Ed. Hibbard High School, Chicago
Address in 1941: 2100 Lincoln Park W, Chicago IL
Next of kin: (Mother) Betty Gingiss
prev. "Pilot. Salesman. Treasurer. [of what?]"
prev. exp. 1500hrs
Off sick from 22 Mar to 25 Apr with appendicitis.
"A pilot of fully average ability. Has carried out his duties satisfactorily."
'Gen' Genovese says Al was "addicted to horseplay", because "you can't fly constantly under the most difficult conditions without having some kind of relief... so, a lot of us took our relief in the air - in horseplay."
One such incident was when Al, Genovese and Steve Beville [q.v.], on a delivery flight in December 1941, discovered that their 3 Hurricanes had loaded guns, so they used them to do some duck-shooting; taking aim at the royal ducks in the grounds of Windsor Castle. "Actually you don't hit many ducks ... the accuracy required when drawing a bead on a slow-moving mallard through the gun-sights on a Hurricane doing 250 mph is enough to make it a truly competitive proposition."
Unfortunately, Al flew straight into a flock of ducks, which cracked his windscreen, broke his propeller, and, when he jettisoned the hood it crashed into the vertical tail fin.
He made a good forced landing. "The story he told the Accident Committe was far more interesting", says Genovese; "He was flying extremely low due to bad weather, and, in accordance with international law, he flew on the right side of the tracks. Becuse he couldn't see clearly, he ran smack into a flight of ducks."
"The fault was entirely on the part of the ducks," Gingiss concluded in relating his story. "They were flying on the wrong side of the tracks."
He got away with it. The official report simply says "Landed on rough part of runway & nosed over. Pilot forced to make glide approach in difficult wind conditions as he had flown into flight of bird."
The following month, Al and Gen were delivering a couple of Beaufighters to Scotland. Again, Al made the "happy discovery" that his guns were loaded. "He fired a couple of bursts under my tail by way of telling me what he had found. I promptly investigated and found mine in the same condition."
They looked around for something to shoot up, and discovered some mines just off-shore. They exploded 9 mines between them in 20 minutes, then completed their deliveries.
The Air Ministry "raised particular hell about that little incident - in a dignified way, of course. All ATA pilots (especially "American pilots") were "warned and advised against such conduct, on pain of permanent suspension."
"I have a sneaking suspicion they're talking about us", Al said.
d. Jan 21, 2006, "devoted husband of Carmel (nee Becker), loving father of Nancy, Steven and Anthony Gingiss, dear brother of the late Bill, Ben, Birdie Rosenthal and Mitzi Bessman, cherished grandfather of Frances, Gabrielle and Abby Gingiss, fond uncle of many nieces and nephews, dear brother-in-law of Veronica Gingiss."