Sunday, June 10, 2012

More from Randy Sohn...

Hello everyone! I'm fresh back from the MKT Airshow and what a FUN day that was!! Photos, stories will follow soon seeing I hadn't been there for some 30+ years...:) Today, please enjoy another story from our friend Randy Sohn! OOPS! SORRY, CAP'N, I GUESS THAT WAS YOUR OVERCOAT! (9) In the beginning! How's that for the beginning of a story? Well - at least before we were hired - the airline's seniority list was made up of pilots that we only knew as captains. It's hard for us to conceive of this, I know, but some of these captains once were copilots themselves. They’d also sat over in the cockpit’s right seat, subjected to all the non-stop criticism and instruction and blandishments of their captains. Just as we did in our apprenticeship years! It's almost inconceivable for us to contemplate that these people - who appeared like gods to us – had once upon a time been just like us. But a certain percentage of the first few, hired as captains, were always captains and just knew they were captains. I guess these few could be thought of as five stripers – or legends in their own minds! Probably, speaking in “olde English“, we’d say “to the manor born”. Although certainly – and I must stress this – not all of them, nor even a majority, fit this description. Whoever it was, Bob Swennes meb’be?, was the captain of that Lockheed Model 10, way back in North Central's earliest days. When the captain called for an amount of flaps to be extended, the copilot hurried to comply with the captain's command. He reached for the crank and began to rotate it as fast as he possibly could. Yes, Virginia, back in those days – on that airplane – the flaps were mechanically moved by means of a crank at the side of the captain's seat. Leaning towards the captain in his efforts, the copilot noticed through his peripheral vision that the captain seemed to be drawn – more and more – towards a closer inspection of the process. “I’d better hurry”, the copilot thought, “the captain’s looking over my shoulder and probably wondering why it's taking me so long to get it done!” Focusing his vision upon the recalcitrant flap gauge, he redoubled his already valiant efforts! He eventually reached a point when he absolutely couldn't crank any further because of the increasing difficulty experienced rotating the crank. Nearly collapsing from the effort, he expelled an exhausted breath in the frigid cockpit. Gasping for breath, he looked up – and over – at the captain. This occupant of the left seat, face crimson, eyes bulging and veins about to burst from sheer rage, was leaning about as close to the copilot as possible within the confines of that Lockheed's small two-man cockpit. Suddenly, the copilot was struck with the realization that the harder he'd cranked, the further the captain’s heavy gray wool winter overcoat had been pulled into the crank's gear sprocket and chain. The right side of the overcoat was being wound into the chain, covering it with black grease and shredding it – more and more – with every turn of the crank! Ah yes, the "good ole days!" Randy Sohn - 1999 ©

1 comment:

Rand Peck said...

I love reading Randy's stories.
Rand Peck, REP, NWA, DAL retired.