All Those Wonderful Stories...
Transocean Air Lines 1946 - 1960
The cab driver taking us to the hotel was not shy in his comments. "Never have I had a
more stinking load in this cab," he complained. He rushed to town with all the windows open
and his nose out in the wind. When we arrived I hurried into the hotel to register before we
were thrown out. As we left the registration desk the clerk appeared to be examining his
shoes to see if he had stepped in something.
If a Hall of Fame is ever established for flight attendants, a bust of Knute Goodrich should
be displayed for having had to put up with the most disrespectful treatment ever from a
planeload of passengers.
Monkeying Around in a DC-4
by Frank Kennedy, Captain
Most of Transocean's flying had been across the Pacific until 1956. With the end of the
Korean conflict military flights were reduced and Transocean needed to find other contracts to
keep the planes and crews busy. We were ready to listen to rumors, so when word got around
about a contract involving, as one jokester put it, "thousands of passengers," that certainly got
our attention until we found out that we weren't going to be carrying people, but monkeys! Not
only that, but since so many of them could be loaded into each plane, the contract would
involve only a few flights.
The Rhesus monkeys were to be used
for medical research and the
development of the Salk polio vaccine. We
brought them from points in Asia to the
Research Laboratory at Savannah,
My first thoughts were that the flights
might not be so bad - maybe even
enjoyable. One might even be able to visit
the cabin now and then to watch their
antics. I was wrong, wrong, wrong!
Nothing could have been as repulsive as
a planeload of those "little stinkers."
Knute Goodrich was the animal attendant and was the best person for the job of caring for
the monkeys. I met him as I approached the ramp to the main cabin door when the plane was
being fueled and serviced at Honolulu. He had just advised me not to go through the cabin
when I was enveloped in the stench of the monkeys. One choking whiff was enough warning
to board by the front ladder to the flight deck.
About ten monkeys were in each cage and they had
to be fed and watered throughout the flight. When
Knute had to remove a monkey for special care the
others would hold onto their comrade with one hand
to prevent it from being removed, and with the other
hand they would hurl their excrement at Knute. This
method of showing displeasure is a trait of the
Rhesus monkey. When I heard from Knute about
some of the unscrupulous methods used by the
trappers in Asia I could see why the monkeys might
use their most repulsive means of retaliation.
We thought that because we were in the isolated crew
section we would escape from the offensive odor.
Not so. When I landed the plane at the
military base near Savannah, the "follow-up"
jeep led us to a parking spot near the small
terminal. Just as we shut down the engines
we saw people leaving the building by the
side door, frowning in our direction and
holding handkerchiefs to their noses. No
one could stand to be near us so we moved
the plane to an out-of-the-way spot until the
monkeys were unloaded by the laboratory