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Thread: How I became a Lear Jet co-pilot

  1. #1
    Registered Aviator pilotyip's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2001
    T-34, T-28, S-2, C1A, C-47, C-54, P-3, P-2, L-188, DC-8, DC-9, CV-580, C-46, B-17G, CA-212, DA-20, NA-265, LJ, CE-550, DHC-6, AC-690, BE-200, BE-90
    ATP, CFI, CFII, CFMEI B-17, CA-212, CE-550, DC-3, DC-9, DA-20, L-188

    How I became a Lear Jet co-pilot

    1978 Willow Run Lear story. I am working for TransAmerican Airlines; I am standing reserve at my base KYIP. Reserve call out by our ALPA contract was by phone between noon and 1600. If you didn't get a call, you were relieved until the next day. However, if you answered the phone, they could tag you for a trip. All my buddies said get two phones one for the company and one for everyone else, but on F/O's pay that was an expense I decided to forego. So anyway the phone rings at 2000, it is crew schedules, she says "You have a trip" the magic words you could not ignore. "The co-pilot on our 2230 scheduled flight out of KBDL just quit, you need to pick up that trip, just pack for one night we will get you home tomorrow". I said "How am I going to get there?" She says "We have chartered a Lear Jet out of KYIP, some company called Kalitta, they will be waiting for you at Hangar One". So I show up in uniform with my bags. I look in the airplane; it is a cargo bird with a seat cargo strapped to the deck in the back. The guy in the right seat sees me and says "Oh! you are a pilot why don't you sit up here". Begin fresh out of the Navy and not really understanding this civil aviation stuff beyond 121, I figure this is one of those small airplane like a C-310 that only needs one pilot, so I hop in the right seat. The pilot put on a real show, he was doing well over 250 kts by the end of the runway 5R at height of about 50' and then pulls up to a steep climb and we cross the Detroit River at FL230. We show up in Hartford shortly thereafter. The Electra already has two engines running waiting for me. I hop in my seat and away we go. I did not get home for 18 days, pilot shortage was effecting us back in those days, people were bailing in rapid order as the owner starting selling his airplanes. I bailed the Corporate world the next month, but that is another story.

    BTW: There are still rumors at KYIP of flying the Lears with blow up dolls in the right seat.
    Fly because you like to, if you are in it for the respect, prestige, recognition or money you may be disappointed.

  2. #2
    Registered Aviator
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Good story. Kalitta had some characters.

  3. #3
    Registered Aviator rettofly's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2003
    CE560, EMB110, DO228, P180 and lots more
    ATP/CFI;CE500, EMB110, DO228
    Back in my freight days, a Kalitta ramper at YIP helped me load a couple of 1400 lb skids into my Bandeirante by using two "skates" (actually foot long sections of cargo rollers lifted from a 727 and turned upside down) and "forgot" to take them with him when we were done. The 2x4 lumber laid out on the deck to spread the floor load made pretty good tracks.

    Much easier than yanking on the J Bar with the far end sliding across the deck. Made single pilot work almost fun.
    LiberTEA! EgaliTEA! FraterniTEA!


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