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Saigon Memory:

Old 22nd Feb 2012, 11:50
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Saigon Memory:

For the old timers who were privileged to take the CV 880 in and out of Saidon during the Vietnam War here's a memory. It's very short so pay attention to the period between 2:33 and 2:47. It's just possible it may have been you.

A typical day at the Tan Son Nhut Airport in Saigon (1968) - YouTube

O.P.
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Old 22nd Feb 2012, 21:23
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It was I. I was working on my day off.
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Old 22nd Feb 2012, 23:30
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Like a lot of us did in those days! I was there with laurie, shot at in the hold over the rubber plantation so decided to high tail it back to Kai Tak.
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Old 22nd Feb 2012, 23:46
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Someone posted a funny story aout his uncle's experience in Nam:




Quote:
....the only china dolls going for you would be the " itch-ai-eve " infested gold diggers doing the Lord's work for humanity.
" Ha ha ha...that reminds me of my uncle's story about an American phantom jockey who knocked up a Vietnamese girl during the 60's and told the crying girl " in 9 months' time you will give birth to a lovely baby girl...name her LIBERTY in memory of this wonderful night. God bless America! The poor girl retorted in her halting English " in a few weeks you you you willll willll will have sprouted some some some home home home grown cauliflowers on your frrrront frrront front inch...call it Vietnam Rose. Viva le Vietnam and Uncle Ho! "



p/s my italics and bold letters.
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Old 23rd Feb 2012, 05:30
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I recall speaking with Jack Smith, a CX legend before he passed, a few years back.

He told me that he recalled vividly flying out of Tan Son Nhut airport, with CX just before it fell.

He remembered the South Vietnamese Air Force taking off in their A-1 Skyraiders and essentially bombing the outskirts of the city, all within full view of the airport and then landing again to re-arm. Mission time was about 10 minutes.

He told me that he operated the 2nd last CX flight out of Saigon before it fell. He was lined up on the runway and the controlled told him to turn left after take off. Unfortunately there was a massive CB to the left, so he asked the controller if he could turn right. The controller told him that there was an artillery barrage currently going on to the right. He chose the lesser of two evils. He went right, straight through the barrage...

Lastly, he mentioned that one of the saddest days of his time with CX, was the day he operated the 2nd last flight out of Saigon. After many years of loyal service to CX, the Vietnamese staff in Saigon were left behind to their own fates, in the hands of the Viet Cong/Viet Minh, as CX wouldn't fly them out....

Last edited by Hoo Flung Pooh; 23rd Feb 2012 at 05:53.
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Old 23rd Feb 2012, 06:59
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After many years of loyal service to CX, the Vietnamese staff in Saigon were left behind to their own fates, in the hands of the Viet Cong/Viet Minh, as CX wouldn't fly them out....
Don't kid yourself, it would be exactly the same today in our caring & sharing company.
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Old 23rd Feb 2012, 07:30
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It was Bob Crocket
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Old 23rd Feb 2012, 15:49
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Unfortunately there was a massive CB to the left, so he asked the controller if he could turn right. The controller told him that there was an artillery barrage currently going on to the right. He chose the lesser of two evils. He went right, straight through the barrage...
So even back THEN CX would do ANYTHING not to fly through a CB! Now I see why avoiding ANYTHING on the radar is so ingrained!
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Old 23rd Feb 2012, 17:38
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Jack Smith was an ex Royal Navy fighter pilot. He would have known how to assess the potential risks flying out of Viet Nam. Jack was a gifted pilot and a great Captain. Jack looked after his people. Jack gave his time and love to a children's charity. Jack was the tireless Administrator of the Hong Kong Region of GAPAN. Jack was the best friend you could have.

Jack is a legend, and I count myself most fortunate that Jack was my mentor.

They are few who could emulate Jack Smith as a pilot, instructor and a gentleman of the 'Old School.' Jack is, and shall be, sorely missed.
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Old 23rd Feb 2012, 18:26
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Neptunus Rex - I totally agree. Jack was a true gentleman and a delight to fly with.
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Old 24th Feb 2012, 08:07
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To my knowledge not a single individual amongst the flight crew or cabin crew ever objected to doing those Saigon turn around flights. There were no accolades as management expected it to be done and the doers just went ahead and did it. The only admission that perhaps the operation was a little more hazardous than usual was a requirement that if the Convair was on the ground at Saigon for 2 hours or more then Swire headquarters in London had to be notified immediately. This fact was not generally known.
Considering todays frosty treatment of aircrew one can't but wonder if the string pullers running Cathay have any idea how the airline was built.

O.P.
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Old 24th Feb 2012, 11:46
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Toss, were you taxying behind the CV880????
 
Old 24th Feb 2012, 11:46
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Agreed Dora & Neptunus, Jack was a true gentleman of the highest order.

It was indeed, an honor to have known him.

Sadly missed...
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Old 25th Feb 2012, 00:30
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pjac

I have to say this, Jack was a good bloke but he wasn't on the CV880 fleet when the last flights took place. As to there being "No dissention), a then junior captain declined to operate a flight to Saigon and was immediately, hauled in to the office, to "Discuss his future" and when he was finally allowed to have his say, it was decide that he had a valid point. His objection was that to operate in to a known, active, "War Zone" on his existing insurance would void the coverage. The company had to actually self insure on that. The man in question went on to become management, himself.
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Old 25th Feb 2012, 09:48
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Saigon:

pjac;

I trust you noted in my post that says crews did not object to operating the Saigon flights starts with the words " to my knowledge ". The matter of a junior Captain not wanting to be involved is news to me. As a fellow very junior Captain I operated any number of those Saigon turn arounds and I'm surprized I never heard that story. Maybe " keep it quiet " was the order of the day. As far as insurance was concerned I think the company had an extra policy in place but I can't remember anything about it. Something never discussed.

If you were there I'm sure you will recall the almost farcical suggestions from flights operations to put another pair of eyes on the flight deck during approach. Get one of the cabin crew to sit in the jump seat behind the Captain. The girl with the nicest perfume would have been my choice but I think the suggestion was to get the chief male purser. Also take down the Captain's and First Officer's oxygen mask so that the hose does not impede the Flight Engineer's vision. Admittedly the approaches were sometimes saturated with all kinds of aircraft but I personally never experienced anything alarming. The US military ATC was par excellence.

O.P.
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Old 25th Feb 2012, 13:48
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Well done you guys, [except c/jerk...cheeeeeap shot.]. Nearly forgotten why I aspired to CX in the first place.
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Old 25th Feb 2012, 15:29
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Ocean, you make a good point. It is worth us all bearing in mind one single unalterable reality: eventually the 'bean counter' mentality, with its 'short-termism' thinking, its 'venality' and its inability to see the 'big picture' will eventually be discredited. One day, the professionalism of aviation based managers will return and this nightmare will be over. It's unfortunate that we are living through the era in history that we are, but it is a small comfort that all the 'small' people running airlines today will eventually be gone. We talk about legends like Jack Smith (a true gentleman). I can assure you we won't be remembering or caring about any of our management that we have now. A legacy is something that can't be bought...only earned.
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Old 26th Feb 2012, 10:15
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Capitalism: ??????

Trafalgar;

What in effect you are saying is that one can hardly blame a career minded pilot for feeling a sense of ambivalence about the direction of aviation today. Lots of potholes in a road that should be smooth. So much for progress ( and capitalism !!! )

O.P.
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Old 27th Feb 2012, 00:01
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I remember the CX CV880s at TSN while I was learning my trade in the mighty Herc.


Also the PAA and AAL B707s, EAL DC-8s, the World B727s and later the PAA B747s.


BS
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Old 27th Feb 2012, 06:54
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Aargh Jack

Agree with all. A great bloke. The only person I ever saw who could smoke two from the outer marker...before he gave up the death sticks. Guessed flying Buccaneers off and onto postage stamps in dead of night would make anyone take up fags! RIP mate.
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