The following letter was written by Homer Anderson in an effort to preserve some of the CNAC history not otherwise documented.

Letter #2

March 2002
My “Turbinlight” Ferry Trip to Scotland

Actually, (Finally), I remembered that time when I flew into gander, Newfoundland and had problems with weather and an engine of my B-25 (Turbinlight) airplane that I was ferrying from Montreal, Canada to Prestwick, Scotland, via the North Atlantic Ocean.

The airplane had a big and long barrel, holding electric wiring. It extended the length of the plane, under the floorboards to the enormous light at the tip of the nose, for guidance of the pursuits, trying to locate the enemy planes at night, I suppose. Too, there were “finger stacks” as an exhaust system in each engine, to give little or no light, instead of the usual “collector ring” exhaust in most airplanes’ engines.

Well, I had no co-pilot – only a radio operator, way in the back-end. My right engine caught afire, and of course, that was a worrisome problem. I believe that the fire had gone out. Rather quickly, as I remember, because that part of that flight hadn’t stuck in my mind. I suppose that I feathered that right engine’s propeller, too.

One of the main problems was that I couldn’t get the plane higher than 17,000 feet altitude, in order to take a “bearing” on a star or the moon. The “overcast” was very thick, probably ended 1,000 to 2,000 feet higher than we could (then) climb to. Under the circumstances a bearing was very important, in order to remain on our desired course to Scotland, as I did not want to land in France or Germany. Too, since I had that problem with the right engine, I had immediately thought that it might be necessary to “bail out”, but I sure did not wish for us to bail-out and go into that cold (maybe 50 degrees below zero-centigrade) North Atlantic water!

We tried to get permission from the Gander radio-people to go to Gander and land there, but the radio-person at Gander, told us that Gander Airport had bee “closed” to any air-traffic all night, due to the “winter storm”, and he suggested that we go to Stephensville, Maine, which we judged was about the same (or a bit more) distance away.

Immediately, I saw a red light (which I had presumed to be the back light of another airplane) heading in the same direction of the Gander Airport. We were over the ocean and about parallel of the Gander Airport. I flew my plane several hundred feet back of that plane’s red light, and eventually he flew over Gander Airport, with me following him. And just then a “hole” in the “overcast” developed over the “field”, and what I thought was another plane that I had been following, flew “on”. Of course, I thought for a moment that it was strange for him to do that, but I dove our plane through that “hole” and landed on a runway of ice, and skidded on the ice of that runway, clear-back to the hanger at the end of the field and we stopped there, and went in.

The mechanic, there, came over to my side of my plane, and yelled up to me, as to what the matter was. I told him that I “lost my right engine (meaning I could not operate my right engine.) Then the telephone of the hangar rang and the mechanic went to answer it. He came back under my side window and yelled up at me, that it was the tower operator on the phone and wanted to talk to me.

I got down and went over to the phone. The tower operator asked me how I managed to find the airport, as no “hole” had appeared over the airport all night-long, and that hole that I went down through lasted only for about 3 minutes all night. I told him that I followed a plane over that hole, and he said that was impossible, for no plane flew in Newfoundland all night. Well, I was dumbfounded, and too exhausted to “ponder” much about that, so both of us (crew members) went to bed.

The following morning, I went to the hanger when the mechanic said to me, “Captain, have you seen your right engine”? I said “no”. Well, he then told me, the top engine-mounts had burned away, the fire wall had burned away, and one of the lower engine mounts was “gone” and if the other engine mount had “gone”, you’d have “lost” that engine for sure! Gosh, I hadn’t dreamed we had that much of a problem!! WOW!

Well, I do not believe much in “miracles”, but maybe all that was a “miracle”.

Perhaps, because of the “finger stacks” exhaust, and the major fire in my right engine, all of the squadrons of the world “grounded” the “turbinlites” – at least temporarily. I guess we crew-members were lucky!!!!

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Background music to this
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At Andy's request, here is one of his favorite songs,
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