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Editor's Letter - Keep on not breaking anything!

Posted 47 days ago ago by Admin

When you’re young, you rarely think about the day before, rather always looking ahead to the future. However, at 55 years old, I find myself reflecting on the past a little more these days. Looking back to my younger years as a pilot, I feel like I was really fortunate to have crossed paths with quality people throughout my career in the helicopter industry—colleagues and friends who tested me, shared insights with me, and opened doors of opportunity for me. All of them had my best interest at heart.

I will never forget the time I asked for my first pay increase as a helicopter pilot. I was piloting a Bell 206 for Aircoastal Helicopters flying news, charter, and utility work. I had been working in that capacity for a little over a year and my plan was to go to the company owner and ask for a $5 per hour pay increase.

On the chosen day, I went into the owner’s office and confidently said, “Danny, I’d like to talk with you about a pay raise.” He calmly replied, “Is that so?” Right then and there, I made my pitch about being a reliable and safe pilot. I think I might have even said, “I haven’t broken anything,” . . . as if that was the bar for good performance.

After my pitch, he looked me straight in the eye and said, “How often do you look at your paycheck?” In my mind, I was asking myself why in the heck would he ask me that question, too which I answered, “Uh, never. Why?” That was true; I did not look at my paychecks. I grabbed the envelope every two weeks and hand delivered it to my wife unopened.

Danny made a few clicks on his computer keyboard as if to verify something. He then chuckled and said, “Well if you looked at your paychecks, you would have noticed that six months ago I gave you the exact pay raise you are asking for today. You’ve been doing a great job, so keep on not breaking anything!”

I was stunned, humbled, and embarrassed at the same time. I mean, here this guy quietly gave me a raise to thank me for doing a good job, and because I was a dope and didn’t look at my checks, I did not even know it so that I could thank him. I not only apologized to him, but thanked him profusely for the gesture. I learned a great lesson that day when I was 20-something about integrity and doing the right thing—even when there’s a cost.

That gent’s name was Dan Crowe and he’s one of dozens who played a role in my success in both aviation and business. For those of you who are actively investing time into new aviators, keep it up. They will never forget you.

Thinking back, the only unresolved question is why didn’t my wife notice that I had gotten the pay raise . . . or did she?


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