Gone West: Larry Camden

Discussion in 'Gone West' started by denverpilot, Jan 26, 2021.

  1. denverpilot

    denverpilot Tied Down PoA Supporter

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    Larry wasn’t a member here but I felt compelled to make a little post.

    https://www.horancares.com/obituary/JamesLarry-Camden

    (Since it’s that era, no, not Covid. Cancer. Enough said about that.)

    Larry was my CFI along with his friend Paul for all of my ratings after my Private/Instrument.

    Multi/Commercial and CFI stuff.

    My first intro to him was literally looking up schools and instructors and shopping around. I saw his web page said Continental and being a former Continental rampie myself and my first CFI being a long time Continental guy, I texted him. “Ever heard of this guy? Has a school here and I’m thinking about doing my multi with him.”

    I get back a note, “Hell yes. Flew with him on the DC-10. He’s broken in a lot of First Officers. You’ll be fine. He’ll teach you stuff you didn’t know you needed to learn.”

    Hahaha. And ... he did.

    What I can add that isn’t in the obit... there was a photo of a DC-2 on his office desk. He said it was his first paid flying gig.

    He went to Purdue and had earned his A&P straight out of school back then. Unknown time later he was an AI.

    Had a pile of type ratings. Needed three little green cards to print all of them on.

    Flew for Continental forever. Finished his career there on the triple 7. Then started a flight school in “retirement” in 2001.

    Had photos from all sorts of local famous folks on his wall thanking him for teaching them or someone.

    One was a signed photo from the Kings thanking him for surprising them with teaching a staff member of theirs a rating on some time off that she took. Ha. Went on vacation from King Schools, came back with a new rating.

    Had a few “CFI of the Year” awards from the Denver FSDO on the wall too.

    Had a bejillion hours. Over 10,000 just teaching.

    His airplanes were pristine. The whole AI thing. He spent countless hours long after flight students went home, maintaining them. I can’t think of any other rentals in three decades that I enjoyed flying more.

    And I — of course — was STILL the guy that things would break on because... well, that’s just me. When we cancelled multiple rides in the twin because of the silly Sandel he got so mad at it and was about to replace it with a G5 just to make the insanity stop.

    He knew working airplanes were his bread and butter and didn’t do minimum maintenance on them like some rental places (most?) I’ve flown at.

    But besides all of that — a natural teacher. Well who knows. Probably just a ton of experience doing it.

    Knew when to just sit there and say nothing and crack a grin as he watched you dig your own hole. Then a corrective word — when it was right close to getting out of hand. I think he may have touched the controls (other than demos) three times in more ratings than that.

    Unflappable. Always ready to be PIC if you decided you weren’t gonna do it today. Haha.

    I remember vividly him letting me learn the hard way how much a twin will sink on approach if you decide to become a throttle jockey. I yanked way too much power off when high and I saw nothing but one eyebrow go up. A few second later down in the weeds with the tops of the approach lights getting way too close for comfort he looks over and says, “Get. It. UP!” That’s all he had to say.

    And he spent a lot of time making sure I knew exactly how both twins and students in both twins and singles would attempt to kill me. Haha. He had whole binders of safety reports on every airplane type the school flew and had dug in and analyzed the real accidents seen most commonly in each. He took nothing for granted nor believed any of the various instructional “old wives tales”, he went hunting for proof of them or debunked them.

    Because he was a mechanic he knew systems cold. He’d find cutaways or make stuff to show us pilots what was really going on behind the cowl. Or if you stopped by while he had one of the airplanes apart he’d show you.

    I did my best to help him with a couple ancient office computers that were sometimes cantankerous, and laughed at his industrial sized stash of cheese and peanut butter crackers from Costco — the lunch staple and flight bag snack of busy CFIs and IT nerds, the world over.

    Always smiling even when circumstances were just kicking his butt, always professional but could get a good (justified) rant or two out of him once he got to know you, about bad teaching methods, or stuff pilots “believe that just aren’t true”.

    We had kept in touch as both of our medical situations went south. I was sad for him when he had to close the school down, but like any old Captain he simply made a decision when the medical stuff got out of hand — “So that’s done.”

    Will miss him. Taught me a bunch of stuff I won’t forget.

    I’ll never have the hours or experiences he had, but I can learn from and always assume his demeanor and do things right.

    Thanks Larry. RIP.
     
  2. Bill

    Bill Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Nice, thanks for the writeup!
     
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  3. Timbeck2

    Timbeck2 Final Approach

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    Wonderful tribute Nate. May he rest in peace.
     
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  4. GRG55

    GRG55 Final Approach Gone West

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    I'll echo what Timbeck2 said.
     
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  5. gkainz

    gkainz Final Approach

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    Thanks for sharing, Nate. A great tribute. Made me think of this...

    Everyone has a story,
    but some are surly uncertain how to tell it.
    In a way this can be a good thing.
    Let others tell it for you.
    How are we to be remembered?
    What will our friends and neighbors say about us when we're gone?
    The answer is...
    It's up for you to decide.

    Actions speak louder than words.
    It may be true...
    but, it is the words and actions that you use,
    that help define you.

    We all have to think about the future...
    For ourselves and for our neighbors.
    Who would be the oddball...
    If we only helped others achieve arrival to the future.

    True selflessness is not an act of selfishness.
    They counteract each other.
    Not seeing yourself for yourself,
    is just that.

    Jumping in front of those who might be injured.
    Creating justice for those who cannot obtain it.
    Assisting those who have given it up for not.
    Is that how your story should be told?

    Don't climb just to be seen!
    For God sees you.
    Don't yell just to be heard!
    For God hears you.
    And if he wants you to be seen,
    they shall see you.
    And if he wants you to be heard,
    they shall hear you.

    So clean that sword and dust off that old shield.
    Walk down the path to battle,
    Like a true warrior.
    Dont march into battle as a soldier,
    But fly into battle as a protector.

    Wear the white of the dove as the Lords warrior,
    the green of life as the protector of the innocent,
    the blue of the new as the supporter of creation,
    the yellow of the light as the portrayal of his greatness.

    Your battered armor shall be polished under his glory.
    Your rusted shield shall shine under his holiness.
    Your dull weapons shall cut through anything under his might.
    No enemy shall be his equal and he shall stand with you.

    How will you be remembered?
    Amber Glistener
     
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  6. Everskyward

    Everskyward Experimenter

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    Sorry to hear. :( Although I recognize his name, I never met him.
     
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  7. RyanB

    RyanB Administrator Management Council Member PoA Supporter

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    Sounds like an exceptional person! Sorry for the loss! :(
     
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  8. wsuffa

    wsuffa Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Grea tribute. RIP
     
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  9. MuseChaser

    MuseChaser Pattern Altitude

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    Consider the echo extended. Beautiful tribute, Nate.
     
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  10. Dave Theisen

    Dave Theisen En-Route

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    I finally read all of one your long a** posts! :)

    Sounds like a life well lived and a heck of a guy.

    Sorry for your loss.
     
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  11. SCCutler

    SCCutler Administrator Management Council Member

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    Knowing you as I do, Nate, I also know that I wish I'd gotten to know Cpt. Camden.

    Fair winds!
     
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  12. murphey

    murphey Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    I've known Larry and his wife for many years, so here's another Larry story....

    Larry specialized in high-end training. Quite a number of well-known folks from all over would come to Denver to work with him. FTG (now CFO) was a common stop for lunch instead of dealing with the traffic at KAPA. Larry and current student (CFI in training, not Nate) were having lunch, saw me walk in and waved me over to join them. Larry asks when am I going to get my CFI, he knows I teach (at the university) and wants me to take the primary students (not his favorites). Larry felt that understanding how to teach was as important, if not more, than knowing every clause in 14 CFR 61, 91, etc. "Well" I explained, "I still have to get thru my instrument". Larry: "Why haven't you called the office and get on the schedule?"

    At that point one of our favorite DPEs walks in, joins us, and asks me the inevitable question, "when are you going to take the instrument ride?"

    [do you see a pattern?]

    "But Drew", I replied, "I've only been working on it for 9 years, what's the rush?"

    That was 3 years ago. So I did re-start the instrument with one of his CFIIs, then multiple issues arose (the CFII took a job with the FAA and I ran out of $$$) and the instrument got put on hold again.
     
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  13. AdamZ

    AdamZ Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Cancer SUCKS and my condolences on the loss of your teacher Nate. Ain't easy.
     
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  14. denverpilot

    denverpilot Tied Down PoA Supporter

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    You’d have gotten along for sure. Probably like him more than me! LOL.

    He sometimes reminded me of Greg B here. Fairly quiet and thinking during a conversation and then has the funniest comment of the night — after thinking about the topic for a bit. :)
     
  15. Ghery

    Ghery Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Sorry to hear this. He sounds like he was a wonder person, as well as a teacher. Cancer sucks. RIP.
     
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  16. Greg Bockelman

    Greg Bockelman Touchdown! Greaser!

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    :)