was early Summer 1968 and I was working as an A&P mechanic for TWA at SFO. Assigned
to cargo that evening we flagged in an arriving 707-331C cargo flight to spot
one, what is now the end of the United Air Lines North Terminal at Sierra taxiway.
I noticed as I hooked up the external power that a television news crew had
arrived and their attention was focused on the main deck cargo door. Curious,
of course, I stopped to look forgetting all about the tail support. In the number
two igloo position was Charlie-O the Mule, mascot of the then Kansas City Athletics
baseball team. Charlie Finley always wanted the mule at the game. As the igloo
was rolled out onto the loader the nose of the airplane began to rise. The General
Foreman was there to observe and we heard him shout "You *%#+#@ Idiots, you
forgot the tail stand."
My partner and I ran to the rear, popped open the C3 cargo
door, removed the strut from its stowage, placed it under the airplane on an
angle, it was too low to put in straight, and turned the knob releasing the
air charge. The airplane slowly rose back to level position. I wasn't fired
that day but I learned another valuable lesson.