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Dave Vaughter

Meet Dave Vaughter, retired Eastern Airline's pilot, and the man who flew our subject aircraft on the morning she had a hiccup! I asked Dave if he could share with us a few thoughts about the DC-8, and this is was his reply:

"My only relevant thoughts -- after flying the Lockheed Electra and the DC-9, both of which resembled my expectations of how an over-sized fighter would feel in flight, the DC-8 was a big, fat mama -- a lead sled. On becoming better acquainted, I came to appreciate its reliability and predictability to the point of regarding the relationship as a love affair where her secrets were being revealed only as I became experienced enough to recognize and properly enjoy her true beauty. The engine fires, losses of cabin pressure, windshield crazings, etc. only made me more appreciative of the redundancy and safety features built into the machine -- and love it all the more. (I finally arrived at the point of thinking if anything unusual happened to a DC-8, I hoped would happen to me!)"

I think the DC-8s he flew knew this because Dave told me of another engine explosion in yet a differnt DC-8, it also occured on takeoff, but prior to rotation, so they just taxied, somewhat quickly I would imagine, off the active and over to the airport's fire station that was located just off the runway. Not one, but TWO engine explosions. Unimaginable!

So how is it that Dave was so well prepared to handle these situations? I think this may give you a hint...

Dave was born on January 21, 1921 in New Mexico, graduating from high school in 1938. In April of 1941 he enlisted in the Army Air Corps, entering flight school as a private, and was an Aviation Student by November of the same year. He graduated as S/Sgt. Pilot on July 3, 1942. Serving 2 years in New Guinea, he returned to the states in October of '44 as a Captain. He joined Eastern Airlines on April 27, 1945 as pilot #541. He retired from Eastern on January 20, 1981, the day before his birthday, as pilot #13.

Planes he has flown:
USAC trainers
Lockheed Lodestar

Planes for Eastern Airlines:
Martin 404
Lockheed Electra
L-1011 Tristar
Airbus A-310
Note: No Boeing aircraft!

In addition to having flown these aircraft for Eastern Airlines, Dave was also a Check Pilot, Instructor Pilot, and Assistant Chief Pilot during his run with Eastern.

Dave was a member of the Airline Pilot's Association from 1945 - 1981, serving as a Co-pilot Representative, Chairman, ALPA National Appeal Borard and ALPA National Hearing Board.

In other words, this man has just about done it all! So we tip our hats in admiration of his skills and accomplishments. And words just can't express how grateful I am to have him on board as a tech advisor for the painting of Eastern's DC-8!