Carl Meyerholtz (Bio)


Carl worked in the training department and we worked together for many years training flight engineers for the various customers who bought the L-1011.

Our boss Glen Fisher, assigned me and Carl as the flight engineers on the first delivery of the 1011 to British Airways. On the day before the flight, I told Carl we would share the FE duties: I’d fly the first leg from Palmdale to Montreal, Canada where we would spend the night and he could fly from there into London the next day. I received a phone call at 5:00 am from my wife who informed me that my mom had passed away on the operating table where she was being operated on for cancer. I knew I would not be going on to London that day and was glad things worked out that Carl was all set and ready to FE the continuation flight to London. It worked out well from that perspective.

While Carl and rest of the team took off and headed out over the Atlantic towards London, I stayed behind and booked a flight home on Air Canada, an L-1011 no less. Carl told me later that somewhere out over the Atlantic, the C hydraulic system pump case cracked and leaked all of the hydraulic fluid over board. He had to do a manual gear drop going into London and they landed safely.

Here is Carl’s Bio as written by him:

Before I forget, Carl put a caption below his photo above, but I was not able to get it to fit in the space so I am posting it here:

“Your attitude, almost always determines your altitude in life.”

Carl Meyerholtz – Flight Engineer – L-1011 Flying Operations

My time at Lockheed started in January, 1973, just a few days after the crash of Eastern Airlines 401 in the Florida Everglades. I had just graduated from Parsons College with a degree in Aeronautics. I was lucky enough to have been acquainted with Ed Downs and he had offered me a job as a Training Specialist. That morning I walked into the office, I was not even sure I was going to have a job.

As we know from history, Eastern 401 was the outcome of poor, or no, CRM on the part of the flight crew. It would be a few years before airlines would begin to train flight crews on how to manage non-normal events as well as fly the aircraft.

My job was, thankfully, still waiting for me. Over the next few years I would have the opportunity to learn from some of the best pilots and flight engineers in the world. Barry Bronson was hired at the same time and we were offered the opportunity, along with Ralph Freshour and Jim Irving, to become Flight Engineers on the L-1011. The next four years went by swiftly. I was involved in the training of PSA, ANA, Delta, Saudia, Cathay Pacific, and my favorite, British Airways. When not busy training, I was occasionally drafted as a number 2 F/E on a production test flight. It was my job to test the lower galley smoke detector by blowing smoke on the sensor! My colleagues voted me the second best “smoke blower”, right after my good buddy Jim Irving.

Time does fly by and things change. Lockheed Tri-Star sales were slowing down. I was sent to Bangkok with Warren Grossklaus to provide Air Ceylon a briefing on the 1011’s capabilities. The airline was looking for a wide-bodied aircraft to fly the Bangkok-Colombo route. My job was to provide technical data on the autopilot, radios and flight controls while Warren did the briefings on the ECS, hydraulic, electrical systems and performance capabilities. We were in direct competition with the DC-10.

For political reasons, we were unable to finish our task and, after six weeks, were sent home. Things at flight operations were really slowing down and I was furloughed. Luckily for me an acquaintance at TWA, who had the position of L-1011 chief flight engineer, got me an interview with TWA as a training specialist. I was successful and was hired to Instruct on the Boeing 727. Within a year I was teaching both the 727 and 1011 to transitioning crews and furloughed recalls.

In 1978 TWA ran out of people to recall and started hiring pilots. I was fortunate enough to be hired in the second class. This was good, but the furlough that followed the next year was bad. Here is the way things went for the next 12 years: First, when furloughed from TWA, I went to work for a little airline flying from Newark called People Express. After a number of years at “Peeps”, I was recalled to TWA. In 1991 I retired from TWA and went to work flying for UPS. In the meantime I went back to school and obtained a Master of Science degree in industrial training. My thesis pointed out the value of Crew Resource Management on aircraft with three crewmembers. My Lockheed friend, Jim Irving, was a lot of help during the research stage of the project. The UPS job lasted less than a year and I accepted an offer from United Airlines. My active flying career ended at age 60 as a Boeing 767 Captain. There is this interesting twist: I finished my career working for Boeing as a 777 instructor. At 62 it was time to pull the plug. No more traveling, at least not without my wife.


Last updated 07/21/13