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Tuesday, February 23, 2016


My good fortune at being associated with great people in my aviation career was about to continue.  All the guys I flew with at Butler were great stick and rudder guys and were both smart and wise. (I was learning that intelligence and wisdom were not the same thing.)

I was working one evening and met two guys who had just transferred to our flight engineer school from the one run by Braniff  International Airlines.  My memory is a little fuzzy on this, but I think they were most of the way through their training when the Veterans Administration had issues with Braniff using their school and the VA's money to train engineers, then hire them.  They came to us to finish up their simulator training.

They were Walt, a former Air Force RF-4 pilot and Bill a former Navy pilot.  They were both great guys and we hit it off immediately.  They were looking for work and we were always looking for good instructors, so I mentioned them to Rod.  He quickly hired them.

The RF-4 was a reconnaissance version of the F-4.  It carried cameras for taking pictures of areas before and after bombing attacks.  I asked Walt what the plan was if an enemy fighter showed up and he said he would get down on the deck and go really fast.  The F-4 was very fast at low altitude and the RF was much lighter than the fighter version.

His call sign was Holly and I would frequently double date with him and his wife.  We drove to South Carolina to visit his parents' farm.  We spent lots of time talking over beers about our aviation futures.

He will show up in a future chapter, which is when we started calling each other Holtzer.  I'll explain when we get there. 

Braniff was hiring like crazy at this time.  These were the early days of Airline Deregulation and Braniff's strategy was to fly everywhere.  They were flying B-747s all over the place and even had a Concorde.  I sent them a resume and application.  Someone from their  HR department called and said I hadn't filled in the part about college education.  When I said I didn't have one, the discussion was over.  They seemed to be very happy with all my qualifications except for that.  There were a few airlines that did not have that as an absolute requirement, but Braniff was not one of them.  You will see the irony in this in another, later chapter.

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