When Retired Pilots Meet
Stories from the good ol’ days
I RECENTLY ATTENDED A GATHERING of old retired airline buddies.
As you might imagine, there was no shortage of conversation. It
was what you might call a “target-rich environment” for stories!
There were a dozen or so of us gathered around the table
representing, roughly, 250,000 hours of flying time. It was
basically burgers and beer, befitting the simple taste of a bunch of
simple guys. Turns out some of the stories are printable. I’ll leave
the others to your pilot imagination.
First, a little background to set the stage: I don’t know that
there is a typical airline career; most all, these days, have lots of
twists and turns. Those twists and turns tend to shape perceptions
that, in turn, shape stories. I started out
with a commuter called Air Oregon,
flying Navajos. There were 1 2 of us in
the beginning. They called us “The Dirty
Dozen,” which was probably appropriate
since they didn’t pay us enough to afford
hot water for showers. Some of those same
12 guys were sitting around the table, 30
years later. We know each other well.
Some went on to other airlines; some
didn’t. Some other pilots came that are
Tom (left) organizes the monthly gatherings. The
other Tom (right) is the group’s “favorite ground
Ron (left), a retired airline captain, listens on as Stan recounts a story about a
cab driver unfamiliar with Kitty Hawk.
Warren (left) and Reese enjoy a few laughs over a story
about Warren’s failed engine in a simulator.