Tuesday, April 28, 2009

AMERICAN AIRLINES STEWARDESS Emergency Training in 1957-1959

From American Airlines 707 Jet Stewardess Argie Hoskins

Above is my Daddy who taught me to keep things in order to accomplish a task. Tasks were done with strict discipline. Obedience to the task was demanded and expected. As a public school teacher, I found that students who had not learned to internalize discipline could not focus and accomplish a goal.
I am quoting a cowboy friend who worked for Daddy from time to time, "Al would tell me what he wanted to get done. He would than tell me what he was going to do, told me what I was going to do and said, "Now be careful!" As a windmiller for a large ranch, Al took his job very seriously. It could be a dangerous venture, getting up the windmill tower to repair whatever was needed. Thank you Daddy for being an example of hard and dedicated work ethics. Mother used to say, "You are just like your Daddy," for me that was a compliment. American Airlines set that expectation for the Stewardess Corp.

From American Airlines 707 Jet Stewardess Argie Hoskins

Above is my Mother for whom I am grateful for her intuitive soul, hard work and good judgment. She taught me to think outside the box. "Sister, if you can not do it one way, you can do it another." "Think before you act." "Think of others before yourself." "Do your best!" Thank you dear Mother for being you and helping me be me. Neither of us was perfect, but we hung in there and kept trying until something worked. Life is hard work! It is worth it!

Honestly, I had the foundation for learning and applying the skills needed for Emergency Training.

I am amazed at the metamorphic process from caterpillar to butterfly. What does this have to do with me and Emergency Training? The caterpillar was evolving step by step. As I ponder my training as a stewardess and the "me" who emerged from that training during the years of my flying experience, it was all good. For successfully handling of any emergency, it was important to know what to do on an automatic level so I could depend on my knowledge and skill. Wow! I needed to learn sooo much. And good ole American Airlines picked me, Argie Hoskins, because they knew that I could do it! Now to get rid of the self doubts and have confident inside of me. The task ahead was to learn what I needed to know on an automatic level, no guess work! Along the way something really great happened, I found in me, a new me, not only did I know the procedures, but I had good judgment. You can't learn everything you need to know by the book. There is no substitute for good judgment. Always have in my mind plan "A" and plan "B" for this is survival. Later as a school teacher, we had workshops on "thinking outside the box." I realized that I had been thinking outside the box for year and years.

My first Emergency Training was focused on DC-6, DC-6B, DC-6 Coach, DC-7, DC-7 Coach, DC-7 Dual Service, and the Convair. The Emergency Equipment: EXITS and how to open the window exits from inside and in some cases the outside of the aircraft. ROPES were located in exit windows and doors of certain aircraft. EVACUATION SLIDES were stored on the cabin doors. The Lounge exit had a slide. It was fun to practice our skills while overcoming fear. FIRE EXTINGUISHERS were located in various locations on the several aircraft. OXYGEN cylinder, outlets, walk-around bottles were strategically placed. FLASHLIGHTS were on some aircraft. EMERGENCY LIGHTS replaced flashlights on all aircraft. Another item that we always checked when we boarded was the SERVICE KIT which contained First Aid Equipment. We were trained to remember to take the SERVICE KIT with us if we evacuated. We didn't have the theme bandaides that children plaster all over them these days. That would have been an interesting demand. We had a FIRE AXE located on the forward side of cockpit door on all aircraft. FIRE DETECTORS AND EXTINGUISHING EQUIPMENT and FLOTATION SEAT CUSHIONS were on some aircraft.

This is a statement from my American Airlines Manual: "The successful handling of any emergency aboard an aircraft depends to a large degree on you and your knowledge. There is never an emergency in which there isn't something you can do to help. Safe procedures require a cool head. The ability to think straight and operate calmly requires knowledge of what to do. There is no substitute for good judgment. The outline that follows assigns specific Stewardess responsibilities on the DC-6/DC-7 and the Convair. If, on the DC-6/DC-7 an emergency occurs and the specific location of the First Stewardess at the time makes it difficult or time consuming to accomplish her duties as outlined, then good judgment should dictate that she carry out the Second Stewardess' duties and vice -versa. The Second Stewardess under such conditions should take her cue from the First Stewardess.

Now the task for me was to know what responsibilities were First Stewardess and Second Stewardess because I felt that I could do both at the same time. That has been my challenge all my life; I think that I can do it all. I can't! I must be in charge of my stewardship and others must be committed to their stewardship. In case of an emergency, I must know what I can do and do it! Don't expect someone else or the government to solve the problems that I must handle.

More later!
And oh yes, Have a Happy Heart!

And this is the more later! This morning I thought of a couple more things that came to mind. I know that when I have time to write from my journal; I will have more to say. For now as I remember, the kind of emergency situations that I was trained for back in the 1950's were varied. BELLY LANDING when the gear would not come down was not very different than a normal landing. However there was the possibility of the shock of the hard landing of the tail and even more hard the landing of the nose. What was comforting was that we would be near the ground for easy departure. I remember the advice was to inform the passengers to relieve their bladders so that on impact the bladder would not burst. I never found that in the manual, but thought it was a good idea. Along with that idea was the use of the pillows and position of the body on impact. NOSE WHEEL UP MAIN GEAR DOWN will position the aircraft in a nose down, tail up! This position business of landing was hard for me because of the sequencing challenge in my brain. Up, down, down up! Concepts had to be over learned!

One evening the crew was dead heading a plane back to LA. An engine caught on fire! We made an emergency landing. I was not one bit concerned. The flying crew knew what to do!

The following was not an emergency, however it could have been. After having had an extended layover in New York because of a wicked snow storm, the cold, continuing gray skies, and weather conditions, we loaded our passengers in the hangar as we continued to de-ice. Little did we know that inspite of the working snow plows the runway conditions were still icy. The noises on take off didn't seem that much different from other icy, snowy takeoffs. When we deplaned in LA, the crew was talking and taking notes as they studied the rolled up metal on the belly of the plane. I suppose this rolled up metal on the fuselage was caused by ice on the runway. I have always wanted to see that report.

One evening flying between El Paso and Douglas, the pilot lower the plane very quickly. He reported that he had picked up an unidentified object in our path. He was not asleep at the wheel. Speaking of such! I flew with a flight engineer that shared that he believed in UFOs because of the things that he had observered while flying. Interesting!

A near miss! On take off from New York and again during the winter, we almost did not make it over a fence at the end of the runway and into the water we could have gone. BUT the crew did some very quick and skilled flying to leap us over the fence. I loved flying with those old World War II pilots. They were so great! From the props to the jets, they were the greatest!!!!! I was afraid to fly before I became a stewardess. Just knowing the skill of the men at the wheel was a comfort. I am now married to an old pilot from World War II. When we are fly we hear every sound and movement of the aircraft. We have traveled on many airlines. And you know my choice of carriers.

In my opinion, American Airline is the best for their concern and training for Emergency Training. I would do it all over again for American.

More later!
Have a Happy Heart!