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Thread: Living the dream

  1. #1
    rocket's Avatar
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    Default Living the dream

    Wrote the following the other day for a SC.org thread and thought I would share it:


    Interesting reading about pilot dream locations. When asked by other pilots or flying friends what I'm doing my reply is always, living the dream!
    Can't tell you though, how many pilots I've seen waiting and waiting and waiting, like for an exit visa in Casa Blanca. I think it's vital one doesn't wait for a dream but makes the dream a part of your life. Would suck to build your dream only to find out you only have strength left to roll out of your hanger an aluminum lawn chair.


    Seems I fell into my Alaskan dream by chance, a short ad in the Seattle paper laying on the Tramco/BFG lunch table with Orin Syberts number. Pen Air, King Salmon, whitesox and mosquitos, fishermen, hunters, park tourist, fabric and tin pipers, 100 through 200 spam cans, Beavers and Otters, living the dream.


    There was a gentleman out here with a couple birds, an early twin Piper and a Tripacer. He was hit by a drunk driver in Anchorage and with the resultant medical complications was unable to fly. One day he walks up to me on a pair of sticks, I don't recognize him at all, and with a strong lisp says to me, I hear you want to buy an airplane. We haggle for a while and shake on a reasonable deal. The next day he finds me, hands over a signed bill of sale and form 8050 for his '61 PA22-160, then says to me, I don't want it in my name if you take out a row of planes learning to fly off the Naknek strip. My first payment, PAF style, wasn't due for another six months, my first airplane on a handshake and my honor, living the dream!


    Let's see, I'm working on my first Beaver at the KSL dock pulling the front plugs for a hundred hour, my partner says to me, now don't drop any of them damit, WHAT THE F WAS THAT, he yells. Dropped my first DHC-II floatplane plug into the fast moving Naknek River, living the dream.


    The next summer I'm still riding around on my Big Red with a toolbox on the back shaking the A&P money tree at each dock on every Naknek River air taxi and guide outfit. I'm helping wrap up another Hundred hour and the DO asked if I want to be his DOM, three Beavers and two 206, I told him I didn't think I had enough experience, and he said not to worry, that he would teach me, living the dream.


    Edo 2000 and a 82 Borer, living the dream.
    Airglass 2000, three of them per STC, really no kidding, living the dream.
    A freshly overhauled engine from MFE, Ok not so dreamy on the pocketbook.


    Now for that hanger, the sign had been up for years, it had been a good summer, less lucky for a couple operators but I did get them flying, so I had the grubstake. The hanger owner had been a guide and bandit for many years, was a Maul man till he got tired of wrecking them and went back to the SuperCub. Has the number one Boon & Crocket Wally set in his living room but don't think I ever got an honest answer about how he got it. We talked her over here and there, seems he had accepted someone's offer but it wasn't working out, knowing all parties I suggested I would politely wait it out and if my turn came about we could move forward: a hand shake and five fat payments in the fall; PAF!
    Oldest wooden structure on the runway fifty feet from the north south runway centerline of 5NK and a nice sand bottom beach behind the hanger with a good 2,500 float pond with banks on the south and north sides to protect from the worst winds.
    I had to wait another year, patiently waiting for the dream.


    The nightmare... Thirty days after closing on the deal my new dream burns to the ground. All I have left are my old dodge 250, the clothes on my back, and the Batplane.


    Took me a while to recover although I never got any farther then the permit for a new hanger, the old mechanic next door gave me a box with a misfit collection of the tools needed to keep making money but I took another eight or so years before I had all my tools and equipment replaced. Many others helped me out, my DO let me move into his house in Atown that winter to work on his birds at his Hood hanger, too many others to list. I recall being asked what I needed but felt I had my health, a touch of good luck for being alive, and my life to look forward to, living the dream.


    One year the weather was actually good enough to safely fly from the Bristol Bay to Valdez in my 182B, landis nose fork, 10x10 bushweels, and a well worn pair of 8:50x10s off a Beaver, the weather was so nice we flew to Talkeetna the next week. It was still brown and gray in the Bay but here Everything was green. You know where I'm going with this. The following winter I was working at my DO's hanger at lake Hood and I can't get home do to the weather, it's perfect up north so I call the Roadhouse for a room and buzz on up. Meet Dave at Sheldon's and he lets me plug in my engine heater and cause I can't get home I stay the week exploring The Mountain and points north. X mass Eve potluck at the Roadhouse and I meet the Lady, living the dream.


    I was in the Bristal Bay for over twenty years, fish, Caraboo, moose bear ducks wheels floats skis snow ice rivers lakes. I always told that there was a lifetime of flying out west. The Katmie, The Tickchicks, Lake Clark to the north, Anaichak to the south, pacific side for gooyducts, brooks lodge for evening dessert, the mulchactna for boo, the fatest rainbows up the Kvechak, the big moose of the Muklong, stunning Arctic Charr in the fall and pike almost five feet long if you are lucky enough to be shown where, oh ya, grovsner and Kulic, lakes with no name I would land on in the late evening just to pick enough berries for ice cream later or leave forever my best pair of seringitties, ops checking the winter survival kit in real time after getting fogged out courting that girl in Ugashik thinking a small bottle of belly warmer will go in the tote for next time, the medavac in Levalock cause it was too windy for the 135 guys to fly or or picking up my buddy Serg, he had good eyes, to fly out to find that young lady who had become lost overnight in the snow, living the dream.


    Have myself parked here across the street from the Talkeetn village strip, I can see the firewall of the Batplane through the trees now that the leaves are mostly gone. Engine is in my shop after finding a little cam lifter metal in the filter. Parked here cause I lost the moose lottery this spring, April 2nd to be exact, crushed my foot in a bunny boot, sixteen pieces of titanium, and damn lucky to be alive. Was under his belly dodging his front hooves like some badass in The Matrix until he decides to move onto my budy hiding just around the corner, you know, scared f'less of the dream.


    Ah, a yellow cub drags it in nicely, must be RG back from moose camp.


    Six monthes to the day, just started walking without sticks a few days ago, man it hurts with full weight, another year to walk normal they say. The Covid, the economy, political unrest, ****, I've was in two wrecks with idiot pilots before I bought mine, bent a few myself, won the power line lottery after a never diagnosed engine issue in my buddies 182E, been on my nose waiting for the bird to flip all the way over listening to fuel gurgle out before daring to unlatch my harness, found myself on the wrong side of the landing lights once laughing my ass off one hundred and eighty degrees out of sync with my feet, been stuck on top of the fog out of gas only rolling about forty feet off into the tundra at the PPT strip, hyperventilating in the pass during a whiteout flying from tree to rock to tree only to bust out into severe blue at summit lake, oh ya that time I was coming back from a blown out pacific side adventure and had to pee, saw this bear at the back side of grosvenor neck deep and thought it would be cool to land going by him but forgetting that the back four miles of the lake were only a few inches deep, it was late fall and I was the only one still on floats for hundreds of miles around, boy I couldn't wait to take that piss, cause you know, that's how we are, living the dream...





    ADDENDUM:
    And you know that guy I mentioned above, whacked by a drunk driver and told he would never walk much less fly, he has his medical back, flys a 336 of all things, but you've already guessed it, he is not planing the dream, he is living the dream.


    Rocket
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  2. #2
    JPerkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: Living the dream

    Rocket, I bet only you, me, and maybe 5 other guys on here know what PAF stands for!

    Also, you need to write a book.

    Sent from my SM-G930V using ShortWingPipers.Org mobile app

  3. #3
    Stephen's Avatar
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    Default Re: Living the dream

    Quote Originally Posted by JPerkins View Post
    Rocket, I bet only you, me, and maybe 5 other guys on here know what PAF stands for!

    Also, you need to write a book.

    Sent from my SM-G930V using ShortWingPipers.Org mobile app
    I figured he was speaking Alaskan English.
    "You can only tie the record for flying low."

  4. #4
    Old3pacer's Avatar
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    Default Re: Living the dream

    I don't understand 1/3 of what he wrote!
    But mighty fine storytelling and I enjoyed it very much.
    My dream seems very tame by comparison

  5. #5
    Kyle Duncan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Living the dream

    Interesting read, Rocket. I guess we all have to take the good with the bad. I'm glad to hear you're getting along pretty well after your moose encounter. You're lucky to be alive.
    Kyle
    N3951P PA-22-150

  6. #6
    Bill Nyman wcnyman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Living the dream

    Quote Originally Posted by Kyle Duncan View Post
    Interesting read, Rocket. I guess we all have to take the good with the bad. I'm glad to hear you're getting along pretty well after your moose encounter. You're lucky to be alive.
    No use having dreams if you havenít got the courage to follow them..congratulations Rocket

  7. #7

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    Default Re: Living the dream

    Great write up Rocket! You are certainly living the dream and have been in the right spot at the right time plenty of times.

  8. #8
    alaskadrifter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Living the dream

    Quote Originally Posted by JPerkins View Post
    Rocket, I bet only you, me, and maybe 5 other guys on here know what PAF stands for!

    Also, you need to write a book.

    Sent from my SM-G930V using ShortWingPipers.Org mobile app
    Yup, there were a few years when I was in college spending my last few dollars to get the boat in the water, praying it was a good season. I need to make it to 5NK more often.

  9. #9

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    Default Re: Living the dream

    Ok, I'll bite: What are definitions for, "PAF style" (pals and friends?); "DO" (Director of Operations?); "DOM" (DO Mechanic?)

  10. #10
    JPerkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: Living the dream

    PAF pay after fishing. I think your right on the DO. DOM director of maintenance.

    Sent from my SM-G930V using ShortWingPipers.Org mobile app

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