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Joel and Michael’s Latest
Air Force One
I never did get back to you folks about some of the incidents that happened to us on our way to the Reagan Library. You can imagine how much planning goes into a project of this size. The combined efforts of all involved were nothing short of brilliant. But as so many elements of the disassembly and transportation of Air Force One had never been done before, you can also imagine that there is no way to plan for every possible scenario. There were many surprises, some quite dramatic, during the length of the project. Some of them happened during the transportation phase. I will try and give you some idea of what can happen, when you least expect them, no matter how well planned or thought out.
Most aircraft tend to leave airports by going in the general direction of “up.” Air Force One, in this case, was going to drive out of this airport. Needless-to-say, there were no gates large enough to accommodate this. The plan was to cut a hole in the fence at the rear of the airport. We did that. We cut a hole in the fence, pulled the fuselage through it and onto the street that would lead us to the freeway.
We had made trial runs a few days before “D” day, but just did not anticipate everything. As we moved through the new gap in the fence we then needed to make a left and then a quick right turn to get to the approach of the freeway ON ramp. It was there that we encountered a street sign that read “YIELD”. It was as if this street sign had been placed there the night before, possibly by aliens from another galaxy, as we just did not figure this to be an obstacle. The fuselage, however, was too long to clear it. So, only a few minutes outside the airport, the caravan came to a stop. That YIELD sign had to be removed before we could proceed.
The City of San Bernardino (or maybe the aliens), it seems, installs their signs to last forever. We thought we could get the sign out by simply rocking it back and forth. No deal. The YIELD sign just would not yield! It would not bend. It was embedded in at least two feet of concrete and needed to be cut out.
We sent a car back to the hanger for a hack saw and made a cut at the base of the pipe it was mounted to. That left a stub of about three inches of metal sticking up which later proved to be a problem. In any case it solved our immediate problem and we were on our way to the freeway.
About fifteen miles into the trip the driver radioed that he thought he had a flat tire. We all pulled over to the side of the road. The Highway Patrol waved the traffic around us while we all got out of our cars to examine the road wheels. Sure enough, the tire that had run over the pipe that was holding the “YIELD” sign, was punctured. Because of the weight of the fuselage, there were double wheels, like those you might see on an18 wheeler big rig hauling cargo. Of course, the tire that got punctured was one of the “inside” wheels, and it needed to be changed. We were actually prepared for that possibility.
Our truck driver and his helper had all the equipment needed to change that tire. He was more than capable. It turns out that not only does he do this for a living, but also changed tires for a pit crew on the NASCAR circuit as a hobby. He went about his business as we filmed what he was doing. No problem. All he had to do was jack up a 176,000 pound aircraft on the side of the road, remove the damaged inner wheel, replace it with a new one, and bring Air Force One back in for a gentle landing on the California highway. He had us back on the road in about a half an hour.
We traveled along peacefully, joking and communicating with one another as we filmed the procession from all angles. Suddenly Randy, the driver of the truck, announced we had to pull over once more, but did not tell us why.
Randy had us all nervous. The horrible possibilities were running through our heads. Imaginations ran rampant as Randy simply did not say anymore on the radio. We all pulled over to the side of the road. The Highway Patrol guided the traffic around us once again, while the driver jumped out of the cab and disappeared into the brush and darkness. We waited a few minutes to get instructions or information as to what was happening when we all saw the driver running back to the cab. He jumped in and announced on the radio that he was ready to roll again. We all got on the radios to question him. He apologized for the delay and told us simply he had too much coffee before the trip and Mother Nature called.
As in life, some things just can’t be planned for. More next time.
The other night my wife and I went to a house of worship that my son Michael and his family attend. We found it both enjoyable and enlightening. We liked the idea that they recognize all faiths.
They praised Christians, Jews, Muslims, Protestants, Buddhists; a heart felt salute to people of all religions, races, and cultures. If I left anyone out I assure you they did not. They wished all a Merry Christmas, not only as a recognition of the birth of Christ but, a consciousness that should transcend all faiths.
The band was terrific, the choir was outstanding and the pastor was indeed inspiring. The children were the best of all. They sang, they danced and they prayed. They prayed with the innocence that only children have, and I hope they will be able to carry those thoughts and feeling with them throughout their lives. It is the child in all of us that helps get us through the tough times.
When the services were finished everyone shook hands and hugged one another, and said, “I love you”. I didn’t say that. I was too embarrassed to say that to people I didn’t know, but I did say I love you to all my family. Because I do.
It was a slow walk out to our cars. After all saying good-bye, wishing people Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, shaking hands and hugging people takes a long time. We ended our evening having dinner at a good ol’ American pancake restaurant with a couple of friends.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, etc. to you all. I look forward to talking with you all this New Year.
I am not really a very political person and it probably is not very smart to inject politics into my blog, but what the heck, why not?
I sit and watch the news on TV, I read some of the stuff on the web sites and, last but not least, I read some of the other blogs people put out there. I am not going to tell you whose side I am on, meaning Democrat or Republican, because how I am feeling is irrelevant to my ideology and what I am going to suggest crosses political lines; or it should.
Here is what I think needs to be done before the next Presidential election.
We need to renegotiate our compensation package with every political office holder in the country, starting at the very top with the exception of the President of the United States.
Every Congressman, every Senator, every Governor, every Assemblyman, and every Mayor; anyone holding political office should get a reduction in pay. They should get a reduction in their medical benefits, and we should scrutinize their fringe benefits as well. I don’t feel they deserve to be paid any more than the one hundred and sixty million people who will be affected by the tax break that is being argued over.
Regardless of the outcome of the vote on the tax, regardless of all the politicians and their ideologies, they are making to much money. We can find people with just as much ability that will work for a lot less.
I think the politicians are all basically good Americans and they think, what they think, is right for this country. All I am saying is, they are all simply making too much money for the work they do.
I am telling you, I am a seventy seven year old man and I have been around long enough to know if you want to balance the budget you’ve got to start by cutting salaries first.
Every corporation in every industry has done it including the NBA, that’s where it starts. Cut salaries first, and if the people that are there now don’t want to work for less money, then we will find people that will.
Who out there feels the same way that I feel, let me know if I’m nuts or what. You can find me on Facebook or my web site www.airforceonethefinalmission.com. “I’m mad as hell and I don’t want to take it anymore.”
Orders can be place as soon as next week! Finally –