If I Only Knew Then What I Know Now...

Wed Mar 03, 2004 4:33 am

It's been a while since I started a thread and I've been thinking about what might be some benefit for all of us. So, what is in aviation that makes you say, "If I only knew then what I know now."


RE: If I Only Knew Then What I Know Now...

Wed Mar 03, 2004 4:57 am

Dear Jetguy and friends -
Good one indeed... for me is "choice of airline" when seeking a pilot job...
I made a big mistake 4 times in my career...
First, I wanted to join an airline that was big, or with prestige, way back in the late 1960s... I had interviews with many, United, Delta, American... but they did not appeal to me, they were basically domestic carriers, and flying between Atlanta and Chicago did not appeal to me.
I had my 3 favorite airlines, PanAm, TWA, both were international carriers, and I looked at Eastern, then the "biggest" US airline... the 3 are gone now...
I got hired by PanAm... many layoffs, bankruptcy in 1991... first mistake.
During a layoff, I was a 707 captain with a supplemental charter carrier, miserable salary, got to know the director of operations of Air California, operating 737s... he offered me a job... I turned it down... "who, me, an international 707 captain being a 737 co-pilot between SFO and SNA for the rest of my days... no sir....?" - my second mistake, they were acquired by American, 3 years later.
In 1987, while back with PanAm, United bought the Pacific Division... Who - me, experienced international captain, going with United, a bunch of idiots who do not know anything overwater, except going to HNL...?" - third mistake...
In 1992, was with Cargolux, flying their 747-200s, they were acquiring their first 747-400s... they offered me to go on their 747-400s... but for that they told me I had to fly 6 months as first officer... "who me, flying co-pilot again...?" - fourth mistake... Now Argentina is getting the 747-400s, and the days of the 747-200s are over, maybe 2 years to go, at best...
Happy contrails  Smile
(s) Skipper
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RE: If I Only Knew Then What I Know Now...

Wed Mar 03, 2004 5:07 am

I wouldn't have given up a flawed, but still viable marriage to come back to JFK from SFO to take an aviation job I ended up... giving up..... because I just loved to fly and he didn't like it..... and more.


I can't believe you haven't had 100 responses in as many minutes.
There's nothing more beautiful than flying into the dawn.
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RE: If I Only Knew Then What I Know Now...

Wed Mar 03, 2004 5:25 am

B747skipper: everything happens for a reason, man. Those are great little stories, and although they might be painful for you to think about, they teach us a lot about making our own decisions. I'm sure being "young" I will mess up many decisions in the future, but I won't think about that now  Smile
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RE: If I Only Knew Then What I Know Now...

Wed Mar 03, 2004 5:30 am

The mistake I am making right now.... spending too much time chatting up girls and reading the forums on, instead of studying my ATPL's.

I'll learn when I'm 40 and still flying a bugsmasher.  Sad
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RE: If I Only Knew Then What I Know Now...

Wed Mar 03, 2004 1:16 pm

If I didn't know now what I didn't know then, I'd still hold your heart in the palm of my hand......

Oops, sorry, song bursts forth at the most inopportune times.

Yeah, I could go back and relive all my mistakes but that would be a true excercise in futility. I can't change a choice I made in the past and no longer have the time to waste on worry.

Rejoice in the mistakes you've made as they led you to where you are today.
The day you stop learning is the day you should die.
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RE: If I Only Knew Then What I Know Now...

Wed Mar 03, 2004 1:33 pm

... I'd still look like a fool infront of your friends...

Glad to see another Toby Keith fan out there  Smile

Fortunatly (I guess) none of my major regrets has that much to do with aviation or flying, mostly personal. My biggest one was waiting to ask for this bartender's phone number, then watching my roomate picking her up and going out with her for, well, we'll just leave that one alone.

Wish I had prepared more for my CFI, and not taken it so lightly. Maybe then I'd have something to do now other than work on the ground looking at the sky, waiting until the banner season starts again.

OOH! Now I've got one- I REALLY wish I had thought twice that night outside the bar when that prick tried picking a fight with my friend. Though thougth was very difficult at the time, I'd still have his back, but maybe I'd have kept more distance between us. And not get my eye all mashed in and lose my medical for a month. Still iffy on passing the class I/II. Realisticly I'm correctable to 20/25 in that eye with the damage, but I can "read" the 20/20 line in a pinch. Was 20/15 before the attack, and still am in the other eye (20/15 combined too).

Happy contrails - I support B747Skipper and Jetguy
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RE: If I Only Knew Then What I Know Now...

Wed Mar 03, 2004 2:03 pm

Great topic; Jetguy I'm curious as to how you'd answer your own question.
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RE: If I Only Knew Then What I Know Now...

Thu Mar 04, 2004 1:10 am

I would have finished college the first time. Can't get a decent job without that piece of paper.
Heed our warnings or your future will be underpant free!

RE: If I Only Knew Then What I Know Now...

Thu Mar 04, 2004 9:14 am

OK, it's my turn now. Actually, I've been pretty fortunate - there was only that incident eating yellow snow when I was a little kid and, of course, I'd totally change most of what I did during my entire high school career and the first couple of years of college; but I digress.

When it comes to aviation, I have few regrets and I can't think of anything that I would have done differently. I certainly didn't end up where I thought I be. My career goals up until about 20 years ago were definitely to fly for the majors. My plan was to use AFROTC in college to get me into the Air Force where I'd fly transports then on to a major and I'd live happily ever after.

It didn't work out that way. When my number came up in the Air Force, they were pulling out of Vietnam. There was a glut of pilots in the service and they were cutting way back on training; infact, they canceled every one of the flight training slots for my graduating class. At that point, I was on my own for my training. I had earned my PPL when I was in high school, but I had planned on letting the government take it from there. It took me a few years to get to the point where I had the degree and the flight time and the airlines were hiring. It all came together 20 years ago. The problem was, it wasn't nearly as great of a job as I had hoped or imagined it would be. I was gone a lot and my family was being neglected. They told us that the average pilot at our company had been married 2.6 times. I could see myself following that same path. I bailed out and I've never really regretted it. I've been careful to pick jobs where I had a certain amount of control over my schedule.

I guess that what I'm trying to say is that I believe that it's important to prioritize those things that are truly important - like your family and don't do anything that would jeopardize them. One thing is certain in this career field - things will not be as you imagine them to be. Take Skipper for example, I seriously doubt if he would have ever imagined in his wildest dreams that he would have ended up flying 747s in Argentina. PanAm was one of the good ones. Things work out though and he has a fulfilling job and a wonderful family.

The "glory days" of airline flying may be over. Carriers like PanAm, TWA, etc. are gone forever. United, Delta, USAir and several others are walking a fine line between solvency and bankruptcy. It's the LCCs like JetBlue, TED, and the like that will be the business model for airlines in the future. I'm not trying to cast doom and gloom, just the opposite. If I had to do it all over again I would and without hesitation. Just do it with your eyes open.

OK, enough of that. When it comes to "learning" flying, there is one thing that I wish that I would have known way back when. My first flying job was flying air tours through (literally) the Grand Canyon. As a general rule, you can't show someone a 17 mile wide canyon unless you have at least 17 miles visibility. As you can guess, we didn't get a lot of "actual" IFR flying the canyon out of Las Vegas. When I finished with the canyon I found myself with 3,500 hours total time (with about 2000 hours of 400 series twin Cessna time), an ATP and maybe 10 hours of actual instrument time. Not really a good position to be in. I had to do a lot of scrambling to get on the front side of the "power curve" if you know what I mean. I did it, but I also scared myself once or twice along the way. That was a long time ago and a lot of water has passed under the bridge. It would have been a whole lot less exciting if I had known about the following two books - Weather Flying by Buck and Instrument Flying by Taylor. I highly recommend that you guys that are serious about flying and are just starting out get those two books and read them a time or two (or three).


[Edited 2004-03-04 01:47:22]
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RE: If I Only Knew Then What I Know Now...

Thu Mar 04, 2004 9:35 am

Mine is that I wouldn't have changed positions at the airline I used to work for. I had a good boss, who allowed me to a lot of slack since I did way more than my job specified and worked alot of uncompensated weekends just to keep the office up to date. The people in the department were great to work with as well. I then changed to a higher paying position, but was unhappy with the work and eventually got laid off. If I didn't change positions I would have still been working there.
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RE: If I Only Knew Then What I Know Now...

Thu Mar 04, 2004 10:06 am

If I could.....I would have done what I wanted to do when I was a little kid, and that was to be an airline pilot!! Only now (at the ripe OLD age of 48) am I going after my PPL. With luck, I'll progress and get the Commercial and eventually get my CFI so I can pass on my love for flying and aviation to others. I just wish I had done it YEARS ago.

Great topic, Jetguy!  Big thumbs up

Regards to all,

I see my Cats as Companions. My Cats see Me as Furniture!
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RE: If I Only Knew Then What I Know Now...

Thu Mar 04, 2004 10:27 am

I would have changed my name to Michael Dell and sold computers out of my college dorm room.
"It's not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog"
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RE: If I Only Knew Then What I Know Now...

Thu Mar 04, 2004 10:47 am

Hey 5T6, don't get down on yourself! You could still have a chance to be a pilot for a regional airline. Reason being, the average pilot will probably spend five or so years (possible less) at a regional before moving on to bigger and better things. Let's say your...oh, I dunno...52 by the time you build enough time to qualify for a regional pilot position. You could give a good eight years of service to that airline. I read somewhere that commuter and regional airlines love people in your position because they actually get more bang for their buck.

[Edited 2004-03-04 02:49:40]
Right rudder....Right rudder...Come on, more right rudder....Right rudder......Aw forget it, I quit!!
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RE: If I Only Knew Then What I Know Now...

Thu Mar 04, 2004 11:13 am

I would have never gotten into aviation as a career...

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RE: If I Only Knew Then What I Know Now...

Mon Mar 15, 2004 11:52 pm

I would have gotten into aviation as a career...

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RE: If I Only Knew Then What I Know Now...

Tue Mar 16, 2004 1:29 am

I would have figured out what I wanted back in high school, maybe trying to become a military pilot (in Sweden), then moving on to commercial aviation or staying on with the high g dudes.

Ok, so that didn't happen. But sometimes... sometimes I wonder, and I dream. I dream of flying a Gripen at low level over a lake in Sweden, then going feet dry just above the snow covered treetops on the way to strike a target hidden in a shallow valley. I dream of dogfighting high in the sky over a sundrenched Stockholm archipelago, then pulling up and doing a victory roll as I ascend towards the sun, afterburner blazing as I ride it's tongue of flame. I dream...

Then I wake up and I remember what John Cusack said in High Fidelity: "The fantasy never really... delivers." Not that I wouldn't have loved to be a pilot, but it's not all good. Like everything else in life, there are good times and bad times. I can have wet dreams about the more thrilling aspects of piloting all day, but military pilots are in a high risk profession, and civilian pilots get laid off a lot, and work long, ungrateful hours.

Still and all, if I had lived that other life, I would never have met my wife, and many other things whose memories I cherish would never have happened. I would not trade my life now for anything. I can still hang out here and read your stories. I love my work and I'm with a woman who is perfect for me.

When I quit my previous job to move to the UK, I told my boss: "Never look back".

And I can still dream...

[Edited 2004-03-15 17:37:29]
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo
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RE: If I Only Knew Then What I Know Now...

Tue Mar 16, 2004 7:06 am

No regrets. Well, maybe I'd like to have had more of it.

When I first started flying my first two choices would have been PanAm. My third choice was Braniff. My judgement has not gotten any better.

I've had a wonderful career. I got to do everything but make money.

Oh! I'd have put that piece of junk on a boat and floated it across the Caribbean instead of trying to fly it. But I was young and bulletproof, and a very, very good pilot back then. I am smarter now.

Happiness is not seeing another trite Ste. Maarten photo all week long.

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