As one may gather, I am not the most diligent of blog posters. Not that anyone is noticing or gathering.
I finished reading "Lowside of the Road - a Life of Tom Waits" by Barney Hoskyns. If you are a Tom Waits fan it might be worth checking out. I'm not going to say that it is a "must read", but if you are a Tom Waits fan who also has a passion for unauthorized biographies, by all means... I liked it either way.
That book got me to about Oklahoma (I was already through most of it) on my flight from Phoenix to Washington D.C. I knew this would be a problem going in so I came prepared - Captain Sully's new book was also included in my "personal item" (such as a purse laptop or briefcase).
Not gonna lie, I am about half way through Sully's book, and it has really hit home. He got his private pilot's license from a crop duster off of a small field in Texas (replace Texas with Iowa for me). He lives in San Francisco and commutes to Charlotte, which is not entirely different from what I did for 2 years. On a side note, there was a lot of criticism about the F/O's commute on our flight 3407 which crashed in Buffalo. Hers was Seattle to Newark, so I guess that's WAY different... (actually it was a little bit different if you look at the details, but I can't leave it alone). My commute was Phoenix to Albany, NY for almost 2 years. It sucked bad. If I were able to collect frequent flier miles, I'm pretty sure I would be the majority shareholder in US Airways.
Sully is a fan of an eclectic blend of music. He talks about packing up his SkyGuide and iPod for his 4 day trip, two things I never leave home without. He describes listening to the iPod on his cross country flight, and says, "Lately, I've been partial to Natalie Merchant, Green Day, the Killers, and Evanescence." By the way how many 58 year old guys do YOU know who are jamming out to "Mr. Brightside" on their iPod? Back up. How many 58 year old guys do you know who own and actually operate an iPod? He also describes his love of classical music and his mother planting that seed as she played Chopin on the piano. I was reading all about this while listening to my iPod on a cross country flight (Tom Waits, and Mozart as it were, although I have rocked out to the Killers, Green Day, and Evanescence several times).
Sully was also an ALPA (Air Line Pilots Association) volunteer, and I coincidentally was travelling to D.C. for ALPA on this very flight. I couldn't believe how he described marvelling about stars and sunsets from the cockpit, then bitching about minimum rest overnights, slam clickers, and pay rules. He sounded like ME! He wishes for more time with his family and laments not being with his daughters for half of their lives. This is an issue which I have rolled around in my head many times. I want a family someday, but don't want to be a missing-in-action father / husband. I think I will be able to work it out, but I KNOW it will be an issue.
I suppose all of this should come as no shock for me. Airlines do quite a bit of research into personality types and from what I understand, they have their "pilot type" all picked out and the interview is just to see if you fit that type. We are selected to be similar, although most pilots think of themselves as relatively "Type A" (not me), and somewhat anal (not really). Sully talks about being this way, and he seems much more generally disciplined than I am. He was an Air Force Academy graduate (definately not me) so I suppose our iPods is the only place where we REALLY mesh. He does have a very can do attitude which I would like to think I have as well. If your sink is broken, you figure out how to fix it. For me that probably assumes there is nothing good on TV, but let's not get hung up on details.
I don't want to be JUST like 'ol Sully though. Gliding an Airbus into a river is not my idea of a good time. God forbid I am ever stuck in an emergency situation even close to that one, but if I am, hopefully I will be able to keep half as cool under pressure. Nobody can deny that he is a real Pro. I'm glad the kiddies have a worthwhile hero to look up to these days, as society seems to be lacking in that department otherwise.
Anyway, if you are looking for something to read, the 1st half of this book gets MY seal of approval. I'll let you know about the 2nd half when I get to it, but any airplane nerd probably can't go wrong.
At the very least you can help one lowly pilot afford to retire!
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