Before Hoot and the other two flight deck crew members aboard TWA 841 were unfairly blamed for causing the spiral dive on April 4, 1979, Hoot experienced the kind of notoriety that only a handful of pilots have ever experienced. You could say that Hoot was every bit as popular in the immediate days following the incident as Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger was after his ditching in the Hudson. Both pilots were credited with saving the lives of passengers and crew.
Hoot was bombarded with interview requests and even took a call from a Hollywood producer wanting to buy rights to his story. Unlike Sully, however, who remains a hero in the eyes of most who know his story, Hoot quickly went from hero to villain in the span of eight days. He ‘s been trying to correct that injustice for over thirty years.
The picture included in this post was taken just three days after the incident in his Las Vegas home. He doesn’t look it, but at the time this picture was taken Hoot had had at most three hours of sleep since that April 4th dive.
I’ll continue to keep posting bits and pieces of this story as I go about my research. So please be sure to keep checking back, or better yet, subscribe to the e-mail updates and you’ll stay in the loop.