Flying in Circles ¹

by Capt. Ken Kahn

Back in the prop days, long flights carried extra crewmembers to provide relief. One such crew was on a layover at a remote location, probably Guam or Wake Island, far from scrutiny. When departure time came, the captain, identified here as SP (Senior Pilot), was still feeling the effects of the liquid sedative he had imbibed. In fact, the crew had to carry him out to the airplane and up the boarding ladder. As he was a man of some heft, it was a difficult task. The copilot (CP) was at the bottom, pushing and sweating and swearing. He said, "Look at this disgusting pig; I have to take a checkride from him next week and I can fly circles around him." SP was still unresponsive. The following week, CP showed at the airport for his checkride with SP. As they reached the boarding ladder, SP said to CP, "Alright wiseguy, let's see those **** circles." CP, who was a bit high-strung, turned and ran back into operations and demanded another check pilot.

¹This was a story I heard. I cannot vouch for its accuracy.

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