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-Entering my last year- blues

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-Entering my last year- blues

Old 27th Mar 2007, 11:29
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-Entering my last year- blues

I am entering my last year as an airline pilot.
For a few years till now I thought, no matter how much I like the flying part of my job, that it was time to go. I couldn't care less if I they had me retired on the spot.

The life, the jetlags, the always from home missing important issues, my life governed by my roster, I had enough of it.

But now I have been hit hard by the hammer that tells me in one year no more X-wind landing a 744, no more nice hotels, no more surprising events, no more fun in some bizarre country with a youthful crew, no more sightseeing in countries one will probably never get to privately.
No more rostering to terrible destinations, that turned out to be unforgettable trips.

Get me right, I have enough hobbies, interests that can get me past 100 years of age, and some. That is not the problem.

I don't want to rate it as a crisis, but when I look at other pilots that went before me, I see some stunning things happening in a wide variety.

Guys that scr@w up a clean career by doing some stupid flying mistakes with retirement approaching, get divorced after all, (after a long marriage), do weird things.

What is going on in this last year, will be glad to hear about others......
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Old 27th Mar 2007, 11:49
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Thumbs up

Hi, I retired just over two years previously, after an obsessive career when nothing but flying and aviation mattered. A truly wonderful time and yet on the very last flight it was just fine. I walked off into a new life that is every bit as full and rewarding. A super wife, dog and home and new things to learn and discover about myself and the world around me. I moved from town to country and slowed down to a pace that is still lively but now I control it. Without those wonderful flying days I would be lost but now they are a warm and solid memory that will always be there until I die. A much emptier life without those times and experiences. Now when I look up at a contrail in the sky, I nod and give thanks to have been there and to now hand over to others whilst I enjoy a new stage and adventure that is part of life and growing older. Enjoy all those opportunities denied when in harness. Best of luck and happiness.

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Old 27th Mar 2007, 12:25
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And that's what I call "perspective." Great posts. Long and happy retirements to both of you.
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Old 27th Mar 2007, 12:47
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That is what I guess, or hope, will be my case as well, but it is still quite sometime to go. Once I looked forward to it, now I am in doubt whether I should be joyful.
I enjoy my trips now more than I did last few years, maxing them out on all aspects. I will miss them for sure.
Yes and I DID forget emotions getting mixed with getting older in general, with its pro and cons....
Indeed I have retired friends that lead a full life with no problems, but although most want to swap with me once, if only for ONE trip....just to be there again...

Last edited by Double Back; 27th Mar 2007 at 13:42. Reason: typo
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Old 27th Mar 2007, 13:07
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My uncle Bill retired in 2004 after a long career that started in C-130 gunships in Vietnam and ended in 767's flying internationally.

He decided he wasn't through yet. He got a job flying a Learjet. He has since swapped jobs and now flies a Citation and a King Aire for a medical services company.

He's home most nights, off most weekends and loves his job. I've never seen him so happy. The pressure's off, I guess....

Anyway, good luck Double Back.
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Old 27th Mar 2007, 13:13
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What a terrific thread!

I'm currently "computerising" all my flying log books. A task that is taking much longer than I thought, because of all the memories of names long past, and trips that, on reflection, were very varied in their enjoyment-level!

Despite all the trials and tribulations of a modern aviation career, I still realise that I'm very fortunate to be doing something I've always wanted to do.

For what it's worth, Double Back, I think you latched-on to what matters quite some time ago, whether you realise it or not.

Enjoy the last year; when my time comes, I hope I approach the end of my career with a modicum of your good grace.

P.S. Someone else will no doubt be able to point you (and I) to it, but Rick Drury wrote a fine piece about entering retirement. Anyone able to post it?

Last edited by Prince Of Darkness; 28th Mar 2007 at 01:39.
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Old 27th Mar 2007, 13:24
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No more:
...going to bed at 10am, getting up at 4pm, living in a hotel room, waking up in a country so far from home it may as well be Mars, (occassionally) having to fly alongside people you don't know/don't like or who don't meet your own professional standards, worrying if the latest piece of legislation introduced to cover the 6 o'clock of the industry is going to land you in the dang, being called in on a standby shift an hour after going to bed.......
The list is endless.

There is absolutely no doubt that you've thoroughly enjoyed your time with us, but you've got to ditch it all sometime so do so when the first opportunity arises and all the best for thoroughly enjoying a real life!
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Old 27th Mar 2007, 14:09
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Well my compulsory retirement age was 55. I was tired and half looked forward to it, although with a lot of concern- I'd lived aviation since I was 17, and wasn't sure how much else there was to life. I wanted my life back, and it was great....for about 3 months. Then the marriage was in trouble, and I started missing the life greatly. So after a gap, I went back to work and really enjoy it. It's what I do- I'm no good for anything else, and frankly, golf bores the living tears out of me. It's a life I like, and want to be in as long as they'll let me. I'm working hard to be fit in the hope I'll make it to 65- it keeps the mind sharp and the outlook young. Besides, have you seen how stonking expensive private aviation is?
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Old 27th Mar 2007, 15:51
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it is good that you are speaking of this subject, as it is never covered in flight manuals.

I stopped flying the line one day due to an injury...nothing terrible, but enough that I couldn't fly anymore.

No lead up to it, no thinking about it. Glad that my landing was on the better side of OK.


What do I miss? I don't miss crew scheduling...not one person.

I don't miss any of the mechanics...can't think of a single name...maybe one guy in STL went above and beyond and I will smile.

I do miss some of the flight attendents (girls) , the ones I think of were and probably still are genuinely nice, smart, and charming. (no I wasn't boffing them) Can't think of any of the boys.

I do miss chatting up with a pilot that I hadn't seen in years just walking through the terminal building.

I'll miss the human touches that some provided. I won't miss the well below Zero walkarounds in the snow.

I won't miss management who took my pension away while getting a bonus.

I won't miss how management got a retention bonus while thousands of my brothers were furloughed.

when I see a jet, I might smile...when I see a low cost carrier jet I blame them for many ills.

I haven't been in a plane for 5 years, yet I still know my emergency items by heart.

I promise you, that if you let it, the world of the ground has more delight than the world of the cockpit.
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Old 27th Mar 2007, 18:08
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I too will retire at 55, still very young and full of energy. Few years ago I would not even consider to try to get to another airline to roll out a few years longer, but I get to the point that I am looking through the last pages of FLIGHT, just curious, nuttin' else....

As Rainboe states, he got in trouble AFTER retirement, a thing that I also hear, even people get divorced áfter retiring. We too hear stories of guys who just sit home, do nothing else but sobbing over a lost life.

A state I don't want to enter, therefore I started this thread. At least talking about it can do no harm.
Anyway, it keeps me very busy the last months, my mind is running, I want to be prepared.

Indeed it is an area that I never saw any spotight upon, but now I am getting there myself, I am getting uneasy.

Sure, the time will come someday, be it at 55, 60 or 65, I know. That is not the problem, and I had a full career, nothing to be wanted left (OK, I always regret I missed my DC8 position...)
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Old 27th Mar 2007, 18:15
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Just a thought on a different angle. My CPL/IR instructor was 69 years old, a retired military and then retired airline pilot. Obviously he had thousands of hours of multi faceted flight experience, and was also a CAA CPL examiner. Before him I had one or two younger instructors, and I am not saying they were bad, not at all, but they weren't as good, either, as him.

I can safely say that I learned more from my retired-airline-pilot-turned-instructor than was required in any book, and more about real world flying which is probably more important than passing the tests, which he got me through anyway. I don't mind admitting I am no ace pilot, and certainly was a poor student, but with a steady hand of experience teaching me I reckon I am ok now, certainly I am a safe pilot. Not to mention the fact that when we had a problem with the landing gear tsking off for one lesson (turned out to be nothing more than a display problem, but at 1000 feet, well you just aren't 100% sure are you?) he took it all in his stride, did everything which could be done, took control and landed lightly just in case. No drama except for the red lorries chasing us down the runway.

If I make it to 69 and am half as good a pilot as he, I'll pass a little knowledge and experience on, I'll try and remember this thread, and hopefully retire fat and happy.
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Old 27th Mar 2007, 18:25
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Nice thing from my position is I was looking at 60 and I now have the option of extending to 65 so my aim is, get to 60 then start to cut down gradually. I also still instruct, so aiming to keep that going for fun as long as I can.
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Old 27th Mar 2007, 18:42
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Double Back. This is the advice I was given. It worked for me.

No matter how long you've been flying there will still be things you put off doing until you get an extra day off somewhere or the weather is better or you're not so dog-tired or you can persuade another crew member along, whatever. Make a list of them. Then make a list of your favorite places in the world you want to say goodbye to - places that mean something really special to you (yes, I know you can afford to go back after you retire, but do it now). Finally make a list of all the people in the airline around the world you want to say goodbye to (yes, I know right now they're sometimes a pain in the ar$e and you see too much of them but you _will_ miss them).

If you're honest with yourself the list will be several pages long - and a year is only just time to tick all the items off.

Then go do it. You'll be busy. You'll get a buzz. The year will fly by and......

....................when it happens, you'll be ready to let go and................

... ready to to play with all the other toys in the cupboard you tossed to one side when you discovered those flying things..........whatever they're called.

Oh! and this is really important, get the wife some flowers and and something with diamonds. Now! She's gonna be your new boss.
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Old 27th Mar 2007, 20:49
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One last thing:

Don't listen (just this once) to the Toxic Rainboe. Even he admits you have to retire some time.

Have you seen how long people live these days? The aim is to build a new life to fill the next forty years with as much fun as the last forty - but without the cr&p.

It's a lot easier to do that at 55 than at 65.
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Old 27th Mar 2007, 20:55
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The lines above make one realize how fortunate we are in flying as a profession. Pure passion...

- live to fly - fly to live -

Soon to reach the half-century barrier, I'm alreary getting ready... tons of (aviation...) books, helicopter models to adjust, friends to visit all over the planet, trecks to share with my wife, TLC my private plane and fly over the place at my pace, all things I don't have time to do now, almost entirely commited to my work

Take care and enjoy, life's short
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Old 27th Mar 2007, 21:12
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im at the other end of the scale. i am just begining my carear flying having just got my first job. its all been at bit of a blur so far, lots of work, but reading your post has made me remember why i got into flying in the first place. thanks and good luck.
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Old 27th Mar 2007, 21:12
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Fascinating thread. I retired at 60 after a few years instructing, a few years in aerial survey and a quarter-century operating a corporate flight dept. I, too, wondered how the time would pass.

Since then I have played a lot of golf, done a lot of motorsport, learned the joys of vegetable gardening, registered with PPRuNe to try to contact some of my former contacts.

I miss the impromptu dinners when you have bumped into old friends in some foreign place; I miss overnight stops in nice hotels and nice restaurants with a nice company credit card in my pocket. I really miss some of the views from the big window at the front.

I do not miss getting up at 0400 on a winter morning, to leave home at 0500, to be at the airport at 0600 for departure at 0700.

I do not miss the extra bulls**t imposed by security measures, however necessary; and I do not miss the old days of waiting on a payphone for the Regulator - remember that?

I'm now 68, having a wonderful time, some involvement at my local grass airfield, and enjoying every minute.

It is going to happen, so appreciate your last years then step into the next phase of your life. If it's fun, enjoy it - if it's not fun, try doing it differently.

Good luck.

Last edited by GHNRY; 28th Mar 2007 at 07:34. Reason: typos
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Old 27th Mar 2007, 21:17
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Just a short addition:

Fly lowcost carrier some years before you intend to retire. It makes it easier to let go!
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Old 27th Mar 2007, 21:55
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Thumbs up

Great advice!!

I'm coming up to my last year and looking at going a few days after my 60th birthday which will give 40 years long-haul flying.

Love flying the aircraft and working with the crews, but the BS factor has gone beyond the edge for me [ ] and sleep patterns are a hassle.

Plenty to do in retirement, but a mate who's 65+ has just signed on as a Sim Instructor because he never wanted to retire and still has a lot to give.

As noted above, I'm organising my last year to revisit the stuff I've enjoyed with the many friends we've made world-wide, shedding Company responsibility along the way.

Sign a production contract for the new boat Friday...yippee!

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Old 27th Mar 2007, 22:53
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Ha, good You read this. When I joined and the (then not seldom ex RAF Spit or bomber pilots) crews were discussing their retirement stuff, I always stared outside somewhat glazed. I thought, man, this don't interest me one penny, I am starting my career, dont want to talk now how to end it.

But the years flew by so quickly, You have no idea, it looked like yesterday I joined, and now myself bald, and experienced, I am now discussing this matter.

But Albert Driver and Feather #3 make a point to which I will react:
See my opening mesg, I mentioned about good guys making big time mistakes with retirement approaching. Sure in every company these things have happened.

No matter however nice I will try to make my last year, I have carved in my mind that I have to be 100% on the ball till I shutdown all 4 for the last time.
Starting to relax a bit already now, can marr one's spotless career, and that is NO nice start of your new life...
But obviously all retirees who reacted got to "the other side" with no problems and enjoying a good life now.

That's another issue I think about. Having (almost)made it with my lifetime company, why get to another one, be lost for a year in getting used to a new company policy(and ditto management, rosterers, chief pilots..), or get yourself killed with some doubtful operator?

I still have my SE/IR ratings, plus instructor, but I lost most company collegues due to GA related accidents...
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