Saturday, May 23, 2015

Somewhere Over the Pacific

There she is, the old girl in which I got my type.  I have had more than
one "memorable" run in with her and her memory.
Somewhere over the Pacific, during an uneventful flight to Anchorage, another FO attempts to describe something by showing me a picture.  As he scrolls through his phone looking for a specific image, I see something and blurt out, "Wait; go back?" He reverses direction, looks at me as if to ask, "This one?", and taps it for enlargement. "That's a Sabre bird," I say  He lights up.
"How do you know Sabre?"  Me, "I flew for Rhoades."  We're instantly like family. Both of us are from the last American generation of commercial DC-3 pilots .  The next minute would be one we'd surely remember.  Here's how it went.
Steve, the other FO, said, "I got my type in that plane."  Me, "I got my type also." Him, "AANNND (said with pride), I must be one of the last people to have also earned their ATP in the DC-3."  "Yeah? Me too!", I returned with growing volume.  Him, "Who did yours - McSwiggan (his de facto name) did mine."  "ME TOO!", I blurted out. Then, after a moment of silence, a moment of remembrance, we congratulated each other for surviving scrapyard freight and fooling enough people to get hired flying "the Whale".
Click here for photo credit page and more similar photos.
It's hard to adequately describe the surprise of discovering one of your own in an unexpected place. But to find a fellow "three" pilot while over the Pacific in a 747-8 makes the story that much better.   And although I know it probably doesn't mean much to him because we're likely just a grain of sand in his ocean, some part of me hopes that "McSwiggan" is proud of the monsters he created.   Many from our group may have been underfed cargo canines when he met us, but today we share a virtual secret handshake, fly to all corners of the world, and are proud to mention his name. Thanks Bob.

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