Dumb Thing No. 3
The summer season wound down and I prepared to return to Miami for the winter. My plan was to make a final refueling stop in Orlando, Florida, at an airport that shares the runway with my "friends," the Strategic Air Command. Because the runway is about two miles long, I requested a midfield takeoff after refueling, but was denied. While taxiing out I experienced a tendency of the airplane to crab to the right, probably due to my hard landing at Aeronca Field in Ohio. I was forced to taxi all the way to the end of the runway and, of course, the left pedal was fading by the time I got to the run-up area. I did the run-up and called the tower for takeoff clearance and was cleared. When I taxied out on the active, I didn't have enough brake to line up on the runway. … What to do? Hoping the tower was not watching, I unbuckled, opened the door, hopped out onto the runway, picked up the tail and pointed the airplane down the runway. Jumping back in, applying full power, I was on my way before anyone was the wiser.