What unique aircraft and/ or harrowing flights have you been on?

What unique aircraft and/ or harrowing flights have you been on?

This is a discussion on What unique aircraft and/ or harrowing flights have you been on? within the Off Topic & Humor Discussion forums, part of the The Back Porch category; As I mentioned in some other threads, a good many years ago I took a short flight on a B-17, Aluminum Overcast. You pay your ...

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Thread: What unique aircraft and/ or harrowing flights have you been on?

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    What unique aircraft and/ or harrowing flights have you been on?

    As I mentioned in some other threads, a good many years ago I took a short flight on a B-17, Aluminum Overcast. You pay your money, they take the plane up for about an hour, and the paying customers aboard get about 7-10 precious minutes in the LH seat. The whole experience was fantastic.

    Fast forward to a more recent time. Another group offered rides (no seat time) on a B-17 and a B-24. I decided I'd take a ride on the B-24, and here's my story:

    I arrived at the airport early as required, paid my money and got a little sticker to wear on my shirt indicating I'm a paid passenger. Initially not much going on so we did a lot of standing around waiting on the tarmac looking at the B-24. Sometime later a couple of mini-vans arrived and let out what I thought were college kids. They were a bit sleepy-looking, wearing backpacks, uncombed hair, etc. I didn't think too much about it, I just thought they were part of some other group to tour the planes?

    I got a big surprise when they started to pre-flight the B-24. I'm thinking whoooooaaaaa, whoa, whoa, what's going on here? These kids are messing with my airplane ! I'm watching all this unfold, and trying to take it all in. They looked like ants all over/under/inside the aircraft. The next thing I see is a young lady walking around on top of the wing going to each engine while carrying a 5 gallon bucket of something? It looks like she's checking engine oil, but what's exactly in that bucket??? Maybe she mistakenly got a bucket of soap that they use to wash the plane???

    Ok, I'll feel better when the pilots show up, surely one of the pilots will be John Wayne, probably the other will be Jimmy Stewart ! I've got my fingers crossed for that, and I'm sure they'll get everything straightened out. Though I'm still partially paralyzed, someone orders us into a line. I couldn't move but somehow the line formed in front and in back of me. As our "death line" marched forward, I sensed all of us victims were somehow in step. Someone was directing small groups of victims, uh I mean passengers to certain parts of the plane.

    Then came our turn, it was me, a guy about my age, and his Dad, who had been a tailgunner on a B-24 during WWII. Naturally he hadn't been on one since the war. Since we three were now kindred spirits, I helped the son, lift his Dad up in the plane. I wondered about my ethics since I failed to inform them of the soap risk and willingly helped him board the plane. We three sat on a big aluminum shelf in the rear of the plane, we faced backwards. I assumed so our screaming would be lessened since we wouldn't be able to see ourselves plummet to the earth like the other passengers. I also pondered the oil and soap ratio and just how much soap could the engines tolerate?

    The engines starting to crank and the smoke eased my catatonic state a bit, and caused me to wonder when John Wayne got on board? At this point I've lowered my standards and it would even be alright with me if Jimmy Stewart was a no-show. We started taxiing to the runway, us three held in place, I think by a long bungee cord. We successfully reached altitude and leveled off, us passengers are now free to roam about the plane. It was a choppy day and I'm determined to crawl to the flight deck and with my blathering's attempt to inform John Wayne about the soap peril. I'm hurrying against the clock before the engines begin to sputter. I can easily imagine us spiraling to earth as the crippled engines spit out their last bit of soap bubbles in the trailing exhaust stream.

    I finally made it to the flight deck, and expect to be greeted by "Hey Pilgrim", but I look at the pilot and it's the very same young lady I saw on the wing carrying the bucket of soap !!! She resembles my daughter, and had she turned around and said "Hey Dad" I wouldn't have been any more shocked. Come to find out, she knows what she's doing and at the time was the only B-24 qualified female in the world.

    I finally woke up to reality and at the same time I think the choppy ride tossed me right back to my seat on the aluminum shelf and bungee cord combination. We landed uneventfully and taxied back to our starting point.

    I was in awe of this young lady flying our plane and I knew I had to get her picture to show my Dad, who came out there later to look at the old planes himself. Photos attached.
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    Flew in a 1929 Ford Tri-motor. That was fun. Like hurtling through the sky in a pole barn.
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    A tri motor- cool!

    I haven't flown in anything really exotic or strange, but I have flown airplanes that shouldnt have been in the air and flown by pilot (me) that shouldnt have have been flying a kite let alone an airplane.

    The scariest was in a C150, no door no instruments and eventually no fuel. Then there was the champ and a cigar over the Chesapeake. Then a tomahawk ferried a few hundred miles- not to bad except I've never flown one, and they can be peculiar buggers.
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    > harrowing flight

    Back in the '80s, from Little Rock to Portland. I only made it as far as Denver and got off. The fug of cigarette smoke was bad; the half-dozen shrieking infants were bad; having the passenger in front lay his seat down into my lap was annoying, then I got airsick. Waved my wife onto the connecting flight, staggered to the bathrooms at the old Stapledon airport, and found that they were all pay toilets. I wasn't carrying any change, but throwing up on the concourse was free.

    That was my last flight. And after they got stupid with the fake security, I don't pick up people at the airport any more either.

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    I caught a hop on an empty C-5 Galaxy from Charleston to Norton AFB with a delivery crew. We were flying very high. The crew chief was pointing out Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Colorado, and New Mexico to me.

    I spent lots of time in various Navy and Marine helicopters in Viet Nam. I was a frequent flyer on Air Viet Nam flying DC-3 planes when I was an advisor. In the Army, I spent lots of time on helicopters and also got to fly on Mohawk observation planes after ejection seat training.

    One of my most harrowing flights was when I left Viet Nam after my Navy advisor tour, departing from Cam Ranh Bay. We got on the contract commercial flight and they closed the door. They opened the door and told us to go back in the terminal. Someone had called in a bomb threat. EOD and their dogs checked the plane and didn’t find anything. We got back on and took off. I was wondering if they had missed the bomb.

    When we approached Yokota AFB in Japan, there was a storm in the area. We landed in very heavy rain and wind with lightening hitting the runways and buildings. We took off for Anchorage, Alaska when the weather improved. Before we got to Anchorage, they shut down an engine and we landed in a snow storm. They got the engine fixed and we left for McCord AFB.

    We got to McCord and I caught a bus for SeaTac. I got there just in time to see the last flight to Denver that evening backing away from the gate. I slept in the terminal and caught a flight to Denver the next morning. There were several inches of snow on the ground in Denver and it was below zero. I thought I was going to freeze to death. I would turn the thermostat up to 80 and my wife would turn it down to 68.

    My worst commercial flight was leaving the Reno airport. We took off to the south and were looking way down at Lake Tahoe. There was a loud pop and the airplane started to shake. We had lost pressure and my ears popped many times. The pilot did a quick 180 back to the Reno airport. The cargo bay doors had popped open.
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    I was a crewmember on OV-1 Mohawks which by itself is a unique aircraft. It was a great aircraft but very difficult ot handle if you lost an engine on take off. Thye had ejection seats but were 0-60, not 0-0 like on fighters. Guess my most harrowing flight on those was losing an engine on take off and the gear wold not coome up. Pilot barely saved the aircraft.
    Most harrowing on helos was catching ground fire in Afghanistan several times.

    cockpit.jpg
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    Quote Originally Posted by LimaCharlie View Post
    In the Army, I spent lots of time on helicopters and also got to fly on Mohawk observation planes after ejection seat training.
    What did you do when you flew on the OV-1?
    Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”
    And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”

    Isaiah 6:8

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    I can remember flying from Westover A.F.B. in Mass to Goose Bay Labrador in an old rattle trap gooney bird ( c47) and over the Gulf Of ST.Lawrence the starboard engine developed serious problems. The pilot of much experience nursed the old craft all the way to Goose. No one got wet which was good because that water is very cold in March.

    This was in 1953.

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    Quote Originally Posted by suntzu View Post
    What did you do when you flew on the OV-1?

    A friend in the Army was a test pilot and he let me fly with him often if there was no observer. He had flown them in Viet Nam.
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    Nothing harrowing about the flight, but I was expecting to be met by some Federales upon landing in Houston one time.

    Years ago when Manor Care Assisted Living facilities were springing up everywhere I flew all over the country installing the kitchens. Two jobs a week, two weeks a month.

    Had a new guy with me who was a smoker. He asked me how the smokers did on airplanes and I told him that there were smoking areas in the airports and that some snuck a smoke in the bathroom.

    Since I flew a lot and had "unobtainium rock star" status with Continental I got upgraded to first class all the time so here Rick and I were in the very first row, each in opposing window seats on a flight from Colorado Springs to Houston. We had had a few pops and something to eat and Rick gets up to use the facilities. About 20 seconds after he closes the bathroom door I smell Marlboro Light smoke and I knew what was going on and the impending sense of doom started to set in.

    As soon as Rick comes out of the can the guy next to me stands up and heads in. Maybe a minute later the stewardesses descend in mass on the bathroom door, banging and hollering about not smoking in the lavatory, federal offense, etc... The poor guy comes out completely shaken and white as a ghost while they give him the third degree about smoking in the bathroom. I mean two of them are wearing this poor guy out while another is tearing the bathroom apart.

    After about ten minutes of him explaining that he doesn't smoke, it wasn't him, etc... everything calms down and I order up another drink.

    When we land and got in the terminal I lit into Rick about the whole thing, apparently he thought I was referring to "sneaking a smoke in the bathroom" to mean actually on the airplane.......
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    I was Air Force Security Forces and one of our duties was to secure hangars and the planes inside of them during readiness exercises or the real deal. So I got to look around the cockpit of a B-2 stealth bomber a couple times. Also, during a training exercise in Nevada myself and a couple other guys from my flight were invited to join the crew of an AWACS during one of their training missions. The first 15-20 minutes were pretty neat getting a tour of the plane and instrumentation but the next three hours got a little mundane. lol However, at the end of the flight, after the training mission was over the pilot invited us one at a time up to the cockpit. He knew we guarded the B-2 so thought we might find it interesting to see what it looked like on their radar. Let's just say it works as advertised. lol

    Just a couple years ago I caught a small plane from Boston to Hanover, NH during a work trip. It was the smallest plane I've ever been on and the worst turbulence I've ever experienced. If I can help it I'll never go on a plane smaller than a 727 again.
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  12. #12
    VIP Member Array suntzu's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LimaCharlie View Post
    A friend in the Army was a test pilot and he let me fly with him often if there was no observer. He had flown them in Viet Nam.
    Great acft. I got just under 2000 hours flying in them..

    BTW: where is msgt for this thread?
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    Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”
    And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”

    Isaiah 6:8

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    C-47

    I've been on "Whiskey 7" in Geneseo, NY ( http://www.nytimes.com/2014/05/15/ny...bute.html?_r=0 )
    before it was re-conditioned for the infamous flight last year.

    Flew on a passenger DC-3 ( Mohawk ) a couple times in the late '60s
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    VIP Member Array LimaCharlie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by suntzu View Post
    Great acft. I got just under 2000 hours flying in them..

    BTW: where is msgt for this thread?
    I had maybe 10 hours at the most in the observer seat. I was a Warrant Officer in the Signal Corps. I would finagle a flight with my friend when I was looking for sites to set up communications facilities in remote training areas.

    I believe they were the OV1-D version that he flew. My pilot friend told me that when he and an observer were on a long flight overnight in Viet Nam, he ran out of cigarettes. He tapped his observer on the chest with two fingers looking for a cigarette. He didn't know the observer was asleep. The observer woke up, took it for the sign to eject, and did.
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    Disclaimer: embellishment possible....
    This happened so long ago it could have been a past life.

    I was walking/hitch hiking to work early one morning. I was not far from the house when a friend of mine stopped and offered me a ride. Bob was a flight instructor and stunt pilot. He told me he was going flying and asked me if I was sure I wanted to go to work. Just like that we are off to the airport.
    I knew the airport was small but the real shock was the size of the plane. It was a 1940 something piper cub I believe. Bob asked me to grab the tail and swing it around. This thing was so light. It was basically a kite with a motor.
    I probably should have been concerned at this point but I was young with no fear. So off we went beautiful day. Flew out over some scenic lakes in NJ.
    This kite well plane had 1 seat in front of the other. 2 pedals. A stick between my legs. And a little thingy like a manual choke on a car that Bob called the throttle. I was having a blast all the while paying attention to the controls and how their movement was affecting our flight. He ended up letting me fly the thing for quit some time. We landed at another small airport, refueled, and back to the car. I remember the landings pretty clearly. Don't think I lost my job over it. Can't recall.
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