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7 AM and WOW!!

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  • Member since
    October 2019
  • From: New Braunfels, Texas
7 AM and WOW!!
Posted by Tanker-Builder on Monday, February 17, 2020 2:46 PM


 Keyda81, This is who I will blame!

 There was a cold winter's day. February fourth to be exact. In the Year of our Lord 1952. I was all of ten years on this Earth. Never had been outside of our little town where even the phone operator adult lady knew who I was from the four party line!

 Dad and I are going to Albany to the New York Dairy Farmer's Association Convention in Albany , New York! We left the house in the 48 Chrysler " Town and Country" Convertible, and drove to Buffalo N.Y in the dark and turned in at the Buffalo Municipal Airport!

      Airplanes everywhere! This kid was beyond himself! There were about seven D.C.3s on the apron and a couple of planes with two or four engines that had tri-cycle landing gear ! Some had their engines running and some were starting up and being backed up by little tractors!

    Dad went to a bench and this nice lady in a very spiffy uniform gave him some tickets! Her uniform was a nice blue and boy, was she purty! Now we went and sat in some chairs until a plane destination and "please board" was called.

      We all got up and went to a exit door and walked out into the cold and walked to this big silver and white Plane. It said 'Capitol Airlines" in a line above the windows. She was called "Miss Washington".

     We went up two steps and entered this plane and climbed a little incline to our seats. I got the window right next to the engine. On the what I know now, as the Starboard side.

    I sat there wiggling like a worm. I could not sit still! Then the engine sputtered and coughed to life! What an experience, as that big engine came up to speed. They closed the door and the nice lady said we would be taxiing soon, "Please fasten our belts."

      The plane sat for about what seemed forever, then was maneuvered out of it's spot on the apron and turned toward the taxiway. we taxied out to a spot in the dark and sat while the engines spun up and down. Then they spun up again and we started to move. We sat again at another place and the pilot really ran those engines up, then I felt the brakes let go!

     We started at what seemed like a gentle speed and faster,and faster, and suddenly we were flying! higher and higher, till I felt the gear come up and off into the brightening sky we went! Gee, the ground below looked so small I think we flew over a lot of farms and stuff and the cows looked like little ants down there.

     Soon, after flying through some clouds and the engines lulling me into an early nap we decended into Albany, reverse everything in the daylight and "viola" we were in the building in Albany. Me sporting a beautiful set of Golden Wings ( they were plastic, of course) for my first flight with " Capitol Airlines".

       Talk about strutting! I certainly was. I was a " Captain " for that Airline. That was what the Wings said too! Some years later I had to go to Florida because Granpa was going to go to heaven soon. This time the plane was blue and silver and said " United Airlines " on the side. We had to climb a set of stairs on wheels to get ino this one.That plane had Four,count em,Four! of those big noisy engines and I think we were flying a lot higher than we did before!

 Guess what? I got to visit the Cockpit that time. What a tiny space for two grown men to fit into! Oh ! And all those gauges and gadgets!! The captain got up and had me sit in his seat. The Co-Pilot looked at me and said " You have the Airplane ,Sir" " ME!Who ,Me? " Of course, years later I realized they had it on auto - pilot. Still holding that yoke burned flying into my Psyche. Many years and dollars earned  and such as life handed me I had three Birds, a" Skinny " J-3 Piper, a Side by Side Four placed Cessna 180 Float,n,Land and Last but NOT least a North American B-25 -J !.

    Oh my gosh, those were the days! Flying is the Cat's Meow! I think that is why some of us have favorite planes that we like to build in miniature. I never have flown a fighter, but got to ride in one! The first edition of the Harrier when it came to Little Rock for an air show.

 Later in life, but before Little Rock, I have flown in some planes for the military. C-130 Hercs and  C-123 Providers as well as Hueys during Nam. The wonder has never left this old man. I envy and rise on gossamer wings with each person that gets to make their first flight in whatever kind of plane comes into their life.

       I would hope they can see it as the wonder it is.    T.B.





  • Member since
    April 2009
  • From: Longmont, Colorado
Posted by Cadet Chuck on Monday, February 17, 2020 9:07 PM

Very interesting piece, and nicely written, T.B.  Thanks for sharing!

Reminds me of my first flights at about the same age as you.  My uncle took me along on a one day business trip, Milwaukee to Detroit and back.  Going out, we rode in a Northwest Airlines Stratocruiser, with the cocktail lounge in the "basement", accessed by a circular staircase.  Coming back, it was a Capitol Airlines "Connie."  It was a most fascinating and exciting experience for me, as a 10 year old kid!


Computer, did we bring batteries?.....Computer?

  • Member since
    November 2008
  • From: Central Florida
Posted by plasticjunkie on Tuesday, February 18, 2020 6:45 AM

TB you didn't get any "Junior Skipper" wings from the pretty stewardess? I have two, one from Pan Am and the other from KLM. For some reason I remember those girls in their spiffy uniforms back then more attractive that today's flight attendants. And no junk meals but real food and silverware and most important leg room!!

Great story TB which reminded me when our dad took us a few times on Sundays to Miami International in the early 60's to watch airplanes taking off and landing. They charged a dime to go up on the roof of one of the terminals to watch air operations and man that was fun!!!




Too many models to build, not enough time in a lifetime!!

  • Member since
    November 2009
  • From: Twin Cities of Minnesota
Posted by Don Stauffer on Tuesday, February 18, 2020 8:21 AM

I never flew on an airliner as a kid.  First flights on airliners was on either a DC-6 or 7.  But next two were on North Central's DC-3s!

As a kid, though, Dad had first an Aeronca C-3, then a surplus Taylorcraft L2b.  He was also in the CAP, and took me up in the squadron's PT-17 a number of times.

Sure glad to have flown on a DC-3!  What a classic.  I think it is a shame that there is no really good 1:72 model (not just a converted C-47).  Same thing for Ford Trimotor.  I am aware of a couple of them (and the Revell 1:77), not Tamiya quality.

Don Stauffer in Minnesota

  • Member since
    August 2016
Posted by Keyda81 on Tuesday, February 18, 2020 9:08 AM

Great story!  I'm a bit younger than some on here, so my first flight on an airliner was in the jet variety.  I don't remember though, was just an infant.  I do recall flying on a MD-80 at one point.  My first flight on a radial engine plane was Whiskey 7.  Obviously I got hooked after that.  Flying on Whiskey you hear, see and feel everything.  Far different from a commerical airliner now a days.  Who wouldn't fall in love with a DC-3/C-47?  Best plane ever built. 

  • Member since
    September 2012
Posted by GMorrison on Tuesday, February 18, 2020 9:54 AM

I had am early start because I was an airline brat. My folks drove out to California from Michigan in 1953 and my father went to work for UAL, where his twin sisters were based and flew for that airline.

Iflew back to Detroit in early 1957 to be baptised in my Grandparent's church at the tender age of six months. I'm told there was some kind of net bag arrangement for me that hung on the bulkhead.

My first memory of a flight was in 1959. We had flown out to the Territory of Hawaii to visit my Godparents, the husband was on subs; SSBNs (a little later) and was at that time at Pearl Harbor.

After some time, we left them and flew on a DC-3 down to the Big Island. It was equipped with paratrooper seats. The only other passengers were a chain gang returning to the pen with their guards.

Dad being dad, he made a bunch of friends. A few days later, we drove out to the prison and visited the industry, where dad bought out their stock of Koa wood salad bowls. 

He had ways of shipping it back.



  • Member since
    October 2019
  • From: New Braunfels, Texas
Posted by Tanker-Builder on Tuesday, February 18, 2020 1:14 PM

Oh Keyda81;

     My first jet flight was the old but famous workhorse.The Boeing 707. Some years before the aircrash I was in, I got to fly in one of the most exciting commercial jets at the time the 727. Boy! what a short rollout to rotation that was!

    I was getting to be old hat at this flying thing when I was on my way back from Germany. That's when we came down hard. I have never flown as a passenger since, unless it was an old warbird or in the office.

    Personally I don't agree with the limits they are pushing with "Super Birds" and I definitely DON'T like all electronic cockpits! I think they should learn to fly the airplane then deal with the electronics!          T.B.

  • Member since
    August 2016
Posted by Keyda81 on Tuesday, February 18, 2020 6:12 PM

I'm not too keen on all the technology either.  I prefer the older stuff.  Less to figure out when something isn't working properly.  It's just more to go wrong when something does fail too. 

  • Member since
    May 2013
  • From: Indiana, USA
Posted by Greg on Tuesday, February 18, 2020 6:53 PM

Nice story, TB. It's neat you remember all that.



  • Member since
    October 2019
  • From: New Braunfels, Texas
Posted by Tanker-Builder on Wednesday, February 19, 2020 2:06 PM

Hi Greg;

          You know the things that we remember sometimes color what we do in life. I still to this day can be amazed and I let myself be. I refuse to be an old closed in grouch. My house for the neighbor kids, for instance. If they feel something isn't right while they wait for the bus, they only need to knock on the door and I'll be there for them. The parents like that too! a different world than it was when I was younger.

          Still, Aircraft, Ships and even Trains of course have still changed. Sometimes amazing and sometimes scary. Still love to learn and experience it. If my health didn't stop me, not to say age, I would be willing to go to the I.S.S just so I could say " See, You can still do it, old man" !

      It is sad that too many folks and companies put too much faith in the electronics and not enough in the abilities of the operators. So they don't train for that anymore.

     Plus, I don't think there is a way to " Fly" a Commercial aircraft the old way. Ships either! If there is, the planes have changed enough you better be an ace pilot on the bird type you're flying! Shoot, they don't even glide as well as the old birds, Well, they don't glide period!

  • Member since
    May 2011
  • From: Honolulu, Hawaii
Posted by Real G on Wednesday, February 19, 2020 6:32 PM

TB I think you perfectly captured the magic of flying as a kid.

My first flight that I can remember was in the early 1970s in a Pan Am 747, which had just entered service between Honolulu and Tokyo.  I remember wide seats, friendly stewardesses, the little wings they gave the kids, and the peeks into the cockpit.  And ash trays in the arm rests - of course everybody smoked back then!  As a kid I thought the “Jumbo Jet” was the coolest thing, and I recall having one (in Pan Am markings of course) as frosting on my birthday cake in 1970!  The Pan Am bag became something of an icon here in Hawaii.  But in later years is was ridiculed as an unfashionable accessory for nerdy Asian kids.

My first memory in a propeller airplane was probably the same time as the 747 flight - we flew from Tokyo to Hiroshima in a YS-11.  The legendary noise and vibration were incredible, and my sister could not stop throwing up!  My blood felt like a milkshake when we deplaned.  I likened the experience to sitting on an aluminum seat while someone was trying to drill a hole next to your head with a big, dull, high speed drill.  For 1-1/2 hours!

I have never flown in a DC-3, but they used to operate out of Honolulu for cargo flights.  Back when you could just go to the airport and watch planes from the terminal, my dad used to take me there once in a while.  I recall watching a DC-3 take off, followed by a DC-10, and I noticed that the gutteral sound of radial engines seemed louder than the much bigger and more powerful turbofans.

  • Member since
    November 2003
  • From: Naples, FL
Posted by tempestjohnny on Thursday, February 20, 2020 6:40 AM
I can't remember every flight I've been on but the list of planes I can. 707,727,737,747,DC9,DC10,Tristar,A319,A320,A321


  • Member since
    February 2020
Posted by louislewis on Thursday, February 20, 2020 6:42 AM

wao, think right

  • Member since
    October 2019
  • From: New Braunfels, Texas
Posted by Tanker-Builder on Saturday, February 22, 2020 7:38 AM


 That's a pretty fair list.The only one I see missing is the L-1011 unless they called it something different!

  • Member since
    February 2011
  • From: AZ,USA
Posted by GreySnake on Sunday, February 23, 2020 10:31 AM
Thanks for sharing very enjoyable to read.
I can’t for the life of me remember what the first airliner I flew on was. Do remember getting the little plastic wings from the pilot after landing on the ground. Can’t say I got excited for flying or enjoyed it a lot as a child. I think part of the reason is before the first flight I remember going on an airliner crashed and it was all over the news the week leading up to my family’s vacation. So I was pretty apprehensive about flying. I did get over that just now I don’t enjoy flying due to being so tall.
My father really liked to fly as he worked for Eastern Airlines during the late fifties and early sixties. He was part of the ground crew mainly refueling if I recall and built a lot of models of the Lockheed Electra and Super Constellation as those were the main ones he worked on. He did a lot of traveling during that time as he could more or less hitch a ride on one of the aircraft and go to somewhere in South America for example for the weekend.  

  • Member since
    October 2019
  • From: New Braunfels, Texas
Posted by Tanker-Builder on Monday, February 24, 2020 10:27 AM


 Did you know ,somewhere in it's history, the Super" G " Constellation was considered and earned an award as the most esthetically beautiful plane in the world . This by the Council of Art at the what became the MOMO.

  • Member since
    February 2011
  • From: AZ,USA
Posted by GreySnake on Monday, February 24, 2020 11:30 AM
Didn’t know that but I can agree that it was a beautiful plane.  I do know as a young child I liked my father’s built Heller one enough to play with it and snap the tricycle landing gear. Never played with his models ever again after that!

  • Member since
    October 2019
  • From: New Braunfels, Texas
Posted by Tanker-Builder on Tuesday, February 25, 2020 10:23 AM

Oh My !

     That's like me using a piece of wood in my Foster father's shop. Then he tells me he's looking that piece of wood to do an addition on a mold he was making for work--OOOPS !

     He did like the seven submarines I made from it though!

  • Member since
    February 2011
  • From: AZ,USA
Posted by GreySnake on Friday, February 28, 2020 9:41 AM
That reminded me when my father was building a Guillows P-47 and I started breaking the long pieces of balsa in two. Luckily my father had extra and all I got was a talking to. Think I was around five years old then and I started getting models of my own to work on rather than trying to help my father with his. I also started getting my own copies of FSM as I had a bad habit of going through his reference collection while he was at work.  


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