You are absolutely spot on. I had a grind last night…1750 nm in a King Air, and as the sun was coming up I was sooooo tired (last leg). Legal and all, but I really had to get my head right for that last hour. A vectored on to visual approach (simultaneous parallel approaches into our home airport) that is super easy, but this morning required a lot of attention just because we were just plain worn out. I’ll bet if it had been 200 and a half we wouldn’t have been nearly as weary…
I love guys like Ole. We have had some like that come through our outfit - off the top of my head, a U-2 pilot, F-4, A-6, P-3, and a three-tour Huey gunship Vietnam pilot. Mixed into that are all the ex-regional, airline, and freight guys. Everyone has great stories and that is probably my favorite part of being a pilot…just sitting around the office telling lies and laughing at one another.
Your comment about deliberateness in action is something I’ve gotten way better about as I’ve aged. I no longer scramble around trying to go at the speed of light to only provide incrementally faster service. Every time I approach my plane, on every leg, I walk around it the long way around to the door, just looking for something amiss. Not a preflight…that’s been done already, but a slow saunter around checking for obvious problems. It has saved me some hassles in the past (loose fuel cap or cowl, worn tire, a broken cable), and is my ritual. I don’t care if it is freezing, raining, or dark…I do it all the time. I didn’t always do it, but now that I do, I feel much better each time I close the cabin door.
Like you, we probably all shudder at the things we did early in our careers. And laugh, and shake our heads, and like Ernest Gann, wonder how it is we lucked through it all. So far.
We gotta get together and have a beer sometime @smokinhole (maybe we should hit up @chipwich for a tour of the brewery…!)