THE CAT & DUCK METHOD OF FLYING
Today's flight age is an era highlighted with increasing emphasis on
safety. Instrumentation in the cockpit and in the traffic control tower has
reached new peaks of electronic perfection to assist the pilot during
take-offs, flight, and landings. For whimsical contrast to these and other
marvels of scientific flight engineering, it is perhaps opportune to remind
pilots of the basic rules concerning the so-called Cat-and-Duck Method of
Flight, just in case something goes wrong with any of these new- fangled
flying instruments you find in today's aircraft.
Place a live cat on the cockpit floor. Because a cat always remains
upright, he or she can be used in lieu of a needle and ball. Merely watch
to see which way the cat leans to determine if a wing is low and, if so,
The duck is used for the instrument approach and landing. Because any
sensible duck will refuse to fly under instrument conditions, it is only
necessary to hurl your duck out of the plane and follow her to the ground.
There are some limitations to the Cat-and-Duck Method, but by rigidly
adhering to the following check list, a degree of success will be achieved.
* Get a wide-awake cat. Most cats do not want to stand up at all, at any
time. It may be necessary to get a large fierce dog in the cockpit to
keep the cat at attention.
* Make sure your cat is clean. Dirty cats will spend all their time
washing. Trying to follow a cat licking itself usually results in a
tight snap roll, followed by an inverted (or flat) spin. You can see
this is very unsanitary.
* Old cats are best. Young cats have nine lives, but an old used-up cat
with only one life left has just as much to lose an you do and will
therefore be more dependable.
* Beware of cowardly ducks. If the duck discovers that you are using the
cat to stay upright - or straight and level- she will refuse to leave
without the cat. Ducks are no better on instruments than you are.
* Be sure the duck has good eyesight. Nearsighted ducks sometimes will
go flogging off into the nearest hill. Very short-sighted ducks will
not realize they have been thrown out and will descend to the ground
in a sitting position. This maneuver is quite difficult to follow in
* Use land-loving ducks. It is very discouraging to break out and find
yourself on final approach for some farm pound in Iowa. Also, the
farmers there suffer from temporary insanity when chasing crows off
their corn fields and will shoot anything that flies.
* Choose your duck carefully. It is easy to confuse ducks with geese
because many water birds look alike. While they are very competent
instrument flyers , geese seldom want to go in the same direction you
do. If your duck heads off for the Okefenokee Swamp, you may be sure
you have been given the goose.