When I was traveling with Howard Baker in Iowa in 1980, before the caucuses, it looked like we were going to be iced in at Dubuque. We had flown in earlier in the day. I had been in the second plane, with a couple of guys from an NBC crew. It was a four-seater, and flying in from Des Moines, the pilot only had a tiny patch of windshield, about the size of my hand, that he could see through by constantly squirting alcohol on it. When I got out of the plane, I was trying to button my trenchcoat when the wind caught it like a sail and I started gliding across the frozen tarmac.
Later, I was scheduled to fly back to Des Moines in the “big” plane, which wasn’t all that much bigger, with Baker. We waited in the tiny general aviation terminal for more than an our while the wings of our plane were deiced, then deiced again, and again. Finally, we got in and took off. Someone told me that they only let us go because it was Sen. Baker.
Two years later, I realized that the aviation officials had done us no favors letting us go. I had no idea how very dangerous ice on the wings could be. Until the Air Florida crash.