The week before our first child was born, all Constellations got grounded because of trouble with their turbocharger drives. I had to fly an operations team out to Lockheed in California. It was two weeks before I got back to see my wife and our new baby daughter. Fortunately, Eileen was a wonderful, understanding woman who was willing to make sacrifices for my career.

In my wanderings, what I especially valued was the time spent just observing Mr. Trippe and his associates. Listening as these men - some of the most successful businessmen alive - negotiated business deals, argued politics, forgave slights, planned new ventures and worked out financing strategies was a business-school education of the highest order.

Mr. Trippe was worth studying. He knew what the heck he wanted to do, and he knew how to get it done. He wanted Pan Am to be more than just an airline; he wanted it to be America's all-inclusive aviation company. His plans included owning hotels, operating airports and even shuttling passengers around cities in helicopters. The amazing thing is, his monumental dream came true - at least for a while.

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