In my profession, I worked for major technology corporations such as E-Systems, IBM, and SAIC. Perhaps the most taxing part of those jobs was the travel needed to pursue military business from the far reaches of our government, and from a number of foreign nations too.
In the course of my commercial aircraft travels, I landed and took off from over 60 different airports, crossed the US coast to coast at least 25 times, and crossed the Atlantic over 50 times.
It seems that somehow, I had a charmed existence, because I missed death too often by funny timing events.
1. The Lockerby, UK crash of a 747 from a bomb. It was headed from London to New York. I was schedule to fly on it, but my shuttle flight from Amsterdam was delayed, forcing me to change my flight plans
2. I was on my way from Washington DC to Paris and had been routed from DC National via Newark and JFK. The leg from Newark to JFK was by helicopter. It was an interesting experience. The next flight of that helicopter after mine crashed and burned on the pad, with no survivors. I forget the exact date.
3. This is a bit of a stretch, but it happened. My Vice President and I were scheduled to fly to Europe and do a round robin visit to a number of aerospace companies. My VP took advantage of his rank and had us scheduled to take the Concorde to London on the first leg.
When we arrived at Dulles, we were told our Concorde was delayed by engine failure, and we had to change over to a 747 from Delta. Some two days later that specific Concorde crashed and burned after takeoff from Charles De Gaulle airport.
4. In my first year at Vanderbilt as a Midshipman in the NROTC program, we were sent that summer for a 6-week cruise, leaving from San Francisco. I was assigned to the USS Helena, a Heavy Cruiser, CA-75.
After the cruise was over, I decided to hitchhike back to Nashville by military aircraft. There were legs from SF to San Bernadino AFB, San B to Briggs in El Paso, and from Briggs to Fort Worth, then to Love Field in Dallas. They were wonderful sightseeing legs!
At Love Field were two Commanders of the USN that were flying to Memphis on their time in the air requirement, and they welcomed me to go along.
We had the two pilots and a rating crew member and me all buckled in in the C-45’s cabin and we taxied out to take off. We climbed perhaps to two thousand feet, when both engines quit cold, and we nosed down in a dive. I saw the land racing up and readied my parachute to jump on the signal from the pilot. They got the engines restarted, and we pulled out so low that I believe I could have picked a mesquite bush up with my hands.
They had taken off on a nearly empty right tank, and merely had to switch tanks and get the flow going to restart the engines! When they leveled off, it was far too low to use a parachute.
5. While in Sewanee Military Academy, I wanted to go to DC where my parents had just moved, so I went to Sky Harbor airport and by pure luck found two Marine Lt. Colonels who were headed to Baltimore in a C-45. (This was remarkably similar to the other C-45 trip not too far in the future!)
We loaded up and took off, climbing to around 12,000 feet, heading Northeast.
The radioman began to call ahead for the weather and started reporting just how bad it was up North. He kept calling and reporting that airports were closing down ahead of us, Baltimore included. This sparked a huge debate between the Colonels over the intercom. One declared that he never turned back and we should keep going, and something will clear for us. The other Colonel declared that in this circumstance the right thing to do was to turn back and get on the ground ready to fly another day. We kept going! I suppose that Colonel outranked the other one.
Another hour passed, the sun had set, we were on instruments, and we hit a lot of turbulence as we went through some clouds, while the radioman kept trying. It seemed that the weather had closed in behind us. Our fuel was now insufficient to go back, so we had to find an airport, bail out, or ride the plane down.
At last, the radio came up from Philadelphia airport saying their ceiling had lifted to 700 feet but was now closing fast again. Our stubborn pilot peeled off that C-45 as if it was a fighter and had us over the river and on the ground in a few minutes! My luck had held!
6. On a snowy day in DC, I was headed to the airport to start the trip home to Holland. I was just entering the Memorial Bridge when an Air Florida liner crashed just ahead of me and went into the Potomac
River. I turned around and went back to my hotel!
7. While in SMA, we had one of our three dance weekends, where parents brought their daughters up the mountain and stayed for the two days. On the morning after the first dance five of us loaded into a Cadillac and went for a ride. Then we encountered a Buick full of cadets and they wanted to race us down the mountain. I was in the left rear seat. The driver was a cadet from India, and it became obvious that he had little experience racing.
We hit 85 going into an S-turn, he lost control, and we rolled three time, landing on the top next to a guard rail we bent covering a drop of about 100 feet. Thankfully, besides being shook up fairly hard, no one was hurt, but the driver cut his hand on glass trying to crawl out the window. Fortunately, I didn't have to face the parents of the driver's date. The Cadillac was a wreck! It was unfortunate too, that the Buick landed in a creek bed at the foot of the mountain...
Coincidences or what?
In my profession, I worked for major technology co... (
The gate of fate closed. You have nine lives~~~
Loc: American born, SOUTHERN BY THE GRACE OF GOD!
In my profession, I worked for major technology co... (
Great read! If you don't play the lottery...you should!
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