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- March 25, 2002
- Some Aviation History
- by Bernard Rawlings
- Retired Boeing 747 Captain from TWA
- Bernard had mentioned to me some ole-time aviation terms
like "kicks" and "fans" and I asked him to
elaborate. Here is his colorful reply:
- I'm not a real old-time aviator but I flew with some,
right after World War II. Some of the TWA captains I flew with
dated back before WWI, and that's getting pretty close to Orville
and Wilbur. The airman's lingo has changed with the machinery.
I've told you how old-time flight instructors used to yell stuff
like, "Kick that top rudder!" to me in 1942. (They
were yelling over a rubber hose called a "Gosport Tube"
which hooked up an instructor, in the rear seat of an open-cockpit
wood-and-rag primary trainer, and me in the front seat, freezing
in Texas winter skies). What the instructor meant was "Stomp
hard on the rudder pedal on the side of the higher wing, because
we are in a bank, about to stall, and this airplane will spin
in the direction of the low wing if you try to recover with the
aileron." Advice like that sticks with student pilots a
long time, and it may not be appropriate when the student pilot
becomes the operator of a modern wing-mounted jet when the rudder
is a long way back there, at the end of a powerful lever-arm
assisted by umpteen thousand pounds of hydraulic pressure.
"Fanning the rudder" was a primitive way of adding
a bit of drag to small airplanes, without wing flaps, when the
pilot found himself a bit too high near the end of a landing
approach. Such maneuvers are not really appropriate in large
passenger airplanes, nor are side-slips. But, about 1949, I was
copilot to a real early-bird TWA captain who was a bit high going
into Athens on a DC-4 passenger flight, and I watched with awe
as he lowered a wing and firmly stood on the opposite rudder
pedal and neatly sideslipped 30 tons of iron and aluminum into
a respectable landing.
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Flight 587 stories.
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