‘We had no alcohol or dancing girls.’

Comments and opinions from Embry-Riddle alumni and friends

From the Editor

The spring 2017 Lift, Off the Page event took place April 3. Our panel of alumni and faculty subject matter experts took a deeper dive into the pilot shortage, its causes, ramifications and potential remedies. If you missed it, watch it here.

Be sure to check out the web exclusives included with this edition. Tell us what you think about the pilot shortage in our survey. And, see what others are saying about it: Alumni and industry representatives weighed in on the topic at Embry-Riddle’s 2016-17 Industry/Career Expos.

Share your opinions on the pilot shortage or other Lift topics anytime: Email liftmag@erau.edu.

—Sara Withrow, Editor

University of Miami/Embry-Riddle Business Pilot Course

The day after my discharge from the U.S. Air Force in August 1956, I left Portland, Ore., for Miami to start my classes with Embry-Riddle in conjunction with the University of Miami (U of M). The course was called the Business Pilot course.

We took our aviation courses and others at U of M leading to a B.A. degree with a major in Aviation, and we did our flying at the old Tamiami Airport on 8th Street. Embry-Riddle hired the instructors in meteorology, navigation, etc., and U of M employed those teaching radar meteorology and subjects, such as accounting, statistics and other boring studies.

I had my private pilot certificate and was working on my commercial and multi-engine ratings, and our chief pilot was Mr. Delgado. My multi-engine training went well using the T-50, also known as the “Bamboo Bomber,” because it was made of wood (no joke) and powered by two Jacobs 245-horsepower engines.

Sigma Alpha Tau fraternity, circa 1956-'57
Sigma Alpha Tau fraternity, circa 1956-57

Our Embry-Riddle instructors told us about the Professional Aviation Fraternity, Sigma Alpha Tau, and encouraged all of us to join. We had dinners and hosted well-known speakers in the aviation industry. We had no alcohol or dancing girls. I guess you can’t have it all. The photo (above) was taken about 1956-57 of select fraternity members. Sitting, far right, is Bob Kane, our department head, and far left, is Mr. McHenry, one of our teachers. I am standing, fourth from left, and the tall guy in the center is my friend Bill McMillin. Bill died in 2015.

I went on to work as a DC-3 copilot for Northeast Airlines and ultimately ended up at National Airlines (NAL) flying as a B727 captain. In 1980, NAL was bought by Pan Am. I spent the next 10 years flying wide body jets, DC-10 and Airbus A300, before Pan Am went out of business in 1991. Now, I live on a farm in Western North Carolina with my wife, Gail, our dog, Nick, and eight cats.

Richard “Dick” W. Keenan (’58, MC, Non-degree)
Certificate in Business Piloting, University of Miami, in partnership with Embry-Riddle

Poor Photo Choice

I think that the picture of Mr. [Greg] Feith on page 28 [fall 2016: A Living Legend by No Accident] is disrespectful to those who perished in that tragic accident. An accident investigator should show respect and dignity at all times. I am disappointed that the magazine chose to run such a distasteful photo.

Craig S. Aber (‘94, DB)
B.S. Aeronautical Science

Editor’s Note: The photo referenced shows former National Transportation Safety Board investigator Greg Feith posing among aircraft wreckage. Taken in 1980, the image documents Feith’s excitement at having discovered his “calling” for accident investigation. Still a student at the time, it was the first wreck he had investigated on his own. No disrespect to the victims of the tragedy was intended.