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Early Years

I'm switching the rest of the story to the Flexible Flyer banner.  I have always thought that would be a good title for my memoirs.  My ...

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Shit posting time.






I made this little video of myself writing my blog.




Florida Express made this little video to sell seats on our airplanes.

I had several favorite first officers to fly with at Florida Express.  One was Maurice, Pepe Le Pew.  He had a French accent and had a funny way of saying some American sayings, such as "piece of pie", instead of piece of cake.  

He was always looking for the romance with the womens and that is how he got his nickname.  He would drive his Mercedes home from the airport, wearing his pilot hat and a white scarf and if he pulled up next to an attractive woman at a light, he would lower his power window and say in his accent, "Good evening".  I guess it must have worked some times, because he continued doing it.

Maurice lived in an apartment at the Lake Fredrica Apartments.  They were on the north shore of Lake Fredrica and Maurice bought a Ski Natique boat designed for pulling water skiers.  This became the basis of several company parties on the lake shore.




When Dave was first hired, he had to do Initial Operating Experience (IOE), some of which can be done while riding on the jumpseat.  I was flying with Maurice, so Dave rode with us and Maurice suggested a landing contest.  Dave would be the judge.  Maurice was leading until the very last landing, which was mine.  I got really lucky and made one of those landings in which you don't even know when you have touched the ground.  It was a heart breaker.  Sorry Pepe.

Of course, I had opportunities to fly with Dave and that was cool, partially because it was a kind of role reversal.  He had been one of my early flight instructors and my chief pilot at Graham Aviation many years before.

Another favorite was Doug Rothermund.  Doug was a tall, thin guy, very nice and a very good pilot.  One of my favorite stories about him occurred on a pleasant evening flight from one of our cities on Florida's southeastern coast.  I can't remember exactly which one, it could have been Miami, Ft. Lauderdale or West Palm Beach.  Whichever it was, the other two flights were also returning and we were lined up on the arrival to Orlando.

We were not the first flight in line and heard the air traffic controller call traffic for the flight we were following.  "FlexAir XXX, you have traffic at XX o'clock, a Skyhawk at X thousand feet."  When he called the Flex traffic to the light plane, the pilot said, "It is not a Skyhawk, it is a Skylane."


  Cessna Skyhawk



Cessna Skylane

Can you tell me the difference between these two planes from these pictures?  Me neither, especially when they are several miles away from me, when I'm flying a jet at 250 knots.

The reason the controller makes those calls is to allow pilots in both planes to be aware of each other and to give them some basic information that will allow them to understand the performance differences and what to look for.  

The Skyhawk and Skylane are both made by Cessna and look nearly identical, especially in the circumstances I described.  Their performance is very similar for our purposes.  The Skylane is a little bigger, has a more powerful engine, carries a little more weight, goes a little faster and costs a little more.  However, the only pilot who would be compelled to correct the controller on that traffic callout would be the owner of said Skylane.  It really wouldn't make that much difference to a renter or to any of the other people involved in the situation. They are usually just referred to as Cessnas when being called as traffic.  The controller kind of apologized and corrected himself and I could tell from his tone that he was thinking, "So what?"

Doug was flying this leg and I was talking on the radio.  I kind of laughed and said to Doug that we must have been hearing the owner of the Skylane.  He kind of chuckled.  When the controller called the traffic for us, a Skylane, I asked, "Are you sure it's a Skylane and not a Skyhawk?"  (Wise ass airline pilot.)  The controller said, "Oh no, it is not a Skyhawk, it is a Skylane." as if he were talking to a child.  Doug and I would have fallen out of our seats laughing if we were not buckled in.  

From that time on, Doug and I always called each other Skylane.

Much more about Doug later.    

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