When he’d land, he’d bank the helicopter over and he’d circle around over the field and throw his Stetson hat out over the crowd. Now, that was dramatic and he had about a four-beaver hat, you know. That was a good one. And when he did it, those of us on the ground who were part of the crew, our job was to go get that hat. We had to reclaim that hat and if we didn’t get it, we’d catch “Hail, Columbia” from the boss then.
And he’d say, “Do you know how much that hat cost me? Do you know how much? Have you been in to buy a Stetson hat lately?” We’d say no, of course we wouldn’t ‘cause we didn’t dare wear a hat like it. He said, “That’s coming out of my pocket. You get that hat when we throw it out,” and we’d have to go get that hat.
Usually we could get it, but if you got it recovered by a little 10-year-old boy, it was pretty hard to run up and say, “Son, give me that hat,” and take it away from him. So it wasn’t always pleasant.