Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda

Discussion in 'Hangar Talk' started by RyanB, Feb 16, 2021.

  1. Bill

    Bill Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Although I only know a little of what you've done, I can see how that would have been very enjoyable. We need to get you to a flyin where hopefully you can share some stories.
     
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  2. steingar

    steingar Taxi to Parking

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    I have few regrets, and most involve things I didn't do for other people. My only regret for myself was I apply for NASA when the time was ripe. They were actively recruiting astronauts, and I fit they're profile fairly well except the photogenic part. I was almost t the age cutoff, and I didn't want to move to Florida. I passed, and I've regretted it ever since.
     
  3. Timbeck2

    Timbeck2 Final Approach

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    Yep. I was the tower chief controller there. I got bored and started running a few PARs and then they asked if I wanted a center rating so I did it. It doesn’t compare even remotely to a real center rating.
     
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  4. Everskyward

    Everskyward Experimenter

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    :D Here, late in life, I wonder what would have happened if I had been more exposed to sailing at a young age. I think I would have enjoyed one of the semester at sea programs on a traditionally rigged ship. That's where some of the people I know now got their start.

    True. Because I had taken photography courses in college and knew the technical aspects, I got hired as a camera operator for a photogrammetry company. Being a private pilot didn't hurt, because they figured I wouldn't be afraid of flying in small airplanes or get airsick. After a number of years and a number of jobs in that industry, I got my instrument and commercial and moved to the front seat (about the same time I was considering ATC). I stayed in that industry for a long time. I didn't think I would enjoy the regimentation of being an airline pilot. Plus, at the time, they had a vision requirement that I was far from meeting. Being a pilot for a photogrammetry company was a full time position that involved more than flying the airplane, and it paid much better than a regional job. I also had much more independence over the flying aspects. When I was about 40 I realized I had topped out in the industry unless I was going to start my own company so I looked for something else to do. I applied for various flying jobs, including airlines, but realized again in the interview process that it was not for me. That was helped by the fact that they decided the same thing! I also applied to a local company that flew King Airs and Learjets doing doctor outreach, air ambulance, and charter. I was amazed that they hired me, since I only had piston time. But I had a lot of it, including multiengine PIC, which I realized was the ticket. I was also local, and had flown in the mountains. My weakness was that I didn't have much instrument experience, since you don't do mapping in instrument conditions, so I had to work on that part. I stayed with that company the rest of my career. Sometimes I think I should have moved on, like many did, but I am cursed with a lot of inertia. But it all worked out. I had some cool experiences working there and I enjoyed most of the people. I also liked the new people, new places aspect. I went to a lot of places I never would have gotten to see if not for the job. I also got to meet many POAers when I happened to have a flight nearby.
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2021
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  5. Zeldman

    Zeldman Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Not too far out of high school I took the test to be an engineer. The one that drives trains. I got the call with choices to start train driving school, but race cars sounded like more fun.

    If I had chosen trains, I could be deaf and living off of lawsuit money and retirement now. But I don't think I would have had as much fun.
     
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  6. nauga

    nauga Administrator Management Council Member PoA Supporter

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    I agree wholeheartedly with this. A lot of my opportunities have been simply because I was ready to step up and say, "I'll do it" when others were reluctant (to be the <poop> deflector, to travel, to change roles, to take career risks). Being willing to do the less glamorous stuff or stuff involving more hardship has opened doors to some really interesting stuff.

    Nauga,
    semper gumby
     
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  7. nauga

    nauga Administrator Management Council Member PoA Supporter

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    Yeah, I could've been a track star too, except for the part about not being athletic. :D

    Nauga,
    and the stories he'll never tell
     
  8. GRG55

    GRG55 Final Approach Gone West

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    I always thought I coulda been a jet fighter pilot. Except for not having the eyes, reflexes, temperament or Ray Bans to qualify.

    GRG55
    who still wants a "Fire Phasers" button on his yoke
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2021
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  9. Sac Arrow

    Sac Arrow Touchdown! Greaser!

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    That is a tough one. One school of thought says that if I went in to an engineering program right out of high school, I'd be ahead of the game, but on the other hand, if I didn't putter around with useless community college courses and did a full enlistment in the Army, I probably wouldn't have had the discipline to see it through. Where I'm at now, I pretty much arrived at through luck and timing, and I'm better off financially than I would have been if I had retired as a commissioned officer. So, to answer the question, if I could rewind the clock, there would have been some things I would have done differently, but I probably wouldn't change the basic course of events.
     
  10. Skyrys62

    Skyrys62 En-Route

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    Meet the Fokkers
    Hiring manager for NFL cheerleaders.

    ...it's not the job, it's the perks ;)
     
  11. Tantalum

    Tantalum Final Approach

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    Same here.. aviation is my passion. If we lived in a magic utopia where there was no concept of money and people simply worked jobs they genuinely enjoyed I'd go all in on aviation. The greatest happiness to me is when I'm in the air.

    I ended up not making a living out of flying for these reasons
    (1) you don't have that much control of your career/income. I mean in the sense that your work is ultimately dictated by the airline you work for, which is ultimately dictated by economic forces. This is true to some degree in every career but if you are a software developer at company X, and they fold, you can go to company Y and make more or less the same money. You can also fairly easily "go out on your own" and start your own company, code your own apps, etc. If you lose your job at one airline because the economy went south you can't really just go to another airline and get similar income. You can still fly, but your income may fall in the trash. Or you can go work somewhere else non aviation, but with what qualifications? Imagine working for an airliner for 15 years and earning $150K/yr.. now you've lost your job and you have to go work somewhere with zero experience.. you'll get a job making $50K/yr and potentially be up a creek

    (2) I have to think the initial "holy crap, I'm flying this 767 and have 100,000 lbs of thrust in my hands!" moment fades after a few months of sitting in a chair on autopilot at 35,000 feet doing exactly what ATC and the airline ops tell you. It's also not going to be all beautiful approaches into awesome cities at sunset. There will be times when the weather is **** and you spend hours with delays and cancellations to eventually time out.. do you get paid for stuff like that?

    (3) how much autonomy does one realistically get? Will you be flying a 777 to cool places? Or will you be flying that ERJ between a bunch of boring city pairs sleeping in depressing hotels away from your family?

    (4) but the biggest reason, I'd be scared to turn a passion into work and lose the one thing that's ever brought me genuine happiness. Flying right now is something I do outside of work, it's a goal, something I have to save up for, etc. If it becomes a job.. then what's left? I really respect (and am a tad jealous) of people who can keep their passion and have "made it" in aviation. You guys don't know how lucky you are!!

    Damn I wish I was that young still.. I'll be 35 this year and my "what do I want to be when I grow up" question still haunts me.. but time is slowly drifting away

    I would have gotten better grades in highschool, gone to a cheaper college, had very little (or no) student loan debt, and paved a career as a software developer instead of data science.. I'd have gone for an MBA in my 20s and be earning a lot more money than I do now running my own company and keep an Icon FJ https://www.icon4x4.com/fj in my hangar next to a shiny metal Cessna 195 with a red cheatline and a meticulously maintained Aerostar

    Preach! This is exactly the kind of advice I got from a number of professional pilots. Spend a ton of time in the poorhouse. Eventually you make bank, but it becomes a job and if you lose that job you're effectively screwed

    Yup, that one scares me. It's "easy" to get a flying job, but I'd be scared that the inverse isn't true. After a few years at an airline applying for and working a non flying job is going to be hard
     
  12. Bill

    Bill Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    [​IMG]
     
  13. Ted

    Ted The pilot formerly known as Twin Engine Ted

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    For sure. I think it's safe to say ever time I've taken a career risk, it may not have worked out quite as I'd thought it would, but it's usually worked out to be an overall positive one way or another. There's a story beyond the job itself there, too. You figure my first job out of college at that company that throws old tractor engines in the air (after painting them grey) and that introduced me to GA (really aviation) all around. Pennsylvania was a wonderful place to live, someplace I don't think I ever would've sought out - but we loved it. I lived on what was probably the most glorious road to drive/ride on I'll ever live on. Not to mention, it was a great place to learn to fly. Flying 135 and doing instruction was a fun diversion between that and going to work on jet engines (because it's nice to have a job that actually pays money - which 135/instruction didn't at my level). Among other things, that had taken us from a place where we really did enjoy living to a place that we really did not enjoy at all (#neverohioagain). But, learning about and playing with jet engines was cool.

    Now the current job has really broadened a lot of aviation view but we also find we love Kansas and have loved living here, the property we have (something we couldn't likely get anywhere else), and a good school district for our kids. It's the kind of life I'd always dreamed of growing up in New York, and being in Kansas was really a great thing for the last 4 years of Cloud Nine's existence before making the decision to shut down.

    I've noticed a lot of people also focus on what the job is or where they want to be, but both count for something. Exploring is a wonderful thing.
     
  14. Bill

    Bill Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    I've lived and worked in six states, found things I liked about all of them, was never unhappy anywhere, and ended up landing here permanently. We plan on retiring here and using our time to explore more of this great country. I wouldn't have experienced such a journey if I wasn't amenable to saying "Sure, what the hell, I'll try that..."
     
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  15. kayoh190

    kayoh190 Administrator Management Council Member PoA Supporter

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    I had a similar experience to @Busflyer - I came from a STEM background, made poverty wages as an instructor while having the time of my life, and gradually worked through the ups and downs of the industry into a job at a major. I don't regret a minute of any of it, and feel fortunate every day I head into work. I still very much enjoy the job while continuing to have a passion for GA. Is it for everyone? Of course not, and there are countless threads on PoA that talk about the lifestyle and the various pitfalls of the career. But I don't think we're outliers either - while pilots in general love to bitch and moan, very few of any that I've worked with over the years regret their decision to pursue aviation.
     
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  16. wayne

    wayne Pattern Altitude

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    Where are you on your flying? Instrument rating? Commercial? How many hours?

    You have a plane and income. Get flying. Get the ratings. If you have the IR and hours sign-up for Angel Flight. Someone else is picking where and when you go. You still need to make the call on the weather. Plus you can write it off on your taxes.

    With the current airline doldrums due to COVID you have some time to build hours.
     
  17. Velocity173

    Velocity173 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    At 50 ft most of the time, we didn’t have much use for center. I suppose it was all fixed wing traffic.

    Still think I met you one day at Kirkuk. Took a tour of tower. Male sup and 2 female controllers were working at the time.
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2021
  18. kayoh190

    kayoh190 Administrator Management Council Member PoA Supporter

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    It's a valid concern and I've seen it happen, but I think it happens less than the stereotypes would have you believe. My day job doesn't take the place of flying GA, but I never expected it to. Yes ATC and my company tell me where to go, but that's precisely the reason I still love strapping into a little airplane and finding neat places to go. I've flown with guys that own all manner of GA aircraft, including one captain that's into WWI era replicas and soloed his 16 year old daughter in a Curtiss Jenny. I mean how friggin' cool is that?

    Your list of reasons you stayed out of the game aren't wrong, and anyone that's evaluating what to do needs to think about exactly those same things and come to their own conclusion. I went one direction and am happy with the decision, but I probably would've been happy staying in tech too. Like @Bill I tend to be one of those guys that finds the good in situations - you mentioned sitting at FL350 with the autopilot on and while that's absolutely true, I also hand flew to 1300 RVR in gusty, heavy snow just a couple of days ago. I used to play games as a kid that utilized a simulated HUD, and here I am using an actual HUD to fly an airliner with 170 people to a runway I can barely see. So yeah the job is mostly routine, but even after 10 years of 121 there are still moments where I set the parking brake and think, "Damn, that was awesome."
     
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  19. Tantalum

    Tantalum Final Approach

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    Great to hear things like this.. my nephew is pursuing a career in professional aviation and I'm rooting for him. I can live vicariously through people like you and him!
     
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  20. NealRomeoGolf

    NealRomeoGolf En-Route

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    I would still love to find a company in the Midwest that needs a flying CFO. But I need to build hours before that would even be feasible. So I continue to do that and see what life brings.
     
  21. kayoh190

    kayoh190 Administrator Management Council Member PoA Supporter

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    Doesn't mean I'm not also happy to give you stories of the crappy stuff for balance! That same day my flight home to EWR was canceled, so the company had me deadhead home to LGA instead, which left a couple of hours later. We landed at something like 1am. Since my car was at EWR, they put me in a Suburban to shuttle me over there. By the time I drove home and walked in the door, it was damned near 3am. Good times! :p
     
  22. Ted

    Ted The pilot formerly known as Twin Engine Ted

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    I'm on state number 5 that I've lived in. I'm less of an optimist than you and overall didn't enjoy living in three of those states which at this point still make up about 2/3 of my life. In retrospect I find some more things I like about the places I no longer live, but some of those are because I don't live there anymore, and the rest are becoming older and wiser.
     
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  23. Doc Holliday

    Doc Holliday Pattern Altitude

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    For me, I’m a “sporting man” now.

    Pull up a chair and let’s deal some cards.
     
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  24. Tarheelpilot

    Tarheelpilot Final Approach

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    My career has been nowhere near this good for me financially but has been way better in other ways. All the down turns (9-11, 65, 2008 and corona) came at just the right time to really cripple my advances in the airline industry. On the other hand those down times all resulted in some great adventures just not much money.
     
  25. Ted

    Ted The pilot formerly known as Twin Engine Ted

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    It seems like the best adventures and most money rarely go hand in hand. Most of my best adventures were in the Aztec. All the 414 was perhaps the most harrowing.
     
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  26. hindsight2020

    hindsight2020 Final Approach

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    As a father and head of household with medical needs, i absolutely consider myself blessed to have secured a flying job that fits my very narrow professional interest in flying, my household schedule needs, and my income and retirement desires simultaneoulsy. Matching that trifecta with a single job is a very tall order. Took me shy of 12 years to secure from my escape from academia, and around 11 years from entry into the .mil.

    I made a big tactical mistake in pursuing engineering degrees I had no innate desire to apply vocationally otherwise, nevermind expending an extra 2.5 years of it in grad school. I was motivated by what turned out to be a flawed assumption, and I paid for it by hating 8 years of my teens and 20s. I don't use the word regret since the blunder was borne out of lack of correct information, not a disregard for what information was in front of me. Still, in hindsight i would totally change that aspect of my journey.


    I too was 24 and childless once. As long as you don't choose to incur the additional domestic commitment, this vocational question is running the course in easy mode. I know for a fact if I didn't have dependents, these choices would be both devoid of large opportunity costs, and easier to weather the financial penalty of pivoting away from a hung start career. I could afford to be a hell of lot more flippant about my vocational choices absent medical and financial dependents.

    No right or wrong answer OP, and in the end nobody here really GAF what you end up doing. As long as you're content and balanced, you can't go wrong. From my perch, you're in easy street as far as low cost choice execution is concerned. Good luck to ya. Cheers!
     
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  27. eman1200

    eman1200 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    eh that's not 100% accurate
     
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  28. denverpilot

    denverpilot Tied Down PoA Supporter

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    Correct. We want you to go back to being a pop singer! Lol!
     
  29. kayoh190

    kayoh190 Administrator Management Council Member PoA Supporter

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    It hasn't all been financial unicorn farts and rainbows on my end either. I spent two years instructing, six years flying corporate/135, and now a decade flying 121. I had one flight department close and endured first year airline pay on two separate occasions (although both were by choice). I've moved more than a thousand miles twice for a job. But as @hindsight2020 likes to point out (and it's completely true) - all this happened prior to taking on any dependents, the advantage of being resistant to growing up. My situation and perhaps my entire career would likely look a lot different had I been mature enough to settle down while still in my 20s. Fortunately my wife lacked enough self respect to date a bald dude in his mid-30s, or I'd probably still be single. :)

    And to your point about great adventures, I completely agree with both you and Ted. Some of the most fun I've had in my career was as a poor instructor or getting abused by my 135. Those are the things I'll ultimately remember after retirement - not my 2020 W2.
     
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  30. dmspilot

    dmspilot En-Route

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    Being happy about being underpaid is not something I would brag about.
     
  31. kayoh190

    kayoh190 Administrator Management Council Member PoA Supporter

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    Who's bragging about it? The OP is asking if we'd do it again or what we'd change, and some of us are pointing out the good times even when faced with the realities of the not so good parts.
     
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  32. jordane93

    jordane93 Final Approach

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    I think him being single, no kids, no debt?, he’s in the best position to make a change. Making 60K as a first year regional FO is doable for his situation. Although I guess the first year compensation at the regionals will go down a little due to the bonuses not being offered. Sometimes the grass is greener. Sometimes it isn’t. I’m always going to be an airline cheerleader because I don’t know any better. Its been my only really job so I have nothing to compare it to. It’s the best job I’ve had. Even better than my Hertz gig:D
     
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  33. eman1200

    eman1200 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    @RyanB time to pull up your Duluth Trading Co Buck Naked Underoos and make a big boy decision!
     
  34. flhrci

    flhrci Final Approach

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    You've got nothing on me, I think. lol
     
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  35. dmspilot

    dmspilot En-Route

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    Seems like he doesn't need to have the good parts pointed out since he already wants to do it. He should be made aware of the not so good parts.
     
  36. Busflyer

    Busflyer Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Never said I was happy about being underpaid. Just realized it was part of the process at that time in order to end up at my final destination. I could have taken an engineering job making triple what I was making but chose the flying path instead.
    I merely said that we had a lot of fun. Don’t need money to have fun. Being young with no kids back then I could do it.

    That being said, gotta run, headed to Barcelona tonight.
     
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  37. Tarheelpilot

    Tarheelpilot Final Approach

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    I’m furloughed from airline number four right now :)

    well sort of... I’m recalled per the government mandated recall but I don’t have a seat. Expecting another change to employment status in April.

    I would not change a thing except for perhaps taking that army job.


    Edit: just for clarification... I was only furloughed from number one and four. I left 2 and 3 on my own terms.
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2021
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  38. texasclouds

    texasclouds Cleared for Takeoff

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    Just send it, bruh! I’m all in, currently at 1150 hrs, working that CFI gig.
     
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  39. X3 Skier

    X3 Skier En-Route

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    Always wanted to be a fighter pilot but my eyes went to 20/gazillion in high school. So I went and became a Mechanical Engineer who got hired by the USAF at WPAFB. During my career, I worked on every Tactical Aircraft in the USAF inventory (and a couple of USN as well) and as Chief Engineer for the YF-22, YF-23, F-22, C-17 plus a couple of others unmentionable.

    Along the way, I got a couple rides in the F-14 where we did “Pilot S***” as Goose called it and loved every second of it. So if I could have seen more than 20’ in front of me without corrective lenses, I probably would have made a pretty good stick. Still, to be responsible for a large part of what the USAF Fielded from the 60’s to the 90’s was a blast. Won’t change a thing unless LASIK was around in 1960.

    if it ain’t fun, don’t do it.

    Cheers
     
  40. FormerHangie

    FormerHangie En-Route

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    Paul Newman came to racing later in life, I think he was about 45 when he started. He said, "everyone has 20 years (of racing) in them, it doesn't matter which 20". Come to think of it, my first race was in 1976 and my last in 1997, so I guess he was right.
     
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