IAH started the discussion of airplanes and Cape Air came up. I had the privilege of being on another predecessor airline that flew between Boston and Hyannis, and here's my story:
It was a boring flight from Baltimore. I was pleased that it only cost eleven bucks, active duty military fare, which meant wearing his summer uniform. Allegheny Airlines was nice to me on that one-hour trip to Boston, my first stop, netting me a better window seat, and offer of free drinks. Refused of course, remembering no drinking on duty rules. I waited about 45 minutes at Logan Airport, then walked with my B-4 overnight bag to the small plane’s gate, and discovered he would be one of three souls on the 20-minute hop to Hyannis. The airline, which eventually became part of Cape Air, was called Will’s Air. The pilot was at least 75, wiry, and strong enough to handle heavy bags as he loaded the nose and rear compartments. He motioned for me to be copilot.
“Sit here and don’t touch anything, even if I ask you to,” he commented with a wink.
“Don’t worry,” I deadpanned, “I won’t.”
“We’ll get there following Route 3 down Cape, then over on the Mid Cape,” Will whispered, “piece of cake.”
I decided that if I had survived Army Infantry Basic School, I could survive this flight. This was the first pass that I has had since he joined the Army back in March 1969. Vietnam was my next and maybe last stop, but I was doing time at Fort Holabird, just outside Baltimore, first. Intel School, they called it. I was doing just OK there, but closeness to DC nightlife meant that I stayed out too late, drove home too fast, and fought sleep through most of my morning classes.
We (Will, I and the other two terrified passengers) made it to Hyannis, flying very low, barely clearing the Sagamore Bridge over the Cape Cod Canal, purposely buzzing cars and trucks on the Cape as he did.
Will (the pilot) of Will's Air is lone gone and I never had the chance to fly the plane (without a license it would have been dicey for me and the others).
My first flight was when I was ten on Eastern Airlines, a DC6 from Pittsburgh PA to Tampa/St. Pete FL to see an aunt and uncle over the spring break from school. Cigarettes, a cloth napkin and silverware were all on the tray table, which was always down, when I entered. The Stewardess (as they were called) even offered me a Mimosa before takeoff, which I assume was since she did not have her glasses on and thought I was a midget (small person), or something.
A great memory and thanks Jerry for jogging it!
That was delightful. And Jerry, those were indeed the good old days of flying commercial, when the amount of seat space was luxurious by today's standard.
I believe I was pushing about 8 or maybe even 10 when I took my first flight in my grandparents Beechcraft Musketeer. They would fly me and my Mom to Palm Springs for lunch (from Long Beach) on occasion. I also remember my grandpa flying us over our house one time. It was amazing to my young eyes and mind to be able to see my own house, the funny maze-like curves of the streets and cul-de-sacs, indeed entire neighborhoods from up above. Then when I was older, they started letting me and a friend fly with them out to the "River" (Bullhead, AZ.) on weekends. We weren't allowed to take much: a toothbrush and a spare pair of undies, if I recall. We wore our bathing suits underneath our shorts and tee shirts. It was a boring flight, just like it's a very boring drive (all desert), but it was still very cool, yet at the time we really didn't know just how much. We were just excited that we were flying!! Now in retrospect, the memories of flying with my grandparents are beyond cool. They're - way, way awesome.
I don't recall ever flying in a commercial airliner prior to these early "family" flights. I think my first commercial flight was at about the age of 15, when I flew up to Washington state with one of my cousins, who was only about 8, so that we could visit one of our great aunts and uncles. I don't recall the airline. I think it may have been Pacific Southwest Airlines (PSA), one of the four heritage airlines that later form US Airways.
By the time I was ready to engage in my first (and only - ha!) overseas duty - in Japan, where I ended up serving for 4 years, I still had my 1971 red Volkswagen Beetle, which I had acquired while in high school. I didn't want to sell it, and so needed a place to store it for the year (so I thought) that I would be gone. My grandparents offered to store it at the river for me. I was supposed to drive it out and leave it, on my last weekend prior to departing the States, and would fly back with grandma and grandpa. By then they were flying the Bonanza. The plans changed at the last minute for some reason, I can't remember what, and I ended up not going to the river. Instead, my aunt and uncle let me store the bug in their garage. My cousin, the same one that I flew commercially with years before, ended up taking the car to his high school auto body shop, and it became the shop project car that year (when I eventually came back, the car was flawless with a shiny paint job.)
The thing is, on that flight back with the grandparents that I missed, something went horribly wrong. For some reason, I can't recall the explanation, a malfunction occurred with the landing gear. By then my grandparents home airport was Fullerton Municipal. Someone in the tower caught it, and so my grandparents had to circle while trying to fix the problem, which ultimately couldn't be corrected. They were forced to belly in. The plane was a wreck, and they were pretty sore for about a month, but that was the extent of it. They were lucky. The plane was eventually repaired. This was in 1980. My grandfather passed away in 1988, and my grandmother, not finding anyone in the family interested in flying, sold the plane. A year after she sold the aircraft, I met my husband, who was enthusiastic about flying (his parents had a private aircraft and flew when he was young, and he himself eventually got his pilot's license), but too late for that aircraft. Too bad. Anyway, the memories remain golden.
Ohmygosh, Allegheny Airlines! My Dad used to call it Agony Airlines. hahahahaha
My first flight was back in 1963 on BOAC... British Overseas Airways Corporation... now British Airways. I was flying with my Mum, younger brother, and older sister. We were emigrating from England to Canada (I now live in the US) and were flying to meet my Dad, who had emigrated 3 months earlier. We stopped in Greenland to refuel the old propeller aircraft.
BOAC was awesome and we were treated like royalty. We were part of an exclusive club, back then, so we received certificates and pins and "rewards" each time we flew with them.