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John Clayton: Emirates Airlines A-380
Come, Fly with Me Aboard
Emirates Airlines A-380
for a Stunning, Memorable and Totally Amazing Experience
Words and Pictures by John Clayton

, here's the picture. You've been flying for about 8 hours and you're feeling a bit, well droopy and you think to yourself that if only you could take a shower, you'd be fine. 100% better in fact. Then it suddenly occurs to you - you can take a shower. But wait a minute, this is an airplane and how on earth could you take a shower? Well it's because you're flying an Emirates Airlines gigantic, double decker A-380 and for First Class passengers they have not one, but two, yes two showers. Impossible, right? Well not exactly - I was aboard this amazing and totally luxurious airplane when she flew into Los Angeles recently for a two hour flight to nowhere to demonstrate not only the Airbus A-380, but also all the refinements and luxury that abound everywhere on this incredible and superb Emirates flying machine.

shower door for First Class passengers
Yes, that really is the door to one of the two (!) showers aboard Emirates A-380. Mind you though, it is only for the 14 First Class passengers, but hey, can you imagine taking a shower at 41,000 feet!!! The floor is heated, there are flowers in vase (out of camera view) and the scents in the bathroom are both seductive and relaxing. Comfort is, as comfort does!

I've been very fortunate (some might even say incredibly lucky!) to have been invited aboard three A-380s, and I've flown in two of them. Yes, admittedly they've been demonstration flights, and not a journey to some far off exotic locale, but nevertheless once you fly aboard this gigantic bird you'll never want to fly in any other aircraft. The other two A-380s I was aboard were what's known as demonstration models - they were not configured to an airline's specific layout or interior design. This one was, and it can only be described as, well let's see, how about fantastic, amazing, luxury beyond compare, totally mind boggling, and a flying experience you never wanted to end.

The plane had flown from Dubai to New York with a full passenger load, and then flown across the USA without any fare paying passengers, but with a full complement of an Emirates crew of pilots' and flight attendants, to touch down in San Francisco where it hosted VIPs and the media, to an in flight demo. The following day it turned its lovely nose south, and landed at LAX for another VIP and media flight of two hours to nowhere. This was, as a colleague of mine remarked, "the hottest ticket in town, and THE one event that anybody who was anybody, wanted to be part of." As it turned out, that number was 150, with about 50 members of the media, plus other very lucky guests ranging from travel agents to high profile industry VIP's.

Going aboard this wonder of the skies was like going into a sort of Arabian Nights Fairytale or Dream sequence, where you're convinced you are in some marvelous Sheik's private palace - filled not only with all the goodies you can imagine (especially if you're flying First or Business Class) but also because the flight (at least this one) was brimming over with gorgeous, no I really do mean gorgeous flight attendants. They all looked as if they were either an Arabian Princess or a budding Hollywood starlet. And I'd guess that not one of them was over 30 years of age!!! Now tell me, how many flights have you been on recently (or indeed been on in living memory) when you could honestly say how gorgeous ALL the flight attendants were?

female flight attendant on Emirates A-380
Here is one of the (at least in my view!) gorgeous flight attendants on board Emirates A-380. Notice the red lipstick? I've always thought that this shade of lipstick is (and let's call a spade a spade here!) very sexy. All of Emirates female flight attendants wear this as part of their regular attire, and it caused a lot of very positive comments on the flight I was aboard. Of the 24 flight attendants on my flight, all seemed to be under 30 years of age, and all were most attractive. How wonderful that someone in the hierarchy of aviation recognized the benefit of wearing a hat, plus a very stylish uniform, that combine for an over all stunning appearance - red lipstick and all!

There were several factors that made them beauty standouts. First, they all wore a stylish and smartly tailored uniform. They all wore small red berets. I don't know about you, but I recall the days when all airlines had their hostesses (as they were called back then) all wearing hats. And they all looked terrific. There is something about a stylish headgear that makes something ordinary look extra special. The next fact that stood out was that they all wore bright red lipstick.

Let's be right up front here and call a spade a spade. Maybe it's going back to the glamorous days of Hollywood of the 30s, 40s and maybe even early 50s, when any woman who was anybody in Hollywood, wore red lipstick. Heck it was, and still is, very sexy. If you then add in the fact that these lovely ladies provided top notch, very personalized service, you got the feeling you really were someone special. My goodness, what a flight, what a crew, what an airplane!

OK, back to the showers. Somehow the concept of real showers on a modern day jet seems ludicrous, and yet on Emirates they're fact not fiction. Located on the upper deck at the very front of the A-380 on both the left and right hand side of the first class area, they're luxury personified.

Each shower is "contained" in a separate cubicle with a water temperature /time control, where the water jets shut off after 5 minutes. Yes, the actual shower unit is small but hey, taking a shower at 41,000 feet, is truly the lap of luxury. Flying aboard an Emirates A-380 aircraft is a place where luxury is a given, which means that the floor of both showers is heated. In addition there's a vanity unit, gold covered faucets above a sumptuous wash basin, full length mirror (natch!) hairdryer and of course, a toilet. Leather seating in this sinfully opulent spa area is a natural, along with a vase of exotic flowers.

On the off chance that, in the middle of your shower, you wonder how the flight is going, there's a 15.4 inch LCD monitor so you can see where the aircraft is, along with any other relevant in-flight information. I mean there's no point in worrying if you have to towel off very fast as the plane is about to land, so Emirates gives you all the information you need to know. Plus, of course, there's a wonderful selection of cosmetics from some of the world's leading beauty suppliers.

Business Class restroom
How many airplane bathrooms have you seen? I've flown on a huge number of the world's most well known airlines, and I've never seen a bathroom like this! It happens to be one of the Business Class restrooms or WC's, and yes it is, it really is as luxurious as it looks. How about that wood looking paneling! Almost makes you want to spend a long time in there!

You might wonder how much "shower water" is actually carried aboard Emirates A-380. Well in addition to jet fuel, a special water truck comes along and pumps 130 gallons aboard - which is why showers are only 5 minutes duration. Did I get to actually take a shower? Sadly, the answer is No; I did not as this was only a demo flight to showcase all the amenities and luxury. But I did go inside the shower cubicle to see what it felt and looked like.

So, now you've taken your shower and have to go back to your first class seat - well it's not really a seat, but is in fact a sort self contained penthouse or plush, lush elegant home of your own. There's a fold out table, flowers, literature pockets, wardrobe, a privacy divider, touch screen Wireless Integrated seat controller for IFE (In-flight entertainment) and seat operation, a 23 inch (!) LCD screen, a PC power outlet, dual USB port and a headphone jack. Let's call this what it is - your own personal suite that is 82 inches long, a seat/bed that reclines from upright to a sleep position of 78.87 inches, and seat cushions that are just over 21 inches.

Having flown "Up Front" (as well as in the back!) on many of the world's leading airlines, I can honestly tell you that First Class, Business Class and yes, even Economy, were all far, far better and more geared to total passenger comfort on this Emirates A-380, than on any airline I've ever been on. The amount of room, storage space, and personal privacy of Business Class was (almost) equal to that of First Class. It made me feel that I could have sat down and enjoyed what was offered, and then fallen asleep on my superbly comfortable seat/bed and woken up to more amazing things on this amazing plane of Emirates. And then rather than getting off, I would have asked if I could just sit there and relished everything for the next few weeks. If you're wondering about Economy, that too is special. Seats are more comfortable than so called normal Economy on other airlines, and are pitched at 32-33 inches apart, with seat cushions that are 18 inches wide. Plus such amenities as adjustable headrests, literature pockets, coat hooks, cup holders, your own individual 10.6 inch TV screen, laptop power supply and on and on.

There are so many nifty things, gadgets and innovations on this Emirates plane, that it's hard to remember them all. But yet another one that really got my attention was a small electrical outlet in the right hand bottom of the seatback in front of me. As I was examining it and trying to figure out what it was, one of Emirates stunning looking flight attendants leaned down towards me and said it was a special passenger amenity. As anyone who flies a lot knows, it's very frustrating to be watching a movie and then (before it's finished) have it "turned off" by the flight crew as the aircraft is about to land. The point being that you never find out how the picture ended. "But," she said, with a merry twinkle in her eyes, "Because this is Emirates, you can plug in your computer to the outlet, and download the rest of the move to watch later on." Is that nifty or what!

video showing aircraft landing
There are so many nifty little gadgets and gizmos on board, that one is hard pressed to remember them all, as there are so many! Emirates has a video camera in the nose and also high on the top of the tail, so you get to see incredible landings and take offs, as well as sideways and downwards looking views. It's all magical. You see that little black sort of square in the bottom right hand corner? Well, you just plug in your PC to that, and you can quickly download the movie for viewing at home!! Nifty, right!!!

Another benefit that I loved on Emirates A-380 is what they refer to as "seat to seat" calling - I mean just think what this offers someone who notices another "person of interest" and would like to get better acquainted? How cool is that! There are 14 FC Suites; with 76 lie flat beds/seats in Business Class in a 2-4-2 configuration; and 399 seats in Economy in a 3-4-3 layout. Economy is on the lower deck with first and business class on the upper deck. Still another passenger benefit that I also found delightful, was the spacious, comfortable and yes, very cozy Lounge and Bar in the back of the aircraft on the upper deck for first and business class passengers. There are two sofas - one on each side of the lounge that seat up to six people, and what I can only call "Mood Enhanced" lighting that creates a soothing and calming atmosphere. I relaxed on the sofa and chatted with numerous folks in the Lounge Bar, and found it to be another wonderful touch of luxury and a real passenger benefit provided by this amazing airline.

bar for First and Business Class passengers

For First and Business class passengers only, here is the bar - it seemed to me to have an air of elegance of and real sophistication and yes, a great place to relax and meet interesting people.

When one contemplates how far aviation has advanced over all these years, it's interesting to recall that the venerable DC-3 had a passenger capacity of 28, or 14 in what was the luxury over night version, in a journey across the USA from coast to coast of 17 hours 30 minutes, with just one toilet in the rear. Fast forward to today, and the Emirates A-380 has 10 toilets in just the Economy section alone, with a passenger total of over 500! In the same line of thought it's a real exciting moment (no, it really is!) when you realize that the A-380 has a staircase so wide at the front of the aircraft that 3 people can walk down in line abreast at the same time - and at the back of this giant jumbo there's yet another staircase, but this time a spiral one. My goodness, would the Wright Brothers be blown away by all this technology, luxury and in-flight amenities!

A-380 landing gear showing 22 tires

Most people never get to see this sort of "thing," which is why I've included it with this story. But to support the massive weight of the A-380 there are a total of 22 tires. 20 in the center section and two in the nose gear. It may be hard to see in this photo, but if you look closely you'll see a sort of red outline in the forward part of the photo. When the plane takes off there is a huge Emirates logo underneath the aircraft! How about that for clever and subtle advertising! I don't know how long it is, but I'd guess at least 20 feet in length, and it's as wide as the aircraft itself.

Emirates' A-380 costs $327 million at today's list prices, and they've ordered (are you ready for this?) no less than 58 of this stunning big bird. For those readers who love statistics, let me share with you that the A-380 has 22 tires - 20 in the middle and center section, and two in the nose gear. The plane develops 280,000 pounds of thrust on take off, which is the equivalent to 2,500 family cars of 110 hp each. Each wing is held in place by 8,000 bolts, and she can take on 81,917 gallons of jet fuel - which equates to 21 of those gasoline hauling tankers you see on our highways. Maximum takeoff weight is a mind boggling 560 tons. Emirates A-380 has a range of 7,456 miles, and a 13 ton (!!!) capacity for cargo in its hold, and the airline now operates to 101 destinations around the world.

For more information - it is also worth noting for the record (in view of how delighted everyone was aboard this unique demonstration flight) to say that Emirates has won a huge variety of aviation awards, including Best Airline for Flights to the Middle East and Africa; and Best International Airline. Whether you're an aviation aficionado who is fascinated by almost everything connected to aircraft, or just someone with a so called normal curiosity, another interesting website is

For "Ride With John Aboard Europe's Most Dazzling and Luxurious Train":

You and your trains and boats and planes, you always make me want to get off my more-than-ample behind and travel! Thank you again for yet another vicarious adventure.

Richard F., Saugerties, NY

Yes, Richard, THANK you for your kind words, so delighted you (with all YOUR worldly travels) enjoyed it. Travel journalism has given me the opportunity to be aboard and relish, some of the best and finest in train travel. The Orient Express was THE thrill, THE total enjoyment, of the best of the best. So good to hear from you.

From "Always training John."

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For "Harry Potter's 'Hogwarts Express'":

Loved the Hogwarts Express article.

Nancy – Hawaii

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For "Tantalizing Takeoffs, Trains, Trips and Tennis":

Dear John,

Lovely story as always, and your photos are superb. You do have a way with words.

Corinna – Washington DC

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That is indeed an interesting and enlightening article. I will remember how to get away from the airport and to London proper. Wimbledon looks spectacular; I suppose they're going to use some of it for the Olympics?

Mary J. Purcell – London

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John - excellent as usual and full of interesting details and anecdotes. Masterful writing!

Agnes Huff – London

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For "Exciting Adventures in London — By Way of San Diego":

Hello John,

I enjoyed reading your article on London by way of San Diego, it was a fun and informative read. You flew past Carlsbad on your way to San Diego. Have you visited Carlsbad lately? When you have a couple of days available I would like to invite you to visit Carlsbad. You can get to Carlsbad by train as well. I look forward to part 2 of the article.

Frankie Laney – Carlsbad, CA

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Thank you very much for your story to me and Old Town Trolley Tours. I am happy you had a nice tour and that we were referred to you! I enjoyed reading your story and can't wait until I forward this email to my Manager and the General Manager tomorrow,

Yoli – San Diego, CA

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That is wonderful! I really enjoyed Part one of five....awesome writing skills you have!! A true gift!!

Best regards,

Agnes Huff, PhD – Los Angeles, CA

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Great stuff, thanks for sending this through and the other emails – great read…

Val Austin, Senior Visit Britain International Press Visits officer, London, UK

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As a subscriber to Traveling Boy, I love reading your stories John. I send them through to my Mum as she appreciates them too!

Lisa, Australia

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For "Must See Attraction" in Northern Spain:

Hi John! Loved your article and Castro de Santa Tegra is added to my "want to see" list. Would love to visit Portugal and Spain and this added to the desire.You are a marvelous source of information and I'm sure Travel Boy will appreciate your experience and information. I look forward to reading more of your articles.

Nel Stingley, Hermosa Beach

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Mr. Clayton,

Thank you for your intriguing article on Castro de Santa Tegra. Quite literally, I have never even heard of the place, but it it is now officially on my 'bucker list.'

Brock Alston, Boulder, CO

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I saw that! That was so cool! I wasn't expecting it, so when I started reading it I was thinking, "Wow, another person wrote something similar to what I was saying to John!" Hahahaha! I didn't recognize it at first. :) That was really nice - thank you for answering me regarding the UK. I'm going to buy a travel book and check out the places you were talking about. Your experience about Normandy got me appreciating visiting battle "destinations," if you will, so I'd like to check out a couple of those that you mentioned.

Always a pleasure,

Cristina Lovett
Museum Educator, The Banning Museum

My dear Cristina,

If you go to the current Traveling Boy website, and click on my current story about crazy signs around the world, at the end of the piece you’ll see your question and my answer/suggestions about your travels.


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John, your ardent love of travel and discovery, seem to be the grist for your excellent writing skills.

Having just returned from a visit to France, to visit old friends, and enjoy that lovely country, it is not hard to comprehend how travel truly spawns, witin all of us, inspiration out the "gazoo."

Terry Hare

My dear Terry,

Thank you so much for your wonderful and very, very encouraging words. They made my day - hey, it made my month!!!



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(The letter below was sent in response by a reader to the article A Most Unusual Tourist Attraction)

Did you ever serve in the army? Were you in a combat zone? This affinity/hobby of war for the sake of the competitive and challenge is beyond me. I served 3 years (mandatory) in the Israeli army and was only involved in it while I had to be there (even that seems like too much). This article is inspiring to me because of the answer of the cemetery official and the figures of dead on both sides. I can not understand saluting to a person who did his best to kill as many people as possible. If you live out of fear or brainwash you will never stop killing and harming. Does that deserve a salutation or pity?

On Behalf Of Etan, USA

Etan, Greetings:

Many thanks for your thoughtful email with regard to my Traveling Boy story about my visit to the German cemetery in Normandy. To answer your first question, yes I did serve in the Army although NOT in combat. I‘ve been in this great country, the USA, for 48 years and was born in London, so when I was 18 I had to spend time in the Army doing (what was then called) National Service. I was in North Africa and Malta. Although I wished I’d been in combat, I never was. As a travel journalist I was, obviously, very happy that you found what I wrote inspiring, based on the comments of the French manager of the cemetery, and of the tragedy of how many young lives were lost on all sides due to that dreadful conflict.

He, the old, guy, was a fascinating individual, and I really enjoyed chatting to him. I’ve always had a (and let’s call it what it is) fascination with war, and the military, and have watched (almost!) every show on the Military channel, the History Channel and the Discovery Channel, countless times. I’ve also been to many WW2 sites around the world. Yes, I agree with your view that war is terrible, but what if we – the Allies - had not done anything about Hitler? Could we, or should we have allowed him to run amok around Europe and the rest of the world? I think not.

As terrible as war is, it seems human beings cannot find another way to settle certain problems – although I’m hugely encouraged by the approach of the EU and how so many people now realize that fighting is NOT the answer. So I live in hope war might be a thing of the past, but I doubt it.

My saluting M. Wittman’s grave. As I stood there I was, to be totally honest, in awe of the fact that I was standing above the grave of this incredible Nazi tank Ace who was the top, or among the top scoring tank commanders in the Panzers. I saluted not who he was, nor – certainly – what he stood for – but for his talents as a tank tactician. Most British and American historians of that war, and who are really interested in such things, will confirm to you that whatever else one might think about Wittman, he was a brilliant tank commander. That, and only that, was what I was recognizing.

For 16 successful years – 1992 to 2007 – I was on three top LA radio stations (KABC, KKGO/KMZT and the KNX) with my show “John Clayton’s Travel with A Difference” and I always enjoyed hearing from my listeners - even though at times what they sent me might not have been what I was expecting. In other words, I found it fascinating to hear both the upbeat, offbeat and down beat. When I wrote what did I knew that it would generate some responses like yours. While I do not (NOT!!) advocate TBoy's writers' doing stories that are provocative, the fact remains that human beings (whether they admit it or not) like controversy - witness Glenn Beck, O'Reilly etc and of course R. Limbaugh. What I am saying is that if you, as the writer, feel strongly about something, you MUST put those thoughts down in your story. While I abhor all things that guys like Wittman did as a Nazi, the fact is he was a brilliant tactician.

I must share with you yet again how delighted I was – and still am – by your words, and I’m so glad you wrote and said what you did, and that you took the time to share your feelings. I do hope you can – at the very least – accept my thoughts and ideas that I’ve laid out in this email on this very sensitive subject. Perhaps even more so, for someone from Israel.

With best regards,.


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John, Your refection on how young those can be who die in war reminded me of the A.E. Houseman poem at the entrance to the Fighter Command museum in London (beside the photo and engine of the RAF fighter pilot who died in the Battle of Britain): "Here dead lie we because we did not choose to live and shame the land from which we sprung. Life, to be sure, is nothing much to lose; But young men think it is, and we were young."

Eric, San Diego, CA

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Ringo and Deb can have their Oasis - this to me smacks of heavenly travel - thanks for the article and photos.

Brenda - Richland, WA

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Hi John,

I have read a few articles about R for Robert, but yours by far is the best. My grandfather was co-pilot John Slatter (my Dad's dad). It is so neat to hear about ancestry. There is actually a book published called R for Robert. Another interesting detail.... I live in NH, and in 1985 a lawyer with many interests from Concord,NH and a sonar exploration company from Salem, NH were the ones who started the project to pull the Wellington out of the Loch. I am always trying to find information about that side of our family, and love to read articles such as yours. Thanks for the piece.....

Cyndi - Raymond, NH

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Greetings my dear Cyndi

I was born in Kensington in London, and although I've been in this great place called the USA for 48 amazing years, if it is still true that Brits ARE noted for understatement, let me tell you that your email not only made my day, but gave me a huge, huge thrill.

I am a WW2 aficionado, and had one of the biggest "thrill sensations" of my life, when the French government invited me to the 60th Anniversary of D-Day on June 6th, 2004. In fact, I sat 50 feet from world leaders like Bush, Putin, and Queen Elizabeth. When I went to Loch Ness and heard (and saw!) that a wonderful Wellington had crashed there, and that it also pin pointed WHERE it had happened, I was in nirvana. I stood on the side of the road and, as I gazed out at the cold and forbidding waters that day, I was instantly transported back to the time and day when it happened - and in my imagination I saw and heard it all. So to get your amazing and (to me) riveting letter, was and is totally amazing - and wonderful.


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Hello John,

Ed Boitano (who I met on a Star Clipper cruise in the Mediterranean last July) has sent me a link to your above article on the 'Little Steam Trains of North Wales' which I read with interest. One of the photo captions mentions a sign above the train in Welsh, which says: FFORD ALLAN GOFYNN'R DEITHWYR DDEFNYDDIO'R BONT I GROESI'R LEIN. Rougly translated it is a Notice to travellers to use the bridge to cross the line. In Welsh bont is a bridge or archway, Groesi is a crossing, Lein a line, (in this case a rail line or alternative it could mean a line-out (as in Rugby football - but that's another game!) Although born in Wales as Ed may tell you my Welsh is very limited, but trust this answers your question and it amuses! Kind regards,

John Dann - Hove, East Sussex, England

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How wonderful to know that people in Hove (for heavens sakes!) are reading Traveling Boy. I remember -- with much fondness --- visiting Hove during my early years in the UK - charming and very British, so I hope it is still that way and that it has NOT been over run with neon signs and crass commercialism.

Thanks too for your comment about the Welsh wording on the bridge. There were so many wonderful things that intrigued me about Wales, and one of them was - and is! - the language. I mean you'd see this long series of words in Welsh, and then underneath it would give the British translation, and it'd very often be only one or two words. I attach a photo I took of a road sign to illustrate my point. In any event, thanks for your kind words and interesting feedback. MOST appreciated.


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Dear John,

Your website is fantastic. I am building a Messerschmitt BF109E Model in Balsa Wood and I have a problem in finding the numbers of its original colour (BF 109E-3 with a Donald Duck painted at rear of Romania.)I've been looking around and tried to see through the internet but can't find any help. Please if you have this information and can help me, I would appreciate it very much and I thank you in advance I send you my best regards,

Philip Vella - St. Julians, Malta

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Hi Philip,

Very nice to get your email and I'm so glad you like what you've seen and read on Traveling boy. Sadly, I do not have the answer to your question either. I do, however, have one suggestion and idea.

Among all my aviation books form that period, I have one called "Aircraft of World War 2." It is published by Chartwell Books, 114 Northfield Avenue, Edison, New Jersey 08837, USA. The editorial and design was done by Amber Books at Bradley Close, 74-77 White Lion Street, London N1 9PF, England. Their website is

As the above book is jam packed with fascinating facts about all the aircraft from WW2, I feel that if you write to both of them with your question, they might be able to help you. The book is written by Robert Jackson and he seems to be a mountain of information. Google his name and see what comes up.


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Hello John, I don't know if you remember me or not but my name is Cliff Pleggenkuhle, Jr. I flew for Cal from 1964 to 2003. I got the article you did on Wes Coss from the Cal Chief Pilots office. The communications people forwarded the article to them. Anyway, I sent the article to the Golden Contrails editor and he is going to include the article in our next edition. The contrails is the publication of our retired group the Golden Eagles.

I have read the book and it was great. It would make a good movie. I also sent your article to my old banker, who is a airplane and WWII nut and I think he is sending you an article about the underground in WWII. He writes articles of interest in a weekly local paper in Liberty County, TX.

I will quit rambling and just wanted to let you know your fine article on Wes will be appreciated by many.


Cliff Pleggenkuhle, Jr., Huffman, TX

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Sir...A good friend, a captain with Continental Airlines, Cliff Pleggenkuhle sent me your website. Indeed, your story about the great escape (albeit brief) was one that should be shared. Chuck Yeager also made his way to Spain and his story was somewhat similar. But it takes a real writer to set the plan in motion (and I really mean...motion) as you have done.

I'm taking the liberty to send you a copy of my newspaper column about another hero that I have known. Ironically, your mention of the escape of Wes being true can set aside the Great Escape of Stalag whatever. The untrue part that it was led by an American pilot when actually it was a Dutch pilot named Bob Vanderstock and others. When I went to Belgium with my friend Pieter Cramerus, a Dutch ace who flew Spitfires during WWII for the RAF, he told me about his friend Vanderstock's escape. Then, he introduced to me this fantastic former agent of the Belgium Underground who married his cousin. The rest is in the article. I hope you enjoy it. Thanks again for your expertise in writing the word.

Bob Jamison, Dayton, TX

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You're getting some serious journalism on your site! Literary indeed. Award-winning potential, and I'm not just talking about YOUR stuff!!

Terry Cassel

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Of all the stories I've written in my lifetime, I cannot think of any one that gave me as much pleasure and joy, in writing the piece about Wes. It required all my best "creative juices," and also - truly thrilling for me - gave me a marvelous opportunity to put words together about battle, about flying and about military history. Knowing how important editing is to any story, and to a reader's enjoyment of same (in other words it has to flow freely and be very concise) I wrote the article in one sitting, and then re-wrote it six times.

I have no idea who this Terry Cassel is, but I cannot tell you how thrilled and how, yes overwhelmed I am, by his brief (editing again proving that less is more) comments about my story. Thank you Ed for giving me this opportunity to put THIS story on the amazing Traveling Boy website. And Wes, thank you for allowing me to chat with you and glean from you (and then your book!) all the fascinating stuff that came together as my article.

Thanks must also go to my wife and my two daughters who have always believed in me, and who (as Father's Day has just passed) gave me the most wonderful and heart wrenching Father's Day cards imaginable. I have always told them that anything is achievable and possible, and that one should NEVER give up. Keep on knocking on doors and even if 20 are closed in your face, if you find yourself knocking on the 21st one, that'll very probably will be THE one that opens up for you - and demonstrates that your determination to never take NO as any sort of answer is a key part of success.

Finally, all of this has only been made reality, by my living and working in this place called the United States of America. Thank you all for everything.


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Thanks so much for sharing this great story - I am going to copy it to VB who runs the Travel Journalism awards.

Fiona Stewart, Edinburgh

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Nice piece. I adore Scotland, wish I could live there someday...

Chris, Pawling, NY

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I enjoyed reading your piece on France; it was very informative. Unfortunately, I've spent very little time in France; it's more to the favor of my oldest brother. But your words painted a good picture.

Danny Simon

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Hi John, I am a friend of your daughter Heidi and she sent me your link so I could read your articles. I have heard so many things about you from her but reading your article I can see why she is so proud to call you her Dad. Your writing transported me to Chewton Glen, I hope to one day be lucky enough to stay there!

Frances Crymble, Auckland, NZ

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You describe a city on wheels - er, wings - and an absolutely perfect way to travel. SHOWERS & FLOWERS! Amazing! I love that your passion for all-things-aviation comes through in this story about an almost unbelievable airplane. Thanks for breaking the news in such an engaging way!

Richard Frisbie, Saugerties, New York

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Good article on the biggest commercial airplane in the world. Very interesting. Love your easy personal writing style. Can't wait to get inside one of these sky monsters. I wonder how they will ever recoup their expenses. But then again, with the Arab nations overflowing with cash I shed no tear of sympathy. If anyone has to beta test these babies, it should be them.

Peter Paul, South Pasadena

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Dear John Clayton:

Thank you very much for your enthusiastic report on the Zeppelin Museum. I am very pleased you like it as we -- the people working there -- do. We try to collect everything on Zeppelins and to make it available to visitors. Only the number of visitors I would like to correct: since the opening in 1996 we hosted more than 3,600,000 people. So we are among the most visited museums in Germany.Thank you very much again -- and kindest regards,

Ursula ZellerDirector

Hi John,

I know the places you describe in your aticle, and I usually feel exactly the same as you did, when I wander in the countryside - I live in this region. How could this places, so peaceful today, be such a hell for some men? But if you're attentive to many details in the ground and the scenary, finding shell shrapnels and tumb stones for example, then you begin to understand

Thank you John.

Florence L.
City: France


It's as if I was there with you. I grew up with Sgt York comic books. To see the real place where a real person so heroically saved the day is something I never expected to experience. Thanks for the historical detail and great photos.

Richard Frisbie
City: Saugerties


As a history and Churchill buff, I found your article to be chilling. I hope someday to make it to the museum. Is the CWR at all part of the Imperial War Museum? I don't know how I missed it in my only trip to London back in 2000.

Thanks again,

Gary Avrech
City: Santa Monica

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Hey Gary....

Yes it is. If you go online and click on the IWM website, you'll find out even more information about this intriguing museum. Thanks for your times and words.



Very excited to see your appearance in the Boitano Blog. I don't know who the hell all those Boitanos are, but I know who John Clayton is! Hey, I wrote a note on your column on the Cabinet War Rooms. I'll be a regular reader. I certainly hope all are well and happy on the Peninsula and that all your travels are still terrific.

Ed P


I urge anyone traveling to London to put the Cabinet War Rooms high on their "must see" list. All who've taken my advice have thanked me, just like I thanked you, and do so again, for recommending the museum to me years ago. But then, it's just one of many suggestions of yours, every one brilliant!

Port St. Lucie, FL

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