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Thread: The Baron and the Bootlegger

  1. #81
    CloudDancer's Avatar
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    Chapter 18 - Al Capone Would Be SO Proud....

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    Last edited by CloudDancer; 03-19-2012 at 03:18 PM.
    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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    dddddddd

    my respect for you

  3. #83
    CloudDancer's Avatar
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    Hiya emptyB! -

    Holy COWS! Not only a post from Yemen! But your FIRST post and it's on CloudDancer's Alaskan Chronicles! How COOL is THAT guys!!

    Welcome to the GREATEST aviation site on the WorldWideWeb! And THANK YOU for your very kind words!

    CloudDancer
    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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    Chapter 19 - The Long Arm of the Law

    Leaving Hank’s serfs to hump the Baron’s load of cargo swiftly into the bed of the Datsun, I strolled the hundred yards across the ramp toward the building housing Bethel’s F.A.A. Flight Service station and the National Weather Service office.

    The federal government must’ve gotten a hell of a good deal on the pale-mustard colored paint from the Sherman-Williams folks. For, just like every other combo Flight Service and National Weather Service outpost I’d come across in my short four year Alaskan flying career; this one was of wooden construction and painted identical to the units I’d visited thus far in Kotzebue, Bettles, Tanana and Northway. They were very functional, but just short of butt-ugly as far as outward appearances go. The paint only added to the drab impression.


    In the bush, only the Nome facilities could boast of being unique. Their operation was, for the time and place, almost ultra modern by comparison. They were set up on the second floor of an attractive brick and mortar structure built much more recently. It provided a commanding view of not only the entire Nome Airport, but also the “satellite airport” in the thriving metropolis, City Field.

    Clumpclumpclumpclump went my dingo boots on the two-by-four, dark brown painted wooden steps, as I made my way into the ramp entrance of the operation.

    Once inside though, a strange reversal of esthetics takes place. All the old and outwardly unappealing facilities became warmly comforting once you entered them. They were slightly darker and somewhat muted when compared to Nome’s place of business. The Nome Flight Service would remind you of a modern office. It was all harsh white-neon bright lights and polished, light-colored linoleum tile floors. They contrasted starkly with the gun-metal grey cabinets and consoles that housed all the technology that made their little world (and helped ours) go around. Always reminded me of some sort of techno-lab where you expected to see everyone in white lab coats.

    All the other, less “modern” bush stations I’d been in were…homier. Easier on the eyes. While they housed the identical technology in the identical cabinets and consoles, the rest of the décor was subdued and comforting. Carpeted floors. Dark, soft woods, used to construct the briefing counters and interior walls.


    There was always a huge corkboard on the wall in every Flight Service station. But whereas the one in Nome would be plastered with all sorts of F.A.A. “officialese” (bulletins, NOTAMS and whatnot); in other bush locations, the majority of the corkboard would be taken up with pictures of airplanes and pilots that had visited, along with flyers announcing the latest really important stuff. You know. Like the Lion’s Club anniversary dance or the hand-written flyer announcing the scheduled Mass and confessions when the traveling priest was coming through town. Even the coffee aroma smelled better.


    But one thing they all had in common was incredibly wonderful and helpful government employees. And there were no friendlier folks in the A.T.C. system. I’ll swear by that.
    From the smallest outposts, like Farewell and Northway, to the bigger towns of Bethel and Nome as well, the men and women working those jobs couldn’t have been more welcoming and kind. For no matter where you’d come from, especially if it were the big villages on the Cook Inlet or the Chena River (Anchorage and Fairbanks), you must have something good to share. It may just be a first-hand account of a big city traffic jam, or the latest international news, or even a current Time or Newsweek or even today’s paper. And they were all starved for it in those pre-internet and satellite communication days.

    I don’t think there was one time in my entire life; where I ever just walked in and got a weather briefing and exited without having a cuppa’ free coffee and spending at least a few extra minutes jaw-boning. Just wouldn’t have been proper.
    And so it was this morning that, after getting the most current info on St. Mary’s, Unalakleet, Nome and Kotzebue weather from the nice fella’, I began to look around for the coffee pot, expecting to fulfill this ubiquitous rite of bush flying.

    Unfortunately, it was not to be, as the specialist on duty pointed out the pay phone on the wall.
    He said “You might want to give your office a call first. Some fella’ by the name’a Rod just called here as you were walking over for the third time. I told him I’d have you call as soon as you walked in.” I turned to look at the phone, and with a heavy sigh as I turned away responded “Okay. Yeah. I’d better do that. He’s probably jumping outta’ his skin by 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.

  5. #85
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    Chap. 19 - cont'd -


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    Last edited by CloudDancer; 03-19-2012 at 03:18 PM.
    A SUPERIOR pilot, uses his or her SUPERIOR judgement, to stay out of situations which may require the use of their SUPERIOR skills.

  6. #86
    jr.hammack's Avatar
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    on the edge of my chair,more Cloudy!!!!!

    jr.
    Last edited by CloudDancer; 01-19-2012 at 08:45 PM.

  7. #87
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    Chap. 19 cont'd -



    I cover the 100 yard or so distance from the porch steps to the right wingtip in what had to be record time. I continue and sprint quickly around the tailfeathers and slam the aft cargo doors shut, taking only two extra seconds to assure that the locking pins for the aft (rearward opening) door are extra secure. I sure as heck don’t want those things coming open no matter what!

    Three more seconds gets me back around to the port side of the airplane. And one long-legged Air Jordan leap takes me from a point halfway between the leading edge of the right horizontal stab, and the trailing edge of the right inboard flap, to a squatting landing in the center of the right wing alongside the cabin entry door. Jerking the slim external door handle outward I rise as the door swings open and from my heightened vantage point take a glance down the long road leading to town.


    Oh Holy Mary! Mother of GOD! Immediately I note in the distance a speeding dark blue Chevy suburban with the rotating red flashers on top! They can’t be more than two miles away and coming FAST! Damn! Damn! Damn!


    Quickly I duck down into the interior of the Baron slamming the door behind me. I less than another second both the main lock and the overhead latch are secured and I slide hurriedly sideways into the left seat flipping master and magneto switches as I do.


    My hands are flying. First to the seat belt, then to the mixture knobs. Jamming them both forward with my right hand I simultaneously punch the starter button for the # 1 engine. But in my anxiety and barely controlled sense of panic, my habit pattern or instincts took over.


    I had forgotten that these engines, being turbocharged, behaved somewhat different that their non-turbocharged brothers that I normally operated all day every day. Particularly when hot and just recently shut down.


    Unlike my comfortable 185, 206, and Cessna 207 dashboard mounted controls and switches, which I could operate in my sleep at this point, I wound up floundering for unfamiliar fuel boost pump switches when the engine initially burst into life. And being turboed, the initial burst was very brief and the propeller had practically stopped completely before the raw gas reached the cylinders. Damn! Too late.

    Punching the starter again, I listened to the engine crank methodically as I looked up out the windscreen. The cops were now within a mile! Ohcrapohcrapo-o-ohCRAP!


    Okay! Stop! Think! What did Rod tell me to DO when these things are HOT!? I gotta’ get an engine running!


    Oh yeah. Okay. Mixture (# 2 now)..full RICH! Boost pump on for a three count! I whisper softly to myself as I watch the skinny white needle swing to the top of it’s arc. “one-one-thousand (pause) two-one-thousand (pause) three-one-thousand OFF! A glance out the windshied and the racing police vehicle is disappearing from view behind the Flight Service station now. They have to slow now, and still drive all the way around the terminal to get to the ramp access gate on the far side of the ramp yet. If I can just get this engine running!


    Mixture. Idle cut off! And my finger mashes down on the start button for number two.

    The blades snap sharply clockwise. One blade - two bla...BLAM! And I shove the mixture forward and this time I don’t fumble for the high boost. This time I know where it is and give it a couple of short, quarter-second toggles. The engines bursts smoothly into the sweetest song I’ve ever heard.

    The same procedure repeated on the number one engine fails to get the same results and I am getting frantic. I need to move man!


    Releasing the brakes I shove the right throttle up while mashing down on the right rudder pedal and 66 Mike attempts to respond to the counterproductive commands. The perpendicular taxiway leading from the ramp to the runway is actually behind my right shoulder now. I need to go RIGHT dammit!


    Much like a drunken sailor staggering and lurching down the sidewalk having been well over-served on liberty, the Baron appears spastic. I mash on the right brake and the nosewheel tries to respond to two opposing forces. Increasing thrust on the right side, commanding it to caster left, and my size twelve clodhopper mashing on the rudder pedal telling it to do the opposite. So of course, I waste precious seconds essentially going straight ahead in fits and spasms.

    Meanwhile the copmobile is passing off my left shoulder.
    Thank GOD for the eight foot tall, concertina wire topped fence around the immediate airport operations area. Had that not been there, my goose woulda’ been cooked.


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

  8. #88
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    Some MORE of Chap. 19 -

    (ya' gotta' start to wonder...is there ever an end to this story!?)


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    Last edited by CloudDancer; 03-19-2012 at 03:19 PM.
    A SUPERIOR pilot, uses his or her SUPERIOR judgement, to stay out of situations which may require the use of their SUPERIOR skills.

  9. #89
    Gordon Misch's Avatar
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    Well, left engine notwithstanding, at least we know you didn't get LIFE in prison
    Gordon

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

  10. #90

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    I have a feeling that the conclusion to the story may not come until May... Its possible the statute of limitations on the alledged crime is 35 years & hes pacing himself to avoid charges

    Great story, loving it.

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