It’s Raining Kerosene? Or Why 1950s Kids Had So Much More Fun.


When I was but a tyke, we lived in the oil fields of Texas’s northern panhandle. I had a swing set made of drill pipe, monkey bars made of drill pipe, a teeter totter, slide and climbing rack, the stair rails into the storm cellar—drill pipe.

A family friend named Jim Wolfe drove a big dualie oil-field truck with a big lifting yoke made of drill pipe. It snowed there in the panhandle sometimes and since the closest hill was somewhere in New Mexico, our version of sledding was an upturned junk car hood with a towing bridle made of … drill pipe. A car hood in those days was half the size of an Olympic swimming pool, and weighed about as much. Towed behind Jim’s truck, it must have accommodated 10 screaming kids in various states of adrenaline rapture.

The ride made a looping roller coaster look like a drive in the park. Those big tires threw up a torrent of snow mixed with rocks, dirt, hibernating horned toads and bits of chewed up Yucca leaves, all boresighted on us, the sled passengers. We had no gloves, of course, much less helmets or goggles. It being the 1950s, before the discovery of parental restraint and the Child Product Safety Act, the turns were tight and fast, spilling half the kids into the snow in near lethal tumbles, to which we all responded with, “Can we go again, Mr. Wolfe?!”

This ancient memory came rushing back as I was watching famed lawyer Gloria Allred consoling a weeping client whose child had just been slimed by a Delta 777 crew that unloaded a few tons of jet fuel over the neighborhoods around LAX on an emergency return to the airport last week. Slimed is maybe too strong. Misted, perhaps? Drizzled? Fogged? Or just exposed to the smell of Jet-A in the morning?

It made me wonder how us miscreant kids would have responded to such a thing. First of all, my mother would have said go air yourself out on your drill-pipe swing and don’t come back into the house until you stop stinking. As kids of the oil age growing up in an oil town, we all had natural noses for complex-hydrocarbon flash points and someone would have produced matches to try and light off the neighborhood. Not to be malicious, mind you, but just to see what would happen. Beatings would happen, actually, but in our minds, no doubt enfeebled by the Ethyl gas our parents dumped into cars like my Dad’s Rocket 88, it was always worth it.

Ms. Allred, I’m sure, will extract a tidy settlement from Delta, but I mourn for the kids missing the kind of unique fun you can have with found chemicals that explode or burn uncontrollably, even if they sometimes make your eyes swell shut. We could only dream of such stuff falling from the heavens. Somehow, being strapped into a 30-G car seat with integrated juice box and optional arugula dispenser and shielded by a Baby on Board placard just isn’t the same, even if it assures you’ll live past the age of six. Freedom from careening off an unpadded metal dashboard is overrated. What’s next, shots against measles?

As for the Delta crew—this is a blog about aviation, after all—I feel for ya bros. And it’s not lost on me that the dramatic photo of a jet with Delta plastered on the belly spewing kerosene out the vents is kind of a full-circle thing. Delta started as a crop-dusting outfit, named for the Louisiana portion of the Mississippi. While making light of the lawsuits, let’s all agree that spewing Jet-A over the suburbs is not a good look for The World’s Most Trusted Airline. It will not, however, strike the planet still on its axis.

I’m sure the skipper has already done the rug dance and in the end, I predict it will be seen as one those odd lapses in aeronautical decision making of the sort we all commit in the privacy of our own little aviation bubbles, blessedly out of sight of any buzz kill lawyerly scolds.

If you’re thinking this, I’ll save you the trouble of typing it into the comments: OK, boomer. (And for the record, I happen to like arugula.)

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  1. I was particularly nonplussed by the neighborhood meeting at which second-hand victims vented their spleens (on television, of course) about how Delta chose to vent its toxins over a schoolyard that was populated with low-income “kids of color.” Incredible eyesight. The captain must be a former bombardier, or at least a water-bomber pilot.

    Expect walk-in clinics everywhere to be inundated with injuries from jerking knees. But don’t underestimate the effects of this incident. That would be a bigger mistake than opening the spigots.

  2. Is it too late for the pilot to file an ASRS report, or is it too difficult to anonymize the report at this point?

    Facetious comment aside, I’m curious what happened only because it sounded like they maybe initially thought a fuel dump wouldn’t be necessary but then changed their minds. Or maybe they intended to fuel dump any way, but felt it the safer course to do so while being vectored back to the runway instead of waiting it out over the ocean to fuel dump.

  3. You don’t have to be a breathing dinosaur or have personally met Bleriot to remember times when being exposed to all kinds of chemicals or even explosives wasn’t a threat to the national perception of hyper- safety.

    Institutionalized State Of Hysteria. Title of my next book.

  4. Ah, memories… Being a child of the oil patch, I remember when a lot of things around the neighborhood were built from “surplus” drilling hardware. A decent welder could supplement his income by making swing sets and other playground essentials. No one bought a fancy barbecue, they hired a neighbor to make one up from large pipe or an old knockout drum. Lord knows what kinds of nasty chemicals had sloshed through it before it became a way to cook hamburgers at the neighborhood picnic. We had enough hills that we didn’t need a truck to pull us through the snow, but old trash can lids worked pretty well as a flying saucer sled once the handle broke off.

    Fond memories of a simpler time aside, modern society has obviously changed. Whether that change is for the better or not, is a topic for another time. Two factors stand out: The first is a 24 hour instant news cycle that hypes every event into a breaking news story to keep the ratings up. The second is a philosophy that if anything happens, good or bad, someone must be responsible. Combine the two and you have a climate where everything is blown out of proportion and there has to be someone to blame. In this case, I suspect that the teachers and school administrators are doing a preemptive strike and filing suit before the families in the area file suit against them for not protecting their kids from this “toxic” rain. In the end, Delta will settle, because going to court would just make matters worse. Unfortunately, the facts don’t really matter, and by next week the news will have moved on to some other terrible tragedy and this will be a distant memory. Such is modern life.

  5. When I grew up we had iron pipe playgrounds set on concrete pads, we were taught to stand up to bullies, and knew that nature was a violent place with the only rule being adapt or die. You also learned “sticks and stones” and to not be a whiner when things got tough.

    The schools now teach children to be psychologically fragile, to face adversity by assuming a fetal position. and that the world was a perfect temperature before dirty people arrived.

    For heavens sake, this was just a random incident, so random that it won’t happen again in another bazillion years. No one was hurt so shake it off and worry about important things.

  6. I grew up in a “normal” environment. Public schools, semi military secondary school, college, trade school and Vietnam war school. Wonderful children and grandchildren. Loving family too. More good times than bad times. Life has been good. I’m grateful – the system worked.

  7. Hiberent!

    Geezus H. …, not 10 days ago you sprang “aparatchiks” on us and now you’ve got me looking up — and likely eating? — “arugula.” Are you my high school English teacher, Miss Polka, reincarnated to continue to make me crazy in my sunset years? I had to get out my Funkin’ Wagnalls … AGAIN!

    “Arugula is a lesser known cruciferous vegetable that provides many of the same benefits as other vegetables of the same family, which include broccoli, kale, and Brussels sprouts. Along with other leafy greens, arugula contains high levels of beneficial nitrates and polyphenols.” You did know that the stuff “enhance(s) athletic performance?” Is THAT why you like it? OH! I get it … it’s a play on words … polyphenols and petrochemicals. Cool ! You’re a sly doggie. Just do us all a favor, will ya … you’ve worn out the “A” welcome … next time you spring one on us, it has to start with a “B, et sub.”

    In Chicago, we used to hide behind parked cars and wait for a passing car to go by during winter snowstorms. We’d run behind it, grab the bumper (when bumpers were bumpers and men were men) and “hitch a ride.” That was when Class A, B, C and D airspace was still PCA, TCA, ARSA and ATA/CZ and AN ranges were de rigueur. Dem days — without transponders — are gone forever. Nifty to take a trip backward in time once in a while, though.

  8. Paul, all your musings are lucid and humble enough to not draw the phrase of the moment.

    Can’t say the same about some of the regulars, who can’t resist interjecting politics into every other comment.

    • It’s more of a rejections of politics and the political “solutions” that are being proposed after the non-event. Pilots should not worry about political optics when making rational decisions on safety.

  9. Thanks Paul from a fellow boomer for the bit about one of those “odd lapses in aeronautical decision making of the sort we all commit in the privacy of our own little aviation bubbles… …”. The flight department (from which I am mostly retired) regularly reviews and studies accident reports, always in the mindset of not casting stones. Armchair second guessing reduces the potential of learning from others’ experiences, and worse yet, as you imply, we could all find ourselves on the receiving end of armchair second guessing.

  10. So the folks on the ground would have been happier to splatter the passengers across the landscape in a fireball of burning jet fuel at the Airport? The plane had an emergency, it could just have easily crashed into the playground killing the whole lot of them.

  11. Since this was even discribed as deliberate act of poisoning disadvantaged, low income children, the list of excuses for us in aviation, is quickly diminishing.

    Of course, if Delta just pays enough, peace will be temporarily restored. The beatings will continue until morale improves or passenger carrying planes (and Kerosene) are history.

    Too political? Its a us vs. them world out there, folks. Don’t shoot the messengers which are trying to tell you that political insanity and aviation never mix well. This is just the very beginning. Do you do a lot of debating in the cockpit? Any public hearings? Popular opinion polls on Facebook?

    I frequently took planes full of jumpers out of a fairly short and sloped airport. Our SOP was to always take off downhill, turn early and reduce power slightly on initial climb out, to avoid the noise for the village. This system had worked well for a decade or so, when the new airport Sherriff decided that this was counterproductive and very unsafe.

    Q: “Why do you take a downwind takeoff, when you are supposed to take off upwind?”

    A: “Because thats what works best, I need roughly 15 knots on the nose on an uphill departure to really feel safe.”

    Order: “Well, in the future, you’ll take off upwind and uphill, we need to reduce our noise footprint. I have ordered staff not to allow downwind/ downhill takeoffs if wind favors the other runway.”

    Q: “Are you telling me how to fly a plane? Would you kindly put this in writing, together with a reference to the law which empowers you to regulate how I operate this aircraft?”

    A: “Sure will. Actually there is no law, its my determination to make as the airport manager.”

    Alright! Lets do that.

    My resulting judgment was to tell the DZ manager to have the guys and gals pack up and go home. Send the tandems home, send the jumpers home. Send the spectators home. Imagine the mood of the people who had travelled 100+ miles to see their relatives jump. Imagine the DZ paying back prepaid jumps and tandems. I am ceasing operations until wind allows for downwind takeoffs. The jumpers understood me all too well, jump pilots get to see some very concerned faces during uphill takeoffs on a warm and wind-less days. There is a mirror…

    Lets go ahead with this and tell pilots of airplanes with 10- 400 passengers, that they can’t dump fuel under any circumstances over any populated area to mitigate the risk of dusting children with combustible liquids. Its fine to dust half a million other people and dirty up a couple hundred thousand cars and SUV’s, but NOT the children!!!

    Include a “Dump Brief” into the checklist:

    “In case of any situation requiring immediate return to base or calling for a fuel dump, we will NOT dump fuel under any circumstances and certainly not in proximity of _____ miles of populated areas. If the outcome is a crash and burn, we will go down in history as martyrs, having done our part to protect children which may or may not go to school or kindergarten there, from cancer causing kerosene exposure.”

    Make sure the PA system is ON during this briefing. The passengers must hear this, so they can debate the issue! Then listen for the applause from the cabin. People really enjoy doing good deeds for the wellbeing of the greater society.

    Any commercial pilot with half a backbone and no interest with armchair quarterbacking, will want to hear from the CA of this flight and anyone with half a brain will demand that the authority and justification to act in an emergency is not subject to frivolous or grandstanding -litigation or subjected to being undermined by popular opinion or biased press coverage. PIC decides. End of story.

    Regulations go out the window when reacting to a potentially deadly incident. For me personally, the discussion ends there, but of course, in America a lively debate is important and can change everything. Maybe the pilots should have just debated a bit longer. Debate is GOOD!

    Emergency Debate Complete… lets crash!

  12. I awoke wide awake at 0200, turned on the TV to find the Senate is STILL at it (why don’t they work that hard normally on OUR behalf?) so I’m searching for something to do until I keel over for round 2. I don’t want to fill out any papers to adopt a polar bear at this time of night, have already given to Shriners, am tired of Hitler programs and I’ve seen every other re-run at least five times. Then — suddenly –I remembered “arugula” so I returned here to see if any news had occurred while I was horizontal. Learning exciting new words and “awaiting further” has that impact on me. (In advance, sorry for the political comment above to whoever I may have offended?).

    Before returning here, I decided to start at the beginning by re-reading the Jan 14 (updated) article about Flight 89 along with all 17 comments; that’s a relatively low comment count for such a potentially serious evolution BTW. There were some good comments at that early point with the last one just four days later … then nothing. Comments could be distilled into two groups: the airplane shoulda gone out over the Pacific and dumped and THEN come back or he could have landed heavy safely with full fuel. Done properly, no harm and no foul either way seemed to be the consensus. The Flight Aware path pic showed that the R turn north was fairly close to LAX w/ a subsequent second R turn to a eastbound downwind heading W of KVNY. I wondered why he did this and remembered I’d seen a link to an audio/video. Before leaving to find it, I took note that the dumping had occurred over FOUR schools with no other residents complaining. VERY mysterious! That Captain musta been a B-52 jock OR the fuel was laser guided to those schools like a JDAM? Now on to the second article.

    In the subsequent January 19 “First Suits Launched” article — Gloria must be on speed dial? — I found the link to the 6:42 audio of the flight along with a corresponding path over the ground depiction. So he takes off normally, makes the R turn on course north and during a high speed climb has a compressor stall. He declares an emergency. ATC advises to expect a L turn then return (I guess to go over the Pacific to the dump area?). The Captain says it’s not “critical,” isn’t going to dump fuel and requests a R downwind to return to LAX over land. Maybe he gets points for saving fuel? In the ensuing communications over rolling equipment, the engine stalls again and it’s apparent the Captain is now pretty busy sorting things out. He’s got 181 SOB’s and >210K of fuel and knows he’s heavy so requests runway 25R. At this point, he’s committed to rejoining the ILS and landing semi-normally. This has all occurred by the 3:30 point in the tape. While ATC is maneuvering and descending him, he tells them that he’s “not ready to commence the approach.” It’s obvious he’s running through scenarios, checklists and making decisions in a high intensity environment ENE of LAX and north of the ILS. He blows thru the final approach course and has to make a teardrop pattern to rejoin the ILS for 25R. On relatively short final, he decides to dump fuel with no ATC communication over that action. Landing is without event.

    Armed with the timeline evolution, I then revisited the 34 comments in round 2. Unlike the first blog, the comments can’t easily be distilled into this or that. Mostly, it’s Monday AM quarterbacking with some venom for ambulance chasing lawyers. Maybe a little hate for Kalyfornya just for good measure Dan C already did a good analysis of comments. Because I lived in the high desert north of LA for 27 years, ONE comment by RAF stood out … move the airport to Palmdale. Most folks here don’t know that LA County bought about 27,000 acres east of USAF Plant 42 in Palmdale for exactly that reason. The Kalyfornyites didn’t want to commute up there so they squashed the idea of a new LAX in the desert. So as I see it, an occasional dusting of kerosene is the resultant. Anyone interested in buying some land? OH … a Canadian (eh) named Bruce R joined our group just to comment on all of our whining. Welcome, Sir. He said he was ‘upset’ over “the left-wing, socialist-leaning state of Canada; BC.” So there you have it. Dumping fuel over schools in Cudahy has turned into an International deleterious event.

    Now back to Arugula (sic). The subjet du jour has us comparing us oldies as kids growing up using drill pipe like a giant 50’s vintage erector set as a means to right justify those poor curtain climbers who were doused with jet fuel. “We survived” and “they don’t know what they missed but a dousing of jet fuel will remind ’em” — plus a liberal application of Delta money — will make it all better. Sweet.

    I think JaBa wins the prize over all three blogs. His new book, “Institutionalized State of Hysteria” should be some interesting reading. Now I have a complaint. NEXT time, PB, I want one of your wonderful videos showing you as a kid swinging on drill pipe … kinda like that second ADS-B video!

    Now then … it’s 0500 — exactly three hours after I began this fun research connecting all the dots — and I’m starting to fade. That’s a great segue to my second round of sleep where I get my best REM. Thank you, Avweb. best sleeping pill ever. OH! Will the reward money the CARB gets from the fine going to go to pick up any poop in SFO?

  13. Ah, childhood. During mine, I discovered the amazing oxidising properties of a then-popular weedkiller, in which the chief ingredient was Sodium Chlorate. Oh, what fun we had, mixing it with sugar and stuffing copper pipes with it – the ends of which we then hammered flat and folded in a vice. Drilled a hole in the end and left a trail of the stuff as a “fuse”. What a bang it made. I’m lucky I still have my hands and arms…

  14. In among the main news story – conveying outrage that the pilot had told ATC he was not going to dump fuel and then he did!!!! – was a small mention that the pilot had to do what the pilot had to do. Followed by outraged neighborhood shots.

    I’m going to give the pilot a full pass under 14 CFR § 91.3 – Responsibility and authority of the pilot in command. And the sightly oily kids’ parents should too.

    Pick from one:

    – Slightly oily kids and 181 pax alive on the ground.
    – Smoking hole in the ground with 181 dead pax and an indeterminate number in the neighborhood dead.

    Flying out to sea to dump fuel is NOT a choice. The pilot exercised 14 CFR § 91.3 – Responsibility and authority of the pilot in command. He was there – we were not.

    • Actually, this crew did NOT “have” to dump fuel. They could have landed at MTOGW very safely and nicely. They weren’t airborne long enough to have dumped very much fuel so why bother? Yes, there is a max normal landing weight value for every aircraft. That is the weight for “normal” everyday operations and should be honored. This was NOT a normal everyday situation so they should have EITHER gone to the ATC designated dump area or simply landed. Dumping over populated areas close to the ground is a poor choice. Had they been in real trouble, they wouldn’t have flown nearly as far and I might be a little more agreeable about dumping. They flew a long pattern so they couldn’t have felt that worried.

  15. Thanks, gents for the smile you gave me this morning reading all these posts. Somehow we survived our childhood in spite of ourselves. I spent years with a paintbrush and a bucket of creosote ‘painting’ used railroad ties that we used to build retaining walls in our backyard. No special gloves, goggles or hazmat suits. Then there were the days when we played with mercury by rolling it around in our bare hands (drop some of this on the floor of a building now and every hazmat team in the county would show up). Ah, the younger generation…wimps!

  16. Your description of carefree childhood is funny as hell and spot on—as can be said of anything carrying your byline. But it’s sad ro juxtapose those experiences against today’s cosseted snowflakes’ experiences of growing up. My Mom often said “a dirty kid is a happy kid.” Needless to say, our crowd had very happy childhoods.

    • Just to point out, today’s “cosseted snowflakes” are being raised…by parents who were not cosseted. So it seems society as a whole has changed, and it’s not the kids who have made the change. One can hardly blame the kids for their parents’ actions.

      I support the pilot’s decision to follow 91.3 and take what actions the crew took. But it would still be interesting to understand why they chose to fuel dump over populated areas and at a lower altitude than recommended, and after telling ATC that they didn’t need to hold to dump fuel. If it turns out in hindsight that the fuel dump wasn’t necessary, it’s good to know for future similar circumstances. But if it turns out there was reasonable doubt of a successful landing without fuel dumping, then that’s also good to know for future similar circumstances.

      • Well, actually, no. The Baby Boomers are responsible. The downfall of Western civilization will be traced to the appearance of the first Baby on Board placard. It was October 16th, 1980. I saw it with my own eyes.

        Now they’re raising grandkids who would rather play Candy Crush than blow off the door to the teen center with a pipe bomb. Of course, you can’t get the chemicals these days, so it’s not entirely their fault. But much has been lost.

        • I respectfully disagree. I’d track the beginning of the end to the Gulf of Tonkin incident which gave rise to “Free Love” in Kalyfornya. Before that, the Beatles had short (relative) hair and still dressed in suits. Think about it … before the drug crazed ‘LoveIns’ in Golden Gate park and Haight Ashbury became household names, kids did all the stuff described above and didn’t have their own lawyers. Now, ya spray ’em with little Jet-A and Gloria shows up. The ones that didn’t join that group learned how to spell ‘fatigues’ and say ‘yes, Sgt.’ Either way … the point of no return had been reached.

          Speaking of lawyers … why does Gloria Allred get all the lucrative business in LA? Doesn’t Rue & Zifra or Morgan & Morgan have LA offices? It IS after all … “For the People.”

          As I finally awoke from a deep round 2 REM at 1100, it ‘hit’ me … NOW I know why you had a flib hit the mountains and blow up north of KONT in your ADS-B V2.0 video. You were regressing to your childhood incendiary period. Remember to do that again in your next drill pipe video, please. Out here in BertorelliLand, we like stuff like that.

  17. My grand kids had the day off from school yesterday. It snowed and it was cold (which constitutes really good reasoning for cancelling school now a days) so I took them sled riding and then hiking. After an hour or so of hiking they got (including myself) really thirsty. Guess what? I taught them you could eat freshly fallen snow. Apparently they never did that. When my grandson told my daughter I thought she was going to have a coronary. So far I haven’t been arrested for child abuse.

  18. I fly an airplane with a fuel dump capability. The only way the flight in question should have been dumping fuel where it did is if the airplane was in an emergency such that the weight of the airplane had to be reduced RIGHT NOW in order to maintain flight. That may have been the case. I don’t know. Otherwise, the crew should have informed ATC that fuel dump was required and needed to be vectored over an unpopulated area.

  19. “If that jet had dumped Jet A on my childhood street, it would have been play time. And our parents would have blamed us for it. ” – Oh yeah. Been there, done that, got chewed out/asswhooped/grounded for it.
    John M. – “In this case, I suspect that the teachers and school administrators are doing a preemptive strike and filing suit before the families in the area file suit against them for not protecting their kids from this “toxic” rain.” I think you’ve hit it. Ms Allred has a nose finely tuned for detecting deep pockets. Establishing a “chain of responsibility” is part of it.
    Thank God Delta does not equip their airplanes with drop tanks.

  20. Ok Paul. Boomer too. My parents, both worked so we became latch key kids and lived on a corner house. A small triangle island adjacent to our house was just large enough for the local bus stop (NYC MTA). Back then, diesel engines were…… diesel engines with or without smoke but the scent of burned diesel fuel wafted around and became one of my all time perfumes. Yes, perfume before tv said Chanel no. 5 to brain dead women and men. I loved that diesel smell. Now it’s gone, being formulated with less sulfur or other dangerous chemicals to make people wince.

    I was fortunate enough as a poor kid to visit a family cotton farm. The second most fragrant smell…. cotton. In a trip some years ago, I stopped off the highway for rest and food. For some strange reason, I smelled something very odd in the restaurant with a gift shop. I drove home wondering what that smell was. It took a few days of wracking the one cell between my ears but I finally remembered. Small gift items of cotton bales were giving off the cotton oil fragrance.

    Im sure the pilots made their ADM and didn’t do it with total disregard to the population below. Wrong place wrong time full of fuel one engine out right after takeoff. We might never hear the real explanation.

  21. My hyperbole point of view…aka…my armchair quarterbacking observations:

    If the Delta crew declared an emergency, landed over-weight and over run the runway…Delta will have a damaged plane, passengers with potential injuries, and will get sued for what did happen and what did not happen, but could have.

    If the Delta crew declared an emergency, limped out to the ocean and dumped fuel, and manages to get safely back on the ground, Delta gets sued for misting, sliming, harming , wetting boaters, shipping, affected ship’s crew manning said shipping, environmentally damaging the ocean plus killing marine wildlife. In addition, Delta must pay damages caused by stress placed on passengers while flying around dumping fuel instead of immediately landing.

    If the Delta crew declared an emergency, limped out to the ocean , dumped fuel ( see all of the above), and crashed, Delta loses an airplane, hundreds dead, and Delta gets sued for all of the above plus damages awarded for the increase stress put on passengers prior to their death as a result of the inevitable crash.

    If Delta crew declared an emergency, dumps fuel over land while maneuvering for immediate landing, lands safely at max allowable weight, airplane undamaged, no one hurt on board aircraft, Delta gets sued for misting, sliming, wetting, raining Jet-A on a school yard of kids, plus damages for all the parent’s trauma caused by Biff and Muffy’s emergency triage treatment in the school-yard, and post-trauma, critical care follow up. In addition, Delta must set aside fund for future medical expenses, psychiatric care, and disability plus college funds for victims and the victim’s family through the fourth generation. The remaining population of Los Angeles and possibly the entire state of California is expected to eventually participate in this litigation.

    Since the litigation “genie” is out of the proverbial bottle, which can never be put back in, in-flight emergency procedures listed in future aircraft POH’s will be issued based on litigation avoidance rather than landing safely back on terra firma. Since the average lightplane is approaching 50 years old, with many airliners 10-30+ years old, combined with the plethora of current FAA regulations mitigating any changes to current production airplanes, and by default their respective POH’s, this new set of soon to be adopted emergency litigation avoidance procedures will be first seen in the initial deliveries of backlog 737 Max’s POH’s and integrated into airline sim training alongside of promised MCAS updates. Boeing will make this announcement in Vanity Fair and Cosmopolitan soon.

    Flight Safety International and Redbird have already announced they have new software developed and will lead the way in emergency litigation avoidance maneuver training for corporate aviation and flight schools. American Bonanza Society, Cirrus Owners and Pilots Association, and the T-34 Club will soon adopt their own type specific emergency litigation avoidance procedures. Other type clubs will soon follow.

    The only one’s fighting the implementation of emergency litigation avoidance maneuvers and procedures is Van’s Total Performance, and the EAA. Both have a cadre of lawyers employed, permanently living in the DC area necessitating a 1000% price increase in RV series of once popular kit-planes with soon-to-be-announced price increase in EAA membership dues expecting to rise to $2000 per year. EAA predicts a substantial drop in membership as a result. The AOPA has lifted their finger into the wind created by these new litigation avoidance procedures, to see if they will support their implementation or join the EAA in fighting them. Insiders say they will attempt to side with both at the same time. All courtesy of attorney Gloria! Precedence Uberalles!

  22. Your first three paragraphs reminded me of when my father would take corners fast in the family station wagon when I was very young and both myself and my younger sister would be rolling around and giggling in the back of the wagon, wanting to do another corner fast. Child seats? Cars then didn’t even have seat belts installed. Or the arguments with my sister on who gets to ride on the front seat(now illegal in California). And later on all the scars on my knees and elbows from spills I took on my bicycle on friends’ concrete driveways, all without a helmet! I still refuse to wear a bike helmet when out for a ride, but I do use seat belts in cars. And I’m sure Paul knows that the worst thing at the airport, is grounded due to weather, bored skydivers. At one drop zone I flew for they would hook up an old T10 canopy to a pickup and some idiot would ride in a harness airborne being pulled down the runway by the pickup!

    A real sad state of our society when we start questioning the actions of pilot’s emergency decisions when they result in no fatalities or bent metal!

    Hard to feel sorry for residents close to LAX when voters rejected a chance to build an airport in the desert were there are no persons living close by. Just goes to show the hypocrisy a lot of airline passengers show when looking for the cheapest fares with no regard for any consequences of that flight, especially when things go wrong.

  23. Welcome to the United States of Outraged Americans. That light at the end of the tunnel is in fact a train coming the other direction.
    As a kid I would have run in and told my Mom “I got sprayed gasoline by a big airplane above me, cool huh?”
    This has been highly entertaining! Thanks guy…er gals…er…oh, nevermind.

  24. Canada is not far behind my friends.

    No oil fields here (well …we are no longer allowed them or admit they exist up here) but lots of hills! Cobble together plywood go-carts on rickety lawnmower wheels and rope steering around a pipe or dowel pointed right into your chest and days upon days of fun skirting around oncoming vehicles (tanks in those days) skidding into ditches and emergency diversions onto…. WHAT???… other people’s property. We even had to pull them up to the top of the hill again! ALL by ourselves! Then after destroying the go-cart that day parking it for tomorrow’s repairs there was the beckoning call of the 25′ above ground pool that served as a partially protected area to blow things up when not full of water. Learned that gasoline can burn backwards in there!

    AND WHAT’S worse, my dad would dare to take us flying in a ’47 Air-knocker with no electrics or starter and STOP THE MOTOR to try to pop some released balloons in flight! NORDO too, adjacent to (now under) CYYJ Airspace!

    Trees… OH NO, can not go there and confess you could climb them!

    I am amazed I can still almost function. The red-lead bottom paint poisoning we bathed ourselves in laying underneath painting hulls of lifted boats must not yet have taken root in my brain. Time to go fly me thinks!

    Have a great, coddled day, my feathered-friends!

  25. Great spoof blog, Paul. I know you’re too intelligent and clever a writer to actually believe the unbelievably preposterous notion that one generation of kids can have more or less ‘fun’ than another generation could. You almost had me for a second, though! Brilliant writing, as usual. And glad you made it through it all back then to live to write this leg-pull!

    Sadly, but predictably, the usual suspects fell for it and vented their spleens to the absurd scenario. “Institutionalized State Of Hysteria” indeed! A precise, self-description of the comments! What a hoot!

    After struggling with my cowling all day, this was a welcome uplift. You are da man, bro.

    • MY Mother in the 1950’s as I rode off on my bike (I had to build myself because we couldn’t afford a new one) to points unknown to her: “Make sure you’re home at 5 for dinner. Be on time or you don’t eat (liver). Stay out of trouble; don’t tear your new jeans.” Sometimes, she’d give me a dollar so I could ride the Chicago buses to the swimming pool and pay my way in. I don’t even remember ever having any ID in my wallet which was usually almost empty. I don’t remember ever blowing anything up but I do remember delivering newspapers at age 13 so I had a bit of spending money. I also remember collecting recyclable pop bottles which could be turned into 2 cents each.

      Modern day Mother in 2020: “Here’s your replacement iPhone 11 and a $50 for some gas for your BMW, lunch and dinner. Text me every 5 minutes so I know where you are. (OR … maybe she installed a homing APP on the iPhone 11). Do you need some cannabis? If you SEXt, make sure your face doesn’t show. Behave or I’ll give you a ‘time out’ I won’t be home tonight … see ya tomorrow.”

      Paul says the downfall of Western Civilization began on Oct 16, 1980. I believe it started with the VietNam war and the advent of “hippies” but definitely was solidified on Jan 27, 1973 when the Selective Service announced it would no longer draft people. Officially, the All Volunteer Force began on July 1, 1973. In 1971, pay for lower rank enlisted was raised substantially as an incentive. The Army started Project VOLAR (VOLunteer ARmy) in April 1971 along with that idea. Whatever date you choose, it was in the early 70’s. Very few of the self described “juvenile delinquents” in this blog popped out the other end with a DD214 in hand still a punk IMHO. And I’d bet that most of them still hang their clothes in the closet with them all taller tapped and facing the correct direction and think about a gig line once in a while?

      When I’d show up for dinner and my finicky eating ways surfaced, I still clearly remember my Mother saying, “Just wait til you go in the Army … they’ll teach you to eat.” That’s why I joined the USAF (my Father served in the USAAC). Little did I know I’d still be living in WWII Army barracks, polishing copper pipes, sleeping on the floor in my GI overcoat so I could make my white collar bed the night before, and so on. OH … and the pay was great … less than $100/mo. And she was right … eat the slop in the chow hall or go hungry. The US Military was the greatest adult preparatory training school ever. And the bums described herein blowing up teen centers in the 60’s with readily available chemicals ultimately became EOD techs and decent adults. The subsequent generation … not so much. Growing up in the 50’s and early 60’s was the greatest gift the greatest generation gave me. Raf is right.

      Let the attacks on Larry begin …

      I’d be interested in knowing how old the Captain of Delta Flight 89 is … it might splain everything ?? (Now I AM kidding).

      0500 … time for round 2 …

  26. FLASH … this just in:
    On Jan 17, the South Coast Air Quality Management District (AQMD) has issued a notice of violation (NOV) of their Rule 402 and the Kalyfornya Health and Safety Code 41700. Delta dumped 15,000 gallons of jet fuel in this evolution and they don’t like it. Apparently, the Captain aimed it only at schools in the LA Unified School District, the El Rancho Unified School District and even got some on the Cudahy Public Library. I didn’t hear that any home owners were impacted. Maybe it’s a pseudo form of fertilizer so they didn’t complain? OR … their kids caught it all mason jars and are doing nefarious things with it?

    N.B.: That’s ~102,000 lbs of fuel … or about half the fuel the Captain reported early on after takeoff.


  27. Sorry I am late to this party.
    Surely all Delta needs to do is to explain the benefits the Earth gained from having that oil returned to the soil from whence it came, and not burnt and adding to CO2 in the atmosphere.
    I really do not know why they have a PR department if it cannont come up with that line.

  28. Valid alternative CO2 viewpoint, John. Fun anachronistic and arm chair quarterbacking comments here notwithstanding, it’s also curious that neither Delta or the Captain or even the all-knowing FAA have held joint public news conferences on the matter seeking to assuage John Q Public. Where IS Delta’s PR Dept.? It’s been 10 days. I guess they’re just hoping everything will blow over and dry up (pun intended). I’d also have thought Gloria would be trotting a few kids out growing second heads or displaying constant shaking or other Jet A induced maladies, too. How’s she gonna get a new BMW if her clients aren’t made “whole” with DeltaBucks. The Court of Public Opinion needs some visuals … one side or another. Either LA needs evacuated or … there’s nothing to see here … move on.

    Maybe the answer is in the comment count on this matter here on Avweb:

    Initial incident Reporting on Jan 14: 17 comments (in 10 days)

    Lawsuits instituted reporting on Jan 19: 35 comments (in 5 days)

    This ‘spoof’ blog on kerosene on Jan 21: 54 comments (in 3 days)

    Looks to me as if everyone is only here because PB is the aviation entertainer/writer of the decade, has a world wide following of like minded aviators who like to have fun with him and most could care less about dumping fuel over LA during a bonafide 14 CFR 91.3 emergency where no one was (really) harmed in the evolution. Take THAT, Gloria Allred.

  29. I am a Boomer and after reading this I cannot stop laughing. We have become a nation of wimps, not to mention the most litigious nation on Earth. Where else would a mother successfully Sue NORAD for 20 million dollars because NORAD failed to track a meteor that struck and killed her 9 year old son while they were walking to the grocery store innocently minding their own business.

    You reminded me of the time, I was 17 years old I was making gun powder. I did not have any charcoal. Not a problem. Just burn some matches…I reasoned that would give me some charcoal. Problem was one match did not totally burn out and the whole thing flared up…. What a mess!

    How about sugar rockets? Two component flash powder and home made flash paper were lots of fun.

    A buddy of mine, a bored millionaire, got a blasters license just so we could do what we called recreational blasting…. Or, more fun with dangerous explosives. We actually had an idea to open a Recreational Blasting Camp somewhere…. But then Oklahoma City happened. So much for that idea.

    Kids just can’t have real fun anymore. You can’t even get fire crackers, M-80s, or rockets….. Well, not exactly… Drive to Tennessee and buy them. But, you probably can’t use them legally in your own state. Bummer!

  30. PS:. What’s a little Jet A among friends considering the radio active water and waste Japan put in the ocean…. Mixed with a little plastic I guess they got the last laugh after Hiroshima and Nagasaki!

    And, let us not forget chemtrails… Pilot jobs are hard to get these days.

  31. Just wow.. Never seen so much celebration of toxic air pollution, poison in your food and water that gives your kids cancer. Pilots over Madrid circled for 6 hours a few days back to burn off fuel. Huge inconvenience to the passengers but a good outcome for all. Jokers falling over themselves celebrating while castigating all the snowflakes actually don’t recognize themselves. Snarky humor that ignores human health and practical alternatives the pilot could have chosen (altitude for one). Not impressive.