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Thread: What Could POSSIBLY Go Wrong?

  1. #81
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    Chapter Twelve - What Could POSSIBLY Go Wrong ??


    The heavily loaded machine struggles valiantly upward averaging a solid two hundred feet per minute. I’m actually getting about 260 feet per minute on the vertical speed indicator, but the downdrafts exceed the updrafts or so it seems. As the altitude increases it appears that the cars eastbound on I-84 seem to be passing me at a somewhat slower rate than before. I’m not sure if this indicates a real reduction in the headwind or is simply one of those visual distortions caused by an increase in the distance between me and them.

    Passing over The Dalles I keep a sharp eye out for air traffic in the pattern, which of course means I’m still looking ABOVE me to see “pattern altitude”! I HAVE managed to nurse the Cub all the way up to about thirteen hundred feet as the airport passes off to my right. With the oil temp approaching the yellow I again lower the nose for increased airflow. A rough Timex - eyeball - mental math calculation gives me an average FORWARD progress of something just under 3/4's of a mile per minute or about 45 M.P.H. groundspeed. Although the “coat hangar” fuel guage still indicates close to “full” I begin to wonder that, if this keeps up, can I even make my 1st planned destination. Still about ninety miles away, I’ve planned a stop at Sunnyside, southeast of Yakima, Washington.

    Selena has finally settled down somewhat and only the now increasingly rare strong jolts rate a surprised gasp or comment. Airborne all of about 25 minutes now she already asks “How long ‘til we LAND this thing.?” Lord, this is gonna’ be a LONG trip (or so I THINK).

    Speaking of the Diety, I also about this time began to wonder about other things. I had not flown in many months prior to today because I had lost my nerve after a frightening episode that had occurred the previous March. (You’ll have to wait to read Volume III, the Tragedies, to find out about THAT one.) And although it would be two years yet before Dennis Quaid and Ed Harris would make the Mecury Seven astronauts and the term “The Right Stuff” household names, I was aware (like all serious pilots) of it’s EXISTENCE.

    I had it. Had it? HELL! I wuz FULL of it! (Even my friends knew, for THEY often told me I was “full of it”.) But then....after that fateful day in March of 1981....I LOST it. I didn’t come apart at the seams. But it LEAKED out. And it leaked out quickly. The “Right Stuff’ was nowhere to be found within me. There was none left when I went looking for it a mere week later. Gone. So I made the hardest decision I ever made in my life and grounded mySELF. But now, thanks to Brantley, here I was back in the air. An innocent person’s life was once again in my hands alone.

    But I was feeling pretty good all in all. My pilot senses were sharpening again. My pilot brain seemed to be functioning on all cylinders smoothly. And certainly my pilot ego had returned intact. Still a LITTLE bruised, but intact none the less.

    Today’s flying efforts thus far had definitely been demanding. No doubt about that. But in no way had I felt it was high pressure or potentially FATAL if I screwed up! So what would happen when and if the “chips were down” and I was “all in”. How do I KNOW if I am really okay to fly again? How WILL I know until and if that “something” happens again. Obviously I would never find out for sure unless some small at least, but demanding situation arose?
    As Selena I and meandered slowly up the gorge I uttered a silent prayer in my mind to the Lord. “Please God. Give me some sign to answer and quell my doubts.” People. Be DARN careful that you WANT what you PRAY for. HE listens!!
    A SUPERIOR pilot, uses his or her SUPERIOR judgement, to stay out of situations which may require the use of their SUPERIOR skills.

  2. #82
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    Chapter Twelve - cont'd

    Sidebar - Now, the many passengers who have been with me during my other...um MISadventures , along with the Captains and First Officers who have flown with me in the dozens and dozens of simulator sessions in my airline career already know this. It seems that when things go wrong or my airplane misbehaves I have a SLIGHT tendency to cuss at it. Well. SOMEtimes it’s a slight tendency. When only MInor stuff is failing or going awry. Apparently the intensity of my cursing, and the vulgarity of the (feminine gender) names with which I may address my airplane varies in direct proportion to the degree of calamity and confusion involved.

    I do this comPLETEly UNconciously with absoLUTEly no forethought and definitely with no malice intended, other than at the offending system(s). I have ALways done this as long as I can remember. It is my standard, conventional, and routine response to what airline pilots refer to as “Non-Normals”.
    It's reflex. The Master Caution yellow flashing light illuminates along with a single chime in my Airbus cockpit. I am trained to say “ECAM Condition” (meaning “what’s the PROblem”) and most times in the SIMULATOR I do! In an airborne real airplane though...I can practically guaranTEE you the FIRST words out of my mouth will be “Well kiss my ASS!” followed by the required response. And of course, should it be MORE serious, resulting in a Master WARNING RED flashing light with a repetitive chime dinging.....well. Who DOESN’T start with “Holy S**T!” ?? Add in some airplane undirected aerodyNAMic misbehavior (like heading for the weeds in the middle of a high speed takeoff roll or airborne uncommanded flight gyrations ) and apparently I’ll start to outcuss a barful of drunken sailors!

    The one or two times this happened in the simulator when my flying partner was female damn near got me sentenced to three days of sensiTIvity training by Human Resources! ( But I MADE the LANDing!! ) I only told you all this so in a couple of pages I can save myself a lot of @&#$@ !(s), %*&$#@ %^#*&#@ !(s), and &*^^#$%@ !(s). Now back to our story.


    Up ahead to the south I catch sight of Biggs, Oregon and glimpse sections of Highway 97 approaching from the south. Sure enough there is a bridge right where my Texaco map says it should be. I begin a gradual ten to fifteen degree bank to the left AFTER warning Selena what I was about to do and aim for the far north and east side of the bridge across the great Columbia. Midway across the river I holler over my right shoulder “Say goodbye to Oregon and hello to Washington babe. We’re on our way home now!”

    As the dry land of Washington slides beneath our wings I again increase power and ease back on the stick. I am heartened to see the vertical speed needle creep slowly upward to rest on the 300 foot per minute “up” marking. I KNOW I need at least another 1500 feet of altitude and would prefer to gain another two thousand. My goal is 3500 feet. It will be enough to see me through the hills to the northeast comfortably as I follow the highway. I could do it at 3000 feet, but that would not leave a lot to spare for “contingencies”, you know.

    The clouds rise higher and disperse more and the wind is shifting directions. Under what is now “guesstimated” by me as 5000 foot scattered to broken clouds it appears the wind has shifted to a more northerly direction. (Naturally. THAT’s the way I need to GO!) On the plus side, about 1800 feet below us, it now appears that we are staying about even with almost ALL the cars. So I can make the assumption that the velocity has dies down somewhat. And conditions seem to improve the further north we go.

    There is only continuous light turbulence now and Selena is even starting to enjoy the ride a little and relax back into her seat. Big bumps are now almost non-existent. And finally halfway between the river crossing and the hills I have attained three thousand feet. I will level here and allow the engine to cool a little more before trying for five hundred more feet of altitude. Our climb rate was down to 125 to 150 feet per minute and the oil temp pushing the yellow again. I am pleased and contented in my little aerial world again. It feels GOOD I’m thinking.

    Below us the ground gradually rises up to steal our altitude very slowly away. A sharp poke in the right shoulder and I here Selena’s excited voice. “Cloudy! Lookit all the COWS! Wow!” She leans with her forehead pressed against the plexiglass of the right window just behind my right shoulder. The is the slightest smile on her face as I turn to catch her taking in the view. I am very pleased that my sweetie is now relaxing and starting to enjoy this flight as she had so many in the past in larger airframes with me. I reply to her with a question. “So Whaddaya’ think? Pretty cool, AFter all, eh ?” As she opens her mouth to reply, before she can get a word out....someone else has to get HIS two cents in. You know. MURPHY!
    A SUPERIOR pilot, uses his or her SUPERIOR judgement, to stay out of situations which may require the use of their SUPERIOR skills.

  3. #83
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    Chapter Twelve - cont'd

    Sidebar (again) :P - Go down to Ace Hardware or Home Depot and get one of the BIG aluminum garbage cans like we all used to have outside our house when we were kids. Obtain a large metal serving spoon like the cafeteria lady used to use in the kitchen to serve the green beans. Set the garbage can on a bare (preferably) cement floor and station a small child on each side of it by the fold down handles. Now. Take the serving spoon and hold it inside the can placing against the inside wall of the can. As quickly and FURIOUSLY as humanly possible, now “stir” the spoon clockwise (or counter-clockwise, it doesn’t matter) around the inside of the can and, for good measure every few circles change to a back and forth sideways motion (again as fast as you can). Have the two children take the handles repeatedly to their fully extended limit before smartly smacking them down back flush with the outsides of the can. This should be done as fast as the kids can do it too.

    You are now hearing a VERY close approximation of what I am about to hear. Read on. Sidebar ended.


    I am twisted half around in my seat to the right. As Selena gazes out the window I am admiring the cuteness of her upturned nose and the beauty of her lips and just beginning to think of tonight’s possi......WHA-A-AN-N-NGG!! And NOISE!! And in just a MIcrosecond I sense the feeling of my seat falling away from me! In another Microsecond I have whipped around to facing fully forward in my seat JUST in time to see the nose slide downward through the horizon.

    -- delete --
    A SUPERIOR pilot, uses his or her SUPERIOR judgement, to stay out of situations which may require the use of their SUPERIOR skills.

  4. #84
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    Hiya EverBody -

    CD Here! Oh. I guess you knew that, didn'tcha?

    Dang! Folks...a good friend of mine is already two hours deep (and probably eight beers and four shots of Spearmint Schnapps) into his SEVENTYTH Birthday Party.

    And I, your hard-working and slightly over-scheduled Cronicles creator, am in charge of the Birthday CAKE! :P So. I gotta' take a break, do the "Three S Routine", and go assume my position as Master of Ceremonies at my watering hole.

    You know I purely do HATE to leave you hangin .....but.....

    Come back tamale and see how it works out for Murphy , your beleagured flying fool , Miss Selena , and our refugee from a C.W. McCall song.

    Cloud(allworkandnoplayya'knowwhattheysay)Dancer
    A SUPERIOR pilot, uses his or her SUPERIOR judgement, to stay out of situations which may require the use of their SUPERIOR skills.

  5. #85

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    Ummm Cloudy, that wouldn't be CW McCalls Wolf Crick Pass, would it?

    "We wuz haulin' chickens
    On a flatbed out o' Wiggens...."

    I actually lived a variant of that one a coupla times. And "watered" at a place called "The Feed Store" in Pagosa once't upon a time. I don't make this stuff up. HECK ya CAN'T make this up.....

    Thanks, eh? cubscout

  6. #86
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    Right you are there cubscout. There was a Kenworth haulin' logs in there too! What a great song that was, eh?

    Okay. I'm showered 'n shaved 'n...oops....my cabs' here...

    CD
    A SUPERIOR pilot, uses his or her SUPERIOR judgement, to stay out of situations which may require the use of their SUPERIOR skills.

  7. #87

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    Ohhh heck, Cloudy, Wolf Crick Pass made one o' cubscouts's very limited distribution SC Road Tapes once't upon a time in a land far ago and long long away.

    I can recite about the first half, and a coupla punchlines....

    And CW McCall (NOT his real name) usta be the mayor of Ouray, eh?

    Thanks, eh? cubscout

  8. #88

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    Quote Originally Posted by cubscout
    Ummm Cloudy, that wouldn't be CW McCalls Wolf Crick Pass, would it?
    Nope. No Kenworth in Wolf Creek pass, Me and Earl were in a 1948 Peterbuilt.

    The Kenworth pulling logs was in "convoy"

  9. #89
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    Hiya' aalexander -

    OOPS! I done been CAUGHT wif' mah' former disc jockey headphones a'hangin' CROOKid!

    Danged if you ain't dead on good buddy. A Kenworth haulin' logs WUZ from the song "Covoy". DadNABBIT! Oh well. At least I got the ARTIST right!!

    Uh-h-h...breaker BREAKer one nine. This here's.....

    CloudDancer
    A SUPERIOR pilot, uses his or her SUPERIOR judgement, to stay out of situations which may require the use of their SUPERIOR skills.

  10. #90

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    Quote Originally Posted by CloudDancer
    Hiya' aalexander -

    OOPS! I done been CAUGHT wif' mah' former disc jockey headphones a'hangin' CROOKid!

    Danged if you ain't dead on good buddy. A Kenworth haulin' logs WUZ from the song "Covoy". DadNABBIT! Oh well. At least I got the ARTIST right!!

    Uh-h-h...breaker BREAKer one nine. This here's.....

    CloudDancer
    I should probably be embarrassed that I even knew that. Your story is more reminiscent of "black bear road" especially with the way things seem to be going in the last installment.

  11. #91
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    The altimeter now unwinds all too quickly through one thousand feet indicated still going down at the rate of five hundred feet per minute or so. I am sure I have less than six hundred feet left between the Cub’s small tires and the farm fields now WHIZZING by underneath. I notice two or three things with my attention now over my left shoulder.

    The northbound (uphill/upwind) lanes are now open. Apparently the southern end of the traffic jam is now behind me and for just an instant I consider trying to haul her around in another left one-eighty. I look at the airspeed sitting at 50 MPH. I have NO idea what a Cub stalls at straight ahead...much less in a bank , AND we’re heavily loaded. And the altimeter has passed 800 feet. I am committed to a southbound landing.

    Also there is a GOOD half mile gap in the southbound lanes between two clusters of automobiles. I am squarely alone in the middle of the gap with one small exception. If you call a Kenworth pulled 18 wheeler loaded with HUMONGOUS LOGS a SMALL exception! This guy is just aft of me about two hundred yards and closing the gap between us noticeably. But there is no WAY in hell he is ever going to get PAST me before I run out of altitude and airspeed. I’m alREADY fresh out of IDEAS!

    -- delete --
    A SUPERIOR pilot, uses his or her SUPERIOR judgement, to stay out of situations which may require the use of their SUPERIOR skills.

  12. #92
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    Hiya' EverBody -

    Well. There's still a bit more to tell and a couple of good laughs in the aftermath of bringing the Cub to a complete and final stop.

    But you'll just have to wait 'till next Monday to see how the story ends. After last night's Master of Ceremony duties I am in DIRE need of much more before I head to God's Country early tamale. But I at least wanted to get you this far today.

    The conclusion of the story and a short epilogue will therefore wrap this up by Monday nite.

    Then I can concentrate on getting this and the other stories through a couple of editing phases before sending them on to the publisher to create..."CloudDancer's Alaskan Chronicles"(TM) Vol. II !

    Have a great weekend folks. I'll see ya' back here at the world's GREATEST aviation website, SuperCub.org next week.

    CloudDancer
    A SUPERIOR pilot, uses his or her SUPERIOR judgement, to stay out of situations which may require the use of their SUPERIOR skills.

  13. #93

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    Thanks for not leaving us hanging this time. I might have to buy two copies of this next tome for 'lil 'ol me. . . so that I'll still have one to read when I wear out the first.

  14. #94
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    Chapter Thirteen - First Phone to the North, Please.

    Moments later I have exhausted every possible combination of curse words and like the engine, I too finally fall silent. After the horribly loud and continual metallic banging sounds of the last three to four minutes, I discover that the silence indeed can be deafening. It lasts for all of ten seconds before being broken by two other sounds that drift in through the open side window. The sound of a car horn honking as it passes northbound with arms waving out the front AND back left windows combines with the sound of pneumatic truck airbrakes as the big rig now arrives behind my forlorn little Piper machine. Toot! Toot!

    With a final muttered “damn!” I suddenly think of Selena and whip around in my seat. Of course, she is still THERE! But the girl is as white as a ghost and her hands still grip the back of my seat tightly. She does NOT look well. “Are you okay babe?” I ask. “Get me OUT of this GODDAM machine right NOW!” she practically screams at me. “I don’t FEEL good.”

    Quickly I wrench the door handle and swiftly lower the bottom half flush with the side of the plane before reaching up to secure the window portion. I hurry to try and extract my lanky frame from the cramped confines of the front seat. I nearly dislocate my left foot, which has failed to follow the rest of my body in a spectacularly UNco-ordinated and graceless attempt at a rapid egress. My boot is now wedged between the control stick and the bottom of the front chair as I hop up and down on the right foot again cursing in frustration. And now Selena throws in a few choice words of her own as she struggles with a seat belt that is totally unlike the ones she knows from the airliners.

    Barging into the middle of this apparent Chinese fire drill comes the trucker around the right rear of the airplane with a “Hey Thar’ good buddy. How yew Doin’?” And I, having finally gained my balance on my right leg alone by grasping the strut respond “How the %*&$ you THINK I’m doing you DUMBASS!” At which point HE has finished passing under the wing and has turned around to face me and straightened up. I now look at him approximately eye-to-navel. Oops!
    DAH-um!

    I look up to his face a good foot (or MORE) above mine. If he WAS smiling before....he’s NOT now. At this point Selena chimes in with another screaming “Goddam you CloudDancer! Get me OUTTA’ here you sonofabitch!!”

    --delete --

    Jerry Jeff or Billy Bob or whoever he was remained at the nose of the airplane, now at rest. I ducked back under the right wing and stuck out my right hand and said ‘Howdy. CloudDancer!”
    My big hand was DROWNED in his football sized hand and I winced as he pumped my hand and said “Nice tuh MEETcha’ CloudWrangler good buddy. Ah’m Red! Ya’ll gonna’ be alright? Ya’ll wanna’ ride?”

    Cars now fifty yards back up the road parked behind the motionless 18 wheeler were no starting to honk THEIR horns as well as I replied. “Well. Thanks a lot Red, but you’re headed south and believe it or not, I WAS going NORTH. So I think I’ll catch a ride to Yakima instead, but I sure appreciate the offer. He says “Wa-a-a-ll, alright then...an’ Hey! I’m sure a’sorry ‘bout that..well..I mean....I didn’t KNOW...you...” “Yeah. No sweat there Red. We made it.” He comes back with ‘Well. I’d best git along CloudDrifter. I hate it when people hold ME up you know.” and he turned to leave.

    Passing Selena a few yards back toward his truck he makes a slight left turn and the slightest of bows with his upper body with a small tug down on the brim of his cowboy hat. He waves a big hand and a station wagion brakes to a swift stop in the right lane to let Red cross over to his idling Kenworth. Watching him clamber up into his cab reminded me of the lone Ranger mounting Silver in one fluid motion. The door to the cab was barely closed before the WHOOSH of the brakes being released was followed by the first motion of the tires. Two more toots on the air horn could’ve just as easily been heard as Hi Ho SILVER! AWAY!

    I quickly dash over to Selena who is now in conversation with a much older couple. I mean like, these people are in their FIFTIES at LEAST. They had stopped going northbound to gawk and saw her sitting in the grass. Two very, VERY nice people whose names I can’t remember. But they were kind enough to offer us a ride to the next phone north. Selena was being charming and so I said I’d go secure the airplane for the time being.

    The gate to the pasture(s) was held closed by an old well rusted lock and chain that looked as if they hadn’t been touched for twenty years or so. I therefore assumed that no one would need to use it for at least another 24 hours. I was carrying over a hundred yards of 1/4 in. white nylon rope in my survival gear. And this was fortunate, for there were no real large rocks to be found that I felt would make good chocks for the main gear.

    I had to turn the plane around. But by doing so I was able to tie the wings to the road level cattle guard just outside the closed gate. This put the tail instead over the metal pipe drain culvert buried under the driveway for runoff water to flow through. The tailfeathers were thusly REALLY tied to the ground! No more than 15 minutes after landing Selena and I were again making a groundspeed of about fifty-five knots toward Yakima. Only now, we were QUITE comfortably ensconced in the rear seat of a white ‘75 Caddy.
    A SUPERIOR pilot, uses his or her SUPERIOR judgement, to stay out of situations which may require the use of their SUPERIOR skills.

  15. #95
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    Cloudy - this video of your favorite crosswind handling air vehicle is making the rounds:

    http://www.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/europe...ane/index.html

  16. #96
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    Hiya Cubus Maximus -

    Scares the CRAP outta' me to even WATCH that video a'sittin' here in my chair!!

    I've flown something north of twenty-five different airsheens for a living from 172's to the Scarebus in size. And when I say for a living, I mean I have at LEAST 300 hrs. in type, in some cases thousands.

    And I'm here to tell ya' that EEE - lectronic Frog machine is by far, by a WIDE margin the absolute WORST piece of %#$@ to try and land in GUSTY crosswinds. The larger the gust, the worse it gets.

    LAS can get some notoriously bad winds from time to time, and when they do, and the winds are "splitting" the runways...just WATCH the Airbus go-arounds. I've done three....AFTER making contact with the runway! But NOT at least (thank the Good Lord) with my WINGTIP!

    DAMN! I bet THAT ol' boy needed some clean shorts when he finally did git that critter corraled somewhere. Not to mention an adult beverage or two.

    Hmmmm. Adult beverage. Well......I better go now.

    CloudDancer
    A SUPERIOR pilot, uses his or her SUPERIOR judgement, to stay out of situations which may require the use of their SUPERIOR skills.

  17. #97
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    Chapter Fifteen - You In a HEAP o' Trouble Boy

    As only Muphy himself could arrange it the northbound traffic was now flowing uphill quite smoothly as Selena and I got somewhat acquainted with our hosts. They were fascinated, as so many from the Lower 48 are, by all things Alaskan. So it was one question after another. Was Selena an Eskimo then? Was I born in Kotzebue too? Isn’t flying in small planes SCARY? (Selena and I disagreed on THAT answer! ) How do you stand six months of nighttime? :P

    But the conversation was pleasant and helped pass the time. So much so that I paid hardly NO attention to the first ambulance that I saw across the median. It was racing southbound with lights and siren on and we passed it about fifteen miles north of our landing site. Selena was having the driver’s wife name “the best places to shop” in Yakima since it appeared we might be there a day or two when, having traveled no more than another five miles north, when the second set of flashing red lights appeared in the distant north coming towards us. As we had all see the first one pass just a minute or two earlier, like lookie-lous everywhere we stopped talking to gawk as we drove.

    I expected...I don’t know WHAT I expected. But the rotating reds soon developed into another ambulance that again tore past us in the southbound lanes goin’ like greased lightnin’. Can’t remember who broke the silence after it passed, but how clearly I remember SOMEone uttered “Hmmmm. Musta’ had a BAD accident back there somewhere.” No sooner than those words have been spoken and all eyes are front again (mostly) and two more sets of lights appear in the distance. We wait and sit in silence closing the distance with the flashing lights at what has to be a combined groundspeed closure rate of oh, 190 MPH. These flashing lights however were BLUE ! Two Washington State Troopers, one seemingly in hot pursuit of the other, are barreling down the south side going flat out it appears to me in forMAtion. These guys are HAULing ASS man!

    Thinking out loud I say “I wonder wha....oh....NO!” and Selena says “What. What’s wrong?” I replied “You don’t THINK...I mean do you think SOMEbody called in a PLANE CRASH!?”


    CloudDancer

    P.S. Just trying to finish this puppy up. If I don't write any more tonight I'll write all day tamale if I have to. My HEAD hurts too much today.
    A SUPERIOR pilot, uses his or her SUPERIOR judgement, to stay out of situations which may require the use of their SUPERIOR skills.

  18. #98
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    Chapter 15 - cont'd


    The ensuing short silence confirmed for me the others in the car also thought it might be a possibility. I ended it with a statement to our hosts that I thought it would be best if we stopped at the next available roadside oasis of some sort. I figured I’d better fget on the phone pretty quick and talk to SOMEbody? Although I sure wasn’t certain WHO I should make the first phone call to. In NO case, was Brantley my FIRST choice. I wanted to put that one off until I had SOMEthing at least reMOTEly positive to add to my report of events.

    The drive north continued with me now silent and brooding as Selena continued to chatter away with our hosts. Well. brooding may be the wrong word. I was trying to decide whether I should even bother trying to call Jeremy up. After all. It WAS a DONE deal. I mean, he’s got Brantley’s cash, and I, or to be more precise Brantley (shudder) now had ownership of one obviously very ILL, not to mention unflyable airplane. I was only grateful for one thing. I’ll get to make the report to Brantley over the phone. At least out of physical distance of his no doubt furious reaction if not out hearing. I fully expected whatever phone receiver I was holding at the time to first overheat and blister the palm of my hand. This would result in my dropping the receiver only to watch it first begin to steam before melting completely into a puddle of liquid plastic. The sound of Brantley’s inflamed and passionate description of what he is going to do to me when I get back would gradually grow weaker until finally being drown out totally in the puddle of now molten and bubbling plastic. Kinda’ like that scene in the Wizard of Oz. You know, where the witch melts and screams “I’m MELTing! I’m MELTing!”

    Go with your gut instinct, or SOMEthing like that. That’s what Brantley had said. Well. We did. And I’m pretty damn sure that my gut instinct has lost some of it’s “value” in Brantley’s eyes for sure and maybe mine as well. My deep thought is broken by the elderly gentleman behind the driver’s wheel as he calls my attention forward.

    --delete --
    A SUPERIOR pilot, uses his or her SUPERIOR judgement, to stay out of situations which may require the use of their SUPERIOR skills.

  19. #99
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    Chapter Fifteen - cont'd


    A bank of pay phones hung on the wall close to the front swinging glass doors and I turned to face them. Like I would a bank of slot machines, I regarded them, wondering if any one was any more or less likely to...MELT! With a reluctant soft sigh I picked the one in the corner next to the wall. This so I could have SOMEthing to lean on as I stood and took the verbal beating I was now resigned to. In desperation I decided I would call Jeremy first and see if there was any he was willing to provide. I prayed silently that his emotional attachment to the plane was not completely severed.

    I was in luck. It wasn’t. He answered on the second ring and, upon recognizing my voice, broke in excitedly with “Hey! Landed already? Where you at? How you doin’? How’s my old girl treating you?” And I responded with “Well...Jeremy . You’re NOT going to believe this , but....” And then I gave him the whole story. His initial shock was apparent enough by his choice of words. I hadn’t heard the man utter so much as a mild oath in the entire time I’d ever talked to him over the last few days. He came out with two “Holy ****!”s and a “goddam” as he listened. I ended the tale with “Look Jeremy. I know we got a done deal and all and you don’t...”. Before I could get the word “owe” outta’ my mouth he came back with a “Bullshit son. Don’t worry about that. Where are you AT right now”.

    I relayed our progress to this point and he responded. He said there was a particular motel or roadside inn on the south side of Yakima. He asked if I could get there and I allowed as how I figured I could and would head that way after eating a bite. He said he’d leave his place after lunch and drive north to pick me up and would stop to check the plane along the way. After picking me up we’d head down together and figure out what was wrong with the plane. I heaved a HUGE sigh of relief after hanging up. I had figured him for a decent straight sort of fellow. He was certainly measuring up to that rating so far.

    Returning to the booth, again followed by the silent stares of most of the patrons, I began to relay the contents of the conversation to Selena. She asked if I’d also called Brantley. And I was in the midst of explaining how I figured I might as well wait ‘til this evening when I might have a more complete picture of WHAT to report, when Jackie Gleason walked in the door.

    I mean. It wasn’t REALLY Jackie Gleason BUT...if you saw the “Smokey and the Bandit” movie (starring Gleason and Burt Reynolds) I referred to earlier, it looked like another scene from the movie comin’. With a paunch belly that would make a department store Santa proud and mirrored Ray Ban sunglasses resting on a nose that would’ve made Rudolph (the reindeer) proud, the law had arrived on the scene. I immediately suspected this to be the occupant of one of the two State Trooper vehicles I had seen racing southbound no more than a half hour ago.

    The large man stood two steps inside the glass double entry doors and turned his head slowly to the left then back through a right swivel stopping only momentarily on the four truckers. Not for nothing was this guy in law enforcement. He turned around and looking out in the parking lot counted one, two, three...yep. Four “big rigs”. Turning back to the counter he begins to resume his visual sweep of the room. I turn to my double bacon cheeseburger immediately and attack it with vigor putting on what I hope is a convincing show of “being normal” whilst trying to do what almost NO ONE else in the room was doing...IGNORING the man. In my mind I rapidly run through all possible scenarios that I can foresee. I fail to come up with even ONE hope for a positive outcome resulting from a conversation with this man.

    I FEEL his gaze stop upon me and settle. I’m too scrawny to be a trucker. And I’m too WHITE to belong here for any other reason. Like a yard square block of dry eye under the assault of Superman’s heat vision I feel as if I am about to EXPLODE under his stare. My peripheral vision begins to detect his movement as I continue to turn beef into mush in my mouth. I wish I could just keep chewing for the next oh....FIVE MINUTES or so. But having pretty much liquified (except for the “bacon bits”) this mouthful I have no choice but to swallow. I follow quickly with a mouthful of Coke from the oversized red plastic tumbler glass on the table in front of me. He’s getting closer, only two tables away as I start a sentence to Selena.

    By mid-sentence he has stopped at the table and now looks down at Selena and I both sitting with overnight bags beside us in the booth. I stop and look up. I see myself, the table and the damned overnight bag in the right lens of his mirrored shades, while the left lens offers a distorted reflection of my darling Selena. The big man hooks his thumbs in his gunbelt as he speaks. “How ya’ll DEWin’ tuh-day boy?”


    --delete --

    Jeremy and I took Selena to the closest mall and I parted with another substantial chunk of “expense” money and cab fare to get her back to the motel. Jeremy pointed his pickup truck south and we were off to the airplane.
    A SUPERIOR pilot, uses his or her SUPERIOR judgement, to stay out of situations which may require the use of their SUPERIOR skills.

  20. #100
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    Chapter Sixteen - Carmel Sue WHO?


    The plane was intact and appeared to have been untouched when we arrived. The first thing Jeremy wanted to do was to try and fire ‘er up so we did. She caught on the first pull and the din and racket was immediate and resulted in Jeremy whacking the mixture knob closed immediately with a loud “DANG!” coming out as an accompaniment.

    He clambered out of the machine and walked over to the back of his truck. He dropped the tailgate and slid a huge Craftsman brilliant and spotless red toolbox out and carried it over to the nose of the Cub. And after opening the cowlings said “I’ll break the nuts and plugs loose and you talk ‘em off for me, okay?” And in a couple of minutes that was accomplished. The plugs and cylinders were barely even warm to the touch the engine having only fired on each no more than a dozen times before he had shut it down.

    I then watched with great interest as Jeremy went from cylinder to cylinder. He’d have me slowly rotate the prop as he placed the handle end of his socket wrench through the spark plug hole and rested it against the unseen piston head. He’d find top dead-center on each piston, then give a hard push against it. On the forward right cylinder as he pushed he gave a sur[prised grunt and said “Well ah’ll be SWITCHED!” And I said “What.” He said “Wait a minnit....les’ do that one again.” We did. And he said “Damn Cloudy. I don’t beLIEVE it. ” I just looked at him puzzled and he gave his verdict. “The durn CRANKshaft is BROKE!” I’ve never seen that HAPpen!”

    Well. I’D never heard of it either. But I knew it was DAMN bad and most likely exPENsive.

    Three hours later we were back at the motel and it was approaching six o’clock. As soon as the door was even halfway open I spied Selena and she JUMPED off the bed hollering “You were on Tee-VEE! You were on the NEWS....I mean....the PLANE! The PLANE was on the news!” “Oh GOD” I groaned as Jeremy tried to hold back a laugh. “What did it say” I asked thinking to myself this MUST be a slow day. Couldn’t President Reagan have gotten a damn COLD or something??

    “It just said the plane was from Alaska and landed because of engine trouble. I just saw the end of it. But there’s news again at six o’clock and it might be on again..you think?” see seemed eager to see it once more. I muttered quietly “Only if I’m REALLY LUCKY today.”

    Well. The time had come. It was time to call Brantley. I steeled myself and dialed the numbers and talked to the operator asking her to reverse the charges. Brantley’s secretary answered on the first ring and asked me to hold. Before I could hope for a long hold it was over and I heard Brantley’s voice “Where you at cat?”

    The conversation from there actually went FAR better than I ever could have hoped. He actually asked first if both Selena and I were okay. Then he asked about the airplane and was happy in his approval of my landing. He listened quietly to my post landing report right up to the “cut the wings” comment of the State Trooper where he finally started to explode as I had expected. I cut him off quickly and got the story back on track and he listened quietly as I brought him up to the minute. When I ended I waited for another explosion, but none was forthcoming. Upon my telling him that Jeremy was with us still in the room and was waiting to talk to him, Brantley was QUITE surprised and grunted “Okay. Put him on.”

    I listened intently as Jeremy gave Brantley a concise summary of his mechanical analysis. Then much to MY surprise ( I could only IMAGINE Brantley’s surprise on the other end) I continued to listen as Jeremy spelled out his offer to us. In the background the television was playing the introduction to the six o’clock news. The first story was something about the local apple crop. This WAS in Yakima, after all. I hardly noticed it. And I was far more interested in Jeremy and Brantley’s conversation anyway. “CLOUDY! CLOUDY!” Selena screamed! And I turned to see the full screen on the T.V display a black silhouette “picture” of a jetliner “broken” in half with the words “PLANE CRASH” emblazoned across the screen! I’m sure it was the ONLY time in my life I momentarily prayed that there HAD been a plane “crash” somewhere else.
    A SUPERIOR pilot, uses his or her SUPERIOR judgement, to stay out of situations which may require the use of their SUPERIOR skills.

  21. #101
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    Chapter Sixteen - cont'd

    But of course, it was not to be. Jeremy had interrupted his conversation with Brantley momentarily and seeing a full screen shot of his former Cub on the television said to Brantley “Wait a minute. I got to watch this with CloudDancer. My pla...er...YOUR plane is on the evening news.” Then a moment later said “Okay” before turning to me and saying ‘Brantley says turn it UP. He wants to hear it too!”

    “Yeah. Why NOT!” I replied grabbing the remote as Jeremy held the phone receiver out in the direction of the television.

    Switching from a distant shot that encompassed the entire plane, fence, cattle grate, and securing ropes the next shot was of the right side of the tail. The view moves progressively sideways to the right (forward) and continues around the nose of the airplane as the reporter states the few details known which must have been gleaned from the trooper’s report. I prayed that the Trooper’s had some provision against releasing names. But it didn’t matter. I had forgotten.

    As the cameraman continued now around the left side of the airplane still moving slowly sideways he arrives at the left wingtip. The camera is now squarely focused on the left windows. There is a very small little white square barely visible in the left bottom forward portion of the side window. The camera very, VERY slowly centers the white square in the lens and then slowly zooms in on it as I hear the reporter saying these words. “And just in case anyone stopped by and got nosy....the pilot left a note.” The white speck has now grown into a recognizable full sheet of shirt-pocket notebook sized paper. It alone now fills the screen. I remember each word I wrote as we all read them on the screen together with the reporter.


    -- delete --

    I was exhausted to the point of collapse after almost three hours of non-stop gymnastic performances that would have made an Olympian contender proud. With what little energy I had left I rolled over and looked at the clock. And with the last bit of energy I rolled back over and draped my arm around Selena’s still rapidly rising and falling stomach and groped for one of my all time favorite play toys. Quietly I asked as I nuzzled the back of her left shoulder blade how in the hell she had come up with the ideas for some of these physically astounding positions we had so recently perfected.

    I was too tired to even stay awake for the entire explanation. I just remember it was something about a picture book with cartoons done in pencil written by some Asian lady named Carmel Sue Something. I remember wondering as I feel asleep how ANYbody could name a kid, particularly some Asian chick Carmel Sue. Boy. Now THAT’s DUMB! (Z-z-z-z-z)

    The End


    or maybe there’s an epilogue...
    A SUPERIOR pilot, uses his or her SUPERIOR judgement, to stay out of situations which may require the use of their SUPERIOR skills.

  22. #102
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    Epilogue -


    I’ve always been very fortunate and mostly accurate with my “gut instinct”. And although I only had the privilege of knowing Jeremy Rogers for a very short time he is one of the most standout memorable individuals of my life.

    The following morning he picked up Selena and I and drove us to the Yakima airport where Selena boarded a Horizon Airlines F-27 for Seattle to transfer to an Eskimo Airline smoker for Alaska. Brantley (wisely) decided the sooner he had her back cocktail waitressing in the Pondu the better for his “expense account”. The airfare was cheaper by comparison than having her stay even for another few days, I’m sure.

    Then Jeremy and I proceeded southbound to the airplane where, upon arrival, I met his entire extended family including his son-in-law who had arrived with a large towing trailer with a picnic table attached to it.
    I I learned how the wings come off a Cub while the rest of the family played and read books. At midday Jeremy’s daughter and wife broke out a full blown hot meal and we had a picnic by the roadside.

    The original plan hatched by Jeremy and Brantley was this. The plane would be disassembled and towed back to Jeremy’s place where he would crack open the engine and install a new crankshaft. Then along with a friend of his who was an AI we would quickly reassemble the airplane and with a fresh brand new annual sign off I would restart the long trip northward.

    Jeremy agreed that if Brantley would pay for the parts, that he and his friend would provide the labor (along with MY assistance of course) and the annual sign-off for free. Unbelieveable.

    This man had every right to tell my to go fly a kite. But he sold me this airplane. No. He really SOLD it to me. As the BEST. And HE felt he had let US down in some way. In his eyes at least, this was NOT a DONE DEAL quite yet. A reMARKable human being. I could only be absolutely FURIOUS at that %$#@ER MURPHY when he raised HIS ugly head yet one more time.

    See, we were southbound and preparing to cross the Columbia gorge. And the wind was HOWLing again. Jeremy, his wife and I in his pickup with the picnic table and toolboxes in back were following his son-in-law as our trucks rolled onto the bridge. We proceeded slowly across at no more that 35 MPH or so. I don’t know if going any faster or slower would have changed what was coming.

    -- delete --

    Four and a half weeks is far..FAR too long to leave a BABE of a girl un....um....unATTENDED in Kotzebue. Hell. Four and a half DAYS is too long to leave most ANY decent looking chick unattended ANYwhere in Alaska. It appeared I was a bachelor again as Selena had uh, moved ON in my absence. (Something SHE had failed to tell me in the two or three times I’d managed to catch up to her by phone since we last saw each other.) Of course Brantley, not wishing to distract me from the focus of my mission, didn’t deem it important enough to relay to me EITHER in our almost DAILY UPDATE conversations.

    WhatEVER. I was a PILOT AGAIN. In search of a new flying job.
    A SUPERIOR pilot, uses his or her SUPERIOR judgement, to stay out of situations which may require the use of their SUPERIOR skills.

  23. #103
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    Hiya EverBODY -

    Well. There you have it folks. The only "Chronicle" to have occured in the Lower 48. And it is the final "Chronicle" of what soon will be "CloudDancer's Alaskan Chronicles"(TM) Vol. II in just a few more short weeks.

    I hope you all have enjoyed it as well as some of the others. I guess there must've been a FEW good laughs in there somewhere.

    And now my very, VERY dear friends, I must inform you that you may expect a few months of no new stories. The total focus for the next few weeks and months (at least until my self-imposed deadline of June 30th) will be FIRST to get Volume II into print in time for the Alaska Airman's Association Trade Show in May. I'll be at the SuperCub.org booth assisting the WorldWide Grand PoohBah of SuperCubbers Everywhere. And then I need to buy a HOUSE.

    Along with still trying to sell a few books at the same time and....oh yes that pesky FULL time job I have herding my Scarebus around the skies; I think I am about to be JUS' a liddle to busy to write for a while. Whole STORIES I mean.

    I mean I'll ALWAYS be here to continue our fun banter back and forth and check on all the other discussion forums too.

    As always. My MOST humble and JOYous THANKS! for spending part of YOUR precious time with with the rest of the "Chronicles" fans. You guys ALWAYS make my day!!

    Your Scribe,

    CloudDancer
    A SUPERIOR pilot, uses his or her SUPERIOR judgement, to stay out of situations which may require the use of their SUPERIOR skills.

  24. #104
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    Thanks for a nice and interesting story CD. However, I missed picking up how you overcame your fear of flying. Was it:

    A. A flight in a light taildragger in way too much wind?
    B. An engine failure with ensuing hairy emergency landing downwind?
    C. An encounter with an honest man?
    D. Three hours of Karma Sutra? (I'll bet you're bragging on this one, Pard')


    Bent

  25. #105
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    Hiya BES -

    It's answer "B"

    CD
    A SUPERIOR pilot, uses his or her SUPERIOR judgement, to stay out of situations which may require the use of their SUPERIOR skills.

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