Tonight, I saw some amazing archival video on www.cbsnews.com of World Airways' famous Last Flight From DaNang. Years ago, I read an article on World Airways' storied history, including how its founder, Ed Daly, participated in the Last Flight From DaNang at the end of the Vietnam War. Daly and a crew had flown a 727 into DaNang as South Vietnam fell, trying to pick up women and children refugees. The military had told them that they were on their own, because US troops had withdrawn and they wouldn't guarantee their safety. Daly went anyway. The 727 was swarmed by troops and others desparately trying the flee the arriving communists. The www.worldair.com web site used to have the whole article reprinted, including how Daly had personally stood, pistol in hand, at the rear air stairs and used his former-boxer's fists to hold off the advancing swarm. To escape almost certain destruction, the pilot took off *from a taxiway* with over 300 people on board and the airstairs jammed open. The trusty 727 survived bullet holes, overloading, folks in the wheel wells, cargo compartments, etc., and landed in Saigon more than 1.5 hours later (rather than the usual 50 minutes). It's an amazing story.
Tonight is the Anniversary of that flight. CBS news has a five-minute video story on the flight posted at www.cbsnews.com. Knowing the story well, I had chills and tears watching the video for the first time. There was the late Ed Daly, pistol in hand, personally fighting to get his passengers and crew out of there safely. There was Ken Healy, the flight's legendary captain, in the left seat radioing back and forth to another World 727 flying alongside to eyeball the condition of the plane, and hearing that his cargo compartments were open and loaded with people and handling the flight and treacherous landing with Chuck Yeagar calm.
This is part of the proud history that World has working for and with our military, and it was truly amazing video. I'm sure that it will be taken down in the next 24 hours, so I wish I knew how to save it. Anyone who works for World or follows it should watch this. Go to this link http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2004/12/08/national/main659757.shtml and click on the underligned text in the story about the historic last flight from DaNang. The windows media version seems to work better.
All the best,
Who is just amazed by this video.