Apollo/Advanced Range Instrumentation Aircraft

Worldwide Support of Space and Earth Programs for 35 Years

Fire In The Hole

     I was on 375 and we were going to the Azores for a mission in the early 70's and stopped at Pease AFB to refuel and RON. When we landed and the A/C Commander hit the 'new brakes' a cloud of smoke came up and the tower called a hot brakes emergency on us. The pilot told them we had new brake shoes and they were just setting and was told they had declared the emergency and would see it through. We taxied to the tarmac and they came screaming up in the big fire trucks and the silver suits and were not real happy when we didn't do an emergency egress and pumped open the cargo door and said we would wait for a B-4 stand to get off the plane. Then they really got mad when we strolled off the plane with our suitcases and water jugs. After a few minutes they informed us that we really didn't have a hot brakes (Just like we told them) and we could go back on the plane to get anything we hadn't already brought off. I went back up the B-4 and when I came to the door of the aircraft with a coffee jug, it was just in time to see my suitcase being 'plowed under' one of the large fire trucks which was turning around by the aircraft and I yelled for them to stop. I looked at my rather flat suitcase and told them I wanted an accident report for reimbursement. I wasn't really amused at which time the fire chief said it could have been worse as I could have been holding the suitcase. At the time I didn't think that was very funny. They seemed not to care very much till it was discovered that they had also 'clipped' a government water jug from the plane and it had been damaged, NOW everyone got excited. I was still just trying to figure out how I was going to explain 'tire-tracks' on my underwear to my wife. Needless to say with 'damaged' government property we had mountains of paperwork and in less than 6 months I was reimbursed for my suitcase. We had a good laugh that night at my luck as they helped me carry my stuff in a couple of paper bags for the next few days.

James Mathews