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-Entering my last year- blues

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-Entering my last year- blues

Old 27th Mar 2007, 23:27
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Double Back,

I don't know if they ever did, but on behalf of the hundreds of thousands, if not the millions of passengers you have flown, thank you for having landed them safely. I don't suppose it occurs that often to most folk, but I often thank the crew (I'm mere SLF myself) as they stand in the doorway getting rid of me off their aircraft!

I've never flown with KLM (if that isn't too much of an assumption), but people like you give people like me a hassle free life, by letting me get to where I need to go, to do what I need to do.

If I were you, I'd look back on my career, and sit back with pride (in a year's time!). You did it!

Have a great last year, and a successful retirement. And a glass of Heineken.
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Old 27th Mar 2007, 23:53
  #22 (permalink)  
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Just want to say, what a fantastic post.
When my time comes, I can only hope I have your attitude towards retirement, I still have 21 years to go, but I can imagine with an outlook like that, you were good fun, both to fly with and on the overnites!
well done mate, and best of luck.
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Old 28th Mar 2007, 03:46
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Flying is not just another job - it is a way of life and one that often is difficult for others to properly comprehend. Many have their heads in the clouds; but for those who have spent their life in the clouds things are very different. The sense of loss when forced to hang up your cap, particularly due to advancing years, is palpable.

Enjoyment (of flying) is so much magnified by being able to share that enjoyment with others but in this business, perhaps due to its somewhat recondite and technical nature, that sharing is not always possible when not in the company of aviators. Couple this with a marriage which may have worked well enough for any number of years on a "9 to 5" basis but when suddenly confronted with a full-time load, begins to reveal stresses from unsuspected incompatibilities and you head in the direction of the dissolution of partnerships. Sadly, this is not uncommon following retirement from any profession but I suspect is more prevalent in our game.

I've been through it but regret I have no particular wisdom to impart. I think that to develop an alternative and absorbing interest that can be shared or generate interests that can be pursued individually (although not necessarily mutually exclusively) some time before retirement provides a much softer landing when the day comes. In this way the transition becomes less painful and with a more positive outlook on the future.

Retirement often is regarded as a downhill sort of thing. Rubbish! It is a wonderful opportunity to involve yourself with all sorts of things for which you previously had no time but can now pursue with as much enthusiasm as you like and without fear of being invited to have another McVitie's Rich Tea in the Chief Pilot's office. Blissykins!

Good luck to all of you.
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Old 28th Mar 2007, 04:14
  #24 (permalink)  
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Those are all interesting observations.

It is one thing to have worked so long in the industry, for an airline which was worth working for.

Many of the FOs with whom I fly would like to be in another business, or at least work for a quality operation, such as FEDEX or Southwest. Some of them are leaving at ages 37-45. Years ago this would have been unheard of. One is studying to become a nurse anesthesiologist, and with a little experience will make a much higher salary than as FO on a major airline 100-seat jet.

The people who have corrupted, weakened and turned so many US airlines into a commodity industry have damaged it in the long-term.
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Old 28th Mar 2007, 08:35
  #25 (permalink)  

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How will it be?

Well a lot depends upon you. There are people who can't let go and there are people who can.

In my case flying was an intensive time lasting through RAF (to 30) Major airline (to 55) Startup airline far away (to 57) LOCO in UK and then "abroad" (to 60) and then...


Many things then change - number one, you are at home all the time and interfere with the daily routine of the person(s) who has spent years coping without you. This takes patience and adaptability on both sides to deal with.

You wake up at 04:00 and realise that you don't (ever) have to get up and shave and scrape off the ice and drive to work. It's a nice feeling.

You hear / see jets and (this is where it varies according personal makeup) either you think "I know what it is like and I don't need it now" (my case although I loved it at the time) or you feel "I wish I could still be at the controls" (some friends of mine).

You don't forget all the skills and experiences which were, during your career so vitally important - and made you important too - which now count for nothing - and you might regret that initially. Try to keep the knowledge that "you can do it" in the bank as a confidence booster.

You have a need for something intensive to take the place of your intensive job. Actually this is not such a problem! You can dust off your old bike / skis / lathe / walking boots / sports car / spade / dinghy and get in some quality time. You will slow down in good time - meantime enjoy the activity.

Your life is not ordered by a schedule. So it is actually quite important, after the initial luxurious lazy period, to make your own schedule. Try to get one useful thing achieved each day, even if it's ringing Mum or ordering your paperwork. Pretty soon a meaningful routine will be achieved.

Have something to look forward to. If you like travelling - plan a trip. If you like your home, plan some work on it and the garden.

And here, let us say that PPRuNe is a good way to keep in touch with the old life and mates (though the internet shouldn't be allowed to soak up all your valuable time!)

Lastly, enjoy this last year - remember the good things, laugh at the bad ones - there is only a year of them to put up with.

Good Luck,

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Old 28th Mar 2007, 09:59
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What a great thread...I nearly cried. Aviation being about passion tends to have passionate people.
Good luck on your retirement guys and rather than keeping the nose up......keep your pekker up instead :-)
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Old 28th Mar 2007, 10:36
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as others have said...what a moving and touching thread.

thank you double back and others for sharing your thoughts with us..

i guess whether you are one or the other of those..'' the glass is half full/ the glass is half empty ''..has a lot to do with how we each handle this....and by the way double back..even those of us who have given years to teaching others to fly have similar feelings about ever giving it up...except its not quite so dramatic in that termination is a voluntary ( unless medical ) thing...but we all, i feel, identify in one way or another with what you have said...

reminds me of a most moving post brilliantly phrased ( i'm not good at searching ) penned by a us pilot who had just retired and going to work that day with sears if memory recalls correctly some time back here on pprune.

posts such as yours and the other contributors and well wishers serve to remind us how privilaged we have been...to take to the skys...see the sights we have seen...and be a part of a band of brothers ( masculine and feminine ) apart...

good luck to you...

gear up.

the dean.
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Old 28th Mar 2007, 11:10
  #28 (permalink)  

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Well, I retired six months ago (fed up with it all, really). I gave myself a year to make my mind up and let the idea sink in for me and my wife.
One day, it was all so easy. Only three serious unknowns: not being terribly important any more, the money and the Last Flight.
The money has worked out very well and the Last Flight was easy. I didn't even cry.
I was very lucky, having been a sim person for some years. Now I can pick and choose my sims and continue to give new pilots Skill Tests or LPCs. I keep my hand in and am still terribly important. Gradual let-down.
Good luck.
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Old 28th Mar 2007, 11:45
  #29 (permalink)  
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I knew it!
I waited a long time before I found courage to post my thoughts. I am not an active poster, more of a lurker.
I feared it would drown between all these posts of incidents/accidents and management wars, because we are hardware oriented people and we tend to shy away from our "soft spots".
But finally I thought, what the...., I just go for it.

Most of us, including myself, have some macho resistance to open your self up, especially in a worldwide read forum.
I was taught to fly in an era that considered anything they did not comprehend, as softy or weak. A pilot needed to be strong, had no doubts, made ONLY right decisions.

Now back to reality.
Over the years I saw that keeping too many thoughts to oneself, is no good at all.
Any large company had pilots leave the job because of psychological matters, or even lost them due to dreadful actions of that person.
Many of these have or had introvert characters, luckily I am not.

As already has been said, there is no company or flightmanual that has a text in it how to cope with it. These books are our Bibles, we were taught to live by them, yet they do not cover all.
But sooner or later it affects us ALL, or HAS already affected our lives. That was the main drive for me as topicstarter. I just want to know about others, an not only in our company.

Heartwarming indeed to find so many positive reactions, also from people not even employed in aviation as Roadster280 did. No, I didn't fly millions, but a lot yes. I take your compliments as one of the many that do the trick everyday, safe and comfortable, with great pride and respect for nature's laws.
Too easy it is forgotten that it is not a trick that comes all by itself, even we ourselves tend to forget that. And then a few times a year this proves to be wrong with a terrible outcome and the loss of many lives.

Rostering just called, reserve duty tomorrow swapped for a Shanghai in the afternoon, sunday back.

Never a dull moment...see, that's what I will be missing......
Maoming Lu, here I come!
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Old 28th Mar 2007, 12:12
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Great post guys, i am in my last year too and I am in away heartbroken to leave a career that has provided me with my life and has been my life.

Just leave you all with some of my thoughts. I have been saddened to see how our profession has deterioated over the years. The BALPA non reaction to budget airlines has i think been very poor. I believe the captain of a jet airliner should be in the same salary league as a doctor. I also believe the CAP document on fatigue of aircrew needs completely re-writing, there are too many tired pilots flying around. there also needs to be a stricter control of when roster control can contact pilots and connecting that contact with duty start.

The two guys at the front should be the only thing non-budget in a budget airline because the flying public still demand the same saftey, whatever the airline.

There are too many airline directors who do not understand the unique importance and value of pilots. Management has been looking for a big stick for many years to deal with pilots and it arrived via budget airlines.

Budget airlines have been a great boost to the industry but have done great long term harm to our profession.

Fly safe
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Old 28th Mar 2007, 12:34
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As someone said to me once:
If you find yourself missing the job just set the alarm for 1am. When it goes off get dressed, take the clock downstairs and sit in the understairs cupboard watching it by the light of a 10W bulb for the next 8 hours!
There's a load of whinging in this job but the bottom line is that the vast majority love it to pieces, warts & all.
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Old 28th Mar 2007, 12:36
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One of the nicer threads here on pprun

I really like this thread, brings back some of my childhood memories. I always wanted to become a pilot, With age 10 I could spell in the ICAO alphabet (I learned it, because I knew I will need it someday).
Today I am in my 40th. I fly. There is not much I like any more in my job . I am ready to give up this profession. And I dont think I am the only one.
Wondering if we will read posts like these in 20 Years from now?
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Old 28th Mar 2007, 12:58
  #33 (permalink)  
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Thumbs up Best Wishes

Double Back - Best wishes for the day when it comes. As a relative infant at this game, I only hope that you will not also 'retire' from the pprune forums. With such a depth of knowledge, experience and perspective your viewpoints will no doubt make up for the ever decreasing opportunity to absorb that knowledge and experience in the comfort of the 'crew room' environment. I am a firm believer in learning from the experience of others, so when you finally cut the last fuel switch make sure you don't cut the computer lead too.
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Old 28th Mar 2007, 15:17
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I made my last commercial flight just over one year ago, some 49 years after going solo. I have always been blessed with good health and I made it to 65. My last flight was just as enjoyable as the first one. It turned into a bit of a farce for the organisers - the pair of regulation fire engines turned up on the taxiway as advertised to create a water-salute for me to taxi through but they could do nothing as it was 0400Z, the temperature was -4C and the aeroplane had to do a quick turn round after I got off!

I really thought that I would miss the aeroplane and the lifestyle desperately but it hasn't worked out that way.

Luckily, I have a little aeroplane and I am having great fun rediscovering grass airfields around UK that I haven't seen in a very long time. I also enjoy taking friends who are much older than me and who have lost their licences out for the day. A few weeks ago I did a flight where the total age of the four of us came to 308!

Like some of you, I am still pretty active in the simulator. I managed to stay retired for three months before my old company found the entrance to my escape tunnel. I am still training young pilots and that keeps me on my feet. Life is pretty good.
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Old 28th Mar 2007, 16:40
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Hey Pop,

Maybe there should be a Retired Pilots Forum on PPrune so we can keep these postings away from all those that are working so hard to pay the retirees pensions.
You can't expect them to fly with all those tears in their eyes.

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Old 28th Mar 2007, 17:49
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You obviously missed the second smiley, FC
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Old 28th Mar 2007, 17:54
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I think there should be a special fund for those poor Bs who had to fly them.

You need 420 kts min.
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Old 28th Mar 2007, 18:05
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What can I say, I have just read this thread and must say it has left me somewhat touched. Can I echo the thoughts of others by adding my thanks for the many happy landings......

Yes, I am a mere SLF - and a Tourdriver of a different sort. I got the flying bug a few years ago and still look up to the sky every so often when I see the trans-atlantics shaping up for their early morning arrival at Gatwick and think what if!

The truth is, whilst I have a dream, I don't think I will ever be able to realise it, with middle-agedness and the thought of losing 70,000 if it all goes horribly wrong.

Pure jealousy it may be, but there are very few people in this world that can say that they have truly worked at a vocation which has been their life and had the experiences that you guys have had. So yes, when retirement beckons remember how fortunate you have been, and how fortunate you will be to begin a new phase of your life with your loved ones sharing a drink or two recalling the good times........

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Old 28th Mar 2007, 18:10
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Double back
As I approached my 55th, I also looked at retirement with doubts. It is a young age to retire and I felt that I was not ready yet. I looked around the market for 55 year old pilots and eventually came up with 6 offers to continue flying as Captain on the B747 ( no type change or bonding necessary). I have been very happy with my post-55 employment, but as I get nearer to 60, I find the constant time changes and inevitable night flights more tiring and take longer to recover from. I am now looking forward to retirement and would like to give you the following advice:-
1/. if you would like to carry on, make sure your licence, medical and log-books are up to date. There are jobs out there for you, it all depends what you are prepared to do, such as relocate or fly 17 - 19 day patterns.
2/. if you do retire, your wife will assume your rostering duties and you will not get the time off that you enjoy between trips now! So chocolates, flowers and champagne will still work with her, as it did in your airline!
Whatever you decide, best wishes for the future.
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Old 28th Mar 2007, 22:49
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Not sure what the thoughts on this would be, but for DoubleBack and others who are soon to retire from flying - is there a possibility of starting a program within your airline for soon-to-retire pilots? A program to help them deal with the transition from flying to retirement, a program that assists in finding ground jobs within the airline (if thats what they want) etc, a program of how to deal with being a full time husband (or wife) etc? I know its all a bit "touchy-feely, warm & fluffy" etc but it could be a good way to keep you busy, keep your finger in the airline pie, and assisting others who are soon to go through their last year too.
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