Stranded In The Southland

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Flight Instructor Gone...

So, as I was headed out the door to spend another hour practicing landings this morning, the flight school called me with some bad news. It seems that my cool instructor, J., who'd been fighting the flu for a week and a half, died of pneumonia in the hospital Monday morning. Yow.

This is the guy who, just a month ago, had thrown his whole body across a wing and bounced up and down to assess the state of the landing gear strut. The guy who always pushed the airplane back into the tie-down spot while I steered from the cockpit. I mean, sure, he was probably 60-something, but he was a pretty robust guy!

I can't believe he's gone -- he was such a fun guy, always ready with yet another cautionary tale (which seems to me to be a pretty important part of instruction), whether it was about having your sweetie stay in the FBO while you preflighted so you wouldn't hurry or about the big Silver State Helicopters bankruptcy stranding students. He'd start talking when I arrived, and he wouldn't shut up until the next student arrived, or until I had to leave.

Heck, the last time I saw him, he was joking with me as I walked out the door: "We'll make a[n] [airline] captain of you yet, K.!"