For almost a quarter century I made my living curing sick airplanes.  Some were ugly as sin, tough as nails, and designed for a specific purpose in life, to wit, punch gaping holes in the bad guy’s armored vehicles.  Others were sleek, sexy, go fast high performance white rockets designed in the ’50’s and used to teach the next generation of fighter jocks how to fly.  Later still came the ones with the fan in front that barely went faster than the average car and much slower than some production sports cars on the road today.  The point is when Joe “Golden Hands” Pilot said “It won’t…” , “It didn’t…” , or “It went…”, I grabbed my trusty tools and sallied forth to heal the sick.  It could be frustrating, exilarating, hot, cold, wet, dusty, and dark, sometimes all at once, but it was FUN.    Until five or so years ago.

I’d given a lot to those machines.  Too many weekends, nights, holidays, round the clock marathon sessions, and “It’s broke in (insert far flung geographic locale here)…Go get it.  ” 2 AM phone calls to count.  The problem was I was damn good at what I did (Thanks, Dad.) and my bosses knew it.  When I was in the service I used to tell prospective girlfriends on our second or third date that I had 24 other girlfriends, they all weighed 40,000 pounds, and went 450 knots.  The jets, and my mechanics when I got be the “boss”, came first.  Learn to live with it or let’s call a halt to things now.  Ask either of my ex-wives…  So after 24 plus years, myriad cuts and scrapes, and enough 50 below zero nights on some gravel strip in the boonies of Alaska to last a lifetime,  I hung up my coveralls, locked my toolbox, and changed careers.  I literally went from being shoulder deep in a broken airplane at midnight Friday to being in a shirt and tie on a car lot at 8 AM Saturday.  I never looked back and honestly, I didn’t miss it much.  Until last Thursday.

A friend of mine owns a smallish twin engine airplane for his business.  His pilot/mechanic needed a hand swapping one of the engines and doing some modifications while the engine was removed and asked if I’d mind helping out.  I have some time on my hands so I agreed.  Besides, as I mentioned, it’s been a few years and I figured what the hell, can’t hurt any. 

The skills are rusty, things aren’t as easy as I remember, and it’s a little harder getting back up off my knees than it used to be….. but ya know what? It’s still FUN.  

By the way, that car lot thing?  I don’t do that anymore either, but that’s a story for another post……


1 Response to “Fun…”

  1. 1 Da Goddess November 11, 2009 at 7:38 pm

    First off, thank you for your service!

    Secondly, well, there isn’t anything else. Nothing is more important than some gratitude right now.

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