“Dump, Barf and Slide” Flight

True Story by:

Roger “Snake” Eidenschink PH-1 (AC) Retired
KA-3B Crewman Navigator VAQ-132


It was December of 1969 and Christmas was approaching, I thought it would be nice to take a “training” flight over the weekend to Minneapolis.  This would put me about 100 miles from home.

I checked with the C.O., he said that would be fine if I could get a crew to volunteer.  I checked around and talked to a pilot, who was more or less my assigned pilot, into volunteering and also found a plane captain who had nothing better to do.  I proceeded with my plans, scheduling an aircraft for a Friday afternoon departure and Sunday evening return.

During the course of arranging the flight one of our NFO’s heard about the flight and requested to join us.  He had family in the Twin Cities area, this would work out great as he and the pilot could spend the weekend together and I would take the plane captain with me.

I notified my family that I would be home and one of my brothers volunteered to meet me at the airport and transport us home for the weekend.

On Friday afternoon we got everything ready to go, went to Ops filed a Flight Plan and returned to man the aircraft.  We taxied out to the duty and of course being in the SF Bay area we were number six for instrument departure.  As we patiently waited our turn the sun was getting close to setting, it was December and daylight was short.  About the time we were number two for departure the NFO, who was riding the 3rd seat informed us he had a mild case of diarrhea and needed to go.  He had brought along a large plastic bag just in case.  When we got to number one for departure I told the NFO he had better hurry, he said he couldn’t go and was ready for takeoff.  Finally we took the duty and departed NAS Alameda with the sun going over the horizon.

After reaching our assigned altitude and checking in with LA Center, I looked to see what the NFO was doing.  He had his torso harness and flight suit down and trying to crap into the bag.  Needless to say, due to the cramped quarters with four people in the cockpit of the KA3B he made a heluva mess and smell.  We quickly donned our oxygen masks and I handed him a bunch of rags so he could clean up his mess.

We proceeded on our flight; I took off my mask testing the air, not too bad!  Deciding everything was OK, I told the plane captain, riding the jump seat, to pass me my box lunch.  I was hungry and ate a cold meat sandwich.

I noticed the pilot was looking a little funny, I asked him if he was OK.  He assured me he was fine.  A few minutes later the pilot “barfed” all over the yoke and instrument panel.  Damn what a flight this was turning in to.  Once again we donned our masks and I gave him some rags and tried to help him clean up his mess.  LA Center called and asked if everything was OK, I replied we were fine why?  They stated we were about 50 miles south of course and should correct.  I, rogered, them and we changed heading to get back where we belonged.

The rest of the flight was uneventful and we finally touched down at Minneapolis.  A “follow me” truck met us as we turned off the duty.  Remember this is December in Minnesota and nighttime.  As we are taxing, I noticed a glare on the taxiway from our taxi light.  I told the pilot that he might consider going slow as we appeared to be taxing on ice.  He acknowledged me and retarded the throttles a little, about that time the “follow me” truck made a left on to the parking ramp, we almost slid by the turn.  He proceeded to a spot in front of the Ops Building and suddenly stopped.  The driver got out with his wands to direct us.  The only problem was we were on ice and couldn’t stop, thinking quickly the pilot released the right brake and held the left causing us to make a 90 degree left, the starboard engine almost clipped the sign on the “follow me” truck.  Now that we were stopped I told the pilot that I was going to get out and find a “bare” spot to park on.  After getting the aircraft parked and shutting down the engines, I sighed in relief wondering if this was worth the trouble. 

The pilot and the NFO departed the aircraft and headed for the Ops Building rushing right past the befuddled NFO’s family.  They went directly to the head to wash up and change clothes.  I walked over to the family members and in general terms explained that they needed to wash up and change.

The rest of the weekend and the return trip were uneventful, thank god!  I have had many laughs when reminiscing about this flight, as I know the other participants have!!!!!