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Always A Pilot

by John M. White |

I have met a lot of pilots over the years, and it is interesting to note they are always interested in talking about flying. This is true even if they haven't been at the stick for over 30 or 50 years! Somehow aviation always gets a hold of us and we can never let it go. Take for example the case of Petty Officer Third Class Mark Allan. He enlisted in the Navy in 1975 and began his naval career as a radar operator and air traffic controller. It wasn't long before the aviation bug bit him and soon he was applying to the Naval Academy. But all that came were four years of rejection. A-6s In Formation Flight Watching those fighters catapult off the deck of the aircraft carrier drove him to continue his education, and during a stint at Naval Air Station Patuxent he achieved his private pilot's license through the flying club there. He applied to, and was accepted into, Officer's Candidate School and soon was headed to flight school in Florida. In 1985 he graduated first in his class and was assigned to fly A-6s in Oceana. Allan thought going fast and blowing things up would be fun, and he was right. After flying the F/A-18 Hornet his marriage came apart, he turned in his wings after 25 years in the Navy and decided to spend time with his two daughters. After careers in aerospace engineering and telecommunications he now owns a NASCAR team and hopes his team will be on the NASCAR circuit in 2011. However, when Allan recently picked up a rental truck he spotted the fuselage of a Russian Mig-17 and asked the owner if it still flew. It did said the owner, and he would sell it for $ 20,000. It was hard to pass up, but the NASCAR commitment needed is money more. But for that ... who knows? The saying goes "You can take the pilot out of the aircraft but you can't take flying out of the pilot". Until next time keep your wings straight and level Hersch! JetAviator7 If you want to grow old as a pilot, you’ve got to know when to push it, and when to back off. — Chuck Yeager.

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