083109 klyde morris


"Written-up"... ME?...

At most jobs the most used of the soft core punishments is when "they" (some butt-sputter who somehow has rank over you) threaten to write you up, or what they think is worse yet, actually "writes you up." This moronic exercise serves to do little more than piss you off while allowing the butt-sputter to feel really, really self-important. It takes place in every sort of job from the name tag Joe-jobs to the airline pilot's cockpit seat. I'm proud to say that as a lifelong smart ass I've been written-up at every level... except for now, perhaps... because I'm self employed and own my companies myself... so I'd have to write myself up.

In the airline pilot's job I was written up by the worst captain on earth. I countered by going directly to the chief pilot and demanding a competency check ride "Right now" (by the way I was a probationary new hire at the time.) I got my check ride a few days later followed by another meeting in the chief pilot's office with the check airman to discuss why we did the ride. I was just fine in the operation reported the check pilot- so why did we do this? I told them that I wanted to prove they had flown with the wrong guy- the captain who wrote me up was the real problem. A lesson to me, however, did come out of it. There after, I asked every captain that I flew with to "write me up" because every airline pilot needs a pile of good write-ups in their file to provide a cushion when some asshole decides to turn in a bad report on you.

Most of my write-ups were earned while working the Joe-jobs as I worked my way through Embry-Riddle. I found K-mart to be the most fun to be written up at... because, although they threaten to fire you after your third time being written-up, they actually will do nothing of the kind. My first K-mart write up came when I was working in the Over-the-counter Drugs department. I was content to just keep my shelves stocked and show customers where the toothpaste was, but nooooo... the butt-sputter department manager insisted that I do "PAs." These are announcements over the store PA system to advertise some product to the people in the store. Management kept score as to how many PAs that each of us did, and my score was zero. Soon the pressure grew until I was told to make a PA "or else." I asked what they wanted me to PA and the answer was "Anything... just take a product off the shelf and PA it." Can ya' see this one comin' folks? Yep... I got written up for PA-ing Glycerin suppositories, "...with ease and comfort you apply them into your..." I read from the bottle as the butt-sputter department manager came running up the aisle toward me- I can still see the look on his face. Sure, I got written up, but no one ever tried to force me to do another PA.

Of course K-mart turned out to be a rich place for a smart-ass seeking a record for being written up. I was later transferred to the Garden Shop/pet department and got written up there for things such as, teaching the parakeets to say the word "slob" (who knew that once they learn a word they repeat it until they die?), wrapping an action figure in chains and a little padlock and dropping it into an aquarium, altering the pricing board outside that originally said "5 pound fert." replacing the day manager's noted instructions to the evening crew and having an entire section of hoses replaced with plastic pink flamingos, mounting a dead guppy on the sign that read "Pets Clearance" taking a freshly killed rat and placing it into a store bag then taking it back to the damaged goods clerk and asking her if it was repairable, attempting to dress a parakeet in G.I. Joe cloths... Yet the one that I snickered about the most took place after closing and after I'd learned what a nifty ride the hand-forklift was when you turned it around backward and rode it like a scooter. I'd been ordered to "Take it to the back stockroom and hurry." So I rode it up to the back aisle and really got her goin'. Made the sharp turn at the grill and burst through the double swinging doors that led to the stockroom only to come face to face with the little old lady who worked in the millinery department. I swerved, missed her and ran smack into a huge stack of boxed toilet paper that arrived that evening by truck. The entire wall of stacked butt wipe came tumbling down on me... and I deserved it. The next day I cut a small flower from one of the plants and took it to the little old lady that I'd nearly killed, gave her a hug and told her I was an idiot... she agreed.

It is always a hazard to have someone who is clever and a smart ass doing simple labor- because they have too much time to observe and exploit. Once while working at a hotel as a "set-up" guy, or the person who sets up rooms for meetings, I observed that nearly every employee made multiple trips in and out of the front office every day and when they did, they passed the desk of one of the office staff, a personable girl by the name of Linda. EVERYONE would stop and chat a bit with her. I also noticed that we had tons and tons of hotel pens in the store room. I convinced the staff that what we all should do was to get a pen and when you stopped and said hello to Linda- casually leave your pen on her desk. We could then see how long it would take before she caught on. Of course the word quickly spread. By the middle of the second day, poor Linda was swamped with pens. Of course the hotel manager, a Nazi, found out and soon everyone finked on me and I got called into my manager's office to be written up... like I cared, I was on my way back to school in a month anyhow. On orders from the Nazi hotel manager, my boss went through all of the steps- then winked and told me he's left 11 pens on Linda's desk himself.

Oddly, some of my pranks did not get me in trouble. When working at AirFlite's Hangar 6 in the late 70s as the "hangar rat" or the guy who does all the crap work, I pulled one of my best pranks. It had been snowing real hard and the hangar ram-rod told me to go get the big rung ladder, go up on the hangar office roof and see how much of that snow I could shove off. I went and got the ladder and also recruited two of the idle mechanics to help me in my prank. In order to get the ladder outside I had to take in down the hall past the ram-rod's office window. I had one mechanic stand on one side of the window, and one on the other. Then I took the front of the ladder and did the old Three Stooges bit... as I walked past the ram-rod's window with the front of the ladder under my arm I bumped into his window sill, he looked up I waved and kept walking. Then I handed off the ladder to the other mechanic, got down on hands and knees and scurried under the window and grabbed the back end of the ladder from the first mechanic. As I passed the window carrying the rear of the ladder I bumped the sill again and he looked up, I waved and kept right on going as if I was on both ends of the ladder. Later that day, after I'd finished on the roof I was out in the hangar mopping the floor or some such thing when the hangar ram-rod came out. Looking down and picking at his finger nails he simply said "How'd you f#;%kin' do that?"

Thus, if you are out there moppin' hangar floors, or tossin' bags of cow poop in a garden shop trying to pay for flying lessons or if you're a new-hire pilot at an airline- don't fear being written-up. It's just the way that the butt-sputters document the fact that they exist on this planet, because they actually need proof of that... and you don't. In the end, the ways of the universe always even things up. The captain who wrote me up got hired by a major airline and fired while on probation- likely for being a dick. The managers at K-mart are suffering by still being employed there 3 decades later and the Nazi hotel manager (who was a real member of the local Nazi party by the way) has to contend with Nancy Pelosi and her friends joining his socialist movement- which is probably as insufferable as being in a tough street gang and having Richard Simmons say he's one of you... "Say what?"


082709 klyde morris


082409 klyde morris



Once upon a time in the King Air "AKKKKKK!"

We'd just set down on an early morning run to take a TV crew to up-state New York so they could cover an auto race. The ramp was packed as I taxied the King Air 200 to the directed unloading area. My FO popped the door and let the guys out as I finished with the cockpit. By the time I got to the door and stuck my head out the crew had their gear and were walking away.

"HEY!" I shouted, gaining their attention, "Come on back here!"

The guy in the lead came back as the others followed.

"Ya' know the little bottles of booze that we carry?" I asked as they looked at me a bit sheepishly.

"Yeah." came from the group.

"Well I noticed as you left that not one of you took any of those." I said pointing toward the storage compartment. The guys all looked a bit puzzled. "This ain't Delta guys, the booze is included in the flight- yer' company already paid for it." I insisted, "I'm the Captain and I'm telling you to get yer' butts back into this aircraft and clean out that liquor cabinet!"

With that they all happily re-boarded the aircraft and proceeded to wipe out the booze drawer... except for one guy who just stood there on the ramp and waited until his pals returned from their raid.

"What's up with you?" I asked him, "Are ya' a non-drinker like me?"

"Nope," he replied hanging his head, "I already have eight bottles in my pockets." A group laugh broke out.

On the drive to our hotel, which was about 60 miles away, my FO spoke up.

"I can't believe you did that with the booze," He said, "Don't ya' think you'll get in trouble with the company?"

"No," I replied smugly, "We do such short hops with the King Air that no one ever gets the chance to mix a drink. Those bottles have been in that cabinet for years and the stock really needs to be rotated."

After a 48 hour stay in a crummy hotel in some crummy town whose name I can't recall because it is blurred into the names of a bazillion other crummy towns, we were back at the airport. Before we had left the aircraft in the hands of the overworked line crew I'd left our fuel order. This particular aircraft had a leaky seal on the right outboard tank. So I had left instructions not to top that tank. This was because when it was topped, the fuel would syphon out for about the first 10 minutes of flight- until the level burned down away from the seal. It wasn't a hazard, it was just a bit of a waste. My FO was within weeks of leaving the company and going to his first regional airline- so I was working him in a manner similar to what I knew he'd see at the airline. With that in mind, I would send him out to preflight and I'd place that entire responsibility of the preflight on him- just like an airline FO. He was good, and I knew that whatever airline Captain got him to work with would have a good trip.

Coming in from the preflight, my FO told me that the overworked line guys had missed my note about the right outboard tank and topped it anyway. In all of the confusion, with a ramp packed with aircraft, it was easy to understand- annoying- but easy to understand. Frankly, on a trip that had been peppered with all sorts of little pains in the ass- this was something I could shrug off.

Our people showed up just in time for us to beat the rush out of the airport and we took the runway on the roll and blasted out of there with as much glee as noise. We were climbing out and looking for a low altitude cruise in the mid teens when my FO looked out toward the right wing.

"Yep," he reported, "it's syphoning again. Leavin' a long contrail of fuel back there." Then he happened to glance back into the cabin. "And the passengers have noticed it."

I glanced back and saw the guys in the back getting uneasy as they all were now taking notice of our vapor trail. Soon it became obvious that they were electing one of their group to tell me about the vapor trail. Seeing that- I casually spoke to my FO...

"They're gonna ask about it. Let's have some fun," I told him, "when they ask me about it, just follow my lead- do what I do."

My FO grinned in response just as the leader of the group stuck his head through the door and tapped me on the arm...

"There's something leaking out of the wing." He pointed toward the right wing as his fellow passengers looked on worriedly.

"There is?" I leaned over as if looking out my FO's window.

Then I looked at my FO and acting panicked blurted out, "AKKKKKKKK!"

My FO looked back at me and screamed "AKKKKKKK!"

Then we looked at each other and waving our arms overhead screamed "AKKKKKKK!"

Then we held our heads and went "AKKKKKK!"

Then I turned around and went casually about flying the aircraft, and my FO followed suit.

The whole cabin erupted in laughter.

"I take it that's not a problem... right?" the passenger asked.

"It's an expected pain in the butt." I replied. Later I leaned over to my FO and told him never to try anything like that at the airlines.

We landed and released our happy passengers. A few days later while preparing for another trip I stopped into the front office and told them what I'd done with the booze cabinet. The manager told me that was simply great because they'd been meaning to rotate that stock out for over a year. I was also informed that the passengers on the last trip said they'd had a great flight and they wanted to fly with me from now on... must have been what I did with the booze. I was thinking to myself "AKKKKKK!"


A big ol' plate of NASA to cancel

There are so many aspects and dynamics going on right now in the world of the DC vote grubs that no one knows what will be next, or in the future for anything. Frankly I think we'll be lucky if they don't change the flag to green with a red hammer and sickle and then have Obama come on the TV and declare himself president for life- because most of the media would simply go along with that. In reality, the party in power is rapidly ripping itself to shreds while the other party is trying to figure out where all of that ripping noise is coming from. Into all of that, the Augustine commission is about to slide, in front of the most liberal left wing President in American history, a great big platter of NASA all garnished with "Nothing fits any budget" sprinkled all over it... YUM! Sitting there with his knife in one fist, his fork in another and his red hammer and sickle bib covering his nice suit what will the President do with such morsel?

Take a wild freakin' guess. Go ahead- all of you space coast workers who voted for him after his shoot and scoot campaign stop at KSC and all of you aerospace workers who voted for him because the union said you should, and all of you NASA workers who had senator's Bill and Babs present him to ya'... come on... guess!

Anyone think that after quadrupling the national debt in just six months and taking heat for running the fiscal boat of the United States full speed onto the rocks, the President may just take this opportunity to fulfill one of his most chanted campaign slogans and make a "change?"
The media is already on board- as it was said today in the Orlando Slant-enal it is now up to the President " decide whether human space exploration is a worthy priority or an unaffordable luxury." OH BOY!... it is a left-wing liberal's dream come true! How better to take the last thing that the USA actually leads in- spaceflight- and gut it, thus bringing us closer to the liberal's goal of finally making us a third world nation!

And even if President Obama does not decide to gut and castrate NASA- there is the congress. The Health Care socialization movement is so damaging the Democrats that they could lose more than 80 seats across both houses next year. That means that some bedrock NASA supporters may be out, and those who replace them will not be in the mode of increasing budgets of any agency. It is going to be cut, reduce and repeal in an attempt to pull back from the insane spending of our current one-party government.

So- the entire balance of United States human spaceflight now will be cast into the bee hive of indecision and CYA politics that is Washington DC. What will the President do? Lead? or vote "Present?" Perhaps he'll send us on a grand adventure to discover... EARTH! Ya' know- chase the left's global warming myth at the rate of a few billion bucks a year until he's thrown out of office. What will the headless chickens in the congress do? And even more important- what will the next batch of vote grubs who replace the current herd of wafflers do? Will they vote to allow our great garden of technology wilt on the vine- like they did four dechades ago? We can only watch.

Oddly, some at NASA are actually delighted at the prospect that project Constellation may be cancelled- because they feel it has been raiding money from the agency which will somehow find its way back to whatever they are personally working on. I fear they have a shock coming. In that embarrassingly inaccurate movie "The Right Stuff" there was a line that went "No bucks- no Buck Rogers." Of course the writers of that script, along with getting almost every other fact wrong, also got that quip wrong- the way it really works is No Buck Rogers- No Bucks. Without human spaceflight, NASA will fade into the federal background. Be careful what you wish for people- those who wished for the death of the Ares I, those who wished for the cancellation of Constellation, those who wished for an end to the shuttle program, those who wish for the end of the ISS, those who chanted for "Change" and those who wish for the end of NASA itself- you may all get what you want, and all at the same time.


CAL, the moron lottery and the 50/50 rule

I love the term "Aviation Safety" as it is actually an oxi-moron. Although, statistically, aviation is by far the safest way to get around- if you talk to anyone at the NTSB (which oversees safety and investigates accidents involving highway, railway, marine, aviation and pipeline) and ask what the safest way to travel is, they'll answer by saying simply- "pipeline."

The simple fact of physics is that anytime you accelerate the human animal to speeds greater than 50 knots or loft the human animal higher than 50 feet you have banked enough potential energy to kill it...period. So simply by entering into any mode that does either of those two things, you are in danger of death. I call it my 50/50 rule and have taught it to all of my flight students- not to worry them, but to scare the living crap out of them. The 50/50 rule is a reality pill that anyone who does other than sitting on the fence and watching the birds, should take.

You see, we who have been steeped in the profession of aviation, know well that we are only as safe as we keep ourselves. That, along with the 50/50 rule is another lesson that the public at large should learn. That lesson is that aviation is the most inherently dangerous for those who forget that it is inherently dangerous. Such was the case recently with the CAL flight that hit turbulence and had passengers flinging around the cabin like a maraca. The captain had had the seat belt sign on for over an hour at the time of the incident. You see when the captain has had the seat belt sign illuminated for over an hour and then the aircraft hits turbulence while some passenger is slobing around with their belt off- and thus finds his or her head stuck through a fresh hole in the overhead and ends up examining the wiring for the reading lights- we in professional aviation know that person has earned their new position on the aircraft. Aviation safety is that simple- follow the rules, listen to the instructions and you'll be as safe as you can make yourself- which is the best that you can do. Yet still the public won't get it. I watched a ton of coverage of the CAL turbulence encounter and the reporters focused on the injured passengers- zooming in on bandages on their faces and braces on their necks while ignoring the seat belts they failed keep fastened.

Of course CAL will end up paying a ton to these morons who can't understand the light-up sign that shows fasten your seat belts, or the announcement made by the flight attendants. Unfortunately, these dim-wits have, in fact, now won the moron lottery. Yes they'll get lawyers (who'll get most of the cash in fees) and they'll file and collect plenty from the airline. The moron lottery has no regard for how much sense a passenger failed to use, it only applies to how safe flying is supposed to be in spite of their non-efforts in the process of making it safe. No one will ask the questions "Were you going faster than 50 knots?" "Were you higher up higher than 50 feet?" "Why didn't you have your FU%$ING seat belt on!?" The answer, of course, would be "Duhhh... I donno." DING! DING! DING! You win the moron's lottery! Johny Donnavin, tell 'em what they win!

One of the paradoxes of the aviation industry is that in order for us to sell it to the public we have to convince them that it is "perfectly safe." A long time ago I recall someone at one of the small airports I was flying out of telling a perspective customer, "Flying for me is just as common as getting into my car and driving... it's that safe." He was killed in a car accident a few years later... wasn't wearing a seat belt. Odds are that if he had told that person the facts, like the 50/50 rule, they'd have never signed up for flying lessons. Odds also are if he'd have learned the 50/50 rule himself and obeyed the law about seat belts, he'd be alive today too.

We have to go along showing the public the big yellow smiley face from the 70s while only sharing among ourselves the honest stories of just how close the close calls can be. Perhaps with every commercial pilot's certificate there should come a big paper sack with a big yellow smiley face painted on it and eye-holes cut into it... ya' know... to be worn while in public.

Although when traveling, I feel the most safe when I'm above 18,000 feet- in pro. land- I never think of flying as perfectly safe. As an ATP and professional aviator I always keep in mind the 50/50 rule and the fact that no matter if I'm in the nose or in the back, I'm still in a huge hunk of metal that is a complex machine that is cheating the law of gravity. The bottom line is that aviation is the most inherently dangerous for those who forget that it is inherently dangerous. Of course it would be really hard to sell tickets if that motto is written across the ticket jacket.


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