Airport 1970,

Minute 130: Right Rudder!

January 27, 2017

Guest Host: Rory Aylward

Rory J. Aylward started out in the film industry as the assistant to a Literary Agent on Long Island, New York. After being commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the Army Reserve National Guard, he moved to Los Angeles to try his luck in Hollywood. Offered extra work on shows like “Tour of Duty” and “China Beach” he realized there was a market for someone who could deliver background actors who knew how to march, salute, handle firearms, etc. and formed VETS Military Advisors. After making a good impression on films such as “Robert Heinlein’s The Puppetmasters” and “Strange Days”, he was hired by Producer Stratton Leopold as the Military Technical Advisor on Fox’s “Courage Under Fire.” Working for director Ed Zwick inspired him to want to work on the more creative side of the business and as he added Technical Advisor credits he also began exploring opportunities to develop and produce his own projects. Aylward put his career on hold in early 2001 when he was asked to come on temporary active duty to conduct Anti-Terrorism courses for the National Interagency Civil-Military Institute in San Luis Obispo, California. He was there on September 11th and knew that his tour would be extended indefinitely. Indeed, he stayed at NICI until he left to serve as a producer on the Hallmark Channel film “Silent Night.” Afterwards he divided his time between the military and film before deploying to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom (VIII) where he served as a Civil Affairs Officer on a Provincial Reconstruction Team in Nuristan Province (the setting of the film “The Man Who Would Be King”) and was awarded the Combat Action Badge. He returned from Afghanistan and was asked to help stand up a pilot program for the State Department to train civilians who would be working with the military. Aylward deployed again in the Spring of 2011 to Kunduz Province, where he served as the liaison to a German Provincial Reconstruction Team. He returned home a year later and continued to train both civilian and military audiences. He retired from the Army Reserve in 2013 after 26 years of service.


Trans Global Two’s wheels are down on Runway Two-Niner. The cabin shakes on touchdown. Passengers are hunched over in crash positions.

Dr. Compagno and Sr. Katherine Grace hold Gwen firmly to the floor of the aft exit.

The 707 continues to roll over the snowy runway. Emergency vehicles follow the plane.

Mel and Tanya watch anxiously from the MelMobile.

The 707 begins to run out of runway. The approach lights for Runway 11 are getting closer, and Trans Global Two shows no sign of slowing down.

Captain Harris calls out, “Right rudder!” and he and Vern step the controls down to the floor boards.

The jet yaws hard to starboard, skidding over the snow and ice on Two-Niner.  As the ship reaches the fence line of Runway One-One, the left wing of the 707 passes over the final approach light at the end of the runway, kicking up a snowy fog that’s illuminated by the approach light. The tail finally comes to rest at the edge of the tarmac, almost perpendicular to the runway.

In the cockpit, Anson, Cy, and Vern breathe a mutual sigh of relief.  Outside, the sirens of the emergency vehicles approach the aircraft.

Vern removes his headset.

In this minute

Dean Martin as Vernon Demerest
Jacqueline Bisset as Gwen Meighen
Barry Nelson as Anson Harris
Gary Collins as Cy Jordan
Paul Picerni as Dr. Compagno
Janis Hansen as Sister Katherine Grace
Jean Seberg as Tanya Livingston
Burt Lancaster as Mel Bakersfeld



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