stThe helicopter landed at the small airport in Morristown, Tenn., refueled, took off, pulled up steeply and crashed. The pilot was knocked unconscious. The only passenger was killed.
"There was no one but me around," said Evelyn Johnson of Morristown. "The blades were still whirling as I grabbed a fire extinguisher, ducked underneath, cut the motor and put out the fire.
"I tried to pull the pilot free, but he was very big. I had just completed a Red Cross safety course a few weeks before, and I was afraid his back might have been broken. Help arrived, and we got him out."
The incident happened in 1958, and the 5-2, slightly built Johnson, now 69 and a grandmother, received the Carnegie Medal for bravery.
"That was 20 years ago, but just last year I got a lovely letter from the pilot, John Ryan, and his wife, who now live in New Jersey," Johnson said. p"He is still a test pilot, and I cherish the letter very much."
Evelyn Johnson is a pilot, too. She has clocked more than 35,000 flight hours and has been a flight instructor since 1947. She holds an airline transport pilot's license, was the 20th woman licensed to fly helicopters and the fourth to receive a helicopter instructor's rating.
The other day she received the "Flight Instructor of the Year" award given by the Federal Aviation Agency. "I guess I have taught more than 3,000 people to fly," she said. "I have given more than 5,000 flight tests, and I have more than 25,000 hours of instructional flying."
She used to be a schoolteacher but gave that up to help her husband open a dry-cleaning plant. "We thought then if we could clear $25 a week we would do well," she said.
Her husband went into the Quarter-master Corps of the Air Force, and she said, "I became bored with the cleaning shop, saw an ad that said,'Learn To
Of course, all of it has not been smooth up there in the wild blue. She has had two forced landings in fields. Once an engine caught fire.
"The engines went dead on me, but the landings went smooth," she said, casually.
She's flown to South America, in 1955 in a one-engine plane, and coast-to-coast in five "Powder Puff" derbies. She's a member of the "Whirley Girls" and the "Ninety-Nines," formed in 1929 with 99 women pilots and now with more than 5,000 members. The "Ninety-nines" awarded her their Amelia Earhart medal at the FAA ceremony.
A widow for 2 1/2 years, Johnson still keeps a busy schedule.
"I manage the airport," she said. "we have a charter service, an air ambulance and a flying school.
"In the summer I put in severn 16-hour days, but when the weather turns bad the days are only 10 hours long,"
She owns six planes and said, "I turn a plane over every year," adding with a laugh, "I hope you know what I mean by turning a plane over."
Looking spry as she led the way up an escalator at the Air And Space Museum to visit Amelia Earhart's bright red Lockheed Vega, she turned and said, "I fly five to seven hours a day, seven days a week. I intend to keep it up just as long as I can pass my physical every year -- and I certainly don't have any trouble with that."
The headlines last winter said that Washington was suffering its worst snowstorm in years. The government was closed down, the city was at a standstill.
Walter Barton bent over the stack of papers in front of the Investment Building on the corner of 15th and K streets NW., brushed the snow away, pulled out his morning paper, boarded the elevator for his ninth-floor office and started his day.
Barton is a 93-year-old practicing attorney who doesn't like to miss work.
"I think I rode a bus in that day,"he said. "If the weather is nice I quite often walk over from the condominium I share with my wife on Q Street."
Barton came to Washington from his native Indiana--he was born in southwestern Indiana, 40 miles from Lincoln's log cabin -- in 1911 and Entered George Washington University Law School, working his way through as a stenographer in the Department of Agriculture. He graduated valedictorian of his class in 1914.
"Taft was prisident then," he said. "I have lived through 18 of the 39 presidents."
A tax lawyer for 65 years, Barton has won three cases before the Supreme Court. But he is not one for keeping mementos.
The walls of his warm office are empty of photographic memories. A few old filing cabinets are lined against one wall. A bookshelf in one corner looks stark in its emptiness.
"I tried my last tax case about three years ago," he says. "I spend most of my days writing now. I come in about 9 in the morning and leave around 3 in the afternoon.
"I've written one book and am working on my second.
Reaching across his desk he hands over a book, "The Lost Heritage." It's a family history of rural farm life in southern Indiana.
Barton, whose first wife died in 1953 after 36 years of marriage, remarried in 1955.
"We have visited Europe several times and enjoyed the museums. I read a lot of history, but mostly like to write."
About his longevity he said, "Know thyself, nothing in excess and keep working."
His meals are light: He fixes himself a small breakfast, eats a bowl of soup and a cup of custard for lunch and a light dinner.
"I enjoy a little sherry," he said with a twinkle. "I had lunch at Duke Zeibert's the other day and had a cocktail."