DISASTERS: Journey's End

The C-54 transport was nine hours out of Fairbanks, Alaska, on Thanksgiving night when Captain Albert J. Fenton raised Tacoma's McChord Field. What was the weather? The answer crackled back: visibility three-quarters of a mile, ceiling zero. Pilot Fenton asked to be talked in on ground controlled approach.

Fifteen minutes later, when Fenton swung into his final approach, visibility had dropped to one-sixteenth of a mile, a blanket of fog and smoke still hugged the ground. Fenton chose to go around. What was the weather at nearby Seattle-Tacoma Airport? Visibility ten miles, ceiling unlimited. That was the last the tower...

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