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Old 18th Mar 2012, 01:57   #1 (permalink)
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Sad story about a high and mighty check airman

Recently visited an old instructor of mine who later became a check airman. He is afflicted with terminal cancer. We talked about the good times; sadly the conversation unfortunately turned to his regrets in life. He was a macho, gung ho kick ass type when he was check airman for a company in the Far East. He confessed to failing " some chinky Orientals " for some dubious reasons which he wasn't proud off now. Apparently they rubbed him the wrong way because " they seemed not docile and subservient like the other slitty eyes "; they dared to challenge and correct him when they caught on some of his mistakes.

Unfortunately because he failed them even though on very flimsy reasons, their careers were ruined as their company believed my instructor's ( John ) word as he was connected to Boeing company.

Now, on his deathbed, he confessed that his " kick ass " sentiments got the better of him and he had failed those chaps very unfairly. He had let racial stuff and intolerance of dissent from people who he thought were beneath him clouded his judgement .Now, how does he make amends? It's very disconcerting to see somone you look up to grimace with tears welling up; what ever happened to the flamboyant, cool Yeager with nerves of steel? I could scarcely offer any words of comfort, except that it was all in the past and he should dwell on his achievements instead. It was hard trying to steer the conversation to the positives. When I finally could bring his memories to the good old times we had, I quickly bade a hasty goodbye when the going was still good.

I must confess I didn't do a good job of comforting him; I was caught totally off guard. I never expect this to come up. His wife has asked me to visit again as she said that he seemed to open up better when he talked to me; gee, it is a real toughie. I respect the man and would really want to see him go happy, but...............

Looking for suggestions here from fellow aviators, or even instructors/checkers who may have met similar situations. Many thanks.
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Old 20th Mar 2012, 18:54   #2 (permalink)
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It is indeed sad. Several years ago when I was in the land of morning calm there was an ozzie chap on the T-7 who was a terror, but only to expats as he was probably too scared to fail the locals. This ex PNG bush pilot was hauled well above his station when the Koreans saw in him something useful; he was good in teaching fellow expats a lesson. He was a non type rated B777 DEC and his understanding of the T-7 was well below par; when challenged by B777 vets on some check flights because of his dubious knowledge, he used the " checker " card. Well, all the stress that came with a life of living a lie did him in; he ended up with the dreaded " C ". The last I heard, he survived the horrible medical treatment that entailed and most certainly wished him well despite his trangressions.

Away from his other life s a " checker " he was a reasonably fine bloke. However when he takes up that " jehovah " persona, the nice cap turned into an insufferable recalitrant.

I am quite sure he has his regrets from what I heard. Characters like these have our sympathies because of their inadequacies, they make life a misery for themselves and others. I hope stories like these will enlighten those self appointed skygods and make our careers in this profession more rewarding and fulfilling.
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Old 21st Mar 2012, 16:58   #3 (permalink)

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He was... a good man.

Such deathbed reflections are amends enough, for me. I read stories about people who have done far worse deeds, and show no remorse when they die. Right or wrong, I guess the unrepentant have their reasons, too.

The final stanza below may be the most quoted of all of T.S Eliot's poetry:

This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper.


Last edited by Taras B; 23rd Apr 2012 at 10:37.
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Old 21st Mar 2012, 23:49   #4 (permalink)
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Chuck, I certainly agree with you that Lenny was hoisted well above his station. Sometimes, certain individuals have problems dealing with power and success; despots, tyrants and child movie stars who go off the rails all come to mind. He tended to over-react to minor infractions and at times seemed to have hold overs from his 767 days which clouded his understanding of the 777. Unfortunately, KAL was in need of some hatchet man and Lenny happened to unconsciously be one.

I guess he has paid his dues and let's wish him well. The last I heard he was Recuperating well somewhere in SE NSW. Godspeed Lenny.

As for Baba, your old mentor certainly need your support. Like Taras had written, such reflections are sufficient atonement as he certainly cannot set the clock back. If he is able too, a few words in this forum can lift that heavy burden. I am sure his " victims " had moved on, taken the sorry episodes as cest le vie. Your mentor's reflections on his former life is part of his own progress in his overall evolution. Good luck.
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Old 22nd Mar 2012, 17:30   #5 (permalink)
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As pilots, many of us had suffered under such pieces of work masquerading as skygods. Some of us truly had our careers ruined. I had a friend who just gave up flying when he was unfairly failed by one such type of TRE eventhough he passed easily on the second attempt. If I may opined, should you ask him what such TRE who now have regretful reflection he would certainly tell that guy to commit harakiri. Much as we bleeding hearts will have sympathy about such deathbed confessions, notice should be given to such " terrors " that their regretful actions would have ruined the lives of their victims. I am sure there are plenty of such characters around.

Yes, maybe a public confession on a forum such as this will ease his guilty and many of us will proffer some words of comfort to help him though his difficult days.
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Old 23rd Mar 2012, 09:48   #6 (permalink)
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I agree that if he is able to write, he could post something on such a forum. It would be highly therapeutic, psychologically or even spiritually.

I had been a TRE/TRI before; power that is inherent in those positions can be very corruptive. I had to constantly remind myself to watch out for any ego trips, high handedness and treating others as any less competent. Being challenged by a checkee can be quite " challenging " and there are a few times when I found that the checkee was " more correct " than I was. It was very tempting to brush that aside and use the big stick; on reflection, I guess I subconscously knew that I am going to do myself more harm besides doing something humanly wrong if I were to succumb to that. This is especially so with non native English speakers who do not articulate their " challenges " very well so much so that it all seems a big affront to a checker who is native English speaking.
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Old 25th Mar 2012, 19:22   #7 (permalink)
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Archie... Very wise words.

As an instructor I have to be very careful as to what and how I say something. It's definitely challenging when you have a student who challenges something you say. You really need to know when to correct a student and when to learn from a student... Which is not always easy to see!
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Old 26th Mar 2012, 14:13   #8 (permalink)
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Alan & Archie..true words
I am seriously not a religious person, spiritual but not religious.

7: Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.
8: For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.
9: And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.

1. Everything that you do has repercussions. It comes back to you one way or another.
2. You cannot escape the consequences of your actions. What you do comes back to you.
3. You will see the long-term effects of your actions.
4. KARMA - The total effect of a person's actions and conduct during the successive phases of the person's existence, regarded as determining the person's destiny, especially, in his next incarnation.
5. What goes around comes around.
6. Your actions all have consequences. Don't ever be fooled into thinking that your actions don't have consequences. Don't think you can get away with bad choices even if you don't seem to get caught. Remember verse seven tells us that God cannot be mocked. He sees it all. You reap what you sow.
Watch the way you live your life because you reap what you sow.

We sow in one season, we reap in another.

Sow a thought you reap an act. Sow an act, you reap a habit. Sow a habit, you reap a character. Sow a character, you reap a consequence.
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Old 28th Mar 2012, 04:05   #9 (permalink)
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Well said. in Mother India we do have a few of such fellas around. Whatever goes around comes around, possibly in another form. No sympathy here for such pieces of work about what they did, only compassion for their unvolved mentality. I guess they have forgotten about how to be a human being.
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Old 28th Mar 2012, 14:11   #10 (permalink)
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FFS.... What are you people on. Judging people on their death bed is a new low for PPRuNe......

Let he who is without sin cast the first stone......
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Old 28th Mar 2012, 18:56   #11 (permalink)
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Nobody is judging Baba's mentor on his deathbed. We do not know the full details of his life, his good deeds as well as his possible trangressions. That Baba has good respect for him should be sufficient that he had something really good in his make up.

We are just discussing about people of his ilk possibly overwhelmed with the aura of power. All these discussions hopefully will open up the eyes of many who may be seduced by such tendencies.

All these must have hit something very close to home for you to be banging your head on the wall. Another trait of such individuals is their hyper sensitivity, taking offence at everything so much so that they just wantonly hit out at everything. Like Archie Archerfield wrote...

This is especially so with non native English speakers who do not articulate their " challenges " very well so much so that it all seems a big affront to a checker who is native English speaking.
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Old 28th Mar 2012, 21:31   #12 (permalink)

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FFS.... What are you people on. Judging people on their death bed is a new low for PPRuNe......
Let he who is without sin cast the first stone......
As I read it, the post seems to be about someone on his deathbed judging himself!
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Old 28th Mar 2012, 23:04   #13 (permalink)
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Indeed, as he is well entitled to. It's the 'sage' posts that follow that make me want to puke.
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Old 29th Mar 2012, 00:44   #14 (permalink)
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" sage " posts

" sage" posts? Oh oh looks like...............something is coming around! A case of these posts hitting home?
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Old 29th Mar 2012, 03:06   #15 (permalink)
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A thought. These people did not become like that in vacuum. I amnot saying, that a junior pilot who was being checked could do anything. But there were many senior guys around, who for sure saw, that something is wrong. We should fight back during checks, if we percieve something wrong. It is partially our, experienced pilots responsibility, that we allow people to grow into monsters, because we dont care or don't have the courage. But it will bite us back.
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Old 29th Mar 2012, 03:47   #16 (permalink)
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We should fight back during checks, if we percieve something wrong.
Ooo I'd be very careful about recommending check-ees to 'fight back' during a checkride. Especially when they 'perceive' something to be wrong.

We already have enough arrogant, ignorant and/or misinformed pilots (which is not necessarily the pilot's fault) out there that this is not a recommendation to just pass out. There are many things that you will be taught that could actually be wrong even though they make perfect sense to you. If you 'perceive' something to be wrong, DO NOT fight with your examiner. When the time is appropriate ask your examiner to explain what you didn't understand. The majority of the time your examiner will be correct. These usually come down to a misunderstanding but in any case, during the ride is not the place to be discussing how you think the examiner is wrong.

The way to 'fight back' is to talk to someone in a higher position that will listen to your complaint and take notice. When a number of people have complained about the same thing, something will be done. If nothing is being done, you're talking to the wrong person!
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Old 29th Mar 2012, 09:19   #17 (permalink)
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There are many such sorry characters abound. In another life with a major pacific rim carrier, I was forced to undergo a right hand seat simulator training in preparation to fly a a co pilot due to an impending strike by the locals. A very experienced Asian expat was on the left seat and in a simulated rejected takeoff whereby he had to take over from me and execute the maneuver; in a flash he correctedly accomplished the reject maneuver but I wasn't sure if I had accidently induced an abrupt movement during the handing over of controls which caused the simulator to lose control loading causing us to lose control going off the runway. The captain on the left told the Alteon checker that we had loss of control loading, but the checker just kept remarking that we botched the maneuver! The captain then told the checker to give another rejected take off exercise where he would show that in a quick RTO action, sometimes the sim just lost control loading.

After some argument and after the sim engineers had resetted the machine, the checker reluctantly gave another rejected takeoff which I had to conduct from the RHS. The captain told me to slam the thrust levers back abruptly, pull the speed brakes abruptly and pull the reversers with great force. True enough we lost control loading again. I couldn't believe my ears at what the checker said; he told us we were too rough on the controls and should execute the RTO gently and smoothly. I have alway approach RTO exercises aggressively where every nano seconds count. There were some grudging debriefing points after the session where upon the captain commented that the checker should be aware of such simulator phenomenon. The checker maintained that he never had such a situation before in a check and maintained that it was all our fault. The captain wasn't happy, taking the checker's assessment under protest.

Sometime later I had some recurrent traning with the same checker; he remembered the incident very well and kept on bad mouthing the captain. I even learned that he had even urged his fellow checkers to teach the captain "slitty eye smart alec" a good lesson. I then learned that the loss of face thingy did not apply to Asians but to Westerners too. Suffice to say I lost any enthusiasm to extend my contract when another opening came along.

We all try to hide the shameful stuff from getting to the open but this thread might just be the kind that opened a whole vat of worms, inconvenient truths that somehow needed to be addressed at one time or another.
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Old 29th Mar 2012, 12:42   #18 (permalink)
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" sage " posts
" sage" posts? Oh oh looks like...............something is coming around! A case of these posts hitting home?
Ah! The realm of the du witted, turn to insult when they have no intelligent reply.

The only thing these posts hit home is about how strangers on forums think they have the right to judge a dying man. I don't know what's shocks me more, the crass insensitivity of the OP posting the content of a private intimate conversation or the lines of self satisfying dribble spewed out by others.

We will all make mistakes during our lives. Some will be bigger than others. Personally I am trying to keep mine to the minimum prior to meeting my maker but just like anyone else on an aviation forum I am not qualified to grant absolution......

I think this thread is highly distasteful. If you want to discuss the merits if good and bad chech airmen or examiners in general open another thread rather than doing it lent over someone's grave.....
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Old 29th Mar 2012, 19:11   #19 (permalink)
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bose-x... if you find this thread distateful, please leave. Guilty pangs are hard to deal with, so the discussions here are are for the more evolved. Sweeping everything under the carpet and hoping to meet your maker with a clean slate is certainly a cop out. There is still a chance to grow and evolve even on your death bed.
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Old 30th Mar 2012, 01:40   #20 (permalink)
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I am a geriatric and was also an ex-check airman. There were instances whereby my checkees corrected me, especially when there were variations in items caused by aircraft differences or new procedures that were not that clear cut. As a checker I usually cleared my checkees in such instances unless there were items that seriously jeopardised the safety of the flight.

We all learnt from our checkees and hopefully, they from us. There were many instances whereby old habits and dogma led to " negative training ". It was my experience that many gung ho, kick ass A type personalities were guilty of such negative training.

I am not that far away from meeting my maker and I certainly take no offence at all regarding all the posts on this thread. I think they can serve as a pleasant nudge to wake up rather than a rude shuddering awakening for some of our more gung ho colleagues.

As for baba, please do go and see your old instructor. He has indeed made amends with his reflections and confessions. With you putting it here in the forum, his case certainly will hopefully awaken some to the errors of their ways. This itself, in a small way, is priceless. Good luck and fair winds.
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