Whiskey Jim

by Capt. Ken Kahn

One of our captains was, for some reason, nicknamed "Whisky Jim." One flight with Jim was a long one, almost fifteen hours, from the time we showed in the afternoon at JFK to the final landing in Anchorage. The first leg was to Dover AFB to pick up the load. Jim made the takeoff on runway 31L. The departure procedure called for an immediate left turn to the Carnarsie VOR but I got the impression that Jim was going to maintain runway heading until we ran out of fuel. At my suggestion, he did turn left. Then he fell asleep. I flew the airplane until he awakened just before top of descent (TOD). We spent a few hours at Dover and departed for Seattle to pick up fuel. After takeoff, Jim fell asleep and again awakened just before TOD. By the time we took off from SEA for ANC, I was exhausted but Jim promptly went to sleep. I was so tired that I couldn't keep from nodding off. I put my shoulder harness on to keep from falling forward and hitting my head on the glareshield. The F/E, whose nickname was Pozie, must have napped on the way to Seattle because he watched me like a hawk. Every time I nodded off, he gave me a sharp jab in the back. By the time we neared ANC, I was literally trying to keep my eyelids open with my fingers. Once, again, as if by some mysterious biological instinct, Jim started to stir. He shook himself a bit, snuffled, and, as he was a large man, came awake in a manner strongly evoking a bear coming out of hibernation. Wide awake now, he rubbed his hands together enthusiastically and said to us, "What do you say boys, how about going out and having a nice dinner?" I thanked him for the invitation and politely declined, saying I was feeling a bit tired and needed to take a nap.

Whiskey Jim did didn't need much rest on layovers.

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