Flight 19

Album: Bully For You (1981)

Songfacts®:

  • This is a distinctly superior commercial track, and one that is grounded firmly in fact, although Robertson has got the date wrong; the last flight of the ill-fated Patrol Leader Chuck Taylor and the men under his command from Fort Lauderdale was actually December 5, 1945, and not December 4 as in the song.

    The disappearance of Flight 19 is one of the founding myths of the Bermuda Triangle, but in spite of the massive appeal of flying saucers, black holes, time warps and all the other phenomena said to be associated with it, the legend has no basis in fact.

    Soon after take off, Taylor's compass failed, and he decided to fly by dead reckoning and pilotage, but he appears to have mistaken the Bahamas for the Florida Keys. The result was that all five planes flew on until they ran out of fuel. A search and rescue mission was launched, but one of the rescue planes was also lost. Obviously this is the stuff of legend, and in the 1970s a whole series of books was published on the subject of planes and boats that had allegedly disappeared in the Bermuda Triangle, the most famous probably being the highly speculative book by Charles Berlitz.
  • Probably the best book on the Bermuda Triangle is The Bermuda Triangle Mystery - Solved by the librarian Lawrence David Kusche, who also wrote The Disappearance Of Flight 19. Unlike Berlitz and other mystics, Kusche adopted a scientific approach to investigating the mysteries of this stretch of the ocean, and it turns out that most of the alleged disappearances are not so mysterious at all; the sea is at times a dangerous place, for planes as well as for ships.
  • "Flight 19" was released on the Asylum label in 1980 backed by "Alright On The Night". >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Alexander Baron - London, England, for above 3

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