...A Slow News Day...

  • E-Mail this Article
  • View Printable Article
  • Text size:

    • A
    • A
    • A

However, news-starved reporters (New Year's Day is often regarded as the second slowest news day of the year, behind Easter Sunday) apparently didn't see it that way. By Jan. 2, Walls was either a full-blown hero, a "character" with a reputation for taking chances, or incompetent, depending on the account. The saga began when Walls noticed his right-wing fuel gauge dropping even though he was burning off the ferry tank. He shone a flashlight on the right wing and saw the telltale mist of fuel escaping the cap. By wagging the wings, he apparently sloshed the fuel enough to break up a pressurized air pocket within the tank and stop the leak. "I'd lost my reserves," he said. He was about 400 miles from Ireland. As a precaution, he radioed authorities in Ireland (the message had to be relayed by other aircraft because of the distance) and was told that a search-and-rescue Nimrod would meet him and follow him to Ireland. A helicopter would be standing by off the coast, just to be on the safe side. "They said they needed the practice, anyway," said Walls.