Lifeguard

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boing
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Lifeguard

#1 Post by boing » Tue Jan 14, 2020 5:56 am

Us: Ground, Aline 123 Lifeguard taxi.
Ground: Aline 123 Lifeguard clear to taxi runway 1 Right, there is a Bline 767 waiting for you to pass in the next alley, call clear.
Us: Thanks Bline. Hope we didn't delay you.
Bline: No problem what are you doing?
Us: Don't really know, transplant I think.
Bline: Spare parts run uhh.
Tower: Aline 123 Lifeguard call tower.
Us: Rog.
Us: Tower, Aline 123 Lifeguard with you. Ready.
Tower: Roger Aline 123 Lifeguard you will be number one for 01 Right. No delays. Line up and hold.
Us: Aline roger, line up and hold, we will be ready.
Tower: Aline 123 clear for take-off.
Us: Aline 123 Lifeguard rolling.
Tower: Aline 123 Lifeguard call departure.
Us: Departure Aline 123 Lifeguard with you climbing to 7000 feet.
Depart.: Aline 123 Lifeguard call Center.
Us: Center Aline 123 Lifeguard with you climbing to 7000 feet requesting vectors direct Chicago area.
Center: Aline 123 Lifeguard roger. Clear unrestricted to FL 330 turn to an initial heading of 070.
Center: Aline 123 Lifeguard turn to 068 heading and direct Rockford when able, Chicago is landing to the west today.
Out of 10,000 feet we accelerate to 360 knots for the climb.
Us: Aline 123 Lifeguard, roger 068 heading and then direct Rockford, requesting FL 290 as a final.
Center: Clear to FL 290.

That's it now we are level at FL 290, Mach 0.86 enroute to Chicago. What's it all about?

The Lifeguard callsign is magic, it smooths your road, it gets you priority handling, it moves other aircraft out of your way if need be. In our case we are carrying an arm, presumably in dry ice or something that is going to be used in a transplant in Chicago. We had planned on a normal flight up to about ten minutes until the doors closed when a gate agent came aboard and told us we would be carrying a medical transplant and to expect a call from Dispatch. Dispatch confirmed and said that our new flight plan was filed as Aline 123 Lifeguard. What does this mean? Well, the word is pretty obvious, the Lifeguard addition to the callsign indicates that you are to receive special priority because of a safety of life or medical requirement. You can be assigned the callsign before departure as we were or you, in coordination with ATC, can upgrade your own callsign in flight if you have a medical emergency that requires it. You don't do it because someone stubs their toe but a heart attack is certainly covered.

Eventually we level at FL 290 because this seems to be the best groundspeed for the day, we maintain Mach .86. A little bit noisy in the 27 but I had warned the passengers that we would be flying a little faster today because of the medical delivery. The passengers seem to be happy to be part of the team.

But regardless of the excitement of getting to height pilots eventually get a little bored in cruise.

The co-pilot is silent and deep in thought for a while and then he speaks. "You know Boing, I've been thinking about something. Don't you think it's a bit strange that we are taking an arm to Chicago for a transplant? Let's face it, you would think that Chicago would have it's own good supply of arms wouldn't you?" I had been mulling over exactly the same thought. "Well, perhaps there is something special about this arm, blood group or whatever they consider". Silence for a little longer. The co-pilot spoke again " I suppose there are other things to consider. In the case of a heart transplant it doesn't really matter how it looks because it's going inside where no one will see it but an arm could be different." He shouldn't have said that because it was bound to start the stream of ridiculous ideas. (Sensitive people stop reading here).

"Like what would happen if a white guy woke up to a black arm or the other way around - tricky Ehh? Especially in Chicago."
"Well what about if a guy woke up and found out that his new hand had nail varnish on?"
"Or, if it was really screwed up and he had two right hands?".
"I suppose if you think of all the really bad things that could happen the fact that one arm was six inches longer than the other would not be much of a problem would it?".
"An hairy arm together with your own smooth one would be OK because you could always shave it or wear a long sleeved shirt."
"Yeah, but what if the new arm was from a weightlifter and you were a puny sort of person?".
"What about the tattoo that says "I love Doris" ? Your wife is going to be really pissed about that."

Yes Ladies and Gentlemen, this is the sort of deeply philosophical contemplation that takes place in a cockpit. The enormous responsibility of carrying 150 kids to see their Grandmas is sometimes unbearable and it must have an outlet. At least it beats politics.

Dispatch tells us we will be met by an ambulance at the gate and he has been told that the operating room is being prepared.

Still, all good things must come to an end. We jump off the perch as only a 27 can and eventually pitch up at the gate where we are met by the usual crowd of handlers, cleaners and caterers plus on this occasion a medical vehicle with its blue lights flashing, the scene calms down and nobody even said thank you - except for the A flight attendant who said thank you to the passengers and suggested that they give a big arm, oops! sorry hand, to the pilots - funny bugger.


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Re: Lifeguard

#2 Post by TheGreenGoblin » Tue Jan 14, 2020 4:37 pm

As ever, a thoroughly enjoyable flying vignette/anecdote from boing.

With respect to the concept of flying a hand, or even better an arm with a hand in a cryogenic box, I feel here is the basis for a plot for an episode of 'Tales from the Dark Side'. Cue the scenario above with the flying crew talking while in its cool box the hand starts to move, escapes out and then starts to crawl inexorably towards the hapless chaps sitting fat, dumb and happy behind their yokes up front... ;)))

Of course there were some strange stories abounding about the genuine tragedy that was Eastern Air Lines Flight 401.

https://www.ozy.com/true-and-stories/fl ... es/232247/

I am with Frank Borman on this...
— a former Apollo astronaut — going so far as to call the tales “garbage” in Robert J. Serling’s 1980 book, From the Captain to the Colonel: An Informal History of Eastern Airlines.
Bob Welch even wrote a song about the case...



PS - The temptation to make some lewd, ribald even, jokes about the body part conversation came to mind but for once I desisted. :))
The moment you doubt whether you can fly, you cease forever to be able to do it. J. M. Barrie, “Peter Pan”

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Re: Lifeguard

#3 Post by llondel » Tue Jan 14, 2020 4:59 pm

At least if it was a hand it might be able to fly the aircraft having done away with the crew, bit harder for a foot.

Where do they store the coolbox? Does it go in the hold or cabin?

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Re: Lifeguard

#4 Post by Pontius Navigator » Tue Jan 14, 2020 5:06 pm

TGG DON'T

We were Boltholed to Machrihanish - think Mull of Kintyre (Beatles) and back of beyond. At the same time an RNlAF Sqn was deployed and as they were Navy, they brought a film projector and stack of films.

This particular nightmare -film - was Canadian and involved a disembodied penis. Whilst we saw the penis the rest was left to your imagination; think screaming female in bath etc.

Still makes me shiver 44 years on.

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Re: Lifeguard

#5 Post by TheGreenGoblin » Tue Jan 14, 2020 5:19 pm

Pontius Navigator wrote:
Tue Jan 14, 2020 5:06 pm
TGG DON'T
PN you went where I didn't dare go! =))
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Re: Lifeguard

#6 Post by boing » Tue Jan 14, 2020 7:07 pm

Llondel.
The 27 had two cargo holds, fore and aft, one was used for pets because it had the best heating so the arm would have been in the other one since it was packed in dry-ice, probably the aft so it would have a long way to crawl to the cockpit.

The idea of a solo arm flying an approach is interesting. Try to cover the yoke, the power levers, the flaps and the gear lever would have kept it busy, like a "one armed paperhanger", but that's just a 'armless supposition.

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Re: Lifeguard

#7 Post by Boac » Tue Jan 14, 2020 7:20 pm

At least it could push the necessary buttons to be a pilot?

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Re: Lifeguard

#8 Post by TheGreenGoblin » Tue Jan 14, 2020 7:25 pm

boing wrote:
Tue Jan 14, 2020 7:07 pm
Llondel.
The 27 had two cargo holds, fore and aft, one was used for pets because it had the best heating so the arm would have been in the other one since it was packed in dry-ice, probably the aft so it would have a long way to crawl to the cockpit.

The idea of a solo arm flying an approach is interesting. Try to cover the yoke, the power levers, the flaps and the gear lever would have kept it busy, like a "one armed paperhanger", but that's just a 'armless supposition.

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Re: Lifeguard

#9 Post by Rwy in Sight » Tue Jan 14, 2020 7:58 pm

boing wrote:
Tue Jan 14, 2020 7:07 pm

The idea of a solo arm flying an approach is interesting. Try to cover the yoke, the power levers, the flaps and the gear lever would have kept it busy, like a "one armed paperhanger", but that's just a 'armless supposition.

.
I would have thought that there should be a second pilot since a 727 is a two-pilot aircraft

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Re: Lifeguard

#10 Post by Pontius Navigator » Tue Jan 14, 2020 8:45 pm

If there wasn't it would be harmless.

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Re: Lifeguard

#11 Post by G-CPTN » Tue Jan 14, 2020 10:19 pm

What if a different limb was being transported, and it decided to 'leg it'?

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Re: Lifeguard

#12 Post by boing » Wed Jan 15, 2020 12:09 am

Some pilots are known for being legless.

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Re: Lifeguard

#13 Post by TheGreenGoblin » Wed Jan 15, 2020 1:03 am

boing wrote:
Wed Jan 15, 2020 12:09 am
Some pilots are known for being legless.

All the better to stop or continue yaw while the hand does it business... :-bd
The moment you doubt whether you can fly, you cease forever to be able to do it. J. M. Barrie, “Peter Pan”

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