07 July 2007

It's a Small World!

I walked into the hallway with my keys out to open the apartment door. At the other end of the hallway the access door there also opened and the doorway was filled with a man the size of Paul Bunyan. He looked at my Army flight suit and said, "So you're a pilot?"
I told him I was just coming home from flying with my Huey unit. He said, "I'm a pilot too. When you get out of that monkey suit come knock on the door and I'll mix up some White Russians!"
So I did.

He'd been flying airplanes for years. His family owned a business in Birmingham, Alabama, and he was in Bigtown for a year or so to set up a subsidiary operation there. He regularly flew a Piper Aerostar between Birmingham and Bigtown. We became fast friends. When he had completed his job in Bigtown he moved back to Birmingham.

A year or so later I answered the phone and heard his booming voice on the other end-
"HEY, you ever fly an Enstrom?"
I hadn't. But I told him there wasn't anything special about the Enstrom to keep me from gettin' comfortable with it pretty quickly.
"Well, we just bought one, and we can get you a factory checkout. Come on down here and teach me to fly the sumbitch."
So I did.

He kept the helicopter a year or so, then sold it.
Four years pass.

The phone rings. The guy at the other end says, "I own a helicopter and I'm learning to fly it. I'm unhappy with my instructor and you came highly recommended. Do you have any time in an Enstrom?"
"Yeah, I've got about 50 hours in a 280C."
"Great! That's what I own."

I make an appointment to meet him and check out the aircraft. When I turn into his drive I see the helicopter. It looks VERY familiar!

Yep. Same machine. (That's it, shown above.)
Paul Bunyan sold it to a firm in Ft. Lauderdale. They owned it for a couple years, then sold it to an oil exploration company in Houston, Texas, who also kept it two years before selling it to my new student.

It's instructive, and if you're involved in aviation you need to remember-
We are a small family... the helicopter side of things even more so.
You're likely to frequently run into people and machines you've met before.
Try not to make enemies along the way!

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