View Full Version : Age of the B707, DC8, B727; aka The Good Ole Days!

Dark Knight
21st Dec 2008, 23:27
Those were the good ole days. Pilots all knew who Jimmy Doolittle was. Pilots chased women, drank coffee, whiskey, smoked cigars and didnít say my ticket is on the line.

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 so 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 one's 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 harassment 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 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 satisfying 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 symmetrical curves, not a bunch of ugly vortex generators, ventral fins, winglets, flow diverters.

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, thus, so it was back then....and never will be again.

(Rudy Mack wrote: Fri, 12/19/08)


22nd Dec 2008, 01:03
Pilots chased women, drank coffee, whiskey, smoked cigars

Er, did something change?

galaxy flyer
22nd Dec 2008, 01:08

You HAVE missed the younger generation!! We actually have a vegan, as a pilot!! :confused: Yes, wimps all, but then again, I'm an old fart.


22nd Dec 2008, 01:26
You HAVE missed the younger generation!!

Naw, sad to say I didn't, I was trying to ignore/forget them.

"Okay, you did pretty good, let's go to the hotel and I'll meet you in the bar in about an hour after we check in and I'll debrief the flight and we'll talk about everything." (Everything you did wrong, which was a lot.)

"Oh my, you drink! I don't like going to bars, the smell of liquor makes me sick. Also the sight of slaughtered animals turns my stomach. I know this very nice vegetarian restaurant only two hours from the hotel, we'll eat there."

After a couple of scotchs and a nice thick strip steak followed by a nice sniffer of B&B, I wonder just what did this guy do for dinner.

The above was not a singular occurrence.

22nd Dec 2008, 01:28
Ah yes, I remember those days. I was a wide-eyed kid then, just getting bitten by the aviation bug.

My dad took me on my very first plane ride when I was 11. It was a Vickers Viscount. He wore a suit and polished shoes... and talked the flight att... err... stewardess... into asking the captain to let me visit the cockpit, which was duly arranged, and I caught an incurable dose of the virus as a result.

The return flight was on a DC-9, I recall being so thrilled at getting a ride on a real, live jet.

Ah well, never did become an airline pilot sadly, but I do manage to putt-putt around in my Beech and have great fun doing it.


22nd Dec 2008, 06:23
Found myself using 2 GPS's on a Microlight ( aka LSA ) the other day, mused about how I used to navigate a 707 with a sextant - including Grid Nav. over the North Pole. World's changed ( for the better ? )

Loose rivets
22nd Dec 2008, 06:34
A mere snippet from yesteryear. I quote myself:

Kids of today...fuss about anything they would. Fresh air? I Used to dream of fresh air.

There was a well known captain at Southend. He did three things. Fly a DC3, drink beer and smoke. I could never get the @$^$^ to eat. 40 fags (don't panic in the US, fags are cigarettes ) 40 fags into the day and the rain trough FULL of dog-ends, he would call "Gear Down." and reach into his pocket for another fag. While hauling the rattling pile of rivets (Yes, it is why.) round on tight base leg he would light the thing. SUCK SUCK SUCK SUCK SUCK SUCK Peeeeeeeeeeeeep! as the wheels touched. As we rumbled to taxi speed he would stub the looooooooooong point of red into the trough - knocking a dozen fag-ends on the floor. It got worse.

He had a Beetle that I would get a lift in sometimes. I would get in with black sox on, only to get out with greyish white ones. The ash was 2" thick on the floor.

One evening in Rotterdam, he wheeled me round from one pub to another with me begging for food. Never got any. As we got to the Hotel (and I used the term lightly) Hotel Pax, he told me several times not to forget to give him a knock in the morning. I did. As the door opened, all I could see was a cloud of smoke, and two eyes blinking in the darkness. I kid you not, this is true. He emerged, smoke billowing out as he walked, his uniform raincoat undisturbed by unwarranted removal. He still didn't need food, he was running on beer.

22nd Dec 2008, 12:03
We should call this thread The Times when sex was save and flying dangerous:E

Tell us more....

22nd Dec 2008, 12:15
LR Did a bit of contracting at Southend on CL 44's, many moons ago. The flightdeck ceiling was nicotine brown, similar to a pub's (before the ban).
When they hauled out the a/c filters they reminded me of honeycombes dripping with honey, though in this case it was nicotine. I stopped smoking around this time and whenever the urge came to smoke I recalled those filters. Most longhaul aircraft from that period were, of course, in a similar condition.

22nd Dec 2008, 14:17
DC 8, series of flights from CDG operated for UTA.
Shopping consisted of bread and cheese and a few
bottles of vino. Came in handy for cleaning the teeth.
Dining in nights at the Hotel Sofitel. Or the Terrace
Restaurant at Le Bourget. Mainly Chateaubriand.
NEVER heard of "Vegetarians" then. Golden Days.
Now sadly gone. :{

Lon More
22nd Dec 2008, 14:42
Early 1970s in the Sabena canteen at BRU very few of the flight deck crew didn't consume a bottle of wine with lunch. Around the same time o fam. flightn a SN 727, lunch was served with a bottle of wine ewach for all on the flight deck. Later the captain insisted that i drink a cognac because he cold then have one too.

A later flight, on a freight DC8, the Captain had flown the same a/c into Saigon on many occassions during the Vietnam War. His tales of the Saigon High Level Arrival were interesting. to put it mildly.

22nd Dec 2008, 18:42
I always thought the Coronado was a real man's aircraft. It took courage to fly in it as a passenger, let alone do so repeatedly as crew.

Especially the MEA fleet that had to go in and out of Beirut on a daily basis.

22nd Dec 2008, 21:47
Old DC3 cropduster pilot I flew with sometimes
7 stone wringing wet would roll up while the hopper was filling, stub out for take off and roll another on final , light up reach for throttles, squeak, squeak of rubber
Single pilot DC3

This was tobacco of course in them days :uhoh:

22nd Dec 2008, 22:19
Walking on top of "A" "B" and "C" piers at Ringway in the old days, just wishing for a glimpse of Concorde or a Ward Air Lump

Dc-8's ,707's, Tristars, Caravelles, 1-11's.

Bin back recently, wasn't allowed anywhere near the planes, and they all looked pretty much the same:)

What happened to the romance of it all.:confused:

Mind you went home recently on some'at powered by these....:)


Dark Knight
23rd Dec 2008, 01:06

Continental (of yesteryear)

Pacific Southwest (PSA)


Pan Am

Canadian Pacific Airways


Trans Australian Airlines (TAA)


to name but a few.


Romeo India Xray
23rd Dec 2008, 06:52
I was bitten by the bug after several flights in early 1-11s and 732s and Trident 3s. Found a way to talk myself up to jumpseat class on the 737s so life was perfect. In those days people would get dressed up for a flight. The smell of ladies perfume would give a sweet smell in the cabin, which would invariably be taken over by the sweeter smell of burnt avtur.

As a pilot then, you were God. Everybody looked up to you and your decisions were respected. Now, you are just an expensive resource that the management would rather do without and the passengers hold little respect for.

I wish I could have been blessed with the opportunity to fly in those earlier days instead of now. Now as a pilot you are not even guaranteed getting a cap to put on your head. I still wouldn't give it all up to be an accountant though!


23rd Dec 2008, 11:23
Anyone else notice that nowadays, when you give the stew a friendly slap on the butt, you hardly ever get a smile anymore? Unless the stew's a guy, that is.

23rd Dec 2008, 14:25
From the ol' days when men were men and women too. My uncle was an aircraft techie who worked on the old AMS Schiphol (Oost) airfield back in the 50's. He showed me around and even let me sit in the captain's seat of a KLM Super Connie (what security?...). Can you imagine a young boy day dreaming about flying to countries far, far away beyond the horizon?

Ace Rimmer
23rd Dec 2008, 16:05
Ah yes when I was a boy and shuttling betwixt parents on either side of the pond folks still dressed up to fly - I certainly remember old mother rimmer making me don the school uniform for the trip to Texas (rather uncomfortable it was too...Uk weight grey trews shirt, tie, jumper topped with heavy weight blazer just the get up to arrive in Texas in July).

Mind you travelling as an UM in those days was fab. I remember developing a number of crushes on various hosties (they tended to be younger and better looking then too)

23rd Dec 2008, 16:40
Brand new Yugoslav Airlines Caravelle! Travelling to join parents who worked in Lebanon. Accompanied by my uncle who worked at the BEG ATC. He knew all the pilots. We sat in F. Just my 9-year old sister and me. When the two stewardesses weren't fussing over us I was in the jump seat eyes wide open. I still get goose bumps thinking about it. A night approach into Beirut, in 1965, was better than any Disney ride could ever be.

Of course we were dressed in our Sunday's best and didn't even dream of misbehaving.

Those were the days....

23rd Dec 2008, 16:52
In Aus, we worked HF 3 megs for some outback aircraft. Only problem was they went into radio failure at around 3nm range so you had to brief them before that as to joining and traffic info, then out with the Aldis lamp. Flying doctor's de Haviland Drover :{:{ all the magic seems to have gone. Back in the UK I cleared a Vickers Vimy repro to land followed by a very modern VC10, good and interesting times.

Still working with some old friends in countries needing help, the old experience of engineers and controllers is still useful.

23rd Dec 2008, 22:52
to name but a few.

B.O.A.C. ??

Must be an ExB3al1ne p1lot ?

Cheers, ExSp33db1rd

23rd Dec 2008, 22:55
..A night approach into Beirut,

10,000 ft over BOD wasn't it, to start the NDB letdown ?

( someone will correct me ! )

23rd Dec 2008, 23:07

10,000 ft over BOD wasn't it, to start the NDB letdown ?

( someone will correct me ! )

remember this was 1965. A few things have changed in that part of the world... To a 13 year old kid watching 3 guys flip switches and pull levers was magic, and all while a sea of lights was visible on the ground, including ships, all lit up, in the harbor. The Phoenicia Hotel, majectically dominating the shore. I tell'ya it was magic.

23rd Dec 2008, 23:40
Tasmania, Australia late 60s. I was learning to fly at the local aero club which was based at Cambridge airport, almost immediately next to Hobart airport.

It was common practice when a new type of aircraft flew in, or at least something interesting, to jump in a car, dash over to Hobart, walk out onto the tarmac (yep, no security or fences as such) and ask the engineers would it be possible to have a look at the cockpit seeing as I was a pilot with the local aero club. Never refused.

I can remember looking through 727-100 and 200, DC9-32, DC4 freighter conversion - Caravelle (sp?), Bristol Freighter, Fokker F27, Lockeed Electra to name a few.

Good times.:ok:

Metro man
24th Dec 2008, 04:20
I wish I could have been blessed with the opportunity to fly in those earlier days instead of now.

He's not the only one.:(

24th Dec 2008, 07:49
Dushan, agreed, even as a pilot doing it, Beirut was a bit different.

Forget the Phoenicia - what about the Bristol ? - and what was the name of the bar across the road that all the crews used ? Golden Bar ? St. Georges Hotel on the Corniche wasn't a bad spot, either.

Champagne cocktails with Lebanese 'Champagne' and Brandy went down OK, too. I can still recall the smell, and coolness, of a stand of Cedars of Lebanon that one passed through on the way to the airport. Happy Days.

24th Dec 2008, 12:45
First flight was in my grandfather's rapide at 4. Used to travel to the Carribean as an UM to join the family during school holidays. Due to dad's job I got to go first class and often in the FD. The stewards used to do a form of silver service at meal times and all wore immaculate white gloves while serving.

Grandfather put me through my ppl at age 17 on a tiger moth because he thought I should learn on a "proper aeroplane."

Now in my mid 40s' and I've just bought a share in a tiger to recover some of the magic. I'd forgotten the sheer pleasure of just flying when I want rather than when the company says. But I still hanker after just one trip in the left seat of a VC10. I took forty trips as an UM in them and they are still, to me, the epitome of big aviation beauty.

I have no doubts my job is easier than it was for those guys, but I have still lived an utterly privileged aviation life. Arriving at work and getting a whiff of jet exhaust still causes the same excitement it did in a very young UM.


24th Dec 2008, 15:01
Dushan, agreed, even as a pilot doing it, Beirut was a bit different.

Forget the Phoenicia - what about the Bristol ? - and what was the name of the bar across the road that all the crews used ? Golden Bar ? St. Georges Hotel on the Corniche wasn't a bad spot, either.

Champagne cocktails with Lebanese 'Champagne' and Brandy went down OK, too. I can still recall the smell, and coolness, of a stand of Cedars of Lebanon that one passed through on the way to the airport. Happy Days.


I was 13 when we moved to Lebanon, and 15 when we left... Can't say that I frequented too many bars. But it was a fabulous place at a fabulous time.

24th Dec 2008, 16:17
ExSp33db1rd: you stand UNcorrected ...10,000 ft over the BOD. Eastbound departure clearance was typically to fly heading 270 degrees after takeoff and reverse course to cross the BOD not below 10,000 ft.

The famous Golden Bar, actually a bit of a dive, so it suited the crews just fine!

Mrs. G, who started off on 707s and VC10s, remembers that it was normal procedure to pack a cocktail party dress on Eastern Routes ... "For when we got invited to The Embassy." Coo ... fat chance now, eh?

The "Easy Six" ... but can you remember the names of the other five? Everyone remembers "Naughty Isobel" for some strange reason!

I stood on the ramp at Mehrabad in October 1971, watching our first 747 trundle out of the night on a proving flight, and thinking that it was going to be all different from now on. How right I was!

24th Dec 2008, 17:37
B707 on BOAC from SFO to SYD in 69. Full aircraft, on arrival at SYD and doing a turn over the city FA asked a gentleman if he would mind moving from his window seat so a youngster could have a look....yob gentleman said no.

DC8s....company.....too many hours to count including one emergency descent to YVR which after too deep snorkeling in Fiji left me totally deaf....going through customs was quite an event. Operation to fix was a week later.

B727-200....first jump seat ride on a training flight....very cool...multiple touch and goes at YXX.

DC10-30...jumpseat....very low approach to airshow.

DC10-30...with gear problems...went onto very high hangar roof with binoculars to have a closer look see during low fly-past.


aileron buzz
24th Dec 2008, 18:00
nice thread :ok:how i wish was a pilot then! by the way am new on prunne
welcome me aboard. merry christmas.

24th Dec 2008, 18:52
FA asked a gentleman if he would mind moving from his window seat so a youngster could have a look....yob gentleman said no.

So are you saying that actually nothing changed?:E:E:E:E

Pugilistic Animus
24th Dec 2008, 20:28
When highly qualified ex- military pilots like Marlon Green couldn't fly for Continental Airlines until the Supreme Court intervened:*

when Bonnie Tiburzi was deemed unsuitable to fly because she was a she:(

Ahh.... those was the days:E

I do however wish we could bring back some of the Crazies, Fools and Barnstormers :ok:


25th Dec 2008, 00:36
The "Easy Six" ... but can you remember the names of the other five? Everyone remembers "Naughty Isobel" for some strange reason!

Not a strange reason at all ! One could look, but not touch, I seem to recall.

One of my mates on an early trip decided to shower and change before attending the crew party - silly man, he learned quickly - and on being invited to 'come in' opened the door to the sight of a naked Isobel on a couch. Thinking that maybe airline life was going to beat RAF life after all, he gleefully entered, to find the rest of the mob, pissed by this stage, trying to keep quiet around the corner of the room ! :ok:

Have engaged brain, which will doubtless divulge the other 5 names at around 0300 tomorrow, will adv. ( Actually, not sure that I ever knew them all, tho' their exploits were legion )

2) Sylvia C. ?

Howard Hughes
25th Dec 2008, 04:18
The good ole days, BIG turboprops and 'stewardesses' who didn't mind being called 'stewardesses'!;)

25th Dec 2008, 04:53
The good ole days, BIG turboprops and 'stewardesses' who didn't mind being called 'stewardesses'

Or words to that effect !

Loose rivets
25th Dec 2008, 04:57
by the way am new on prunne...welcome me aboard.

Who said that??!!

25th Dec 2008, 07:38
Dome freight hold on a Comet with the #2 Hostee enroute CFU to LGW:E:ok:

unstable load
25th Dec 2008, 07:58
Welcome aboard, aileron buzz!!

Merry Christmas all!