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

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 thequestion, “How did you learn to fly?” has brought many smiles.

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

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

Later, the guys called the station and offered :30 minute freeflying lessons for each dedication I would play for the guys at theairport. 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, andeventually ended up with a commercial and instrument ticket!

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

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