Sunday, October 22, 2017

People do shoot at airplanes, humans

By Joseph A. Diblin  

Although I have occasionally been asked to express an opinion concerning the cause of an airline crash, it would be just one more opinion without all the facts, so I always passed. However, a recent comment by an FBI Investigator reminded me of an experience from past flight incidents involving weapons fired at airline planes. People do shoot at airplanes! Some of us ancient pilots who used to fly out of the old Milton Airport can verify to that!

During the hunting season, some years ago, I was flying with a student pilot in a single-engine training plane and happened to look down at a hunter. He raised his weapon and pointed it at our plane. Whether or not he fired at us I couldn’t determine. Back at the Milton Airport, I told airport owner, Harry Neidig, about the experience. He was quite upset and related a recent experience where a hunter shot at his plane in flight and it pierced the wing. We inspected the plane I had flown, but found no bullet holes. I repeat — people do shoot at airplanes — and people. The recent Las Vegas horror is an extreme example.

On a lighter side, a friend and this writer were discussing politics when he mentioned our president. To his amazement, I laughed heartily and then quickly explained I was not making fun of the president. However, the political subject brought to mind a humorous incident, (but dirty trick) pulled on an Air Force young friend. Here’s the story as my AF buddy, Ace, told it to me.

Ace was a member of the crew flying VIP and our president out of Washington to a distant city. Required to stay overnight, they were housed as a crew in the suite of a big hotel. Ace had just stepped out of the shower when one of his crew room-mates told him there was a fellow at the door with an important message who insisted on delivering it exclusively to him. Hastily wrapping a towel around his middle, Ace went to the door. As he arrived there, one crewmember opened the door as another snatched his covering towel, pushed him out the door into the hall and locked him out!

As Ace stood there in his birthday suit in the hall, he heard the nearby elevator stop at his floor. Frantically looking for cover, Ace spotted a political for president sign that would cover his most embarrassing body area. There stood our poor victim, holding a political sign as the people walked by and gazed in amazement. Ace heard one of the women comment, “What an extreme way to get attention to a political candidate!”

His fellow crewmen had to relent to Ace’s pounding on the door and finally opened it to allow him to enter. It was a wonderful “dirty trick” — as long as it didn’t happen to me!

Joseph A. Diblin, of Northumberland, was a four-engine pilot during World War II and has worked as a test pilot and civilian flight instructor. He is also seaplane rated. If you are a veteran — Vietnam, Iraq, World War, Korea, etc. — and would like to share your story, please contact him at 570-473-2594.  

Original article can be found here ➤

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