Wednesday, June 17, 2009

My Annual Physicals

I just returned home from having my physicals and thought you might enjoy meeting those involved with my well being. Off to HNL today and wanted to leave something behind.

Dr. Paul Turnquist in Dover, New Hampshire

Sadly, my FAA medical examiner passed away recently. He was a good fellow, very interested in the careers of the airline pilots whom he examined and willing to go the extra mile to help preserve their class 1 medical status. It was a shock to those of us who relied on his expertise for years and valued his council. A scramble now was underway by hundreds of pilots in New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Maine to fill Dr T's void and cultivate a new relationship with another ME. The grapevine was active and we all shared our good and bad experiences with one another.

Fortunately, time was on my side and I wasn't due for a while so had time to investigate the field. Pictured above is Dr. Paul Turnquist, practicing in Dover, NH and a man very interested in flight and those who fly. I experienced a thorough, yet relaxed examination as he explained each step as we progressed. He has an interesting background too. He served in the Air Force as a pilot from 1976 to 1983 instructing in T-38's in Del Rio and flew KC-135's out of Rickenbacker and A-37's from Peoria. He's also the official Massachusetts state Flight Surgeon. Now here's where it gets interesting. He was hired at USAir in 1984 eventually upgrading to DC-9 and A-320 Captain when his curiosity overtook him and he enrolled at the University of Pittsburgh Medical School. All the while he flew at USAir, even during his residency. Today he's a senior A-330 FO based in PHL, in fact he'd just returned from a Frankfurt trip the day before. 

Dave Wilke in Nashua, New Hampshire

While I was having my eyes, heart, lungs and blood pressure checked, my '46 Cub spent a few days in Dave Wilke's hangar in Nashua, NH undergoing its annual check too. Dave found a few problems that he was able to solve with ingenuity and few new parts. Finding a good mechanic is one thing, but finding one with antique aircraft knowledge is another. Dave understands "expander" brakes, operated by heel levers, old magnetos, landing gear bungees and fabric cover repair. Many mechanics view vintage tailwheel airplanes as relics and cringe when they appear at their hangar, but Dave owns a Luscombe Silvaire and has himself been bitten by the tailwheel bug.

NC98342 at home in Brookline NH with newly refaced instruments

With Dave's help, I completed a project that I'd planned to do for years, refacing my cockpit instruments with cream faces and Cub logos. Now her cockpit has a more original look. We'd removed the instruments, all four of them and sent them to Keystone Instruments at the Wm T. Piper Memorial Airport in Lock Haven PA. They turned them very quickly and in less than a month I owned an original looking Altimeter, Tach, Airspeed indicator and oil pressure and temperature gauge. My Cub is an older restoration that I upgraded a few years ago with four new Millinium cylinders, two new dual impulse magnetos, new lift struts and an electric oil heater for cold weather operations. Yes, I fly this baby through New Hampshire winters!

Off on a five day trip today, but when I get home I plan to start posting JFK photos from a recent 9 day JFK-AMS trip. 

 - Just one more thing -

I just received this little piece of philosophy from my friend, retired Delta/Northeast Airlines captain Norm Houle. I thought that knowing Norm and having just dealt with Paul Turnquist and Dave Wilke that this saying was most appropriate. It occurred to me that those whom I've met in my life who are the happiest, are those who subscribe to this thought.

“A master in the art of living draws no sharp distinction

between his work and his play, his labor and his leisure,

his mind and his body, his education and his recreation.

He hardly knows which is which. He simply pursues his

vision of excellence through whatever he is doing and

leaves others to determine if he is working or playing.

To himself he always seems to be doing both.”




  1. I'm glad your exam went well, and congratulations on finding an AME who not only flies but on the line! I wonder if that is unique!?

    I sweated through my lowly 3rd class with a fine local examiner, who is also a pilot. Great guy. Having some connection with the examiner really helps the white-coat fear factor.

    Nice looking Cub panel. Our local grass strip (KSYN) offers a brand new - well, replica - Cub which I've tried a few times. I need that tail wheel endorsement! ( Maybe this fall, when the glider is put away. And *yes* I've got your book already. :) )

  2. Look forward to the JFK pictures! I love the Cub - she is really in pristine loking condition!

  3. Nice upgrade on the Cub Rand! Here's the track of my fight from ATL to MCO last week... interesting evening:

    Crew was great though!

    Tim G in MN

  4. QANTAS = Queensland And Northern Territory Aerial Service.

  5. You fly 757's, I have a question. I occasionally end up in first class and on numerous occasions on an NWA 757 immediately after take off you heard this terrible vibration as the wheels leave the ground until they are folded up into the landing gear bay. I'm telling you the sound and vibration is like nothing I've heard on a flight before. I suspect it's the wheels leaving the ground at high speed, but I am also sure that when this aircraft was new, if any buyer was sitting in the first row and heard that sound they'd send the plane back. Why is it so loud and it just doesn't seem normal?

  6. Dr. Paul Turnquist sounds like a good man. Do you have any idea if his childhood home was in Indiana? He looks familiar from his photo. Arranging for a HS reunion is why I am asking.