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Hangar Talk: Stories: Captain Cargo

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The Glamour
Waiting for the hotel bus to pick us up in Madrid, we're standing outside the terminal watching Iberia hostesses arriving for work.

If The Hat Fits
Fashion for freight dogs . . . Why iron a shirt when you can wear a jumper over it?

It's A (Freight) Dog's Life
Everyone seems to think a pilot leads some sort of glamorous lifestyle jetting round the world and seducing stewardesses in five star hotels, so I think it's about time I put the record straight.

Jet Jocks & Wide Boys
There's something I can't quite work out about this wide-body thing. I can't quite get my head round it. I fly a narrow-body, and according to popular myth, by getting onto an aircraft that is wider I would be furthering my career.

Lightning Reactions
A year or so ago I was flying into Rome Fuimicino one evening with the weather radar unservicable and CB's all around. The radar had worked fine until we saw the first flash of lightning, when it had decided to go into hibernatation.

Psychobabble & Stress
Recently I went on a CRM course, which now stands for Crew Resource Management rather than Cockpit Resource Management. There were three captains, two first officers and two flight engineers on the course. It was by far the best course I've been on, even though there were only two crash videos.

Lost and Found
We were on one of the Spanish runs, enroute from Brussels to Vittoria and then on to Valencia, where we stayed near the beach and got a free breakfast. We were at flight level 280, the stars clear in the moonless sky, on an easy run with only one more night before going home. The flight engineer, Fred, had just brought us coffee, always a good method of inducing turbulence.

Not Him Again...
What makes a good Captain? There's a question. I've flown with great pilots who were bad Captains, and vice versa. One cynic suggested it was the ability to sign bits of paper without compromising yourself.

A Culture of Blame
Saturday night, and we're cruising up to Brussels, and should be there in time to get a few drinks down us. Kevin, one of our younger first officers, is handling. He's pretty good considering his low hours. Fred, the flight engineer, who I seem to have been flying with a lot lately, is a grizzled old ex-RAF working class guy with bad hearing. He's telling Kevin the story of Gibson, the captain who went supersonic in a 727.

Balancing a Pram on a Flagpole
Last weekend I went flying in a friend's microlight, a weight shift machine with a Rotax engine on it. Basically, It's just a hang-glider with an engine. Peter wheeled it out of the freight container it was parked in, and I watched as he rigged it. I had a close look at the bolt that holds the bathtub that you sit in to the kite-like wing. He assured me the bolt was hardened steel, but being used to redundancy I was a bit taken aback to find it wasn't fitted with any cable or other pin in the unlikely case that the bolt sheared. Not even a ballistic parachute. After getting dressed in what I was told was an Ozee suit, pulling on the helmet and stepping gingerly on the centre member and lowering myself into the rear seat, I wondered if I should be down the pub instead.

   Landings is proud to present the Stories of Captain Cargo

Captain Cargo grew up in Southern Africa, where at the age of nineteen, he started flying by accident. After ten years spraying tsetse flies, locusts and other nasty insects, interspersed with spells flying tourists round the bush, he moved to the UK. After obtaining a UK ATPL, he joined an airline that flies freight for a major parcel delivery company. He has been doing it ever since, and now flies a Boeing 727 freighter around Europe, mainly at night. He is currently writing a novel based on his aviation experiences.
Contaction Captain Cargo:


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