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Old 11-22-2020, 03:02 PM   #1
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What made you want to be an airplane pilot?

Back in about 1950 a neighbor flew over the house in his float plane. I was hooked. I was about 6 years old.
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Old 11-22-2020, 04:39 PM   #2
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I went to work for a company that had a airplane to travel to different projects we had contracted. Owner of the company only one who knew how to fly. I learned to fly in case something happened to him while we were in the air.
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Old 11-22-2020, 04:47 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by DonavonP View Post
Back in about 1950 a neighbor flew over the house in his float plane. I was hooked. I was about 6 years old.
I had a rule regarding flying ......

Never fly in a plane older than I am ....
or fly with a pilot younger than me !

I had to give up that rule about 40 years ago .

I've flown with friends who are pilots , and they let me take the stick . It is amazing , yet the bug never bit me.

Closest thing I get to flying is when I'm out ridin' the Harley.
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Old 11-22-2020, 06:09 PM   #4
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I guess growing up at a Navy Air Station might have contributed. Getting to sit in a Blue Angel plane when I was 6 or 7 pretty much sealed the deal.
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Old 11-22-2020, 06:17 PM   #5
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Old 11-22-2020, 08:20 PM   #6
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Worked on airplanes for over 20 years in AF, never had a desire to fly one.
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Old 11-22-2020, 11:15 PM   #7
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As a teenager, I first went for a plane ride with my uncle who was taking flying lessons. I was hooked! Later I found out he wasn't supposed to take along passengers on his solo flights with only a student license. He never got his full license because he crashed the airplane into a snow bank while landing on a frozen lake near our house. Oh well…at least no one got hurt.

I then joined the USAF ROTC in college and got my private license through that program. Headed off to USAF pilot training in Texas following graduation. After completing initial training I got assigned the C-141, a 4 engine jet transport. (my 1st choice) Flew that for 6 ˝ years then left the air force.

After 6 months working as a janitor cleaning toilets I felt I had not reached my full potential and decided I couldn't do anything except fly. I went back to McGuire AFB, NJ, and joined the C-141 sister reserve squadron of my previous active duty unit. Flew full time in the reserves for 2 ˝ years. While other reservists flew for airlines I decided to go the corporate flight route.

Flew 6 years as a corporate pilot flying Falcon-10's & -20's, G-II's & G-III's. Got tired of being on call 24/7 so chucked it all and moved to the West coast. After a year of odd jobs again I realized I had no job skills except flying so finally applied to my first airline at age 37. I was the oldest in my Pacific Southwest Airlines (PSA) class and spent the next 20 years flying for them and US AIRWAYS (they bought PSA). Aircraft: DC-9, MD-80, B-737-300 & -400, B-757, B-767.

Now 73 yrs old and missing it every day. Miss corporate flying the most! (except carrying the boss's golf clubs & bags) I do still fly a lot as a passenger and still get a thrill with each takeoff and landing. Though I must admit I often wonder just what the pilots are doing up front. Shouldn't they have put the gear down by now!

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Old 11-23-2020, 12:27 AM   #8
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Sfopilot, LOL on being a pax and wondering what they're doing up front. Was on Aerolineas Argentinas (truly a horrible airline) going into Iguazú. Lots of broken clouds and I assumed we were on an IFR approach. About 2000' AGL they did some goofy stuff that got me wondering. Obviously we survived. I got home and some months later saw a friend who flies his boss down there a lot in his private 737. I told him about the strange 'approach'.
He started laughing,

"There's no IFR approach to Iguazú! Those guys were faking it!"
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Old 11-23-2020, 02:13 AM   #9
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Wow, that question brings back some wonderful childhood memories. I grew up on the south shore of Long Island, NY in a little town called West Islip. This story would have happened likely around 1962 or so. My parents built one of the first homes on our street, we were sort of in the sticks back then. If you look at the area now, it's so built up and packed in that it's hard to believe that back then we were pretty much alone out there.

My swing set was in the yard, I was about 4 years old. It's the darnedest thing, I can still see how the sunlight was and almost smell the cut grass of this day. I was about 4 years old to my best recollection. To the northwest of our home, there was the Grumman plant in Bethpage. A little closer to the northwest of us was the Republic plant at Farmingdale. Further away but to the northeast was the Grumman plant in Calverton.

My swing set faced south, and we lived about 1/2 mile north of the south shoreline of Long Island. Just off shore was the practice area where they would test all the high performance fighters coming out of all these plants.

One day I was sitting out there on the swingset, and I heard this roar coming up behind me, getting incredibly loud and approaching incredibly quickly. I looked up just in time to see an aircraft passing over my left shoulder at very low altitude, going very, very fast. As it caught my eye, the sun gleamed off it's polished fuselage. The pilot pulled up hard, broke into a hard left turn, and promptly broke the sound barrier, with the resulting boom breaking a couple of windows in my house. I don't know which of the three plants he came from, but he certainly was going to the oceanic practice area to wring that bird out for all she was worth, and he was in a hurry to get there. It was at THAT very moment I knew that I wanted to do THAT.

Back then, hearing sonic booms where I lived was a common occurrence. I don't know if the rules regarding sonic booms were looser back then, or if the test pilots from Grumman and Republic at that time were just cowboys having fun in fast and loose times. I sure hope it's the latter case! Either way, it was a great place and a great time to be a kid watching airplanes zoom around your house.

I am so incredibly fortunate, one of the lucky few in life who was able to turn my childhood dream into reality. I have flow both corporate and commercial jets, spending the last 25+ years flying Boeing's for Continental Airlines, and now post merger for United. I'm looking at FAA mandated age 65 retirement in March of 2023, a little over two short years from now. It's hard to believe that after all that incredibly difficult work to get to where I am, and all the years flying all over the world, it's all soon coming to an end. But that's OK, you know the deal going in. If I could do it all over again I wouldn't change a thing.

Did I remember to mention that I'm a VERY lucky guy?
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Old 11-23-2020, 08:59 AM   #10
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For as long as I can remember, all I've ever wanted to do was fly. Watched Sky King on TV back when he had a Cessna Bobcat. Parents treated me to a ride in a Cessna 172 at a local FBO for my 7th birthday. Started taking lessons when I was 16, but even with the low cost (by today's standards) of renting a Piper Colt for $10/hour and the instructor for $5/hour, I couldn't afford much with my summer job at minimum wage of $2.23/hour. Since I had to borrow money to attend college, I just borrowed a lot more and finished college with a commercial license with an instrument rating. Joined the Navy, flew A-7's & finished my career flying A-4's for 13 years, the last 10 as an adversary instructor, and never left the cockpit the whole time. Wasn't very career enhancing but I got to do what I joined up to do. After retiring, got hired at Southwest Airlines and flew for them for 20 years. Now I'm fully retired and enjoying the laid back RV lifestyle with my wife of 46 years.
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Old 11-23-2020, 05:08 PM   #11
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Airplane??? Who would ever want to fly an airplane? After a year in VN, I wanted to fly a helicopter! What could be cooler than flying a Huey! So I returned to the states, went to Army flight training and back to VN...for a year in the front of a Chinook. When I got back from that tour, I got my chance to fly a Huey....as well as many more aircraft, including fixed wing. Ended up being a SE, ME and helicopter CFI/CFII. When I retired, I flew a corporate jet.
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Old 11-23-2020, 05:18 PM   #12
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All I ever wanted to do and BLESSED to do it for a major airline and for 26 years in the USN and USAF as well!
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Old 11-23-2020, 06:11 PM   #13
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Used to practice my landings on my bicycle at a very young age. Flew 049 powered PT19 planes that came apart when crashed. Fresh rubber bands and back into the air in minutes.

Flew an orange crate on a bet once. Cut it into pieces and hung an 049 on it too. Flew terrible but won the bet.

Saw the BD(5)?? in a magazine in High School. Teacher was a pilot and gave me a ride in his C150. I used the air sick bag. Was taking movies out the window and that did not set well.

Even when getting my license I carried 1 gallon zip locks in my pocket and took nausea pills before flight.

Took ground school from that high school teacher but didn't take any lessons.

Had every flight simulator known to man. Spent thousands of hours on the computer.

Bought my own business and my wife said go get my license. In a very short time I had it in my hands.

Then I had to build my own plane . A Pulsar XP. That thing is still flying almost 25 years later and is living in Canada now.

I live on a lake that has more float planes landing and taking off than boats on most days. One day I will go take a ride in one for grins.

I flew ultralights for a short time trying to get checked out in one but those darn (schools) never stay in business long enough and the instructors just seem to be flakes.
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Old 11-23-2020, 06:58 PM   #14
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Age 7, looked up and saw contrails and asked what they were. Dad told me and I decided I wanted to be a pilot. First time I touched a stick was my first flight in the T-34C Mentor in Pensacola for Navy primary training. Flew F/A-18's for 18 years and loved every second. Retired in 2008 and haven't flown since. I liked the mission more than the flying, I guess. Only reason I would start flying again is to transport rescue pets.
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