Monday, May 23, 2011

Music Monday: Steve Miller Band - Jet Airliner & Far East Movement - G6

Steve Miller Band - Jet Airliner
 Far East Movement - G6

As most of my readers know, H is a commercial airline pilot. He flies for a very large and growing regional carrier. He is based here but for awhile, was in NYC. His first airline job, had him based in Detroit.

H was not in the military, he learned slowly and over a few years, following the FAA program for flight training. Most airports, large or small, have an FBO, fixed base of operations, and typically there is a flight school on site. When L was about 1 years old, he went to Atlanta to finish up his flight certifications and between that time and when E came along, H was a flight instructor, building his hours and his experience.

While I was pregnant with E, H decided, after much soul searching that in the air was where he wanted to be. This was no surprise to me, but he did weigh the costs, his career choice is not without costs. We all pay them, the children, me and H.

E was born and H left for two months, which morphed into 3 months of training in Memphis. The airline he went to work for was cheap and worked them like dogs during the training process. H came home once, maybe twice. If I had not had some family support and the women of my Moms group had not helped me in the early weeks, I am not sure we would have made it. A toddler and a newborn is alot to manage solo.

Manage we did.

Then about two years later, H switched to the airline he is with now, first as a First Officer and then upgrading to Captain fairly quickly.

His schedule is ever changing. Basically he works 15-18 days a month. The thing is when he is working, he isn't home. He can be gone just overnight, two nights, three nights, four nights and sometimes even 5 nights. Then he will be home for a few, maybe 2-3 days.

My MIL was not happy with his career path. Not one little bit. She gave him such a hard way to go. She would fuss every chance she got. Me on the other hand, I want him to happy. I had a job, that while I was successful and will even say I was good at, I did not love it, it wasn't what I wanted to be when I grew up, I took it at a time I needed a job and I will honestly say I stayed for the money, it was good money and soul leeching.

H loves flying. He is happy flying, he might not always agree with his employer's management practices and he has a few choice things to say about airlines in general, but at the end of the day, when he is at the end of the runway, waiting for clearance to take off, and then he starts that plane down the runway, he still feels the rush. Think about it. He is going to take that airplane off the ground. That is powerful stuff. Who gets to do that? I mean, really think about it. Or when he lands just so, "greases" the landing as he says. He is still critical of his landings, he has landed a plane so many times and still it matters, the quality of the landing.

I love to hear him talk about his flying. He is a great pilot. No hotdogging. He knows his limits. He respects the limits of the airplane he is commanding. When he started out in a Cessna 172 - the pre-flight could stretch for hours it felt like, but I was never once afraid. He knew what he was doing. We owned a Piper Seminole for awhile. That plane was a gas guzzler but fun, a twin engine. We went to FLA more than once. We had some issues over the years, but H kept his cool and I am here to tell those stories.

One of H's favorite things to say about flying, really I think sums it up for me.

Take off is optional, landing is mandatory.

And that is so true, reminds me something he used to say, when he was really considering his career options:

Better to be on the ground, wishing you were in the air, than in the air wishing you were on the ground.

The reality is H is happy in the air. His office is at 35,000 feet. He wouldn't be happy anywhere else.

So when I have days like Saturday, when I spend the entire day,driving in circles, in crazy traffic, so the kids can each be at an event which is important to them, I may be somewhat crabby, but in the end, I know H has a job he loves and the reality is how many of us can say that? How many of us get a rush sitting at our desks.  I know that is what keeps him going, that rush as the plane leaves the ground.

While I was pregnant with L, H's mom drug out the toys she had saved from H's childhood. With the except of maybe three cars, this box was overflowing with airplanes. All sorts of airplanes, big ones, small ones, ones H had rebranded with model paint. (H had even taken me to Hopkins as one of our first dates in Cleveland.)

I looked at her and said, "And you don't get why he wants to be a pilot? Really?"

I get it - I get it and as long as he loves it, gets that rush, I will do what it takes, to see that our house doesn't implode while he is away. I am really a single mother with husband, as I like to say, but at the end of the day, that husband loves his job and that, thus far has worked for me.

A note about the music - I like both these songs. E particularly likes the Steve Miller Band song. The other, well it is funny, H has on a few occasions said, such and such a plane is "sexy." When the G6 song came to being H was a bit shocked I think -to hear a song about an airplane, by a non-pilot anyway. A G6, I was told by H is a Gulfstream 6 - and it is a SEXY, very sexy private jet.

So as the summer draws near and we have survived another school year, where H is here for some events but absent from others, it is good to know that he really does have the best of both worlds, a job he loves and a family who loves him enough, to understand, that when he is in the air, he isn't that far away really.

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