View Full Version : What I learned along the way.

27th Mar 2008, 17:24
Bear with me for a few moments…I’ll need to set up the points by telling you how I got there.


Straight out of flight school, (helicopters, thank you US Army) I was sent to Viet Nam. Everyone knew more than I did, every flight was dramatic (I flew gunships) and the learning curve was steep…very steep. Due to rotations I was an old timer within six months and started questioning some of the fight habits of the older guys (in their twenties, I was nineteen).

This was to become a habit for many years, based on ego and perceived knowledge we (all us younger pilots) would criticize or “second guess”.

Somehow I survived VN and was assigned to Ft. Rucker to teach “Tactical Instruments” (a whole other story there) which proved to be almost as dangerous as VN…heavy traffic and students under hoods so your see and avoid was really limited. Here was one of the times I respected all the older guys as teaching is a special calling and where these students were headed, they deserved all that you had and more.

Here I must add a little sidebar…for a while I figured the experience and knowledge were gained through flight hours (1000 would make me a pro). Wrong…got the first 1000 the first year and was disappointed in how little I knew. Must be at 2000, got that the second year…still not all that smart. After about 3000 I finally figured out that aviation was an ongoing learning experience.

Not yet smart I moved on to corporate flying, a large department with five types and thirty some pilots, all ages, all backgrounds, (USAF, Navy, Marines, Army and civilians). Needless to say a fertile ground for “second guessing”. Upward movement was based on seniority (mostly) but hangar talk often revolved around management decisions, and older pilots flying styles and techniques (we ranged from our mid-twenties to sixty), we were very judgmental.

Time went by, moved up in types, seniority, and experience. Thirty eight years flew by (pun intended) and I was at the other end of the equation…”when’s he going to retire” (flying a GV around the world), “boy he was behind on that approach and landing”, and many more I am sure. I was now at the other end of the cycle.

So where is this guy going (the ramblings of the old) your asking?

I’ve seen many posting on these forums complaining, criticizing, and second guessing (seems to be the nature of Homo sapiens). It, I suppose, fills the idle hours, fills the pages of the forums and, in some way may relieve stress…but counterproductive and in some cases destructive.

“Come on” you say, get to the point”. Well here’s some of what I learned (all too late).

1. Don’t be part of the problem, by part of the solution. Be willing to work to solve the problem.
2. See what someone has that you can learn from, not criticize, everyone has something to share.
3. Management is not as dumb as you think (wait until you get there and you’ll see the pressures)
4. AND, most of all, remember life IS the journey, NOT the destination….so enjoy each phase of your career…even the worst times make great stories later.

CARPE MOMENTO! "Seize the Moment"

Best of luck in your aviation career.

27th Mar 2008, 17:41
CARPE MOMENTO! Is that a fish pun?
I think we should be told . . .

27th Mar 2008, 18:07
Gunships pros and cons (as I see it):

You get to fire BIG guns
You don't have to carry them
You don't have to clean them
You don't have to carry the ammo
You don't have to walk and walk and walk
No passengers
When you run out of ammo, you just leave

You don't get to collect ear necklaces (unless you land)

I see what you mean about perspective. I quite enjoyed reading "ChickenHawk" as a youngster. I've read it a few times and the story is still compelling but as I got older I tended to see the author as something of a moaner and a self-declared victim. It's okay to be a victim but don't moan about it.

27th Mar 2008, 18:30
Is that a fish pun?
I think we should be told . . .

Av'e all nobles of Pprune.

I conclude with G-CPTN. What is the meaning of the fish pun from your lexicon "Carpe'd" seawings? It has got me all "Latin'd and Roman'd up".

Personally, I would have "Carpe'd" a few more tins and bottles, especially as I am running low and have been relegated to old manky bottles of Lindemans. Hardly the quaff of Imperial Conquerors is it?

It’s even more annoying as I have also put on my Legion Auxila outfit (the one with the Leopardskin cloak) and I can’t find the missus anywhere!! I think those sneaky Gaul’s have got her!

Ahh well Silver lining and all that…

Anyway, I'm of for a good dung in the lavitorium where I will discuss politics with my fellows, and afterwards I will throw the communal sponge at my Centurion and commence to run away with extreme velocity with my Gladius bouncing between my legs.


Salusa Marcus Timus Offus Togardroomus.
Imperial Overseer

27th Mar 2008, 18:31
Bear with me for a few moments…I’ll need to set up the points by telling you how I got there.

What do you mean ya old fart? :p

You really do need to retire and let us young pups move up. ;)

I do know what you mean my friend, after 40 plus years and 21,000 hours to be honest I'm happy to hang up the goggles, so to speak. :ok:

(Until I win the big lottery then I'll fly what I want to fly, when I want to fly, to where I want to go.)

27th Mar 2008, 19:53
Management is not as dumb as you think That's a fair point. They're usually dumber :}

27th Mar 2008, 20:28
With all your thousands of flying hours in often adverse conditions (with people trying to shoot you down a lot of the time - enemies and colleagues by the sound of things); the sacrifices you, your family and others may have had to make during your flying career; and your greatly advancing age notwithstanding, on what basis do you justify: 4. AND, most of all, remember life IS the journey, NOT the destination…. Is that just a hunch, or do you really know something I don't (yet)...am I just being too critical?! :E;)

Uhmmm, so, just what is the destination, what's the alternate? :(

27th Mar 2008, 20:34
Destination is the grave - oh, and there IS no alternate.
The Ancient Mariner

27th Mar 2008, 20:48
Carpe Memento is a play on Carpe Diem, which is defined as…. a phrase from a Latin poem by Horace. It is popularly translated as "seize the day", although a more literal translation of carpe would be "harvest" ("harvest the day"), as in the harvesting of fruit. Carpe Memento is seize the moment…or enjoy what life is presenting to you.

Which brings me to the statement about life be a journey not the destination. I spent too many years seeking the next promotion, the next upgrade, always seeking more without enjoying where I was…the moment.

27th Mar 2008, 20:50
I ain't going, feckem all, I'm goin to hide in some one's bonded wet store!!!!!!

27th Mar 2008, 21:10

I love you, man. You speak truth..

I, too, at 57 years, am starting to look back over a tumultuous career, good times and bad, friendships, experiences, prosperity and disaster, sadness and joy.

I'd like to tell the young pups how to do it, but the truth is that I don't know, and their lives are ahead of them for the living. Enjoy the ride!

I have no regrets or animosities. Aviation has given me a life I could never have imagined. And the best times have been in the seedy bars of Hong Kong, Amsterdam, Dubai and such, swapping tales with fellow pros and occassionally achieving cerebral epiphany with kindred souls.

I wouldn't trade a minute of it.

27th Mar 2008, 21:32
...achieving cerebral epiphany with kindred souls. I'll raise my glass to that! :ok:

27th Mar 2008, 22:49
seawings :ok:

You bared your soul and it seems, barely made it. Many will bear out the tale you have told. Bear up, the journey you laid bare will be followed by many, bearing in mind that you need to avoid any mammal with coarse heavy fur and short limbs along the way.