Steady hand on the controls for the Cougars

Dec 20, 1999... Moz Krieger

As the B-25H careened to certain destruction a man entered the cockpit.

Large, over six foot and an imposing presence, he announced to the terrified 22 year-old pilot of the B-25 nicknamed the "Cougars" "Lemmie have those controls, kid." He announced in a commanding voice. The frightened young pilot sniveled and lept from the command pilot's seat. "Now let's see if we can save this baby!", the older pilot said his face tanned and squint lines around his eyes from too many sunny days judging AACA shows.

Pulling back on the yoke of the twin-engined North American bomber, he pushed the throttles of the Pratt & Whitney R-2400 Twin Radials to give 100% power. The engines howled their anger as the propellers bit into the air, tryingto reclaim altitude before the swiftly approaching earth claimed the aircraft. The airframe shuttered and groaned as the g-forces twisted the screaming metal far beyond the engineers designed tolerances. Slowly, agonizingly, the aircraft tried to reverse the dive that would have soon claimed the aircraft and its crew had the older pilot not assumed control.

The younger, less experienced pilot looked at the older flyer commenting on how he looked like a combination between John Wayne and Robert Redford - a little taller, and a lot thinner. He cheered the pilot on: "C'mon Dad, I know you can pull her up!" The older pilot shot Mark a smile and pulled the yoke further back into his chest. "This is going to be a sweater" he commented.

The altimeter unwound - 500,' 400,' 325,' then almost unseen, the Cougar slowed its downward spiral. 275,' 200,' the propellers clawed their way into the air, 175,' 150.' "We ain't gonna make it!" the radioman cried out.

"That'll be the day" the older pilot murmured.

100,' 75' the ground loomed ahead as the plane attempted to reverse its dive.

Oh, Shit!

The plane crunched into the ground and they all died.  Santa Fe 202, Cougars 107.