering. The U-2 is very much a stick-and-rudder airplane, and I discover that slipping can be avoided by leading turn entry and recovery with slight rudder pressure. When approaching its service ceiling, the U-2’s maximum speed is little more than its minimum. This marginal difference between the onset of stall buffet and Mach buffet is known as coffin corner, an area warranting caution. A stall/spin sequence can cause control loss from which recovery might not be possible when so high, and an excessive Mach number can compromise structural integrity. Thankfully, an autopilot with Mach hold is provided. The U-2 has a fuel capacity of 2,915 gallons of thermally stable jet fuel distributed among four wing tanks. It is unusual to discuss turbine fuel in gallons instead of pounds, but the 1950s-style fuel gauges in the U-2 indicate in gallons. Most of the other flight instruments seem equally antiquated. I TRAIN AT “THE RANCH” Preparation for my high flight began the day before at Beale Air Force Base (a.k.a. The Ranch), which is north of Sacramento, California, and was where German prisoners of war were interned during World War II. It is home to the 9th Reconnaissance Wing, which is responsible for worldwide U-2 operations, including those aircraft based in Cyprus; Italy; Saudi Arabia; and South Korea. After passing a physical exam (whew!), I took a short, intensive course in high-altitude physiology and use of the pressure suit. The 27-pound Model S1034 “pilot’s protective assembly” is manufactured by David Clark (the headset people) and is the same as the one used by astronauts during shuttle launch and reentry. After being measured for my $150,000 spacesuit, I spent an hour in the egress trainer. It provided no comfort to learn that pulling up mightily on the handle between my legs would activate the
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ejection seat at any altitude or airspeed. When the handle is pulled, the control wheels go fully forward, explosives dispose of the canopy, cables attached to spurs on your boots pull your feet aft, and you are rocketed into space. You could then free fall in your inflated pressure suit for 54,000 feet or more. I was told that “the parachute opens automatically at 16,500 feet, or you get a refund.” I later donned a harness and virtual-reality goggles to practice steering a parachute to landing. After lunch, a crew assisted me into a pressure suit in preparation for my visit to the altitude chamber. There I became reacquainted with the effects of hypoxia and was subjected to a sudden decompression that elevated the chamber to 73,000 feet. The pressure suit inflated as advertised and just as suddenly I became the Michelin man. I was told that it is possible to fly the U-2 while puffed up but that it is difficult. A beaker of water in the chamber boiled furiously to demonstrate what would happen to my blood if I were exposed without protection to ambient pressure above 63,000 feet. After a thorough preflight briefing the next morning, Neeley and I put on long johns and UCDs (urinary collection devices), were assisted into our pressure suits, performed a leak check (both kinds), and settled into a pair of reclining lounge chairs for an hour of breathing pure oxygen. This displaces nitrogen in the blood to prevent decompression sickness (the bends) that could occur during ascent. During this “pre-breathing,” I felt as though I were in a Ziploc bag-style cocoon and anticipated the possibility of claustrophobia. There was none, and I soon became comfortably acclimatized to my confinement. We were in the aircraft an hour later. Preflight checks completed and engine started, we taxied to Beale’s 12,000-foot-long runway. The single main landing gear is not steerable, differential braking is unavailable, and the dual tailwheels move only 6 degrees in each direction, so it takes a lot of concrete to maneuver on the ground. Turn radius is 189 feet, and I had to lead with full rudder in anticipation of all turns. We taxied into position and came to a halt so that personnel could remove the safety pins from the outrigger wheels (called pogos) that prevent one wing tip or the other from scraping the ground. Lt. Col. Greg “Spanky” Barber, another U-2 pilot, circled the aircraft in a mobile command vehicle to give the aircraft a final exterior check. I knew that the U-2 is overpowered at sea level. It has to be for its engine, normally aspirated like every other turbine engine, to have enough power remaining to climb above 70,000 feet. Also, we weighed only 24,000 pounds (maximum allowable is 41,000 pounds) and were departing into a brisk headwind. Such knowledge did not prepare me for what followed. PAGE 23 ... TARPA TOPICS
The throttle was fully advanced and would remain that way until the beginning of descent. The 17,000 pounds of thrust made it feel as though I had been shot from a cannon. Within two to three seconds and 400 feet of takeoff roll, the wings flexed, the pogos fell away, and we entered a nose-up attitude of almost 45 degrees at a best-angle-of-climb airspeed of 100 knots. Initial climb rate was 9,000 fpm. We were still over the runway and through 10,000 feet less than 90 seconds from brake release. One need not worry about a flameout after takeoff in a U-2. There either is enough runway to land straight ahead or enough altitude (only 1,000 feet is needed) to circle the airport for a dead-stick approach and landing. The bicycle landing gear creates little drag and has no limiting airspeed, so there was no rush to tuck away the wheels. (The landing gear is not retracted at all when in the traffic pattern shooting touch and goes.) We passed through 30,000 feet five minutes after liftoff and climb rate steadily decreased until above 70,000 feet, when further climb occurred only as the result of fuel burn. ON FINAL APPROACH Dragon Lady is still drifting toward the upper limits of the atmosphere at 100 to 200 fpm and will continue to do so until it is time to descend. It spends little of its life at a given altitude. Descent begins by retarding the throttle to idle and lowering the landing gear. We raise the spoilers, deploy the speed brakes (one on each side of the aft fuselage), and engage the gust alleviation system. This raises both ailerons 7.5 degrees above their normal neutral point and deflects the wing flaps 6.5 degrees upward. This helps to unload the wings and protect the airframe during possible turbulence in the lower atmosphere. Gust protection is needed because the Dragon Lady is like a China doll; she cannot withstand heavy gust and maneuvering loads. Strength would have required a heavier structure, and the U-2’s designer, Clarence “Kelly” Johnson, shaved as much weight as possible which is why there are only two landing gear legs instead of three. Every pound saved resulted in a 10-foot increase in ceiling. With everything possible hanging and extended, the U-2 shows little desire to go down. It will take 40 minutes to descend to traffic pattern altitude but we needed only half that time climbing to altitude. During this normal descent, the U-2 covers 37 nm for each 10,000 of altitude lost. When clean and at the best glide speed of 109 knots, it has a glide ratio of 28:1. It is difficult to imagine ever being beyond glide range of a suitable airport except when over large bodies of water or hostile territory. Because there is only one fuel quantity gauge, and it shows only the total remaining, it is difficult to know whether fuel is distributed evenly, which is important when landing a U-2. A low-altitude
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stall is performed to determine which is the heavier wing, and some fuel is then transferred from it to the other. We are on final approach with flaps at 35 degrees (maximum is 50 degrees) in a slightly nose-down attitude. The U-2 is flown with a heavy hand when slow, while being careful not to overcontrol. Speed over the threshold is only 1.1 VSO (75 knots), very close to stall. More speed would result in excessive floating. I peripherally see Barber accelerating the 140-mph, stock Chevrolet Camaro along the runway as he joins in tight formation with our landing aircraft. I hear him on the radio calling out our height (standard practice for all U-2 landings). The U-2 must be close to normal touchdown attitude at a height of one foot before the control wheel is brought firmly aft to stall the wings and plant the tailwheels on the concrete. The feet remain active on the pedals, during which time it is necessary to work diligently to keep the wings level. A roll spoiler on each wing lends a helping hand when its respective aileron is raised more than 13 degrees. The aircraft comes to rest, a wing tip falls to the ground, and crewmen appear to reattach the pogos for taxiing. Landing a U-2 is notoriously challenging, especially for those who have never flown taildraggers or sailplanes. It can be like dancing with a lady or wrestling a dragon, depending on wind and runway conditions. Maximum allowable crosswind is 15 knots.
The U-2 was first flown by Tony Levier in August 1955, at Groom Lake (Area 51), Nevada. The aircraft was then known as Article 341, an attempt by the Central Intelligence Agency to disguise the secret nature of its project. Current U-2s are 40 percent larger and much more powerful than the one in which Francis Gary Powers was downed by a missile over the Soviet Union on May 1, 1960. The Soviets referred to the U-2 as the â€œBlack Lady of Espionageâ€? because of its spy missions and mystique. The age of its design, however, belies the sophistication of the sensing technology carried within. During U.S. involvement in Kosovo, for example, U-2s gathered and forwarded data via satellite to Intelligence at Beale AFB for instant analysis. The results were sent via satellite to battle commanders, who decided whether attack aircraft should be sent to the target. In one case, U-2 sensors detected enemy aircraft parked on a dirt road and camouflaged by thick, overhanging PAGE 25 ... TARPA TOPICS
trees. Only a few minutes elapsed between detection and destruction. No other nation has this capability. The U-2 long ago outlived predictions of its demise. It also survived its heir apparent, the Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird. The fleet of 37 aircraft is budgeted to operate for another 20 years, but this could be affected by the evolution and effectiveness of unmanned aircraft. After returning to Earth (physically and emotionally), I am escorted to the Heritage Room where 20 U-2 pilots join to share in the spirited celebration of my high flight. Many of them are involved in general aviation and some have their own aircraft. The walls of this watering hole are replete with fascinating memorabilia about U-2 operations and history. Several plaques proudly list all who have ever soloed Dragon Lady. This group of 670 forms an elite and unusually close-knit cadre of dedicated airmen. The author expresses his gratitude to Colonel Eric Stroberg, Lt. Colonel Greg Barber, Major Dean Neeley, and the men and women of the 9th Reconnaissance Wing for so graciously sharing their time and expertise.
by Charles “Black Dog” Davis Copies of this hilarious compilation of many of Black Dog’s favorite stories are available for sale. You can buy one autographed, if you so desire, by writing to him directly. They are for sale to the public for $19.95, but for TARPA Members Black Dog will accept the measly sum of $15.95 and will ship it to your FREE! Send your check and address to: Captain Charles M. Davis 1420 North Jameson Lane Santa Barbara, CA 93108
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SFO ’06 and the Magnificent Moving Movie Tour by Jeff Hill, Sr. The 2006 TARPA Convention in San Francisco was great! Sharon and I and Tom and Dinah Hoppe left Milwaukee on a Midwest Airlines MD-80 on a cloudy misty morning. Around Salt Lake City, the clouds began to break up and we had a spectacular view of the Great Salt Desert, Bonneville, Reno, Lake Tahoe, and I was surprised to see the hundreds of “Ranchettes”, “Farmettes” and rural sub divisions that have sprung up in what used to be the farmland and vineyards between the mountains and the Bay Area. Progress? We had signed up for the “San Francisco Moving Movie Tour” but I’ll have to admit we were a little less than excited about it. Little did we know that we, and several of our friends, would later proclaim it the high point of the trip! What made the tour so good was its originator and our guide, Mr. Craig Smith. As we took our seats on the motor coach, Craig told us that over 700 films had been shot all or in part in San Francisco. Craig began showing us a series of film clips on the bus’s color TV monitors. They were from films that used the Union Square location, right in front of our convention hotel, the Saint Francis. There was The Jazz Singer (1927 Al Jolson) Daydreams (1922 Buster Keaton flying off the back of a cable car) The Birds (1963 Tippi Hedren, Rod Taylor) D.O.A. (1950 Edmund O’Brien) Maltese Falcon (1941 Humphrey Bogart, Mary Astor) Man Who Could Work Miracles (1937 Roland Young) Wild Orchids (1929 Greta Garbo, Lewis Stone) and I Remember Mama 1948 Irene Dunne, Barbara Bel Geddes. Well, I was surprised to see that, although I could swear I had never seen most of those films, I indeed recognized the clips, whether I had seen the movie, or perhaps just the clips on TV, I do not know. The real fun began as we drove around the square and Craig began to point out the locations Oh my gosh! There’s the pet store that Alfred Hitchcock walked out of with the two dogs in his cameo in The Birds! I thought, this is starting to get to be fun! And it kept getting better. Craig not only laid tons of interesting film trivia on us, but he also told us a great deal of San Francisco history relating to the places we were seeing. Quite a bit had to do with the great earthquake and fire of 1906, exactly 100 years ago. The Fairmont Hotel on Nob Hill is an example; completed, but not yet open it was left standing but required extensive repair and restoration due to fire damage. Craig: “Every president since William Howard Taft has stayed here.” “The Venetian Room is where Tony Bennett first sang I Left My Heart in San Francisco.” And Sharon and I remember it from when we first started dating and had dinner in the Tonga Room where the tables are thatched huts, the thunder and lightning rages while torrents of rain pour into the pool in the middle of the room. Then, suddenly it’s a nice day again and the band comes
Lunch at Enrico’s, L to R, Dinah Hoppe, Petra & H.O. Van Zandt, Jeff & Sharon Hill, Marilyn & Orren Snavley. Photo by Tom Hoppe
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floating across the pool on a raft! Oh, my goodness it was heady stuff for a couple of kids just out of college. (We revisited the Tonga Room the next night, the only thing that’s changed is the band.) Craig showed a clip from Mrs. Doubtfire then, “…and ladies and gentlemen, there on our left is the house you just saw Robin Williams go into.” Then on to California St. “…and here is where part of the greatest chase scene ever filmed (Dirty Harry) was shot, now notice that the lead car loses five hub caps.” Well, I’ll be ….. it did!
We saw legendary stars: Greta Garbo, Mae West, Valentino, Bogart, Fred Astaire and others in San Francisco related clips. Later, we went through the Barbary Coast and saw younger versions of John Wayne, Erroll Flynn and even Mae West, singing “I’m just an Occidental Woman in an Oriental Mood for Love!” from Klondike Annie. We saw Alice Faye singing; Hello Frisco, Hello from that film. About this time we saw a scene from Bullitt where Steve McQueen visits the café, then Craig said, “…and on the right is Enrico’s, which you just saw in the clip, we’ll be having lunch here.” We enjoyed our lunch at Enrico’s. It was salmon grilled over a fresh wood fire accompanied by fresh vegetables, a garden salad and really good Italian bread with an olive oil dip. After lunch the tour continued. There were over 80 film clips shown, among them, scenes from: Vertigo, Dirty Harry, Foul Play, Mrs. Doubtfire, The Maltese Falcon, Birdman of Alcatraz, Fog Over Frisco, Charlie Chan at Treasure Island, Sudden Fear, Fatty and Mabel at the 1915 World’s Fair (for heavens sake) The Pleasure of His Company, Return of The Thin Man, Lady From Shanghai, Pal Joey and on and on.
The TARPA tourists pack in the calories at Mel’s drive-in.
Well, Craig thought our lunches had settled by now and we should have an ice cream soda or sundae. But first he would show a scene from Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner? Spencer Tracy pulled into Mel’s Drive-in and wanted to order an ice cream that he had especially liked but couldn’t remember the name of. The waitress named several flavors and Spence said that he thought it must have been the Oregon Boysenberry. It turns out it was not the Oregon Boysenberry, but “it’s not so bad”. I had never picked up on it, but Craig pointed out that this was a metaphor; Sidney Poitier is not exactly what Spence had been expecting for a son-in-law, but maybe he’s not so bad, either. Well, where do you suppose we were now? In the parking lot of Mel’s drive in, of course. I had a coconut shake made with ice cream so vanilla it was yellow and the coconut was freshly shredded. Sharon had a strawberry sundae made with fresh strawberries, and everybody agreed that everything was delicious, if not low-cal.
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The tour lasted about five hours which included the stops at Enrico’s and Mel’s. It didn’t seem that long and when it ended, we felt a little like Spencer Tracy thinking that his Oregon Boysenberry was “not so bad”; the movie tour was not exactly what we had expected either, but it was not, “not so bad”, it was GREAT! It was the high point of our four day weekend in San Francisco. Craig Smith can be contacted at: email@example.com
98 YEARS AGO
The first airplane fatality in history occurred in 1908 when Lt. Thomas Selfridge was killed in this plane piloted by Orville Wright. The accident was caused by propeller separation. Orville Wright suffered broken ribs, pelvis and a leg. (September 17, 1908) 50 YEARS AGO World wide there were 106 airline crashes resulting in hull losses with a total of 756 fatalities. The most famous was the June 30 collision of a TWA Constellation (70 d.) and a UAL DC-7 (56 d.) over the Grand Canyon. (See July 2006 Tarpa Topics) The photo at left shows only small pieces of wreckage dotting the landscape. In 2004 there were 20 hull losses with 517 fatalities out of 22.2 million departures. One’s chances of dying in an airliner crash are now 52.6 million to one!
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IN MEMORY OF CAPTAIN ALVIN HUFFORD SEPTEMBER 26, 1934 AUGUST 26, 2006 Captain Al Hufford was born, and grew up in Copley, Ohio. His parents were Daniel and Ruth Hufford. He was raised on a family farm where the values of hard work, honesty and perseverance were learned. At eight years old, he was driving a tractor and working the fields. His family was deeply religious and Al helped build a start-up Nazarene Church on land his family donated. Upon finishing high school in 1952, he started his college education at the University of Akron, transferring and finishing at Kent State in 1956. Because of his ROTC in college, Al entered the Air Force as a pilot flying cargo planes. While in the military, he was also an instructor and commander of a cadet squadron at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs. In 1965, Al took a job with Trans World Airlines as a commercial pilot, flying domestic and international flights, and flying every kind of airplane from the Lockheed Constellation to the Boeing 747. He retired flying the Lockheed 1011. In 1994, Al retired on his 60th birthday from both TWA and the Air Force Reserve. His service 20 years in the military, retiring as a Lt. Colonel, and 30 years with TWA, retiring as a Captain. With a desire to continue flying, he studied and got his single engine license and flew small aircraft with friends and family for a few more years. Because of his love of travel, after retirement, Al and his wife Glenda were always flying, cruising or driving someplace. PAGE 31 ... TARPA TOPICS
Al enjoyed life! He loved the Lord Jesus, his church, family and friends, his careers, retirement and was always very active until the discovery of esophageal cancer, which spread, into his lungs. After thirteen months of treatment, he passed in his sleep. He leaves behind a wife, a sister, three children, two adopted children, three stepchildren and twenty-three grandchildren. Al was truly loved by all who knew him, and he will be greatly missed. by Glenda Hufford
IN MEMORY OF CAPTAIN HARRY F. CLARK APRIL 24,1921-JUNE 25, 2006 Captain Harry F. Clark, born April 24, 1921 in Salem, West Virginia to Royce B. and Jessie Marie Lamm Clark, passed away Sunday, June 25, 2006 at Marian Medical Center in Santa Maria, California. In 1929 Harry saw his first airplane and it was then and there that a pilot was born. There were few formal flight schools at that time with aviation in its infancy, but he was determined to fulfill his dreams. When an airport was finally completed in nearby Bridgeport, West Virginia, he could usually be found there as close to the airplanes and pilots as possible. He volunteered for any job, gaining knowledge from the pilots about the planes. When it came to his goal, no task involving airplanes was too large or too small. With the goal of that eight year old still burning in him, he became the youngest pilot on record in his native West Virginia when he received his Solo Permit and Pilot license at the age of 16. After graduation from Bridgeport High School in 1938 Harry “Snorky,” Clark began working for Musgrove School of Aviation full time, flying with Lou Musgrove out of Patton Field, near Clarksburg, West Virginia. Between 1939 and 1941 he was able to pass the written tests for Private, Limited Commercial, Commercial License, Flight Instructor, Instrument and Airline Transport Ratings - all by independent study. Working for West Virginia Air Service, he ferried new “Cub” airplanes from the factory in Lock Haven, Pennsylvania to Clarksburg, West Virginia, or to the customers throughout the state. In 1941, he completed the C.A.A. Flight Instructor test, and was offered a position as Flight Instructor for Primary Civilian Pilot Training at Graham Aviation, where he advanced quickly to Secondary C.P.T. That same year Graham Aviation opened a civilian contract school for the Army Air Corps at Americus, Georgia and Harry started instructing U.S. Air Corps and British cadets for flight combat. A short time later, he was advanced to the position of Flight Commander. In 1943 Harry was offered, and accepted, a position as Test Pilot with the Glenn L. Martin Company in Baltimore, Maryland, testing B-26, A-30 and Martin PBM-3 aircraft. Harry joined TWA on December 18, 1944, in the Inter-Continental Division, after completing the requirements to become a qualified navigator. The Inter-Continental Division was a part of the Air Transport Command and flew personnel and supplies for the armed services during WWII.
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After the war, TWA started the International Division, flying many of the same routes, which had been flown during the war. Harry flew both the domestic and international routes during the early years with TWA. In July of 1947, he met his “Co-Pilot for life,” a hostess for Capital Airlines, and on April 24, 1948 Harry F. Clark married Eileen Cathleen “Lee” O’Hagan in Alexandria, Virginia. In the following years, Harry and Lee Clark were blessed with two sons and one daughter. During his time with TWA, Captain Clark flew the Douglas DC-3, Lockheed Constellation, Martin 202 and 404, Boeing 707, 727, 747 and Lockheed 1011. Most of his time with the airline was spent flying the international routes. In 1946, TWA knew whom to call when they needed an experienced instructor on the DC-3. In following years, when TWA wanted qualified instructors on DC-4’s and Constellations, Martin 202/404’s, 707’s, 727’s and 747’s, he obtained his qualifications easily and without hesitation. By November 1965 Captain Harry Clark was Line Check Pilot before ultimately becoming the Supervisor of Flight Operations and Flight Manager. In October 1976 he became flight instructor and check pilot for 747’s - the largest and newest airplanes in the fleet. As an Instructor, Harry trained and checked not only TWA’s own pilots, but those of the US Air Force, Olympic Airlines and Korean Air Lines, as well. Working with Cornell Aeronautical Lab, Harry flew an A-26 that had been modified to provide variable stability and flight characteristics for jet crew training. In June of 1966 he participated in a thunderstorm research project, which had Captain Clark fly the world’s largest human centrifuge at the US Naval Air Development Center contributing to research on the medical effects of acceleration on pilots. In 1962, he was appointed to the Carroll Committee of the U.S. Department of Commerce concerning air navigation charts. In January of 1963, he was appointed Regional Air Safety Chairman for the AFL-CIO Airline Pilot’s Association (ALPA). Serving many positions within the union, he served as the local safety chairman, Trans World Airlines Central Air Safety Committee Chairman and on TWA’s master executive council accident investigating committee. As a delegate from the pilots’ union, he attended the International Federation of Airline Pilots’ Associations Conference in Southern Rhodesia. And later, as a Vice-President of ALPA, he spoke before the Senate Noise Abatement Committee, persuading them that safety must come first. Included among his many accomplishments are: Receiving the Starfighter Flight Award for achieving Mach 2 in a Lockheed F-104; involvement in the Boeing SST (supersonic transport) project; working with NASA at the Wallops Island Flight Facility; as well as providing information included by famed aviation author Robert Serling in his works “The Probable Cause” and “The Left Seat.” He also served with the Flight Crew for TIME Mid East News Tour 1975 and the TIME Newstour ’85 Pacific Rim. At age 60, following airline regulations, he traded his pilot’s seat for that of a Flight Engineer, after qualifying as Flight Engineer on L1011’s and 747’s until his eventual retirement from TWA on May 1, 1986 after an illustrious career spanning 41 years, 4 months and 13 days. Following his retirement, in July 1986 Harry and Lee Clark moved to Santa Maria, CA. where he served on the Board of Directors of the Santa Maria Museum of Flight, at one time as their PAGE 33 ... TARPA TOPICS
President. While on the Board, he assisted the Museum Board in acquiring and restoring the wooden hanger used in the filming of the Disney movie “The Rocketeer” - truly a replica hangar worthy of Museum status. Aside from being an avid photographer throughout most of his life, and serving on numerous boards, Harry was also a Golden Veteran and Master Mason, a 20 year member of the Santa Maria Elks Lodge, the B-26 Marauder Historical Society, the Silver Wings Fraternity, ALPA, AOPA, as well as an Honorary Alumnus of the University of Hard Knocks, Alderson-Broaddus College, Philippi, West Virginia. Beloved husband, father, grandfather and friend is survived by his wife, Lee Clark, children Chris, Cheryl and Robert, a daughter-in-law, Joan Patterson Clark, six loving grandchildren - Ian Clark, Jeoffrey Giles, Richard DeWester, Brian DeWester and Brittany DeWester and Michael Clark, a grand-daughter-in-law, Leah Fisher Giles — and one great-granddaughter, Sophia Fisher Giles. While his family mourns the loss, they are comforted by the knowledge that he no longer suffers from the illness that plagued him in recent years. Captain Harry F. Clark thoroughly enjoyed his career and his family. He could never recall ever flying an airplane that he did not enjoy flying. His basic philosophy was “I never had a bad day in my life - bad moments - some kinda close together - but never bad ....
IN MEMORY OF CAPTAIN DARROW H. SMITH JULY 17, 1913 JULY17, 2006
IN MEMORY OF CAPTAIN DARROW H. SMITH JULY 17, 1913 JULY17, 2006
IN MEMORY OF DONALD K. ANDERSON JUNE 15, 1923 JULY 20, 2006
IN MEMORY OF CAPTAIN WALTER H. GUNN JUNE 10, 1921 SEPTEMBER 15, 2006
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IN MEMORY OF CAPTAIN JOHN E. CLARK MARCH 29, 1921 MARCH 8, 2006 John E. Clark, 84, of Kansas City, Kansas, died Wednesday, March 8, 2006, at the Shawnee Gardens Nursing Center in the Kansas City area. John was born in Stockton, Missouri, on March 29, 1921. He was the last of six children. He graduated from Stockton High School in 1939 and pursued further education at The State Teacher’s College, now known as Missouri State University in Springfield, Missouri. During WWII, he served as a flight instructor in the Civilian Pilot Training Program in Pittsburgh, Kansas, for the Army Air Corps. In 1944, he was hired by Trans Continental and Western Airlines, later known as Trans World Airlines (TWA), and continued his lifelong flying career with TWA. During the Vietnam War, he served under MAC Command with the 8th Air Force Division transporting troops in and out of Vietnam. His last 17 years with TWA were in international service before retiring in 1980 as a Boeing 747 Captain. John was a longtime resident of Kansas City. He loved his church and family. He enjoyed golf, fishing, hunting, gardening, and woodworking. His wife, Ruth; three sons, John R., Stephen, and Scott; and daughter, Joy; as well as nine beloved grandchildren and one great-grandson survive him. by John R. Clark
IN MEMORY OF CAPTAIN THOMAS H. BUNNELL AUGGUST 27, 1937 JUNE 1, 2006 IN MEMORY OF CAPTAIN RICHARD J. LEE JULY 18, 1921 JULY 23, 2006 IN MEMORY OF CAPTAIN JOHN B. CLEAR JANUARY 7, 1930 AUGUST 29, 2006 IN MEMORY OF CAPTAIN WALLACE S. ROZE SEPTEMBER 27, 1928 AUGUST 19, 2006 IN MEMORY OF CAPTAIN ORMOND L. HOWARD APRIL 13, 1923 AUGUST 7, 2006 PAGE 35 ... TARPA TOPICS
IN MEMORY OF Captain Charles L. (Rip) Van Winkle June 9, 1925 - June 6, 2006 Rip, age 80, peacefully passed away in North Kansas City, Missouri after a courageous three-year battle with lung cancer. All of his family: Miriam, his loving wife of 55 plus years, all three sons Chuck, Keith, Scott, grandchildren, Chaz, Cara, Tyler, Jill, Ann, Lisa, and great-grand daughter Rian, were with him at the end and will truly miss his caring presence. Rian, not yet 2 years old, had a special name “Papa” for her great grandpa, who loved to hear her say it, and calls her great grandma “Gigi”. Rip or LeRoy, as his mother fondly called him, was born (weighing in at a whopping 13 lbs) to Edith and Charlie Van Winkle in a peaceful sleepy little town, Yankeetown, Indiana nestled on the shores of the Ohio River. Rip was the oldest of three children; his siblings Joyce Woods and William Van Winkle who predeceased him. When Rip was around eight or nine years old, he experienced his first airplane ride on an Indiana farm field, from a passing Barnstormer, an event never forgotten. During Rip’s early high school years his family moved to Dania, Florida, where he played varsity basketball and baseball and was elected freshman class president. Later he and his family relocated back to Yankeetown completing high school in 1943. From High School he joined the Army Air Corps, where he flew the big bombers: B-17s, B-29’s, and B-25’s. He was heading out to serve in the Pacific Theater when WWII ended. Returning to Southern Indiana, Rip enrolled at Evansville College (now the University of Evansville), where he earned a degree in Geology. In December 1950, he married Miriam Kahre from Darmstadt, Indiana. With the growing hostilities in Korea, Rip was recalled into the U.S. Air Force, flying ammo and personnel in C-46’s into Korea from Japan and casualties out. He also volunteered for one-man missions, which dropped arms, and ammunition to friendly Korean rebels on beaches located behind Communist lines, plus some long distance “dead reckoning” flights over the open Pacific from Japan to Formosa (Taiwan). After an honorable discharge Rip hired on with TWA in 1953, reporting to Kansas City, Missouri for training. This would be his last move. He became a co-pilot flying Martin’s and Connie’s in the 50’s. He made a memorable, safe, wheels up commercial landing in 1959, on foam at the Olathe, Kansas Naval Air Station in a Connie with over 50 passengers on board including a group of nuns. He attained the rank of Captain, went to the Jets; 880’s, 707s, 727s in the 60’s and the L-I011 in the 70’s. He then left “the line” for the training department, ultimately holding the Manager Flight Operations position at the time of his retirement in 1985 after 32 years of service, all with TWA. While he loved to fly and especially enjoyed sharing his skills and experiences with pilots from PAGE 36 ... TARPA TOPICS
around the world, he never touched the controls of an airplane again. After retirement, Rip and Miriam traveled the world and experienced the joys of watching their grandchildren grow up and take off on their own. Rip always made time to help out with his sons’ home projects and at his church, Christ Lutheran in Platte Woods, Missouri, and was active in leadership serving as President and many years as Elder. He worshipped regularly there with his closest friends. Rip and Miriam also became avid tennis players, and developed wonderful and lasting relationships with their tennis friends. by Charles L. Van Winkle II
IN MEMORY OF John W. “Jack” Harpster March 22, 1920 - May 13, 2005 My father grew up poor in Detroit, the middle of three boys. From an early age he declared his intention to be a pilot. To advance that plan he went to the citywide technical high school. Unfortunately he failed chemistry and was in a line to be sent back to his local high school. Then his lineman’s body and the luck that his football coach happened by gave him a reprieve. The chemistry teacher —Lindbergh’s mother! He graduated from Wayne State University and was working in a tire factory when the Army Air Corps called. He flew the C-47 from North Africa through Italy then into Europe past D-Day. For those of you who knew him, you may be surprised that this entire campaign was dry. He married Marie also of Detroit on September 1, 1945 and started TWA on the 24th of that month. He flew out of the Detroit and New York domiciles during this period. In the early 60s he started the Starfire Building Co. building homes of his own design in the suburbs of Detroit but it was a short-lived venture. Although we lived in one of his model homes for three years. In 1965 he moved to Menlo Park in the Bay Area and flew out of San Francisco and again the New York domicile. His license lists types of DC3, DC4, M202, M404, L1049, CV-240, CV340, CV440, B707, B720, and the L1011. I however will always associate him with the 707. He was part of the greatest generation in WWII and then participated in the glamour days of aviation. He was a very down-to-earth man, one who saw dignity in all jobs. There was never any question that he would indeed “start digging ditches” if that was what was required. Jack was a joiner; the Knights of Columbus, the Elks, the Air Force Association. And he was also a doer. It seemed he was always chairing some golf tournament or taking an officer position in some organization. He was very religious in an unassuming way; and did an amazing amount of work for his longtime church, Nativity. He always took a lot of the pleasure in his children and grandchildren. He especially enjoyed watching their exploits in sports. He was one of those people who connected very easily with others, whether they were priests, squadron commanders, or a painter at the Elks. PAGE 37 ... TARPA TOPICS
I believe he cherished most the connections he shared with all of his TWA friends through the TWA Seniors and TARPA. Thank you. He died surrounded by all of his family. Marie, his wife of 59 years and the love of his life, his darling daughter, two sons, nine grandchildren and a great-grandchild, survives him. One son and one granddaughter preceded him in death. Submitted by Son No. 2 Mark
IN MEMORY OF CLAUDE COAKLEY APRIL30, 1919 JULY 29, 2006 Claude Coakley died at his home in Harrisonburg, Virginia on July 29, 2006. Claude graduated from Harrisonburg High School in 1938 and spent five and a half years in the Army Air Corps. His lifetime interest and professional career was focused on aircraft and a love of flying. He first worked as an aircraft mechanic, then spent 36 years with TWA in the International Division as a Flight Engineer. In between flights he found time to fly as a charter pilot and flight instructor. He taught his wife and children to fly, along with many other students. He used his skills as a mechanic to restore several airplanes, and passed those skills on to his sons. Claude retired from TWA at age 62, but continued charter flying and flight instructing until age 72. After that, he enjoyed woodworking, amateur astronomy and visiting relatives and living with Alice Lee. On July 26, 1944, Claude married Alice Lee Whetzel, then of Charlottesville, in the University of Virginia Chapel and they spent the next 62 years of their lives together. Three sons, Christopher, Stephen and Philip Scott Coakley and his sister Rosalie also survive Claude. submitted by Alice Lee Coakley
IN MEMORY OF CAPTAIN CARL T. DOWLING DECEMBER 22, 1916 SEPTEMBER 9, 2006 IN MEMORY OF CAPTAIN JOHN J. PHILLIPS JUNE 30, 1939 OCTOBER 7, 2006 PAGE 38 ... TARPA TOPICS
IN MEMORY OF CAPTAIN MELVIN L. RODGERS AUGUST 27, 1021 JULY 28, 2006 Captain Mel Rodgers went west on July 28, 2006 at Stockton, Missouri. Mel was born August 27, 1921 in Eddy, Oklahoma. He married Nadine Eshelman and they celebrated 62 years of marriage on April 6, 2004, three months before her passing. Mel’s flying career began at age 20 in Blackwell and Ponca City, Oklahoma. He received his commercial rating on November 15, 1942. While working on his commercial license he flew a Taylor Craft, Stagger Wing Beechcraft, Travelair, and Waco UPF-7. At age 21, Mel joined the U.S. Army Air Corp and was a flight instructor for three years. He was initially assigned to Okmulgee, Oklahoma pre-glider school. His next assignment was Randolph Field, Texas for Air Force Central Instructor School. Or June 1, 1943 Mel was assigned to Mustang Field at EI Reno, Oklahoma instructing in th Fairchild PT -19 and Stearman PT -17. Mel joined TWA on January 2,1945. He flew for TWA 37 years, including ten years a a Flight Instructor and Manager of the Boeing 707 Program at the Jack Frye International Training Center in Kansas City. He obtained his first Captain status in November of 1946 in a DC-3. Thereafter, he flew the Martin 404, DC-4, Connies, Convair 880, Boeing 727, 707, and L-1011. He retired from TWA in 1981 as a line check pilot, and international flying in Boeing 747’s. Mel was a member of the Quiet Birdmen - Kansas City Hangar, the Airline Pilots Association, the TWA Active Retired Pilots Association, and the TW A Seniors Club. For over 30 years Mel and Nadine enjoyed living near Stockton Lake. Mel loved the outdoors, flying, hunting, fishing, and golfing with friends and family. Mel and Nadine’s son Ron and wife Georgia, two grandchildren and five great grandchildren all live in the Kansas City area. They called him Capt’n Mel. He was a great guy. and loved by all who crossed his path. His last flight was to Heaven. by Ron Rodgers
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IN MEMORY OF CAPTAIN FREDERICK P. MAHLER AUGUST 26, 1926 JULY 10, 2006 Frederick P. Mahler made his final journey to Heaven on July 10, 2006 after a long brave battle with lung cancer. Born as an identical twin in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to Wilamena and Maximillian Mahler on August 26, 1926. Fred lived in Pennsylvania until he enlisted as an Aviation Cadet in the U.S. Army Air Corps at the age of seventeen. All of his boyhood life he had aspired to be a pilot. His determination to be a pilot convinced him to keep his teeth in perfect condition, as he knew that was a prerequisite for entrance. As a boy he saved twenty-five cents every week and went to the Dentist for a check-up; such was his determination to fulfill his dream. He would also ride his bike out to Camden, New Jersey Airport just to sit and watch the airplanes take off and land. After his four year military career, he attended and graduated from Embry Riddle School of Aviation in Miami, Florida as well as Spartan School of Aeronautics in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Fred also attended the University of Kansas City. Fred joined Trans World Airlines in 1951 as a mechanic while waiting for a class for Flight Engineer to begin. Fred joined his fellow pilots as a Flight Engineer in 1952, going on to be a First Officer and a Captain during the following thirty years. Fred flew all the Constellations and all of the jets, before retiring on the jumbo jet, B747. It was during 1963, when Flight Engineers throughout the country faced the loss of their jobs with the airlines’ new policy to hire new pilots. Fred and other Flight Engineers initiated a wildcat strike that shut down not only TWA, but other major airlines as well. With much of the nation’s airline service crippled, President Kennedy’s administration intervened and arbitrated a settlement. Flight Engineers were to be protected, from being replaced by pilots, and were given the opportunity to become pilots themselves. It was this opportunity that allowed Fred to begin pilot training, and have a career on the DC-9, B727, B707, L1011 and B747. During his career with TWA, Fred was a Check Engineer and a training instructor in TWA’s training center in Kansas City. Fred was also selected as TWA Flight Deck Man of the Year in 1967. Fred was a member of TARPA, the TWA Active Retired Pilots Association, as well as the TWA Seniors Club.
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Fred founded, and was deeply attached to the Kansas City Human Growth Foundation, a children’s’ abnormal growth organization, and in 1968 was honored by the college of American Pathologists in New Orleans. He was invited to address the group of one thousand pathologists as to how they could assist. At the end of Fred’s speech, the tables were turned and he was honored by the group with a standing ovation, and was presented a large plaque stating his untiring efforts for the children. Fred had organized fellow pilots from all the major airlines into “Brothers of the Skies” to assist him with the delivery of frozen pituitary glands to the National Institute of Health in Baltimore, Maryland. The frozen glands were carried as personal luggage in the cockpits to prevent thawing. At the time, it was the only way to help children grow. This very quiet and unassuming man never spoke of the time when he saved a young boy from being electrocuted he saw the child crying and leaning on a metal fence in his wet bathing suit at a Kansas City club. The club offered Fred a free memberhip, but Fred declined. He was just thankful that he had been in the right place at the right time. That was a very satisfying time for Fred. Unbeknownst to Fred, upon his last ride when he left the left seat of his airliner upon arrival in New York, approximately 75 people who had flown in from all over the country met his plane, with banners flying, to help him with the transition from the flying world to the real world. A dinner and a “roast” was held to honor his “airmanship.” His First Officer on the last flight stated that, “His airmanship would not let me fly a single leg of today’s journey, stating that this was his last ride.” Upon arriving home in Kansas City, another large retirement party was held. Many other pilots had flown their planes from other parts of the country to be with Fred. After a formal retirement from TWA in 1988, Fred always said that he never, for a second, minded going to work during his entire airline career. Fred was rehired as a consultant by TWA to interview prospective pilots as well as to give simulator rides to assess their abilities. After three years, TWA was no longer hiring additional pilots and this job ended. His love for the flying world encouraged Captain Mahler to assist with research for the book “Wings of Pride” that was being co-authored by his wife Gwen, for TWA. He also assisted Gwen with research for three additional books for United, American and Continental Airlines. His marketing skills took him to the domiciles of airline crews, enjoying every moment “talking flying” with pilots and flight attendants. Fred is survived by his wife of over fifty years, Gwen who is a former TWA Hostess whom he met in LaGuardia Airport. Four children, Gwen, Claudette, Stephanie and Fred as well as two grandchildren Steven and Brooke survive him. by Gwen Mahler
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“I Will Quit Tomorrow.” by Clyde Nixon There was a presentation recently on National news about a school bus driver that was arrested for driving a bus with children while she was intoxicated. She admitted to being drunk but said “I not a bad person”. It might be difficult for the public to realize that this is a true statement for an alcoholic to make and this same rationalization could also have been made by an airline pilot. Yes, they both could be good people in the advanced stage of alcoholism. But let me start at the beginning of a “Special Health Program” that was initiated and developed by the ALPA pilots of TWA in the 1970’s. Early in that decade a National awareness of alcoholism became prevalent. There was also news of a very senior United States Senator that fell into a fountain pond while on a date with a late night Flossie. My involvement started in the year of 1970 or ‘71 (however it’s been over 35 years and I have no records that can verify that). Our distinguished editor, John P. Gratz became the Council 69 (SFO) Chairman and asked me to chair the Professional Standards Committee as well as to handle any medical problems that might arise. In a briefing by our previous committee chairman, I was advised that the most serious problems he had observed related to alcohol abuse by some of our members. John Gratz also was aware of some crises problems that never came out in the open and was kept from the Company ALPA history was made when, at a Convention held in Las Vegas, Dr. Richard Masters our National ALPA Medical Advisor asked for a closed session to discuss alcoholism amongst our members. Any incident of being on flight duty while intoxicated would eventually get picked up by the press with very bad publicity for our profession. John was at that Convention and soon afterwards was elected Chairman of the Master Executive Council (April 1972). Shortly thereafter the Council appointed me as MEC Professional Standards Chairman and Captain Bobby Garrett, recently deceased (9/2005), to the Medical Advisory Committee. The MEC requested that we jointly explore company/industrial programs of others and to find the best treatment facilities to send our own people as needed. This was a big assignment for two uninformed people of the very complicated disease of alcoholism. I am using the word disease because around 1970 the AMA and the American Bar Association made statements that they considered alcoholism met all the categories of a disease. Captain Garrett was domiciled and living in the Kansas City area. He had been working with Dr. Charles Gullett, TWA’s Medical Director on medical certification problems. One of the first steps we made was visiting with Dr. Gullett about the direction of our assignment by the MEC. He welcomed us with open arms, so to speak. He said, “ it is about time and he had tried in the past to get the attention of the pilot’s group”. Bobby and I agreed he would work with Dr. Gullett and I would research other industrial programs. We would contact other airlines and ALPA groups through Dr. Masters. We learned that PAA had some kind of a working procedure with their company. I was put in contact with a recovered alcoholic ( by his admission), a PAA Captain that was able to save his own job and he now was trying to help others. I also learned that UAL Maintenance Base in SFO had a working plan with United Airlines. I made contact with several PAA and UAL pilots. Things were starting to happen. The ALPA on a National scale, under the guidance of Dr. Masters, applied for a grant under a new law passed by Congress to help finance education and intervention programs. PAGE 43 ... TARPA TOPICS
Forgive me if I get events and contacts out of order, however I will try to dwell on the progress that led to a formal Special Health Program on TWA . I made contact with the National Council on Alcoholism (NCA) office in San Francisco. They made me aware of the program at the UAL Maintenance Base. The NCA stated that some 500 companies claimed to have a recovery program, but they rated Standard Oil of California, as the best with a great deal of longevity. I was put in contact with a gentleman by the name of ‘Sully’ Sullivan, an Irishman, and a recovered alcoholic, who was the co-director along with their Chief Medical Doctor that administered their program. I attended several lectures of his and was able to call him at any time for advice. I also learned through the National Council that of many drying-out facilities in the Northern California, they rated Monte Vista Hospital of Morgan Hill as the “Cadillac” of treatment facilities. They also told me of an Orange County Hospital in Southern California that was top rated. It later was re-named the Betty Ford Hospital after the President’s wife, who spent recovery time there. The National Council only rated five recovery facilities that they thought adequate for our flight crew people in all the United States at the time. We started using the two mentioned hospitals right away, while at the same time keeping coordination and consultation with Dr. Masters and Dr. Gullett, as well as updating the MEC of our progress. We had a lot more work to do. The certification of our airmen became a very sticky and delicate issue. Through Dr. Masters or Dr. Gullet’s guidance, and their good relationship with the FAA Medical Officers in Oklahoma City, they received cooperation as long as the treatment was properly disclosed and there was a follow up procedure by the flight operation, ALPA, and Medical Doctors (FAA examiners or Company). Through the good advise of Mr. Sullivan, he gave me what he considered a plan that we needed to follow that made their Standard Oil Program work so well. Often these programs are initiated by a labor union’s awareness. Union officers repeatedly see good people discharged and tie up arbitration and appeals procedures. Some of the important features for a presentation to the Company are included here. This is a sales presentation as such and must have the blessing of the highest officers of the company. It became a goal of ours to go for a full TWA employee program and not just a cockpit flight crew intervention and recovery program. We were given advice that we could expect some resistance by middle management and even higher company officers. Managers and supervisors often times become enablers protecting the alcoholic. Here are some of the important factors in a presentation to Company Officers: 1. The magnitude of alcoholism in the working class of people in the United States according to reliable statistics is about one in ten. 2. The cost factor is in losing well trained personnel, absenteeism, additional medical costs, and poor performance. 3. The humanitarian factor is one of empathy and good will. 4. Education and intervention training should be completed by key persons. 5. Total confidentiality is essential - only those that need to know. 6. Selection of quality recovery facilities, and most important sick leave and hospital costs, should be covered by company insurance with the involvement by a Medical Staff . About this same time period, the Airline Pilots Association under the advice and direction of Dr. Richard Masters, received a grant from the Government, authorized by Congress for education
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and intervention training programs. As I recall, we received a $25,000 grant. Dr. Masters drafted a Captain Chase from Continental Airlines to act as a coordinator in developing an intervention and training program for ALPA representatives from those Airlines that wanted to participate. In the meantime, as representatives of TWA pilots, we wanted to move forward with a Company Program. By direction from our MEC under the guidance of Captain John Gratz, Chairman, a meeting with officers of the Company was arranged. This meeting was set up at the Corporate offices in New York City. The time frame must have been late in 1972 or early in 1973. Attending the Meeting in the Board Room were the following Company Officers: Senior Vice President of Industrial Relations, David Crombie; Senior Vice President of Operations, Captain Edward Frankum; Vice President of Flying Captain. Roy Simpkins. Representing the TWA pilots were Captains Gratz, Bobby Garrett, Clyde Nixon. Bobbyand I presented the history of our findings and awareness of the need to have a viable intervention process when it became likely that one of our own needed help to protect his career and health. We talked about other quality Company Programs and the highest rated treatment facilities. We discussed the success of early intervention and recovery of highly trained employees before they lose their job, family, dignity, and self esteem. We stressed that alcoholism is a progressive disease that can be turned around in it’s early stages. We emphasized that we, as fellow flight crew representatives, were willing to do our part and that ALPA on a National scale would aid in training our own to identify, initiate an intervention process, and help in any recovery phase. We stated how pleased we were with the cooperation and the confidence we had with the TWA medical Doctors under the leadership of Dr. Charles Gullett. The reception of our presentation was gratifying and fruitful, especially from V.P. Crombie. It appeared to me that he understood the scope of alcohol abuse and the methods of intervention and good treatment. He indicated that we could expect a response to our requested program soon, as he would have to contact our Medical Department and other Company Officers on fiscal and operational aspects. We were enthused, but not over confident, because we were aware of TWA’s tenuous financial crisis due to the fuel shortages and high costs of fuel in the 1970s. Once again, I am not sure of the time frame when we were advised by Dr. Gullett that the company would approve sick leave and medical coverage for those identified as needing treatment in an approved hospital. We already had several of our flight crew people who had been in these hospitals or were currently there. Later the Company hired a full time Special Health Program Administrator with excellent qualifications. Our flight crew group of Pilots and Flight Engineers still worked outside of the Company program, but we were often counseled by the Administrator. He had his own staff of people that worked with the other departments of TWA. Progress was moving forward on the ALPA Grant that was approved. Captain Garrett and myself were invited to attend a one week seminar/ work shop in Denver at the ALPA Medical offices. Many representatives from other airlines, with their MEC’s wishes to be involved, were in attendance. As I recall, United, PAA, Continental, Delta, and Western Airlines Pilots or Flt. Engineers were there. Northwest and other small carriers were noticeably absent. We know of some other Airlines that had unfavorable news publicity in recent years. The seminar was under the direction of Mr. Vernon Johnson, MS, associated with St. Mary’s Hospital in Minneapolis, MN. He authored a book, “I WILL QUIT TOMORROW”, which was our study text on the physical, PAGE 45 ... TARPA TOPICS
psychological, social, guilt, and spiritual aspect of the disease. We also were taught intervention techniques. Some of those basic principles are: being non-judgmental, presenting facts that one can accept; having a plan of action for his/her immediate evaluation by professional councilors; and/or treatment now-this very day, no more promises. There were many other techniques and approaches. It was very important to remember as we were taught by Mr. Sullivan, that we (ALPA or Company) had no right to interfere with one’s personal life except as it related to the employee’s performance. I always thought that an additional factor for a pilot was his medical certification- the six month FAA medical form. The form has fine print that specifies that by not fully disclosing any treatment or conviction (DUI) that one could be fined many thousands of dollars or prison time. I could never find any cases where this was ever enforced, but the FAA would usually revoke their medical certificate. May I say here, that on TWA, we would never had such a good program if it had not been for Mr. Dave Crombie and Dr. Charles Gullett. Dove-tailing with Dr. Richard Masters gave us the initial awareness and a training program to properly make it work. The following excerpt is a part of an article in the Nov./Dec. 2002, issue of the AIR LINE PILOT. “Under Dr. Master’s direction, the ALPA Aeromedical Office provided assistance to more than 15,000 ALPA pilots—the Aeromedical Office is also responsible for administering the ALPA HIMS contract for identifying, treating, and getting returned to duty pilots suffering from alcoholism or substance dependence. Since 1974, with the cooperation of the FAA and almost all the airlines in North America, more than 3,500 airline pilots have been successfully treated for alcoholism and able to return to their flying careers”. A big plus which was unexpected, was a benefit coverage we received from TWA Management; a willingness to pay treatment costs to our flight crew’s spouses at approved hospitals, when approved by our Medical Staff. We had several crew members and spouses in treatment concurrently. The family should always be involved in counseling for support of an individual’s recovery. The Company, also with approval, would send one of our members back for repeat treatment, as relapses were not uncommon. Some problems arose in this area, which led Captain Garrett and I to realize that there had to be more education of key flight managers and even of our own ALPA representatives, of the factors involved with the recovery phase associated with this insidious disease. We had a case where a very senior Flight Engineer, that never had any report of unsatisfactory performance, had a relapse after several months into recovery. He called me to report that he was returning to the treatment hospital. With this knowledge, I advised our medical staff of his return. A few days later, he received a very stern letter threatening him with termination. The letter was from his domicile Manager of Flt. Engineers- different than my domicile. I objected strongly. The letter arrived right at a critical time of his chemical body drying-out, a time of great anxiety, guilt, and fear of rejection by those close to him. I felt a GET WELL CARD would have been more appropriate and so told Dr. Gullett and others. We had full cooperation from the Master Executive Council at all times during these formative months and years. The record shows that Captain Jerry Burns was MEC Chairman from November 1973 until replaced by Captain John Donlan, Jr. in February 1975. We had representatives from each Council trained in intervention techniques, but lacking was knowledge by company operation management personnel. We requested a meeting with the top Flight Operation Officers to formulate a work-shop type presentation of our program with each domicile Manager of Flying (Chief Pilot) and his Supervisors PAGE 46 ... TARPA TOPICS
of Pilots and Flight Engineers. This meeting was held in the Corporate Offices in New York with Captain Ed Frankum, Senior Vice President of Operations and his staff including Captain Roy Simpkins, V.P. and Director of flying. As a result of this meeting, a plan was worked out with Captain Simpkins where Bobbie Garrett and myself would have a morning session at each domicile with as many flight managers and check pilots that were available. I believe we were able to do this in one week and were given positive space passes and flight pay for our lost trips. This went a long way in helping supervisory people know the need and procedures of our program. Later we were able to meet with Captain Richard Kenny, Staff Vice President of Training to work out an understanding of how important his staff was in helping out, as many suffering from alcohol abuse would have unexplained problems in training sessions. For awhile we even had a short film that was shown at lunch time during flight crew’s recurrent training. This was not a required viewing but was well attended by many. The last item that I would like to cover is a program that came about later called “The Birds of a Feather”. During the end of each treatment session at our qualified treatment hospitals, and before being released, one must come up with a “ recovery program” that was his/her own plan to stay sober. The most successful plans involve attendance on a regular basis in a AA group(Alcohol Anonymous). We soon found that some of our recovering people could not relate to their local AA Fellowships. We got feed back like “ I can’t tolerate all that Jesus stuff”, or “I’m tired of all those drunk stories”. After talking with many that had been in AA for some time and from a book titled simply “BILL W”. I was able to better understand our problem. AA was founded by two very intelligent, well educated men that had a long bout with the circle of sobriety and drunkenness. Mr. Bill, a New York Investment Manager, and Dr. Bob, prominent Surgeon of Akron, Ohio, got together to discuss their sobriety failures and the so called Oxford Group. They jointly rationalized some new revolutionary thought practices. First surrendering to a higher power, and second to think in only a twenty four period - no more promises, nor long term goals. Their fellowship eventually came up with The Twelve Steps, and later added The Twelve Traditions. The founding year was 1935 but it really didn’t take off in big numbers until after World War Two. While Bill Wilson was alive, he wanted to keep the groups available to anyone who wanted to stay sober regardless of stature, worth, or status. He died in 1971. I believe it was only after Bill W.’s death that the Governing Board of AA allowed fellowship groups by status. About the time of our program development, we learned that there was a Fellowship in the Bay Area (SFO) consisting of about 600 Physicians and Surgeons. In a dialog with my fellow patriot PAA Captain in Seattle, he indicated he was starting up an AA Fellowship in Seattle that consisted only of aviation pilots and flight engineers. Further dialog with several other ALPA officers on a national level, resulted in a “Birds of a Feather” AA meeting at 8:00 pm at any ALPA office where there was one. There were many cities that had domiciles for large numbers of flight crew members, and in those cities an ALPA office existed. Many of our fellow pilots who on their own joined one of these fellowships without taking any hospital treatment. TWA is now only in our memories and our hearts, but our fellow aviators are family.
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The Plane Truth (Reprinted from an article written in The Arab News Review by Roger Harrison) “ .” he said. Sixty-one years after he left his royal DC3 — his because he had delivered it to, and piloted it for, King Abdul Aziz — Joe Grant was speechless when he again saw the carefully restored and maintained aircraft in the aeronautical museum in Riyadh. His emotion was contagious; the animated chatter of the group of air force officers, WW2 veterans and his wife Marga dwindled into respectful silence as the very private reunion of man and machine took place. Captain Joseph (“For goodness sake — Joe!”) Grant last flew the aircraft in 1947, two years after deivering it from Cairo via Jeddah to Riyadh. “At the time it was an interesting delivery job,” he said, “but I had no idea that it was the beginning of so much.” It was, however, from that single aircraft, a gift to King Abdul Aziz from US President Franklin D. Roosevelt, that the idea of mass air transport in the Kingdom and the modern commercial aircraft fleet that is now Saudi Arabian Airlines was born. Some aspire to a remembered position in history; Joe is now 98 and “Working hard on 99 and I have a full schedule,” is disarmingly modest and straightforward about his spot in the history of the Kingdom. “I flew DC3’s all around the world. The war had begun to wind down and we had loads of pilots and I just lucked into it. I really don’t know why in the world I did; I never will.” Now back, he was staggered by the changes he saw. “It’s like a fairy tale; to think, it was all desert when I was here, and to see it transformed...” Joe reminisced, tailing off into silence with the steady gaze of one looking across decades to memories of simpler times. His story reads like a film script. The second eldest of 12 children in his family, he was born on a family farm in Florida and he remembers his early years as tough and moneyless. However, he had a hero. “My mother’s brother was one of the first to fly round the world,” said Joe, “I guess that had a profound effect on me. His plane is in the Smithsonian Institute.” At 19 Joe left home and took odd jobs, one as an assistant mechanic in a garage servicing Stutz Bearcats — a modish and very expensive sports car. Significantly for Joe, the owner had an airplane. Later he found work as an airplane mechanic in Buffalo, New York, where he brought his younger brother Roy to work. Later Joe worked at the Glenn Martin Company in Baltimore and while there, he took courses in aeronautical engineering at the Maryland Institute. The pair saved their cash — “we even went without socks in our shoes” — and bought a Curtis Wright plane, even though they could not fly it. No matter; the brothers paid five dollars an hour for lessons and after only 25 flying hours, launched a new career as barnstormers, charging two dollars a ride. “We were lucky,” he said. “There was no regulatory body to stop us killing ourselves.” Barnstorming grew less attractive to Joe and he succumbed to the attraction of regular paid flying PAGE 48 ... TARPA TOPICS
with Pennsylvania Airlines and the then nascent Trans World Airlines (TWA.) “That was the end of barnstorming; all the pilots joined airlines,” he said. Not long after, the US entered WW2 and civil airplanes were largely requisitioned for war work. “We had a choice; either go along with the airplanes or be out of a job. I went along with the plane.” Joe said that he spent four years in the war — ferrying and transport. Early twin-engined airplanes could not cross the Atlantic — the route lay south to South America and via Ascension Island, back up through Africa to England. When the war began to wind down, there was a surfeit of pilots. “I mainly flew VIPs out of Washington; then as the war progressed and we got more airplanes, I was one of the first pilots who could get across the Atlantic with airplanes. The DC4 came along — then we could do it with a fair payload — I learned early how to take advantage of the weather and so forth.” His experience as mechanic, barnstormer and airline pilot equipped Joe perfectly for the task which then fell to him. “They briefed me at the state department in Washington before they sent me over — told me what an important job I had.” President Franklin D Roosevelt had given King Abdul Aziz a DC3 airplane and Joe Grant was told to take it from Cairo to Riyadh. He recalled that there was no special preparation for the aircraft, other than it had the interior refitted in what might be seen today as “luxury corporate style.” “We had it completely equipped with navigational charts so we could go anyplace. We navigated using stars and sun and sextant. After a little experience flying around Saudi Arabia, we didn’t need those,” he said. “On the early runs, we would take a chart to find out where we were; we wouldn’t know and we’d take a four star fix.” On their arrival at the dirt strip in Riyadh, there was no official reception. The crew was given quarters in the palace and there they lived. “I stayed with the airplane for two years — left at the beginning of 1948. We ferried the royal family wherever they wanted to go. It was fun.” The DC3 was, if nothing else, a rugged plane. “We could land any where in the desert, and when the king went on hunting trips, we picked out a hard spot and landed there with him.” Joe is convinced that King Abdul Aziz saw the potential for mass air transport in the DC3. “You got to hand it to the old king — he was a visionary,” he said. “It takes visionaries to move people forward. The ones that follow with guts and muscle do it. But this man had both; he was a doer. He was a strong capable individual — you can see it in his eyes and in his pictures.” He recalled how, once TWA had become involved in the structuring of the fledgling Saudi Arabian Airlines, he had trouble getting across to the King’s sons the importance of scheduling in an airline. “Abdul Aziz took two of his sons and me and put us in a room and said, ‘Stay in there until you get it solved.’ We did; he knew how to get things done.”
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Regardless of his high position Joe said, Abdul Aziz could talk to anyone. “I was simply his pilot — it was an honor and I had no idea of just how important it really was. He left an impression wherever he went.” We clambered into the tiny cockpit of the DC3; was it the same as he remembered? “Sure, just the way it was and it’s wonderful to think that she still flies. Douglas did a wonderful job putting this machine together — it made the airlines — the beginning of modern airlines as we understand them.” Joe talked of the times that Abdul Aziz used to sit in the co-pilot’s seat. For the tall man to squeeze in, he had to put his very large hand on Joe’s shoulder to lower himself into the cramped position. “I am not a very big guy and his weight used to push me down into my seat. But he sat there with a big smile as if he were perfectly happy just to be there or to take over.” After two years in the Kingdom, Joe returned to flying with TWA. “When I first got back to work there flying DC3’s, I had such a feeling for Saudi Arabia that I could have walked back. I thought, ‘What in the world have I done coming back here to this? If I could have found a way to retrace my tracks and get back, I would have.” The memories of the warmth and camaraderie of the people are his most vivid recollections. “When we started the airline, we had a Saudi co-pilot with every captain — it was the camaraderie on every flight, the warmth that is in these people. For me to go back to what we were at home made me think, ‘My God, what have I done?’ It seemed like this was home, that (the US) was not home any more.” He paused for a moment, ruminating and focusing on the instrument panel of his old charge. Joe reflected on the trip, initiated and sponsored by Prince Salman bin Abdul Aziz, Governor of Riyadh and organized by the Friends of Saudi Arabia, a non-profit organization dedicated to spreading understanding about the Kingdom and chaired by a dynamic woman, Dr Salwa Hazzaa. “It’s wonderful that this opportunity has been given to me; it’s a dream come true. It’s beyond a dream. I just couldn’t be happier.” Once again at the controls of his beloved DC3, Joe mused, “It would be great if we could get people back home to come over here and see how things can be run.”
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I was married by a judge. I should have askedfor a jury. GrouchoMarx
From Fred Morse
This should have been written in July, but sometimes it takes longer to do the things you
should than it did 20 years ago. Anyway, I attended the Flight 800 Memorial Dedication in July. It was beautifully done. You were greeted at the entrance to the park by some 24 fire engine ladder trucks on either side of the highway with their ladders extended, from which hung a huge Stars and Stripes. Traffic was directed to the parking lot, free, ($10) normally) for those attending.
A Scottish Bagpipe Band began the ceremonies, followed by addresses by Gov. Pataki,
Rep. Levy, and the French Consular General. The then heads of the NTSB and FBI were also there. The Memorial is beautiful, approximately 200 feet from the edge of the water, everyone’s names inscribed thereon. It was hot, but the ceremony was held under a huge tent and the onshore breeze made it quite comfortable. I met Captain Paul Sedlak and his wife, and Ted Bacon who worked in NY Scheduling, and his wife. I’m sure that there were other TWA’ers there, but they were the only one’s I met. It is a beautiful memorial and well worth the trip should you be in the New York area.
Kathy and I are still hanging out here in Oceanside, NY, not CA. Really don’t have that
much to update. I find that all that has been written about ‘maturity’ is true, ‘What did I come in here for’ etc. but things are still working well, just slowed down. We help at the Freeport Soup Kitchen, run in to Jim Smith most every month. He works harder there than we do. It seems strange, retired 20 years 12-01-05, but that’s how it is. What I miss are the crew members and all the employees, but not facing the early morning sunrises. Best wishes to all for a healthy and happy!
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The male is a domestic animal which, if treated with firmness and kindness, can be trained to do most things. Jilly Cooper
From Bob Allardyce
Please extend my profound appreciation of the work that went into organizing that
wonderful TARPA gathering in SFO.
As my 84th birthday occurred on September 23, I was able to celebrate the day with a party
at the Great Hunan Restaurant with my oldest daughter, my nieces and one nephew living on the Peninsula. Don and Linda Draper drove down from Healdsburg to help celebrate. Meeting old friends at the convention added to the Egg Foo Young. (“Great” refers to the food and in no way the size of the restaurant. A 20 x 40 rug would have been too big for the floor space.)
As I dozed during my flight home, a chain of memories of flying the Pacific out of SFO
rolled across the inside of my eyelids. Don Draper held forth in one series of images. He had been busted by Bill Dixon (SFO’s Chief Pilot) for throwing dinners for hostesses in Guam, at Company’s expense. I never believed the allegation for a moment, but it called up a smile.
Then there was the day we left Okinawa’s Kadena AFB, bound for HNL, in a 707-331 full
of GIs returning from Vietnam. About half way a fire warning light came on. We shut it down, but the light didn’t go out. The Skipper headed for Wake Island. Once on the ground we learned that Pan Am didn’t do maintenance anymore. They were in the final stages of pulling out. They had one guy, the station manager, who was in charge of seeing to it that the last vestiges of Pan Am were loaded aboard the cargo flights Pan Am had working for that purpose. The Air Force mechanics were forbidden from touching our plane. It looked like a long wait on Wake until TWA could get mechanics there to diagnose and fix the problem. Meanwhile, there didn’t seem to have been a clue as to where and how we would house and feed our passengers and crew until we could get underway again.
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I have never hated a man enough to give his diamonds back. Zsa Zsa Gabor
Using the few tools we flight engineers had in our kits, I opened the cowl on the offending
engine. I hoped, at least, to be able to tell Maintenance in HNL whether to send an engine or just some parts along with the mechanics. Some discoloration quickly pinpointed a stainless steel tube that had cracked. It was leaking high temperature air directly onto a fire sensing probe. The Air Force didn’t have Pratt Whitney’s JT-4 engines, so they didn’t stock the part. Pan Am’s station manager said he had an engine all crated ready for shipment but he didn’t have a clue what kind it was. He drove me to the Quonset hut so I could take a look. Sure enough, when I pried the crate open, it was a JT-4 just like ours. A length of 2x4 rolled the engine over enough so I could remove the much needed piece of tubing. The Air Force supplied the safety wire needed to secure the tube once it was installed on our powerplant. A run-up confirmed the problem was fixed. I used my FAA Powerplant license number to sign off on the repair and, in a little over 4 hours, we were ready to go.
When we got back to SFO a couple of days later, there was a note in my crew mailbox
instructing me to come in the next day to see the late John Host, the F/E’s boss. And, oh yes, bring my A & P ticket. In getting the 331 back into the air without a three or four day delay, ferrying mechanics and parts back and forth between HNL and Wake, etc., I had saved TWA enough money to pay my wages for the balance of my career. And so it was that I fantasized about John Host awarding me TWA’s equivalent of our Congressional Medal of Honor.
Not so. John said the FAA wanted him to personally verify I had a valid powerplant
license in my possession. TWA, in those days, required F/E’s to have them. I couldn’t have been hired without it. Nevertheless, John had to see the ticket. One quick glance and I was told the
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I don’t feel old. I don’t feel anything until noon. Then it’s time for my nap. Bob Hope
meeting was over. No recognition of my heroic work followed. So, here and now, some 38 years later, I’ve decided to toot my own horn. I was a hero - if only for a moment. (That’s okay. No one has to stand and applaud.) As Bob Hope used to sing, thanks for the memories - all of them. From the GV editor In twelve years of flying the 707 I only shut down two engines. Same engine, same airplane, different days. It was a 707-331. In each case it was a false fire warning caused by a leak of hot air. That particular engine had a record of six shutdowns in one month. Seemed to be a really hard lesson to learn. From Nancy Milam wife of Bill Milam Though I’ve been receiving TARPA free since Bill passed away, I feel that with the dwindling of TWAers I should pay at least the subscriber rate. I enjoy reading it but of course not the way bill did. From Dick Cruickshank TARPA is always good reading. Kilroy on the back cover brought back memories of WWII. From Dorothy Schmidt I so look forward to each TARPA. Then I can do more reminiscing of the exciting TWA days for the early 40’s on (Until Icahn!)
From Lum Edwards I’m always happy to send this check. Tarpa Topics is one great way to stay in touch and the articles are all very interesting. Thanks and keep up the good works. From Bob WillcuttsReally enjoyed the last issue and wish to thanks to all of the Directors for a job well done. Jeff Hill, Sr, stories were very interesting to read. We hope to make it to the convention in SFO this year, God willing.
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We could certainly slow the aging process down if it had to work its way through Congress. Will Rogers
From Ray Terry - F/E Class Of ‘45 This is my first letter to TARPA. I’m not much for pen in hand, but the mention of Don Terry inspired me to write.
My association with Capt. Don started with my first flight on the line out of KC on a 307
Boeing. The boys at Crew Schedule thought they would have some fun by matching the two “Terry’s”.
Well, after run-up we taxied into position and Capt. Don said, “I can’t lock the tail wheel”
Before going back to the ramp, I asked for a few minutes. I went back to the tail, removed the bulkhead, lengthened the cable and the pin dropped into place. I then told the Captain it was OK to proceed. He said, “Well, an F/E who can really do something.” I also kept our curtain closed, cutting off the glare from the F/E panel reflecting onto the windshield. We became fast friends! A few years later we were both based in Rome. During a run-up at Athens in a DC4, Don noticed no drop off in RPM on the left mag #3 engine and he asked “What’s going on here” I then told him we had an “open” circuit in the mag. Well...,” we were no longer friends.” I received the biggest chewing ever - I was burned badly!
Another time, after landing at JFK, I asked if I could hitch a ride home with him as we
both lived near each other on Long Island, N.Y. After his wife arrived with the car, he was driving home when he missed his exit and gruffly said to his wife, “How come you let me do that?” Don made his own shirts and was a master of the violin. He was an excellent pilot, but liked to do things his way. He wanted to fly below sea level and had his chance when we flew out of Cairo and thru the Quattar Depression which is 127ft. below sea level. “Terry’s Tunnel” was another form of his “ Do it my way” thru the Alps.
It was fun and I’d do it again.
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Don’t worry about avoiding temptation…as you grow older, it will avoid you. Winston Churchill
From Charles Bridge
In 1986, I believe it was, Ron Reynolds and I flew a 747-SP to Hong Kong for a major
overhaul and conversion to American Airlines instruments and interior. A month later we flew it non-stop to Kansas City with some AAL personnel onboard. We gave them some instructional time at MKC and flew the airplane to Oakland where World was going to do some further interior work, but first we flew ten miles off shore over the pacific where a group of Icahn’s sleazy, garment district lawyers passed papers to American.
From Dave Grigg
Thanks to all the work done by all involved in Tarpa Topics. The remembrances by Jack
Parker of the ‘50’s I was on one of the Athens “Astor Beach Hotel” trips with Jack. The French cabin crews usually took over the rooms at the above hotel and Jack finally talked some0ne into vacating a room so he could stay out with la Frenchies. I refused and kept a cot. Capt Mickelson was there and I remember seeing him floating in the bay with just a big black cigar protruding from his clenched lips.
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Only Irish Coffee provides in a single glass all four essential food groups; alcohol, caffeine, sugar and fat. Alex Levine
Another trip to Athens in the ‘50’s had scads of Navy boys all over town. One night Mary’s
Bar, just off Constitution Square, was about empty. We were having a beer when in walked a couple of toughs demanding our moola. We cracked the beer bottle necks against the bar rail and pointed the jagged necks at these guys. They disappeared like lightning. There was another rather thrilling ride with the “Terrible Turk” on a DC-4 ferry from Rome to Paris he said, “Are you guys game to take a short cut through the Alps?” We said, I guess so, not knowing the pass we flew through was so narrow that there was no way to turn around if we were in the wrong pass - but we’re still here! During WWII we flew troop carriers through the Brenner Pass quite a struggle for a C-47. The RO entertained us all by taking a big suck of oxygen and blowing it out through a lit cigarette on the exhale creating a 6” blue flame. Such fun!
I have many remembrances in my 40 years as Flight Engineer with TWA, some of
which I can’t mention with names, as you all know. What a wonderful experience with many wonderful compatriots. I’m 84 now and still have dreams of the old days. From Lew Judd
I couldn’t believe what my eyes were beholding. Both sides of the naked body, belonging
to Ava Gardner, one of the most beautiful women in the world! She was standing before a large wall mirror located in the forward lavatory of a Super Constellation and the door had swung open. The view was spectacular whether reflected, the luscious breasts, or actual, the gorgeous rear.
In 1953 TWA received the first of the Super Constellations. It was decided to utilize it on
luxurious, non-stop, coast-to-coast, night flights. Eight Pullman style berths were installed. Since the berths could not be occupied during landing and takeoff, the cabin forward of the galley, was
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What’s the use of happiness? It won’t buy money. Henny Youngman
reserved for the passengers with the berths. As well as having tables between the seats for comfortable eating, there was a very large lavatory for berth passenger use, large dressing table and wall-to-wall mirrors were part of its decor.
The legendary Howard Hughes owned both TWA and RKO Studios. Guess what airline
the stars of Hollywood flew?
The movie stars would board early, at their convenience, many times before the cabin
attendants had arrived. I, as the flight engineer, pre-flighted the aircraft, and was on board or in the vicinity doing my walk around inspection an hour before departure. Part of my duties required me to check all the reading lights; consequently I was the one who welcomed most of them on board.
This particular night, Ava Gardner, was shown aboard by a ramp agent. He escorted her to
her seat and left. I came out of the cockpit on my way to inspect the outside of the plane and was surprised to see her sitting there, all by herself. Of course I recognized her at once and introducing myself as the flight engineer, asked, “May I get you a cup of coffee?” In those days, coffee was carried in large thermos jugs and was available as soon as it was on board.
Ava, raising her magnificent eyes to look directly into mine, breathed in her soft voice “Oh
yes, please. That would be lovely. I stumbled in the aisle, receiving the look from those gorgeous orbs. It was not unlike a physical blow. At that moment, I would have gone to Sepulveda Blvd., the boundary road, to get it. She had just acquired another slave.
I delivered the coffee and knowing how much inspecting I had yet to do, I said, “I hate to
leave you alone, but I have checking to do and the hostesses will be along shortly”. With a smile which showed the dimple in her right cheek, she replied “Go right ahead, I’ll watch you out the
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Until I was thirteen I thought my name was Shutup. Joe Namath
window, when you get on the wing on my side”.
I was quite surprised that she knew I would be on the wing. It must have shown on my
face, because she said “You don’t think this is my first flight do you?” Stammering a little, I managed an “Oh no, of course not.” When I got on the wing on her side, sure enough, I saw her wave, as she saw the beam of my flash light, while I checked the fuel tank quantities. I waved my light back, thoroughly captivated by the lovely lady.
I didn’t get to talk to her again. When I got back on board, the cabin was filling up and she
was the center of a group of passengers, though she did smile and nod as I passed.
When we approached New York, Ava stayed in her berth until the last minute and didn’t
wish to disembark without putting on her makeup, since photographers and reporters always-met the flight. Normally the plane would be unloaded and mechanics would taxi it to the hangar. The flight crews rode in it, since their cars were parked there. It was a fair distance and a runway had to be crossed, so the mechanics had to be in radio contact with the tower.
It was decided to take the plane to the hangar with Ava on board, since the gate space
was needed. The press could drive around to where she would take her limousine and get their scoop. Ava took her things into the lavatory, to get ready while we taxied, but she failed to lock the door. At the first sharp turn the door flew open. The banging of the door caused all heads to turn, including the ones taxiing the plane. Ava didn’t bother with the door, just waved her hand at her admirers and blew a kiss into the mirror. A mighty cheer rose from the cabin.
The tower called, to inquire why the plane was about to leave the taxiway! Jamming on the
right brake and turning the nose wheel steering to make the almost missed turn, caused the door
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Be careful reading health books… you may die of a misprint. Mark Twain
to slam shut on the lavatory, removing the beauteous vision.
After arriving at the hangar, we all waited for Ava to be the first to step off the plane. As
she daintily made her way through the cabin, she looked at us and said “Who the hell was driving this thing? I damn near fell on the floor.”
Then, stepping out the door, she waved and blew a kiss to the press below, just as she had to
us. Lovely, but not as spectacular, she was accompanied by more cheering and hand clapping. I never saw the lady again, but she had a group of ardent fans, especially me, from that day on. From Chuck Tiseo
I was hired in 1942, on ICD and based in DC, SFO, CHI, LGA, and International JFK. The
article, “Pillar Of Fire,” brought back sad memories for me and I will tell you why. I am 84 years old, but remember the 16th of December like it was yesterday.
Capt. Dave Wollam and his family had not only been long time next-door neighbors of
ours, but were close friends as well. Dave called me the morning of Dec. 15th and said that another pilot had asked for a trade, so he was going out a day early. On the morning of the 16th, I reported to JFK to take my flight to DEN. As I walked in, I was told the chief pilot wanted to see me. He stated that we had just lost a Connie and he knew that Dave and I were good friends. He asked me if I would drive back home to tell Dave’s wife what had happened. I said no because I knew the press would get there first, so I told him that I would call my wife, Tomi, and have her go tell Nan Wollam.
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My luck is so bad that if I bought a cemetery people would quit dying. Ed Fergol
There was hell to pay at the Wollam home. The press arrived there just after my wife. Another
neighbor, a Pan Am Capt., fought them off at the front door. Inside, there were a number of other pilots’ wives with Nan because the TV news had stated that it was a TWA out-bound Connie. They naturally thought it was my flight and were preparing to go tell my wife. In the meantime, I took my flight to DEN and then sat there watching the TV news, crying with Capt. Stuart Updike.
When I returned to JFK, the chief pilot gave me Dave’s personal effects and the remnants
of a suitcase that I had bought in DEN for Dave the month before. I mailed a letter to the President of TWA six years after the accident and asked why they hadn’t settled with Mrs. Wollam while at the same time they were helping the United families. Capt. Wollam had 28 years with TWA and the company would not help to clear his name. Their lawyer called me later and said my letter did it.
The Wollam’s have a son and daughter who were still living on Long Island.
From Earl Jinnette
In 1937 Lockheed aircraft received contracts for several hundred Hudson bombers. WWII
was inevitable as Hitler’s blitzkrieg tactics were overrunning Europe. I got a job at Lockheed bucking rivets and, after at least one million rivets, I bucked and then drove close to another million. I was deaf from the noise and tired of the job. I couldn’t, however, afford to quit so I started agitating for a transfer into final assembly or anything more interesting than the riveting of Dept. 10.
After several months I finally got a transfer to Dept. 5 which was inspection. It wasn’t what
I wanted but I learned a lot about instruments in the test lab. However, the transfer eventually worked out better than expected. Actually, it was the proverbial “blessing in disguise”!
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I am opposed to millionaires… but it would be dangerous to offer me the position. Mark Twain
The British, even though the bombers were given to them through the United States “Lend Lease bill,” were extremely difficult to please. There was a trivial item they required on each plane called the “tool bag.” they refused to accept delivery of the bombers if the tool bag was missing! It was ridiculous as there were only minor tools such as sockets, ratchets, pliers, etc., even a tire hand pump; none of the items were usable in flight. The tool bags could have been shipped separately but they would have no part of it!
As I was low man on the totem pole in Dept. 5, so to speak, I was assigned to inspecting tool
bags, which, why I’ll never know, was a division of Dept. 5. I’ll admit the job required a very high degree of education! The inspector had to be able to count to 12 without removing his shoes, plus learn the difference between a socket ratchet and a screwdriver! Not many inspectors could qualify for the job! Due to the British inspectors rejecting so many tools with a spot of rust the program rapidly became delinquent. Flight inspection Dept. called for an inspector to work full time in order to keep bomber deliveries moving. I, much to my enjoyment, was selected and I became permanently assigned to Dept. 3, which was flight inspection, my ultimate goal at Lockheed.
During the rush to fulfill the back orders of tool bags I became farther and farther behind
and, eventually, I was given a helper. The helper, or assistant, I preferred to call him, was an old man possibly 50 years of age! He was a great guy and I enjoyed his company as well as his help. His name was Walt and we got along great and soon caught up with the urgency. We always had lunch in the flight inspection office which was nothing more than a “lean to” addition to this only hangar we had on the bomber production line. The hangar, itself, was an old corrugated tin building with a dirt floor. At that time it only housed the XYP-38 which was being flighttested. I loved every facet of the situation as many of the flight inspectors were old time pilots who
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Maybe it’s true that life starts at fifty…but everything else starts to wear out, fall out, or spread out. Phyllis Diller
would spin yarn after yarn of the early days of aviation.
One day at lunch some one asked Walt, my assistant, how he made out with his airmail
contract. He replied, “I had many friends who mailed bricks for me. I got paid by the pound and that kept the airline solvent.”
I, for the first time realized I’d been working for several months with an early aviation icon.
“Varney Speed Lines” was their logo. It was advertised as “The 200 mph Airline.” needless to say, I was quite impressed by this unassuming gentleman, Walt Varney.
Varney Speed Lines went bankrupt after a tragic accident in Alameda, California, which
killed everyone aboard and 5 persons in the building, which was demolished in the accident. In a few months I finally became a “full fledged” flight inspector and Walt was given a job as co-pilot on the Boeing B-17’s being produced by Lockheed Vega, a subsidiary of Lockheed. Robert Gross, president of Lockheed, was a close friend of Walt’s and was careful to see he had a job when needed. After all, Walt Varney bought his airliners from Lockheed; Lockheed Vegas and Lockheed Orions. Years later when I was flying for TWA I had Robert Gross aboard as a passenger. I went back into the cabin and talked briefly with him. Upon inquiring about Walt Varney he said he had recently visited him in El Centro and Walt was in very poor health and confined to a wheelchair. Foot Note: Ted Hereford knew Walt Varney and many aspects of his airline. I often wished I’d taken notes of this many comments on the subject. As we all know, Ted had an exceptional memory. Gene, once again I’d like to thank you and the Tarpa staff for the work you’ve been doing.
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By all means marry. If you get a good wife, you’ll become happy; if you get a bad one you’ll become a philosopher. Socrates
From David Wadworth Hi Ed. Enclosed is $100 for all the good work you people do. Don’t know whether it will be the last or not. My heart is now only putting out 25%. I’ve eliminated lots of my volunteer work, but not all. My best to all. From Korky Youngblood Dear Ed. What a great job you retired airmen do with the magazine. Though Dub, my husband, has been gone for almost 4 years, I still look forward to reading the TARPA magazine from cover to cover. What memories it brings back! I feel very fortunate to have been a part of that wonderful aviation world. I volunteer at the Palm Springs Air Museum… I guess I still want to be around airplanes. From John Malandro, Sr Enclosed is my check for membership in TARPA. Please tell Gene Richards that I prefer many short stories as part of Grapevine… like Hank used to do. Providing that the short stories come in to you. Having said that continue doing it. It’s a real good day when TOPICS arrives. I grab it and read from cover to cover. From Ray Terry I like TARPA TOPICS so much I’m offering regular dues. I am now finally fully retired. Sold our B&B in NH. Sold our marina in FL. Let my marine license expire. So son Brad, who used to spot swordfish from his Citabria, now runs our charter fishing operation and I still get to go fishing. The sad part is that Julie didn’t live to see it all.
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A Lexophile’s Delight (Compliments of Charlie Wilder) A bicycle can’t stand alone; it is two tired. A will is a dead giveaway. Time flies like an arrow; fruit flies like a banana. A backward poet writes inverse. In a democracy it’s your vote that counts; in feudalism, it’s your Count that votes. A chicken crossing the road: poultry in motion. If you don’t pay your exorcist you may be repossessed. With her marriage she got a new name and a dress. Show me a piano falling down a mine shaft and I’ll show you A-flat miner. When a clock is hungry it goes back four seconds. The guy who fell onto an upholstery machine was fully recovered. A grenade fell onto a kitchen floor in France resulting in Linoleum Blownapart. You are stuck with your debt if you can’t budge it. Local Area Network in Australia: The LAN down under. He broke into song because he couldn’t find the key. A calendar’s days are numbered. A lot of money is tainted: ‘Taint yours, and ‘taint mine. He had a photographic memory which was never developed. A plateau is a high form of flattery. The short fortuneteller who escaped from prison: a small medium at large. Those who get too big for their britches will be exposed in the end. When you’ve seen one shopping center you’ve seen a mall. If you jump off a Paris bridge, you are in Seine. When she saw her first strands of gray hair, she thought she’d dye. Bakers trade bread recipes on a knead to know basis. Santa’s helpers are subordinate clauses. Acupuncture: a jab well done. Marathon runners with bad shoes suffer the agony of de feet. PAGE 65 ... TARPA TOPICS
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FLYING TWA’S AROUND-THE-WORLD FLIGHT by Barry Schiff In the years since Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin set foot on the moon, only 10 men have ever walked on an extraterrestrial surface. Each of these Apollo astronauts has been asked, at one time or another, to describe his most memorable lunar experience. You might expect the answers to include comments about exploring another world. But almost unanimously, their most cherished moments were those spent looking back across the blackness of space to see this world. The world is smaller for astronauts and pilots than ordinary people make it out to be. I fly airliners for a living and lightplanes for fun. During my stints at work, I have looked down on places that only a few pilots will ever see and have encountered problems, humorous situations, and experiences that simply do not crop up on a flight between St. Louis and San Francisco. The farther afield we go, the more new and interesting countryside slides beneath our wings. So if you are inclined to wander, I invite you to join me as I take notes on a round robin flight around the world, Los Angeles to Los Angeles in a TWA Boeing 707-331BAH. This is the second leg of our 11 day flight. After a flight from Los Angeles to Honolulu, the course deviation indicator points an electronic finger toward our first destination. Guam is a dot on the map, a fleck of land floating on the Pacific vastness. Far below, the puffy clouds are like sheep grazing on a boundless blue meadow. But ahead, the cumulus clouds grow tempestuously taller, confirming that our route coincides partially with the equatorial front, a cauldron of thunderstorms brewed by mixing moist tropical trade winds. Because a mature thunderstorm contains more destructive energy than a nuclear bomb, it must be avoided. It seems inconceivable that more than 50,000 thunderstorms occur daily over the Earth until you’ve flown over the Tropics. At times, almost all of them seem to challenge our right to the sky and necessitate the most serpentine flight path imaginable. This inevitably leads to a late arrival and an assortment of complaints from passengers. (One of my pet peeves is that passengers judge an airline crew’s performance only by the timeliness of arrival and the smoothness of the landing. Seldom considered is the skill we might have used to sidestep hazards along the way.) Not long ago, airliners were led across the oceans of the world by navigators who used sextants to “shoot” the stars in the mystical manner of ancient mariners. Today, we depend on Loran A and Doppler navigation systems. On this flight, the Dopplers advise that a strong headwind has dramatically slowed our progress, adding to the deceiving effect of slow motion at high altitude. We are suspended in ethereal blackness where nothing seems to move except the fuel gauges. A patch of turbulence, a change in outside temperature, an increase in groundspeed these indicate that the jet stream, a meandering river of high velocity winds, has tired of pushing against us and has veered north to perpetrate its folly elsewhere. And it really is cold outside, dangerously close to the fuel freeze point of 100° F. A lower, warmer attitude is requested from an air traffic controller in Hawaii, and we discuss with renewed amazement the incongruity that the coldest temperatures in the atmosphere occur above the South Pacific.
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Sunday evening suddenly becomes Monday evening. We have crossed the International Date Line, a line on the chart drawn to pacify man’s obsession for order and definition. A passenger sends a note to the cockpit, announcing with mock disappointment that he’s been cheated out of his birthday. We respond unsympathetically, advising that he should have caught an eastbound flight and celebrated his birthday twice. Our shadow streaks south of wishbone shaped Wake Island, a 4.5 mile long atoll that became a base for Pan American Airways’ China Clippers in 1935; they couldn’t carry enough fuel to cross the Pacific nonstop. Today, the island is governed by the FAA, and those learning to fly there are not required to make cross country flights. The closest airport is on Eniwetok, which is 600 miles south. Below, the cumulus clouds continue to drift behind with metronomic regularity, casting shadows on the water that resemble small islands. This makes us wonder how many flight weary pilots might have unwittingly descended to a shadow thinking that it was an island. The Pacific’s immensity is monotonous. More clouds, more water, more sky. Because an automatic pilot flies an airplane more efficiently and smoothly than can human hands, it usually is assigned the task of maintaining heading and altitude. When everything functions properly, we have little to do except monitor aircraft systems, make an occasional position report, and stare at the repetitious seascape. Occasionally, the pilot of a nearby flight breaks the boredom by broadcasting risqué jokes on the air to air frequency. Occasionally, someone sings or even plays the harmonica. Although this abuse of the frequency might be illegal, such diversions rarely last more than a few minutes. And then each pilot returns to his personal bout with the “Pacific blues,” a fatiguing form of boredom. Those in the cabin also do strange things to break the monotony of a long flight. Yemenis have been known to start a campfire in an aisle to cook a meal. Other passengers accustomed to train travel have attempted to climb into overhead baggage compartments for a nap. And then there are the inevitable honeymooners who can’t wait to consummate their marriage. Below us, South Pacific islands are encircled in rings of turquoise and green where the water is shallow over the coral reefs. Approaching Guam, however, the water is a single shade of midnight blue. This island rises straight from the water, the tip of a 37,000 foot tall oceanic mountain. After a 25 hour layover and a relatively short flight to Okinawa, we are now approaching Taiwan. I review the published approach instructions for Taipei, another en route stop. Numerous restrictions are imposed on arriving aircraft. According to reports, this is because some cunning aviators from the People’s Republic of China once managed to land unnoticed at Taipei late one night and abscond with several aircraft belonging to the Nationalist Chinese Air Force. Friends occasionally ask for my impressions of Taipei, and for countless other capitals of the world, as well. Although I have been to Taipei many times, I often am forced to admit that I can describe only the airport. For many of these places, I have never been in the country for more than an hour at a time, often in the dead of night. The Chinese dispatcher at Taipei adds another chart to the maze of preflight paperwork spread before us. It contains the last known position of every large surface vessel steaming in the vicinity of our route PAGE 68 ... TARPA TOPICS
to Hong Kong as well as recommended ditch headings to use in the vicinity of each. Apparently, he is concerned about the possibility of a jetliner having to ditch in the Pacific. Although this has never happened, the thought of such a possibility gnaws at the psyche of every command pilot. While we taxi for takeoff at Taipei, a red light warns us to stop so that a military guard can verify that the aircraft registration number on our tail coincides with the one on the flight plan. If the two don’t match, we will be escorted back to the terminal. The guard’s machine gun along with several anti aircraft batteries surrounding the airport convinces us that this is one red light we can’t afford to run. The guard salutes respectfully and shines a green light, and we trundle to the runway. Our flight to Hong Kong will be via “Typhoon Alley,” a nickname given to this region when typhoons are on the rampage. It can be a severe weather area, but neither it nor any other part of the world can be as vicious as “Tornado Alley” in the Midwestern United States. I recall once flying inadvertently through an innocuous looking Kansas rain shower not large enough to show on radar. It lifted the crew meal from my lap and slammed the tray against the instrument panel, obscuring several gauges with a gooey film of coq au vin. We are soaring through placid valleys of white cotton candy, banking gently on occasion to follow the contours of an aerial fantasy land. Our wings are like outstretched arms and slice through soft cumulus castles. To a pilot, this exhilarating sense of speed and freedom is what flying is all about. Still, a glance at the chart abruptly returns us to the stark reality of the world below. We have passed over Makung, a small island in the strait separating Taiwan and China, and are paralleling a buffer zone intended to protect the Chinese mainland against trespass by aircraft that have not been invited there. One notation on the chart informs us to be on the alert for erroneous radio signals from within China that could be hazardous to navigation. Another states that “any aircraft infringing upon the territorial rights of China may be fired upon without notice.” We slide somewhat farther from the mainland. Nearing Hong Kong, we lower the nose and prepare for the world’s most unusual landing approach. At first blush, the approach instructions seem confusingly similar to the diagram of an Aresti aerobatic chart. Upon reaching the Cheung Chau radiobeacon, we descend through globs of nimbostratus cloud while flying a series of graceful figure eights, using the beacon as a pivot point. Inbound to the airport, we slip out of the soggy overcast and peer through an onslaught of heavy rain. We must now fly 15 miles at only 750 feet above the sea. Forward visibility is only a mile, but 12 miles ahead, the Stonecutters radiobeacon urges us to continue. We pass abreast of the tip of Hong Kong Island and enter Victoria Harbor, our screaming turbines seemingly unnoticed by those aboard the hundreds of junks below that plod and heel through windswept waters. Crossing Kowloon Beach, we begin a gentle right turn, our eyes straining to see the aiming point, a large orange and white checkerboard on the side of a 300 foot high hill near the approach end of PAGE 69 ... TARPA TOPICS
Kai Tak Airport’s Runway 13. Tall buildings below stretch for the sky, probing for our belly. The illuminated checkerboard appears like a target at 12 o’clock. We bank the aircraft right to avoid the hill and simultaneously descend toward manmade canyons and through torrents of turbulence. Wings level at 200 feet, we are at last lined up with the 8,000 foot long concrete ribbon projecting into the harbor from Kowloon’s east shore. Hong Kong: a sweet and sour mixture of Chinese antiquity and modern British colonialism, a place where you can go broke saving money, where the brave can sip bird’s nest soup, a glutinous compound made from the saliva of birds. On the ground, I take care of an essential chore: the purchase of a “survival kit.” Not for an en route emergency, this survival kit contains instead canned groceries to obviate my having to eat anything cooked or grown in Bombay, our next layover point. I have found that the food in India can incapacitate the delicate Western stomach with something certain to baffle the medical world. The water there makes Mexico’s seem like vintage champagne. Anyone who insists on drinking tap water in India should first hold a glassful up to the light to see if anything inside returns the stare. We are now high above the South China Sea, listening to the high frequency receiver on a channel normally used for air traffic control. But instead of traffic controllers, we hear the English edition of Radio Beijing’s modern day version of Tokyo Rose spewing her daily dose of political air pollution. At times, navigation and communication difficulties occur over Southeast Asia. I recall once trying to communicate with Hong Kong Control, but the frequency was jammed for about 10 minutes with what seemed to be China’s answer to Wolfman Jack. These problems seldom last long but are annoying. The Chinese invariably are blamed for them and anything else that goes wrong, even an aft toilet that won’t flush. The 115 mile flight across Vietnam takes only 13 minutes and begins over the coastal town of Qui Nhon, south of Da Nang, north of Ho Chi Minh City. Broad, vacant beaches of white sand characterize the scalloped coast and are most inviting. From our perch, Vietnam seems a paradise. But looking carefully, we still can see bomb craters, pockmarks on the face of the earth, on the face of man. We sweep across the muddy, swollen Mekong River and then the rice rich fields of Cambodia and Thailand as we prepare for an en route stop. While approaching one of Bangkok’s two parallel runways, I marvel at what lies between them: a golf course. Like the rabbits that dwell between the runways at Los Angeles, the golfers at Don Muang Airport must be stone deaf. A few hours later, we are over the southern extremity of Myanmar (nee Burma), gazing at pagodas so large they are visible from 7 miles above. Ahead lays the 1,000 mile wide Bay of Bengal and, on the other side, India. We estimate landing in Bombay at 8 p.m. Greenwich Mean Time (GMT), which is 1:30 a.m. local time. Because Bombay is 5.5 hours ahead of Greenwich, we conclude that Indian leaders couldn’t decide whether their country should be GMT plus five or six hours, so they compromised. But what form of logic was used by the Guyanese, who decided that their country should be 3 hours 45 minutes behind Greenwich? (Until recently, local time in Saudi Arabia was based on Arabic or solar time, which varied each day according to sunset.) PAGE 70 ... TARPA TOPICS
Forgive this preoccupation with the hour, but when crossing numerous time zones, it becomes a vital issue. Airline pilots live in constant psycho physiological turmoil, trying to synchronize their body clocks with the sun. Passengers frequently ask what airline pilots do to cope with jet lag. The painful truth is that we can’t do anything. Because a layover seldom is more than 24 hours long, our bodies do not have a chance to adapt to local time. I often find myself staring at the ceiling when in bed and falling asleep over lunch. Perhaps the Mongolians had the right idea. Until recently, their People’s Republic had no legal time whatever.
Our weather radar screen displays water and land in different shades of green, which enables us to identify uniquely shaped coastal regions. It now shows that we are passing south of the mouths of Burma’s Irrawaddy River, and two hours later, we soar over Vishakhapatnam, a fishing village on India’s east coast. Fortunately, we are not required to pronounce these strange names. Instead, each checkpoint is assigned a two or three letter identifier. In this case, we simply report passing over “Victor Zulu.” Even more difficult to pronounce is Inoucdjouac, a beacon on the east coast of Hudson’s Bay that is referred to as “Papa Hotel.” The lights of small towns passing below are like jewels scattered on black velvet. We begin our descent toward Bombay’s Santa Cruz Airport, where holy cows are free to wander. The landing lights spike the blackness, and we pray that tonight there are no cows on the runway. After passing through customs, we are confronted by a group of consummate beggars, pathetic, destitute children ranging in age from two to five. But we are prepared and pass out handfuls of candy to these scantily clad urchins. Later, the crew bus rattles through unlit streets, weaving once to miss a toddler straying in the night. People are asleep in gutters, on sidewalks, and in doorways. An airline crew normally is a jovial group, but during this ride, we are in silent depression. The unrelenting monsoon rains have begun their seasonal assault, dampening my spirits and adding fuel to my burning desire to leave. It is raining so heavily that it might be easier to swim from the terminal to the aircraft than to walk; any three raindrops would nearly fill a coffee cup. It is so hot and humid that unfolding the wilted charts in the cockpit requires the care used to unravel cooked spaghetti. The runway lights have not survived the deluge and have been replaced by flare pots. As the aircraft gathers speed, the flickering candle lights become indistinguishable blurs. Visibility through the wall of rain is almost nil, and we curse the windshield wipers, which are more noisy than effective. Soon the wings flex, and we are airborne in a flying Noah’s Ark. Above the wet, lumpy cumulus, we sail on silken air beneath a canopy dotted with distant diamonds. We are strangers flying over foreign lands, but my celestial companions provide comforting familiarity. Polaris winks from starboard, and the Southern Cross watches from port. The flight to Tel Aviv will take 6 hours 25 minutes, an hour and a half longer than would be necessary if the Middle East nations could coexist peacefully. Because our destination is in Israel, we must fly PAGE 71 ... TARPA TOPICS
850 miles out of the way to avoid neighbors unfriendly to Israel. In this part of the world, flight planning is determined more by the political climate than by winds and weather. The flight engineer is balancing the fuel tanks and calculating the amount of fuel remaining while monitoring a special communications frequency, listening for news of any reported disturbances in the Middle East. On another receiver, we overhear an Air France pilot relaying a clearance in English from Tehran air traffic control to a Russian flight en route from Moscow to Karachi, punctuating the camaraderie that exists between pilots of all nations. We angle southwestward over Iran and head for Turkey and then Cyprus. We stare upon a world seemingly uninhabited. It is difficult to appreciate the reality of global overpopulation. From our vantage point, it seems that most of the earth is untouched. Our topographical chart contains a proliferation of “UNSURVEYED” notations. Approaching Israel from over the Mediterranean, we aim for the Shalom Tower, one of the tallest buildings in the Middle East, and pass over Tel Aviv, a sprawling coastal city that from aloft could be mistaken for Miami. Over the nose, however, we can see the Dead Sea and, beyond that, the Judean Hills of western Jordan. The landing at Tel Aviv is routine, but to some Jewish passengers, the view is like seeing their newborn child for the first time. The touchdown on Israeli soil triggers cheers and applause that echo throughout the cabin, a spontaneous flood of emotion from some who have struggled for years if not centuries to make this moment possible. An elderly couple bolts from the aircraft and weeps without inhibition as they fall to their knees to kiss the cold tarmac. Israel, the promised land. Airline pilots hold that the most dangerous part of a flight is the drive to and from the airport. Nowhere in the world is this truer than in Israel. Israelis drive as if they were in Sherman tanks on the road to Beirut. Later, our engines etch four contrails above the jagged coast of Greece, which lies fragmented at the base of the Balkan Peninsula like the ruins of an Athenian temple. Flying in the Mediterranean can put Yankee patience to the supreme test. In Rome, for example, a Pan Am pilot at the end of a long line of aircraft progressing slowly toward the departure runway finally lost his patience. On the radio, he exhorted the tower controller with, “Can’t you move this parade a little faster?” After a pause, the Italian controller announced calmly, “To all aircraft on the ground. Roma Tower going off the air.” Traffic came to a halt, and further efforts to contact the tower were fruitless. Half an hour later, the controller keyed his mike and announced with marvelous one upmanship, “All right, fellahs. Now tell me, who’s the boss here?” In central and northern Europe, the shoe is on the other foot, and controllers lose patience with pilots. It is difficult for a pilot to stay ahead of the game when the rules change every time a border is crossed, which is frequently. And just when you have become accustomed to the heavily accented English of one nationality, it is time to change to another. (Although all traffic controllers must communicate in English, the international language of aviation, most American pilots find French controllers most difficult to understand.) But a flight across Europe involves more than conforming to the dictates of regulation. It is sailing above a fairyland of castles, cultures, and contrasts. A glance in any direction
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finds a scene lifted from the pages of history. But a flight across Europe involves more than conforming to the dictates of regulation. It is sailing above a fairyland of castles, cultures, and contrasts. A glance in any direction finds a scene lifted from the pages of history. London’s Heathrow Airport is the busiest and often the foggiest in Europe. Fog here can be so thick that a pilot taxiing to the gate could get lost for hours. To solve this problem, the British have installed a guidance system. Working like the track switcher at a railroad yard, the Heathrow ground controller leads a pilot to his gate or wherever else he needs to go by turning on only the appropriate taxi lights. We are about to take off on the last leg of our globe girdling journey. The fuel tanks burgeon with fuel, and the wings sag noticeably under the load. Los Angeles is at the far end of a 6,000 mile long great circle route across the roof of the world, an aerial Northwest Passage. The throttles are advanced, and the aircraft accelerates slowly, demonstrating little apparent will to fly. In the cabin, a veteran flight attendant sits in her jump seat facing the passengers and is accustomed to the necessarily long takeoff roll. Sensing passenger concern, she announces on the public address system: “Ladies and gentlemen, you can help by lifting your feet.” Obediently, hundreds of feet rise, and the aircraft pushes the ground away at 170 knots. We are over Benbecula, Scotland, heading northwest along the great circle route, leaving behind the spider web of European airways and the unceasing chatter of radio communications. Ahead is peace and quiet, the serenity of watching ice floes of brilliant white drifting in frigid black water. Here in the High Arctic, visibility is so unlimited that it hurts your eyes to look that far. After crossing the Denmark Strait, we interrupt the cabin movies to point out the spectacle passing below: Greenland, the world’s largest island with the most inappropriate name. Jagged peaks cast ragged shadows against the 2 mile thick icecap. Glacial fingers of ice probe for the sea, grinding mountains that stand in their way, the same awesome, slow motion process that carved the continents. From above, the Arctic has a fearsome, almost inviting beauty, yet there is an incongruity here that makes flying above it most pleasant. These Polar Regions are vast deserts, characterized by light wind, low humidity, infrequent and thin cloudiness, and little rain or snow. Winds aloft seldom exceed 30 knots at any altitude. By contrast, a flight across the United States presents far greater problems: frontal systems, thunderstorms, tornados, strong winds, and considerable precipitation in all forms. We cross the Davis Strait, aiming for Frobisher on Baffin Island in extreme northeastern Canada. As we approach the Magnetic North Pole, the magnetic compasses become unreliable and soon fluctuate wildly or point east when they should point west. Our polar-path compasses fortunately provide accurate reference to true north. Our track angles southwest, and Mount Rainier soon pokes its lofty head above the clouds, welcoming us home. Although it will take several days for us to recover from this 23,423 mile odyssey across 24 time zones, our aircraft has no such human frailties. Within a few hours and with a fresh crew, it will begin another flight around the world.
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Remembering Capt. Don Terry by H.W. “Rudy” Truesdale Capt. Don Terry & I were assigned to fly a charter on a money delivery from Chicago to Louisville. Due to the flooding of the Ohio river we were to land on a golf course and an armored Nat’l Guard car was to meet us. We were waiting in the Hanger and we were notified that our cargo had arrived. As we stepped out the door of the hanger Don, as always was carrying his violin case and to our amazement Several Brinks guards aimed their sub machine guns at us!!! We flew 3 large brown paper packages of paper money, a Brinks guard and a Brinks executive wearing a derby hat. The next day another crew & DC2 Repeated this flight. How much money was involved I’ve never known. But I do know what the front end of a sub machine gun looks like! Another time with Don, we were hold up in PIT and we went to Ma Bakers house, who had a contract to supply boxed lunches for TWA flights. After all was quiet that night, Don found a gallon of wine, got his violin out and we sat in front of the open grate a coal fire was burning and Don treated me to a private violin concert! The “Terrible Turk” and I always got along very well. Don usually played his violin on the roof of the hotels we were staying in & WOE be the customs officers who tried to charge a tariff on that violin. Nobody intimidated Don Terry. Note Regarding the long non-stop flights in the Connie’s — Flying over the north Atlantic we carried multiple crew: Captain, relief Capt., l st officer, 2 flight engineers and a celestial navigator in the Cockpit we had one single upper bunk and one double lower Bunk with a bundle board down the center. We were on duty for 4 hours and in the Bunk for 2 hours. Best Wishes from Capt. H.W. “Rudy” Truesdale
Sampling Will Rogers Will Rogers, who died in a plane crash with Wylie Post in 1935, was probably the greatest political sage this country has ever known. Enjoy the following: 1. Never slap a man who’s chewing tobacco. 2. Never kick a cow chip on a hot day. 3. There are 2 theories to arguing with a woman...neither works. 4. Never miss a good chance to shut up. 5. Always drink upstream from the herd. 6. If you find yourself in a hole, stop digging. PAGE 75 ... TARPA TOPICS
7. The quickest way to double your money is to fold it and put it back in your pocket. 8. There are three kinds of men: The ones that learn by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence and find out for themselves. 9. Good judgment comes from experience, and a lot of that comes from bad judgment. 10. If you’re riding’ ahead of the herd, take a look back every now and then to make sure it’s still there. 11. Lettin’ the cat outta the bag is a whole lot easier’n puttin’ itback. 12. After eating an entire bull, a mountain lion felt so good he started roaring. He kept it up until a hunter came along and shot him. The moral: When you’re full of bull, keep your mouth shut.
ABOUT GROWING OLDER... First ~ Eventually you will reach a point when you stop lying about your age and start bragging about it. Second ~ The older we get, the fewer things seem worth waiting in line for. Third ~ Some people try to turn back their odometers. Not me, I want people know “why” I look this way. I’ve traveled a long way and some of the roads weren’t paved. Fourth ~ When you are dissatisfied and would like to go back to youth, think of Algebra. Fifth ~ You know you are getting old when everything either dries up or leaks. Sixth ~ I don’t know how I got over the hill without getting to the top. Seventh ~ One of the many things no one tells you about aging is that it is such a nice change from being young. Eighth ~ One must wait until evening to see how splendid the day has been. Ninth ~ Being young is beautiful, but being old is comfortable. Tenth ~ Long ago when men cursed and beat the ground with sticks, it was called witchcraft. Today it’s called golf. And finally ~ If you don’t learn to laugh at trouble, you won’t have anything to laugh at when you are old.
A few laughs! I used to eat a lot of natural foods until I learned that most people die of natural causes. Gardening Rule: When weeding, the best way to make sure you are removing a weed and not a valuable plant is to pull on it. If it comes out of the ground easily, it is a valuable plant. The easiest way to find something lost around the house is to buy a replacement. Never take life seriously. Nobody gets out alive anyway. There are two kinds of pedestrians: the quick and the dead. The only difference between a rut and a grave is the depth. Some people are like Slinkies. Not really good for anything, but you still can’t help but smile when you see one tumble down the stairs. Health nuts are going to feel stupid someday, lying in hospitals dying of nothing. Have you noticed since everyone has a camcorder these days no one talks about seeing UFOs like they used to? Whenever I feel blue, I start breathing again. All of us could take a lesson from the weather. It pays no attention to criticism. PAGE 76 ... TARPA TOPICS
Ed Madigan TARPA Secretary/Treasurer P.O. Box 3565 Incline Village, NV 89450 firstname.lastname@example.org
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Gene Richards 2840B Sherwood Ave Modesto, CA 95350 209 492-0391
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BAGGAGE ARRIVING IN PARIS
Now, shake your tail and pay your dues!