May 29

We have had our quiet time. Now to discover if we remember how to fly the DC-3.

The weather is IMC (instrument meteorological conditions) meaning we must fly on instruments to be safe. All three pilots (Gene Vezzetti, Bill Mnich and yours truly) have substantial experience. The difference is contemporary pilots usually enjoy the aid of an autopilot to follow instructions through the mist and muck (hopefully, not ice). I “hand flew” the big bird to altitude, all the while helping Gene interpret handoffs from one brogue to another. If you haven’t seen the SNL skit (youtube) on Scottish air traffic control, you should. It’s realistic and funny, when you’re on the ground.

Each controller asks whether we require basic, traffic or terrain services. Having flown several long trips in my career, I have a funny feeling HFF will one day receive a series of bills reflecting IFR services in Scotland. “Basic” seems sufficient (and entirely consistent with Scottish frugality) since our databases and radios reveal traffic and terrain. We left the clouds on descent into Duxford, flying by Cambridge and into the pattern. A significant row of Dakotas (the favorite British term for the C-47) greeted us, but nowhere near the number expected by Sunday, June 2nd. By then, when our European colleagues arrive, the number will exceed 30.

Were you four or five years old for your first memory of Christmas morning? Some of our crew members are in their 70s. Landing at Duxford rivaled that Christmas morning.

4 Responses to “May 29”

  1. Mike Murphy says:

    We are all with you as you fly over Normandy to remember and honor your father and all of the other souls that took part in the momentous event 75 years ago. Godspeed.

  2. Hello all of you!
    Welcome to France! I finally found access to your flight path and that of the others on Flight Aware TV. I was stunned that I got it. Daks had down that you were all delayed for some reason in Duxford. By my watch, adding six hours to my time, it confirmed you landed ai 7:05PM. I hope that you have a beautiful mid evening sky to look at. They also changed the drop zone to Ranville per Daks. IGOG! Here’s to your father, John and Mike! And our dad, too! The States are proud of you! Victoria

  3. Dear John: Johnny Oberto & I have been keeping up on your blogs. Keeping them coming as we’re really enjoying your historic narrative past and present. Johnny is transported back in time-de ja vous all over again. He and I wish you best of luck for you D-Day celebration.
    Cheers, Johnny O and Bob Wells

  4. John,
    I am very glad that I found your John’s Next Flight! I had gone thru the www. that Dan had told me could get to Kilo for replies. It had worked at first but when not, I figured that you all were so busy that you had to stop for a while. Reading your entries is such a joy!! I will try to see if Daks will provide a visual of the events coming up. I can participate that way. I spoke yesterday with a very nice gentleman at HFF’s Washington’s number. We had a lovely conversation. I told him that you all are an intrepid gang of guys! Yes, truly a magnificent Christmas morning. Good flying! Victoria Note: I want to share that, with my six days with PanAm at Oxford (that you were so kind to put up with), my email back and forth with Dan, and your JNF entries, I am “living” a part of myself and truly “dancing” on the clouds. -V-

Leave a Reply