Page 83 - Bill MacRitchie and Early Flight
ISSUE : Issue 55
Published by Ronald Caplan on 1990/8/1
at a big party and had a big hangover. Went out to the Calgary airport. And this Russ Mills, his name was--we went around the airport. And we went in and sat down. He was really an adept pupil. I said, "Okay, Russ, let's go." We took off toward Calgary, towards the city. And we got up to about 300 feet, and I looked--and the control stick wasn't in' it. I had taken it into the office the night before. And I didn't know what to do. Because he was flying. By this time he had 7 or 8 hours flying--that was all. And I said, "What am I going to do? If I tell him...." He used to be telling me that he wasn't flying it, I was. I said, "No, Russ, you're flying it." He didn't believe me he was flying it. I said, "You're fly? ing it, Russ." So I waited. I said, "What'11 I do? I can't tell him I don't have any controls, and that he's got it all himself." I said, "Okay. Give us a landing now--make it good." And we had Rickenbacker down there. We had Jimmy Mollison, a famous English world flyer, in various parts of the world--they were also trans-Atlantic--and his wife Amy--Jimmy and Amy. And we had--there were all kinds of people that would normally never have come to this area, if it hadn't been for that field being there.... You'd have to be living at those times to realize how few people were involved and how few people were interested and how few people knew anything about it. You were in a little spot of your own--an oasis of ignor? ance about flying, and people who had an ab? solutely negative feeling towards it. To go ahead--nobody would have ever dreamt that there would be airliners and operations go? ing like there are today. Just wouldn't be? lieve it. 'Cause they figured it was too deadly, too dangerous, at that time. They'd have to love it to do it, I guess. He made a beautiful landing. And I said, "Okay, pull her off the runway over to one side." I said, "Russ, that was the most beautiful landing I've seen in my life." He said, "You did it." I said, "Oh no, I didn't do it, Russ." I said, "Look in the back seat." He turned around. "Where's the stick?" I said, "It's in the office." He said, "I thought you threw it out." I said, "No, I didn't throw it out." I said, "You were flying that aircraft and I was your passenger. Not that I wanted to be, be? cause I was scared to death! You did a beautiful job. Away you go again!" So that's the start of that whole oper? ation. Then, as time went on, then we became pretty well known. Beryl Markham flew across--the first woman to fly from east to west across the Atlantic, from Britain.... And I went and flew out around her plane the next day--she was in a bog at Baleine with the thing turned up on its nose. (See "Beryl Markham's Transatlantic Flight. 1936" in Issue 43 of CAPE BRETON'S MAGAZINE.) RENT-A'CAR OPEN DAILY: 8:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m. Sat. 8:(X) a.m. - 2:00 p.m. PRICE US FIRST! (902)562-1155 501 ESPLANADE - SYDNEY Halifax (902) 455-5926 • New Minas (902) 679-6919 • Dartmouth (902) 468-2864 ' Moncton (506) 853-1113 • Bathurst (506) 548-4882 • Sussex (506) 432-6868 SaintJohn (506) 634-1125 • Douglastown (506) 778-8080 EXPLORE SYDNEY'S PAST... CAPE BRETON CENTRE FOR HERITAGE AND SCIENCE 225 George Street OPEN (SUI/IMER)10 - 4 Monday to Saturday '2-5 Sunday OPEN (WINTER) 10-4 Tuesday to Friday -2-5 Sunday Operated by the Old Sydney Society For information call (902) 539-1572 ST. PATRICK'S MUSEUM 87 Esplanade OPEN: Mid-June to Labour Day 9:30-5:30 Daily COSSIT HOUSE 75 Charlotte Street OPEN: Mid-May to October 31 9:30 - 5:30 Dally A branch museum of the Nova Scotia Museum Complex 83
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