For a time, pilot Jim Thurman lived a double life: corporate and charter pilot by day, and sometimes at night, a drug smuggler. After quickly working his way through the certificates and ratings he needed as a young pilot in the Atlanta area, Thurman began to fly larger, cargo sized aircraft hauling legitimate loads like auto parts. On the charter side, he even flew a well-known U. S. senator on his way to a meeting with a Central American dictator.
After buying his own DC-4 and rebuilding it, he hauled fright from South Florida airports to the south, and it was during this time that he met other pilots who flew clandestine loads with their lure of quick money in greater amounts than could be earned on the legal side of flying. That led Thurman to several crashes and one dramatic escape.