Life in Alaska (1) – A Harrowing Tale of a Crash – September, 1946


P O Box 822


Chief Winnepoo Guionsauke

Ragweed Nose Run

Kickachoo County Reserved,

Stated briefly, these are the facts according to Cedric-1.

Taylorcraft turned over on its back in Susitna River. No one injured, ship not badly damaged.

Living in unused room in Pacific Northern administration building at Merrill field – no immediate prospects for early change.

Have pup of a pedigree which might be compared to Mack’s. She is very much a pup with all the piddle and push that goes along.

Working days until October 5th, then on from 12 midnight till 8:30 a.m. for four weeks. Shifts will rotate every four weeks.

Tires on car are deplorable, otherwise it is running fairly well.

Am terribly put out with local bank. They never notified me in any manner of their refusal to cash check, nor did I even know that my                account had ever been in the red. Your return check the other day was the first inkling I had received.

Boat trip scheduled to Fire Island day after tomorrow. Am going on it, I think.

Ski club about to start another season.

Company party scheduled Tuesday evening next week.

Time sprouts wings anon.


Now the comments:

I promised to take a fellow over to the Susitna River to try for a moose. As I had to work Sunday, I was to leave him Saturday night, return for him Sunday night after work. We were unable to leave Anchorage until nearly 7 p.m. Saturday, and the sun had already set. By the time we had booked a headwind and gotten to the bar on which I intended landing, the dusk was settling into darkness, but I felt I could get in all right. All went well I thought, but about 160 feet from the bar, while still over the river, the wheels dipped in the water and caught me off guard. I had thought that I was higher, and had been straining my eyes to see where I should hit the bar first. It was poor judgment on my part, and if I had used better sense I would not have attempted the landing under those conditions. Well, when the wheels touched the water it was like applying full breaks, and I realized I was on the way to a mighty likely crack-up. I pulled back hard on the wheel and gave the engine full throttle to try to pull it out of the water, or at least to hold the tail down and in this move I was somewhat successful for a time. I dragged the old bessy through the water until I had a fleeting hope that I might get it to roll out of the water on the bar, but my hopes died just short of dry land. The tail had been rising higher and higher from the moment the wheels had first struck the water, and nothing I could do would help it. As it reached the balance point it started forward more quickly, the wheels, though on the ground I am fairly certain, (under the water) were dragging too heavily, and the nose dipped into the water, the prop hit the gravel bottom with a shattering crash at the same instant the hub dug in and zip – we were on our backs looking where we had just come from. We both bumped our knees slightly when we went over, but not even as badly as if you slipped and fell on the wooden floor. I didn’t know how badly the ship was hurt, and felt just furious with myself for having done it. Fear never entered my head at all – just anger.

Tomorrow and Wednesday, this harrowing story continues. Thursday brings a letter from Marian and on Friday, Ced receives a letter from his cousin, Don Stanley, son of Anne (Peabody) Stanley, sister-in-law to Grandpa.

Judy Guion


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