xt7jh98zct60_43 https://exploreuk.uky.edu/dips/xt7jh98zct60/data/mets.xml https://exploreuk.uky.edu/dips/xt7jh98zct60/data/2015ms086.dao.xml Bevins, Martha 0.05 Cubic Feet 55 items archival material 2015ms086 English University of Kentucky The physical rights to the materials in this collection are held by the University of Kentucky Special Collections Research Center.  Contact the Special Collections Research Center for information regarding rights and use of this collection. Martha Bevins letters to Tom McCarthy Radio broadcasting. Agriculture -- Kentucky. Birds Women air pilots. 1958 May 7 text 1958 May 7 2016 https://exploreuk.uky.edu/dips/xt7jh98zct60/data/2015ms086/Box_ms_42/Folder_1/Item_43/1958_5_7_Bevins_Near_miss_with_Hindenburg_p1.pdf 1958 May 7 1958 1958 May 7 section false xt7jh98zct60_43 xt7jh98zct60 7
Morning View Kentucky
, _ 7 May 1958
Hello Mr. McCarthy,

When recently you mentioned the burning of the Hindenburg, I
wandered to a window and looked, unseeing, out across the drenched
pond-field, reliving once more the appalling eternity of those
few seconds during which I nearly sent that same Hindenburg flaming
dm n into the middle of New York City.

§ Early one beautiful morning, Little Brother and I were bound for old
Roosevelt Field out on Long Island, our courSe taking us across
north Jersey and New York itself. There were many plump little
cumulus clouds riding low in the blue sky, their bottoms as flat as
though they had been baked on a cookie sheet, and we played a game
with them as we putthd laZily along in our butterfly. Our lack of
instruments would have thrown a modern pilot into panic -- the
instrument panel boasting only a tachometer, oil pressure, and
altimeter, plus a wobbly little automobile compass clinging uncertainly
by its rubber suction cup.
With these instruments, we were taking turns at flying into the
clouds about 100 feet above their bases, and seeing who could do
the best job of maintaining direction and altitude through the
misty nothingness.
We emerged, at about 700 feet, from little Brother's cloud shortly
before reaching the Palisades, and I took the controls as we cra5sed
the Hudson just above the Weehawken Ferry, both of us peering down
at the always fascinating river‘activity. ns we approached the next
cloud, over New York, I Was still looking downstream when my bnather
remarked, conversationally, "Your cloud has engines.”
It had. Through the swirling edges I could distinguish engine pods,
and in the same instant was aware that the silvery wall so close
ahead was more than yielding mist.
We were too near to either dive under or climb over the vast object
in my cloud. at such a moment there is no time for conscious thought
processes, and in purely automatic reaction, I closed the throttle,
at the same time throwing the little plane up on one wingtip in a
wild turn. As the nose passed the 90 degree point, I slammed the
throttle wide open tohhelp pull us away -— fully expecting all the
while to hear and feel the Spoon of our tail skid strike the great
hulk which loomed between us and the low morning sun.
Nothing happened. We flew numbly back tOWard the Hudson and Jersey,
while behind us the mighty Hindenburg slid out of the cloud and
serenely continued its flight up Broadway.
The momentum of any other aircraft would have carried it Smashing into
the dirigible before we could turn, but our tiny pl'with wide

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wing and little horse power, lost speed quickly. Even then, only inches
must have separated us from the enormous, cloth-covered frame of the
Hindenburg as it moved at right angles to our course.
Talking little, we turned and again resumed our flight to Roosevelt.
I suppose there Was a remote possibility that, had we plunged head-on
through the thin fabric skin of the monster, it might not have burned.
However, it is far more likely that the collision would have ruptured
one of the big hydrogen compartments, and the giant airship would have
crashed, flaming, at about 50th and Broadway, much as static electricity
later sent it to blazing doom at Lakehurst.
We said nothing of the incident, being at fault in the matter, as
heavscr-than—air craft must at all times give ample right of way to
lighter-than—air. Apparently no one aboard the Hindenburg saw us, and
if anyone on the churning streets below noticed our little plane, no
report was made.
Later, when the Hindenburg did go down in flames, we went to the old
News Reel Theatre on Times SQuare (which might have burned had we
hit the huge zeppelin that morning) and sat in fascinated horror
through several showings of the disaster. We walked up to 50th and
stood there on the corner, very pleased that the buildings rose
undamaged about us, and New York never knew we came within inches of
causing what would have been perhaps its worst disaster.
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