How I Learned to Fly: Toilet Papered by a Flight School

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A North Carolina radio station has its tower papered from the air, leading its DJ to become a 30,000-hr. commercial pilot.

TrainingAs a just retired Delta 767 Captain, I'll have to admit the question, "How did you learn to fly?" has brought many smiles.

Back in the mid 60's, I was working as a country music DJ, playing those love songs for the people of piedmont NC. There were many calls for dedications. Some of the calls came from the Saturday afternoon instructors at Air Harbor, one of the local airports.

After playing songs for the guys and their girl friends weekend after weekend, I was told I would be presented with "an award" later that Saturday afternoon. About 3:30PM, a Tri-pacer circled just above the AM tower out behind the radio station building. Suddenly, I noticed something being thrown out of the circling plane! It was an unwinding roll of toilet paper. It circled the tower and all of the guide wires! My "award" was being "rolled" from the air!

Later, the guys called the station and offered :30 minute free flying lessons for each dedication I would play for the guys at the airport. Payola was not illegal back in those days, so they were on! I played lots of songs for time in N4869Z, the Colt of the day, and eventually ended up with a commercial and instrument ticket!

Later, I was hired as an Electra co-pilot with National Airlines with 725 hours of total time! I'll have to admit on my first trip from MIA to BOS, I was so lost I was still looking for NYC on the map as we entered the crew car in BOS for the hotel! Going from a Piper Colt to an Electra is quite a step for a country music DJ! Oh, for the old days again!

It must have been the right way to learn. In 32 years of commericial avaition and almost 30,000 hours, I never lost an engine or committed a violation!