Airport 1970,

Minute 054: You Could Use it as a Tank

October 13, 2016

Guest Host: James O’Kane

James is an industrial design engineer living in Portland, Oregon. He claims to be the son of one of the co-hosts of the show, although Mark has hired an army of attorneys to refute the paternity. James grew up watching Airport almost weekly, and says that the film has shaped his frequent-flying career in seeking out fireplaces in Delta Sky Clubs. There’s apparently one in Memphis, for example.


Captain Benson is at the controls of stuck Flight 45’s 707. He’s not using full throttle, and it’s upsetting Joe Patroni.  The aircraft moves forward, slowly, its wheels sinking deeper into the snow. Benson idles the engines.

“You chickened out on me!” yells Patroni. “I told you I wanted all the power you’ve got!”

“Full throttle, this plane would be standing on its nose!” replies Benson.

“You might fly these things,” says Patroni, “but I take ’em apart and put ’em back together again. If you had any guts, we’d be on the runway by now!”

“You felt it vibrating?” asks Benson. “Another ten seconds, we’d have had structural damage.”

“Who do you think you’re talking to?” asks Patroni, “Some kid that fixes bicycles? I know every inch of the 707. Take the wings off of this and you could use it as a tank! This plane is built to withstand anything – – except a bad pilot!” Patroni points at Benson.

“Alright, hold it – hold it!” says Mel, standing behind Joe. “This kind of  talk will get us nowhere.”

Benson looks at Patroni, and says to Mel, “You might tell your mechanic that I’ve got over three million miles in the air!”

“And two and a half feet in the ground,” replies Patroni.

“Now, wait a – ” says Benson, but Mel cuts him off.

“Let’s stop wasting time,” says Mel. “What do we do now?” he asks Patroni.

“Now,” says Patroni, “we’ve got to dig a lot deeper. Put lumber under the wheels. But the next we try, since he’s afraid –”


In this minute

Dean Martin as Vernon Demerest
Jacqueline Bisset as Gwen Meighen
Robert Patten as Captain Benson
George Kennedy as Joe Patroni
Ed Deemer as Copilot Crowley
Burt Lancaster as Mel Bakersfeld
Patty Poulsen as Joan
Ena Hartman as Ruth



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