Leaving Pan Am was probably both the hardest and the most exciting moment of my career. Trouble was on Pan Am's horizon then, but I loved that airline and my job, and I thought the world of Juan Trippe. Still, the prospect of leading my own company full-time thrilled me.

And so the day finally arrived. After returning from a flight, I proudly carried Mr. Trippe's luggage from the airplane, shook his hand and thanked him from the bottom of my heart for the wonderful career he'd given me. Then I crossed the ramp, climbed the stairs and became the full-time CEO of FlightSafety. It was only then, 17 years after I started the company, that I began collecting a paycheck from FlightSafety. I had to. I had just quit my regular job.

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