Wednesday, March 02, 2005


Baxter Black tells a story about a friend of his, an older gentleman who is a rancher out in Montana. This feller has a bit of a problem with coyotes, so periodically he would hire a local pilot to carry him around in his plane while he would hang out the door of the plane and shoot 'em.

Well, it seems there was this one time the rancher got a little over anxious and shot the tip off one of the propeller blades. They had to make an emergency landing out in the middle of nowhere, twenty miles from the nearest house. Just as the pilot was getting ready to start the long walk back to town he heard BOOM, BOOM, BOOM from the other side of the plane and goes running around to find the rancher standing there with smoking gun saying "come on sonny, I evened 'em up fer you." He'd shot the tip off the other propeller blade!

Whereupon they climded in and flew back home. Said it was a bumpy ride, but they made it in one piece.

A couple of weeks ago I repeated this tale to DR and Bigger Brother when we were working on the barn. They laughed about it of course, but then brother said "I've got one better than that... you remember JS?" I told that yes I did, then brother proceeded to tell me this tale.

JS had an airplane, I don't recall what kind, but it was a nice 'un. Even had the retractable landing gear. Now JS, like Bigger Brother, was a Millwright. I've been around enough Millwrights, Ironworkers and Boilermakers to know that all them boys has got a screw loose. I reckon it just comes with the job.

JS had a friend, what was a fellow Millwright, who'd never been flying before, so he offered to take him for a ride. The friend agreed so off they went. Everything went smooth and JS's buddy enjoyed the flight.

Til it came time to land.

One of the wheels wouldn't come down and lock. Now, you can land a plane on one wheel, but it plays hob with the paint job... and the wings and the engine and, well you get the picture. So JS commenced to doing all kinds of acrobatics to try shake that wheel enough to make it come on down and lock.

They flew around for thirty minutes and was on the verge of running out of gas when JS's buddy got to rooting around behind the seat and found a set of jumper cables. He opened up the door and started swinging them jumper cables around like he was trying to catch a calf at the National Rodeo finals. He finally got it wrapped around the landing gear strut and commenced to yanking on it. Somehow or another he was able to pull the gear on down and it locked in place. They landed, no worse for wear other than some seriously frayed nerves.

JS put the plane up for sale the next day.

Bought himself a camper when he finally sold it. Said he was done with airplanes.