Since his tragic death, Rich Russell has become a legend in the world of aviation.
Rich rolled a Embraer Q400. Some of the engineers that built it didn’t think it could do that. I wonder if his problems would’ve been cut down to size if he had only landed the jet?
More than a few people took umbrage to this meme.
What many people don’t know or realize is that dark humor is used and accepted in the world of aviation. The term, “Buying the Farm” as a way of saying someone crashed and died comes from World War Two. Life insurance for military members back then was $10,000. That was more than enough to pay off the farm back home. Hence, “Buying the Farm.”
I was on a date and explained what I did for a living, launching and parking planes at the airport.
Her: “One of the guys with the wands?”
Me: “Yeah, like in the movie Airplane.”
Her: So you’re one.
Me: “One what?”
Her: “The last to see them alive.”
Yes I was. That’s why I always waved as the airplane taxied away. Passengers waving back. In the Air Force, I always told my trainees that when the pilot comes out, be nice to them. No matter how shitty their day is. Not matter if the pilot is taking their shitty day out on them. Be nice and funny, because your might be the last face they see.
The next time you fly, look for the guy waving.
Dark humor is how we cope. My meme of Rich wasn’t cruel. It was a tribute.
There have been many tributes to Rich.