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flight instructor

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Well-known member
Feb 10, 2005
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A photographer from a well-known national magazine was assigned to cover Southern California's wildfires. The magazine wanted pictures of the heroic work the fire fighters were doing as they battled the blazes.

When the photographer arrived on the scene he realized that the smoke
was so thick that it would seriously impede, or even make impossible,
his obtaining good photographs from ground-level.

He requested permission from his boss to rent a plane and take photos
from the air. His request was approved, and via a cell phone call to the
local county airport, necessary arrangements were made. He was told a
single-engine plane would be waiting for him at the airport.

He arrived at the airfield and spotted a plane warming up outside a
hangar. He jumped in with his bag, slammed the door shut, and shouted,
"Let's go!"

The pilot taxied out, swung the plane into the wind, and roared down the
runway. Within just a minute or two of his arrival they were in the air.

The photographer requested the pilot to, "Fly over the valley and make
two or three low passes so I can take some pictures of the fires on the

"Why?" asked the pilot.

"Because I'm a photographer for a national magazine," he responded, "and
I need to get some close-up shots."

The pilot was strangely silent for a moment; finally he stammered, "So,
you're telling me you're not the flight instructor?"
Sends shivers up my spine just thinking about it. I took flying lessons when I was in college back in the spring of 1971, and wasn't what you would call a real adept student. In those days most student pilots soloed at about ten hours. It took me fourteen, and then the instructor had magor misgivings about sending me up in a perfectly good Piper Colt that they needed and were using pretty hard. I obtained two hours of solo time, and school let out for the summer. Shortly after that my instructor was killed in a plane crash, so I gave up my aviation career.

To this day, when flying at all, it scares me when it comes time to land. My old toes curl up and the hair on the back of my neck stands on end, because I just know there will be a heck of a bounce. My best "three point landings" consisted of just three bounces. Usually there were more. It got to be when it came time for a lesson, I almost hoped that the wind would be blowing too hard and the instructor would cancel our flight. Talking on the radio spooked me about as bad as my lousy flying ability. The instructor would ask me to repeat what the air traffic controller had just told me, and when I'd screw up the message, he'd make me call them back to repeat their speil.

When I'd show up on the air field, it was a DANGER FIELD, and I didn't get no respect, either. :(

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