The Rocketeer,

Minute 042: Like a Hood Ornament

June 20, 2017

Guest Host: Dennis Dunbar

Dennis Dunbar is the Director of AirVenture Airshow Operations in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. He’s also the Chair and Event Organizer of the Safety & Operations Committee for the International Council of Air Shows. ICAS was founded in 1967 as a trade and professional association by industry professionals to protect and promote their interests in the growing North American air show marketplace. At the time, this small group of air show event organizers and performers recognized the need for standardization of industry practices in key areas such as safety and business practices that could only be achieved collectively. They knew that — for such standardization to occur — the industry needed to act and speak with a single voice and that voice was established in ICAS.

For more information about EAA’s AirVenture Air Show, check out their site.



Peevy is explaining how the reworked throttle works like a gas pedal that Cliff can squeeze. If Cliff wants to stop, “mash down hard, and then let go.”

“Okay,” says Cliff, grabbing the flying helmet. “Anything else?”

“Yeah,” says Peevy, reaching into Cliff’s mouth and digging out the ever-present Beeman’s gum that Cliff’s chewing. “A little luck!” says Peevy, sticking the gum on the back of the rocket pack. Cliff steps outside of the hangar.

Cliff puts on his helmet and turns around to face Peevy.

“How do I look?” he asks.

“Like a hood ornament,” replies Peevy.

Cliff turns around again, and presses both actuators on his gloves. The rocket ignites, throwing Peevy across the floor of the hangar. Cliff blasts into the sky, far above the planes. Peevy gets up and runs out the hangar door, scanning the sky for Cliff.

As Cliff reaches altitude, he cuts off his engines and does a complete loop. The engines fire up again as he outraces the Mystery Ship. Cliff descends for a low pass over the grandstand, catching the attention of Eddie Valentine.  Bigelow, in the press tower, takes off his sunglasses.  Cliff passes the race planes on the circuit.

On the ground, the newsreel cameraman is filming the action. His reporter runs up to him as he’s filming.

“Georgie!” yells the reporter. “Tell me that you’re getting this!”

“I’m getting it,” says the cameraman, “I’m getting it – – I don’t know what it is, but I’m gettin’ it!”

High over the crowd, Cliff circles towards Miss Mabel. Cliff overestimates the approach speed and slams into the bottom of Miss Mabel’s cockpit. His helmet sticks through the floorboards.

Malcolm looks down between his legs, to see a strange helmeted man calling his name. “Malcolm!” yells Cliff.

Malcolm moans. The control stick comes loose from the control cables and knocks Malcolm in the head. He slumps forward. Cliff pulls himself down onto the landing wheels.

In This Minute

Unknown as Air Show Announcer
Eddie Jones as Malcolm
Jon Polito as Bigelow
Alan Arkin as Peevy
Bill Campbell as Cliff Secord
Arlee Reed as Cameraman
Thomas Lee Tully as Reporter



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