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Thread: Don't look at ME.....I'M not touchin' it!!!

  1. #1
    CloudDancer's Avatar
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    Don't look at ME.....I'M not touchin' it!!!

    Mah' Fella' 'Mericans........I come to you today.....with a heavy heart....(an' a liver a'quiver).

    Having (yet again) been overserved until the wee hours of the morning this morning; I find myself in no condition to assemble even remotely coherent sentences.

    Ergo, I will be unable to start abusing the laws of written grammar again until tomorrow.

    SO come back then for the premiere episode of our humorous look at the Lighter side of Law & Order in the Arctic.

    For a change, our swaggering (or is that staggering) young birdman will head the OPPOSITE direction away from Kivalina as he provides, or in some cases, FAILS to provide a helping hand to an Alaska State Trooper.

    You won't want to miss this one....

    CloudDancer

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    RMREBOB's Avatar
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    Quivering with anticipation!!!

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    Jerry Gaston's Avatar
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    Should I heat up my Pizzza early or will there be lots of intermissions.

    PS I talked to Ted Turner and he says that you should move to Hollywood

  4. #4
    Bob Breeden's Avatar
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    CloudDancer's Latest

    CloudDancer,

    The true trepidation you felt from the BEAR was very well conveyed. I have sweated out finding a safe place to camp after exhausting hours of flying on the Alaskan Peninsula, only to have my skin crawl knowing the bears in the grass see me, but I don't see them. When can I get sleep?

    Looking forward to your newest "humorous" writing.

    Bob Breeden

  5. #5
    CloudDancer's Avatar
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    Thanks for the replies all.

    Jerry - Appreciate you're talking to Ted for me! Was Hanoi Jane there???Are you asking to be my agent? What's your percentage??

    And lastly......will it be Okay if I just Email my stuff to Hollywood from here? I'm not real big on phonies or liberals!!

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    Hanoi jane

    Cloud Dancer, We ran ole "Hanoi Jane" out of here several years ago.

  7. #7
    CloudDancer's Avatar
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    Part One -


    The salt spray stings my face and the wind rips at my jacket as we plow at full throttle down the backside and up the face of each foam capped wave like some endless Coney Island roller coaster. I feel the airplane buck slightly four times. The recoil of each rocket fired transmitted to my senses through my feet planted on the slippery deck of the conning tower.

    I stare at the white blips of the six Japanese Val dive bombers on the water-splotched face of the radar sceen. The convoy proceeds straight ahead in blissful ignorance of the impending carnage I have just unleashed on them, counting on the poor visiblity and low clouds to protect them on this dark night. Fools!

    Not three seconds after the last rocket leaves the left engine nacelle a dark shape leaps out of the water into the air 100 yards ahead of us. It turns slightly to the left as it dives again into the water only to slice back out and upwards having turned ANOTHER 10 degrees left off our bow....oh...God in HEAVEN!!

    "SOUND THE COLLISION ALARM!! DIVE! DIVE! DIVE!" I scream into the vioce tube to the cockpit.

    With a final glance at the trail of smoke and bubbles curving to our left I leap for the conning tower hatch ladder grabbing the lanyard to drag it closed behind me. As I slam the upper and lower cabin door halves together the boss's daughter Shirley and I are drenched as a few gallons of salty brine spray through the cracks before we are able to spin the wheel and get a firm seal. I TASTE the salt in my mouth. Shirley's hair is matted and saltwater runs down her face, her high school cheerleader sweater now glued to her curves I notice as I look forward past her apprehensive face to the cockpit where I can see Bounce is hunched over the controls in the dim glow of the instrument lighting.

    We are now surrounded with a cacophony of sounds. The diving alarm bongs for five seconds along with the ringing of the collision alarm. Men shouting can barely be heard over the dull "thuds" as watertight doors slam shut throughout the plane, and the metallic clang of the gasoline tank vents opening to admit the rush of seawater with a loud gurgling sound.

    Hollering at the cockpit over the din, my words carry an uncontrolled sense of urgency. "DOWN BOUNCE!" at the top of my lungs I cry "TAKE 'ER DOWN FAST!! FULL FORWARD ELEVATOR!! Throwing the words back over his shoulder instantly Bounce
    replies "I've got her full forward skipper! We're takin the express elevator!!"

    With the hatches secured and the diving alarm stilled, only the sound of the incessantly ringing collision alarm still peals through the airplane. It should've shut of by now. "It will any second" I think, as my eyes turn toward the "repeater" altimeter in the control room instrument cluster.

    Shirley now grabs my forearm. I throw a quick glance at her concerned face three feet from mine. She's worried because she can see the intensity, or is there fear, in my eyes. It's something she's never seen before and she hollers at me over the continued ringing of the collision alarm....will someone PLEASE shut that damn thing OFF!...."Captain!...Captain!!.....what IS it? What's HAPPENED??!!

    With my eyes focused on the altimeter needle I speak loudly over the collision alarm replying "Our last rocket is turning on us. It's making a circular run!" Again I scream at BOUNCE "BOUNCE get us DOWN" as I watch the altimeter needle unwinding WAY too slowly, barely now 50 feet of water over the top of our rudder, but our rate of sink is increasing as the weight of our now full gas tanks takes affect.

    All eyes turn toward the sound man seated alongside Bounce in the cockpit, his hands clasped hard over his David Clarks. He strains to hear the sounds of our errant rocket in his headphones over the still ringing collision alarm.

    "SOMEone shut OFF that GODDAM NOISE!!" I holler and Stevie, our new ramp guy from Selawik scurries toward the fuse box. He'll pull the fuse if he has to to end the shrill repeated jangling bells.

    Suddenly the sound man turns in his seat, but I can't see his face.....it's blacked out.....still firmly pressing his headphones to his skull and hollers out "CAPTAIN!! Propellers APPROACHING! PORT QUARTER!! ......moving FAST".........I take ANOTHER look at the altimeter...the outer end of the large needle now sweeping downward and left passing the minus 100 foot mark. I WILL it to move FASTER.

    The sound man now hollers again. "Propeller sounds INCREASING CAPTAIN", straining to keep and even tone to his voice.

    No one talks now. We've done all we can. "Were it not for the STILL ringing collision alarm" I think to myself " I bet you I could hear a PIN drop......or...... the sound of the approaching rocket....." GOD! I HATE that NOISE. "Will SOMEBODY SHUT OFF THAT ^&%$ING ALARM so we..........."

  8. #8
    CloudDancer's Avatar
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    Part Deuce -

    I bolt upright from under the covers staring about the not quite dark room wildy for an instant before the next ring of the phone brings me fully alert and out of my dream. Reaching out with my left hand I quickly grab the offending instrument before the "collision alarm" sounds yet again and place the receiver to my ear which I immediately notice is dripping wet! "Jus'aminnit" I mumble into the receiver as I pause to wipe the earpiece dry on my bedsheet, while with my free right hand (which is damp?!), I wipe the sweat off my left ear.

    I shake my head and focus on the glow-in-the-dark hands of my Big Ben alarm clock. 2:20 AM. " 'Lo" I grouch into the phone,and immediately comes back a voice I instantly recognize as Alaska State Trooper Lenny Johnson. "Well, I guess there's no point in asking if I woke you up, eh?" says a terribly alert sounding Lenny.

    I LIKE Lenny. And he IS one of my favorite customers and I am his favorite pilot, which, inasmuch as I am (so far) the ONLY pilot he's flown with ain't saying much. EXCEPT Lenny is scared %^$#less of "little" airplanes and so far we haven't had so much as light turbulence in the ten or twelve trips we've made together and, of course, all my landings have been sweet. Ergo, to Lenny, I am the next best thing to Charles Lindberg himself. So, I try to be cheerful and happy to hear from him.

    "If this AIN'T Publisher's Clearing House calling me to tell me I've FINALLY won my million bucks....would you kindly go SCREW yourself??!!" I reply. Lenny chortles deeply, and apparently under the (mis)assumption that I am joking responds "Yeah, I missed you so much I couldn't wait until a decent hour to fly with you....so what say??!! Wanna' go for a little trip??"

    "Oh, yeah Lenny. It's what I LIVE for. You draggin' my pitiful butt outta' bed at oh-dark-thirty to go 'n play cops and robbers. It's the last thing I pray to God for every night before I close my eyes." speaking a little more clearly now as my hand fumbles around the nightstand searching for my pack of Kools. Immediately our enemy of criminals everywhere laughingly points out to me that this is July 31st and here, 37 miles above the Arctic Circle, there is no "dark" involved. "The sun is a'risin'.... most definately...." Lenny warbles, singing a phrase from some Tommy James and the Shondells former hit, the name of which could matter LESS to me right now.

    "Shutup Lenny" I growl. "I've heard lonesome alley cats sing better. How much time do I HAVE??" "Everybody's a critic" Lenny sasses back. "How much time do you need?" With hope in my voice I say "Howzabout an hour????". "Good then!" Lenny comes back W-A-A-Y too enthusiastically. "See you in 45 minutes" as the receiver goes dead in my ear.

    I replace the receiver in the cradle in the dimness while telling Lenny what I think of HIM, his god-awful SINGING, and where he can take his early morning cheerful MOOD.....and finally having found the light switch at the base of the lamp BLAST 150 WATTS of lumens into every corner of the room! GODFREY how that light HURTS. But...that's exactly why I have it there. If I gotta' wake up.....may as well get it OVER with and force myself toward alertness. I walk into the furniture aLOT less that way when I first get up, I've found. And all ten of my toes have been thankful for the new procedure.

    Finally I spy my smokes and shake one out of the pack. I grab a wooden Fire Chief matchstick and scrape the phosphorous tip into flame with my thumbnail, noting as I hold it to the tip of the cigarette the very, very slightest shaking of my hand. I toss the match at the ashtray and miss. It falls and lands RIGHTon the cover of the paperback book I was reading before I fell asleep. The residual heat in the wood starts to burn the tiniest hole through the picture of the submarine on the cover. In the cover art it is diving, half under the water and half still above. "Run Silent, Run Deep" by Admr. Edward Beach (Retrd). What a fanTAStic book. After airplanes, the old WW 2 deisel subs are my favorite. Then I remember the dream. BOY! Was THAT wild!!
    I realize too that I am drenched from head to foot practically. Apparently I had been sweating profusely in my sleep but the cold chill in the bedroom has now turned my skin cold and clammy. No surprise considering all the toxins I had pumped into my body in the last ninety-six hours. My body was dying to pump them out any way possible. No possible exit is to be overlooked as evidenced by a rumbling in my tummy and a belch that originates somewhere down by my toes. It is loud. It is long. It burns my nostrils and leaves what I expect would be the taste of molten lava on my tounge.

    As I stumble into the kitchen to start a quick half pot of coffee before I shower, my eyes fall on the one half-eaten slice left over from the 16 inch pepperoni and double Italian sausage pizza. Beside it rests a bowl with brown crusty stuff which puzzles me slightly until I turn to the stove and spy the two opened and empty cans of Hormel chili and the dirty pan. Jeez. No WONDER! "That's it" I say aloud to no one in particular. "No more doubling up on the Italian sausage..." An alcohol induced case of the munchies can be deadly!

    The stinging spray of the hot shower both cleanses and refreshes me as I throw my head back, open my mouth wide and repeatedly fill swish and spit, clearing the residue of yesterday afternoon's partially digested dinner from my taste buds. Out, dry, brush teeth, the regular drill; and in 20 minutes I'm back in the kitchen kickstarting my heart with some black coffee and another cigarette.

    "Man, I GOTTA' start cutting back on these" I think, as I ponder the fact that I have done a pack-and-a-half or more for each 24 hours of the last four days.

    Only 12 hours ago I had returned from three days of (everything BUT) "rest and relaxation" in the "Big Village on the Cook inlet" as we laughingly refer to Anchorage. After logging two hundred and seven hours in twenty-eight consecutive days without a day off; and the MAJORITY of it "VFR" in 300 foot, smoke obsured skies with visibilities ranging from two miles on DOWN I was one whipped puppy. I mean I LOVE to fly ALOT, but...DAMN! That was just too much. I mean, I fell asleep TWICE climbing out in the 185. Fortunately the STALL HORN brought me too each time!

    I'd gone to the boss and threatened to quit on the spot if he didn't give me some time off!! So he finally caved and gave me three whole days. I skedaddled straight for the Wien jet and fun 'n frolic. I was DETERMINED to "rest" until I just couldn't stand it anymore or ran outta' dough, whichever came first. I couldn't WAIT to see blondes, brunnettes, and redheads again. Blue eyes, GREEN eyes. Girls with LIPSTICK wearing something besides bluejeans!! Finally! I'm gonna' get some well deserved 'REST"!!

    So yesterday afternoon, I finally got done "resting". Thank God. I don't think I could "rest" anymore if I HAD too. Lord only knows how much liquor I consumed, rich food I ate, and packs I smoked. I think I slept twice for a total of nine or ten hours the whole time. Thankfully I must've fallen asleep about five yesterday afternoon. Now, at least, I'm REALLY rested.

    Now I throw on a windbreaker, stick my shades in my pocket and head out the door. It's 3 AM straight up as I kick my Yamaha 250 into life. Tapping the gearshift lever down into first, I hold the front of the bike and spin the back tire around spewing gravel. And as it lines up with the front end pointed toward the airport I release the brake and the wind builds in my face as I accelerate. DAMN it's GREAT to be 23, free and a FLIER!!

  9. #9
    CloudDancer's Avatar
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    Well sports fans....I'ma thinkin' that's gonna' hafta' wrap it up...for toight anyway.

    I hope part one didn't mess with your minds to badly. Betcha' you guys thought I was a'havin' some sorta drug induced hallicanations or sumthin'.

    But no. I wuz just messin' with ya'. Ah'm PROUD to say I don't DO drugs of any sort and never DID; having recognized at a young age that I have an addiction prone personality and a low level of will power when i like something.

    The most imporatnt "high" for manor woman.....is the one we ALL share. Thrust overcoming drag, lift overcoming weight. I'd give up SEX before giving up flying. I'm not sure. I think I might have ALREADY.

    Well, as Gramma CloudDancer used to say.....

    I'd sooner sleep with a rattlesnake than shake hands with a FED!!

    (Gramma CloudDancer weren't no SLOUCH neither).
    GOODNIGHT!

  10. #10
    CloudDancer's Avatar
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    Part Trey -

    Well, I guess about now would be a good time to give you just a little background on how the American justice system functioned, Alaskan bush style (at least in the mid to late 1970'S).

    While towns like Kotzebue and Nome and Barrow had full time police departments and a court system; like the Wild West of the 1800's, justice often was a traveling "road show". Back then marshall's, judges and so forth would go from town to town on horseback or stagecoach when and where needed to deal with various nefarious ne'er-do-wells. And now in Alaska it was virtually the same except the horses and stagecoaches were replaced first by sled dogs, and subsequently airplanes. This makes me grateful I didn't get there TOO much earlier as I ain't much of one for hushin' muskies...I mean...mushin' Huskies....WHATEVER!!

    Anywho....these days....the villages in the surrounding "region" were under the watchful eyes of the Alaska State Troopers. Generally one at a time was assigned out of the Anchorage office to Nome, KotzeBue, Barrow, Bethel (et.al) for a two year rotation. The state furnished a lovely three bedroom house with garage and most of the married guys brought their families as well.

    Now Trooper Lenny had just arrived in town about a month earlier from Anchorage, this being his first "out"station assignement and he was DETERMINED to make sure Law & Order was maintained and properly executed in his baliwik of Northwestern Arctic Alaska. The bad guys were gonna' fear him and the good townsfolk were gonna' revere him far and wide or his name wasn't Alaska State Trooper Lenny Johnson, by God! Aside from which the AST boys in general, while no publicity hounds, were known to be a fairly tough and serious policing agency.

    Unfortunately for Trooper Lenny however, his appearance didn't exactly strike fear into the hearts of....ANYBODY....when you first saw him. I mean, he's a GREAT guy, but...picture the physique of Elmer Fudd and the voice and personality of Kermit the Frog. Not quite what it takes to inspire terror at first glance. Add in the fact that the Trooper who just LEFT town had been a Green Beret in 'Nam before taking up law enforcement; smiled on holidays only (if the mood struck him), and never had to do more than just rest his hand on his gun butt while it remained in the holster to get FULL co-operation; and you can see Lenny had a row to hoe.

    His first impression on the region wasn't helped much by his first official "crime scene" debut; that of responding to assist the entire night shift of the Kotzebue Police department (all two of 'em) to a "riot in progress" at four AM at the Ponderosa Bar his first night in town.

    I was sitting at the far end of the bar, my back to the wall, doing my best to keep any of the multiple flying objects and/or bodies from knocking over my fresh drink. (I had no stake in this free for all, and preferred to remain intact AND unbruised in the likely event that the festivities might leave some formerly encumbered individuals of the female persuasion both UNencumbered and seeking comfort). Too bad we didn't have saloon type swinging doors for Trooper Lenny to kick open, for he was PISSED.

    Seems Lenny (like I) REALLY appreciates good sleep. I mean like you appreciate a good lobster or prime rib.

    Fearful that the action might be over too quickly, Lenny chose to NOT take the extra five minues to put on his full Trooper regalia.
    Instead he rips the front door of the Pondu open, practically tearing it off the hinges (Lenny tipped the scales at a good 250 lbs and 6 feet) and marches in wearing....black rubber galoshes and red (actually hot-pink from fading) neck-to toe (I assume) longjohns topped off with his official blue State Trooper's "mountie-style) hat with gold piping and embroidery. Now I'm no fashion maven, but with his holster strapped around his ample girth and a pump action shotgun on his hip.....I dunno'....somehow.....it just didn't LOOK right!!

    After hollering two or three times for attention without achieving any noticible reduction in either volume of screaming or flying object/bodies; Lenny does what any good law enforcement officer would do and lets go a shotgun blast into the ceiling. Given the age of the building this resulted in three or four sections of the ceiling tile immediately above Lenny falling.....mostly on and around him!!

    Oh, it stopped the fight instantly as all eyes turned for the source of sound only to be confronted with Trooper Lenny's ample pink clad posterior as HE was turned around and bent over trying to dig his official trooper hat out from under the debris.

    Town....meet Trooper Lenny. Lenny....meet town!! Fight over, laughter ensues, and a good time was had by all. (ExCEPT, of course, Trooper Lenny....)


    Well my friends....having set the stage....I must now take a break to take my elderly mother, who is visiting from out of state, to the Olive Garden for din-din.

    When we return, Trooper Lenny and I climb into my brand spankin' new Cessna 206, and head off to FURTHER enhance Lenny's reputation for toughness.....or NOT!!!

  11. #11
    RaisedByWolves's Avatar
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    man you like to keep us hangin on the edges of our seats huh




    keep em comming there really good

    tom ford

  12. #12
    skagwaypilot's Avatar
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    Water... You had Water!!!

    [quote="CloudDancer"]Part Deuce -
    "The stinging spray of the hot shower both cleanses and refreshes me as I throw my head back, open my mouth wide and repeatedly fill swish and spit, clearing the residue of yesterday afternoon's partially digested dinner from my taste buds. "
    You mentioned Bethel... For those readers who have never visited Paris on the Kuskokwim, few dwellings have 'running' water. Most buildings have a water tank which is replenished weekly from a municipal water truck. The same cheerful folks pick up the blackwater, fortunately they use a different truck - we always prayed that they washed their hands before switching jobs.
    Scarey Larry's Flying Service was always too cheap to provide a hotel for transient pilots. Therefore, they often sacked out on our couch, extra bed or floor. The water ration was approtioned for two occupants. Any more tenants would exhaust the water prematurely and bathing, flushing and cooking were postponed until the next delivery. For some of the pilots, bathing was not high on their agenda. Flushing, however, made the apartment so much more pleasant and we always tried to save the last few gallons for that purpose.
    Just as your submariners did in WWII, we took submarine showers. The luxury of unlimited hot water was unknown.
    My first priority on any R&R to Anchor-town was to check into a hotel (usually the Lakeshore) and stand in the shower till my body turned even more wrinkly than normal.

  13. #13
    CloudDancer's Avatar
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    Spent a lifetime in Bethel one summer, I think '78. Fortunately I was working for a company that BELIEVED is spending good moolah to take care of us, so we had all the nice plumbing.

    Got my share of outhouses and showering at the "Community Center" in Fort Yukon one winter though. Center opened at nine AM. If I hadn't found a way to get free and get there before ten, I just gave up and stank for the day

    I loved flying in God's Country and miss it deperately...BUT.... my idea of "roughing it" nowadays is walking barefoot down a carpeted hotel hallway to the ice machine.

    See ya'll tomorrow.

    CloudDancer

  14. #14
    CloudDancer's Avatar
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    I SWEAR! (s)Crew Schedulers are phsycic SADISTS. They leave you sitting around for DAYS doing NOTHING as long as you have no plans....but on the LAST day, after not flying for two weeks you make plans to DO something and they NAIL YOU.

    This is my way of informing you I must go shuffle hundreds of low-fare bargain seeking paying passengers about America's skies today. This will result in the delay of posting part foujr....sorry.

    To save you time (especially that valuable "company time" Anne) I thought I'd let you know you can look for Par Four tomorrow (Friday) by about 6 PM eastern.

    Hope you good folks are having a nice day!!

    Out dancin' with the clouds....CloudDancer

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    Love your stuff Cloud. If ya love WWII diesel subs pick up a copy of Shadow Divers by Robert Kurson. A true story about a couple wreck divers who discover a German WWII U-Boat of the coast of Jersey. It is a great book if ya don't burn it up with one of ur Kools!! Thanks for the entertainment.

  16. #16
    Anne's Avatar
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    Oh darn! And here I've found a few minutes after lunch to sneak a peek at the latest chapter. Can't wait to find out what happens with Trooper Lenny! I'll be laughing all weekend just thinking about Lenny bending over in his pink longjohns!

    Anne.
    Baloney is still baloney, no matter how thin you slice it.

  17. #17
    RMREBOB's Avatar
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    CLOUDDANCER, Where are you?

  18. #18
    CloudDancer's Avatar
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    Got back late. Don't carry laptop. Just one more peice of crap to deal with at security. Working on next part now. Sorry, I'm just kinda' tired and cranky today.

    Shoulda' been a cargo pilot instead......

    CloudDancer

  19. #19
    CloudDancer's Avatar
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    Part Four -

    As I drive the short few hundred yards to the office, I eyeball the the weather situation, not having bothered to look out the window (DUH) before leaving. Looks like we probably got a "shaky" mile in fog with the sky obscured.

    You see, which Flight Service specialist was on duty at the time, could influence the visibility rather drastically.

    While ALmost all the flight service specialists at least held a private rating, about four of the guys held commercials and instrument and multi engine as well, and one even had an ATP. The guys with extra ratings ALL to some extent supplemented their F.A.A. incomes by flying part-time for the three or four on-demand charter outfits in town, generally each of them being checked out and qualified under the certificates of more than one air-taxi operator.

    That way, if one operation got "swamped" on a particular day they could always get one of the FSS boys to come in and fly a trip or two so they wouldn't have to risk losing one of "their" customers to a competing flying service, even for one trip. This also gave the FSS guys additional time to sit around the office shooting the bull with us and sometimes we "shared" trips with them for the day (twleve passengers to the same destination in two airplanes). So we'd fly side-by-side both literally and figureatively. And since most of our "marginal VFR" (read legally IFR to HARD IFR) flying was done with the weather report input of your fellow pilots on the radio, we all got to know each other, and each other's judgement pretty good.

    Hence, if one of our F.S.S. flying "buddies" was working, the word "mile" in refering to visibility could be VERY flexible. Now, if you were some tinhorn tourist up from the Lower 48 exploring Mckinley's Folly on vacation, and the F.S.S. boys didn't recognize your tail number OR your voice....a mile of vis was just that. A mile.

    Knowing our tail numbers as well as our voices instantly, depending on what THEY thought of OUR ability as a pilot..OR if the situation was VERY desperate (ouuta' gas)......besides your regular "mile" you had your "shaky mile" (3/4, 5/8 or 1/2). Then came your "really shaky" mile (3/8 and a 1/4). Then, reserved pretty much for being on fire or out of gas, came the "really, REALLY shaky mile" which was down to a 1/16. I only had to use that one twice. But the "really shaky" mile was an every other day operation for four months of spring/summer fog season otherwise, since few of us had a current six-month instument checkride. (Of course the Wien boys did. And the "shaky mile" system applied to them too whether they were in a Twin Otter or a Boeing 737.)
    I mean...why BOTHER...the planes weren't certified or equipped for it until probably starting about the time of this story in 1977. By then business was growing all OVER due to the influx of Alaska Pipeline dollars and villagers wanted to travel ALL the time. The owner's finally saw the wisdom of buying new and more reliable and better equipped airplanes. The customers were providing the cash and deMANDing it; along with us pilots who were getting tired of flying with old worn out spark plugs and parts, almost no radios, and half pencil whipped maintanence.

    Add to that, we were killing so many more people now, more often, and the F.A.A. was finally coming under pressure to bring the "bush pilots" to Jesus. The smart owner/operators were getting ahead of the game and buying some pretty neat new planes.

    Thus it was that, after clicking the transmission selector on my dirt bike into neutral and killing the engine I coasted the last fifty yards onto the ramp and came to a stop under the deep space blue colored left wing of my new steed. She was a brand spankin' new Cessna 206 with a floatplane kit installed, which was GROOVY 'cause with the floatplane rudder being over TWICE the area of the land plane rudder in square inches; if you're pretty decent, you can take a forty knot direct steady crosswind with the floatplane rudder as opposed to right at about 30 knots of steady crosswind with the landplane version. This comes in pretty handy around here as most places only have ONE runway and smoetimes it's built into the prevailing wind, and sometimes it's built into the prevailing crosswind. (To this day I am grateful for that arctic crosswind experience. Landing at MDW on 31C with "poor braking" reported and a crosswind makes me sit up and pay attention...hell, I'd be an idiot NOT to. But I don't get NEARLY as worked up about it as the guy or gal in the other seat usually does...just good clean All-American fun, eh??)
    Fresh from the factory and with little more than ferry time on her I think the Hobbs meter MIGHT roll over "50" on this trip, depending where we're going. Her gold and white trim against the dark blue will become our company's "signature colors" over the next couple of years as we add more new planes, all in the same paint scheme.

    But, that is all in the future. All I know is this is the first new air machine I've ever had in my short four year career....HEY! July 31st!! Today, I mark the 4th anniversary of my arrival in the arctic and start my fifth year. WOW! And to think I was only going to come up here for six months to build a little bank account and put some time in my logbook so I could get a "real" flying job!! HAH!
    After four years, I have learned ALOT from some of the very VERY best in the business. Yet I realized after the first three years that my new found cockiness was QUITE MISPLACED. Now after four years and about 4400 hours under my belt, the most important knowledge I possessed was the knowledge that I had really yet to scratch the surface of learning. As good as I was I was already discovering I was far, far, from as good as I THOUGHT I was and far behind guys like my boos. He, like his competitors next door, who had given me my 1st job and brought me up from the states had over 25,000 hours of flying in the arctic since the late 1940's.
    Now THESE GUYS new how to fly. And they were mentoring ME!.

    "It just don't GET any better" I think to myself as I drop my feet to the gravel. I hold the bike upright between my legs as I untie first the left tie-down and then the right side after walking the bike around the nose. I kick the starter, hit first gear and goose the throttle one time to take me the fifty yards or so to the quonset hut that is our office. Looking across the lagoon I see Trooper Lenny coming out of the trooper house onto the front porch headed for his cherry topped trooper mobile. He should be here in four or five minutes at the most and I turn to walk quickly back to the airplane to do my preflight.


    Just wanted to get something up here quickly so you folks won't feel that you've wasted you time coming here and I hate to disappoint anyone. I'm gonna' take a short break and will write some more in about an hour before I go to bed.

    Thank you for your patience, interest and kind words.......CloudDancer

  20. #20
    CloudDancer's Avatar
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    Part Five -

    Sure enough, as I lean in the front left door across the cockpit to retract the flaps, my preflight now complete; I hear the sound of a car door slamming and emerge to see Trooper Lennny (this time in FULL uniform) striding purposefully toward me. He carries his briefcase in one hand and a paper sack in the other.

    "Heya' Lenny...who shot who THIS time?" I say by way of greeting. "Nobody." sez he. "We're search and rescue this morning. Do you know where....ah....ah....Escholtz Bay is?"

    Overlooking the unintended slap-in-the-face about my knowledge of local geography I reply for his benefit "Yeah. It's on the way to Buckland." Buckland being one of the villages Trooper Lenny had yet to visit in his still short tenure here.

  21. #21

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    I say let em all go starkers and get back to writing!

  22. #22
    AkPA/18's Avatar
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    if "Youth is Ignorance" and "Ignorance is Bliss", then I was the most Blissful sumbitch for 500NM in any direction
    Hah! Gotta love it. Thanks CD

    Mark
    http://thrustline.com/

    Takeoffs are optional--Landings are mandatory

  23. #23
    Gordon Misch's Avatar
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    Whee! Ain't that how it goes, though? Now - what happens? Huh, huh?
    Gordon

    N4328M KTDO
    My SPOT: tinyurl.com/N4328M (case sensitive)

  24. #24
    CloudDancer's Avatar
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    Well, it's about to get ugly again. But at least this time my footwear remains (mostly) out of danger.

    We'll have the ending of the Saga of Trooper Lenny up here before 6P.M. eastern on accounta' I got to go hit the road for another couple of nights starting tonight and I just don't think it's fair to make ya'll wait that long to "hear a punch line" so to speak.



    'Sides.....Ah'm a worried that poor Anne's gonna get a bad performance review at work 'cause I made her "come back soon" once too often....or worse yet.....poor 'ol Jerry up there in Montana is gonna' have TOO many of those Dijourno's up there during the long "commercial breaks". Next thing ya' know ol' Jerr's got that "wide ride" Tri-Star jumbo jet "look" (kinda like Trooper Lenny) and has to go out an' buy a bigger engine for his Superchub 'cept....times are tough an' he's pretty well broke but he goes ahead and buys a new engine anyway 'cause he's got this addiction....see....an' then, having missed the mortgage one too many times the mean ol' banker Snarlin' Skipthrash comes out from town with the Sherriff (who's a good friend of Jerry's but has sworn to do his duty) and repossessess the whole famn darm including the now run down old house Jerry's immigrant widowed-by-the-Indians great-great-great-grandmother built with her bare hands using a only rounded stone for a hammer and a Bowie knife for a saw and then Jerry's sheep would have no place to LIVE.

    I'm sorry. That's just TOO much responsibility for me to HANdle. Okay. I'll FINISH this story today. But I don't know if I'll EVER be able to face another computer keyboard again.....the flashbacks...Oh the memories.....

  25. #25
    Bob Breeden's Avatar
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    CloudDancer






    Bob Breeden

  26. #26
    Anne's Avatar
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    Yes, boss, I'm a'comin!

    Well, I'd like to retire, just not right now.

    Anne.
    Baloney is still baloney, no matter how thin you slice it.

  27. #27

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    AH, I Remember When...

    CloudDancer,
    Your story reminds me of a Hunting Trip from Kodiak to Raspberry Island. One of the fellows that was with us in the Twin Engine Goose had just had a large lunch of Spaghetti and MeatBalls, when the Goose pilot was showing us around the south End of Raspberry. Needless to say, NO SICKSACKS. My Hornady Ball cap Lost it's virginity that day... Bob Pence, from Chicago. What a Great Hunt, and what a great Memory...
    Thanks,
    Champdriver

  28. #28
    CloudDancer's Avatar
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    Yeah Bob - I imagine MOST of us make that mistake, not checking for sick sacks - usually only once.

    After giving up my rubber boot for the cause (see...Hey Pilot! I got to PEE!) I vowed to NEVER AGAIN overlook that detail.

    Besides....I don't WEAR baseball caps!

    CloudDancer

  29. #29

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    Cloud Dancer,

    Great story!! Thanks so much for the entertainment. My ribs are sore from laughing, thought I might cough up a lung.

    All the best

    J

  30. #30
    Anne's Avatar
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    Where's the epilogue? You didn't get busted or anything on your last trip, did you CloudDancer??

    Anne.
    Baloney is still baloney, no matter how thin you slice it.

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