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Showing posts from March 1, 2012

Hitching a Ride with the Georgia National Guard

In 1973, I hitched a ride on a C-130 Hercules transport from Denver to Atlanta.  This prop plane cruises at 240mph.  The Georgia Air National Guard flight was scheduled for almost eight hours.  There were 60 high school ROTC cadets aboard in addition to cargo.  The crew gave me a headset so I could help with the high school kids—some of whom got sick, scared or both.  
It was a long, dull ride until about 70 miles outside Atlanta when the plane started to pivot right and then left, like it was rotating on a stick in the middle of the fuselage.  On the intercom I heard the pilots feather one right-wing prop then the next.  The fuel pumps for the right wing died and the plane was swerving like a crab in the sky.
I took the party line and told the kids there was turbulence.  As we descended the co-pilot said we would be going straight in because the remaining engines were overheating.  The pilot then said in a very calm voice.   “I landed one of these bitches in the Nam with just one en…