delara newsDelaware Amateur Radio Association, Delaware OH VOL 33 NUMBER 2
Wally Kenyon W8WLK
“Fly the plane, fly the plane”
Many years ago the company that I worked with to get my pilots license had a bank run that took place four nights a week. They carried canceled checks from Columbus to Dayton to Cincinnati, back to Columbus to Cleveland to Columbus back to Cincinnati to Columbus. It started late in the afternoon and went to 4 AM’ish. I would join the flight on the first return to Columbus after I got off work and fly all night…I loved it! I did this one to all four nights a week and usually flew with my advanced instructor Denny who had flown F4 Phantoms in ‘Nam. They flew single engine aircraft up to light twins and on this particular evening, we had an old twin called an Aztec.It was a beautiful night and we were on the takeoff roll at Cleveland Hopkins. We had a metal box we called the can that was used for recording all of the flights’ paperwork like manifests, weight and balances and takeoff/ landing times. Denny was flying in the left seat and I had just recorded the takeoff time in the can and turned to stow it between the seats. The front seats had levers on the sides that released the seat to a full horizontal position if you wanted to go that far back. Well, you’ve probably figured out what happened…just as we lifted off I hit Denny’s seat release and he went all the way onto his back. He yelled “ fly the plane, fly the plane!” which of course I did but it was about the funniest thing ever and I couldn’t stop laughing. Plus, it’s really hard to lift yourself up with the combination of ascending and acceleration. So, Denny was stuck there for a few moments which didn’t help with my laughing condition. And…Same plane, different night, one summer day and it was still daylight. The plane had just come out of maintenance and was given a clean bill of health. We had just taken off from Rickenbacker and were still over the runway when there was a loud whoosh followed by a lot of wind noise. We both checked the gauges and the flights controls and all was OK, but we had a yaw to one side. We couldn’t figure what happened and then I looked back and saw a huge hole in the side of the plane. We had lost the emergency door. At that time, the tower asked if we had hit something as he had seen something fall from the plane. We told him what happened and after we returned, he guided us back to where he thought the window had landed. I found it in some tall weeds and it was undamaged. We installed it back on the plane and continued the bank run. It seems that maintenance had opened the window and closed it but had failed to latch it all the way. It had appeared latched on the preflight so our new procedure was not only to visually inspect, it but to actually push on it to make sure the latch was fully engaged.