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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