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What We’re Studying: ‘Fly the Friggin’ Airplane!’

For many who know Patrick Gordon both personally or by means of his writing (a few of which has appeared within the pages of AIN), it will not be a shock that he has written a e-book chronicling his adventures. Sadly, “Fly the Friggin’ Airplane!” is simply the primary in a sequence, so we’ll have to attend patiently for the remainder of the story. However in the meantime, his first e-book by him, with a foreword by Jay Mesinger, is a pleasant recap of his youth by him and the way he turned a pilot, in addition to a few of the invaluable classes he discovered alongside the best way.

Gordon has the distinctive means to be candid about his previous whereas entertaining the reader. Throughout a lie detector take a look at whereas pursuing a slot within the Military Safety Company, his admitting to “borrowing” a automobile and a locomotive scored factors with the examiner and he was accepted into this system.

Whereas studying tips on how to skydive, Gordon turned enamored with flying the airplane and commenced studying to fly in a Piper J-3 Cub and Aeronca. 7AC. On his first solo cross-country flight, Gordon bumped into some turbulence and whereas on the lookout for a receptacle to carry his “upchuck” bemoaned his lack of preparation, which meant there was no airsickness bag on board. “It hadn’t occurred to me that I’d get airsick,” he wrote. “As my situation worsened, I seemed across the cockpit to see what I may throw up into.”

I will not spoil the enjoyable, however suffice to say that he needed to get inventive not simply as soon as however twice, and the fog of confusion ensuing from the nausea could have had one thing to do along with his touchdown at a very flawed airport.

Many pilots find yourself flying something they’ll get their palms on to construct flight hours, and Gordon isn’t any exception. Someway he launched a aspect enterprise flying cadavers beneath what in the present day could be thought-about questionable regulatory requirements—hopefully the statute of limitations is properly over, Patrick—and this was earlier than he had even earned his business pilot license. “So long as nobody seemed on the association too carefully,” is how Gordon put it.

Simply earlier than taking the business verify experience, he was to obtain a few of the most respected recommendation ever from his flight teacher and he wrote this quote from Eleanor Roosevelt in his logbook: “Study from the errors of others. You will not reside lengthy sufficient to make them your self.” As his buddy Scotty the flight teacher put it, “Yer gonna make errors as you get alongside on this profession you are a chasin’. Attempt to make ’em small errors and do not repeat ’em. And discuss your errors so others kin be taught from you, too.”

Scotty was the one who instructed Gordon to “fly the friggin’ airplane. For those who’re flyin’, you ain’t die’in.”

Like many pilots, Gordon has made his share of errors (or studying alternatives), and he freely admits them and shares these experiences to assist others be taught.

A very nasty encounter with icing in a single-engine Piper Comanche 400 resulted within the airplane carrying a heavy load of ice and the ice fully obscuring the windshield. With Scotty’s assist radioing from the bottom, Gordon was capable of land the Comanche by looking the aspect vent window, solely to seek out that he could not open the door due to the ice. After 20 minutes of cautious pounding on the door, Scotty was capable of open it. “You understand you are one fortunate son of a bitch, dontcha?” he requested Gordon.

With the aim of turning into a global contract pilot, Gordon took each alternative to realize expertise, flying airplanes everywhere in the world and studying extra concerning the challenges of flying totally different plane and with pilots of various and typically questionable high quality.

But it surely’s the teachings that he discovered as a supervisor that stand out, specifically an incident at his first administration job when Gordon tried to encourage some recalcitrant night-shift FBO workers to straighten up by sending an worker memo titled “The [Effing] Honeymoon is Over.”

John, the boss, known as Gordon into his workplace and dressed him down for his lack of judgment in sending that memo and made him ask for permission earlier than making any extra such actions. Later, some extra recommendation from John struck residence, after a lineman mistakenly eliminated a tow bar from a Sabreliner earlier than chocking the wheels. The jet ended up rolling into the tug, and the end result was an costly restore to the Sabre’s nostril cone.

When Gordon steered that the lineman be placed on administrative depart, then endure extra coaching, John disagreed and requested the lineman to return to the workplace. John defined that he understood the strain the lineman was beneath whereas working alone beneath tough and harmful circumstances. As an alternative of admonishing him, John “gave him a elevate, thanked him for his service to him, and put him again on the road. After the lineman left, John checked out me and stated, ‘He’ll now be one of the best, most safety-concerned lineman on our employees. He will not make that, or another mistake, for a very long time. It would take about 10 minutes for our actions to be identified by each different worker within the firm. You will see a particular enchancment in morale.”

That was certainly the case, and Gordon took the lesson to coronary heart.

The adventures proceed, and Gordon retains the reader entertained to the tip and wanting extra. However that should wait till the subsequent e-book comes out—hopefully quickly.

“Fly the Friggin’ Airplane!” is out there as a digital Kindle e-book from Amazon. For a signed laborious copy, ship an electronic mail with title, deal with, and nation to


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