After seeing the photo of the fellow that forgot to drain the coolant for his engine before removing the head I thought Id start a thread of the best of crap moment.
One of my best was back in the mid 70's I had spent a bunch of money and time rebuilding a 351/M400 for a Ford truck I was turning into a power house. I had done every detail possible with the paint and parts that I could. The day we lowered the engine back into the truck we bolted everything in, That engine looked amazing sitting there. I reached into my tool box and next to a screwdriver was the shaft that goes between the oil pump and the distributor. My friend told he saw all the color just drain from my face when I seen that shaft. Luckily I was able to fashion a chunk of hose to the shaft and very carefully lower it into place into the oil pump and camshaft. So that was my biggest Oh Crap moment, What was your?
Well, it's non-automotive, but:
My son helped me demo and remodel the bathroom. Part of the project was to replace the toilet. We had removed the old toilet, demolished the old floor, installed new underpayment, installed new tile, and grouted it. When we removed the old toilet I stuffed a rag in the pipe to prevent odors from coming up and things from going down.
Of course there were a few days between removing the old toilet and installing the new one. We got it in place with the new wax ring, all snugged up, and installed the water supply line. I opened the valve and let the tank fill. I then smiled, proud of our work, and flushed it. As soon as I pulled the lever I knew it didn't sound right and in a flash realized the rag was still in the pipe. We had to undo the whole installation, fish the rag out with a toilet snake, then install it all over again.
Sometimes the English language is just not adequate.
A few years ago I rebuilt a Kingston carb for my former 23 T truck. Spent hours making sure everything was perfect, cleaned etc. I installed the carb, turned on the gas, and fuel poured everywhere. Not a drip, but a torrent. I tapped on the bowl, thinking something may simply be sticking. No luck. I sat back, poured a wee dram of Scotland's finest whiskey, lit a Cuban cigar to think and ponder. I glanced at my work bench and there in all its shiny glory was the float
Mine was actually on a tour. I was the tour lead and we were about 5 miles from our starting point and cruising about 25mph. All the sudden the car started running on what seemed like one cylinder and making the loudest knocking/banging noises. I thought for sure I broke a crankshaft. I pulled the car over and it was a simple matter of the timer coming off and slapping around as the roller revolved.... It didn't hurt anything and I put it back on and we completed the tour. But it sure made a racket and it certainly scared the crap out of me...!
Definitely not automotive, I was planting some new fruit trees for the better half reached over for the water hose (black sears Craftsman) and when I grabbed it it started to move I drug it under the lemon tree to see what the problem was... I was staring at a Black Snake... heart rate through the roof!
I was cleaning the two little one barrel Solex carburetors on my 1952 Porsche convertible. I removed the two tiny brass screws holding the choke butterfly plate. I dropped one of them in the carburetor and heard it go down and then down another hole. Yes the intake valve was open and it was in the cylinder. I had just arrived home from work and Mary was just fixing dinner which would be ready in an hour.
I put a jack under the oil pan and unscrewed the four engine bolts. I disconnected the gas line and the tachometer. Then I disconnected the ignition and oil pressure wires. I let the engine down and rolled it out the back. I removed the left intake manifold and tipped the engine over to the left and heard the screw come out of the cylinder and it fell onto the driveway.
I then put it all back together and drove the car into the garage just as Mary called me in to dinner. I did that job in one hour. Those early Porsches were just like a V W except for the tachometer.
In retrospect, some non-auto ("OH, SH%T!") moments of 'foot-in-mouth' provide some great chuckles. Just a couple for sharing:
Having grown up on a farm, neighbors were always willing to help out with the workload when necessary. As such, the farming community would become a 'family' of sorts.
After I moved into the city for a 'real job' (one where I could actually get paid), I would still come and visit my parents every week or two. There was an old cheese factory next to the farm, where a family had taken residence in the upstairs apartment. When visiting my parents, the different family members would wander over and we became acquainted - all except for their oldest son. The most interaction we had might be a 'wave' if he was outside when I'd arrive.
Having lived in that 'farm community' (neighborhood), that entire 'community' (even if someone had moved away), would likely be sent an invitation whenever there would be a social event..... Such was the case when one of the 'neighbor' kids happened to be getting married. Think of it being a similar atmosphere to a 'family reunion'.
At the wedding reception, I had been at the 'beer bar' where my consumption had me feeling decently sociable, so I decided to wander over to the separate 'liquor bar' to see who else might be there. (Remember, like a 'family reunion'???)
When I walked into the 'liquor bar', I noticed that the facility had put a plywood cover on top of the pool table. (No need to have someone unnecessarily spilling beer or drinks onto the pool table, and besides that, there was no room because of the crowd for anyone to play anyhow!)
Sitting on the far end of the table from me happened to be that eldest son (along with his wife) from that next-door-to-my-parents' family. As I elbowed myself through the crowd and passing them, I got a shove on my shoulder and heard him nasally say, "Thay, I bet-tha ya doane know whoo da hail I am!" (Again, I mention my 'social' attitude/condition.) I pulled back, and with my best 'hair-lip' cleft palette imitation, I responded "Oh yeth, I sthure as hail do know who da hail you are!" Well, after a moment or two of conversation and then an "Oh, Jethus Christ!", he abruptly slid off his seat on the table and quickly left.... Only 'then' did it occur to me that he really did have a cleft palette or 'hair-lip' condition.
I tried to apologize to his wife, but what can one say when they've got their foot deeply wedged in their mouth like that????
When I had my old real estate company, our Tuesday mornings were always scheduled for an 'Office Meeting' to re-align, update, and keep everyone on the same page. One time, our meeting fell between the Christmas and New Year holidays. Real estate office phones just do not ring during that period of time... I had seventeen sales reps (all fellas) working for me.
So, as guys will do when there's nothing to do, we started to sit around and 'B.S.' after our meeting. Conversation got around to "What was your most embarrassing moment???" They all looked at me to relate mine. After telling them about my encounter with the son of my parents' neighbor, there were many chuckles and hoots about 'Marv's moment'.
Then, one of my reps decided to share another 'moment'.... He said "It hadn't really happened to (him), but rather to his sister-in-law".
She had been grocery shopping, was at the checkout, and was about half-way through being 'checked-out'. The checker was doing her thing, and the bag-boy was doing his job at the end of the conveyor. Being half-way through checking out, the sister-in-law exclaimed, "Oh, I almost forgot.... I need some Tampax!"
The bag-boy responded "I'll go get them!", and took off running down the aisle.
After getting half-way down the aisle, he turned around and came back, asking "Do you want the kind that you shove in with your thumb, or the kind that you pound in with a hammer???" (He obviously thought she had said "Thumb-tacks".) Both she and the checkout girl began to stumble, stutter and stammer.
She bought thumbtacks......
Guess I'm not 'alone' in this world, either.
Well Frank's screw in the carb reminded me of my biggest-OOOOPS! moment. I wuz gettin' married , and our 1960 Olds fuel pump. vacuum booster had the vacuum diaphragm let go. Well, that meant no air vents etc. as it was all vacuum powered. That won't do on a long honeymoon trip, so I put in a new, rebuilt pump. Off to the wedding (I was in Dunsmuir, and the Wedding was in Grass Valley. Well, my Sister & I were in our car, the rest of the family was in their car, and off we went. Hmm, in not too many miles I realized there was no venting happening. The new pump had the vacuum connections reversed to the old one. No problem, we're stopping in Redding to pick up a few more folks, so while we're stopped, I'll change out the lines. Hood's up, air cleaner off to get access to the lines. OK! Start 'er up, we'll see if I fixed it. Vroom, Vroom, ping! A little screw holding a small vent plate decided to let loose, popped up and down into the carb. Bang Bang Bang--TURN IT OFF!!! Screw was obviously in one cylinder. Park the car at the friends house, transfer everything to the other cars and off we go. Borrowed my folks' car for the honeymoon, and stopped at my friend's house on our way home to see what the damage might be. He'd already pulled the manifolds and somehow lucked out in pulling the head on the side with the screw in the cylinder. No damage except for an impression in the piston (probably could have kept on driving it, but. . .) Didn't even hurt the valve!
Sadly we later sold the big old '98 boat, even though I knew it would become a collectable, just didn't have the space or resources to keep it. Still had the plastic covers on the seats and door panels, mint upholstery--never sat on (19 year old car at the time)! Replaced it with a '46 Che***T--there's another one that got away, it's in Italy now.
"BEST" (Oh Crap Moment).
Isn't that an oxymoron?
Back in the early 1980's, I decided to change the oil in my daily driver in my apartment complex's parking lot.
Drained the old oil out into my drip pan, changed the filter, pulled the drip pan out from under the car, then poured four quarts of oil into the engine filler hole.
Walked away from the car in time to notice all four quarts of fresh oil pouring out onto the parking lot - I had forgotten to reinstall the drain plug.
Learning to drive and pushed in on the "Clutch " in the garage.
Long time ago..... I bought a 1910 Reo just outside of Edmonton, AB (Canada) and ...then... told my live in girlfriend about it and our vacation was to drive up to get it. Not a good move...not good at all
A couple of mine which happened many, many, years ago. I had a 1930 Franklin. It had an updraft Detroit Lubricator carburetor. I took it apart to soak in carb cleaner and something spring loaded came out and flew across the garage. I never found the part. I cleaned the carburetor and re-installed it. The car seemed to run just fine without whatever it was that was missing!
Another thing happened to a Model A. I had pulled down the pan to adjust the rods and mains. Got them all adjusted and re-installed everything. I put in the oil and hit the starter. It just went Klunk! It wouldn't turn with the crank or pushing in high gear. I pulled down the pan again and found the oil pump laying in the crankcase!
I reused two piece valves.....
Was in a hurry to respoke my demountable wheels as I needed to take my car to a special show the next day. To make the story short got all done with one and matched it up to the car and oops I had put it together backwards so I removed the spokes after a few carefully pick words and put it back together again took a look at it and you guessed it backwards again. A hole batch of not so nice words this time. I guess the saying the third time is a charm as that time I did it correctly
This is not something I did but a very funny model t story.
Back in the day a fellow in Seattle restored a 1914 Ford touring. This car had been modified so the back of the front seat folded down to make a bed.
He had a small single car garage from the '20's where he did his restoration work. Narrow and small with small square pained windows on the end of the building.
Bob was a very good and capable restorer and in later years actually ran the wood shop at Harrah's. Anyway the car is finished and ready for the 1st start and drive.
He cranks the car and it starts. He then climbs behind the wheel ready to back out of the small garage. He throttles the motor up and depresses reverse.
The car leaps forward the back rest of the front seat falls down, he goes down with it, now he is laying flat on his back, as the Ford goes out thru the end wall down into the neighbors back yard!!!!!!!!!
The guys in the model t club had to help Bob disassemble the t to get it out of the neighbors back yard. The garage was about 5 feet above the neighbors back yard and there was no access around the neighbors house to drive the car out. We took it apart and carried the pieces out to the front of his neighbors house. No real damage to the ford only to Bob's pride.
Of course old wiley t guys know exactly what was wrong. The ring gear was assembled on the wrong side of the pinion. The reason the seat back fell down was the brackets to hold the seat back in place were actually door hinges with pins and Bob forgot to slip the pins in the 2 hinge 1/2's.
All in all it was not a very good day but 50 years later a funny thing happened on the way out of the garage. How many t and a guys have assembled their rear ends the same way, hold your hands up for a count.
Steve, WCFields selling tickets
Cust. Hey there's a mistake with my change !!
Fields: AHH at long last an honest man, did you want to return some money ??
Cust: NO I'm short
Feilds: Don't brag, I'm only 5foot 9 myself
This didn't happen to me though I nearly got caught on the side of the road in a similar circumstance. Some of you may have read about it in the Vintage Ford magazine.
Guy has his T in a long thin garage way down the back yard away from the house. Its winter and damn cold. Has to take the Model T out the next day so decides to go down and check it out for the morning.
The car is backed into the garage and its up close to the back wall. He decides to check out the diff oil. As there is so little room he slides in under the side of the car and wiggles back to the rear end. Removes the plug and inserts his little finger. Feels the oil on the end of it but when he tries to remove said finger its stuck on the threads of the drain hole.
Its late he is away from ear shod to the house or anyone and its getting colder.
After several attempts his finger is swelling up ,and he is not getting anywhere.
So only way out Twist around and get himself into a position that allows him to unscrew his finger, which means he has to climb over his arm each turn so he can unscrew the finger. It takes several 360 climbs over his arm and twists till the fine thread reaches the end of his finger and he is released.
When speaking to him several years later he mentioned although its a funny experience, it was so cold if he had not been able to do as he did he was going to be stuck there all night and they would have found a deceased Model T owner maybe days later.
I've had MANY. One of the first that I remember, is when me and my best friend (now deceased) went to bring home my high school graduation present (in 1967) which was a 1955 Chevy 210 two door sedan. Dad bought it for me for $75.00. The guy I bought it from said that the right rear wheel bearing was bad. We didn't worry much about that as we didn't have far to go. We took off and sure enough,there was a lot of vibration coming from that area. We stopped after a few miles to just check things out and pop the hubcaps off. After all, the hubcaps had to come off to be "cool". When we got to the right rear wheel,all five of the lug nuts were loose. Just a few more miles and we would have lost the wheel. We put the spare on and robbed one lug nut from each of the other wheels and made it home. Just dumb luck for a couple car nut kids. Dave
Years ago my Dad and I were fishing 55 miles out in the Gulf of Mexico when the boat motor would not start. It was a Buick 6 cylinder with OMC out drive. We opened the cowling, took off the air filter and found the butterfly choke valve stuck closed and flooding the engine. Dad proceeded to take the tiny cotter pin off the choke shaft and drops it into the sump under the engine which has about 6 inches of oily water sloshing around. It took him about 45 minutes feeling around in the bilge water to find the cotter pin while he would puke over the side of the boat occasionally due to the fumes and boat rocking side to side. The butterfly valve was eventually taken out, polished with sand paper we for some reason had on the boat and reinstalled. It had stuck for some reason in the carburetor throat. I really thought we were going to die at sea that day. This was way before cell phones and GPS. We used paper maps and a AM radio with directional antennae to find our positions out in the Gulf !
The boat story reminds me of the day I took our 15 ft fish and ski boat to the Isle of Scholes, about 6 miles off the NH coast.
We went between the islands away from the coast and settled in for a bit of fishing.
It was clear day when we left but it turned a bit cloudy and the fog rolled in.
I wasn't concerned until we passed between the islands on our way home and I could not see the shore.
About that time the Thomas Leighton, the steamship that went between the isles and Portsmouth, passed by and I decided to follow it.
To my surprise I was not alone - about 10 other boats decided to tag along.
After that I bought a compass and practiced using it whenever I went off shore so I would not get stuck again.
This did not happen to me, but I witnessed it at the age of about 14-15 when dad and I started into Model T's about the mid 60's.
A man had a '16 model T touring that would not start. The group around the car was trying every medical idea to help him: coils, plugs wires, no go. Magneto hook up, switch key and so on.
Finally one man asked, "Do you have gas in the tank?"
The owner replied, "YES, I HAVE GAS IN THE TANK!!"
a flaming answer.
More tests of the timer, the plugs etc, and the man asks again, "Do you HAVE gas in the tank?"
"YES, AND I'LL SHOW YOU!!" He removed the cushion, the gas cap and the rock he dropped in fell for a minute before it hit bottom.
Amazing how two gallons of gas improved the fire triangle.
Pulled my brake apart to replace failed seal,got it all apart, cleaned ,new seal installed,put everything apart,cleaned and sorted tools, hub back,wheel back, dropped car down, moved jack back to storage. walked inside made lunch,came back out for test ride spied something under wheel, what the heck is that, closer look reviled emergency brake shoe.
I looked over all the "OH Crap " moments and can't think of any worse one to tell. I have had some, but they pale in comparison to yours.
Many years ago late at night I was replacing the rear axle bearing on a '57 Ford, was at a friends place, pulled the axle, went into his garage and we removed the old bearing, cleaned it all up, pressed the new bearing and retaining ring on the axle. Walked outside to replace the axle, had the axle in one hand and the retainer plate in the other. That's when I said "OH CRAP", or words to that effect.
(Message edited by Ken_Todd on July 03, 2015)
Ken, I thought you were going to tell us that you accidently pressed the old bearing back on!
Back when I was in high school I drove a 55 chevy (which I latter rolled but that's another story).Us guys would ride around with the small town cop just to get in good with him. One night I was riding with Harry the cop and a 55 chevy goes thru town so he gets on the radio and calls into dispatch at the county jail. He tells them he is following a 55 chevy and before he can give the lic plate number they ask him if it is Dean Kiefer? He looks over at me and says to dispatch no I don't think so? That's when I think to myself "OH CRAP" they know me up there!!
I just had an OH Crap moment --- I realize that I responded to this thread.
In fact I usually get the feeling after I respond to posts on this forum.
Oh crap - I did it again!!!!!!
_So, there I was... a student pilot. _My instructor, Charlie, told me to pull over after a series of practice touch and goes and to my utter surprise, he unbuckled his seat belt, got out and said, "Take it around three times and then don't forget to pick me up afterward. _And close your mouth, Bob, ain’t nobody wants to see your tonsils. _What are you looking around for, Bob? _Ain’t nobody else in this frikkin’ airplane but you and me."
_Yeah, Charlie was from the old school (and he didn't actually say 'frikkin').
_So, there I was, on my first solo, in this real live airplane—engine chugging away—I closed the canopy and called the tower for clearance.
_"Republic Ground," I chanted into the mike, held by trembling hand, "Grumman 26949 ready to taxi... request 3 touch and goes."
I was flying my favorite trainer, a single engine 150 hp, Grumman American. _And yes, at one time Grumman also made small private airplanes (and as if you didn't know, Grumman was famous for manufacturing the F-14 Tomcat, such as the one Tom Cruise flew in "Top Gun.") _But I digress (I love it when I get to say that). _Anyway... the F-14 was built right here on Long Island.
_And thereby hangs the tale. _"Grumman 26949," said Republic Ground Control, "Taxi to runway 19 for your touch and goes."
And I obediently taxied over to the end of runway 19.
_Now, next to the runway is a little parking spot called the run-up area. _Pilots use this spot to do their last minute checks. _Well, let me tell you, I took my time. _There are so many things to check in an airplane before committing aviation. _I checked the mags, carb heat, controls, fuel pressure, etc.
_"Republic Tower," I called, "Grumman 26949 ready for takeoff, closed traffic, three touch and goes."
_"Roger, Grumman 26949, clear for takeoff," replied the bored tower controller, dispassionately.
_Throttle against the stop; the lightly muffled engine roared with unrestrained power and without Charlie's additional weight, seemed to catapult the little trainer down the runway. _The airspeed raced around the dial... 40... 50...60 knots and I squeezed the control yoke back toward my butterfly infested stomach. (Can't you just feel the suspense?) _The lightened Grumman vaulted into the sky almost unexpectedly. And there I was, either a pilot or a big red stain.
_ Well, I nailed the first two landings like a pro. But then something happened after I got off the ground for the third try:
_"Grumman 26949, you have Learjet traffic entering the pattern—extend your downwind leg to the microwave tower for spacing," admonished the Tower.
_Ever seen a Learjet?
The sonovagun is FAST!!!
_He was gonna need plenty of room, because while he was dashing along at 180 knots or more, I was putt-putting along at about 70 knots in the landing pattern.
_So there I was on downwind, heading for the microwave tower, miles away. _I got to the microwave tower and began a turn around it. _Well, it was very hazy that day and visibility wasn't real good.
_And I was a green student, so I had a little problem: When do I stop turning around this microwave tower? _How do I know which way is back to the airport? _Now, if I'd had a bit more experience, I would have remembered that runways are numbered according to the compass. _I had taken off from runway 19 (190 degrees—they always drop the last digit), so all I had to do was take up a heading of 190 degrees.
_But I was stupid.
_Adorable, but stupid.
_You'd be amazed how little of one's brain is available for thinking when most if it is being occupied by concentrating on flying. _It's a little like patting your head while rubbing your stomach at the same time.
_You're doing that right now, aren't you?
_Okay, so there I was circling this stupid microwave tower, looking out to the horizon for something that looked like an airport. _Finally, I caught sight of a bare spot. _I stood the little Grumman on its wingtip and turned for it. _There... ahead... a runway in the distance—But somehow it didn't look familiar. _Republic Airport, from which I had taken off, had two intersecting runways, forming a great, big cross. _This airport seemed to have only one runway... _Hmmm... Maybe if I get closer, it'll sprout another runway (Yes, I was actually thinking this).
_Just then, Republic Tower got on the radio and asked, "Grumman American 26949, say your position?"
_"Uh... Republic Tower, I'm on a long final approach."
_"Roger, Grumman American 26949; continue your approach."
_And in a couple of minutes...
_"Grumman 26949, what did you say your position was?"
_"On final approach, Republic."
_As I came closer to the airport I was feeling a little uneasy. _Then I was shocked to see a sign on the ground that read "GRUMMAN... HOME OF THE F-14 TOMCAT."
_I snatched the mike from its holder, fumbled it and picked it up from the cockpit floor. _Trying to speak clearly into it, I fairly shouted, "Republic Tower... I'M AT GRUMMAN!!!"
_"I know you're a Grumman, " said Republic Tower, patiently.
_"No, NO! You don't understand! _I - am - AT - Grumman!!!"
_At just at that moment, believe it or not, two frikkin' F-14 Tomcats entered the pattern at Grumman Field. _They passed me, one off each of my wingtips sooo fast, all I got to see was the blurred image of four orange helmets, turning around to look back at me. _And there I was, rocking violently in their wake.
_"Grumman American 26949," admonished Republic, "listen carefully: Climb immediately to 1,600 feet and take up a heading of East. _Understand?"
_Did I ever.
_At least I thought I did.
_I cobbed the throttle, yanked the nose up and zoom-climbed out of the turbulent wake. _Then I took up a heading of East—270 degrees.
_Now, I know what you're thinking. _You're thinking, "East isn't 270 degrees, it's 90 degrees," right? _Well, in my bewildered and frightened mind, I had forgotten which way was east and even though I was over Long Island, looking straight ahead at the Empire State Building, I still thought I was heading east. Now, that is what I call dumb as whalepoop.
_And now, to make matters even more obvious, my old friend, the voice of Republic Tower, gives me a call on the radio and asks this most elementary question: "Uh, Grumman 26949, say your heading?"
_"East. _I'm heading east," I said to the Statue of Liberty."
_"Uh, okay, 26949, then you'll be seeing Republic in about five minutes, off your left wing."
_Five minutes went by.
_"Uh... Grumman 26949, please say your heading for me one more time?" asked the confused air traffic controller in the tower.
_"East," I said to the Manhattan skyline.
_"No, no, man—read me the number on your compass," continued Republic Tower.
_"270 degrees, east!" I emphasized with some impatience.
_There was a brief pause and then...
_"Uh... Now listen up, Grumman 26949. Listen very carefully to me, okay? _I want you to make a 180 degree turn—that's a U-turn—and take up a numerical heading of 90 degrees. _ Got it?"
_Suddenly, it hit me.
_And I felt so, sooooo stupid.
_Not realizing what I was doing, I whispered back an affirmative reply... as if by whispering, my broadcast voice wouldn't reach the ears of other pilots, who were no doubt, rocking with laughter. _Pathetic.
_An eternity later, Republic Airport hove into view. "Republic Tower, I have the field in sight... This landing will be a full stop."
_I had had enough touch and goes for one day. _Unfortunately, as it turned out, Republic didn't notice my last remark. _I, with trembling hands, went through the landing checklist: Carb heater on, mixture rich, landing flaps... down. _Two big flaps rolled back and down into the slipstream to decrease my stalling speed and keep me from gaining speed as I nosed down to land.
_One-quarter mile to touchdown. _I could almost feel the sensation of terra firma under my wheels. _Just as I was flaring into a graceful landing and my tires chirped onto the runway, Republic came back with further instructions: "Grumman 26949, minimum time on the touch and go, please. _You have Learjet traffic right behind you on final approach."
_I had to turn this landing into a touch and go, or this Learjet was gonna stick his pointy nosecone right up my ass! _Mad as hell, I jammed the throttle wide open—the engine picked up obediently. _I would pull the little underpowered trainer off the runway as soon as I had sixty knots. _Unexpectedly, I found myself levitating off the runway at less than forty knots! _This was aerodynamically impossible! _Unless—I had forgotten to retract the landing flaps!!! _I was riding on a cushion of air that was trapped between the bottom of my wing and the runway. _ My flaps were digging in and holding me back ferociously. _My speed was not sufficient to climb out by a long shot. _And the tall airport fence was rapidly approaching. _I couldn't land and stop because of the Learjet immediately behind and gaining fast; couldn't climb and couldn't retract the flaps, because the sudden loss of lift would spill me onto the runway like an egg hitting an anvil.
_The stall warning horn was screaming in my ear as the fence seemed to leap at me. _With no other choice, I waited till I was just about up to the fence and hauled the control wheel into my chest.
_Oh, the suspense. The suspense!!!
_The little trainer shuddered and staggered up and over the fence, rapidly approaching a stall. _The airport was on the top of a sloping hill and so when I cleared the fence, I had a little room to dive and gain some speed. _I jammed the nose down in desperation and as I did, the Learjet went shrieking past right above me.
_The airspeed nudged sixty knots—enough to barely inch my way upward—and I could see that I was about to cross the Southern State Parkway...
_...at an altitude of about eight feet.
_As I passed over the highway, I filled the gaping mouth of a passing motorist with my exhaust. _He was driving a yellow convertible. _His tie was flapping in my slipstream.
_"Grumman 26949, say your position, I can't see you," said the Tower.
_Once I was past the highway, I began milking up my landing flaps, just a little at a time. _I had more than enough speed to climb once I reached the Sunrise Highway.
_Well, I swung back into the pattern and emphatically announced that this was going to be my last landing of the day. _The Tower rogered. _I landed—fairly well, considering my wear & tear and taxied back to the tower. _Charlie, my instructor, was waiting there, right where I had left him. _He was sitting at the picnic table at the base of the tower, finishing up his sandwich and lighting a cigarette, completely oblivious of what had been going on.
_He asked, "How'd it go?"
_"Piece of cake, right?"
_But then, as we taxied back to the parking ramp, I made the mistake of confessing my sins to Charlie. _He responded by telling me about the time he brought a battle-damaged B-17 Flying Fortress back with two engines out on one side, a runaway prop on the other, no electrics, no flaps, no landing gear, no nuthin'—and after he got that son of a bitch stopped, he didn't go whining about it to his friends, dammit!
_Yeah, Charlie was from the old school.
I was going to tell of my fiasco with a Model T axle, but Bobs story tops everything....