I love well-told stories. Novels, memoirs, short stories, poetry and movies engage me and always have. Professor and author Judy Doenges wrote that good fiction is “equal parts emotional power, intellectual complexity and artistic richness.” That’s true of all good stories, whether factual or imagined. No other device exposes the pith of a truth as elegantly as a story.
Aviation is important to me too. My dad saw to it that I learned to fly at Mangham Field in Hurst, Texas. The little 25-foot wide airstrip is long gone now, but back in 1975 it was just across the Grapevine Highway from Tarrant County Junior College. Around that same time, I attended Christ For The Nations Institute in Dallas, Texas. I really thought I’d become a missionary pilot and fly all over Africa à la Beryl Markham. That didn’t happen, but I did get to live it a little bit by reading West with the Night. Thank you, Ms. Markham, and thank you, my dear friend Eric, for sharing the book with me.
As things turned out, most of my experience in aviation happened on the ground side of the microphone. I became an en route air traffic controller and was on the boards, as we say in the business, for almost a decade. After that, I switched to safety assurance work and stayed with that for the rest of my career. I retired from the FAA in 2012, and now I have a day job as a subject matter expert with CSSI, Inc.
Jack London wrote a memoir he called, “No Mentor but Myself.” Unlike Mr. London, I’ve had more mentors than I can count, though many of them probably never knew that’s what they were to me. Because I’ve encountered so much generosity in life, I’ve tried to put my best foot forward on this website and talk about things that uplift and encourage. We all could use a little more of that.