All Those Wonderful Stories...
Transocean Air Lines 1946 - 1960
A Different Approach
by Captain Frank Kennedy
When Transocean was first getting its start
at the original Oakland airport there was a
smoldering city dump right at the base of the
main east/west runways. The custodians of
the dump tried to reduce all burnable trash
to ashes before it was covered in the landfill.
The prevailing westerly wind trailed the
smoke from their fires down toward Hayward
and many times we were in a smoky haze
on final as we approached the airport for
Air traffic control did not have the sophisticated radar equipment they now have, and instrument
approaches were made by radio signals that were not always reliable. That never worried us. We
knew that we could rely on the dump. Tires were burning on one side and rags were smoldering
on the other and, if worse came to worse, we could have made our way up-wind between the
different fragrances of smoke and made a ''nasal approach" to a landing.
The dump has long ago disappeared and a golf course now covers the area. Pilots
approaching the airport today look down on tree-lined fairways and plan what they may do on a
future day off. Few of them know of the facility that was once there and has been lost.