Re: 2 engines vs 4 engines planes

From:         ak336@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (John Dill)
Date:         29 Nov 93 22:21:34 PST
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>>	Early on in flights between Hawaii and the mainland, wasn't there
>>a Pan Am plane that had engine trouble and couldn't make it to land, so it
>>arranged to "land" in the Pacific Ocean near a waiting Coast Guard rescue ship?
>That was one of Pan Am's Boeing Stratocruisers (N90943, Clipper
>Sovereign of the Skies).  On October 16, 1956, it was about midway
>between San Francisco and Honolulu when the #1 engine died.  They
>were unable to feather the prop and drag of the windmilling prop
>was too much for them to be able to make it to land.  Instead, they
>burned off fuel then ditched alongside a US Coast Guard cutter (the
>USS Ponchartrain) and all aboard survived.

Karl, you are a great historian as well as great moderator! 

In this jet age, not many can appreciate the lonly job the "Coasties" did
on the picket ships stationed in "solitary confinement" along the air
routes of the Pacific and Atlantic. They spent week after week either
anchored or orbiting a fixed position far out to sea..providing
navigational assistance or radio links to trans-oceananic aircraft. In
those primitive days..the navigator (yep..all flights had one!) had few
tools to guide INS, no Doppler, no LORAN C, (in the late fifty's
HF loran was the miracle nav aid...but it was always suseptible to
electrical interference..when ya needed it most), and things like GPS were
pipe dreams at best. Information we take for granted now was just educated
guess work in those days...but, looking back, we had some pretty good
people doing the guessing! I remember many a trip when we had nothing
to go by except a "drift sight", a sort of gunsight sticking out of the 
belly of the aircraft. It had parellel cross hairs which we lined up with
the movement of white caps (wave tops) and then read our drift, or crab,
angle. The nav's "how-goes-it" was his estimation of our position
and "point of no return". (not enough gas to go back!).

We'd get a good fix if we could from the picket ship, (in my case, it was
Ocean Station November, located midway between Hawaii and the west coast),
and we sure were comforted by their presence...all the time feeling for
them 'cause we'd be home or in Hawaii in a few hours (the trip took 12-13
hours in that old bucket) and they were stuck out in the middle of no
It's so easy today we hardly give it a thought, and that is as it should
be! But it wasn't always so!

"Clinton will be a one term President".......Rush Limbaugh