Out of the Woodwork: Almost a Plane Wreck

The perilous flight of the world’s most valuable tool.
By Christopher Schwarz
Page: 104

From the April 2005 issue #147
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Half of the airplane’s hydraulic system had failed at take-off; the other half failed as the plane was 10 minutes from the Atlanta airport. So the flight crew prepared the passengers for an emergency landing because they were going to hit the ground at about 200 miles an hour.

“Arms crossed; heads down,” came the instructions from the crew. Clarence Blanchard was about to do as he was told, but there was something nagging at him so much that he just had to stand up and rummage through the overhead compartment.

Blanchard, you see, just happened to have the world’s most expensive tool in a 1971 hard-case Samsonite above his head. He retrieved the ebony and ivory hand plane and cradled it between his legs. And then he waited for the plane to hit the ground.

From the April 2005 issue #147
Buy this issue now