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Learning to Fly

Tim Louden

I retired in 1994 after 20 years as a C141 "Crew Dog." I'd seen her go from gray and white to lizard, short to long. Man I loved that bird and never had a bad word for her......until......

Shortly after my retirement, and working full time again, I decided to fulfill a life long dream. Using my government pension ( Which incidentally wasn't quite what my recruiter had painted it to be. But that's another story. ) I enrolled in the Northwest Aviation College in Auburn, Washington.

I was gonna be a pilot! This small airport is located slightly north east of McChord Airplane Patch where I had finished out my career. On the day before my final check ride, my instructor and I went up for a dress rehearsal. Stalls, slow flight, engine out etc. All went well until I entered my downwind heading south. There at our altitude, in our airspace, was this HUGE ( I was in a Cessna 152 ) green four engined JP burning monster. My instructor yelled, "I've got it!" and proceeded to yank and bank us clear of the offending behemoth. Once safely on the ground and in the FBO it was obvious that he was more than a little pissed and shook.

I knew just how to help him vent. I got on the phone and called McChord Base Ops and asked for the Duty Officer. Then I handed the phone to my instructor. I could only hear his side of the conversation, something about NOTAMS, airspace incursion, and unholy relations with animals.

I never found out who that poor SOB in the barrel was, but he earned his pay that day. By the way, the following day I passed my check ride.

I too now have put out my hand and touched the face of God.

Thimsen ( Tim ) R. Louden
TSgt USAF ( Ret )

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