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  1. Hi Mathijs,

    Just thinking today what a marvelous job you (and your colleagues at Aerosoft) did in designing the "Round the World in 80 Days" event.

    You set the parameters and intrigued everyone with the right spirit of romantic adventure. And you encouraged lots of freedom and imagination in your participants' style of contributions.

    Setting up this sandbox produced a wonderful result. You had an enormously enthusiastic response. And many of the participants took advantage of the Mathijs-Kok-generated structure to create an exciting array of very different responses.

    Well done.

    Mike MacKuen
    Chapel Hill, NC, USA

  2. kalizzi, thanks for the wonderful diary. A great pleasure to join you in this venture. And will lift a glass to you at the bar. (The staff have become more gracious in the last few hours...)
  3. Congratulations on finishing off the Round the World in such great style. Terrific choices in aircraft gave special reason to follow your diaries and focus on your screenshots.
  4. Congratulations Jeff. It is sad to see these diaries end as they have been a great joy. Thanks so very much for all the "extras" that added color and texture to your reports. Great stuff!
  5. RTW80 Leg 27. Shannon to London. EINN-EGLL. 2017-12-19 The DC-6B Clipper Liberty Bell was the transport for our final leg to London – "London Airport" in 1956 (now "Heathrow Airport"). We shall salute Pan Am's "Rainbow Class" that originated the idea of low-fare flying for ordinary people – and radicalized people's perception of the world. Clipper Liberty Bell was the first aircraft in the popular Rainbow Service We departed from Shannon, climbing up through the grey skies. Most of the flight was above a thick undercast that made for a day without sight-seeing. Descending into the clouds, worried about the fog below. We arrive anticipating fog at the airport. As our colleague Jeff W pointed out: Ernest Gann said that Pan Am pilots, admired and envied for their long-range flying, are thought to be shy and backward in foul-weather work. While eventually it turned out to have acceptable visibility, the enroute reports had been fog with less than a mile visibility. Helped to concentrate the poor Pan American pilot's mind. Of course, fog is a constant companion for long distance flight. But London fog, especially in the 1950s, was more dangerous. For hundreds of years, Londoners had been aware that fog, or smog, was a health threat although they lacked the science to quite know why. Both industrial and home-hearth burning of coal produced particulates that combined with seasonal fog to enter lungs and destroy health. This heavy fog was a commonplace occurrence and disarmingly termed a "pea souper." (This fog was also knows as "black fog" or "killer fog" – names less innocent in connotation.) Piccadilly Circus during the event In December 1952, London experienced sustained cold weather, an anticyclonic temperature inversion, and windless conditions. Pollutants, particularly from the use of coal, formed a thick layer of fog over the city that lasted five days, from December 5th through the 9th. The atmospheric conditions meant there was no wind to clear the accumulation. The noxious air mass, teeming with acrid sulfur particles, reeked like rotten eggs. Londoners tried to ignore it. Until they couldn't. This was the Great Smog of 1952. The smog reduced visibility to less than a few yards and disrupted city life. There was almost no private motor car driving and public transport, including ambulances, ceased. The yellow-brown fog was so pervasive that it seeped indoors and forced the cancellation of concerts and films – visibility dropped in large spaces and the audiences could not see the stage or screen. In fact, walking out of doors became a challenge when visibility dropped to less than a yard: people shuffled along feeling for obstacles in their path. By the time they returned home, their faces and nostrils were blackened by the air: they looked like coal miners. There was no panic, however, as Londoners prided themselves on handling fog. Buses required flares to light the way Here is a brief visually informative 1952-1962 British documentary film The Great Smog of 1952 in London. The Museum of London has this short summary. And here is a much longer (54:14) television journalistic report Killer Fog (2000). (Or available on Vimeo here). More dangerous, the persistent smog threatened the health of Londoners: at the time medical officers estimated some 4,000 deaths and these estimates have since risen to 12,000 deaths. Tens of thousands more became ill to the point that they were hospitalized or applied for sickness benefits. Most fatalities were due to respiratory tract infections caused by the smog. And the impact was mostly among the young and the elderly and those with previous pulmonary problems. Heavy smokers, common at the time, were especially vulnerable. However, it was not until later, when undertakers began to run out of coffins and florists out of flowers, that the deadly impact of the Great Smog was realized. In 1952 London, most homes were coal heated. This source, along with industrial production and the big coal-fired power stations, meant that smog was always a factor in the city. And during the early post-war years, economics meant that much of this was soft coal which is particularly laden with pollutants. Combine burning coal with steam locomotives, diesel-fueled buses, and private motor vehicle exhausts. London in 1952 was thus especially susceptible to an exceedingly dangerous smog. But why was smog so deadly? Now we may know more about how all this happened. There is some recent chemistry and atmospheric science (published in the prestigious Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences) that suggests that the environmental conditions, similar but not identical to contemporary Beijing, could have produced a haze of concentrated sulfuric acid. The chemistry is subtle, but essentially sunshine might have burned off some of the fog to leave behind concentrated acid droplets which killed people. The death toll provided an impetus toward environmental regulation. After a history of denying the danger of pollution, the government generated the "Clean Air Act" of 1956, the first of its kind. This, and further elaborations, led to restrictions on the use of dirty fuels in industry and subsidies to move residents away from coal as a home heating fuel. Substantial progress ensued – although at first additional smog events did occur. Slowly, government policy worked and now it seems as though London is unlikely to experience a similar disaster. Death in the Air examines two pathways to asphyxiation For an interesting discussion, see the recent Verge interview with journalist Kate Dawson who wrote Death in the Air, a telling of the London tale. Headlines at the time were dominated by a serial murderer who asphyxiated his victims. The health disaster was largely unnoticed. Dawson makes some perceptive observations when she examines and then contrasts the two killers' stories and the ensuing public reactions. We were happy to use the ILS system to find Heathrow (London Airport) through the low-lying clouds. While foggy, the visibility was considerably better than feared. Heathrow Airport is now the world's seventh busiest. Its four terminals handle 75 million passengers per year. It is so well-known that there's not much new to learn... But note that its beginnings were Fairey-touched. In 1915, Fairey Aviation, led by Richard Fairey, started operations at Northolt Aerodrome (4nm north of current EGLL). However, in 1928 the Air Ministry asked that Fairey find a new flight testing location and they selected the current area due to its flat fields' making it suitable for an airfield. In the 1930s Fairey built a hangar and started aircraft assembly and testing at what was rather grandly called "The Great Western Aerodrome." And from 1935-1939, at Fairey's invitation, the Royal Aeronautical Society held its annual fly-ins here to promote new British aircraft developments – these events became full-scale industry airshows after the war. In 1944, the Air Ministry used emergency powers to requisition the aerodrome with an eye on developing a commercial airfield. There was intentional deceit here – the official usage was said to be long-range bombers – taken to avoid the inevitable costs and delays that building a peacetime airport would entail. (Fairey acquiesced but fought a twenty-year court battle over the meager compensation as "farmland" worth £10 per acre.) Immediately after the war, it became clear that the intent was to develop an international airport. Pleasant Middlesex farmland, quiet streams, and peaceful "loitering lanes" were replaced by concrete and the roar of giant airplanes. ... In 1946, the newly christened London Airport opened for business and thus replaced Croydon Aerodrome. Here is a useful 1949 film London Airport that shows the new facility in its earliest days. London City's new modern control tower in 1957 By the 1950s, Heathrow had six runways, three pairs, in the shape of a hexagram. The new modern passenger terminal was in the middle connected to the city via tunnel. As a sign of the times, there was minimal parking available as it was expected that the passengers, wealthy enough to afford air transport, would have their driver take them to and from the airport. You might enjoy this enthusiastic 1955 British Pathé color film clip of the New London Airport. (Highly recommended for history buffs.) Since that time, almost everything has changed. The name became "Heathrow Airport" in 1962. More important, all the current terminals have been built (with one built and demolished). The two main runways have been renovated and extended while the others have been turned into taxiways. And of course, capacity has increased dramatically. With the increased traffic, Heathrow's reputation for comfort and convenience has declined. As the great philosopher Yogi Berra once remarked when asked about Toots Shor's immensely popular New York restaurant, "It's so crowded nobody goes there anymore." Landing smoothly enough...no worries. Remote parking for older aircraft After landing, we were directed to a distant tarmac. The tower did not know what to do with an older aircraft. So ground control stuck us with another historic relic. Interesting to see this: something like Convair's new supersonic F-102 ... but considerably larger. Just a lovely looking aircraft! Our passengers were happy enough to have arrived in London with plenty of time to spare. Especially delighted was the nervous Englishman who kept glancing at his pocket watch as he led his small party smartly toward the exits. Here is a Pan American travelogue Wings to Britain. Dated as 1957, the film features a Boeing 707 in the opening and closing moments. [Artistic license?] However, most of the actual film footage is older, several years older. The narrative is colored by a quirky homage to traditional British culture. Perhaps this reflects the filmmaker's understanding of Britain's appeal to the prospective tourist. To see this portrayal, however, you would miss the other Britain, the dynamic Britain of commerce, industry, science, the arts, empire and democratic governance. But who would pay to see those sorts of things? Summary: Date: 2017-12-19 Route: EINN-EGLL Aircraft: Douglas DC-6B (PMDG) Leg Distance: 320nm Flight Time: 1:27 Total Distance: 21,459nm Total Flight Time: 90:42
  6. Lovely Roberto. It has been a great pleasure to follow your journey. And your photo-real screenshots have been a marvel. Congratulations.
  7. Congratulations on a memorable trip. Lovely screen shots to illustrate your journey.
  8. Congratulations Jeroen. Great fun following your legs. It is great to see you accomplish this in a small GA aircraft.
  9. Dry Land! Congratulations on another imaginative transoceanic voyage... Dave, as ever, I love the combination of your excellent X-Plane screenshots with your taste for beautiful photographs.
  10. RTW80 Leg 26. Gander to Shannon. CYQX-EINN. 2017-12-18 George Bernard Shaw speaking for Irish Magic. It is a secret pleasure to see Pan American using George Bernard Shaw in one of their classic travel posters. Shaw is (probably) Britain's second greatest playwright and is widely recognized around the world. Further, he is the author of the classic Pygmalion which charmed audiences since its 1913 opening in Vienna. (Shaw's genius was not always recognized by the British critics. "It is the custom of the English press when a play of mine is produced, to inform the world that it is not a play—that it is dull, blasphemous, unpopular, and financially unsuccessful. ... Hence arose an urgent demand on the part of the managers of Vienna and Berlin that I should have my plays performed by them first.") And its 1956 adaption by Lerner and Loewe to the wildly successful Broadway musical "My Fair Lady" did much to endear Shaw with the American public. Equally, Shaw was a wonderfully blasphemous iconoclast of the soft socialist persuasion. He was not the safe sort of figure normally picked to market a commercial enterprise. His strong politics and sharp cutting wit made (and make) him dangerous to small careful minds. Perhaps he was the sort of genteel socialist that American businessmen might accept. Perhaps. We departed Gander in the middle of the night for a morning arrival in Ireland. The weather reports had been uncertain for Shannon, with less than a mile visibility. But things were expected to clear in the hours ahead. While most of the flight was through dark moonless skies over dark cloud-covered ocean, the gentle sunrise gave us a warm welcome to the day. ... Which led to a spectacular morning cloudscape. Luxury as the President. Someone has to fill these seats...why not us? While the Stratocruiser was more expensive to purchase and operate than the Constellation or the DC-6, Pan American used it most profitably as a First Class operation over the North Atlantic. The New York office adapted the idea of high luxury travel as a prestige option for these intercontinental flights. "The President" service was a special treat. During the beginning of the 1950s the majority of the transatlantic flights were done using the huge double decker Boeing 377 Stratocruiser. This aircraft was considered the top notch of technology, safety, comfort and luxury. The Pursers and Stewards had to wear a white jacket during the services. I remember that we had a two tiered cart that we would park right next to the door and place white linens and two real silver buckets one with the best Cristal Champagne and the other full of fresh red roses. The most amazing variety of drinks and wines were available on these flights. We also offered berths and a special VIP lounge call The Presidential Suite, this was located right behind the pilot's compartment or cockpit. It had two wide berths and four first class seats facing each other with a beautiful wooden table in between the seats. With the arrival of the Stratocruiser, Mr. Trippe our CEO designed the El Presidente Service which was a higher service than the current First Class that we already had. On these flights we would offer up to seven main meal options and on the flight to Europe we would offer wines from France, Spain, Italy, Portugal, United States, Argentina and Germany. Before Landing we would give each passenger at 50ml Chanel cologne or perfume as a thank you gift for traveling with us. Maria "Lulu" Lucrecia. In Alejo Nicilas Larocca. My Pan-Am Story. Forty years as a Stewardess with the Worlds Most Experienced Airline. The private stateroom in the Presidential Suite. Sounds enticing for a long distance transoceanic flight. Pan American's cuisine was international with a French accent. Pan Am joined with Maxim's of Paris to develop a cuisine and special preparations that produced a dining experience in the air. Brightest child of this marriage of French tradition and American efficiency is the President Special service operated between New York and London and Paris. The President Special, pride of both Pan American and Maxim's, offers the highest standard of dining room elegance and a range of menu selections not found anywhere else aloft. On flights restricted to 43 passengers with five cabin attendants assigned to their service, such food innovations as hot hors d'oeuvres are served during cocktail time, but the pièce de résistance of the President Special is the main course or rather any one of three gourmet selections. President Special passengers have their choice of filet mignon, roast duckling bigarade or Lobster “Américaine." On another day the choice might be between filet mignon, rock cornish game hen or lobster. Another combination features filet mignon, lobster and roast pheasant. Nine basic menus are prepared for first-class transatlantic flights with a new selection every day for nine days. Pan American’s food officials have found in their surveys that prime charcoal broiled steak still rates a three to one favorite as an entree and note, a little wistfully, that it remains and will remain on every first-class menu despite the airline's claim that it offers the only choice of three entrees in transatlantic service. Accompanying these seven-course President Special meals is the rare Charles Heidsieck Blanc du-Blanc champagne, Meursault Beaune white wine or Château Haut-Brion red, with a choice of Cointreau, Benedictine or Cognac after dinner. ... Tables set with gleaming linen clothes and highly polished silver have taken its place and plastic dishes have been replaced with Rosenthal China for President Special passengers. The stewardess serves each plate individually from a tea cart rolled up the aisle, allowing the passenger to select the steak done to his choice or the game hen that suits his fancy. Excerpted from The Telegraph, Nashua NH (1957) quoted in The Pan Am Historical Foundation here. Pan American and Maxim's present...dining elegance. Lot of time to think about luxury and cuisine while flying over the North Atlantic. Hmm. If this is the standard of excellence for 1956, just think how nice passenger flight will become in sixty years time. ... Traditional Ireland! Here is a Pan American travelogue Wings to Ireland. A trip back to an earlier era. (The seems to have been filmed in 1947 with a L-049 Constellation and then later updated to include a DC-6B. Depending on your preferences, this travelogue might be a bit long. But is presents a delightful taste of the joys of rural Ireland a couple of generations ago.) Shannon Airport in the 1950s. Compare to the airport scenes in the film above. Shannon Airport is relatively new. It was constructed during the war, developed, and then opened in 1945 as the country's first international airport. Immediately Pan American and American Overseas started operating DC-4s through Shannon on their transatlantic service. Through the 1950s, commercial air traffic increased as Shannon was the most convenient refueling point before-or-after crossing the ocean. And for many years, international restrictions meant that carriers had to stop at Shannon before entering European national airspaces – a requirement that produced an artificial demand for the airport's services right up until 2008. Nowadays, Shannon is a regional airport – the third busiest in Ireland. It serves the southwest part of the country with flights to Spain as well as to the rest of Europe. And it is an important connection point for the Irish diaspora – many Americans return to "the old country" through Shannon. The approach to Rwy 06 passes directly over Foynes, the famous transatlantic seaplane base. Happily, the local rain and fog cleared with the morning sun. Landing at Shannon And the passengers deplaned for the stopover. Perhaps an Irish Coffee? Foynes, just across the Shannon Estuary across from Shannon Airport, had a important moment in aviation history. When Pan American and Imperial Airways agreed to conduct commercial transatlantic flights in the 1930s, they employed flying boats. On the northern route, the two chosen refueling stops were Botwood in Newfoundland and Foynes in the Irish Free State. The Irish seaplane base hosted American B-314s and British Shorts Empire and Sunderland flying boats. This airlink was the first truly regular transatlantic flying and it lasted right through 1945. The original Irish Coffee was made here One serendipitous product of this venture is the world famous beverage Irish coffee. In 1943, sophisticated and ambitious Brendan O'Regan was assigned the restaurant concession in the Foynes terminal. He made a point of hiring well-educated staff because he understood that Ireland's reputation would be influenced by the opinion-leaders flying over the Atlantic. He hired Joe Sheridan as his chef. Late one night in the winter of 1943, a flight left Foynes for New York. After flying several hours in bad weather, the captain decided to return to Foynes to wait for better weather. The staff were called back. Sheridan was inspired to prepare something special for the weary passengers: he put some good Irish whiskey in their coffee. One passenger thanked him for the wonderful drink and asked if he used Brazilian coffee. Sheridan jokingly answered, "No, it was Irish coffee!" Post-war, O'Regan and Sheridan transferred to the new Shannon Airport and operated the airport restaurant. Sheridan's Irish Coffee began to gain quite a following with stopover passengers and developed a world-wide reputation. Later, in 1952, Sheridan was recruited by Jack Koeppler, the owner of San Francisco's cosmopolitan Buena Vista Café, to replicate his recipe for the Bay area. (He spent the rest of his life there.) On another front, in 1951 O'Regan opened up the first "Duty Free" shop, another idea that spread around the world. In 1956, playwright Arthur Miller and his spouse (an actress named Marilyn Monroe) enjoy an Irish Coffee at Shannon. Summary: Date: 2017-12-18 Route: CYQX-EINN Aircraft: Boeing 377 (A2A) Leg Distance: 1,717nm Flight Time: 5:38 Total Distance: 21,139nm Total Flight Time: 89:15
  11. For each of TWA, American, and now Eastern you have highlighted interesting and not-so-well-known material. Love the Gann's observation on how the tribes saw each other. It's fun to follow along. And especially rewarding to learn new stuff!
  12. RTW80 Leg 25. New York Idlewild to Gander. KJFK (KIDL)-CYQX. 2017-12-14 Although Europe-bound, it was difficult to leave the "wonder city" of New York. Here is a 1948 Pan American promotional film for the airline and the city: Wings to New York. (The recording has some technical glitches at the start of the film, but it gets better after a few minutes.) A charming glimpse of a time gone by. I'd guess that those who know twenty-first century New York will find this a delight. Nevertheless, the schedule commanded us to press on ... to Gander, Newfoundland as part of the Great Circle Route to Shannon and then London. This eastbound trip would, at mid-century, be flown non-stop or perhaps one-stop. We shall do the two-stop method to salute the role played by both Gander and Shannon in the development of transatlantic commercial flight. Tourist Class "Rainbow Service" Juan Trippe wanted to develop tourist class service. He described his ideas as early as May 1943: "Air transport does have the choice . . . of becoming a luxury service to carry the well-to-do at high prices - or to carry the average man at what he can afford to pay. Pan American has chosen the latter course." In the 1940s, the idea of a lower-priced "mass market" for transatlantic service was heresy. The tenor of long distance flying was dominated by government officials, successful businessmen, and wealthy blue bloods. And the competition was in terms of the quality of the service rather than price. A move toward a middle-class market meant a transformation in equipment and operating procedures for which most national airlines were unprepared. Pan American's initial efforts to offer reduced-price fares over the Atlantic were stone-walled by the European nations in the IATA. Richard Branson on Juan Trippe: Before anyone else, he believed in airline travel as something to be enjoyed by ordinary mortals, not just a globe-trotting elite. In 1945 other airlines didn't think or act that way. Trippe decided to introduce a "tourist class" fare from New York to London. He cut the round-trip fare more than half, to $275 ($1,684 in today's dollars, which makes current pricing a bargain, right?). This went over like a lead balloon in the industry, where air fares were fixed by a cartel, the International Air Transport Association; it didn't want to hear about the tourist class. Incredibly, Britain closed its airports to Pan Am flights that had tourist seats. Pan Am was forced to switch to remote Shannon, Ireland. The industry's aversion to competition and making travel affordable was to have a long life, as Sir Freddie Laker would discover in the 1970s and Virgin Atlantic nearly a decade later. – Richard Branson. Time (Dec 7, 1998) Of course, the democratization of long distance flight revolutionized the world. By the 1960s, people young or old, of wealth or ordinary means or on a student budget, found it possible to travel abroad. A transcontinental vacation was no longer a once-in-a-lifetime event but became something that millions would experience. The world got smaller not only for elites but for almost everyone. Love this as a song for the common man...Don't envy them...GO! As it turned out, the first New York to London "Rainbow Class" flight was in a DC-6B, our own Clipper Liberty Bell. To honor that moment, we shall finish our Round-the-World tour in that aircraft. But first, we left Idlewild in Pan American's signature aircraft of the time, the Boeing Stratocruiser. This would be First Class service. We were lucky. Just in time for the transatlantic crossing, the maintenance shop gave the "all clear." Apparently a Seattle company named Microsoft – not Boeing-related – solved their problem with the child windows. Stratocruiser being prepared for the morning flight Departing Idlewild ... or Kennedy Climbing to altitude while admiring the clouds. Above the weather "where the going is always smooth" Climbed to 24,000 and got above the clouds. This was a comfortable ride "above the weather where the going is always smooth." This flight was aided by 100kts tailwinds almost all the way up the coast to Newfoundland. Below is the Bay of Fundy which possesses the world's highest tidal ranges. Attempts to tap into this tidal energy have yet to tame these enormously powerful waters. Gander was constructed in 1936-1939 as part of the US-UK agreement to initiate experimental transatlantic passenger flights. While seaplanes were the immediate carrier, it was recognized that landplanes would eventually be brought into commercial operations. The airport soon acquired four paved runways to become, briefly, the "largest airport on the planet" – its runways were nearly as wide as they were long. Gander was the only functioning airport in the Maritimes and it sat on the Great Circle route between the United States and Europe. "Flying the Secret Sky" tells the tale of volunteer pilots who ferried warplanes across the North Atlantic. With the outbreak of WWII, Gander quickly became a staging area for refueling and maintenance of military transports and ferrying operations to the war zone in Europe. In 1940, RAF officer Don Bennett, a specialist in long distance flight, organized what would later become RAF Ferry Command. The idea was to fly North American-built fighters and bombers directly to European Theater combat units – rather than rely on the slow and uncertain Atlantic convoys. Civilian pilots from Canada, America, and the Commonwealth volunteered to fly these new warplanes over the North Atlantic to Prestwick – a route which had before the war been more exploratory than routine. (Pre-war, only one hundred aircraft had attempted to cross the Atlantic, with only about half making it.) More than 9,000 would be delivered in all seasons and weather. By 1945, flying the North Atlantic would become "almost routine." For some film, a quick contemporary (and thus not especially informative) wartime look can be seen in this British Pathé 1942 newsreel. If you have the time, you might enjoy the rich and engaging PBS hour-long documentary Flying the Secret Sky: Story of the RAF Ferry Command. Imagine that in July 1942 you are a 26 year-old civilian ferry pilot. You are surprisingly called into the London office of the RAF Chief of Staff and asked "If you were to fly to Cairo, how would you go?" ... After the war, the Newfoundland government regained control. From late 1945, the field began to serve regular transatlantic flights by Pan American, American Overseas, TWA, Trans Canada, and BOAC. During the 1950s, Gander might typically handle 13,000 aircraft and a quarter of a million passenger annually – making it one of the world's busiest international airports. A new terminal and upgraded navigation and safety installations followed. Known as "the crossroads of the world," it welcomed the likes of Queen Elizabeth, Nelson Mandela and Fidel Castro. Photograph of a Pan American Stratocruiser and DC-6B at Gander's old terminal. During and after the war, the field used radar equipped Ground Control Approach in which an air controller would track an aircraft on radar and verbally guide the pilot onto the runway. (Pan Am played the central role in organizing and implementing this system for commercial operations.) Given the capricious nature of Newfoundland's weather and the demands of airline schedules, it is hard to imagine modern transatlantic service without some sort of technical blind-flying assistance for pilots. Records were kept for all non-routine "talk-downs". For example: May 6. Speed Bird GEK. Captain May. When turned on final on heading 180 plane tracked rapidly left. He was given a heading of 210 which corrected him gradually to course. When he reached the QDM he was given heading 208 which brought him down the QDM from 3 1/2 to 2 miles. At 2 miles he began drifting right and headings of 205, 203, 200, and finally 195. None of these headings brought him back toward course, so he was pulled up at 3/4 mile when he was 500 feet right and 100 feet above the glide path. There was evidently a cross draught at this point for all succeeding runs during the night had a similar drift. However, in the following approaches we were ready for it, and caught it in time. Captain May pulled up at our request, made another circuit, and was brought down the middle very satisfactorily. This run was very successful. Eventually, in 1958, the Canadian government replaced the Ground Control Approach "talk downs" with a contemporary ILS system with which we are now familiar. Just as we entered the pattern, the clouds and rain settled over Gander and obscured the airport. Gander International's weather is notoriously variable and challenging. (The day before our flight, Gander reported ½ mile visibility and blowing snow.) Our forecast on this flight was for clouds with modest winds and 10sm visibility. However, as we turned to our approach point, the weather deteriorated rapidly and visibility closed down. We were thankful to have the modern ILS to guide us onto Rwy 13 – this navigation equipment would have been brand new at mid-century. Happily, the high intensity approach lights appeared from a couple of miles out and we managed to get the ship down while crabbing into an unexpected 18kts crosswind. No screams from the passengers. Imperfect touchdown as we crabbed into Rwy 13 Disembarking passengers. Note the Canadian Maple Leaf flying with the British Union Jack and American Stars 'n' Stripes not quite visible on each side. We spent some time in the international lounge. So the passengers were careful to take along their boarding passes. With the rise of the Jet Age, and the arrival of routine non-stop service over the Atlantic, Gander's role diminished accordingly. It now acts as a critical backup airfield for the major airlines' transatlantic flights (see below). And it has become a regular stop for corporate/private jet aircraft: about twenty percent of transatlantic business jets stop at Gander. On September 11, 2001, some 38 transatlantic jets and 6,500 passengers & crew were diverted to Gander when the US airspace was closed. The small town of Gander showed what it means to be a Good Samaritan. It is always worth our while to remember the human capacity for kindness, selflessness and generosity. Responding to radio announcements, the residents and businesses of Gander and other towns supplied toothbrushes, deodorant, soap, blankets and even spare underwear, along with offers of hot showers and guest rooms. Newtel Communications, the telephone company, set up phone banks for passengers to call home. Local television cable companies wired schools and church halls, where passengers watched events unfolding in New York and realized how lucky they were. (here) Here is a quick video with some interviews of the townspeople: How a small town became an unlikely hero of 9/11. And from the current Tony Award-winning Broadway musical Come from Away, here is a performance of "Welcome to the Rock." Ben Brantley, chief theater critic for The New York Times, wrote "Try, if you must, to resist the gale of good will that blows out of 'Come From Away,' the big bearhug of a musical that opened on Sunday night at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theater. But even the most stalwart cynics may have trouble staying dry-eyed during this portrait of heroic hospitality under extraordinary pressure." Summary: Date: 2017-12-14 Route: KJFK (KIDL)-CYQX Aircraft: Boeing 377 (A2A) Leg Distance: 954nm Flight Time: 3:03 Total Distance: 19,422nm Total Flight Time: 83:37
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