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Author Topic: The Best Man
extwacaptain
Prop Wash
Member # 381

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Thanks to a good friend on this board, many episodes of the TV series, “Twelve O’clock High” have been a source of my entertainment recently. They have reminded me, once again, of the tremendous importance and value of having a well trained and dependable crew.

Now, back to TWA.

Not too well known is the fact that in the early days of our airline, there were a few “old timers” (Captain type) who were of the opinion that copilots were only there to help out with the ground operation, assist in dealing with our passengers and maybe handle the check list and MAYBE work the radio. Other than that, they only received money from the company that the captain should be paid........As a result, it was not too unusual for copilots to frequently spend a month or so without touching the controls.

This was not true of all of our rather senior pilots, but occurred often enough during my first eleven years as F/O that a promise was made to just maybe be a little more considerate to the guy in the right seat, should that left seat ever be mine.

Now a little name dropping.....The chief pilot in Detroit, Captain Bob Mueller, was aware of my desire to “give away” that FIRST landing to the F/O. Each new Captain received one hour of solo time when he received that fourth stripe....That particular day was kinda windy .....and the boss said: ”Randy, I want you to land that airplane.”..Yes, Sir! I will”.

Moments later this information was repeated to my flying partner, Dick Cooper along with: “Why don’t you take this thing off and do what you want for a while.”...I believe he enjoyed that.....(Yes, my promise was kept to make the landing. Dick could have done it just as well.)

Reason for this post; Just to reaffirm some old fashioned thinking.........
“There are times when the Captain really should be flying the airplane. It keeps management happy.”


Ol’ iron ass

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Bob Willcutts
Post Captain
Member # 434

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Another beautiful "Jewel" from a "Great" Mentor.

Bob

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Roger Moore
Post Captain
Member # 2204

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Something I was happy to see at TWA as opposed to my former employer Hawaiian is that at TWA the exterior preflights were split. At Hawaiian the F/O did all the exterior preflights. You could slot the F/O at a distance before you spotted the 3 stripes by the oil stains on the shirts. Yes the DC3 did leak oil. Ah the good old days. Roger Moore
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Subsonic Transport
Post Captain
Member # 2139

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I love watching 12 O'clock High. Especially when they have actual footage from WWII. A lot of it is "stuff" you normally don't see. I like COMBAT too. They are back to back here in Buffalo and at 3 and 4 in the morning. I"m not a morning person so I randomly record them.
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Irish
Post Captain
Member # 722

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In my August 2, 1965 TWA new-hire class was a fine fellow named Ron Carford. Ron suffered a brain tumor and, although his flying career was cut short much too early, he survives today and enjoys a full life.

One day, when he was still flying, he received a package from another classmate, Pete Nevins, a newly-minted captain. In it was a note which read, "Ron, I wanted you to have the first leg I ever gave away." Also in the package was a full-size leg of a department store mannequin. Pete has a great sense of humor.

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Bob Ritchie
Post Captain
Member # 1035

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quote:
Originally posted by Roger Moore:
Something I was happy to see at TWA as opposed to my former employer Hawaiian is that at TWA the exterior preflights were split. At Hawaiian the F/O did all the exterior preflights. You could slot the F/O at a distance before you spotted the 3 stripes by the oil stains on the shirts. Yes the DC3 did leak oil. Ah the good old days. Roger Moore

Roger,

Had you flown on the American Airlines certificate you would have come full circle. At AA the FO did all the walk arounds.

As for myself....I chose to do all the walk arounds at AA, to the delight of my FOs. Just enjoyed smelling the kerosene and visiting with the ground personel.

As for "giving away legs"....I was lucky to start my career at an airline where the copilot was expected to and did 50% of the flying from day one.

My first captain trip was July 4, 1979. My copilot was a new hire namned Jim Ward. I gave Jim the very first leg of our flight and alternated thereafter. Later in the day I put him in the left seat and let him fly a leg that way.

We sure had fun. [Smile]

Bob

Posts: 1936 | From: Warren County, Missouri  |  IP: Logged
louburns
Post Captain
Member # 1923

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Unfortunately the system that Randy mentions hung in there for quite a while. As an F/O in 1964 and later, it was not at all unusual to fly all month with a Capt and never get a landing.
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Bob Ritchie
Post Captain
Member # 1035

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Wow....

Ignorance is bliss. I never knew it was like that at TWA.

It was 1986 and later....but now I am beginning to understand why my "career TWA" copilots always said "Thank you for the landing" after each leg that they flew.

We Ozark guys used to laugh among ourselves about the "thanks." We thought they were being facetious. Many of them were hired in the late 60's early 70s: had been furloughed or not flown as FO for very long prior to the merger. Perhaps they recalled the era/tradition that you gentlemen refer to and were truthfully grateful.

Always something to be learned.

Bob

Posts: 1936 | From: Warren County, Missouri  |  IP: Logged
Irish
Post Captain
Member # 722

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I don't remember his name (yeah I do - Newman Ramsey) but I flew a month with a captain that had twenty-nine B-707 legs in it and he let me fly ONE, from Zurich to Frankfort. As I remember, he was a rather weak pilot. Perhaps that was a factor.

Paul

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Capn Eddie Ricketyback
Post Captain
Member # 3010

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quote:
Originally posted by Subsonic Transport:
I love watching 12 O'clock High. Especially when they have actual footage from WWII. A lot of it is "stuff" you normally don't see. I like COMBAT too. They are back to back here in Buffalo and at 3 and 4 in the morning. I"m not a morning person so I randomly record them.

I see you get the "ME" (Memorable Entertainment) channel too. One of my favorites used to be TVLand, but they're getting too contemporary for me, and this channel has become its replacement for "me." Other favorites on that channel are "Get Smart," Dobie Gillis," "Cannon," "The Rockford Files," etc. We get a couple more "oldie" channels in our area too, that broadcast such old goodies as "Naked City" and "Route 66." A lot of the stories and dialog on those shows are pretty lame, but superior to most of the contemporary fare available.
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extwacaptain
Prop Wash
Member # 381

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quote:
Originally posted by Irish:
I don't remember his name (yeah I do - Newman Ramsey) but I flew a month with a captain that had twenty-nine B-707 legs in it and he let me fly ONE, from Zurich to Frankfort. As I remember, he was a rather weak pilot. Perhaps that was a factor.

Paul

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Captain Paul,

The year 1961 found this pilot back in LA after having bounced around the system for 16 years. The next few comments are not intended to tell the story of my life, but merely to further this discussion of “non-flying copilots”.

First, we will all agree that there WERE some great pilots (Captains) to fly with in LA and all over the system. They’re probably something like apples. It only takes a few of them to spoil the orchard and we’ve all encountered those few.

So here we are, back in LA after those 16 years....the last 5 of which were as a young Captain....a
short time as a check pilot........(The next few words are a repeat from a past post, but that’s not too unusual on our board).........No longer wearing four stripes, but only six (three on each side) to remind me to think like a copilot, star and wreath removed from wings and that stuff on the visor “tweezered” off...ready for duty.

Well, now it was my turn to share the cockpit with some of the more senior Captains. Not getting to fly was one thing, but did you ever fly with those who did not allow you to TOUCH the wheel? Some of these gentlemen invented multi-tasking. They could balance that pillow and meal tray on their lap, fly with one arm and eat with the other. An offer to “hold it” during meal time would often be met with a negative response.

Yes, there were many (too many) times when we wondered: “How did I end up with this guy?” Maybe it was mutual.

Anyway.....There were more good guys than bad guys. Just maybe the experience with the “jerks” helped make some of us better left-seaters.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Captn’ Billy,

Thanks for the “12 O’clock High" DVDs.
The other night I dreamed Col. Joe Gallagher let me fly an entire mission from the copilot seat. (Yep, I bounced the landing just a bit) [Big Grin]

Randy

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smilinjack
The Big Boss
Member # 7

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As a f/o on a C-46, DC-6/7 at Zantop Air Transport, an f/o on a DC-3, FH-227, and a DC-9 at Ozark, I was always given half the legs. When I started flying Capt in 1978, I always gave away half the legs.
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dave carr
Post Captain
Member # 783

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Interesting topic. If memory serves I can think of very few Captains that didn't split legs. However there were some that did give me a leg and afterwards I wished that they hadn't. Anybody else been there??

Dave Carr

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Bob Ritchie
Post Captain
Member # 1035

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Yes Dave,

How about 10 consecutive legs. Way back in the day I was flying copilot for George Zabogia (forget how to spell it)at OZA. George was/is a great guy and if he reads this he will smile.

Anyhow we had an11 leg day. I had flown 10 consecutive legs. As we taxied out for the 11th take off George said" "You don't mind doing all of the flying do you?" Weakly I answered "no sir, glad to do it all." "Oh well" George said " I better fly this last leg or you will be telling people how I have abused you."

After take off George engaged the autopilot, slid back his seat and closed his eyes. "I should have been a TWA pilot" George said. "Then I would only have to fly one or two legs a day." "I should have been a B-707 captain."

Little did he know that he would finish his career as a TWA pilot. But he never got it down to one or two legs a day.

Great guy George Z.

Bob [Smile]

Posts: 1936 | From: Warren County, Missouri  |  IP: Logged
Rocky Dollarhide
Post Captain
Member # 546

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I cannot believe you guys gave away legs to Co-pilots. How could you have subjected that fate to yourself and your passengers? "Death was on the line"!!!!!!!!!!!! (The Princess Bride)
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Robert Dedman
Post Captain
Member # 366

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One story pops into my mind about giving legs to co-pilots. Flew with a Captain with a Madrid twice layover, (B-707) and down to Tripoli etc. and he flew every leg except from Madrid to Lisbon. About halfway there, he says, your leg. Talk about stunned.. Well we approached the airport from the North and they were landing to the north so as we turned down-wind, approach said we were number three for the approach so we were "vectored towards Capa Rica. As we went abeam the runway, I felt flaps coming out. I looked over and he said, "abeam runway". Still going out bound and abeam end of runway, out came the gear. I told him we were number three and had a ways to go before turning back. As we finally turned inbound, more flaps came out so I told him, its your leg so fly it. He did but it turned out to be a horrible landing so I felt I got some satisfaction out of it. He was a jerk and when I got back to JFK, I told crew schedule that I would prefer not to fly with that guy again and Tony T said, OK, we will add your name to the long list. Later on, after I became an 707 instructor at Bld 95, I got the guy for a check ride and yep, he was poor and did not know squat. Managed to get him through but I don't even think he remembered me from the Lisbon flight. [Mad]
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extwacaptain
Prop Wash
Member # 381

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Having been critical of the captain of AF flight 447 for not actually flying the plane during very adverse conditions, it should be mentioned (remembered)that we at TWA had a few restrictions concerning when the copilot should be given landings.(or fly) ......wet runways combined with limiting cross-winds would be an example. Captains with less than 100 hours on the aircraft.......But, this we are all aware of and is being mentioned for the benefit of our passenger members of the board and "visitors".

I am guilty of believing there were times when other conditions were such that it would be in everyone's best interest to fly "certain" legs....And I did. [Smile]


ol' iron ass [Big Grin]

Posts: 1157 | From: Encino, Ca. U.S.A.  |  IP: Logged


 
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