So There I was…



How it all started out…

Back in the 80’s there was a local business guy who had expressed an interest in buying a Sabre 60 we had for sale.

It started out as a local routine demo flight…the first sign that things could go wrong was that the business guy was taking a picture of himself standing in front of the airplane….what we call a “selfie” today. He was doing it with a big boxy Polaroid camera. What I really thought was “WTF is this?” After a little small talk, the salesman, the customer’s wife, a six foot platinum blonde, in a white suit, who just happened to be the number one local news anchor in town climbed into the back of the airplane. I got into the left seat and my copilot let the client in and closed the door…for some reason, the potential buyer wanted to ride in the jump seat, number two sign things could go wrong…so that is how we set out.

We were just driving around the area at 16,5 VFR showing off almost nothing…just going back and forth, and answering questions while more Polaroid pictures were being taken. Then the guy starts talking about something he had heard about the Sabreliner, which was that it did a crazy thing if the airplane lost pressurization. I asked the guy, ” Are you talking about explosive decompression?” He said, “yes I want to see it.” I said. “No you don’t.” He said, “yes I do.” OK I agreed to do it…number three sign things might go wrong.

The Sabre is, in fact, built on the F86 Sabre Jet wing and has no spoilers on the wings, but has a dive brake in the belly. The explosive decompression maneuver for that aircraft consists of pulling the power back to flight idle, simultaneously extending the dive brake (which makes a God awful rumbling sound) and rolling the airplane past 105 degrees of the horizon to unload the lift from the wings. Basically it is an acrobatic maneuver.

I asked one more time if he really wanted to do this and he said that he did…number four sign things could go wrong. I called to the back to make sure the passengers had their seat belts on, cleared the airspace with ATC, and went into the maneuver.

Power back, dive brake out, and rolled it inverted in kind of a split S maneuver letting the nose fall though the horizon to vertical. At that point the aircraft was descending at 20K feet a minute. As soon as the aircraft went vertical I heard my copilot say something I never ever heard him say before…”Captain”.  Number five thing something could go wrong…he had never called me captain in the 10 years I had flown with him. I looked over to the right and saw him hanging in the 5 point harness to hear him say these epic words, “The toilet!”

Yes, the airplane was configured for a demo and everything was loaded full from the bar to the toilet. In those brief seconds that the plane was vertical, the toilet door popped opened, and yes indeed, in the very next split second, that fully loaded “crapper” very unceremoniously unloaded every drop of its blue water directly into the passenger compartment then I heard a really loud scream.

The six foot platinum blonde in the white suit turned into a six foot smurf as she took the bulk of the water…even the guy took a blue water bath!.

It was a pretty funny story which ended well. The guy DID end up buying the plane, however the six foot platinum blonde was not happy at all. She did not go on TV that night, something about blue hair and really bad attitude…oh well s**t happens!!!

True story…

P.s. As a side note that was a long time ago and it is not something I would do again with pax on board., nor would I recommend it to anyone..but at the time it was frigin’ hilarious….

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