Connie co-pilot caper
Email from Captain Wright.
"This e-mail and its attachment relates to the value of experience in decision making. Some of your readers may find this story to be of interest. You could say that your novels all deal with this theme.
You may have read Ernest Gann’s autobiographical volume “Fate is the Hunter” describing various episodes from his career in aviation. Ernie was one of those people whose aviation exploits define an era that most likely will never be again. You might be familiar with his “Connie co-pilot caper”.
Being short of funds and finding a Connie co-pilot job “up for grabs”, he presented himself for the position believing that the fact that he had never been in a Connie before could be overcome. As he and the Captain walked out to the aircraft, a plan formed in his mind. Expecting the Captain to be of an autocratic bent typical of Captains in that era, he figured the Captain would start the engines and conduct the taxi and take-off at which point Ernie would have observed enough to make a credible showing of competence.
His plan went awry when the Captain turned to him and said, ”You start the engines and handle the taxi and take-off”. His cover being blown, there was nothing for Ernie to do but admit he had never been in a Connie before. The Captain’s unexpected response was, “Neither have I”, so they both deplaned and looked for other employment.
Perhaps lesser known was Ernie’s passion for seafaring which became the basis for several of his other novels and possibly responsible for his son George choosing seafaring as a profession. George graduated from California Maritime Academy the year prior to my arrival there and went to work for Chevron Shipping in their tankers running to Alaska. His final voyage bore some linkage to the excerpt from my memoirs included in the attachment describing an incident occurring 45 years ago while sailing as Chief Mate on the Sea-Land Alaska run."
The story tomorrow...
Enjoy the Journey!