Phannie

Phannie
Photo taken at Winchester Bay, Oregon

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Shade Fixed, I Receive a Pilot Award

At Northlake Village RV Park, Roanoke, Texas...

After pausing for a few days in Tyler to keep from having to drive Phannie in rainy weather, we made it to Mckinney and MCD Innovations for repairs to Phannie's windshield shade. There are actually two shades on each window, one a 'day' shade to reduce sunlight and glare and the other a 'night' shade that is opaque. It was the night shade that was giving us trouble. Here's a photo of the day shade; you can see the bottom of the night shade near the top of the photo:



The day shade lowers on the inside of the night shade, and each has an electric motor to roll them up and down. The problem was with the night shade motor but, just for peace of mind, I wanted the technician to replace both motors with an improved version they are installing nowadays.

We were met on arrival by Calvin, the installer, who did some troubleshooting and confirmed that the motor was likely the problem. He said he would be at the coach at 8:30 a.m. the next day to install the new motors. 

Not being in the mood to do any food prep, we decided to go to Hutchins BBQ, a place highly recommended in all the foodie apps. We were not disappointed. I had brisket and ribs that I thought were at least as good as Franklin's in Austin and perhaps even better. Hutchins BBQ will definitely go in the Favorite Restaurants list:


We spent the night there at the factory in one of their dozen RV parking spaces, along with four other motorhomes parked there for shade work. Sure enough, at 8:33 the next morning, there was a knock on the door, and there stood Calvin with his toolbox. Here are photos of our parking spot and Calvin, getting to work:




After a couple of hours, the work was done, and we left MCD behind, along with nearly four hundred of our dollars. It was worth it, though. We love our MCD shades, and they have been rolled up and down an uncountable number of times without a hiccup over the past seven years. 

Another reason for us to be in the Dallas area was for me to receive an award from the FAA for my long career in aviation. This was the Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award, signifying that the recipient has spent at least 50 years as an active pilot with no accidents or safety violations. 

I never really thought this was very significant until I was informed that only one pilot out of perhaps 500 receives this award. Of course, I started flying very early in life; my flying lessons began when I was 16, and I received my commercial pilot's license and multiengine rating before I graduated from high school, something that's almost unheard of. And, since I'm still doing some flying now that I'm in my seventies, I have, indeed, been at it for over 50 years, soon to be 60, I guess. 

I had the good fortune of knowing exactly what I wanted to do for a career from the age of eight when I took my first airplane ride. And I feel doubly fortunate for having enjoyed every one of my 15,000 flying hours and my having flown many kinds of airplanes, from single-engine Cessnas to large commercial jet airliners. 

I received the award from an old friend and fellow FAA manager, Bill Smith, who himself was an award recipient:


(And no, we didn't coordinate our attire for the ceremony, but it surely looks as if we did.)

Here's a photo of the type of airplane in which I took my first flight and then my first flying lesson--an Aeronca 7AC:


Here's a photo of the last type of airplane I flew as captain before retiring from airline flying--a Boeing 727-200, after which I began a second career with the FAA:


I'm still not convinced that my status as an aviator is such that an award is appropriate. In my view, I'm being awarded merely for being an old pilot who made it through 50 years without bending an airplane, hurting myself or any of my passengers or doing anything that resulted in a safety violation. There are many thousands of others who could say the same thing. But I'm grateful, very grateful for the career I've had and this nice bit of recognition.

Thank you, Lord, for this wonderful life; 
please forgive me if I don't appreciate it each day as I should.

You don't stop playing when you get old; you get old when you stop playing.



20 comments:

  1. Mike, you are being way too humble about this! How many people do you know who have been operating a car for more than 50 years can say the same thing? A car - not an airplane?! Statistically speaking, I'll bet not many. This is such a significant honor - I'm very, very impressed! Congratulations!

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    1. Well, you're being kind, Mary. I am grateful for the recognition, but I have a hard time thinking of my flying career as being all that noteworthy. Thanks again for your point of view, which I value.

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  2. Nice that you got you shades up and running again so quickly.
    Congratulations on over 50 years of safe flying.

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    1. Thanks, George. It was a great career; I wish everyone could be so fortunate with their occupation.

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  3. Congrats Mike. You found your life's joy while most of us find a job. That's amazing and you deserve the award.

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    1. Thanks, Sandie. I can always count on you for a positive outlook on everything. That's a gift.

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  4. Congratulations Sir! Your the only one I know who has one, every Captain I know has crashed at least one small airplane. You are in an elite circle.

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    1. Thank you! I was always extra careful when flying; I have a low pain threshold, I think.

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  5. Congratulations on a fine career and excellence!

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  6. Thank you, and thanks for stopping by!

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  7. Congratulations on your award and career. Good to see your blind problem fixed.

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  8. Congrats Mike on your award,50 years wonderful.
    My wife Martee-Jo and i celebrated 50 years of marriage Nov 15th.
    Noticed in a previous blog you mentioned Gordon & Juanita,wife and i,
    stopped and spent some time at the campground in Port Orford.
    Was on a road trip in 2014.Fun people .Merry Christmas To you all

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  9. Hi, Bob! Congrats on 50 years of marriage! We’ve got eight to go for our milestone. Good to hear from you.

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  10. Congrats Mike!You make my 1300hrs look minuscule .

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    1. Thanks, Richard, but you've made it into the "thousand" club. Anything over that really means little other than just bragging rights and a strong bladder. LOL!

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  11. Congratulations, Mike. What an amazing accomplishment. As someone who is sometimes a passenger in airplanes, I am very grateful for pilots like you. Great job!!!! Merry Christmas to you both.

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    1. How kind of you, Evelyn. I'm still a little sheepish from really not doing anything all that exceptional except, well, being an old pilot. But it is very nice to hear from you with such a welcome comment. Merry Christmas!

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  12. Congratulations and well deserved might I add! An awesome career and I for one stand in awe!

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    1. Awww, thanks so much! I did have a great career, and I'm very grateful for friends like you and Steve. Ya'll are the best!

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