I first met Clyde Roach when assigned as his 727 co-pilot for a trip to St. Thomas, BVI, a notoriously short runway with a mountain on the north side and a big hill at the east end. Only captains were allowed to land and takeoff from it. Clyde was standing on the ramp, his arms folded across his chest, on the right front of the plane, by the forward baggage compartment door.
Because captains rarely are seen on the ramp, I asked him why when he came aboard. He stated that often baggage handlers would throw in bags or cargo at the last moment, and didn’t often enter them on the weight and balance record, meaning our operating parameters would be in error.
I and many other Eastern pilots were taught and guided by the skill and experience of men like Capt. Roach, and the many other veterans who had learned the hard way serving their country in a much harsher school than the airlines — it is one of the reasons air travel is so safe today. And then he continued urging us all to better ourselves and our society through his letters to the editor in the Herald.
Another member of the Greatest Generation takes his last flight West. Thanks, Clyde, and resquiat em pacem.
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J. Trigg Adams, Captain, EAL, retired, Miami