All Those Wonderful Stories...
Transocean Air Lines 1946 - 1960
The Crew Car
by Captain Frank Kennedy
When Transocean was young and
most of our flights were over the Pacific we
had a company crew house in Honolulu on
Seaside Avenue near Waikiki Beach. Each
time we went through Honolulu we had a
lay-over of at least one day going each way,
so we spent quite a lot of time there. On their
lay-overs most of the crew members relaxed
by lying around the beach, which was but a
short walk from the house. If a group wanted
to go to some more distant place for dinner
or to a golf course we had to take a cab.
To solve this transportation problem several of the crew members went together and bought
a car. It was owned jointly by about six members and the total value of the car was around $400.
Shares in the car changed hands often and in almost every crew that came through there would be
someone with a share in the car or a key and permission to use it.
The car was about a 1928 vintage, open Chevy 4-door with a rubberized cloth top. The forward
part of the top, over the front seat, had deteriorated so badly it had been hanging in shreds.
Someone had repaired it by cutting away the shaggy forward part and wrapping the forward edge
of the remaining section around the middle top support. The result of this repair gave the car a little
better appearance but it left a cover over the back seat and the front open to the sky. When the
pre-dawn showers came almost every morning the remaining part of the top sagged down and
filled with rain-water. If anyone got in the back seat and didn't want this dripping on them, they had
to empty the bag by gently pushing it high enough for the water to run over the sides. If care was
not taken to empty it, there could be some surprising entertainment - as we found out one day.
Galvin "Ace'' Sargent and I had shares in the car and got in to the crew house from a trip one
afternoon. It was hot and dry when we were ready to use the car, and the last thing we expected
was that the top was storing a bag of water. We were in the front seat with the back seat empty.
Sargent was driving and must have been doing a smooth job for the saggy bag of water stayed in
place without spilling until we had made our way onto a main street and were rolling along with the
traffic - still unaware of our unwanted load of water. When the brakes were applied to slow the car -
the car slowed but the water didn't. It came swooshing forward, over the front edge and right down
our backs - about a gallon of cold water apiece. I can't remember ever having a more shocking
surprise. I jumped to my feet but Sargent was trapped by the wheel. He brought the car to a stop at
the curb as other drivers laughed and pulled around us. It was quite awhile before we had our
shirts wrung out and the front seat dry enough to continue.
We kept quiet about the incident so that we would not be the only ones to have this interesting
experience. We didn't hear of it, but I'm sure it must have happened to others and they found out as
we did - that a little Hawaiian rain-water would do no lasting harm.