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Jaydee

To Retired Pilots

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To those who understand the world of flying. 

 
You see them at airport terminals around the world. You see them in the morning early, sometimes at night. 
 
They come neatly uniformed and hatted, sleeves striped; wings over their left pocket; They show up looking fresh.
  
There's a brisk, young-old look of efficiency about them. They arrive fresh from home, from hotels, carrying suitcases, battered briefcases, bulging, with a wealth of technical information, data, filled with regulations, rules.
  
They know the new, harsh sheen of  Chicago 's O'Hare. They know the cluttered approaches to  Newark ; they know the tricky shuttle that is Rio; they know but do not relish the intricate instrument approaches to various foreign airports; they know the volcanoes all around  Guatemala. 
 
They respect foggy  San Francisco . They know the up-and-down walk to the gates at  Dallas , the  Texas  sparseness of  Abilene , the very narrow Berlin Corridor,  New Orleans ' sparkling terminal, the milling crowds at  Washington . They know  Butte  ,  Boston  , and  Beirut  . They appreciate  Miami 's perfect weather; they recognize the danger of an ice-slick runway at JFK.
 
They understand short runways, antiquated fire equipment, inadequate approach lighting, but there is one thing they will never comprehend: Complacency. 
 
They marvel at the exquisite good taste of hot coffee in  Anchorage  and a cold beer in  Guam . They vaguely remember the workhorse efficiency of the DC-3s, the reliability of the DC-4s and DC-6s, the trouble with the DC-7 and the propellers on Boeing 377s. They discuss the beauty of an old gal named Connie. They recognize the high shrill whine of a Viscount, the rumbling thrust of a DC-8 or 707 on a clearway takeoff from Haneda, and a Convair. The remoteness of the 747 cockpit. The roominess of the DC-10 and the wonderfully snug fit of a DC-9. They speak a language unknown to Webster. 
 
They discuss ALPA, EPRs, fans, mach and bogie swivels. And, strangely, such things as bugs, thumpers, crickets, and CATs, but they are inclined to change the subject when the uninitiated approaches. 
 
They have tasted the characteristic loneliness of the sky, and occasionally the adrenaline of danger. They respect the unseen thing called turbulence; they know what it means to fight for self-control, to discipline one's senses.
 
They buy life insurance, but make no concession to the possibility of complete disaster, for they have uncommon faith in themselves, their crew and what they are doing. 
 
They concede the glamour is gone from flying. They deny a pilot is through at sixty. They know tomorrow, or the following night, something will come along they have never met before; they know flying requires perseverance and vigilance. They know they must practice, lest they retrograde. 
 
They realize why some wit once quipped: "Flying is year after year of monotony punctuated by seconds of stark terror." As a group, they defy mortality tables, yet approach semi-annual physical examinations with trepidation. They are individualistic, yet bonded together. They are family people. They are reputedly overpaid, yet entrusted with equipment worth millions. And entrusted with lives, countless lives, behind and below him. 
 
At times they are reverent: They have watched the Pacific sky turn purple at dusk and the stark beauty of sunrise over  Iceland  at the end of a polar crossing. They know the twinkling, jeweled beauty of  Los Angeles  at night; they have seen snow on the  Rockies. 
 
They remember the vast unending mat of green Amazon jungle, the twisting Silver road that is the father of waters, an ice cream cone called Fujiyama; the hump of Africa. Who can forget Everest from 100 miles away, or the ice fog in  Fairbanks in January?
 
They have watched natural and man-made satellites streak across a starry sky, seen the clear, deep blue of the stratosphere, felt the incalculable force of the heavens. They have marveled at sun-streaked evenings, dappled earth, velvet night, spun silver clouds, sculptured cumulus: God's weather. They have viewed the Northern Lights, a wilderness of sky, a pilot's halo, a bomber's moon, horizontal rain and snow, contrails and St Elmo's Fire. 
 
Only an aviator experiences all these.
 
It is their world.  It once was mine. 

It will be missed, forever

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Just woke up after eight lovely hours sleep in my own bed which I have done now for 4020 nights in a row, took about 2 years of afternoon naps to catch up on the missed sleep over the 35 years of staying alert in the dark!

Welcome to this world of retirement and enjoy every moment as you will have fewer years on this side than on the stick and rudder side!

Kasey 

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8 minutes ago, Kasey said:

Welcome to this world of retirement and enjoy every moment as you will have fewer years on this side than on the stick and rudder side!

I am in a somewhat similar scenario as per time spent away. I really wish I could sleep like you....seems my mind never shuts down day or night.

I always loved my “ job”.

I certainly don’t miss the bureaucracy, I don’t miss the simulators. I don’t miss the company one bit.

I do miss the flying, the excitement of going to work, the airplanes, the technology,  the layovers all over the world, the endless supply of new restaurants to explore, the friends I made.

If I hadn’t been forced to retire I would probably still be doing what some call “working”

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Different folks, different opinions...this is good.

Been retired for a long time now and I don't miss it one bunch. I had 28 years with DND and 15 in the airline industry  and the airline industry flying was the icing on the cake, good money and an "easy" job. In  all honesty, my Military flying career was more fun, more places, and better fun toys to fly.

I think one reason many feel depressed, if it goes that far,(depressed), when they hang up their spurs is that their life revolved around the industry and perhaps not enough time was spent building a library of interests outside of the job. I flew with a few fellows who indicated that pending retirement was not something they wanted to embrace and their "life" would be on a severe down-slope once punted through the goal posts.

I will not bore you with a lists of my interests and what I do now but suffice to say the days are not long enough for me to get everything done that I want to do and I normally exist on 5 hours of sleep a night. Yes....... the light at the end of the tunnel is getting brighter, but, as the saying goes............

Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, a glass of wine in one hand, chocolate in the other,  thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming "Holy sh!t..... what a Ride!”

 

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What I miss, among other things, was being dropped off curb side, into the terminal and cutting through sales counter, into the baggage room, say hi to everybody and out onto the ramp to spark up the awaiting 737 for the ffod....no security, no screening, no attitude from new hire employees, no baggage searches.....everybody smiled and was part of a family at the different terminals we flew into......now we have employees that don’t even acknowledge one another!!!

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44 minutes ago, Kasey said:

Amen to all of the above, the inmates are now in charge of the asylum..........

Perhaps but when it comes to security, it appears that it is working and so far "Joe **bleep**" has not been able to breach it.  Perhaps they would never have tried but...... I for one don't want to find out the "hard" way.  

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11 hours ago, st27 said:

What I miss, among other things, was being dropped off curb side, into the terminal and cutting through sales counter, into the baggage room, say hi to everybody and out onto the ramp to spark up the awaiting 737 for the ffod....no security, no screening, no attitude from new hire employees, no baggage searches.....everybody smiled and was part of a family at the different terminals we flew into......now we have employees that don’t even acknowledge one another!!!

You're dating yourself but yes...those were the days

 

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8 hours ago, Marshall said:

Perhaps but when it comes to security, it appears that it is working and so far "Joe **bleep**" has not been able to breach it.  Perhaps they would never have tried but...... I for one don't want to find out the "hard" way.  

"Appears" is a good word.  Appearances are everything.  It always appears to work when no one is trying to breach it.

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JD, congratulations on retirement and thanks for posting that - enjoyable reading, brings many memories - twelve years now. Lots of ways of expressing the career & profession - words, images . . . I hope these bring some memories for others:

  i-cgWvVbt-S.jpg          i-BpXRsP3-S.jpg     

  i-kNHxkCr-S.jpg          i-fx3zxH4-S.jpg    i-9pzKxKh-S.jpg

i-JPCz4gF-S.jpg                i-X7jb3Sb-S.jpg

i-TmLgbtx-S.jpg            i-JJKdsP8-S.jpg  

i-X8LFSzS-S.jpg   i-VBk9WLr-S.jpg   i-8JVFGpm-S.jpg

i-zmSdhR4-S.jpg     i-nMCnw99-S.jpg

 

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You know, I always thought that when the time came, they’d have to drag me out of the cockpit kicking and screaming.

In the event,  I went peaceably, and several years earlier than I had to. Don’t miss it, don’t pine for “the good old days”, and don’t regret it.

 I enjoyed the flying career; it was everything I had hoped for. But the time comes when you have had enough and you want to move on to other things. At least, that’s my experience.

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2 hours ago, E-HANDLE said:

You know, I always thought that when the time came, they’d have to drag me out of the cockpit kicking and screaming.

In the event,  I went peaceably, and several years earlier than I had to. Don’t miss it, don’t pine for “the good old days”, and don’t regret it.

 I enjoyed the flying career; it was everything I had hoped for. But the time comes when you have had enough and you want to move on to other things. At least, that’s my experience.

imissmyflyinglove ofmylifehotwingsandbeeraregoodbutaminimumsapproachintoyvronafoggymorningissomethingimiss.

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Hey, I hear you Jack. Some of my best days ever were flying Convairs and Dash’s and 737-200s around my beloved West. I loved it, but then I was done with it. It’s hard to explain. I still fly my little tail dragger off of my grass strip, so the love of flying remains. The airline was one kind of flying, this kind of flying is different. Maybe that’s why I don’t miss airline flying. The string never really broke, the romance of flying never left. It just changed.

 I do miss the people. (Not so sure that they miss me ?Lol) 

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When I was stationed in KCOS, and one of the two personal pilots for DCINC NORAD, I was afforded many opportunities to fly USAF  aircraft,  (duals), and made a point of requesting flights in a myriad of hot machines.

Because I wasn't constantly flying jets, my G tolerance wasn't the best so a Captain at Luke AFB took me to their aircrew supply area and got me a G suit, (chaps only), which they told me to keep. They were packed in the DCINC's aircraft for the duration of my tour. ? 

Obviously never qualified on all the aircraft but got  an hour or so in many fine whiz-bangs...

Many good memories of flying with some great USAF guys but those days are gone forever.?

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