Re: Terror at 41,000'

Organization: University of Saskatchewan
Date:         26 Jan 93 23:47:05 PST
References:   1
Followups:    1
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ak336@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (John Dill) writes:

>I'm new to this forum, so I'll introduce myself first before I relate
>this story. I'm an air traffic controller at the Cleveland ARTCC in 
>Oberlin, Ohio. I've been a controller for 22 years and have quite a few
>avaition related stories I can tell. I'm also a commercial pilot, though
>have not been very active the last few years.
> My memory is a bit fuzzy with the dates and names (names will be changed
>anyway to protect the guilty) but I think most of what I'm abou to tell
>is the truth.
> A Boeing 727 was enroute to JFK at an altitude of 41,000' on this day
>about 1976. The pilot (we'll call him "Slim") and the co-pilot were 
>discussing the latest rumor about the so called "step", as in boating,
>but relating to the increase in speed and reduction in fuel consumption
>possible at high mach numbers and altitutes possible with the 727.

           [...the stuff about a 727 falling out of the air and landing
               successfully has been deleted...]

> A long legal battle took place between ALPA and the airline (Global Air?)
>and the F.A.A. In the end, I think the pilots were exonerated..and if you
>ask me....they saved the day!

     I think that this is the famous case with Captain 'Hoot' Gibson.  60
Minutes on CBS had a recent epsiode (in the 1990's) about this incident.  From
what I remember about the show, the impression I was given was that none of
this incident was Gibson's fault and that the whole circuit breaker story was a
fabrication of both the FAA and Boeing (at least, that's what was implied). The
ostensible reason for such conspiracy was sited as being due to the importance
of the 727 (and Boeing) exports.  If there was something wrong with the 727
that Capt. Gibson flew, imagine the cost with having to ground all of the 727s
in the world! 

     The landing was made at a very high speed (it was quoted in knots, and
I've forgotten the numbers, but I think I remember calculating it to be about 
450 mph...!).  The brakes in the landing gear were so shredded that the metal
was spun into something akin to candy floss or steel wool. 

     I also remember them showing a list of other 727 flights that had the same
loss of control problem.  I think 'Hoot' is now flying a twin-prop seaplane
(a Grumman, it's a famous one, I can't remember the name...) and is
fed up with the civil airline industry.

     Also, I'm not a regular reader of this newsgroup, but I think that this
story has been dealt with here before several times over.  Nevertheless, I 
find it an interesting story.

>  Don't blame me.....I voted for Bush!

Gosh, I didn't even vote!  :)

Peter How, Grad Stud
University of Saskatchewan,
Saskatoon, SK