It was his turn to fly with the captain that night,
As the “Junior Sky Pilot” on this high flyin’ flight.
The airline allowed one person each week,
To observe all the pilots and the buttons they tweak.
Tommy Lattrell had been picked to go soaring
And soon he would learn it wouldn’t be boring.
Lightning was seen in the sky to the west
And radar was showing ahead quite a mess.
In a matter of minutes the plane began shaking
And evasive maneuvers the pilots began taking.
Then something happened they’d never forget
At least Tommy L. won’t forget I would bet!
Several bright flashes all lit up the craft.
The lights went out quickly, both forward and aft.
“KABLAM!” and “KAZOWEE!” was the noise they all heard!
The passengers froze— not one spoke a word!
“KABLAM!” and “KAZOWEE!” the sounds crashed again!
And a plane load of folks thought they’d reached THE END.
It scared the bejiggers out of passengers and crew!
The bejiggers were scared out of Tommy L. too!
Somehow the airplane kept flying just fine.
The wings were still on and the engines still whined.
But back up in front where the pilots were seated,
Some serious “First-Aid” was definitely needed.
Somehow or another or something or such
Whatever had happened was really too much.
The captain was silent, and his co-pilot too.
Both had passed-out! What would the crew do?
No other pilots were aboard that could fly,
So Tommy jumped up to say, “Hey, I can try!”
Though Tom was just twelve, he knew quite a lot.
And like Tommy said, “I’m all that you’ve got!”
With time running out there was no room to doddle.
He grabbed the main wheel then squeezed the throttle.
Wasting no time he called the air tower,
‘Cause he knew that his fuel would last but an hour.
“Control!” Tommy called, “This is Flight 62.
Wow!— do I have a great story for you!
I’m a twelve year old boy that’s flying this ship,
Would you please check the radar for my little blip!
We hit a big storm and we’re mighty short handed.
I’m going to need help, to get this plane landed.
We’ve been struck by lightning, or something or such,
Though checking for damage, I don’t see too much.
But our captain and “Co” passed out and can’t fly,
I’m all that you have but I’m willing to try!”
It was really amazing, the crew was impressed,
Tommy was “up” to this test they all guessed!
The control tower answered Tom’s plea for assistance.
And though he was twelve, there was no resistance.
“Tommy,” they said, “We’re all gathered ‘round.
We’ll give you some help to bring your plane down.
We’re awfully proud that you’re willing to try,
And with a bit of our help we think you can fly.”
Tommy was shaky and, of course, a bit frightened.
‘Round that ol’ steering wheel his fingers had tightened.
A few minutes passed and Tom called the tower,
To remind them again he had fuel for an hour.
But something was wrong with his radio set.
The tower he called— but just couldn’t get.
He tried once again but he didn’t get through.
Without all their help what would Tommy do?
“Control,” this is Tom, “Can you read me down there?”
But no answer returned through the stormy night air.
He wasn’t so sure he could fly without help,
So once more, with real gusto, he gave a big yelp!
“Control,” this is Tom, “on Flight 62,
I’m gonna need help! What should I do?”
“Tom, %#:’) this is tower, you’re @*:” too hard to hear,
Your radio’s broke #@!).;* we’re beginning to fear!”
The radios blared with a big bunch of hissing,
The voice from below was now totally missing.
Though the signal was scratchy, Tom heard quite enough.
With his radio broke it was going to be tough.
The crew members assisted, all hoping to find
A clue that would help— of any ol’ kind.
Tom checked all the dials and the buttons and switches.
He checked on the floor and in the hem of his britches.
They searched up above and under the seats.
They scavenged around ’til the search was complete.
Each passing minute, the crew’s tensions mounted.
And with fuel running low, the minutes they counted.
Then with a whoosh the door opened wide,
As a crew member entered from the plane’s other side.
As Tommy glanced back, out blared a, “WHOAAA!”
When he glanced at the girl who was in the front row.
It was the craziest darn thing the crew’d ever seen.
The top of her head was all glowing and green.
Sparks danced all around the hair curlers she wore
Each time that Tom talked there were more than before.
Then someone mentioned, “Hey Tom, I’ve a hunch,
When the radio’s on, the sparks jump a bunch.
It might be the curlers, that are glowing and green,
That mixed up our radio, if you know what I mean.”
Tom talked again, to test out this theory.
He’d try anything now, he felt so darn weary.
And wouldn’t you know it, when he used the mic button,
The sparks on her head would start spittin’ and sputtin’!
So that was the problem— why Tom couldn’t talk.
It’s why, when he tried, he would only hear squawks.
Those curlers were causing the problems they’s had.
The girl was embarrassed and a little bit mad.
“My name is Jill… and you’ve got to be kidding.
You say it’s my curlers that the signals are hitting?”
The crew members assisted this lass in her plight.
Her curlers were hot and connected real tight.
As a matter of fact, they were stuck to her scalp.
“They aren’t coming out!” she screamed with a yelp!
With time running out and few moments to spare,
Someone suggested that they cut off her hair.
But her hair was so pretty, so soft and so long.
Her feelings about it were bound to be strong.
Those waves had been there since she was just ten.
It would take twenty years to grow them again!
Jill gave it some thought… and a second one too.
She was pretty grown up and she knew what to do.
“LET’S CUT IT!” said Jill… it’s better than crashing!”
So for a pair of good scissors the crew went a-dashing!
She was pretty embarrassed, you could tell she was shaking.
All the passengers cheered the sacrifice she was making!
When the last of her locks to the floor they had fallen.
Once again from below the controllers came calling!
With the curlers all off of the top of her head,
The radio worked… it was no longer dead!
“Flight 62… are you still flying real high?
Are you still in the air? Are you still in the sky?”
“YES!” Tom replied, we’re doing all right,
Though Flight 62’s been a nutty ol’ flight!
The radios work and the plane is still soaring.
Trust me when I say… this flight is not boring!”
It was a very close call but Jill saved the flight,
When the radio broke on that ill-fated night.
But the flight hadn’t ended, it was high in the sky.
“It still has to be landed!” said Tom with a sigh!
Tom and the people in the control tower below,
Talked back and forth ‘bout the things he should know.
They talked about gears and the parts of a jet.
They talked about things that would need to be set.
They talked about brakes and they talked about wings.
They talked about speed and the runway and things.
They talked about buttons and the dials on the ceiling.
They talked so darn much Tom’s head it was reeling.
Tom followed instructions from the controllers below.
“I think I can do it!… let’s give it a go!”
The controllers worked hard to keep Tom in line,
And they had to agree… he was doing just fine.
“Flight 62, please bring down your speed.
We figure three-hundred is all you will need.
The flaps on the wings should be lowered right now.
And keep the nose up… a ways anyhow.
You’ve two miles to go and you’re doing just fine.
Keep your plane pointed at that small center line.
Tom… turn on the lights and you’re “GO” for a landing”
Was the very last thing he heard them demanding.
For a “Junior Sky Pilot” he was well in control,
Though a small gust of wind gave the plane a quick roll.
The runway approached, there was no turning back,
As the wheel hit the ground you could hear a quick crack!
Following their orders, Tom reached for the brakes.
He gave a big pull and the plane got the shakes.
But soon it was coasting at a very slow speed.
Tommy had landed… he had landed indeed.
An ambulance, fire-trucks, and other rigs too,
All hurried to Tommy and Flight 62.
Loud sirens wailed and the lights were all flashing!
Emergency workers were whooshing and dashing!
“Was anyone hurt? Do you see any flames?”
The firemen all asked when they got to the plane.
No one was injured, but a few were sure shaken,
At the thought of the flight they all had just taken.
As they parted the plane to be on their way,
They each gave a hug and to Tommy did say.
“Tommy Lattrell, we can’t thank you enough.
We know you’re just twelve but you’re awfully tough!
You brought us all safely back down to the Earth,
And you can’t imagine what we think that is worth.
So we all tip our hats to a hero in our lives,
And we mean sincerely; kids, husbands and wives.”
Much later that night on the late TV news,
Tommy was the center of all interviews.
The next morning’s paper bragged about Tom,
And featured a picture of him hugging his Mom!
The Mayor gave Tom the “Key to the City,”
And a new bike to boot, and man was it pretty.
The President called from the Whitehouse to say,
“Tommy, please come out to visit one day!”
The radio stations and reporters galore,
Wanted to talk… they all wanted more!
He liked the attention and felt really proud,
And wherever he went he stood out in the crowd.
It was really quite strange to be such a big hit,
But Tommy Lattrell didn’t mind it a bit.
But sooner or later he had to come down
From that lofty ol’ perch at the top of the town.
Tommy was happy with the luck that he’d had.
With things going so well he could’t be sad.
The airline sure loved him… Who could deny it?
Ol’ Tom was their favorite “Junior Sky Pilot.”
He does well in school. He’s a mighty fine student.
And he’s preparing for college ‘cause Tom’s very prudent.
When you ask Tom Lattrell what makes him the proudest,
There’s one thing for sure he always shouts loudest.
I like all my friends, my family and pets.
And I sure like to fly those high-flyin’ jets!