Flyin’ With Charlie

Flyin’ With Charlie

Back in the good ol’ days I had the good fortune to fly Frontier’s Twin Otter across the Montana/Canada border in and out of fabulous international airports such as Wolf Point International, Montana.  Ah yes, it was a glorious time made more so by the magnificent talents of one all-time GREAT first officer, Charlie Trantham.  

What a flying machine the T’watter was!  STOL takeoffs and landings were crackerjack.  It would fly faster’n a DC-3 and carry near the same payload.  The word  “incredible” comes to mind.  I LOVED flying that air-machine!

Charlie, you might know, held the position of Crew Scheduler before hiring on as a F/O in September 1972.  Soon, Charlie drew the short straw and we were paired t’gether flying the DHC-6 based out of Great Falls, Montana.

I had just returned from flying with Air America in SE Asia.  So, getting back into line flying with Frontier was a very welcome happenstance.  I much prefer flying airplanes when no one is shooting at me!

Cheryl was five months pregnant with Preston when I waived goodbye & headed to GTF for  a three-day trip series. Sir Charles would be sharing the flight deck with me. 

If you are a former Frontier employee,  you’ll apply recall, we were often sans-passengers (no “MPX” mail-cargo-passengers) with just cargo and mail and sometimes not even that!  This loosened the atmosphere some with competition developing  between captain and first officer as to how to fly the next VFR leg.  Anything/everything was possible!   More than one jackrabbit or antelope thought a big bird was gonna grab ’em!

Charlie brought along his handy-dandy guitar.  He rigged it up so that the microphone he hooked up played into our headsets.  Then he commenced to singing and playing.  It was truly a treat!  
Then, Charlie played “Raindrops are Falling on Your Head.” Finished, he said, “Who was it that sang the song in the movie Butch Cassidy?”  I could not remember.  Charlie could not remember.  The station agents could not remember!  

THREE DAYS!  No one could remember and it was drivin’ us bonkers!  We ended up in GTF to ride the 727 back to DEN for days off.  At the parking lot, before heading for home, Charlie says, “If you think of who sang that song, call me!”  I assured him I would.

At precisely 3 AM the next morning, the phone rang.  The voice on the phone said, ” BJ Thomas” and hung up!   

Charlie nor I will ever forget who sang that song!  AND Boy Howdy! …would I love to be able to turn the clock back!  Them’s WERE the days…