The Colorblind AC

When I checked aboard NASGI Sept. 1946 there were 4 of us assigned to the tower, Judd, Fairchild, me and an AM2, Bill Cross, who was in charge. The tower, built for WW11 training needs  and later replaced, was little more than an enclosed observation platform for flight instructors to watch their students take off and land after doing their solo. Control work had to be pretty basic with the priority of keeping separation between landing aircraft until it became second nature to the fledgling aviators.

This is a long preamble to relate an incident, a spectacle, I had never seen before or since.

The active runway was 21 and from the east a fog was creeping across the field, prior to which all aircraft were ordered to return and land for the Station was about to close. By the time  the very last aircraft called in for landing instructions, the runway was partially obscured by the fog. Cross was on the mike and instructed the aviator to make a 'falling leaf' approach on final. This allowed the aviator to catch a glance of the fog free portion of the runway and yet keep alignment  with the runway.

This was a good call by Cross and fine flying by the aviator.

Sadly, a subsequent flight physical revealed that Cross was colorblind and had managed to get by the induction physical with some hints from the screener. He was bilged out and the Navy lost a good man. Now we know that colorblind people can pick up on camouflage that 'normal' eyes have a hard time seeing.

Story by Bill Easter