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"We are the protagonists of our stories called life, and there is no limit to how high we can fly."

PHD. MBA. MHS. Type rated on A350, A330, B777, B747-400, B747-200, B757, B767, B737, B727. International Airline Pilot / Author / Speaker. Dedicated to giving the gift of wings to anyone following their dreams. Supporting Aviation Safety through training, writing, and inspiration. Fighting for Aviation Safety and Airline Employee Advocacy. Safety Culture and SMS change agent.

Monday, March 22, 2010

A Small World

The world of aviation never ceases to amaze me, as to how small it truly is.

After years of working with another instructor at Northwest, I discovered that we had been in the same new-hire class at Braniff twenty years prior. During a training event, I learned that the captain was married to my babysitter. Not my children’s babysitter, but mine when I was seven. On a Tower Air flight, the flight engineer and I discovered that my daughter and his granddaughter were playing a soccer game, together, 3000 miles away. The stories and examples are endless.
And today was no different.

My first day in class I sat at my desk, ready to start indoctrination, and who should walk in but my 744 ATI (Aircrew Training Instructor) from Northwest Airlines. Chris Phinney. What a pleasant surprise, and a wonderful start to the new career.

During my 744 training two years ago, I had developed a pilot flow study guide to assist in learning both the captain and first officer procedures. When my type rating was complete, Chris was just beginning his 744 type rating course and I handed him my materials. Today I learned, not only did Chris finish his type rating with great success, of which I had no doubt, but that those materials were helpful, and he was able to use them with his students.

There is magic surrounding the aviation industry. For all new pilots, who have this flying bug, know that the world will continue to shrink. Take the time to help your fellow pilots, one day your paths will cross again. There is a secret pilot handshake. So secret, that I cannot tell you what we learned in class today.

Fortune surrounds me to be part of this industry, and the people. But my fortune never ends, and I am looking forward to the many stories that will result from the marriage of both my careers: writing and flying, and the wonderful people I meet along the way.


  1. Wow, I love those moments when we're reminded how small the world is! Great story, thanks for sharing with us.

  2. Thanks Heather... life is full of these moments!

  3. It was great to cross paths with you in class. There is a reason for this and that makes this industry so unique.

  4. Thanks Chris! I am looking forward to seeing you again. Next time you will be teaching me 737-800! Or... we'll be flying together. Have fun. It was great to see you!


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