Flight of the Phoenix.
Christopher Brian Deem NAR 12308 TRA 2256 Level II
> P.K. Moore wrote:
> > Did anybody but me notice that the word "rocket" does not appear in that ad?
> > Just being anal.....P.K.
> hmmmm... how about sending in a job application in the name "Heinrich
> Dorfmann", listing a lot of aircraft design experience.
> (OK, who's old enough to recognize the movie reference?)
> Mike KD7PVT
> NAR #70953 - Sr/HPR Level-1 ~ SeaNAR - The Seattle NAR Section #568
> NO Junk Email, please! Real email to: amphoto [at] blarg [dot] net. >
It was an enjoyable movie. Stewart always looks so natural in the
cockpit (yeah, I know, he was a brig. general).
In the closing credits, they indicate one person was killed in the
making of the film. I always wondered if it had to with the flight.
My uncle, an aviator and pretty sharp guy, tells me they could have
never gotten the wing moved. Said it would have been way too
By the way, near the end of the movie when the bird is flying,
you can see wheels sticking out the bottom of the skids. You'd think
that would have had enough film that they could have used another
shot during editing.
How many aviation films did Jimmy Stewart make?
I read an article about the famous Hollywood stunt pilot Paul Mantz
who actually flew the Phoenix in the film. It was his last flight, the
landing skid hooked a sand dune on landing and flipped the plane or
caused it to take a bad hop and nose in. He was crushed by the motor.
You'll notice that at the end of the film they don't actually show the
plane landing, just that the passengers come running over the dune to
the waterhole. Apparently, the autopsy showed that he was pretty
liquored up when he made his last flight.
When the cobbled together plane is shown flying from a distance with
the oil workers on the wings, they are plywood profile cutouts because
the plane was barely airworthy without the extra weight.
Scott McCrate NAR 71680
Where did you read that? None of the sources I've seen make any
reference to Mantz being drunk, though admittedly all of them were
"friendly" towards him. The plane was very marginal and dangerous to
fly. As I recall, the accident was caused by one of the simulated
landing skids (as someone else posted, there are wheels hidden inside
them if you pay any attention at all) hooking the ground and flipping
the plane. The film required lots of low flying and a long bouncing
take-off run, so that was always a distinct possibility. Not that the
drinking couldn't have happened, but the situation was already
dangerous enough that serious fault on Mantz's part isn't necessary to
explain the accident.
Yeah, sorry about that. Getting back into rockets after a long
layoff, and my news provider has a long retention time.
I read HOLLYWOOD PILOT just recently, and I'm relatively sure that
they bit about drinking didn't come from there. It's not totally
incredible the Mantz might have had alcohol in his system when he
crashed. He was a hard-drinking guy of the old-school. He had, in
fact, come out of retirement to do the picture, and had suffered
serious injuries that might have resulted in chronic pain and
therefore some degree of "self-medication." But I'd be very surprised
it he was flying in what he could have considered an impaired
condition. Like I said, I'm curious if the allegations come from any
reliable source or if this is simply one of those rumors that floats
around the internet (and around the bar when old fliers sit and tell
Just did some searching of my own, which includes fascinating pictures
of the actual crash in progress. No mention of Mantz drinking (though
according to the pages, he was called in at the last minute to do the
shoot, and that could have been a contributing factor too, if he
didn't have time to sober up and was too proud to turn it down). But
obviously from the shots, you've got a broken plane (the entire tail
is literally falling off!) that appears to be in a stable and
controlled attitude just inches off the ground. Pilot error may have
been a factor, but it clearly isn't a case of some sloppy drunk who
couldn't fly the plane.