Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Final Flight

Here's a posting forwarded to me by listener Richard H. It's from Mark V. on the Aeronca List. Hope they don't mind me republishing it here.


Date: Mon, Dec 8, 2008 at 9:41 PM
Subject: [f-AA] ###"The Final Touchdown"###

Two items non Aeronca related I'd like to pass along to this group who I suspect will appreciate them. The first is a self written text from a local aviator who recently passed. Following the text is is a short 4 minute youtube video a friend of mine made 3 winters ago that is befitting the text.



Dutch Redfield was a Professional Flight Instructor at Pan Am. A respected author, terrific human being, and a lover of every aspect of aviation. Fitting for him to write his final chapter.

Holland "Dutch" Redfield

"The Final Touchdown"

During a lifetime in aviation, I have experienced only one forced landing. It was not difficult. The dead-stick glide began at three thousand feet. There were several suitable fields from which to choose. Things worked out nicely. Yet I know that I have one more forced landing lurking and waiting for me out there. I believe that at
this stage of my life, I am ready for it. Perhaps there will be warning, maybe not.

Will there be time for me to plan a good approach to this final touchdown? Will it be a hasty no power, no options, straight ahead steep descent to a walloping hard touchdown? Or will it be a soft afternoon peaceful glide?

Whatever, for this final glide, I ask only for an open cockpit, so I can, however briefly, savor for the last time the feels of flight, as biplane wings forward of me exquisitely frame and record the slowly changing, tilting scenes as I maneuver and silently bank and glide onto what I have long known will be my very final approach.

Please, no helmet, so old ears can best sense vital changes in speed, relayed through the lovely sounds of whistling interplane struts and wires, and so cheeks and bared head can best read changing airflows swirling behind the cockpit's tiny windshield.

Below, in a forest of trees lies a grassy field long ago set aside for biplane flyers of old. It looks small, tiny. With lightly crossed aileron and rudder I'll slip her a few inches over the fence. I'll level her off, then hold her off, with wheels skimming the grass tips.

The lift of the wings, the sounds of flight, rapidly diminish. With stick full back, lift fades, a slight tremor, then she and I are bumping and rolling across the beautifully sodded field. The wooden propeller remains still.

We roll to a stop. I have no belt to loosen. I raise goggles and slowly climb out. Suddenly there is applause, then bear hugs and slaps on the back. "Hey, you old goat, you really slicked that one on!" I am with old friends.

Dutch Redfield

Dutch passed away in his sleep on November 13th.

(Minnesota looks just like this video tonight)

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hope that Dutch's final glide was as he wanted it to be.


7:04 PM  

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