Tell your own Story

Everyone needs their own story in something they love. In the early to mid 80’s I worked as an electro/mechanical draftsman-designer at Trac Microwave in Tampa, Fla. We were developing microwave integrated circuitry for the space industry. Trac Microwave was located by the Tampa International Airport (TPA). It was an aviation related business so we had a good many pilots at various stages of their carriers working there.

Oh the stories they would share with each other, and I would just listen and take it all in. At lunch many would go up top to eat and watch the planes fly in and out of TPA. One of the guys was always interrupting. He had either done it, helped do it or had seen it done, a real know it all that frequently got on the nerves of those around him.

One day Clancy looked up and said…. “Look, a B. 1 (one).  R. D.”…Immediately this man shouted out… Where? I haven’t seen one of those in years! Clancy pointed at a bird flying overhead and everyone got a good laugh at this person’s expense. Clancy and I carpooled daily to Tampa from Plant City, about a 45 min drive. We laughed almost all the way home that night when he told me what had happened. But most importantly I learned a valuable lesson from it. Tell your own story, it might take some time to develop, but it’s yours and others can tell really fast weather it’s yours or someone else’s.

At the time I didn’t realize to what extent aviation would be woven into my life. Not only did I work with these guys in an aviation setting, but I also had a neighbor who was an airplane mechanic, built his own airplane and was building a P-51 replica for a man in Bartow, Fla. Mike was always sharing, showing and explaining what he was doing. He was always letting me help and telling me very cool and real life stories of his aviation adventures.   Two of my dads’ associates were pilots and Flight Safety instructors at LAL, Lakeland, Fla. Bill and Larry provided great stories of their aviation experiences, Larry had even at one time owned an airport in Tennessee. Great stories and something even more important…..visits to the Flight Safety simulators. Even relatives aided in my experiences. My aunt has owned a home for years in a rather private setting at an airport that caters to experimental aircraft.IMG_0087

I loved aviation but health issues would always keep me from obtaining a pilots license. My drafting and design experiences would eventually lead me into a situation where I would put my talents to use in the aviation field.. It also provided an extreme amount of experience with different types of documentation, manuals, business and marketing plans, etc. I have felt at times like a para-legal, creating documents that would be reviewed by council that for the most part were approved without much change.

About 8-9 years ago, I was blessed to meet Mike Riley. Mike and I hit it off great, his resume of over 25,000 total hours and some 5,000 instructor hours with multiple certificates and type ratings along with my experience of marketing, design and documentation development have served to be a good combination.

Today I can tell my own aviation stories, they are not of washing and detailing aircraft at a young age, flying in large cargo planes, flying over mountains with icing problems or stories about how many times I’ve flown single engine aircraft across the Atlantic, for those you need to talk to Mike Riley. I can however talk to you about what it takes to market or manage aircraft, or what it takes to lay the foundation and build a flight department or flight training school. How to get a Cessna Citation 500 series single pilot exemption program approved by the FAA or for that matter getting FAA approval for most anything could be a story in itself.

The whole point of this article is that if you want a story to tell, aviation can provide a whole host of possibilities, and not all of them are as pilots. I have had a very rewarding life and can tell many stories in many different avenues of life, but I am really thankful that I have been able to write my own stories in a field I love…AVIATION.

Michael G. McNerney, Project Development and Office support at Global Flight Training

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