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Old Time Stuff #4

Discussion in 'AviatorChat.com' started by Bob Parks, Jul 9, 2007.

  1. Bob Parks

    Bob Parks F1 Veteran
    Consultant

    Nov 29, 2003
    7,022
    Shoreline,Washington
    Full Name:
    Robert Parks
    Every weekend that i was free, I pedaled my bike 10 miles to go to the mainland and then east of town to Lowe's field. I spent the day with pilots and people who were far different than those in the D.C. area. They didn't drink when they flew, they cared for their airplanes, and they were much more professional about their flying. And they were approachable. Questions were answered instead of getting a joking response. I was allowed to do some of the menial work on the airplanes as they worked on them. They taught me how to baseball stitch a seam and how to rib stitch and brush on the dope. My pay was a flight now and then and when I flew with Tommy in the " Sunday Plane" he let me fly it many times and taught me " how to do it nice". Many times during the summer I was taken out to the celery fields with them to flag rows and sometimes if the next door pasture was smooth enough, Tommy would land and let me fly back in the hopper while I held on to the struts. Nobody thought about the dust that blew out of the hopper when the lid was removed. Maybe that's what's wrong with me today.
    One day Tommy felt like horsing around a little bit and hopped in the Sunday plane, took off on the short strip and headed for the stand of pines at the end. He put the Travel Air on its side and did a knife-edge slip between the two tallest trees. He was good. many times when he dusted a field if the space below the wires at the end of the run was open , he would fly under them before pulling up. If the shrubs and scrub were too tall , he went over the wires.
    He would often drag the wheels through the celery tops and when he went by you could hear it.One day when I got to the airport they were scrambling around to get a truck and some cars to a field east of us. They said that Tommy had crashed and they had to go get him. I went with them with my heart in my mouth and when I saw what was left of his plane, I knew that he was dead. Not him. All he had was a broken nose and bad bruises. He had hit a stump that was just above the thick celery and he had missed it in his pre-dusting inspection. It tore the landing gear off his bird and then it plowed the field before turning over on its back. He claimed that as long as he was doing the flying he wouldn't get killed.
    he was back flying a couple of days later and started a long rebuild of his work plane.
    Switches
     
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  3. Skyraider

    Skyraider Formula Junior

    Nov 4, 2005
    620
    Keep 'em coming Switches!
    Absolutely thrilling stories!
    Reading them, puts me on the field, and in the Hopper with you!
    and when the truck and some cars scrambled to get on the field,
    I too "knew" what had happened, and expected the worst.
    The lump in my throat hasn't yet gone away.

    Charlie
     

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