View Full Version : Ahhh those were the days...

14th Oct 2008, 06:59
http://www.flightlevels.com/forums/images/smilies/eek.gifIn the age of the 707.... Quote:

Those were the good ole days. Pilots back then were men that didn't want to be women or girlymen. Pilots all knew who Jimmy Doolittle was. Pilots drank coffee, whiskey, smoked cigars and didn't wear digital watches.

They carried their own suitcases and brain bags like the real men that they were. Pilots didn't bend over into the crash position multiple times each day in front of the passengers at security so that some Gov't agent could probe for tweezers or fingernail clippers or too much toothpaste.

Pilots did not go through the terminal impersonating a caddy pulling a bunch of golf clubs, computers, guitars, and feed bags full of tofu and granola on a sissy-trailer with no hat and granny glasses hanging on a pink string around their pencil neck while talking to their personal trainer on the cell phone!!!

Being an Airline Captain was as good as being the King in a Mel Brooks movie. All the Stewardesses (aka.Flight Attendants) were young, attractive, single women that were proud to be combatants in the sexual revolution. They didn't have to turn sideways, grease up and suck it in to get through the cockpit door. They would blush and say thank you when told that they looked good, instead of filing a sexual harrassment claim. Junior Stewardesses shared a room and talked about men.... with no thoughts of substitution.

Passengers wore nice clothes and were polite, they could speak AND understand English. They didn't speak gibberish or listen to loud gangsta rap on their IPods. They bathed and didn't smell like a rotting pile of garbage in a jogging suit and flip-flops. Children didn't travel alone, commuting between trailer parks. There were no mongolhordes asking for a "mu-fuggin" seatbelt extension or a Scotch and grapefruit juice cocktail with a twist.

If the Captain wanted to throw some offensive, ranting jerk off the airplane, it was done without any worries of a lawsuit or getting fired.

Axial flow engines crackled with the sound of freedom and left an impressive black smoke trail like a locomotive burning soft coal. Jet fuel was cheap and once the throttles were pushed up they were left there, after all it was the jet age and the idea was to go fast (run like a lizard on a hardwood floor). Economy cruise was something in the performance book, but no one knew why or where it was. When the clacker went off no one got all tight and scared because Boeing built it out of iron, nothing was going to fall off and that sound had the same effect on real pilots then as Viagra does now for those new age guys.

There was very little plastic and no composites on the airplanes or the Stewardesses' pectoral regions. Airplanes and women had eye pleasing symetrical curves, not a bunch of ugly vortex generators, ventral fins, winglets, flow diverters, tatoos, rings in their nose, tongu es and eyebrows.

Airlines were run by men like C.R. Smith and Juan Trippe who had built their companies virtually from scratch, knew many of their employees by name and were lifetime airline employees themselves...not pseudo financiers and bean counters who flit from one occupation to another for a few bucks, a better parachute or a fancier title while fervently believing that they are a class of beings unto themselves.

And so it was back then....and never will be again.

14th Oct 2008, 07:07
In the age of the 707: There was very little plastic and no composites on the airplanes ... Airplanes and women had eye pleasing symetrical curves, not a bunch of ugly vortex generators, ventral fins, winglets, flow diverters... You're talking about a different B707 to the dear old thing that I remember so fondly. ;)

14th Oct 2008, 07:14
McDoo, children did travel alone in them days. Viscount to Malta for school holidays (RN Dad) and return in Dakota. There were a large number of service brats for the return trip. I remember we were invited to the cockpit and were amazed when the pilot opened his window a bit and put his hand out. Not quite sure why he did that, but it was impressive!

Little BEA pepper and salt pots and the flight information paper sent back seat by seat.

Ah yes I remember it well.

14th Oct 2008, 07:36
It was even better until they introduced those noisy, smoky, jet engined thingies.

Now a Stratocruiser was a real aeroplane.

14th Oct 2008, 07:46
...and we didn't need to install lockable armoured flight deck doors to keep 'em out.

Romeo India Xray
14th Oct 2008, 08:22
Damn I missed the 707 era by a slither, but the good ol' 1-11 would chug me over the Irish sea on any number of occasions as a UM. Then came the 732 on the route and with it the crews who would be happy to give me the jump seat for landing as soon as they knew how hard I was studying for my PPL (ah - the easy days :}).

I still remember the first jump seat I got, and how it stoked my passion for what would become my profession.

Now i'm not even allowed to give the jump seat to my own b:mad:dy family. What has this screwed up world come to - I would head back to those old times like a shot, given half a chance :{


Loose rivets
14th Oct 2008, 09:43
Coo yes! A nostalgia thread...just what I need until the sleepers kick in.

An Auster, a disused WWII airfield and an ex Winco, All for 3 quid and hour. Mind you, the Tiger Moths did smell of urea if they'd been used for crop-spraying that day. Where's that e-mail I sent me pal?

Did you know, when we started, there were more airfields in the UK than there were pilots. At least this was according to Colin Stephens our intrepid Viscount captain, who set about counting all the little red circles on his toppo. I seem to remember that it was 4,600. Maybe it was when he started flying, but since he was one of the younger captains it still would be a surprising statistic. Why would they dig up so many of those good runways? Did you ever fly from Boxted? Just a little north of Colchester. I did my PPL there and most times had that vast area of concrete to myself. I say mostly, cos on one occasion there was four of us on this 500 acre patch. I was being checked out in a Tiger by Wing Commander Percy Hatfield (steely eyed, square jawed, silver mustachioed ) flying instructor / crop-sprayer and airfield operator...Oh, and one luckless learner driver and his instructor in a perpendicular Popular. They thought they were in drivers heaven on n square miles of empty simulated motor-way.

There were two things that Percy would not tolerate, people messing with his Aston Martin, and anyone having the temerity to drive on his airfield....and anyone looking in a funny way at his stunningly beautiful and absurdly young girlfriend. Three! Three things that this............. but now there was the sound of creaking leather coming down the Gosport tube. His helmet, stretched by his bulging blood vessels, was as tight now as the day that he spotted the Bismark.
"I have control!"

I'll never know if he actually intended to hit it. He wasn't the sort of chap that you could ask What I do know is that there was a sudden change of pitch-attitude and a very soft gerdoing! As we circled to emphasize the point, I could clearly see a black mark on the beige roof. I can just imagine the faces of the drivers, one of whom had probably just finished saying something like "we are lucky to have all this space to ourselves" before having their roof lowered. They wobbled their way to the nearest gap in the tank defenses, wipers at full tilt in an attempt to see through the mist of oil and urea from our not quite empty nozzles. Flight training 50's style.

'young chaps of today...don't know their born. When you did get a job it could be five Ostends in a day out of SEN. Food? We used to dream of food. CRM consisted of dodging the captains fist, and fire fighting practice was...well putting out fires mostly. But then came the good times.

Viscounting to Palma...home of the world's best cigars. They were pals with the Cubans...and Cuba still grew most of its own tobacco. 30pts at 166 to the quid for a world class cigar. Then there was the Malta Cyprus run. Twice a week via Trip, Benghazi (that track became the line of death later) Steak for breakfast, Steak for crew meal, Lunch in the officer's mess at El Adem, and dinner in the Ledra Palace. Plus we got four of them between two, cos the girls used to go out with the soldiers. The first Ledra Palace were nice...before someone blew it up. One grew a tummy there.

Then the new toy. Shiny new BAC 1-11 out of LHR. On my very first day on line, my Colonel Blimp captain was having his first flight unsupervised. We didn't worry about training F/Os in those days. He could fly the lumbering old Brit Oaky, but was a couple of minutes behind the pocket rocket. All the time. On the very first takeoff, he got in a muddle with what he should do with his hands. Sit on them would've been best, but now he was on the tiller and the power-levers, good, tick, full marks...and lo, we were at 80 knots. This was a surprise to him so he put his right hand on the controls...Mmmmmm...But it's okay he's back on the power and his left hand is on the controls...no, I'm wrong, he's now both on the controls...that'll do. No, changed his mind again, left on the tiller, and right on the power. The aircraft took off by itstelf and settled into V2 +8 -- exactly what it should have done. Larf? Had to be petted by the girls to calm down. It was his bulging eyes that set me off.

Flying was fun. If the flight wasn't going to be fun, then we didn't do it and the boss would take us out to lunch to apologize for our distress. No, I made that bit up...only a woose wouldn't take his flight.. Strewth, flying in thunderstorms was easy, right? Years of practice in the radarless Viscount, should be oaky in the Iron Duck.

Then there was the Going Visual. Charging along in a slippery jet and being able to take the scenic route. Fabulous. Then the arrivals back to Luton. Coming off Brookman's Park with the clackers going and into a 45 degree turn...for no other reason that it made my bottom feel nice. Nobody said a word.

Well, that's not quite true.

A lot...and I mean a lot of Vauxhall workers appeared one day, they were obviously going to go lumber-jacking and harvesting when they'd finished asking us nicely if we would mind not making so much noise when they were having their sleepy-byes. Nice lot, caressed their tools lovingly while they talked.

We quite understood, and in no time, the skies were quiet at night. The mornings were a little rushed, but that was okay. Now, in the long arc of 1-11s waiting to go, many of the late night revelers were on duty at the same time and wisely tested the oxygen by donning the flight-deck mask. Some of them...if not all, seemed to need to give the mask a very thorough testing in the mornings. I noticed that it usually took 30 mins to make a pilot go the right colour.

Because of the arc one could see the entire line. One of the men had got a tall pointy green hat with tassels waving from the point. Had he forgotten to take it off after the party, or was he naturally jolly? The latter I'm sure. In those days, we could wave at the passengers as they walked out. One had to be carful how one presented Oneself. Funny hat, OK, Girl on lap, frowned on. Just had to get the balance right.

At last it would be our turn. Nobody cringed when my capitano suddenly said, "To the man in the tower, from the man in the ship. Give us the word, and I'll giver her the whip." (He'll remember that for sure if he's still with us.)

We got our take-off clearance, and disappeared on the end of two trails of noisy smoke.

Bern Oulli
14th Oct 2008, 14:37
Rivets, that was brilliant. Took me right back.

14th Oct 2008, 20:18
Took me right back too ... and I was never there! Nice one Capt Rivets, one of Frinton's finest.:ok:

Der absolute Hammer
14th Oct 2008, 20:28
What a magical read!

Alloa Akbar
14th Oct 2008, 20:57

when you are 70, chuck in your car keys and pick up a pen!!!


14th Oct 2008, 21:15
VERY Enjoyable!



Lon More
14th Oct 2008, 22:42
Rivets Bloody brilliant. Luton was a fun place back in the 60s.. The crowd in the flying club bar at lunchtime, 90% in uniform - and how those bloody BEA 1947 uniforms itched.
Mushroom hunting, early morning in a 150. Normally got a couple of rabbits with the prop at the same time
One of the instructors used to become most upset at the sight of a double deck bus on the sunken road at the end of 36 and would try to spin the wheels up on its roof at every opportunity.
The council tip to the East of the field. Bred the biggest bluebottles known to man.
By my day it was a bit more expensive 7 for a C150 of which 1 was for the instructor though Fred Pinchin had hung onto a couple of Moths which were considered old-fashioned and nobody wanted to fly them.
Ace Freighters Connies departing for exotic places, someone being a bit optimistic on weight and balance, hopping over the ILS and then dropping back into the valley, everyone in the tower on tiptoe straining to see where they'd gone and fingers hovering over the crash button until they re-appeared. The 1-11 had one "clean" and one "dirty" engine. Smoke only from one side. Many phone calls to the Tower in the beginning about aircraft on one engine.
Were you there on the Vauxhall Motors Sports Day,when the paras made an unexpected arrival, straight into he path of a departing Britannia?

Loose rivets
14th Oct 2008, 23:34
Thanks, but One was inspired by McDoo, I'd have serious competition there :ok:

I have thought about taking a break from my novel, just to write a book called something like. Buggah, I didn't want to be a pilot anyway! and have a front page with two blokes sitting in torn and smoking uniforms surrounded by wreckage...which was at the end of the longest groove in the countryside imaginable. One is holding a snapped off control column as he asks the check captain...'Did I Pass?'

I have somewhere, an e-mail to a pilot pal about a medical that I did at the gray cube -- while suffering terrible vertigo. It just sort of spilled out...made my mate fall about, but he said, "If you ever want to fly again, don't show that to anybody." Probably right, but no worries on that score now, also, there's no chance that it will be repeatable. Those things just aren't. Just have to find it.

There are so many untold, in print anyway, aviation stories. A great character trained me at LBA for my 'retirement job'. He told the tale of a man who seemed to have a subconsious fear of flying. Problem was, that he was about to be a captain. He told the tale so clearly, that you could imagine the empty seat when this guy left. That's the trick with story-telling.

Anyway, McDoo started off a good thread, any more tales to be told?

15th Oct 2008, 06:52
Rivets, my post started with 'quote' so I didn't have to admit plagiarism at a later date!

McD's own memoirs include relaxing in the copilot's seat of a DC3 on a beautiful, gin clear night. I turned to the skipper and said 'it's a shame to take the money isn't it?' As I said the word 'money', the right engine blew a pot clean through the cowling. This was immediately followed by the captain belting me over the head with a rolled up newspaper shouting 'NEVER say that again!'

Some years later taxing in at BFS in a 1-11. Meself and FO having taken turns to get changed into our glad rags ready for an expeditious (before the pax) disembarkation to lay waste to the fair maidens of Oireland. The look on the ground staff's faces as we sprinted down the stairs was priceless.

There's much more but these days I fear litigation:uhoh:

Loose rivets
15th Oct 2008, 07:54
So many things bring back memories. On some 16 hour night/days in the DC3 I would take a nap over the north sea. The skipper was reading his newspaper as I awoke. I slid the side window open for some fresh air, and the engine stopped. I looked in horror at the skipper - I hate having to swim home - and as our eyes met, the other engine stopped, well, they were still turning but without fuel.

Frantic twisting of the fuel knobs...his paper had been a tad toooooo interesting.

15th Oct 2008, 08:43
Climbing away on a night freight job in the Dak, trailing that lovely glow from the exhaust rings. One night we get a call from ATC
'Er you appear to be on fire more than usual tonight sir'

Single crewing the 1-11 coz the FO was busy facing rearwards on his knees trying to reset the MAC valves.

Navigating back over the North Sea using the wx radar to try and find the Wash.

EFIS takes all the fun out of it...:{

Rivets if you ever finish that book, let me know - I'll be the first to order a signed copy:D

PS: How about a parallel thread 'If you were to write a book about your life in aviation, what would the title be?

15th Oct 2008, 08:58
PS: How about a parallel thread 'If you were to write a book about your life in aviation, what would the title be?

Bring Your Own Glass.

( to the crew party of course. )

15th Oct 2008, 09:05
Ahhhh. Crew parties. Those really were the days. Back when all the crew actually liked each other, enjoyed their jobs and were only too happy to socialise after work.

Got another idea for a thread 'What was your favourite landing drink?'
(for younger readers this was a post flight aperitif consumed on the flight deck after last chocks on)...

15th Oct 2008, 09:15
I remember my old ( younger than than I am now, but they looked old to me then ) WW II Captains talking amongst themselves ( they'd NEVER talk to a S/O - P.3/Nav ) about how they'd had the best of aviation, but I truly think that my generation really did. All the stuff that Loose Rivets has so brilliantly captured.

In my case Strats, Brits, 707's and 747 Classic, fun. And fun off duty, too !

I guess every generation thinks that the next generation will never cope, and I've just seen an Internet Video thing of a camera making a 360 deg. sweep of the Airbus 380 flight deck, so hats off to them. I just hope they have a passing 5 yr. old to work all the electronics - like I need when I receive a text message on my yuppy phone !

I recall one of my navigator instructors telling me that I'd never make a navigator so long as I had a hole in my a***e until I'd been over Berlin with the shells coming through the cockpit as I tried to get a 3-wind drift from the driftsight. But I never had to. How would he have coped with FMS and GPS in his twilight years ?

I now fly a microlight around NZ, and the other day found myself pulling a handheld GPS out of my pocket to save re-programming the one mounted in the panel, to get a cross bearing and distance from another airfield ! Had to laugh. Nobody believes that I used to navigate a 707 with a sextant ! That was fun, too, specially Grid Navigation over the North Pole.

Happy days indeed. Thanx.

15th Oct 2008, 09:18
(for younger readers this was a post flight aperitif consumed on the flight deck after last chocks on)...

but not at Idlewild, New York. The Snr.ATCO had binoculars ! true, some were caught.

Loose rivets
15th Oct 2008, 17:49
Talking of sextants...in an anecdotal kind of way.

Huge dark flight deck. Captain has sudden urge to see if he can still take a star-shot. Nav, sits in his seat while the Captain climbs up the steps and puts his noggin in the dome.

No.1 comes in with coffee. Yep, she's having an affair with the Nav, but now indiscriminately gooses the Captain...since his parts are at an advantageous height.

Story goes that there was the loooooooooooooongest pause, before the Captain quietly gave one of his polite coughs.

16th Oct 2008, 05:28
At least she didn't drop his pants first, as occasionally happened ( or maybe she did ? ) There was NO WAY the Nav. would let go the sextant, after all that hard work doing the maths. !! ( and anyway - would you !! )

16th Oct 2008, 05:31
There was also the Captain who got out of his seat and in passing the nav. table put his coffee cup on the chart, the nav promptly gave a 45 deg heading change, and quietly navigated around it. Happy Days.

18th Oct 2008, 01:52
On the ramp in Blighty finishing off paperwork after an easy sprint to Froggyland in the antique 4 engine turbo prop freighter the loader pipes up and says "'Ere look skipper them customs want to unlock the baggage holds, they never looks in there they dont"
"Thats ok, open it for them we've signed the customs dec chitty"
"Oooer skipper some of the lads has got about 20 dozen bottles of yer Frenchy plonk in there"


18th Oct 2008, 08:21
I'm told, on reliable authority, that a Qantas crew member entered totally-alcohol-prohibited Karachi one night carrying some 20 metres of green hosepipe, purchased from the then equivalent of B & Q, and capped at each end.

I'm also told, on reliable authority, that it took just about the whole supply of gin carried in a 707 First Class bar, plus all the miniatures that were supposed to be sold to the punters down the back,to fill said hosepipe, 'cos of course there couldn't be any semi-circular traces of empty hosepipe, and the resultant load weighed a ton, and had to be nonchalantly hoisted across one shoulder, apparently weightless. The QF and BA crews shared the same Karachi 'BOAC resthouse' ( before the invention of Sheratons, or Hiltons ) in those days - and shared the gin, too, over the next few days. Happy days.

18th Oct 2008, 08:26
That same Karachi Resthouse had back-to-back rooms a la Coro, Street, with an adjoining shared shower, and a somewhat antiquated system of lock that ensured some sort of privacy, if you were unlucky - cos Virgins' Alley backed in to one row of rooms ! Happy Days.

18th Oct 2008, 08:29
No telephones in the Karachi Resthouse, so Call Time was a local Bearer bearing a cup of tea, many was the time that the Bearer would wake one up with the tea in the middle of the night with the message - ' No need to wake up, Sahib, aircraft delayed' !! ( read that whilst wobbling the head from side to side )

Happy Days.

I guess now the crew get a text message on their Yuppyphone ?

18th Oct 2008, 09:10
This thread is going to run and run. Keep them coming gentlemen.:ok:

18th Oct 2008, 09:12
What you gonna pay ?

18th Oct 2008, 16:19
I give you my eternal gratitude for an insight of a career I missed ... and miss. Enough, Ex?;)

old,not bold
18th Oct 2008, 17:38
An Auster, a disused WWII airfield and an ex Winco, All for 3 quid and hour.

Good Lord, Rivets, did you learn at Sleap? That's exactly how it was in the early '60s.

18th Oct 2008, 19:46
Ahh, Karachi. Where the Dhow type boats in the harbour are all adorned with the logos/colours of the airlines that have patronised them for day trips to that rock of an island just off shore. Preferred Lahore meself and Peshawar even better:)

18th Oct 2008, 22:15
Anyone remember the B-25 Mitchell parked in a hangar next to the Karachi terminal?
Wonders where that went?

Loose rivets
19th Oct 2008, 04:40
Good Lord, Rivets, did you learn at Sleap? That's exactly how it was in the early '60s.

No, 'twas at Boxted, Boxted, Essex - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boxted,_Essex). Last time home I was sorting through my stuff and came across some old ALTP notes and the like. There, in the midst of this was a local newspaper -- showing a picture of a crashed light aircraft. Twas himself...somewhere in the still smoking tangled wreck.

He used to say, "Tigers are a good plane to crash in, Boy." And crash in them he did. Crop spraying was a tad hairy in those days...but he always walked away from them. Now, in this heavy metal thing that he got from somewhere in Spain, lay his remains. Not a good aircraft to crash in. But he wouldn't have wanted to get old...not his style.

19th Oct 2008, 13:51
Crop spraying in a Moth?
Must've been bl**dy difficult operating the
Stirrup Pump in that cockpit!!! :ugh:

Where did you put the bucket?