Thursday, July 31, 2008

A response to a comment

Rodolfo sent me this-

'Hey David check out this quote from this mech forum:

"I have 27 years experience, in all facets of aviation, and if I leave my current job, all I have to look forward to is about 17 bucks an hour at a new job. So 27 years of experience, plus 30K in tools, is worth 17 bucks an hour. "

It makes me sick to think about it.I know why I got into aviation. It wasn't the money. It's in my blood and I know it. But these statistics aren't very encouraging to someone starting out. If my goal was to be single for the rest of my life I wouldn't care. But I'm at that age where I could actually see myself as a husband and father. If an opportunity comes along that is outside aviation I'm almost tempted to go for it.'


I am NOT out to discourage you. Especially if you're in it for love rather than money.

Aviation is more volatile that 100LL. I think it's getting worse.

I've seen shops close without notice. Complete with padlocks from the FAA and IRS. (I ran into a guy years later that told me he had to get a lawyer to get his tools out of the hangar.)

I've been with companies that lost contracts. Once, I just pulled one patch off of my shirt and Velcros another on. The other time it took an international relocation. I had to move my family home from Sicily.

Right here at Wiley Post Int'l I got laid off one July. I went down to the other end of the same hangar and got a job lined up for the very Monday after my current job ended. Same money etc. Same everything.

Two months later, on a Monday, my new boss called me in, "David, you see that Baron out there?"
It was hard to miss. It was the only paying customer in the place at the time.
"Yeah, I see it."
"When you're done with it, I don't have any work coming in for two months. I'm gonna have to lay you off."

Big deal, I thought. Just went through the same thing two months ago...

On the way to work the next day the news on the radio wasn't good. It was horrible.

I got to the shop just in time to see the second plane driving into the World Trade Center.

G.A. went to shit. Quick.

The reason I say that it's getting 'worse' is because of buy outs and sell offs.

Just this week-

I heard of a company in Alabama that was bought out. (Not sure when this happened. It was recent given the age of the storyteller.)

A meeting was called. NO ONE from the outgoing management was present. The new owner said, "In case you don't know, I am the new owner. All of you with badge numbers above number 500, you are terminated as of now."

Yesterday, I met a man that I'd known by name and reputation for 20 years. He'd been with the same company for 23 years.

That part of that company had been bought out, "All of your are fired."

Now, my (presumably) young friend, I've said all of that to say-

Weave yourself a net of friends. It's your safety net. (Be prepared to catch friends as the fall too.)

Continue your education now while it's just a bitch to do so. Don't wait until its nearly or seemingly impossible. Weave more friends.

Build your skills. Various skills, but be sure you're confident in a couple of them regardless of the airframe involved.

You have no idea how it pains me to quote my Grandad on this one but, "It's your attitude." When the other guys are grumbling, keep your mouth shut. Don't fall into the 'this place sucks' void. It will suck you down.

I could go on. TRUST ME! I've been thinking about this post since 0530 this morning!

Rodolfo, just be prepared to bail and have a landing zone in sight. It might not happen but...
When it does...

Either way, do you really want to be dragging your knuckles around a hangar deck 27 years from now?

That doesn't mean you have to get out of aviation. You just have to get ahead of those of us that have done it for decades. It should be easy for you! We're old, beat up, bruised, crippled, blind, slow, and, at any given moment, bleeding profusely!!!

"Come on in!!! The water's fine."

The "Winds of Life"

The winds of life are blowing in new directions this week.

I've been in touch with my daughter just about every other day. Catching up and learning.

Here's a quote that made a cranky old man grin and giggle, "... I can't stand that Rap crap."!!!

She sent me a list (alphabetically but) the first band on the list- AC/DC!!! That Southern Belle didn't fall far from the Ol' Pine Tree eh!? Yeah, my baby rocks.

She doesn't like Algebra. I really wish that gene hadn't been passed on.

Today, I got my little raise. I guess you already read that.

I was still a little aggravated as I drove home.

I stopped at a convenience store in the old neighborhood. Mostly, because it was the easiest place on my way to get out of and back into traffic again. It's right across the street from both; a little house I rented years ago and the car lot where I purchased the Dodge. That intersection is the site of one of the darkest scariest days of my entire life.

Hell, it was a very black period of my life.

It's not the first time I've stopped there on this 'Tour of the OKAY City'. Partly, like I said it's a convenient convenience store. Largely, I stop there to face demons with my shoulders squared.

As I got back back into the truck I saw an older man walking across the street. He had on a sporty hat, a loose fitting shirt with a tropical print, slacks, and brightly polished shoes...

I got out of the truck and locked eyes on him. My mind was trying to verify what I already knew in my heart.

Eyes locked, I walked directly at him.

As he stepped up to the sidewalk he looked up and saw me.

He recognized me immediately.

We shouted each other's name. It was one of those moments when your right hand reaches out to shake hands and both hands reach out for an embrace.

I hugged that old man as tightly as he hugged me.

The fuckin' tears tried to tear down the damn dam again.

That old mad is a true true friend.

Whenever I hear the song "Curtis Lowe", Old John is the old man I see.

My eyes are still damp but I'm laughing.

You shoulda seen the neighborhood folk looking at the old black man and the not yet so old white boy hugging and wiping tears away!!!

[Epilogue: I'm not going to go into the details here today but John had my back at a time when I sure as hell needed back up. "That's what friends do." Right? No. Not always. That day John and a friend of his DID. They did so at great risk to themselves. That, is why my eyes are damp.]

Thank You Very *&#%#$ Much

Thank you Mr Leech. I can't possibly express my deep appreciation for the $.55 per hour "raise".

I can't convey my joy.

I am overwhelmed by the opportunity to contribute even MORE of my hard work to you.

I'm delighted to be a larger contributor to your plan for the redistribution of wealth in America.

I'm tickled that you now have additional funding with which to finance your next raise.

Gee Mr Leech, sure wish I got to vote on my raises. Shucks that must be really neato.

'Cause I'd sure vote for a raise that would net me a FRIGGING increase in my take home pay!

OH! You've got that figgered out dontchya Mr Leech.

Well, I'll damn sure vote against you.

Your opponent will be another parasite. I'll vote against him too, at the first opportunity.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

The Mighty Damn Is Leaking

but I think it's gonna hold.

It's got to.

Part of me wants to bottle this up, selfishly and for reasons that are beyond wrong.

Rest of me wants to climb to the roof

Fire my pistols into the air



Stinging acid tears leak past the mightiest emotional dam ever constructed

DEMAND that the world hear me

My Eldest Child Loves me

She told me so...

Wednesday, July 9, 2008


The Architect is a big John Prine fan. I couldn't really name a John Prine song.

I just ran across this on Hal's blog,

Monday, July 7, 2008


All day long I've written the date 07/07/88.
My Airframe and Powerplant licenses are Twenty Years old today.
The Matchstick obscures my number.
The address is 20 years old.
And my signature... You should see it now! LOL!
Illegible to say the least!!!