An accident happened to our airplane on this trip. It gave us some excitement, and I thought you might like to hear about it. It also made me realize how impossible it would be for me to carry on the Work which God is now having me to do without this plane.
We were on the runway at Cairo, Egypt, taking off for Tel Aviv. I had a very large, important dinner as the scheduled speaker the following night in Jerusalem. So far as I know, no planes of any kind ever fly from Cairo to Tel Aviv, except that of Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and my own jet. We were taking off on the runway at Cairo. Our two powerful Rolls-Royce engines accelerated, picking up speed fast.
Then it HAPPENED!
We were about halfway down the runway, reaching 180 miles an hour — our lift-off speed. Suddenly Captain Black threw the engines into reverse thrust and the brakes ground to a screeching halt, just before the end of the runway.
ENGINE TROUBLE! That had never happened before in 4 1/2 years. In fact, what happened would not occur again in several million flights.
Our left engine had caught some flying object in the air, but first we thought it could have been a bird. Alighting to the ground we could see that nearly all the blades in one of the engines were bent out of shape. Then we concluded it must have been a piece of flying metal. Birds are occasionally caught in a jet engine on take-off when we are still flying low — they might do a little harm. But a piece of flying metal — there would not be one chance in a million that would happen!
The only way we could account for it was that it was flipped into the air by one of the front tires.
We probably would not have been in danger, even had it occurred about five seconds later. It would have been too late to stop on the runway. We should have had to take off into the air, shutting off the damaged engine and banking around on the one engine to land on the runway again. Providentially the hand of God stopped us in time.
Immediately we decided to try to charter another plane. We had five Japanese with us who had flown with us from Tokyo. Three had been high members of the Diet on an important, official government mission. The leader of them and I were to be co-speakers at a very important dinner at Jerusalem the following night. It was imperative that we be there. No plane was available to charter, and no crew. Cairo is probably the worst major city in the world for communications. There is no way to telephone or telegraph elsewhere. The accident could not have happened in a worse place!
But Mr. Rader, who always flies with me, was able to catch a commercial flight within the hour to Beirut. There he would 1) try to charter a plane; or 2) telephone or telex Pasadena where our own flight people could take the quickest possible action on having a replacement "loaner" engine flown to Cairo, and also flying three more mechanics to Cairo to change engines.
The only way the rest of us — Japanese guests included — could get on to Israel was to take a 2:45 a.m. Japan Airlines plane, stopping off at Cairo, for Rome. After a four-hour lay- over in Rome, then catch an Italian airline for Tel Aviv.
The accident occurred about noon. I remained in my seat in the plane until about 3:30. Then in the evening we all took rooms, bare, shabby third or fourth class, in an airport hotel, adjoining the terminal. I got in about three hours' sleep, awakened at 1:00 a.m. ready for the 2:45 plane for Rome. Mr. Rader had returned from Beirut and flew on to Rome with us. No charter planes were available in Beirut.
We arrived at Rome without incident. At an airport hotel, perhaps some five miles from the airport, I managed to get about another single hour's sleep. Back at the Rome airport we ran into a hassle between our Japanese guests and airport officials in regard to opening and "fine-tooth-combing" every piece of luggage. Mr. Rader finally prevailed upon airport officials to allow each of us to personally open his own luggage. Our luggage had been checked at the airport to be put on an Alitalia plane. What bothered the airport officials was fear someone might have planted a bomb in a piece of our luggage while it was checked there in transit for more than three hours. Mr. Rader having satisfied the officials, each of us did in fact inspect our own luggage and did satisfy our Japanese, since it removed all suspicion that they might be carrying a bomb or arms for a hijack attempt.
However, this inspection delayed us 30-45 minutes. Of course, we were all searched, since we were on an official trip (that is, our three Congressmen). As long as we flew our own plane, they had arranged ahead through their Japanese embassies, whenever we landed to give us special VIP treatment, avoiding all security checking against hijacking.
Flying by commercial plane has become a rather unpleasant burden. We avoid nearly all that with our own plane, since we seldom have to go through a public passenger terminal. At most airports, private planes taxi over to a special private airport terminal, usually on the opposite side of the field. There we have no such restrictions.
This again served to emphasize how impossible it would be for me to accomplish the job God has now opened before me without my own plane, with its approximately 7 1/2 hour range before we have to refuel. At 550-600 mph we can fly across oceans anywhere in the world, and we can go when we need to go. I have my own office on the plane, with electric typewriter, special bookcase, all the facilities I need for work while we fly.
But it is no holiday joy ride! On the present trip, we had two very long flights — one, Los Angeles to Hong Kong via Alaska, kept us up and awake for more than 24 hours, except for a few short catnaps in our seats; another, Tokyo to Geneva, Switzerland, in Europe by the North Pole kept us awake again more than 24 hours. Then we were up most of the night after our engine went out.
Since I wrote you August 29, governments continue toppling — events leading to the end of this age accelerating. Last Thursday, Emperor Haile Selassie was taken by force from his palace in Addis Ababa and taken to military headquarters outside Addis Ababa. I may never see him again. He has now entered on a hunger strike. My public appearance campaign in Ethiopia now, of course, must be delayed or called off until I hear from our friend, Ethiopian Ambassador Mikasha at New Delhi, I cannot know what our status will be in Ethiopia.
I am writing from Tel Aviv in Israel. On this present trip we flew first from Los Angeles to Hong Kong because we could not get permission to land in Tokyo until two days later. That trip kept us up and awake more than 24 hours.
Earlier, in Tokyo, we had important dinners two nights in a row with high-ranking friends there. That was Thursday and Friday night. Saturday I held the most important Bible study so far, attended by some 200 Japanese, all who were more or less upper-class people and virtually all subscribers to the PLAIN TRUTH. They all understood English, so no interpreter was needed. This was the first study attended by so large a group — the next one, scheduled for October l9th, 300-400 are expected to attend.
Sunday morning we flew from Tokyo via Anchorage, Alaska, the North Pole route, all the way to Geneva, Switzerland, on the other side of the earth. However, adverse winds forced us to avoid much of the short route over the North Pole, taking the longer course to the south via Frobisher Bay. With our jet, we were required to make only two stops to refuel — Anchorage and Frobisher Bay. But, once again, it kept us awake over 24 hours. On this flight we took with us five Japanese, three of whom were high-ranking members of the Japanese Diet going on an official trip for the government — a special peace mission to Middle East governments. On this flight we had a short daylight day, a short night, and another short daylight day, landing about 9:00 p.m. after dark. At Geneva we had one important meeting with ambassadors from foreign nations, one of whom was the Ambassador from Egypt.
Then we flew on to Cairo. Our Japanese friends had long meetings with Egyptian government people there, and we had another meeting with President Sadat's chief assistant, Dr, Mohammed Abdul Lader Hattem. There we laid out definite plans for transferring the next public appearance campaign from Ethiopia to Cairo. Also plans were made for Dr. Hattem to accompany us for a private visit with King Faisal of Saudi Arabia, as well as private visits to the Presidents of Libya, Tunisia, and Algeria along the north coast of Africa. We have also discussed with him the possibility of opening Radio Cairo for The WORLD TOMORROW program and the television station for the Garner Ted Armstrong program.
The meeting in Jerusalem was the largest of any attended in the past six years in Israel. The meeting was sponsored by the Japanese Ambassador. All invitations were sent out from the Japanese Embassy. Both the Ambassador and the leader of the Japanese Diet delegation, Mr. Yamaguchi, explained how I had worked to bring the two nations, Japan and Israel, together in closer friendship and peace — not only by this trip, but by the archaeological excavation at Tel-Zeror, jointly sponsored by Ambassador College and the Japanese government, and in other important ways.
I always speak along the same lines, and I work for world peace in all parts of the world.
Our really big meeting in Israel is now set for early November, when I will be able to speak for at least 45 minutes, giving them the real Gospel, which they have never heard. The most important officials of government, of Hebrew University, and the University of Tel Aviv, important private citizens and business executives will be there.
At one of the dinners in Tokyo, the President of Waseda University, the largest private university in Japan, and wife promised definitely to attend and speak at the next Ambassador College commencement in Pasadena. This man is the one who took notes on everything I said at the testimonial dinner in Tokyo last year.
Then at a dinner in Tel Aviv the other night, Professor Mazar, former President of Hebrew University, and now director of our archaeological project at the Temple Mount in Jerusalem (including several hundred of our students who worked there under him for the past five years) also promised to attend our next graduation in Pasadena. So, once again, we will have important educational officials from both Japan and Jerusalem, come to Pasadena.
There is SO MUCH more to tell you about how the Work is developing — almost faster than I can keep up with it. But I must now telex this to Pasadena to be typed.
We'll hold the rest 'til next time. Don't forget, I need your prayers, your sacrifice financially, and your loyal backing in every way. I am KEEPING ON THE JOB almost night and day! Each month time gets shorter. We must work while we can. Soon it will be too late. Work with me and with the LIVING CHRIST, for HE IS WORKING IN THIS WORK because He HEADS and DIRECTS it and BLESSES it and US — who are working loyally with Him.