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Sunday, 1 June 2014

The Continental Eagle Staff Magazine - Captain Fred Gray - December, 1950

I received a Continental Airlines internal company publication detailing the end of year activities of Continental Airlines. It is dated December 1950.

The pages contain a fascinating snapshot into life at Continental when it was still a "growing-up" airline. The close-knit Continental "family" appear on the pages at various social events the airline held for its employees. Technological and aviation advances are also mentioned along with the company's latest exploits.

Of particular note on one of the pages is a picture of none other than Captain Fred Gray who would pilot the ill-fated Flight 11 some twelve years later.

Here is the excerpt from the magazine below.

Magazine courtesy of Ms Jayne Specht.

Thursday, 22 May 2014

52 years - Lest We Forget - Continental Airlines Flight 11

Th 52nd anniversary of Continental Airlines Flight 11 is approaching. May 22nd marks the date when 44 innocent lives were taken out of this world as they hurtled across the dark skies of rural America and ended near the town of Unionville, Missouri.

Two years ago we marked the 50th anniversary and it feels just like the other day I was in Unionville over that hot memorial weekend in 2012.

Although May 22nd may bring a rollercoaster of emotions to do with the senseless loss of the Boeing 707 and the souls on board, may it also bring a flicker of closure and peace knowing that this event has not been forgotten. Neither have the people on board whose lives were cut so short.

Continental Airlines Flight 11 - Lest We Forget.

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Captain Richard Grigsby, Continental Airlines

Following on from the aftermath of Flight 11, a friend and colleague of Captain Fred Gray had written a poem called "Top O Climb". The poem was published in The Denver Post in 62 by Captain Richard Grigsby. Grigsby had a distinguished and long flying career. I had made efforts to contact him to see if he was still alive to perhaps capture his memories of Captain Gray and the other crew aboard Flight 11. Sadly I found Mr Grigsby's obituary dated February 5th 2014. I hope he was aware of our efforts re Flight 11. His lovely poem dedicated to Fred Gray is as follows: (unfortunately we haven't ever confirmed the original date of publication but it was some time shortly after May 22nd, 1962)


The big jet starts to roll reluctantly,
For flight ahead is long and there is fuel
Which must be burdened, else
It cannot be.
That cunning will be victor in the duel
With Time and Space.
What power it takes to lift away from ground-
To blast such heavy burden into flight!
A thousand banshees couldn't wail the sound,
A thousand winged horses match the might of this great bird!
Her climb is rapid, now that speed is gained.
She flashes upward, forward, winning free;
But still the awful power must be sustained
To lift her into Nature's rarest sea
Far, in the sky.
At top o'climb, the battle all but won,
She settles down, her only labor just
To cruise a close companion to the sun.
Before she drops her power to "idle thrust",
Descends the other side.


Capt. Continental Air Lines

Saturday, 5 April 2014


The blog has passed the 30,000 view mark; extraordinary for something that, jut a few years ago, hadn't even been heard of on the internet.

Amazing what the internet can do! :-)

Saturday, 4 January 2014

Juliet November Charlie Book

My book of my aviation "memoirs" (if they can be called that at my age) has been completed. The title is "Juliet November Charlie". It details my involvements with Flight 11 and also has a number of other amusing tales from my time flying around New Zealand. I intend to send it to publisher's by the end of January. If any of the families connected with the Flight 11 tragedy would like a manuscript emailed to them please let me know @

Please note that I will not be emailing copies to members of the public  - family members only.  

Monday, 30 December 2013


Wishing all the "Flight 11 family" a happy New Year and here's to a prosperous 2014. Hope everyone had a great Christmas too.


My book that I have been writing since late 2012 is about to be sent to the publisher's in January 2014. As many of you know it details some of my aviation exploits over the years and of note is the Flight 11 chapter which details my involvement in Flight 11 and my recollections of the 2012 50th anniversary memorial service.

I will keep readers of this blog posted about the progress of this book.

Failing any interest from publishers I will self-publish in some form or assured.

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Flight 11 book

I am currently in the process of writing a book about my aviation experiences around the globe and not surprisingly I want to feature Continental Flight 11 in it.

If any of the relatives have any photos or anything they'd like to share with me I'd be very grateful.

Additionally if anyone else has any other materials they think might be useful I'd love to hear about them.

Contact me at

Sunday, 6 October 2013

The Continental Airlines 1962 Timetable

I have sourced the cover (sadly the cover only!) of a Continental Airlines timetable from 1962. Here is the image of the cover as below.

I have also sourced a number of copies of scans of timetables from 1959, 1963 and 1965 from Continental. If people want to see these send me an email and I can email a copy of the images.

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Flight 11 documentary

On Thursday September 26th, 2013, a documentary segment about Flight 11 will air at 9pm on the Travel Channel. It will feature in the "Mysteries at the Museum" programme. 

Boeing B-47 Stratojet out of Forbes AFB, Topeka, Kansas

As many people connected with Flight 11 are aware, a USAF Boeing B-47 Stratojet that was in the vicinity of Kirksville, MO, on the night of May 22nd, saw a bright flash in the to the north of the aircraft's position. It is generally accepted that the flash seen by the commander of this B-47 flight was the explosion of Flight 11.

The B-47 was an important aircraft in the USAF, particularly around the time of Flight 11s demise.

Does anyone who was in the USAF or who knows anyone who was in the USAF at the time, have any information on the specifics of the B-47 incident involving Flight 11?

As it was reported widely at the time and the sighting was included in the Flight 11 accident report it would be fair to assume that someone, somewhere, may recall being on that B-47 that night or know the people who were or maybe heard about it later at the Forbes Air Force Base. It would be interesting to see if anyone comes forward with any further information.