Avionics News April 2015 - 72

series

MY LIFE IN AVIONICS
PART 3

B Y

J E R R Y

G O R D O N

From the Air Force
to the airlines
EDITOR'S NOTE:

This is part three of a series that
focuses on the avionics career of
Jerry Gordon, who recently turned
80 years old. For many years,
Gordon wrote a column for Avionics
News titled "The Technician's
Notebook." The column offered
experienced advice and procedures
to assist avionics technicians in
performing their duties on a daily
basis. During his career, Gordon
helped start 13 avionics shops from
scratch. Readers will enjoy reliving
a bit of avionics history through
the eyes of a man who dedicated
his career serving the industry.
The first article told a fascinating
tale about how the author was
first introduced to avionics through
the United States Air Force in the
1950s. The second article outlined
his educational experiences.

72

avionics news

*

april

2015

Being stationed at the nation's capital was an awesome
experience. Initially, I went alone, leaving my wife and
daughter in Michigan. The unit I was assigned was on
the grounds of Washington National Airport. No fences or
gates. Just a group of buildings among other buildings.
It was like having a civilian job other than to access the
Air Force group of hangars. They were guarded heavily.
Our outfit flew all the VIPs of Washington, D.C., including
Dwight and Mamie Eisenhower. What an honor!
I drove my dark-blue 52 Pontiac into Washington, D.C., shortly after my arrival
and settling in the barracks. It was a busy place with absolutely no parking spots. I
drove by a movie theater that was advertising a Cinemascope wide-screen picture
and decided to go see this new technology. I was amazed how wide the screen
was. Still in awe, I walked back to my 52 Pontiac. It now was all white including
the windshield and rear window. Then I heard this noise that sounded like a million
birds. I looked up, and the tree was black with starlings - no wonder the space was
empty! I could not see through the windshield at all, but I managed to wipe an area
big enough so I could see to get back to the base. I don't know how I made it back
without being stopped for impaired vision. It was a few days before I could find a
place to wash the car, and by that time it was like it was covered with plaster. It never
recovered, so I now had a blue, marbled with white Pontiac.
The work was great. We had some Connies, a Super Connie (Columbine II),
a DC-4 (Harry Truman's old plane), a couple of DC-6s and a DC-3 to maintain.
Bell had just given President Eisenhower a little helicopter that was in the main
hanger with the Columbine. The Columbine had a permanent presidential guard
always present and the area around it was taped, which meant "no closer." One
day, the only radio man authorized aboard the Columbine asked me to take a radio
and give it to the guard, explaining to him that he would be down to put it aboard



Avionics News April 2015

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Avionics News April 2015

Avionics News April 2015 - Intro
Avionics News April 2015 - Cover1
Avionics News April 2015 - Cover2
Avionics News April 2015 - 1
Avionics News April 2015 - 2
Avionics News April 2015 - 3
Avionics News April 2015 - 4
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Avionics News April 2015 - Cover3
Avionics News April 2015 - Cover4
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