Another Day at HFF

A significant front with rain will arrive tonight. The daytime forecast portends marginal conditions. Nonetheless, our second-in-command (“SIC”) B-25 pilots are ready to go and arrive early to review procedures prior to their first flights in the right seat. Two flights are planned but the second has a special mission. An HFF member and veteran, Athal Williams, was buried yesterday at Tahoma National Cemetery. Today friends gathered at the Museum of Flight for a memorial service and lunch. At the family’s request, B-25 “Grumpy” made its initial pass down Boeing Field runway 13-right at 1 p.m., bomb bay door opening at the south end where the guests were assembled on the Skydeck. “Grumpy” flew a left pattern in view of the crowd prior to a second pass, this time closing the bomb bay door and climbing to the left (north), suggesting ascension. This provided a poignant opportunity for the SIC pilots to share the magic of vintage aircraft. Athal had been a member of a bomber crew during his Air Force career and was beloved in pilot circles.

And back at the hangar, Santa arrived to the delight of many children, young and not-so-young. His fans waited patiently as the appointed time-of-arrival (1:30) passed. Word came from the tower that Santa had suffered an in-flight emergency when two reindeer on the same side became ill causing asymmetric thrust and serious sleigh yaw. He made a smooth emergency landing on runway 16-left with recovery by the valiant members of the Paine Field Fire Department who then transported him to HFF in style, in an airport emergency truck. Santa offered good wishes and individualized behavior counseling to those small enough to sit on his lap. HFF fed him and filed his IFR flight plan to his next destination. While two of the reindeer remain somewhat under the weather, Santa solved his thrust problem by moving Donner to the starboard side.

Deliver Santa pictures to the kids, debrief the B-25 pilots and arrange Christmas Ship Beaver flights for next week… and to all, a good night.

John Sessions