Monthly Archives: July 2011

EPISODE 1 MR. WUGIDGEM AND THE FACES OF FREEDOM

DIRECT LINK TO EPISODE 1.  Welcome to today’s podcast and thanks for tuning in.  As I have been saying for several months, I have been working on Book Five in the Mr. Wugidgem Fantasy Series.   The working title is Mr. Wugidgem And The Faces Of Freedom.  Today I thoughhttp://traffic.libsyn.com/allanchapman/EPISODE_1_MP3_COMPLETE_MR._WUGIDGEM_AND_THE_FACES_OF_FREEDOM.output.mp3t I would give you a taste of what is to come by reading Episode 1. Debby and Michael begin the day in Social Studies Class and finish it in a foreign country, several thousand miles away!

MR. WUGIDGEM AND THE FACES OF FREEDOM-EPISODE 1

Welcome to today’s podcast and thanks for tuning in.  As I have been saying for several months, I have been working on Book Five in the Mr. Wugidgem Fantasy Series.   The working title is Mr. Wugidgem And The Faces Of Freedom.  Today I thought I would give you a taste of what is to come by reading Episode 1. Debby and Michael begin the day in Social Studies Class and finish it in a foreign country, several thousand miles away! Direct Link To Episode 1 Mr. Wugidgem And The Faces Of Freedom For this podcast I am including the text, so that you can follow along visually if you would like.

MR. WUGIDGEM AND THE FACES OF FREEDOM 

CHAPTER ONE

“Okay,” Mrs. Hills said, “It’s Friday, and it’s time for Current Events.  What in today’s headlines that has captured your interest and imagination?” Debby shot her hand up, catching their Social Studies teacher’s eye.  “ Yes, Debby,” she said.  “What would you like to share?” “I think it’s awesome what’s going on in Libya.  I mean it’s awful what President Gaddafi is doing to his own people, attacking them and all, but I think it’s really courageous what the regular people are doing.  They’re fighting for their freedom!” Continue reading MR. WUGIDGEM AND THE FACES OF FREEDOM-EPISODE 1

EPISODE 2 TALKING TO THE WORLD FROM PAN AM’S CLIPPERS

Last week I began audio podcasting my Father’s true adventure, Talking To The World From Pan Am’s Clippers.  Last week’ Episode was his introduction which provides a good background for his and other Flight Radio Officers experiences during the period of 1939-1949.  His book has sold over 10,000 copies.  Today’s adventure is entitled First Stop Havana.  In this short piece, I believe Dad captures the excitement of first flight.  I hope this grabs you as it did me.

As I did last week, I am including the text of this Episode for you to follow as I read if you so desire.  Please let me know if you like this or if it is a distraction in the “Leave a Comment” box at the bottom of this page.  Thanks!

Pan Am’s Sikorsky S-40 At The Dock – Biscayne Bay, Miami

Click on the link below to hear the audio podcast:

EPISODE 2 TALKING TO THE WORLD FROM PAN AM’S CLIPPERS

FIRST STOP HAVANA

BY FRANCIS ALLAN CHAPMAN

Time flies when you are having fun.  And I was certainly enjoying myself with all that I was learning and the exotic foreign countries I was about to visit.

I must have been making good progress in my Pan American Airways training because it seemed only a short time after I was hired, that the exciting moment arrived when I found my name posted for the first flight.  The flight schedule board at the radio station was inside the Pan American Airways International Terminal at Dinner Key, in Miami.  The board was always a hub of activities, as it was where all the flight crews could find out when and where they were going next.  It showed plane number, pilot’s name, route, time of departure:  NC80V, Pilot Captain Doxey, Miami-Havana, FRO Chapman, 7/22 Depart 0800.  Man, was that an exciting moment in my young life when I saw my name listed.  Date:  July 22, 1939.

The morning of my first flight I probably awoke at 5 AM.  I rushed through breakfast, got into my brand new Flight Radio Officer uniform, shined my shoes again and ran to the radio station to pick up the log sheets and DF charts, only to find out that the ground crew hadn’t finished their own preflight check.  So I’m sure I was pacing around the terminal, muttering to myself.  Just had to wait for the beaching crew to get NC80V into the water.  I must have finished my preflight check at least an hour before departure.  It included running all the equipment and making a quick CW code check with the radioman at WKDL, the Communications Center for the airline.  I would be talking to him half way to Havana and back, every fifteen minutes while we were in flight.  Each crew member had to do his own preflight checkout well before departure time and then return to the terminal to wait.

The Captain and copilot were doing their thing in the operations office, getting the latest weather, winds aloft and souls on board (SOB).  Their major concern was to carefully check the weight and balance of the plane before takeoff.  This included getting the correct weight of the fuel plus enough gas to reach an alternative landing area in case the destination weather had deteriorated, making a last minute diversion necessary.  Any crew member in charge of loading fuel unofficially added about 50 extra gallons of fuel as “pocket gas” or “gas for Mama” if he was married.  This would give a small margin of safety in case winds were stronger than forecast.  The weight and balance load figures were critical and had to be accurate, otherwise the center of gravity (CG) would be off, and the plane would have trouble lifting off the water.  All skippers knew about pocket gas and automatically figured in the extra 330 pounds of weight.

The moment of departure had arrived.  I was 23 years old and I was ready and excited.  Impatiently I waited for the skipper to give us the word, March.  At last he did.  So we tried to stay in step while we shuffled on board the S-40 Sikorsky NC80V, followed by 30 passengers.  The two stewards got every one settled and seat belted, while the Skipper and copilot went through their takeoff checklist:  Altimeter set, read fuel gauges, master power switch on, ignition switches on, and advance throttles.  I had nothing to do but watch.

Finally all four engines were started, the docking lines were dropped and we slowly moved away from the dock.  The copilot called the Panair 1 launch to see if our takeoff area was clear and began taxiing out into Biscayne Bay.

I know I must have been on cloud 9 I was so keyed up.  We swung into the wind.  Captain Doxey checked with Panair 1 once more and found the takeoff area was still clear.  He pushed the throttles slowly forward and we picked up speed quickly.  Within ten seconds the plane tipped forward slightly, onto the step.  We were now skimming along over the calm Bay at 50 MPH.  This is when the captain gently pulled back on the steering column and we lifted off the water.  Wow!  We were flying!!  This was the most thrilling time for me that I’d ever had in my life.  Everything began to miniaturize:  the Bay, people at the terminal, nearby sailboats, all speedily grew tiny.  It was a very special moment for me.  I felt this was an ethereal sensation rather hard to describe.  But I have felt this with almost every takeoff throughout my life.  It all began on Biscayne Bay at Dinner Key, Miami, Florida that sunny morning in July.

The skipper continued a slow banking climb to the southwest until we reached 1,000 feet.  He leveled off at this altitude.  I was peering intensely out the window.  All I could see was sunny skies and the blue green Gulf Stream visible below.  Stretching all around us was the Caribbean.  220 miles away was our destination.  Cruising at 115 MPH, we’d be there in two hours.

Except for three or four brief radio contacts, my radio was quiet.  However, I was kept busy taking radio bearings from all directions.  I wanted to practice my new skills.

I kept handing a steady flow of little slips of paper to the skipper.  They had broadcast station call letters, the time and a number, representing the bearing from the plane to the station.  CMA 355 meant a Havana station was 5 degrees off our port bow.  Or WKEY 045 meant a Key West station was 45 degrees off our starboard bow.  I could estimate how far away from Key West we were when we passed by.  If it took us 12 minutes for the bearing to change from 045 to 090, then I would multiply 12 times 2 or 24 miles.  That indicated we were 24 miles off Key West.  The number 2 was a constant, representing the plane’s air speed over the water of 2 miles per minute.

Time sped by.  All too quickly I was peering over the copilot’s shoulder again, scanning the horizon ahead.  Havana Bay, whose name I don’t recall at the moment, began magically to grow larger and more distinct.  Soon we started our descent.  I had to hurry back to reel in my 150 feet of trailing antenna.  I didn’t want to forget that before we landed in the bay.  Bad news for me if I did.  We got clearance to land from the Panair boat that had cleared the landing area.  Doxey “greased one on,” meaning he’d made an extra smooth landing.  We slowly taxied toward the dock while the copilot opened the bow hatch so he could reach out and pick up the docking lines.  It had taken us 2 hours and 5 minutes from Miami to Havana.  I was so happy to have done my bit toward making the flight safe and easy, with no problems.  My return flight to Miami, in the late afternoon, was uneventful, arriving at 5:10 PM.  Thus ended my very first roundtrip passenger flight to a foreign country.

A SHORT HISTORY OF GRANDMA CHAPMAN’S POETRY

I started audio podcasting my Grandmother’s poetry last year each week when I was writing my fourth Children’s Fantasy, Mr. Wugidgem And The Snow Queen. Grandma wrote her poetry between 1917  and 1969, a copy of which she gave me in July, 1969.  I have rediscovered her talent, particularly as I began to read them aloud last year in my audio podcasts.  When I finished writing Mr. Wugidgem And The Snow Queen, I began podcasting those episodes, and then started writing the fifth Mr. Wugidgem book which has the working title, Faces Of Freedom.  I hope to finish it this month and begin podcasting it next month.  If you would like to hear these previous audio podcasts, click the link below:

Chapman Children Stories Audio Podcasts

Today’s poem is entitled My Trip To Long Island.  Perhaps this will evoke memories of your Grandmother as well.  As I did last week, I am including the poem for you to follow along as I read.  To hear the podcast click on the link below:

Direct Link To Episode 24 Grandma Chapman’s Poetry

MY TRIP TO LONG ISLAND

BY FLORENCE CHAPMAN

My hearty thanks to one and all,

For what you did for me, each day,

To make my visit so very nice,

And cheer me up along they way.

At Fran and Ann’s it was real fun,

With rides and new sights to see.

Allan and Georgi were good hosts, too,

With Jenine and Jennifer to play with me.

Ken and Carolyn were kindly folks,

Smiling Tracy was happy there.

Jeanne’s arrival from far off London

Was an event I was glad to share.

So everyone made my stay worthwhile,

With the good times I had while there.

May all go well with these dear ones,

As they travel here, there, and everywhere.

Written February 4, 1969 in Brooklyn, Connecticut

EPISODE 24 GRANDMA CHAPMAN’S POETRY

DIRECT LINK TO EPISODE 24.  I STARTED AUDIO PODCASTING MY GRANDMOTHER’S POETRY LAST YEAR EACH WEEK WHEN I WAS WRITING MY FOURTH CHILDREN’S FANTASY, MR. WUGIDGEM AND THE SNOW QUEEN.  GRANDMA WROTE HER POETRY BETWEEN 1917 AND 1969, A COPY OF WHICH SHE GAVE ME IN JULY 1969.  I HAVE REDISCOVERED HER TALENT, PARTICULARLY AS I BEGAN TO READ THEM ALOUD LAST YEAR.  WHEN I FINISHED SNOW QUEEN, I BEGAN PODCASTING THOSE EPISODES, AND STARTED THE FIFTH MR. WUGIDGEM ADVENTURE, FACES OF FREEDOM.  I HOPE TO FINISH IT THIS MONTH AND BEGIN PODCASTING IT NEXT MONTH.  I WILL CONTINUE READING FROM GRANDMA CHAPMAN’S POETRY AND FROM MY FATHER’S NON-FICTION ADVENTURE TALKING TO THE WORLD FROM PAN AM’S CLIPPERS.  TODAY’S POEM IS ENTITLED MY TRIP TO LONG ISLAND.  PERHAPS THIS WILL EVOKE MEMORIES OF YOUR GRANDMOTHER AS WELL.

TALKING TO THE WORLD FROM PAN AM’S CLIPPERS PODCAST-EPISODE 1

I have just completed the first podcast episode of my Father’s book, Talking To The World From Pan Am’s Clippers.  Dad was a Flight Radio Officer for Pan Am during the period 1939 to 1949 and published this memoir in 1994.  I will be reading episodes from his book during the period while I am completing the fifth Mr. Wugidgem Children’s Fantasy.  I hope you enjoy this retro adventure.

As a departure from my regular audio only presentation, I am including the text of the reading as well.  You will find it below the link.

From The Flying Clippers Archive

DIRECT LINK TO EPISODE 1

INTRODUCTION

This memoir I am writing about concerns real life memories of my worldwide flying adventures aboard Pan American Airways Clippers as a Flight Radio Officer from 1939 to 1949.  This was when President Juan Trippe was expanding his airline into Central and South America and even the rest of the world.  The arrival of World War II helped PAA’s explosive expansion and his company quickly became know as America’s “Chosen Instrument.”  Trippe’s ambition and vision along with his international diplomacy and intrigue plus his financial manipulations helped make Pan Am the world’s largest and greatest International airline.

Millions of memories have I, that float around in my head.  But at times a simple fact that I really know well, will drift away like a cloud in a breeze.  So when this happens, when fact slips into fiction, please forgive this lapse; the story must go on.

This memoir is written in 1994, as a chronological diary, but covers my memories of 1939-1949.  I’ve described the very rapid technological advance in radio equipment and improved performance of 14 different aircraft Clippers from the Sikorsky S-38 twin engined 8 passenger seaplane that flew at 105 MPH, through to the Boeing B-377 Stratocruiser four engined 86 passenger landplane that flew at 275 MPH.

I’ve written this for my children Allan, Kenneth, Jeanne, and Connie, as well as my wife Jean and the rest of my extended family.  But also it’s for my old Pan American friends and to all aviation history buffs.

There are two stars in the memoir, my beautiful former wife Florence Ann Rodgers Chapman and Pan American Airways (PAA).  I’ve tried to tell you how I felt way back when.  There are a jillion or more loving times I enjoyed with Florence Ann, in my Pan American days.  She was my inspiration and I dedicate this memoir to her.

Blended along with those lovely memories are a hundred or two thrilling flights with PAA that took me into another dimension.  The MAGIC MOMENT of takeoff on each flight was some kind of ethereal experience for me that continues to this day.  I hope the reader gets a touch of those early sensations that I’ll try hard to faithfully describe.  I did the background research on my story at the University of Massachusetts library.  Robert Daley’s book titled An American Saga – Juan Trippe and his Pan Am Empire filled my needs best.  Daley extensively characterized Pan Am’s President Juan Trippe along with Andre Priester and Hugo Leuteritz.  I’ve quoted a few excerpts about the Communications and Navagations equipment Radio Engineering Expert Hugo Leuteritz developed for PAA.

Hopefully, his experiences will show why dependable two way radio and Navagational direction finding (DF) equipment was a must on all over-ocean flights and should be operated by professional Flight Radio Officers (FRO).  This would provide the proper elements to help assure safer flights in case of any emergencies or adverse weather conditions that might arise.

One of my writing goals is to show the Flight Radio Officers’ point of view, in relation to the rest of the smoothly operating flight cockpit crew.  Our essential tasks were to provide good in-flight two way communication with ground control radio stations giving aircraft progress reports, direction finding aids and weather.  I have quoted from President Trippe’s 1941 Royal Academy “Ocean Air Transport” speech in London that illustrated this well.

“The Flight Radio Officer is responsible for the operation of the plane’s complete radio equipment and for maintenance of constant communication with the radio control stations ashore.  On duty he is a rather busy airman.  At a minimum, he must contact his watch ground station every fifteen minutes.  On the half hour and on the hour, in addition to position, a complete report on its navigation and progress, the track made good, winds, weather, and general conditions.  He constantly receives weather reports, bearings from ground stations and in turn himself taking radio bearings upon surface stations or upon any available ships within range.”

“Radio equipment carried by a Clipper consists of two completely interchangeable telegraph and telephone transmitters, which can operate on either high or low frequency, thereby providing for communications with surface vessels as well as the ground control stations.  The ship also has two receivers, the function of which are interchangeable, and which cover frequency bands of 200 to 18,000 kcs.  There is also an automatic direction finder which can be manually operated.  An additional receiver for radio telephone operation, controllable from the pilot’s seat, is carried for use within 60 miles of the terminal stations, in conjunction with the regular transmitters.  For ground to air and point to point communications, the ground control stations are equipped with from three to five transmitters, of various power outputs, together with the necessary receiving equipment.  Each station, in addition, is usually equipped with radio navigation facilities.  Normal communication ranges are in the neighborhood of 3,600 miles.”

Please join me again next week for Episode 2, First Stop Havana.

Allan Chapman

TALKING TO THE WORLD FROM PAN AM CLIPPERS, GRANDMA CHAPMAN’S POETRY, ET AL

TALKING TO THE WORLD FROM PAN AM’S CLIPPERS

GRANDMA CHAPMAN’S POETRY

ADVENTURES WITH MR. WIGUDGEM

SLAVES ON HORSEBACK

IN MEDIUS RES (IN THE MIDDLE OF THINGS)

I’ve decided to launch this new blog in the middle of Grandma Chapman’s Poetry.  For those of you who have been listening to my weekly podcasts, I am still writing book 5 in the Mr. Wugidgem Children’s Stories, and I’m about two-thirds of the way to the end.  For the next couple of weeks I’ll be reading my Grandmother’s poetry, which she wrote between 1917 and 1969.  Then I will switch to reading from my Father’s book, Talking To The World From Pan Am’s Clippers.

DIRECT LINK TO EPISODE 23 GRANDMA CHAPMAN’S POETRY

http://allanwchapman.com/?attachment_id=11

GRANDMA CHAPMAN’S FAMILY

As a departure from my ordinary practice, I am including the text of my Grandmother’s poetry so you can read along with me.  Today’s Episode is entitled A Happy Home.

A HAPPY HOME

BY FLORENCE CHAPMAN

God bless this new home,

And all who here abide,

Guide them when they roam,

And may no ill betide.

Keep them happy and content,

Trusting that all is fair,

Wherever they may be sent,

By land or sea or air.

Written in December, 1968 at the Anchorage Motel, Cold Spring Harbor, New York

EPISODE 23 GRANDMA CHAPMAN’S POETRY

DIRECT LINK TO EPISODE 23.  I’ve decided to launch this new blog in the middle of Grandma Chapman’s Poetry.  For those of you who have been listening to my weekly podcasts, I am still writing book 5 in the Mr. Wugidgem Children’s Stories, and I’m about two-thirds of the way to the end.  For the next couple of weeks I’ll be reading my Grandmother’s poetry, which she wrote between 1917 and 1969.  Then I will switch to reading from my Father’s book, Talking To The World From Pan Am’s Clippers.EPISODE 23 GRANDMA CHAPMAN’S POETRY

EPISODE 22 GRANDMA CHAPMAN’S POETRY

DIRECT LINK TO EPISODE 22.  THANKS FOR TUNING IN.  I MADE MORE TIME AVAILABLE THIS WEEK FOR BOOK FIVE IN THE MR. WUGIDGEM SERIES, SO I AM NOW MAKING GOOD PROGRESS.  TODAY I AM READING GRANDMA CHAPMAN’S POEM, CHRISTMAS WISHES, WHICH I BELIEVE IS APPROPRIATE FOR TODAY AND EVERY DAY.  I AM CONSIDERING READING FROM MY DAD’S AUTOBIOGRAPHY, TALKING TO THE WORLD FROM PAN AM CLIPPERS.  DAD WAS A NAVIGATOR FOR PAN AMERICAN WORLD AIRWAYS IN THEIR PIONEER DAYS, AND I BELIEVE HIS STORY IS FASCINATING.  PLEASE EMAIL ME AT allanwchapman@gmail.com TO LET ME KNOW IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO HEAR HIS TALES.  THANKS!