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Aches on a Plane

Article #336 • Written by Alan Bellows

Alongside Memphis International Airport in Tennessee there lies a sprawling complex filled with hundreds of miles of conveyor belts, thousands of employees, and millions of parcels. A steady stream of cargo planes--often hundreds per day--carries in cargo from around the world to be sorted and redistributed. This is the FedEx Express global "SuperHub," and in spite of its titillating name it is seldom the site of much excitement. One notable exception to the day-to-day routine occurred in mid-1994. It was the same year that Federal Express embraced the abbreviated "FedEx" moniker and changed to their infamous hidden-arrow logo, and it was just four years after the release of MC Hammer's multi-platinum hit U Can't Touch This.

On 7 April 1994, just after 3:00pm, 39-year-old FedEx flyer Andy Peterson boarded a DC-10 cargo plane at the SuperHub. He was scheduled to join Flight 705 as the flight engineer; a support role in charge of monitoring and operating aircraft systems. As Peterson entered the aircraft, he was greeted by 42-year-old Auburn Calloway, a fellow flight engineer. Calloway introduced himself as the "deadhead," for the flight. He was just there because he needed a lift.

Shortly the men were joined by the plane's pilot, 49-year-old Captain David Sanders, and his 42-year-old co-pilot Captain Jim Tucker. The DC-10 had a bellyful of electronic gear bound for San Jose, ultimately destined for Silicon Valley. But flight 705 wouldn't make it anywhere near California that day.

Flight 705 was the crew's first time flying together, and none of the men had previously met Auburn Calloway, but each of the FedEx veterans knew his role well. To prepare for departure, Sanders and Tucker buckled into the cockpit, and Peterson took his seat at the flight engineering station just behind the co-pilot seat. As he settled in, flight Engineer Peterson discovered that their jump-seater Calloway had already begun the pre-flight procedure. This was considered a breach of etiquette, but Peterson opted not to raise a fuss. During his routine checks he noted that the circuit breaker for the cockpit voice recorder (CVR) needed to be reset, something he'd never seen before. When he returned to the cockpit after performing some other checks around the aircraft he noticed that the CVR fuse was once again in the off position. Perplexed, he corrected it and made a mental note to report the issue to maintenance if it continued.

Having completed their pre-flight preparations, the crew was cleared for takeoff. Calloway settled into the jump seat in the galley just outside the cockpit, and co-pilot Jim Tucker piloted the plane into the air. Barring any unexpected turns of events the voyage to San Jose and back was to take approximately 10 hours.

As the plane ascended to cruising altitude, Calloway unfastened his safety restraint and crossed the galley to retrieve his carry-on luggage. Sounds of laughter emanated from the cockpit as the flight crew joshed at the ground crew's expense. Tucker was making jokes about the ground crew's recent "goatrope"--a term referring to good intentions gone wrong. As the new flight crew got to know one another, Calloway quietly opened a hard-sided acoustic guitar case he had carried with him onto the flight and withdrew a pair of hefty hammers.

Auburn Calloway in the Navy
Auburn Calloway in the Navy

Despite the calm, innocuous exterior Auburn Calloway had displayed to his fellow FedEx flyers that day, he was in a strange state of mind. His résumé suggested a healthy, well-balanced employee--he was a graduate of Stanford University, a former Navy pilot, and an expert in martial arts. His earnest purpose in life was to provide a top tier college education for his two children, and he had taken a career in commercial flight as a pragmatic way to accomplish this. But recent circumstance had sent him into despair. He felt that FedEx had been discriminating against him due to his African-American heritage, squandering his piloting skills by assigning him as a mere flight engineer. His wife had divorced him four years earlier. Most recently, management at FedEx had discovered "irregularities" in the reporting of his flight hours. Calloway had been summoned to a hearing to discuss these suspicious inconsistencies on April 8--the day after flight 705 took to the air. Calloway was convinced that this hearing would result in FedEx terminating his employment, along with any chance of providing a good future for his children.

In the week prior to the scheduled hearing, Auburn Calloway began rejiggering his financial affairs. He collected all of his wealth and transferred it to his ex-wife, including almost $14,000 in cashier's checks and approximately $40,000 in securities. He visited a lawyer to revise his will, and he updated the beneficiary information on his employee life insurance. According to FedEx accidental death policy, if Calloway were to be killed on the job his family would receive an additional $2.5 million in compensation. Consequently, Calloway concluded that the only opportunity his children had for a fair future was for their father to perish in a work-related accident. And he was dead-set on creating one.

Prior to his flight, Calloway spent the day attending to a few last-minute details. He placed his will and some other important documents into a neat stack on the bed in his apartment, and he replaced the acoustic instrument in his guitar case with several blunt ones. He telephoned FedEx to secure his "deadhead" seat on flight 705, and he left early to ensure he'd be the first to arrive on the aircraft. When he boarded the plane he switched off the fuse for the cockpit voice recorder in the hopes that it would prevent any scuffle from being recorded. After Andy Peterson fixed the fuse Calloway tried once more when the flight engineer stepped away, but Peterson was too vigilant. As a backup plan, Calloway would need to fly the plane for at least a half an hour to erase any trace of a ruckus from the CVR's 30 minute loop.

Several minutes outside of Memphis, Jim Tucker was in control of the craft as it climbed to cruising altitude. Captain Sanders pointed out landmarks through the cockpit window as Auburn Calloway stepped quietly into the cockpit. The flight engineer station was to Calloway's right, and the pilots were just in front of him. All of them had their backs to the door, so they could only see him peripherally as he entered, and they assumed he had stepped in to visit. The first indication of trouble in the cockpit voice recorder transcript is a moist cracking sound and Andy Peterson shouting in pain and surprise:

A typical DC-10 cockpit
A typical DC-10 cockpit

Sanders: See these trees?
Tucker: Yeah.
Sanders: That's a natural fault line.
Tucker: Oh, this is the New Madrid, uh...
Sanders: Well, it's part of it, yeah, but it's much higher in elevation and the er, climate is different, you drive in Arkansas, you drive right over it.
Tucker: Well, I...
Sanders: You see all those trees there, that's it.
Tucker: I know it, but I wonder about that. You go, Wynne and all the, you know, stuff over here, you know, where it's flat and you cross over that and I wondered about that. That's not part of the no vaculight uplift and all that, that's where? That's further west, isn't it?
Sanders: Yeah.
Peterson: Altimeters.
Tucker: Nines and twos here.
Peterson: After takeoff is complete.
Tucker: Do you, uh, live over in Arkansas, Dave, or...?
Sanders: Naw, I live in Fisherville.
Tucker: Aw, Fisherville, great spot.
(Sounds of hammer blows striking pilots.)
Peterson: Ow!
Tucker: God!
Tucker: Oh, ah, shit.
Sanders: God almighty!
Peterson: Ow!
Tucker: What the fuck are you doing?
Sanders: God, (groan), (groan), God almighty! God, God, God....
Tucker: Get him, get him, get him!
Sanders: He's going to kill us.
Tucker: Get him!
Sanders: Get up, get him!
Peterson: I can't, God!

Auburn Calloway had swung a hammer with great force into the top of Andy Peterson's head several times in rapid succession. Jim Tucker turned to see what the commotion was about just as one of Calloway's hammers landed a crushing blow to the left side of the co-pilot's skull, driving bone fragments into his brain. Having temporarily incapacitated 2/3 of the crew, Calloway turned his attention to the pilot. Captain Sanders managed to deflect some of the hail of hammer strikes, nevertheless several blows penetrated his confused defenses and rendered him bleeding and disoriented.

Calloway withdrew back into the galley as the mauled crew members attempted to disentangle themselves from their seats with sluggish limbs and excruciating pain. The instrument panels were spattered with blood and all three men bled profusely from head wounds. Co-pilot Jim Tucker, unable to get out of his seat, repeatedly urged "Get him!" to his more mobile crew mates. Engineer Andy Peterson could barely hear due to a loud ringing in his ears.

Before Sanders and Peterson could mobilize, Calloway reappeared holding a spear gun. His initial attack employed blunt instruments because he knew that a bludgeoning would be consistent with the normal injuries sustained in an airplane accident, therefore avoiding suspicion of foul play. But he'd brought along his spear gun in case his hammers didn't take all the fight out of the flight crew. "Sit down, sit down," he commanded. "Get back in your seat, this is a real gun, I'll kill ya." In spite of their compromised conditions, it was quite clear to Sanders, Tucker, and Peterson that Calloway had already attempted to kill them once, and given the opportunity he was likely to resume that endeavor.

As Calloway trained the gun on Sanders, Peterson lunged from the side and grabbed the spear that protruded from the end of the gun. He yanked it to point it away from his crew mates.

"I'm gonna kill you!" Calloway shouted, "Hey, hey! I'll kill ya!" Sanders seized the opportunity to grapple their attacker. The flight crew now had the advantage of numbers, but Calloway had the advantages of weapons, martial arts expertise, and an unbruised brain.

Hearing the telltale grunts of violent reciprocation, Tucker pulled back on his flight yoke and put the plane into a sharp climb. The FedEx co-pilot had once been a combat flight instructor, and he was intimately familiar with the effects of g-forces. His tactic succeeded in throwing Calloway off balance and back into the galley. Sanders and Peterson stumbled in pursuit. With waning strength the men attempted to wrestle the weapon from Calloway, but they were locked in an apparent stalemate. Without intervention, the crew was likely to lose the fight due to attrition.

Jim Tucker, hearing that the struggle was still underway, leveled out the airplane's climb and cranked the flight yoke hard to the left to roll the plane onto its side. The female voice of the DC-10's autowarning system began to chant "bank angle" to warn the crew that their maneuver was outside of normal operating parameters. The skirmish in the rear tumbled over to the left side of the aircraft.

"Get him, get him, get him, Andy," Tucker shouted from the cockpit. "I got the airplane!" He continued to roll the plane until it was almost entirely upside-down. In the galley, the bloodied mass of men fell down onto the ceiling. Calloway managed to regain a grasp on one of his hammers that was rattling around the galley like a loose coin in a clothes dryer, and he freed one arm long enough to land another skull-cracking blow to Captain Sanders' head.

Jim Tucker, continuing his tactical application of inertia, pulled back on the yoke to send the belly-up DC-10 into a steep upside-down dive. Calloway, Sanders, and Peterson were forced against the back wall. The DC-10 airspeed indicator pegged at maximum as the cockpit filled with the sounds of roaring wind, the urgent "overspeed" chant of the autowarning system, and the groans of flight surfaces which were not designed to withstand such punishment. The plane was traveling at more than 600 miles per hour, well above the safe maximum speed of the airframe. Much to his alarm, Tucker was rapidly losing all feeling and motor control on the right side of his body. He decreased the throttle--which had been at full power since takeoff--and began the process of pulling out of the dive and correcting the inverted aircraft.

In the galley, the situation was deteriorating. Sanders took yet another hammer blow to the top of his head, and he nearly blacked out. Peterson's compromised temporal artery left him with a dangerous deficit of blood and strength. Having returned the DC-10 to level flight, Jim Tucker called in the emergency.

Tucker to Center: Center, Center, emergency!
Center: Aircraft with emergency, go ahead. (Pause) Aircraft with emergency, say again.
Tucker to Center: Center listen to me! Express 705, I've been wounded, we've had an attempted takeover on board the airplane, give me a vector please, back to Memphis at this time, hurry!
Center: Express 705 fly in zero niner five, direct Memphis.
Tucker to Center: Keep me advised, where is Memphis?
Center: Express 705, flighting of zero niner zero and the airport is at 43 miles twelve o'clock.
Tucker to Center: Say my direction to Memphis.
Center: Express 705, you're eastbound at this time, and it'll be about twelve thirty, one o'clock.
Tucker to Center: Look, just keep talking to me, okay?
Sanders: JIM!
Tucker to Center: Yeah, we need an ambulance and we need, uh, armed intervention as well. Alert the airport facility.

The FedEx arrow.
The FedEx arrow.

Following instructions from Memphis tower, Tucker began to descend below 10,000 feet as a precaution against explosive decompression. Meanwhile, in the galley, Calloway had found his second wind and renewed his resistance. Sanders and Peterson were running low on blood pressure and useful consciousness. "Put it on autopilot!" Peterson shouted to Tucker from the galley. "Help, the son of a bitch is biting me!"

"Andy!" Tucker shouted from the co-pilot seat. "Keep him back there guys, I'm flying!" He rolled the plane hard to the left then back to the right in an attempt to keep Calloway off balance.

"Hurry up, Jim!" Peterson urged as Sanders got a firm grip on a framing hammer and gave Calloway a brief brow-beating.

"Put it on autopilot and come back here!" Sanders seconded. "Hurry, Jim! COME BACK HERE NOW!"

Jim Tucker engaged the autopilot, unbuckled his seatbelt, and struggled from his seat despite nearly complete paralysis in his right limbs. As the radio squawked with urgent requests for a response from Air Traffic Control, Jim Tucker stumbled into the galley to see a barely conscious Andy Peterson lying atop the hijacker as Captain Sanders held the barbed spear to Calloway's throat. Blood was smeared and spattered upon every visible surface, and dislodged detritus littered the room.

Jim Tucker relieved his captain from guard duty, and Pilot Sanders returned to the cockpit. Via radio, Sanders reiterated the need for security upon their arrival. When asked if the situation was under control, he responded, "Well, it's sort of under control." He had suffered considerable blood loss from several head wounds, he was blind in one eye, and his right ear was nearly severed. And his glasses seemed to have gone missing.

Sanders adjusted course to head back to Memphis. The plane was still nearly full of fuel, putting it well over the recommended safe landing weight, but the veteran pilot had little choice. He selected the longest available runway to allow maximum stopping distance.

A few minutes outside of Memphis, as the plane descended, Calloway suddenly lashed out again with renewed vigor. He dragged his handicapped captors across the galley as they struggled to regain the upper hand. Using his thumbs, Calloway attempted to gouge Jim Tucker's eye out. Andy Peterson finally found purchase on a hammer handle from the floor and made eye contact with co-pilot Tucker.

"You've got to hit him," Tucker said. Peterson hit him.

Flight 705 landed heavily on Memphis runway 36 about half an hour after their original departure. Despite the excess fuel weight Captain Sanders managed to stop the DC-10 with no blown tires and a few hundred meters of tarmac to spare. As emergency vehicles converged on the parked plane, Sanders emerged from the little room in the front of the plane where the pilots sit and opened the emergency escape chute.

Paramedic David Teague was the first to clamber up the ladder into Flight 705's open doorway. No one on the ground knew anything about the emergency beyond the fact that there had been an attempted takeover. The scene that met the paramedic atop the ladder was strange and gruesome. Every horizontal and vertical interior surface of the DC-10's small galley was spattered with crimson. There were bloody footprints on the walls and ceiling, and the upholstery had somehow been peeled entirely from the jump seat. Papers, packages, hammers, and brutalized FedEx employees were scattered around the plane. David Teague handcuffed the tenderized would-be hijacker, and the semiconscious crew disembarked via the inflatable escape slide.

At the hospital, Captain Sanders' dangling ear was stitched back into proper position, and he was treated for multiple lacerations to his head and a dislocated jaw. Flight engineer Peterson's skull had multiple fractures and his temporal artery had to be repaired. Co-pilot Tucker suffered severe skull fractures, including a hole larger than a golf ball. He would require months of physical therapy to regain full motor control in his right arm and leg, and a lifetime of anti-seizure medication. He was also partially blinded in his gouged eye. As for Calloway, his injuries were less severe, but his original fear was realized: FedEx elected to terminate his employment.

A screen shot of Calloway's no-longer-online support site.
A screen shot of Calloway's no-longer-online support site.

An FBI search of Auburn Calloway's apartment turned up a suspiciously fresh Last Will and Testament lying on his bed--a dead giveaway. They also found a note listing the names of the flight 705 flight crew, and another note listing the weapons he had brought with him on the plane. At Auburn Calloway's trial the defense pleaded temporary insanity. The judge did not agree, and he told them so. After the defense failed to impress the court with other arguments regarding technicalities, a grand petit jury convicted Calloway of attempted aircraft piracy and sentenced him to life in prison with no possibility of parole. He is presently jailed in a federal prison near Atwater, California. For a while he maintained his innocence via www.auburncallowaysupport.com, but the site is no longer online. Near the top of the page it proclaimed in an enlarged typeface: "When justice fails and hope grows cold / though it may not outwardly show / bitterness simmers in the soul / and hate begins to grow."

On 26 May 1994 the crew of flight 705 was honored with the Air Line Pilots Association's Gold Medal Award. The organization recognized the men's heroism in withstanding the surprise bludgeoning, overpowering an armed martial arts expert, and saving the lives and property that would have been destroyed if the plane had crashed. Sadly, due to their injuries none of the men are medically fit for commercial piloting anymore. However David Sanders and Jim Tucker successfully acquired private pilots' licenses and enjoy recreational flight from time to time.

In total, Auburn Calloway's attempted hijack/suicide cost FedEx an estimated $800,000. The aircraft involved in the incident was repaired, and it still flies in the FedEx fleet as of 2011. It has been upgraded from a DC-10 to an MD-10; a revised model which eliminates the need for a flight engineer.

Considering his apparently selfless concern for his children's futures, Auburn Calloway's actions almost seem to have a tiny, twisted nucleus of noble intentions, yet his actions were clearly misguided. Additionally, he demonstrated cunning in his use of blunt instruments to simulate crash trauma, yet he left an orgy of damning evidence in his home. One wonders whether his mind was dulled with madness, or if perhaps he wanted the world to know what he had done once it was all over. Chances are we'll never know exactly what was going through Calloway's head before he boarded flight 705.

Article written by Alan Bellows, published on 05 January 2012. Alan is the founder/designer/head writer/managing editor of Damn Interesting.

Article design by Alan Bellows.
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41 Comments
OrionNikkaChuhi
Posted 05 January 2012 at 06:05 pm

Woot my first first! Great read, keep em comin'!


Timmy1984
Posted 05 January 2012 at 06:28 pm

Thanks for yet another great article, Alan! I'm so glad you & the gang at DI are back churning out articles. Your hard work is greatly appreciated by all your readers!


matthew1701
Posted 05 January 2012 at 06:50 pm

damn interesting indeed! and it seems that all things considered.... damn lucky for the flight crew. thier lives have been irrevocably changed for the worse but they are still alive and breathing.... and of course damn heroic too! no telling how much damage would have been done with a plane crash or how many lives could have been lost!


dziban303
Posted 05 January 2012 at 09:04 pm

Grand juries don't convict people or participate in trials, they issue indictments.


viva83
Posted 05 January 2012 at 10:29 pm

Great read... No one can fully understand the Human mind!!


Sortova
Posted 06 January 2012 at 08:00 am

I was surprised that this story got so little press when it happened (oh, for the days prior to 9/11). I first heard about it about a month after it happened from some FedEx employees while I was waiting for a flight at the Memphis airport.

One thing they mentioned was that one of the pilots was a last minute substitution, and the one he replaced was much smaller. One can only imagine how differently this might have gone if that had happened.


lostindustrial
Posted 06 January 2012 at 08:15 am

this is the best line in the whole story:
"he replaced the acoustic instrument in his guitar case with several blunt ones."


sid
Posted 06 January 2012 at 09:30 am

Technically, he was sentenced to two consecutive life sentences. And dziban303 is correct. The actual trial utilized a petit jury, not a grand.

Also:

"Sanders emerged from the little room in the front of the plane where the pilots sit..."

What, "cockpit" was not clear enough? Why not "the section of the aircraft where food and beverages are prepared" instead of "galley"?


helmsb
Posted 06 January 2012 at 10:22 am

said: "Technically, he was sentenced to two consecutive life sentences. And dziban303 is correct. The actual trial utilized a petit jury, not a grand.

Also:
“Sanders emerged from the little room in the front of the plane where the pilots sit…”
What, “cockpit” was not clear enough? Why not “the section of the aircraft where food and beverages are prepared” instead of “galley”?"

It's a reference from the movie "Airplane!"
Dr. Rumack: "There's been a little problem in the cockpit."
Ted: "The cockpit? What is it?"
Dr. Rumack: "It's a little room in the front of the plane, where the pilots sit, but that's not important right now."


MadMolecule
Posted 06 January 2012 at 10:54 am

Also, in the fourth-from-last paragraph: "The judge did not agree, and he told them so."

From the Beatles' "Maxwell's Silver Hammer." Well played!


sid
Posted 06 January 2012 at 01:12 pm

said: "said: “Technically, he was sentenced to two consecutive life sentences. And dziban303 is correct. The actual trial utilized a petit jury, not a grand.

Also:
“Sanders emerged from the little room in the front of the plane where the pilots sit…”
What, “cockpit” was not clear enough? Why not “the section of the aircraft where food and beverages are prepared” instead of “galley”?”
It’s a reference from the movie “Airplane!”
Dr. Rumack: “There’s been a little problem in the cockpit.”
Ted: “The cockpit? What is it?”
Dr. Rumack: “It’s a little room in the front of the plane, where the pilots sit, but that’s not important right now.”"

That'll work.


igmothemagus
Posted 06 January 2012 at 06:04 pm

Great Article as usual!

Looking forward to sampling the audio edition of this article when it's available!


FrankLee
Posted 07 January 2012 at 01:43 am

Amazing. Great Article!


oldmancoyote
Posted 08 January 2012 at 03:47 pm

Damn, I spend a bit of time not checking and you're back. Glad to see new articles once again.


xoxoxoBruce
Posted 08 January 2012 at 09:04 pm

Excellent story. They should send the TSA over to fedex... and leave the rest of us alone.


Daz a Zulu
Posted 09 January 2012 at 07:04 am

Di article, in the words of MC Hammer:

"Give me a song or rhythm
Making 'em sweat
That's what I'm giving'em now they know
You talk about the Hammer, you're talking about a show
That's hyped and tight
Singers are sweating so pass them a wipe
Or a tape to learn
What it is going to take in the '90s
To burn the charts
Legit either work hard or you might as well quit

That's the word,because you know
U can't touch this
(uh-uh uh-uh uh-uh-uh)
U can't touch this
(uh-uh uh-uh uh-uh-uh)
Break it down"


zippyy
Posted 10 January 2012 at 03:25 am

Thank you . DI indeed


j0etb
Posted 10 January 2012 at 07:31 am

Fascinating story. Thought it was going to turn into a real life account of Castaway at first!

Glad to have a DI article to read, avoided reading the food binding one as I knew there would be stuff in there I just wouldn't want to know...


Ard Ri
Posted 10 January 2012 at 02:57 pm

I think Rocco from Boondock Saints said it best: "Sick Fuc@, Sick Fuc@, Sick Fuc@"


VR_Don
Posted 10 January 2012 at 03:27 pm

Thanks for another great read! Keep 'em going!


oldmancoyote
Posted 11 January 2012 at 01:28 am

As for me, I like the postage stamp.


Deertick
Posted 11 January 2012 at 02:14 pm

Great article! It thoroughly disproves the theory that pilots can't fly a plane while hammered.


oldmancoyote
Posted 14 January 2012 at 11:56 pm

Good one, Deertick. I like it!


ke4roh
Posted 17 January 2012 at 06:29 pm

My paycheck was to be on the return trip from this plane. It was delayed a day.


LoveandSausages
Posted 21 January 2012 at 01:32 am

I didn't find this as damn interesting as I found it damn disturbing.


tluck
Posted 21 January 2012 at 08:28 pm

Great article.


igmothemagus
Posted 27 January 2012 at 06:07 am

My ears are aching for some of that sweet sweet candy.... Who is going to be reading the story? Is it Alan or a guest? I'll try to start a rumor here...Didn't you mention that it was going to be James Earl Jones doing the reading before???

Just kidding, take your time Alan. I am sure you are working to make it perfect.


Alan Bellows
Posted 27 January 2012 at 08:23 am

igmothemagus said: "My ears are aching for some of that sweet sweet candy…. Who is going to be reading the story? Is it Alan or a guest? I’ll try to start a rumor here…Didn’t you mention that it was going to be James Earl Jones doing the reading before???

I have two factors from which I can squeeze some sweet excuse-juice:

A) I'm still settling into my new job, so discretionary time isn't as readily available as it would be otherwise; and

B) I underestimated the psychological friction of listening to one's own voice repeatedly for hours of editing. I may need to find someone else to read or edit for me.

The podcast remains imminent.


igmothemagus
Posted 28 January 2012 at 07:11 am

I had never considered the annoyance of listening to your own voice for extended periods.

As a musician, I had to listen to and analyze recordings of my trombone playing, often at half speed (This preserves the intonation by dropping the sound precisely 1 octave). That, at best, was tedious. Thankfully, I never had to edit the recording to produce a final product. They were either practice exercises or analysis of performances I had already completed. I imagine that the barrier you are facing is similar.


Pain
Posted 06 February 2012 at 12:02 pm

The best line:
"As for Calloway, his injuries were less severe, but his original fear was realized: FedEx elected to terminate his employment."

Made me literally LOL.

And that proves it - FedEx must be racist. It is a wonder he didn't sue them over the whole affair. Given the right venue in this crazy country - he might actually win.


XavieX
Posted 28 March 2012 at 02:40 am

Talk about going "postal".


northroad
Posted 04 May 2012 at 12:08 pm

Is the author really trying to defend this guy in the last paragraph? "a tiny nucleus of noble intentions"...?

He assaulted and tried to murder three innocent people, maiming them all permanently. If he had been successful, who knows how many on the ground may have been killed in the crash.


raymilton
Posted 13 July 2012 at 10:39 am

An unforeseen consequence of affirmative active based hiring policies. Less that 4% of military pilots are black for a reason, they are unable to pass the mental portion of the exam. That's a damn interesting story I'd like to read!


Alan Bellows
Posted 18 July 2012 at 04:26 pm

raymilton said: "An unforeseen consequence of affirmative active based hiring policies. Less that 4% of military pilots are black for a reason, they are unable to pass the mental portion of the exam. That’s a damn interesting story I’d like to read!"

Which part of an exam is not the "mental" portion?

As a rule we do not delete comments unless they contain spam, personal information, copyrighted material, or explicit threats. This is because we recognize that "moral fashion" is a real phenomenon, and the subjective unpleasantness of a comment doesn't necessarily reflect its value to the discussion. That being said, judging from your comment, in my subjective assessment, you are terrible at everything.


sid
Posted 26 July 2012 at 10:50 am

Not that I would argue with your assessment of this individual, but I would guess there is a physical component to the exam.


Hejo
Posted 10 August 2012 at 11:43 am

If we reverse the roles here (angry white guy who believes the blacks in his life are all racist against him) then we would have had a major news story which would've fit the media narrative of "racist white attacks black co-workers". We would've had endless coverage where the victims families were interviewed by Oprah (ex: what kind of racist do you think could attack your husband crushing his skull with a hammer simply because he is black?). That two headed monster aka racial shakedown con-artists Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton would've been going mental and stirring up their fellow blacks that this attack was motivated by race hate. I state all this as one of the earlier posts wondered why this horrendous crime got so little by way of press coverage. So to be very clear; this got limited coverage simply because it did not fit the media dogma of white racist/black victim. In other words:

white racist/black victim = "sexy news!!" = fits media narrative.
black racist/white victim = "never happens", "don't want to hear it", "you must be a racist for suggesting that blacks can be racist" = does NOT fit media narrative.

Alan Bellows, well done on an well written piece!!


madastonniesuh
Posted 22 May 2013 at 08:50 am

I saw the documentary on National Geographic I think.

Sometimes it is the fear of being discriminated that is the problem. If you think people will discriminate, you will act suspicious and generally unfriendly. People will not like you and they will let you know of the fact. You in turn will hate them more and you will probably feel helpless if they have control over your life. Then one day, you get unhinged and do something like what this guy did. It is obviously wrong, but I am answering the most important question here: Why would anybody do this?

"This proves it is possible to fly while hammered.." nice one.


madastonniesuh
Posted 22 May 2013 at 09:09 am

Hejo said: "If we reverse the roles here (angry white guy who believes the blacks in his life are all racist against him) then we would have had a major news story which would've fit the media narrative of "racist white attacks black co-workers". ...

Not just media narrative, it is because it evokes history. When a black guy attacks a white guy, people tend to take it as a personal fight because blacks haven't dominated whites before and the incident does not fit a formula in the past. i am not saying it is correct in anyway. Doing a little analysis of what the audience thinks. Do I make sense?

white racist/black victim = "sexy news!!" = fits media narrative.
black racist/white victim = "never happens", "don't want to hear it", "you must be a racist for suggesting that blacks can be racist" = does NOT fit media narrative.
Alan Bellows, well done on an well written piece!!"

When whites are the victims, they downplay it. When blacks are the victims, everyone knows about it. It is all down to the victims' willingness to talk about the episode.


John Peterson
Posted 24 March 2014 at 07:18 am

This was a well written, interesting account of the attack. There is much more background on the attacker, Auburn Calloway that never made it into the news.

I'm a former Navy pilot, now retired airline captain and I flew with pilots who knew Calloway prior to his employment with FedEx. This is what they told me.

Calloway was a sub-standard pilot. His first response to any criticism was to cry "racism." It got to the point that during Naval pilot training, no instructor was allowed to give him below average ratings despite his poor performance. He just got extra time and was "trained to proficiency." This does not happen, normally. I know. I was a Navy instructor pilot. Once he was deployed to his fleet squadron, Calloway was so poor a performer that he was never advanced to aircraft commander, relegated to being only a co-polot.

Calloway exited the Navy and was hired by Flying Tigers, another historic cargo company that subsequently was bought out by Federal Express. Calloway did not make it through his probationary year at Tigers. He was fired. He then went to Federal Express and lied on his application, omitting that he had been hired and fired by Flying Tigers. Some of the FedEx pilots who were former Tigers pilots recognized Calloway and reported him to management. Whether Calloway was going to be terminated for employment fraud or just poor performance is not known. What is known is that he was a low skilled pilot with an over-inflated image of himself and a hair trigger for claiming racism whenever any deficiency was pointed out.


Bob
Posted 26 March 2014 at 08:56 pm

I love damn interesting keep the articles comming
!


Augie Wren
Posted 20 August 2014 at 09:14 pm

Well written and interesting piece. True edge-of-your-seat dialog.


END OF COMMENTS
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