Often when I landed after a performance, people came up to me and asked, "What's the most hazardous part of flying?" I'd answer, "Slow starvation." And not entirely in jest. So when George Wedekind, president of Queen City Flying Service, offered me a job in Cincinnati, I grabbed it. Queen City not only offered steady work but also it did a lot of instrument training and night flying, and I wanted as much of that experience as it was possible to get.

Although the job with Queen City was a good one, my real goals were to fly big airplanes and to work for an airline. After logging about 2,000 hours of flying time, I thought the time had come. On my list of desirable carriers the great Pan American Airways was at the top and down at the bottom was Northeast Airlines. I applied to them all, and of course the only one to respond with an offer was Northeast. So I packed my bags and drove to Boston, Northeast's hometown. My training there had just begun when another letter arrived, this one from Pan Am. It said if I was still interested, to report immediately for an interview at the airline's base at Dinner Key, in Miami's Biscayne Bay. I was gone from Boston within an hour and heading down U.S. 1.

I drove my old Chevy to Miami in a day and a half without sleeping. The interview must have gone okay because I got hired. I was as high as a person could be, a Pan Am pilot. A new phase of my life had begun.

Copyright © 1999
Flight Safety International, Inc.
All rights reserved