Friday, January 24, 2014

A great man and a great plane

The dogs and I stumbled across this gem this morning. It's a 1976 short put together by the Douglas Aircraft Company in which a DC-10 pilot, walking around the airport after a flight, finds a DC-3 sitting on the field and climbs aboard for a trip down memory lane.

The pilot is none other than James Stewart, award-winning actor and retired Major General, USAF, who began his military flying in World War Two as a B-24 pilot over Germany. He finished it with a flight as an observer aboard a B-52 over Vietnam 27 years later.

It's twenty minutes well spent, and if you have Amazon Prime, it's free for your big screen as part of a collection called "What were they thinking" that also features a WW2 training film about recognizing the Jap Zero and stars Ronald Reagan. That's where I found it.

And the DC-3...still a great plane today.

On a whim, I looked up the N-number of the one that Stewart sat in in this picture, N157U. Sadly, she crashed on take-off on May 4th, 1985 due to a propeller blade failure which caused the No. 1 engine to tear itself from it's mount. The crew of two and thirty-one passengers survived but N157U was damaged too badly to be salvaged. Damn shame.


  1. Talked to someone once who was his driver for a couple days. Said he was a great guy.

  2. There's two of them at the Long Beach airport that make several daily flights to/from Catalina Island carrying freight and mail.

    I can always hear them at Sea Launch, as they fly right over us, low and slow, like it was meant to be.