Premier at the ready…..
Never Say Never!
As the year 2013 began to wind down, I was beginning to “Wind Up”. Earlier in the year I had been thankful for the opportunity fly a Lear Jet as a co-captain with a long time friend whom I had known since the early 70’s. I had thought I had done my last airplane type rating course and this job would see me through to retirement.
That was not to be however as the aircraft owner decided to part with the family plane, and I was out of a job quicker than you can say “Winterpeg can be cold in the winter” My long time friend and co-captain on the airplane had announced she was leaving to fly air ambulance just days before the big announcement.
I had been granted annual raise on a Friday with lots fanfare and congratulations, as the company sought out another co-pilot for the operation to work with me after the departure of my friend and co-captain, and the following Tuesday, out of a job.
I felt blindsided and really, I did not see it coming. My former partner read the tea leaves correctly. I did not…. Not the first time in my life either.
I wandered over to the air ambulance operation, and they hired me on a mutual trial basis. I would test them, and they me. There was some concern I might be too old for the job. On my part I had heard there may be lifestyle issues… I continued with the job until my Lear licence needed renewal, thus a new bond, a new type endorsement which I declined to accept for family and lifestyle reasons.
Over the months I was on the job flying medivac, I grew to understand the nature of living out of a suitcase. I did like the flying, but there was a family imperative to “be nearer” to the home front more often.
I began to renew my instructor rating writing the exam and started the inflight training with my friend Richard in Waterloo. I was quite enjoying it… However as I began to consider this option more carefully the math was not adding up. I was paying to get qualified to teach again, with the prospect of maybe needing to access the food bank loomed ever closer. This is because flight instructors are not paid when the weather craps out, so a couple weeks of bad winter weather could spell financial disaster so to speak. Lining up for food at the food bank did seem a more likely prospect as the winter weather loomed ever closer. I have had several instructor friends have to do just that.
Things were looking tough again. Suddenly an email caught my attention. Josh a “Flight co-ordinator” for a new charter company sent me a note asking if I was interested in the corporate charter world again. I had come to know Josh through our shared time at the company which managed the now departed Lear Jet job.
Josh put me in contact with his new employer and this company was operating from Pearson, my old home base. The job would be flying as captain or co-captain on a Premier 1A. A speedy little jet with a “Glass Cockpit” and a regular paycheck. Unlike the air ambulance, most trips would not take me far off the continent, a favourable situation for family considerations.
There would be a training bond of course, industry standard in the corporate world. I met the new CEO, Chief Pilot and Operations manager, and to say the least I was impressed with the caliber of the talent of this comapny. I was hired and in early December headed down to FlightSafety’s Wilmington Delaware Training Center.
I liked my class mates and FlightSafety instructor, we all hit it off quite well. So for the next three weeks I worked hard to learn and understand the airplane on ground school, and fly the simulator in order to pass yet another type check. Something I had thought I would not have to again in this life…. But never say never….
My class mates, Ron, Tonya, Ryan and Andre, were excellent company and good help, and with the coaching of one of the best sim instructors I have ever had, Bob, finished the training just two days before Christmas. These are more people whom I will look forward to meeting with again at some point in future to share and swap stories about how the flying this airplane has changed our lives.
I have always said in the end, flying is not just about airplanes, but for me more about the people in them. I have learned that in this business, one can never say never… because you never really know what’s around the corners in life. Life’s radar just doesn’t work that way.
It has been quite the ride, and I look forward to meeting again friends whom distance and time have separated, but only for a time as we will meet again.
Remember friend, Friends Remember