I've blessed my wings a thousand times
For where they've carried me …
But there is a nearer ecstasy!
The wings that bear one home …
The joy of letting down to the place
The heart has never left — the thrill
of returning to the one spot on earth
beloved above all others — home!
And, if it be "Home for Christmas,"
How thrice blessed are my wings. — Gill Robb Wilson
To assist those flying club members who enjoy entertaining at home, I present the secret recipe for the concoction known to Air Force personnel as “Moose Milk”. Originally made with milk obtained from a lactating Alces alces, the practice was curtailed when too many military members began attending morning “sick parades” due to a variety of injuries leaving no-one to “slip the surly bonds”.
RCAF MOOSE MILK
12 Egg yolks
40 Oz Canadian Whiskey
40 Oz Rum
5 Oz Kahlua
10 Oz Maple Syrup
40 Oz Milk (homogenized – don’t use skim!)
40 Oz Heavy Whipping Cream (not canned)
1 Cup Sugar Method: Beat yolks until fluffy and well mixed.
Add sugar and beat mixture until thick.
Stir in milk and liquor
Chill at least 3 hours. Best if can sit overnight.
Then: Whip cream until good and thick (canned whip cream will be flat – don’t use!)
Fold in whipped cream (it will appear as if it has totally thinned out, but don’t worry)
Chill for another hour.
Sprinkle the top with nutmeg and cinnamon.]
Should be kept chilled because of the raw eggs. This should not be a problem as Moose Milk disappears quite quickly.
Should serve a crowd of fifty. Or ten pilots. ONE YEAR LATER
Today is a day that, as long as I live, I will never forget.
I was out flying my 1947 Luscombe 8E, shooting aerial photos for work near Ridgetown, Ontario, when for some unknown reason my airplane started yawing side to side without any control inputs from me. This was not something that I have ever had a plane do to me before. I started “playing” with the rudder pedals, they felt unstable and over reactive. It was very difficult to maintain control of the uncontrollable side to side motions and I was only able to get some control back by holding a lot of pressure on both rudder pedals. It was at this point that it became apparent to me that this was not something I wanted to be trying to fix while flying at 100 mph, in a plane that was nearly sixty years old.
I immediately started looking for a suitable field to land in, while at the same time making a distress radio call to London Flight Service, to which I got no response! There were many fields below me, all of which were full of 6 foot tall corn, nothing I wanted to attempt a landing in. I used my GPS and located the Highgate airfield just less then 5 NM north of where I was and after struggling through a turn towards the airfield I initiated contact with another aircraft in the area who relayed my distress call to Flight Service. As I got sight of the airfield my elevator controls started to be affected by what ever was going wrong in the tail section, I was no longer able to hold the nose in a steady position. With constant pitching up and down, right and left, I attempted to make a slight left hand turn to do a straight in approach to the North facing runway. It would have no part of this so I started a turn to the right in order to come all the way around and line up with the runway. The runway was nothing short of perfect, straight into a 10 knot wind, 100 feet wide and way longer than I would ever need. Once I was on short final and had the engine at idle I realized I was doing more then 100 mph and was only 100 feet from the ground! I immediately pulled the carb heat on, and turned one magneto off in attempt to slow the engine. I realized that I was flying a plane that had no flaps, and no useful rudder to help me slow down in a slip. Remarkably the landing was uneventful. Once on the ground I made one last radio call to the aircraft relaying the messages “I’m safely on the ground”. I then took a deep breath followed by a huge sigh of relief.
Once the initial drama of making an emergency landing was over, I had to get my disabled airplane off the runway and figure out what the hell went wrong. A quick inspection of the tail section I found that the vertical fin and rudder assembly was loose and able to lean freely from side to side about 14“. I removed the damaged inspection covers and discovered the whole assembly was being held on by only two rivets at the front and the lower most rudder hinge bolt at the rear. I suspect that they both only had a minute or two of stress left before they would have given way as well. Had this been the case it would have left me with no longitudinal control, a situation that I am not so sure I would be here to describe.
After investigation of my aircraft by my mechanic and the Transport Canada Safety Board, it was determined that the rear fin attachment spar had cracked and failed, thus causing the fin to move and break the other fin mounts. The rudder and levitator were also bent from these unusual fin movements.
Lucky… I think so!
The Old Cowboy One Sunday morning, an old cowboy entered a church just before services were to begin. Although the old man and his clothes were spotlessly clean, he wore jeans, a denim shirt and boots that were worn and ragged. In his hand he carried a worn-out old hat and an equally worn, dog-eared Bible.
The church he entered was in a very upscale and exclusive part of the city. It was the largest and most beautiful church the old cowboy had ever seen. The people of the congregation were all dressed with expensive clothes and fine jewelry. As the cowboy took a seat, the others moved away from him. No one greeted, spoke to, or welcomed him. They were all appalled by his appearance and did not attempt to hide it.
As the old cowboy was leaving the church, the preacher approached him and asked the cowboy to do him a favor. "Before you come back in here again, have a talk with God and ask him what he thinks would be appropriate attire for worship in church." The old cowboy assured the preacher he would.
The next Sunday, he showed back up for the services wearing the same ragged jeans, shirt, boots, and hat. Once again he was completely shunned and ignored. The preacher approached the cowboy and said, "I thought I asked you to speak to God before you came back to our church."
"I did," replied the old cowboy.
"And what was his reply?" asked the preacher.
"Well, sir, God told me that he didn't have a clue what I should wear. He said he'd never been in this church."
Slowed rotor has high-speed implicationsNovember 13, 2013 By Sarah Deener
With a wingspan and rotor diameter of 45 feet, the Carter Aviation SR/C takes off like a helicopter and cruises like an airplane.
It takes off and lands like a helicopter, cruises like an airplane, and autorotates like an autogyro. Carter Aviation Technologies’ Slowed Rotor/Compound (SR/C) prototype broke the μ-1 barrier - a ratio of the forward speed of an aircraft to the speed of its rotor tip that generally limits the speed of rotorcraft—Nov. 7, the second time the company has achieved the feat.
The aircraft, which Carter Aviation President and CEO Jay Carter said can be flown with a fixed-wing pilot certificate, reached a true airspeed of 200 mph at 10,790 feet msl on the milestone flight. It flew for 49 seconds at μ-1 and above and seven minutes, 32 seconds above μ-0.96, the company said.
Spinning rotor blades present an aerodynamic challenge to aircraft designers aiming for high-speed flight: As the aircraft moves forward, the advancing blade travels through the air much faster than the retreating blade, creating a potentially dangerous imbalance of lift. If the advancing rotor tip has a speed of 200 mph and the aircraft is moving forward at 200 mph—a μ of 1—that tip is hurtling forward at 400 mph while the retreating tip has an airspeed of zero. An aircraft will typically roll.
High-speed helicopters such the Sikorsky X2 and the Eurocopter X3 tackle the problem with what Carter called “brute force”: For as fast as the aircraft travels, the rotor blades travel faster. Carter Aviation Technologies takes the opposite approach: Slow the rotor so much that it becomes a nonissue in cruise flight. “The rotor’s just along for the ride,” Carter said.
In high-speed cruise, Carter said the SR/C travels as fast and efficiently as general aviation fixed-wing airplanes. The slow-moving rotor basically disappears from a drag standpoint—“it’s like one thirtieth of the drag”—and the pusher-prop aircraft relies on lift from the long, thin wings. Because the aircraft takes off and lands using the rotors, the wings can be optimized for cruise flight, he said. With a more powerful engine, he said that the technology could reach 500 mph.
“I know I’m biased, but this aircraft can change aviation,” Carter said. “… I see this as general aviation, commercial aviation—we can build these aircraft up to a 767 size that can carry 250 passengers.”
The research and development firm, which licenses technology to other aerospace companies, first broke the μ-1 barrier with a first-generation design in June 2005. The aircraft was damaged in an emergency landing later that day, and the company decided not to repair it. The second-generation prototype is more than twice as efficient as the original, making it almost four times as efficient as the best helicopter, Carter said. He touted the aircraft’s ability to take off and land vertically, autorotate at any altitude, and cruise at high speeds.
“We can combine the best of the fixed wing and the best of a helicopter and the best of a gyro all in one aircraft,” he said.
Aug 26th 2013, 20:34 by N.V. | LOS ANGELES FROM THE ECONOMIST
ONE day in the not too distant future, so the hoary old story goes, airliners will have only two crew members on the flight deck—a pilot and a dog. The pilot’s job will be to feed the dog. The dog’s job will be to bite the pilot if he touches the controls. Despite all the talk about drone-like autonomous passenger planes, cockpit automation is nowhere near capable enough to manage without human pilots on the flight deck. It is doubtful whether the technology—at least, as it is currently configured—will ever let that happen. In theory, modern passenger planes fitted with the latest cockpit automation can fly themselves from take-off to landing. In practice, pilots have to be very much in the loop, ready to intervene (“pick up the slack,” as they say) when flight plans suddenly change, or one or other of the plane's automated systems starts functioning in a reduced operating mode, contributing to the so-called "minimum equipment list". The flight crew then becomes extremely busy.
A growing body of evidence indicates that while cockpit automation may be relieving pilots of mundane chores when their workload is actually low (ie, while climbing to altitude and cruising), it is causing bigger headaches than ever when the workload is particularly high (ie, during take-off, descent, approach and landing). Aircrew call it the “automation paradox”. Overall, cockpit automation has been a boon—at least for airlines. It saves fuel, helps with maintenance, reduces the number of crew needed on the flight deck and cuts their training time. To some extent, it also makes it easier for pilots to qualify on other aircraft types, though there are significant differences in control philosophies between Airbus and Boeing.
That aside, the over-arching problem with cockpit automation stems from the way it has been implemented—with flight crew relegated from their traditional role of physically flying the aircraft to becoming essentially systems supervisors. Unquestionably, this has taken its toll on their “stick-and-rudder” skills. Instead of flying their planes, flight crew now spend most of their time in the air programming and monitoring various pieces of equipment (a typical airliner has around 90 automated systems on board), inputting data and checking that everything is working correctly. Many of today’s younger pilots (especially in the rapidly expanding markets of Asia and the Middle East) have had little opportunity to hone their airmanship in air forces, general aviation or local flying clubs, allowing them to amass long hours of hand-flying various aircraft in all sorts of weather conditions and emergencies. As a result, the tendency among pilots today is to trust a plane’s automation more than their own skill and judgment.
Pilots with Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger III’s background are becoming the exception rather than the rule. Captain Sullenberger, readers will recall, carefully ditched his Airbus A320 close to a jetty in the Hudson River in January 2009 without loss of a single life, after the plane had been disabled by a flock of geese while climbing out of LaGuardia airport. It should be pointed out that Sully learned to fly at the age of 16, flew F-4 Phantoms in the air force, and had 40 years and 20,000 hours of mostly hands-on experience when he performed his heroics on the Hudson. The problem today is that aircrew may log thousands of hours on the flight decks of modern airliners, but their actual hands-on flying experience may amount to mere minutes per flight. When things get frantic—whether through a mistaken input or a sudden runway change by air-traffic control during descent—aircrew can be so preoccupied punching fresh instructions into the flight-management computer that they may fail to notice their airspeed and altitude are falling precipitously.
This reduction in situation awareness, along with the degradation of basic piloting skills and a huge increase in cognitive workload on flight crew are all part of the unintended consequences of cockpit automation. Combined, such human factors can quickly lead to disaster.
America’s two recent fatal air crashes—the Asiana Boeing 777 passenger jet on final approach into San Francisco international airport on July 6th and the United Parcel Service Airbus A300 freighter coming into land at Birmingham airport in Alabama on August 14th—are cases in point. Though investigations have barely begun, both situations point to distractions the pilots faced while trying to take control of the aircraft. In both instances, the pilots seem to have been unaware, until the last few minutes, of their proximity to the ground and of how slowly their planes were flying. Both finished up crashing short of the runway. In both instances, federal investigators have found little evidence of equipment failure before the crash. They are now focusing more on how the pilots were trained. Babbage was recently shown a training report by a now-retired “standards captain” at United Airways, who had spent five years in Seoul instructing Asiana and Korean Air Lines crew. The account is not for squeamish passengers. The instructor describes how, when checking out even experienced crew, asking them to make a visual approach (ie, using basic head-up flying skills) for a landing “would strike fear into their hearts”—so dependent had they become on the head-down operation of their automated equipment.
It is not hard to see why. Over the past couple of decades, cockpits have evolved beyond recognition. Not only has automation taken over many of the piloting functions, but the way flight information is presented is now vastly different. Out have gone practically all the old analogue dials and gauges that festooned instrument panels on aircraft flight decks—to the left, right, centre, above, below and even behind the pilot. In their place have come a mere handful of liquid-crystal displays that can be made to show all manner of digital flight data.
While this may appear to simplify matters, so-called “glass cockpits” can literally overwhelm pilots by concentrating so much information in a single display, instead of spreading it around dozens of familiar locations within the cockpit. Unlike analogue gauges, the information being displayed on digital screens usually has to share screen space with other data, and not all of it can be displayed at once. Today's pilots have to know not only what flight information is needed at any given time, but how to find it in the system in order to punch it up on a screen. Having done so, they then have to understand what is being displayed and, more importantly, what is not. Little wonder airline pilots these days spend most of their time head-down, manning the displays and keying numbers into the automated systems, rather than watching what is going on around them—on the instrument panel and through the windscreen.
What can be done to reduce this cognitive overload on pilots? If anywhere, the place to start is the interface between the pilot and the machine. A better interface design would allow pilots to choose the level of automation they felt most comfortable with—depending on their ability, their experience of the aircraft type and its systems, and the ambient conditions prevailing. If circumstances required the aircraft to be flown by hand and the throttles operated manually, so be it. In short, instead of being fixed in the way it responds to inputs from the crew, cockpit automation ought to be adaptive.
Meanwhile, there are no excuses for permitting pilots to go long periods without performing manual take-offs, departures, approaches and landings—with or without the use of auto-throttles. Also, it needs to be drilled into flight crew that, at low altitude, they really must be in the loop with their hands and feet on the controls at all time, feeling the plane's reactions as it executes its programmed manoeuvres. And if, as Aviation Week pointed out recently, pilots are not sure what the automation is doing at any point, their instinctive reaction should be to turn it off immediately and fly the aircraft by hand.
Why so many airline pilots seem content these days to let the automated systems do so much of the flying for them is a little baffling. After all, taking off and landing manually are the only fun things left for commercial pilots to do. Sully would be saddened.
THE PASSING OF MORRIS Morris Schwartz is on his deathbed with a nurse, his wife, his daughter and two sons close by. Knowing that he doesn’t have long, he motions his family to come close. He speaks:
“Bernie, I want you to take the Beverly Hills houses.”
“Sybil, take the apartments over in the Los Angeles Plaza.”
“Hymie, I want you to take the offices over in City Center.”
“Sarah, my dear wife, please take all the residential buildings downtown.”
The nurse is just blown away by all this and, as Morris slips away, she says, “Mrs. Schwartz, your husband must have been such a hardworking man to have accumulated all that property”.
Sarah replies, “Property? What property? The cheap bum had a paper route!” HOLY MAN Mahatma Gandhi, as you know, walked barefoot most of the time, which produced an impressive set of callouses on his feet. He also ate very little, which made him rather frail and with his odd diet, he suffered from bad breath. You might say he was a super calloused fragile mystic plagued with halitosis
HANG UP! By LtCol. A.J. D'Amario USAF Ret.
On my first solo flight at K-13, Suwan, Korea, in June 1952, I took off in an F-80 Shooting Star. It was not a combat mission. All I had to do was go up and have fun boring holes in the sky for about an hour and a half. Immediately after takeoff, I felt the left wing was heavy and determined that the left tip fuel tank was not feeding properly or not at all. Afraid it might fall off and rupture during landing, potentially melting asphalt on the runway, the tower would not let me land with the full tank*. I was instructed to make a bomb run and drop the whole tank. Arriving at the bomb range, I set up my bomb-release switches to release the tank. Flying over the impact area, I pushed the button but nothing happened. I tried a second time and again there was no response. On my next pass, I tried the manual release handle but to no avail. Making one final run, I used the button we called the "panic button" because it allegedly released everything hanging on the airplane. It worked as advertised and dumped everything, save my errant left tip tank.
The tower control officer advised me that if I couldn't get rid of the tank or its contents, I should give them my location, eject and await pickup. Well pilots really hate to punch out of a perfectly flyable airplane and I figured I still had one option worth trying.
The canopy of an F-80 can be opened in flight up to about 220 MPH. So I opened the canopy and unholstered my G.I. issue Colt M1911 .45 automatic. Now, liquid fuel will not burn, at least not like vapors, so I aimed for the part of the tank I was sure would be full of liquid. Firing my first shot, I had no idea where the bullet went--perhaps airborne, high-speed physics were at work, or maybe just my nerves. But my next three shots punctured the tank, passing through the fuel and exiting cleanly out the far side of the 24" wide tank.
For the next thirty minutes, I flew with the left wing down in a series of circles to drain the fuel and slowly return to base. By the time I got to the airstrip the tank was empty. I made a routine landing. As far as I know, I am the only pilot in the Air Force who ever shot his own plane to correct a malfunction. Thank goodness for my .45. From the pages of the AmericanRifleman, November 2013.
*In the Canadian military, a tip tank that didn’t feed was also grounds to blow the tanks as there might not be enough aileron authority to keep the one tank from touching the ground during touchdown or the ensuing roll-out with possible disastrous results. If the tank could not be blown, pilot/aircraft landings were to be accomplished separated by time and space… THE LAST WORD…
Eleven people were hanging on a rope under a helicopter; ten men and one woman. The rope was not strong enough to carry them all so they decided that one had to let go, otherwise they were all going to fall. They weren't able to choose that person, until the woman gave a very touching speech. She said that she would voluntarily let go of the rope, because, as a woman, she was used to giving up everything for her husband and kids or for men in general, and was used to always making sacrifices with little in return.
As soon as she finished her speech, all the men started clapping . . .
ZURA! He seemed a little concerned as we taxied away from the Cleveland air terminal that evening. I, occupying the window seat in the (then) state-of –the-art Viscount turboprop airliner proudly operated by Trans Canada Airlines, tried to set him at ease by explaining exactly what was happening. It was 1959; I was sixteen (almost).
“That’s just the pilots extending the flaps into the takeoff position” I reassured him as a loud noise caught our attention and caused him to look apprehensively towards the window as we taxied toward the runway for takeoff.
“It’s normal to be pushed back into your seat during the acceleration for takeoff” I was later able to reassure him as the Viscount took off, and again I was able to set his mind at ease when we heard the gear and flaps being retracted after takeoff, and later when the engines were reduced to cruise thrust I could explain to him why the noise level had reduced. He seemed grateful.
I was a returning from visiting my brother in Cincinnati, and was an “old hand” based upon my successful completion of the Cincinnati-Cleveland leg of the journey, whilst he was a “new guy” only having gotten on at Cleveland. He was not particularly impressive in appearance, no taller than I and slightly balding, probably about fifty years of age. I was a student pilot, taking lessons when I could scrape together the $13.00 it then cost for an hour of instruction in the Fleet Canuck at the Waterloo-Wellington (Kitchener) Flying Club where I was working my way towards a private pilot licence. He was obviously an aviation neophyte.
During the meal service he mentioned that he worked near Brampton.
‘Brampton!” I responded. “Well if you’re interested in aviation they’re building probably the most important aircraft ever in Canada right near there at AVRO in Malton!”
I then proceeded to fill him in on the specifications and characteristics of the AVRO Arrow. He seemed suitably impressed. I told him where to go to watch the Arrow in action. In those days there was an observation deck on top of the two-storey Toronto airport terminal that was great for plane watchers.
About then we began our descent for landing in Toronto and I was able to reassure him with every configuration change. “That’s just the gear coming down.” “Now they’re putting the props in fine pitch.”, and finally “Now they’re saving the brakes by using reverse thrust.”
He was grateful for my help.
As we exited the plane he said, “We should introduce ourselves”
‘Yes, I’m John Williams” I said extending my hand.
“I’m Jan Zurakowski.” he replied.
I could have died! He was the chief test pilot for the AVRO Arrow! I had read of him and of his exploits a thousand times. Here I was explaining flaps and ailerons to the most famous pilot in Canada.
“Good luck in your aviation career.” He said, and then climbed down the boarding stairs leaving me speechless in the aircraft door.
Fade to black and fast forward 44 years. It is July 2003 and my wife and I are driving through Barry’s Bay in northern Ontario enroute to my granddaughter's christening. I read on a road sign that there is to be a dedication of a “Zurakowski Park” this day, and wonder if it could relate to my travel companion.
We round a corner in a monumental rainstorm and I see off to one side a beautiful model of an AVRO Arrow climbing skyward. People are taking shelter from the downpour but I realize that this is indeed a recognition of Jan Zurakowski, war hero, patriot Pole and Canadian, and aviator par excellence.
Tonight on the television news my wife and I watch news coverage of the dedication and I tell her of my meeting with this living legend. I have spent my life primarily as a fighter pilot and later as a commercial flyer. His influence –totally without his knowledge, has guided a huge portion of my life. He set the standard towards which all Canadian pilots of my generation strove.
I cannot restrain the tears. Finally, after all these years, Jan Zurakowski is recognized! There IS some justice!
By Jock Williams
THE SENSITIVE BIKER
Back on January 9th, a group of Pekin, Illinois bikers were riding west on I-74 when they saw a girl about to jump off the Murray Baker Bridge. So they stopped. George, their leader, a big burly man of 53, gets off his Harley, walks through a group of gawkers, past the State Trooper who was trying to talk her down off the railing, and says, "Hey Baby.....whatcha doin' up there on that railin'?"
She says tearfully, "I'm going to commit suicide!!"
While he didn't want to appear "sensitive," George also didn't want to miss this "be-a-legend" opportunity either so he asked ..."Well, before you jump, Honey-Babe...why don't you give ole George here your best last kiss?"
So, with no hesitation at all, she leaned back over the railing and did just that ... and it was a long, deep, lingering kiss followed immediately by another even better one.
After they breathlessly finished, George gets a big thumbs-up approval from his biker-buddies, the onlookers, and even the State Trooper, and then says,
"Wow! That was the best kiss I have ever had, Honey! That's a real talent you're wasting, Sugar Shorts. You could be famous if you rode with me. Why the hell are you committing suicide?"
"My parents don't like me dressing up like a girl."
It's still unclear whether she jumped or was pushed.
Arguing on the internet is like having a competition to see who can hit a brick wall the hardest. You may win, but you're still an idiot.
For those of you contemplating helicopter training, the following is submitted as an aide to subdue the beastly thing…
THE TEN COMMANDMENTS FOR HELICOPTER PILOTS
1. Keep always thine rotor RPMs, for without them the gates of heaven shall be closed to thee, and thou shalt pass directly to Brick City.
2. Guard thy tail rotor as thy loins; it is a sacred thing and its loss maketh the earth spin, which will rise up and smite thee.
3. Pickest thou up and sittest thou down with great care, lest thy machine roll in the mud like the swine and makest thou an impoverished pedestrian.
4. Loadeth not thy machine unevenly or excessively, lest thou wander and stumble like the braying ass.
5. Run not thy fuel or oil dry, for surely it is easier for the camel to pass through the eye of the needle than for a fool to autorotate in the wilderness.
6. Linger not in the curve of the deadman; it is a fool’s game, for it tempteth fate, and shall bringeth thee back pain.
7. Swoop not low, for many are the snares of Edison and Bell; their wires yieldeth not, and makest thou a yo-yo.
8. Loseth not sight of the earth if thou are not a master of the black art of IFR, else thy machine shall seek the earth without thy council, and thy friends shall mourn the passing of a fool.
9. Loseth not thy G's for the sake of pushover or other folly, lest thy blades smite thee, and journey on without thee.
Country Life. A group of country neighbours wanted to get together on a regular basis and socialize. As a result, about 10 couples formed a dinner club and agreed to meet for dinner at a different neighbours' house each month. Of course, the lady of the house was to prepare the meal. When it came time for Jimmy and Susie Brown to have the dinner at their house, like most women, Susie wanted to outdo all the others and prepare a meal that was the best that any of them had ever lapped a lip over. A few days before the big event, Susie got out her cookbook and decided to have mushroom smothered steak. When she went to the store to buy some mushrooms, she found the price for a small can was more than she wanted to pay. She then told her husband, "We aren't going to have mushrooms, because they are too expensive."
He said, "Why don't you go down in the pasture and pick some of those mushrooms? There are plenty of them right in the creek bed."
She said, "No, I don't want to do that, because I have heard that wild mushrooms are poison."
He then said, "I don't think so. I see the varmints eating them all the time and it never has affected them."
After thinking about this, Susie decided to give this a try and got in the pickup and went down in the pasture and picked some.
She brought the wild mushrooms back home and washed them, sliced and diced them to get them ready to go over her smothered steak. Then she went out on the back porch and got Ol' Spot's (the yard dog) bowl and gave him a double handful. She even put some bacon grease on them to make them tasty. Ol' Spot didn't slow down until he had eaten every bite. All morning long, Susie watched him and the wild mushrooms didn't seem to affect him, so she decided to use them.
The meal was a great success, and Susie even hired a lady from town to come out and help her serve. She had on a white apron and a little cap on her head. It was first class. After everyone had finished, they all began to kick back and relax and socialize. The men were talking and the women started to gossip a bit.
About this time, the lady from town came in from the kitchen and whispered in Susie's ear. She said, "Mrs. Brown, Spot just died."
With this news, Susie went into hysterics. After she finally calmed down, she called the doctor and told him what had happened. The doctor said, "It's bad, but I think we can take care of it. I will call for an ambulance and I will be there as quick as I can get there. We will pump out everyone's stomach and everything will be fine. Just keep them all there and keep them calm."
It wasn't long until they could hear the wail of the siren as the ambulance was coming down the road. When they got there, the EMTs got out with their suitcases and a stomach pump and the doctor arrived shortly thereafter . One by one, they took each person into the master bedroom and pumped out their stomach. After the last one was finished, the doctor came out and said, "I think everything will be fine now, and he left."
In a few minutes, they were all looking sitting around the living room looking pretty peaked when the town lady came back in and said, "You know, that fellow that ran over Ol' Spot never even stopped."
Memories of a Last Flight
On 4 December 1991, Pan American World Airways ceased all operations. The night before, Captain John Marshall flew the last flight from New York Kennedy Airport to Sao Paulo, Brazil, flight 211, a Boeing 747, departing at 8:30 p.m. Arriving in Sao Paulo the next day, he was awakened from his post-flight sleep by a phone call advising him that the airline had ceased to exist and that all aircraft needed to be out of South America that afternoon. In “Death of a Grand Lady”, he writes about his experiences. The story first appeared in the February 2001 issue of Airways Magazine.
Below is his story in its entirety:
“It was a miserable early December night. The ride to the airport seemed to take forever; riding in the last row of the airport bus I sat and brooded as the rain pounded against the windows and the wind howled. I was in uniform, overnight bag on the seat beside me, attracting glances from the few other passengers as we boarded, but then I always did when in uniform. Was it my imagination or was this night different?
“I was scheduled to take the airline’s last flight of the night from Kennedy to Sao Paulo, Brazil, an eleven hour undertaking that would arrive in time for the unbelievable Sao Paulo rush hour. We would snatch what sleep we could during the day, and then operate the return flight that evening, landing back in New York just as the sun was coming up. Two all-nighters back to back, but only away a day and a half. Tough, but productive.
“I disembarked from the bus at our “new” terminal, dingy and uninviting. Our venerable and traditional Worldport, once the most modern and innovative structure of its kind in the country, had been usurped by our successor on the North Atlantic, Delta Airlines. We had been displaced into the aging facility next door that had been hastily vacated by Delta. Rumor and conjecture had been running rampant throughout the airline for weeks. Delta had appeared during the summer, a White Knight making all the right noises, trading for our fabled Atlantic routes along with airplanes and crews, in return for a promise to support the New Pan Am, an emaciated airline returning to its Latin American roots. Now as Pan Am was poised to exit from the ignominious bankruptcy that had plagued and embarrassed us, we would survive and fly on, albeit in a bit of a different form.
“I stopped at the desk in the tiny make-shift Operations Office and met the rest of the crew. Due to the length of the flight there would be five of us, three pilots and two engineers. The two first officers and I went over the paperwork while the plumbers went to the aircraft. Then I climbed the stairs to the flight attendant’s briefing room, and walked into a buzz saw. I heard the latest, and nastiest, rumor for the first time. I walked in and twelve voices all clamored at once, ’Is it true, captain? Is Delta really pulling out of the deal? What would happen then?’ It was a cacophony of shrill anxiety, with questions that I could not answer.
“This was new to me, but if even a bit of it were true it wasn’t good. Voices swirled around me as I tried to make sense of what I was hearing. A tiny sick feeling niggled in the pit of my stomach as I quickly finished the briefing and hurried out to the aircraft
“A late-night ennui seemed to have settled over the terminal, and the unending drizzle outside did nothing to dispel the gloomy atmosphere. I strolled quickly through the boarding area, alone with my thoughts. The milling throng of waiting, restless passengers may as well not have existed.
“Once aboard, I settled into the long-familiar Prue-departure routine, losing myself in the comfortable ritual. For a while, it seemed like just another flight. Passenger boarding and cargo loading was seamless, and without a glitch. It was almost as though we were being hurried away. We pushed back exactly on schedule, more the result of the late hour than anything else, and for once the lousy weather did not hold us up. Only fifteen minutes from push-back to takeoff. They should all be this efficient!
“At top of climb we settled into the task of tuning the big Boeing to the knife-edge efficiency of cruise flight, a delicate exercise designed to extract the maximum benefit from each pound of fuel. Hurrying south into the night, the familiar checkpoints passed quickly, and soon we picked up the call sign of Clipper 441, the nightly service from Miami to Rio. Captained by an old friend, we chatted into the shank of the morning about the chain of ominous developments that threatened to overwhelm the airline.
“We crossed the Amazon at Santarem, with the eastern sky beginning to gray on the horizon. Down across the endless green rain forest, we touched down at the sprawling Sao Paulo Airport almost exactly on schedule. It was a beautiful early summer morning, and I was very much looking forward to a breakfast beer and a long nap. Little did I know that for Pan American World Airways, this was a day that would live in infamy.
“The telephone rang, rudely, just past noon. I came swimming up out of a deep sleep, confused and disoriented, groping for the insistent instrument. The Pan Am Manager for South America was on the line, and his first words erased all traces of sleep from my brain. In essence, it was over. The airline had ceased to exist, just like that. Decades of colorful history, of pioneering routes and opening oceans and continents to air commerce, all of it gone, in a stroke. ’All of the airplanes must be out of South America by this afternoon, Captain,’ he said. ’Your aircraft is turning around in Montevideo immediately, and will be back in Sao Paulo by three. You must contact your crew and any others who may be at the hotel. I suggest you contact the local station manager to make the arrangements. The airplane must be away by dark.’ He rang off, and left me pacing the room with my jumbled thoughts.
“The next couple of hours passed in a blur. By some miracle I managed to contact everyone in the crew and pass on the sad news. I talked to the Sao Paulo station manager, the cheery Brazilian who had met me at my airplane just a few hours earlier. ’We must have some sort of catering,’ I said to him. ‘I’m sure no one has eaten anything since early this morning, and it’s going to be a long night.’ I tried to think of all the little details, to cover all the bases.
“Our crowded crew bus left the hotel at three. It was a somber trip. Tears flowed as questions and endless speculation filled the air. The bus hurried through the mysteriously light traffic and sped toward the outskirts of the sprawling city. It was as though our departure was being hastened by some dark and sinister force. At the airport the transformation was nothing less than appalling. The orderly infrastructure that we had left just hours before was now chaos. All of the signs bearing the airline’s name had mysteriously disappeared, counters were deserted, and computers unplugged and stacked haphazardly wherever there was space. The few passengers we met stared at us as though we had some terrible contagious disease. I left the cabin crew in a forlorn little knot in front of the now anonymous ticket counter and went backstage looking for the operations office. By mistake I opened a door into a room full of employees — it was a meeting of some kind, and not a happy one. I could make a good guess at the subject. The only sounds were muffled sobs; I hastily closed the door and moved on. The operations office was manned by a harried clerk manning the one lone working computer. He glared at us as he tossed the paperwork on the counter, as though all of this was our fault. He explained that we were to ferry the airplane to New York; the crew that had brought it in from Uruguay would remain on board. He was hurrying us along just like everyone else, anxious to be rid of this dreadful contagion.
“Finally there was nothing more to do. The station manager appeared and covered the details of the departure. The airplane was parked in a deserted corner of the massive airport, and he had managed to have it catered, thank God. My stomach was reminding me that I hadn’t eaten since breakfast on the inbound flight, eons ago. Our unhappy little brood gathered around and we headed for the bus that would carry us to the last departure, the last airplane we would ever call Clipper. There was a hurried consultation between the station manager and an assistant, and then a quick question: ’Captain, we have a favor to ask. The mother of one of our agents here has been visiting her from New York. Now she will have no way to return without paying full fare. Do you think you could take her?’
I almost laughed aloud. What could they do, fire me? “Of course, senor. That should be no problem.” They could have gone out front and sold tickets on the sidewalk, for all I cared.
“In less than half an hour we were airborne. We were a miserable band of about fifty crew members plus one somber Brazilian lady who spoke little English. As we took the runway I keyed the mike. ’Sao Paulo Tower, this is Clipper One Zero Two Two. Request permission to make a low pass over the airport on departure.’
“’Negative, Clipper. Permission denied due to traffic.’ Short, terse, and to the point. There was to be no sentimental farewell here. To them it was just another departure. I thought briefly about doing it anyway, then said to hell with it.
“We took off into the lowering sun and set the nose of the big Clipper northward toward the northern hemisphere winter. I thought briefly about what we would do if we had any sort of problem and had to divert. What would happen then? What would we do for support, for maintenance if we needed it? Would there be money for hotels for my over sized crew if we had to overnight? All questions with no answers. I thought about the airplane that was carrying us home on our last ever journey. She was a 747-122, one of several we flew that had once belonged to United Airlines. What would happen to her now? Would she be bound for an ignominious grave in some southwestern desert?
“We had two full crews aboard, and the pilots offered to share in the duties, an offer that normally I would have gratefully accepted. Tonight, however, I was reluctant to give up my seat to anyone; this was a flight that none of us wanted to end. In ordinary times this takeoff and landing would have been the first officer’s, but not tonight. He had accepted the inevitable with grace and a smile. Finally I relinquished my seat and wandered back into the darkened cabin. Little knots of people gathered in the galleys, pools of light amidst the great cabins now dark and empty, almost sinister in the silence. I sat in one of the luxurious first class seats, seats that by all rights should have been filled with happy, chattering passengers who would pay my salary. Tonight there was no one. I tried to doze and could not, and finally gave up and went back to the flight deck. As I opened the door I had a sudden feeling that this was all a cruel hoax; that everything was just as it was. The airplane roared into the night, the three crew-members watching the performance with studied indifference; it was like a thousand other nights, quiet and comforting.
“I got back into the left seat, savoring the sounds and the night; the benign drone of the engines, the majesty of the December sky. I wondered when I would ever experience them again. For lack of anything better to do, I decided to see if I could raise the company. I dialed up Houston Radio and asked for a phone patch. To my surprise, Pan Am dispatch answered almost immediately. We chatted for a moment about routine things; I dragged out the brief conversation. We were both reluctant to sign off, each of us recognizing the finality of the contact. ’You’re the last one, Clipper,’ he said. Suddenly tears welled in my eyes, for the first time the reality of this unspeakable scenario hit home.
“Then finally it was time to go, to close this unhappy chapter. We started down into the early morning glitter of New York City; it was cold and windy, the air crisp and sparkly. At two a.m. we were the only traffic, and we cut the corners onto the runway 31 Left ILSA. None of the controllers knew what to say, and we didn’t either. We taxied to a far corner of the sprawling ramp in front of the International Arrivals Building where we were greeted by one lone maintenance type whose sole contribution to the proceedings was to install the gear pins and wheel a maintenance ladder up to the left forward door. He wore a Delta Airlines uniform; I had never seen him before. He was gone almost as soon as he arrived. The descent from the airplane was almost worse than the flight itself, the flight attendants teetering down the rickety ladder with tote bags and flight kits, following slowly one by one. There was a Volkswagen van of undetermined vintage poised to take us into the customs hall, where the one lone inspector sympathetically waved us through.
“And so it was over. What the future would hold for all of us none could foresee, only that this chapter was closed. We had had a grand run, dancing with one of the grand ladies of the industry. Growing gracefully beautiful in her middle age when we met, she had moved with stately grace even as she grew older. We waltzed happily together into her sunset years, and it was only later that she showed the lines and ravages of age and neglect. None of us will ever forget her.”
Captain John Marshall served as a pilot for Pan Am from July 1964 until 4 December 1991.
Where there's a will, I want to be in it.
The last thing I want to do is hurt you, but it's still on my list.
If I agreed with you, we'd both be wrong.
Tips on Mountain Flyingby Pat Very
When the geography of the land is irregular, as it is in the mountain and coastal areas, flying can prove to be the most efficient and cost-effective way to travel. The spinoff to this is the feeling that you get looking out over the spectacular beauty and awesome ruggedness of the panorama below. It can be truly breathtaking.
Here are a few tips that I've picked up over the years that you may find helpful when contemplating flight out West, in God's country.