Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 176
…This is your Captain speaking, on your right you will see the lights of Indianapolis Indiana…
Captain Ace Bannion guides The Blue Ridge Angel on a steady north-northeasterly course out of Kansas City Missouri. At 15,000 feet they encounter turbulence from the outflow of a spring storm rising out of Iowa, but he steers their Douglas Aircraft nimbly to the east.
He is in contact with Midway tower within the first half of the 7:00 PM CST hour and things are looking good for an on-time arrival for this planeload of people jazzed for Jesus.
“This is your Captain speaking. On your right you will see the lights of Indianapolis Indiana. We are 150 miles out of Chicago and can look forward to a balmy evening about 48 degrees with broken overcast. If you are not wearing your seatbelt, please peel yourself off the ceiling and find your seat and then buckle up. These measures are the continuing policies aboard the Blue Ridge Angel, concerning both landings and takeoffs. Thank you”
Safety is a paramount responsibility of the pilot, no matter how the feeling of invulnerability permeates this load of Billy Graham Crusade regulars.
As the plane descends below the stratocumulus cloud deck at 4000 feet and 50 miles out, it is time to lower the landing gear. As routine as that deployment is, it is not advisable to land without wheels down. There is even an idiot light that goes on should the gear not both drop and lock. No offense Mr. Pilot.
Ace’s copilot is a recent graduate of the Lewis University School of Aviation and is interning in this airliner, which is a far cry from the Cessna that he trained in. He wants to be a commercial airline pilot when he grows up, which started 10 years ago when he was 10 years old.
A decade later his dream is going to turn into a nightmare.
“The red light is on Ace,” he alerts the Captain.
“What do you mean…” he retracts the gear with a flip of a switch and then flips it on again and again x5.
“It’s not locking Mr. Bannion!”