https://media.airfactsjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/06143310/fog-under-wing.jpg 1600 1200 Jimmy McNaughton https://airfactsjournal-images.s3.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/06142440/Air-Facts-Logo340.jpg Jimmy McNaughton2020-12-24 08:41:442020-12-23 10:17:55A Christmas gift to myself
It’s Christmas morning and I rise early, not to play Santa to my children, for they are long grown. Today I rise early to gift myself. I’m careful not to wake my wife, warm and snuggled under the covers. She has no interest in this thing that I go to do.
https://media.airfactsjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/06143325/donut-dollies.jpg 1170 1732 Jim Schueckler https://airfactsjournal-images.s3.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/06142440/Air-Facts-Logo340.jpg Jim Schueckler2020-12-23 09:04:492020-12-21 12:30:34The day it snowed in Vietnam: a true story
Carols played in the mess hall and the calendar read "December 24, 1969," but it didn't feel like Christmas Eve. We were tired from a long day of flying many missions picking up infantrymen and recon patrols from field locations, bringing them back to the big airfield at Phan Thiet for the Christmas cease-fire. Soldiers on both sides of this war were glad to allow the cease-fire to start one day early.
https://media.airfactsjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/06161457/Christmas-Vietnam.jpg 740 1109 Darcy Vernier https://airfactsjournal-images.s3.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/06142440/Air-Facts-Logo340.jpg Darcy Vernier2017-12-21 10:30:542017-12-21 10:31:10Christmas dinner in Vietnam
Back “in the world” people were sitting down to turkey at grandmother’s house and snow was drifting mistily beyond frosted windows that reflected the flame-shaped bulbs of hanging wreaths. In Vietnam it was hot and humid and sticky as the four Marines sat in the troop seats and looked gratefully at Boyd.
https://media.airfactsjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/06161501/maxresdefault-13.jpg 1080 1920 Scott Jackson https://airfactsjournal-images.s3.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/06142440/Air-Facts-Logo340.jpg Scott Jackson2017-12-20 17:59:492017-12-20 18:00:01Breaking the rules on Christmas Eve
It happened one Christmas Eve, at Toronto's Pearson International Airport, where I was captain of a 777-300. I looked out the front window to see passengers still running towards their gates, bags of Christmas gifts swinging, children struggling to keep up. I could tell from their posture and motion that they were either out of breath or in tears, maybe both.
https://media.airfactsjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/06161509/AviationTriad_AircraftHangar.jpg 482 725 Steve Mosier https://airfactsjournal-images.s3.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/06142440/Air-Facts-Logo340.jpg Steve Mosier2017-12-20 09:58:252017-12-20 09:58:34Silent night at the air base
I can think of a few times where I was on a quiet, I mean really quiet flight line. Once was when I was the commander of an F-4 squadron at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base in Goldsboro, North Carolina. In the mid-eighties Seymour was a busy operation - nearly one hundred Phantoms and a squadron of KC-135s were bedded down there.
https://media.airfactsjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/06161512/American-freighter.jpg 602 900 Tony Vallillo https://airfactsjournal-images.s3.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/06142440/Air-Facts-Logo340.jpg Tony Vallillo2017-12-19 11:50:412017-12-20 22:30:34I’ll be home for Christmas – an airline pilot’s story
When I was a new-hire at American, back in 1977, I occupied a position very close to the bottom of the seniority list. Having Christmas off was of no real importance to me, since I was single, unattached, and living in Manhattan, where there is surprisingly little to do on December 25th. So instead I conceived of a plan to surprise my folks with an unannounced Christmas visit.
https://media.airfactsjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/06161522/C-123K-in-Vietnam883.jpg 500 883 Jerry Tobias https://airfactsjournal-images.s3.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/06142440/Air-Facts-Logo340.jpg Jerry Tobias2017-12-18 17:07:082017-12-18 17:08:24Airlift to appreciation: spreading a little Christmas cheer in Vietnam
My C-123 unit had asked for volunteers to fly troops to and from the Bob Hope USO Christmas shows in Bien Hoa those two days. Flying certainly seemed to be a better alternative than spending a lonely Christmas in my room, I reasoned, so I gladly signed up to be scheduled as needed.
https://media.airfactsjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/06165522/Martha-DC-3.jpg 698 825 Martha Lunken https://airfactsjournal-images.s3.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/06142440/Air-Facts-Logo340.jpg Martha Lunken2016-12-22 09:56:012021-12-21 10:16:16Martha Lunken on flying home for Christmas
Whatever else he was, Gill Robb Wilson was most definitely the inspiration for one awkward, gawky, Midwestern teenager who wanted to be a pilot more than anything in the world. Recently I was rereading his poems and the one about Christmas in “The Airman’s World” reminded me of my best ever Christmas flight... a flight where I wasn’t even the pilot.
https://media.airfactsjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/06165532/TherouteLittmann.jpg 782 1280 Dan Littmann https://airfactsjournal-images.s3.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/06142440/Air-Facts-Logo340.jpg Dan Littmann2016-12-21 10:06:052016-12-23 10:05:51Flying is great, but family is better – a Christmas story
The first big cross-country flight I made in a light airplane was in 1976. A college buddy and I thought it would be fun to fly from Ohio to California and back over Christmas. Being young, single, and invincible at the time, we did not think too much about what the weather might have to say about it. We departed Springfield, Ohio (KSGH) on December 20 in a borrowed 150-hp AA-5 Traveler.
https://media.airfactsjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/06174055/Low_clouds.jpg 686 1024 Ed Welch https://airfactsjournal-images.s3.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/06142440/Air-Facts-Logo340.jpg Ed Welch2016-12-20 17:16:222016-12-22 09:58:01We didn’t make it to Grandma’s, but we had a Merry Christmas
It was December 1978, and I had been a private pilot since July 11 of the same year. Christmas would be our first trip - to Gulf Shores, Alabama, from Austin, Texas, to visit the wife’s parents and show off the four-month old baby girl.
https://media.airfactsjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/06165552/79078159.jpg 800 1200 Timothy Acker https://airfactsjournal-images.s3.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/06142440/Air-Facts-Logo340.jpg Timothy Acker2016-12-19 11:21:522016-12-21 10:08:33Christmas in Central America
On Cay Caulker, Belize, the conch shell Christmas ornaments hanging on palm fronds marked the season as Christmas and my wife and I felt merry. It got even more Christmassy a few days later in Antigua where the ancient buildings that lined the large plaza were lit with small white lights. A band played Christmas music of all types. It was Christmas season 2015-2016.
https://media.airfactsjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/06165954/ILS-at-night.png 800 1200 Dave Sandidge https://airfactsjournal-images.s3.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/06142440/Air-Facts-Logo340.jpg Dave Sandidge2016-12-18 09:07:522016-12-20 17:17:04The best Christmas lights I’ve ever seen
I hadn’t wanted to work on Christmas Eve; my family had its own plans, and I had wanted to be a part of those plans. Nonetheless, I was fortunate that the three-day trip I had been assigned was scheduled to end at nine o’clock p.m. on the eve of Christmas that year instead of late on Christmas Day. I had to steel my resolve and think stoically. After all, it was my job; it was my responsibility.
https://media.airfactsjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/06165603/slider2-aerial1.jpg 519 1140 Stephen Mayotte https://airfactsjournal-images.s3.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/06142440/Air-Facts-Logo340.jpg Stephen Mayotte2016-12-15 12:14:382016-12-18 09:23:53An ideal flight: helping a stranger on Christmas
For my 80th Angel Flight, the MVFR forecast turned into reality, but out over the water, it was even lower than advertised. I was in the clear at 1500 feet, but “clear” was all relative. There was nothing to see. No horizon. No water. Nothing at all, really. “JFK, Jr.” type conditions.