The Rise and Fall of Captain Methane

Autobiography of a Maverick

by Dorcey Alan Wingo


Book Details

"Death on the 'Twilight Zone' Set"

Los Angeles Herald Examiner, July 24, 1982

“Flying debris from exploding gasoline fireballs triggered yesterday’s freak helicopter crash that killed veteran actor Vic Morrow and two child actors as they filmed an escape scene, preliminary reports from investigators indicate.”

May 29th, 1987 - The jury in the Twilight Zone accident case acquit movie director John Landis and four co-defendants of all charges filed by the LA District Attorney. Among the jurers’ conclusions were that the Vietnam era helicopter was accidentally sent spinning out of control during filming by poorly timed special effects explosions.

In Northwest Texas, a small town shoeshine boy looks to the blue skies above Sundown and yearns to be a pilot. Ten years pass and Dorcey Wingo is drafted as part of LBJ’s massive military build-up in Vietnam. In March of 1969, “Charlie” Model gunship pilot Wingo takes to the skies over Pleiku in the defense of freedom. The author survives his tour of duty, returning to a shattered marriage, and an ungrateful and divided America. In time, his love of flying takes him as far afield as the jungles of Peru and the poppy fields of Mexico. Then came the movies, and the Twilight Zone.

Southern California has been Wingo’s home base for many years of his aerial adventures, culminating as a Huey logging pilot in the Northwestern USA and Alaska. “Captain Methane” put Wind Loggers into print in 2005, the first such book about the hazardous helicopter logging profession.


Book Excerpt

One thing I learned the first time I strapped a helicopter onto my back: if you're an adrenaline junkie, and fairly fearless, you'll enjoy the work. Shoot a full-on, power-off autorotation to a postage stamp in a small helicopter and you'll know what I'm talking about. There's nothing quite like it. When you get good at it, you can do it in the dark of night with the landing light turned off, something career chopper pilots should demonstrate every year - with confidence - to stay qualified.

The life of a high-profile helicopter pilot can be exciting and rewarding, but when things go horribly wrong and your flying machine cuts down three people on camera, there's no making it go away. It never goes away. And if you let it get to you, it will drive you insane.

I've been pounding the keys for years to document my otherwise wonderful voyage on this huge, wobbly old planet -forty years of defying gravity. Retelling the Twilight Zone movie accident is a literary punch in the gut for me, something that took several days sequestered in an isolated hotel room to grind out. I keep promising myself I won't go back, but I know it will come to me, regardless.


About the Author

Dorcey Alan Wingo

Regarded as “the Mark Twain of helicopter pilots” by publisher Tony Fonze, Wingo’s unique ribald style offers hours of compelling reading about the demanding world of precision flying.