How did I earn a type rating in the 727 with so few hours? How did I manage to successfully transition between aircraft with ease, so often, and with such a hectic life? Today I share my secret--- I got lucky. Lucky that I met someone early in my career who created a foundation of basic flying skills, that I've carried with me throughout life.
I'd just finished college, and was building my resume. My plan was, that when my daughters were in school full time, I would start flying professionally. Someone recommended I go to STI-- Simulator Training Incorporated-- get some sim time and a Flight Engineer rating. That's where I met Bo Corby. The owner, operator, and one of the instructors at STI. Bo was also a pilot for Northwest Airlines at the time.
2009, NWA B747 Retirement party
When I arrived at the STI, a group of men sat in the lobby. I'd later learned they'd been training, and were on break. As I opened the door, conversation stopped and all heads turned. I asked, "Is Bo Corby here?"
One of the men said, "Yes." My eyebrows raised, anticipating more of an answer than yes. But then one of the men stood, and strutted toward me. He turned to the group and said, "Boy, I like my women tall." Everyone laughed.
I didn't laughed, I smiled. Then I put my arm over this man's shoulder, wrapped it around his neck, put him in a head lock and said, "Great. I like my men short, that way I can keep them under control."
For the next three days, Bo spent two hours a day in the simulator with me, teaching me how to fly jets. He taught me how to scan properly, and not waste time on instruments that weren't going to impact the outcome. If my vertical speed wasn't moving, I certainly wasn't climbing or descending. He taught me the concept of phugoid oscillations, and stability. He taught the importance of and how to effectively trim to a hands off state. And then he taught me how to manage the speed with the thrust levers, without diverting my attention for power settings, enabling me to fly any plane. Now all this may sound basic, but the core concepts he taught have carried me through an amazing airline career.
Bo's life and experiences have taken in to multiple airlines including Northwest. He's flown close to 19,000 hours, and I suspect taught as many. With that many hours, a pilot has stories.
|Bo and Mr. Akbari|
|DC-10 Leaving Tehran|
Bo is now retired from Northwest Airlines, and STI has been gone for a few years. But Bo has not slowed down. What is Bo doing today? He's teaching again. His new program AirMentors is the extension of what he's been teaching for years to thousands of commercial airline pilots. And what he taught me so many years before. This course is perfect for anyone starting their career, to learn primary skills of flying jets. But it is so much more than that...
Bo teaches accomplished pilots who are transitioning between aircraft, taking their first captain upgrade, or preparing for recurrent, how to fly more efficiently. Efficiency means the ability to divert your attention in the event of an emergency. It means flying the plane smarter, and safer.
Bo, it's still four days until Thanksgiving, but I want you to know that today, and everyday, how thankful I am that I walked through your door 24 years ago, and have had the opportunity to know and work with you over the years. I know that your telling the ladies at NWA that I was flying the Whale for Tower is why they pulled my application out of the archives, and invited me for an interview. Thank you! You gave me a foundation to fly, and you opened many doors for me, too. You truly have been my mentor. And what a better name than Airmentors.
Enjoy the Journey!