SSTjumbo
Topic Author
Posts: 2579
Joined: Sun Jun 17, 2001 3:29 am

Connection Between Pilots And Musicians?

Sat Aug 21, 2004 1:28 pm

Something that has interested me for awhile, it seems like out of quite a few accomplished musicians I run into, probably one in fifteen have been pilots in their lives. Then looking at professional airline and corporate pilots, at least from what I've seen, there's almost a similar ratio of accomplished musicians with more or less skill in the bunch. Some players I've seen in this group as examples:


Buddy Childers, former lead trumpet with Stan Kenton, flew charter for around three years in his life when the studios weren't in demand


Claude Gordon, famous bandstand frontman, was almost religious in flying airplanes


Not sure of the person's name (wow, do I make a case  Laugh out loud), but I know of an airline captain who has performed some of the legendary classical solos on trumpet, including the Hummel, in front of large audiences.


Guy Fricano, famous trumpeter in Chicago, licensed pilot who's been flying for at least fifteen years.


In my school, there's quite a few decent musicians in the flight department. They're not dominating, but the presence is there.


Then me, an aspiring ATP pilot who sat in with a professional big band last week for a performance during their second set and ended up playing lead at the end of the set.



Perhaps I'm dillusional, but being active in both arenas it seems like there is at least a minor connection between the two groups. The connection is subtle, but the presence seems to be there. Is this just random, or is there a coincidence? Perhaps this could be a doctorial thesis. Any thougts are appreciated on this matter, thanks!
I don't know, so this is my signature.
 
MITaero
Posts: 485
Joined: Mon Jul 28, 2003 8:00 am

RE: Connection Between Pilots And Musicians?

Sat Aug 21, 2004 2:21 pm

Maybe it extends to engineers, too? (I'm a trumpet player  Smile )
 
JeffDCA
Posts: 473
Joined: Tue Jul 06, 2004 7:12 am

RE: Connection Between Pilots And Musicians?

Sat Aug 21, 2004 2:23 pm

Tis but true here, pilot, guitarist, bassist and (attempted, anyway) drummer  Smile

Cheers,

Jeff
If something hasn't broken on your helicopter, it's about to.
 
fspilot747
Posts: 3455
Joined: Mon Nov 01, 1999 2:58 am

RE: Connection Between Pilots And Musicians?

Sat Aug 21, 2004 2:50 pm

Interesting. I havn't really noticed it. I used to be a drummer, haven't played in a while, and I play guitar once in a while.

None of the other pilots I know are musicians, though.


FSP
 
videns
Posts: 132
Joined: Thu Mar 18, 2004 3:28 pm

RE: Connection Between Pilots And Musicians?

Sat Aug 21, 2004 3:22 pm

I'm not making a living as a musician anymore (I'm a bass player), and I'm not planning on a career in aviation, but I'm certainly planning on getting my private pilot license (time permitting, IFR), but the connection I see is along the decision making line. As a musician (especially when playing improvised music), everything happens in real time, and you have to make split second decisions that will affect how everything is going to come out... Boxing and motor racing are pretty much the same way... You better make the right decision at the right time, otherwise, things go bad REALLY quickly... Aviation is pretty much the same way. It's very easy to get a private pilot license if you have the money, but the good pilots are the ones that can get you out of trouble safely. And that makes fast and right decision making the key to it all...
Travel? Why would i travel if I can watch it on TV?
 
Victor Hotel
Posts: 289
Joined: Fri Aug 25, 2000 8:29 pm

RE: Connection Between Pilots And Musicians?

Sat Aug 21, 2004 4:52 pm

A little off topic but another thing I have noticed is a significant percentage of pilots, about 85% of pilots I know and other people that know pilots who have also told me, is the is the interest in boating. Mostly sail, but also speed boats. Just somthing I found interesting.
VH
 
lorm
Posts: 378
Joined: Sun Jun 06, 2004 4:31 am

RE: Connection Between Pilots And Musicians?

Sat Aug 21, 2004 4:55 pm

Probably comes with the lifestyle  Big grin Money and the freedom of flight/boating/sailing.
Brick Windows
 
SlamClick
Posts: 9576
Joined: Sun Nov 23, 2003 7:09 am

RE: Connection Between Pilots And Musicians?

Sat Aug 21, 2004 9:02 pm

I think it might have to do with getting off your butt and doing something. Many of us have watched a guy play guitar and thought it would be cool to be able to do that, to make it sound like that. A musician is a person who went out of his way to learn how. The rest of us just stood around and thought it would be cool.

In similar fashion most of us have watched airplanes and thought it would be great to know how to fly one. The pilots among us did it. They went down to the airport and learned how.

It was not easy for either of us. If it was easy we'd all have done it. We had to spend a lot of time acquiring our art and perhaps most of our money went there too while we were students.

A few years ago I went to a James Taylor concert, outdoors at the Reno Hilton. I sat next to a friend of ours who is a professional musician - has a band that plays the casinos at Tahoe, Vegas and Reno. He picked the seats, right next to the sound man. He said we'd be hearing the concert exactly the same as the man who was running the sound equipment, therefore, it would be mixed as if for our ears.

RNO was landing south and during the concert planes continued to land right past the stage. Between songs he explained about lighting and sound mixing and the staging of the show and I explained things about the planes we were seeing. He has not yet learned to fly and I have not yet learned to play an instrument but we both have other arts, crafts, or fields of study.

I think people who will learn to do a thing like this are never content with what they know, what they can do. They will always be looking into some new activity.

Oh, I once did compose a short piece on my Atari 800 and while off on medical leave I learned to play Red River Valley backwards on a keyboard. Does that count?
Happiness is not seeing another trite Ste. Maarten photo all week long.
 
MD11Engineer
Posts: 13916
Joined: Sun Oct 26, 2003 5:25 am

RE: Connection Between Pilots And Musicians?

Sat Aug 21, 2004 10:07 pm

The late LH DC-10 captain and author (he wrote lots of books and magazine articles about flying, philosophy and traveling) Rudolf Braunburg used to play the saxophone. His trademark was a saxophone case and a portable typewriter on his trips. On layovers he used to play in locaol jazz clubs.

Jan
Je Suis Charlie et je suis Ahmet aussi
 
citationjet
Posts: 2259
Joined: Sun Mar 09, 2003 2:26 am

RE: Connection Between Pilots And Musicians?

Sat Aug 21, 2004 10:32 pm

I was told by an airline captain over 20 years ago, that the best pilots he had seen had a musical or musician's background.
Having a technical or engineering background does not necessarily make the best pilots.
Also, being a doctor or a lawyer definitely does NOT make the best private pilots.
Boeing Flown: 701,702,703;717;720;721,722;731,732,733,734,735,737,738,739;741,742,743,744,747SP;752,753;762,763;772,773.
 
JeffDCA
Posts: 473
Joined: Tue Jul 06, 2004 7:12 am

RE: Connection Between Pilots And Musicians?

Sun Aug 22, 2004 1:51 am

A little off topic but another thing I have noticed is a significant percentage of pilots, about 85% of pilots I know and other people that know pilots who have also told me, is the is the interest in boating. Mostly sail, but also speed boats. Just somthing I found interesting.

It's the unwritten rule of being a pilot, you either sail or play golf... or both  Smile

Cheers,

Jeff
If something hasn't broken on your helicopter, it's about to.
 
Silver1SWA
Crew
Posts: 4458
Joined: Wed Mar 10, 2004 6:11 pm

RE: Connection Between Pilots And Musicians?

Sun Aug 22, 2004 6:29 am

I play guitar and I used to be in a rock band.

I'm now finishing up training for my PPL and my ultimate goal is to fly for a career.

So I guess it's true. However I am somewhat bothered by it. There is so much tragedy in music and much of it has to do with famous musicians dying in airplane accidents. I always found that odd and although it doesn't bother me enough to stop my passion for flight, I tend to draw that connection from time to time.

[Edited 2004-08-21 23:30:17]
ALL views, opinions expressed are mine ONLY and are NOT representative of those shared by Southwest Airlines Co.
 
SlamClick
Posts: 9576
Joined: Sun Nov 23, 2003 7:09 am

RE: Connection Between Pilots And Musicians?

Sun Aug 22, 2004 6:48 am

Hey JeffDCA does it matter that I neither sail nor play golf? Of course I do live in the desert and that is not an ideal scene for either.

On a related note, I am somewhat artistic and if I was hiring pilots I would not hire pilots like me. I believe that I am a very good pilot but as a general statement I think I'd prefer to hire more pragmatic, less "creative" pilots. Maybe music is good creativity.



Happiness is not seeing another trite Ste. Maarten photo all week long.
 
JeffDCA
Posts: 473
Joined: Tue Jul 06, 2004 7:12 am

RE: Connection Between Pilots And Musicians?

Sun Aug 22, 2004 8:26 am

SlamClick,
I see in your profile one of your hobbies is skiiing, i believe this is fast becoming the third entry in the unwritten rule  Smile You're safe  Smile

Cheers,

Jeff
If something hasn't broken on your helicopter, it's about to.
 
SlamClick
Posts: 9576
Joined: Sun Nov 23, 2003 7:09 am

RE: Connection Between Pilots And Musicians?

Sun Aug 22, 2004 8:47 am

Thanks Jeff. I'm also once-divorced from a flight attendant. That is pretty good bona fides too.

But I have never been a flight engineer or furloughed.
Happiness is not seeing another trite Ste. Maarten photo all week long.
 
MD11Engineer
Posts: 13916
Joined: Sun Oct 26, 2003 5:25 am

RE: Connection Between Pilots And Musicians?

Sun Aug 22, 2004 8:54 am

Another thing I´ve noticed:

In the aviation industry there seems to be a disproportionate number of lefthanded people, esp. among pilots and mechanics.

Any input?

Jan (lefthanded myself)
Je Suis Charlie et je suis Ahmet aussi
 
SlamClick
Posts: 9576
Joined: Sun Nov 23, 2003 7:09 am

RE: Connection Between Pilots And Musicians?

Sun Aug 22, 2004 9:17 am

Yep. Left handed.

Don't think it ever made any difference.

Once read an article on "how to fly a Stearman" He gave the instructions: Grab throttle in right hand. Grab stick in left hand. If this maneuver was successful, stand up, turn around and sit back down - you are facing the wrong way.



Happiness is not seeing another trite Ste. Maarten photo all week long.
 
videns
Posts: 132
Joined: Thu Mar 18, 2004 3:28 pm

RE: Connection Between Pilots And Musicians?

Sun Aug 22, 2004 11:16 am

I made a living as a musician a long time ago, now I'm a show systems engineer looking to get my PPL. One interesting thing that was said above, and one of the main reasons why I want to become a private pilot is the good old "How does it work?" thing. In my case, that sometimes doesn't go any further, and in some other cases it goes to the highest levels of geekdom (Drooling when looking at the wing of an A330-340, a 747, MD11, etc...). I would imagine that operating such a complex piece of machinery requires quite a level of curiosity as to how things work, etc..., and not just going to a class room and/or simulator to learn it...
Any opinions from the airline pilots out there?
Travel? Why would i travel if I can watch it on TV?
 
ZKSUJ
Posts: 6814
Joined: Tue May 18, 2004 5:15 pm

RE: Connection Between Pilots And Musicians?

Sun Aug 22, 2004 5:52 pm

The guy from Ironmaiden is now a FO on the 733 for Astreus. I was a drummer and I am hoping to make it as an airline pilot.
 
Invictus
Posts: 64
Joined: Wed Aug 11, 2004 12:03 am

RE: Connection Between Pilots And Musicians?

Sun Aug 22, 2004 6:26 pm

I usually become a great musician in the bar after a large number of beers with my mates! Actually, so do most of my colleagues...?  Big thumbs up
The captain of my soul.
 
MD11Engineer
Posts: 13916
Joined: Sun Oct 26, 2003 5:25 am

RE: Connection Between Pilots And Musicians?

Sun Aug 22, 2004 11:07 pm

Well, I know quite a few pilots, who´s knowledge about their plane ends in knowing which button to press at which time (last week I had to show a crew how to dim the indication lights on their A300-600). There are very few pilots who are interested in a deeper knowledge of the machine they are flying in, most of them are either "old timers" or have been mechanuics themselves.
The worst are those who THINK that they know everything and are trying to tell us how to do our jobs (apprenticeship, years of experience, licence exams etc.)

Jan
Je Suis Charlie et je suis Ahmet aussi
 
chrisEMA
Posts: 45
Joined: Thu Oct 25, 2001 6:01 am

RE: Connection Between Pilots And Musicians?

Sun Aug 22, 2004 11:24 pm

Well, what of aviation enthusiasts??

I earn my living as a musician see my website www.chrispowell.org - I have met heaps of aviation folk over the years (and become good friends with many) who have music as a hobby or sideline. These have included a former chief Swiss MD11 Captain who's a brilliant classical organist, also a Cessna 182 pilot in NZ who's a dab hand with a keyboard, a United Captain and a retired ATC instructor from LATCC who was kind enough to show us round his place of work a couple of years ago. There is obviously some kind of common denominator in place....

Happy flying!

ChrisEMA
 
baw2198
Posts: 587
Joined: Wed Dec 24, 2003 11:20 am

RE: Connection Between Pilots And Musicians?

Sun Aug 22, 2004 11:44 pm



I've been a trombone player for 12 yrs now, PPL for 6 and ATC for 4.
Play alittle bit of golf (not that good) and right handed.

Very interesting connection SST. Do you think its just an inside drive of the individual to always do something complex?
"And remember, Keep your stick on the ice"--->Red Green
 
infiniti757
Posts: 90
Joined: Fri Jan 09, 2004 7:56 am

RE: Connection Between Pilots And Musicians?

Mon Aug 23, 2004 4:01 am

Back when I was flying single engine cargo alone, I took to trying to learn harmonica in the cockpit. It would probably be painful for the guys I fly with to hear. I don't do it anymore, for crew comfort.
Give me the luxuries in life and I will gladly do without the necessities. (Frank Lloyd Wright)

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 19 guests

Popular Searches On Airliners.net

Top Photos of Last:   24 Hours  •  48 Hours  •  7 Days  •  30 Days  •  180 Days  •  365 Days  •  All Time

Military Aircraft Every type from fighters to helicopters from air forces around the globe

Classic Airliners Props and jets from the good old days

Flight Decks Views from inside the cockpit

Aircraft Cabins Passenger cabin shots showing seat arrangements as well as cargo aircraft interior

Cargo Aircraft Pictures of great freighter aircraft

Government Aircraft Aircraft flying government officials

Helicopters Our large helicopter section. Both military and civil versions

Blimps / Airships Everything from the Goodyear blimp to the Zeppelin

Night Photos Beautiful shots taken while the sun is below the horizon

Accidents Accident, incident and crash related photos

Air to Air Photos taken by airborne photographers of airborne aircraft

Special Paint Schemes Aircraft painted in beautiful and original liveries

Airport Overviews Airport overviews from the air or ground

Tails and Winglets Tail and Winglet closeups with beautiful airline logos