|"Da' Plane..." PART-2|
When I left you last time, I was sitting in the copilots seat of Lester Welch’s old twin engine Cessna, as were flying from Tampa to Atlanta, for The WTBS studio wrestling show. In the rear sleeping, were my four coworkers, the late Wahoo McDaniel and “Ravishing” Rick Rude, Jack Hart (Barry Horowitz), and Billy Jack Haynes.
We were soaring over the South Georgia pines, when we suddenly lost one engine, followed by the second. You could hear a pin drop in the back, as I tried to find comfort in the experienced eyes of my pilot friend. The good Chief screamed, “Percy what the hell are you messing with up there?” I assured him that for once I wasn’t playing around, and he realized from the tone of my voice that we were indeed having serious problems.
I sat in silence as I watched every move our pilot made. He scanned all the controls. Checked every knob and lever. Then finally, just as we were beginning to lose altitude, I saw a smile come across his face. He reached down beside his seat and flipped a switch. With his fingers crossed on his left hand, he reached up with his right and hit a button. The right engine started back up. He hit another button. The left engine began to hum. We were saved! I was going to be able to make my cable television debut after all, thank The Good Lord.
Not being a pilot myself, I understood that there was something wrong with one of the fuel gauges. It showed full, when in fact it wasn’t. So when the engines died, we were running on an empty tank. The pilot simply switched over to the secondary tank, started the engines, and everything was hunky-dory.
After 13-years of flying around the world with The WWF/WWE, I am a member of Delta’s two-million miler club, notwithstanding the hundreds of thousands of miles I have earned on all the other airlines. During all that time in the air, I am fortunate to only have one other occasion where I actually feared for my life.
The Undertaker and myself were flying into one of my favorite Texas Cities, San Antonio. Unfortunately, we were on “the cattle car express”, Southwest Airlines. Now, maybe I shouldn’t say that. Southwest really isn’t all that bad, unless you are a 300+ pound wrestler. The flight was rather unremarkable, until it came time to put the wheels down in the Alamo City.
The wind was blowing pretty hard, but veteran travelers like us were unconcerned. I was sitting by the window, and we had an empty seat between “The Deadman” and myself. As we drew closer to the tarmac, the plane began rocking from left to right. Needless to say, we began to get a bit concerned. As we gazed out the window, the shifting became more intense. Just as we were about to touchdown, we veered hard to the right, and I saw the right wing come within inches of hitting the ground. I looked at Mark; he was looking at me, as the wheels made contact with the concrete. We made it once again!
Considering all the time we have spent in the air, we have been very blessed. As I end another story, I am thinking of all our brothers that we have lost in the air and on the road. May they rest in peace.