Usually I don’t have an excuse for a delayed posting other than simply being lazy, but by the time you’ve finished reading this post I hope you will understand that this time I had a legitimate reason.
Last Wednesday (06/13/2012) I was booked to fly with Jeremy instead of Sarah and I was eager to fly since my dismal performance with Sarah the pervious Wednesday. I left home at 8:30 am on a wonderful bright sunny day with a temperature of around 72 F and stopped to buy some fuel on the way to school. I arrived at 8:55 am and found Mike and Willy at the front desk. I greeted them both and immediately checked in. Mike gave me the fuel sampler, the folder for the plane and a pair of headsets. There was very little breeze as I stepped out to pre-flight the plane and I returned ten minutes later at 9:10 am. Jeremy still hadn’t arrived so I waited and watched other planes take off, took a small amount of coffee and surfed on my phone. It seemed pretty quiet for a Wednesday and there were still a number of transient planes parked on the Thunderbird ramp. I got up and looked around the reception area and browsed some aviation books available for purchase. I also noticed a number of turquoise coloured leaflets advertising the upcoming “Crystal Airport Open House & Fly – In” on Sunday, June 17th 2012. The tickets would be sold on the day of the event with adults paying $7.00 each and $3.00 for children under 8 years of age. Then the various activities at the event were broken down by time frames. From 9:00 am – 12:00 pm there was going to be “All You Can Eat” Pancake Breakfast”, and then from 9:00 am – 2:00 pm there were going to be “Free Static Displays” etc. Everyone is invited but I haven’t decided if I will attend even though it does seem exciting.
I took a leaflet and returned to my seat and sipped on my coffee as I continued to wait for my instructor. Mike and Willy were working and chatting so I didn’t disturb them. The time was now 9:20 am. The Thunderbird Aviation phone rang and I thought it might be Jeremy calling in to say that he might be a little late, but from Mike’s response to the call I gathered it was someone inquiring about the event I just described. I continued surfing on my phone and another five minutes later I stood up again and walked toward a showcase that housed a number of items that could be purchased such as head phones, small model airplanes, T-shirts, E6-B flight computers, Plotters and mugs among other things. Just then Mike said that he was trying to get a hold of Jeremy and was wondering what was delaying him. I said thank you and continued browsing the items in the showcase. I looked at my phone and noticed the time was now 9:30 am. Willy then got up and walked to his office and returned a few moments later to inform me that he had contacted Jeremy’s emergency contact. I said “Oh okay, thank you”. “Gosh!” I thought. If Willy called the emergency contact then I hoped Jeremy was okay. The last time Jeremy couldn’t come he had called the school and I spoke to him and it was around 9.30 am, and coincidentally the phone rang again at this time. I thought it might be Jeremy but again it was a call unrelated to my situation. I waited another 15 minutes before approaching Mike and Willy seated at the front desk and requesting a cancellation of today’s lesson. “Mike, Willy I would like to cancel today’s lesson please. It’s already 9:45 am and if Jeremy does decide to come now it will take him at least another 50-60 minutes to arrive from St. Cloud and it’ll be 11:00 am by then, when I should be finishing my lesson”, I said with a smile to indicate to Mike and Willy that I wasn’t disappointed or unhappy that Jeremy hadn’t arrived, but more importantly that he was okay. They agreed and were very apologetic that I couldn’t fly today. “No problem, these things happen. I just hope Jeremy is okay” I replied. I was especially concerned because Jeremy had always called to let me know if he was going to be delayed, or if we needed to cancel class due to the weather, or if he couldn’t make it. But today even Jeremy’s emergency contact did not call back to let us know what was going on, or at least not during the time I was there. As Mike proceeded to cancel my lesson, I went back to the plane to retrieve the head phones, the plane’s folder, my logbook and checklist I had left there. I returned the items I borrowed to Mike and said goodbye to both Mike and Willy.
On my way home I wondered what could possibly have happened. Then I thought to myself Jeremy probably couldn’t wake up, or maybe he forgot to set his alarm clock, or he hit the snooze button and then went back to sleep etc. Later in the evening I checked my email and found that there were a couple of emails from Thunderbird Aviation waiting in my inbox. I opened them and found that my classes were rescheduled with another instructor! I couldn’t call Thunderbird as the school was closed by this time. I began getting concerned as to what might have happened to Jeremy that my classes would be re-scheduled with another instructor. So this morning i.e. Thursday (06/14/2012) I called to speak to Willy to find out why I had been assigned another instructor. “Good Morning Thunderbird Aviation this is Mike” said the voice at the other end. “Hello Mike, this is Tiger. May I speak to Willy please?” “Actually Willy is in meetings all day today is there anything I can help you with” asked Mike. “Mike do you know what happened to Jeremy as I’ve received emails that I’ve been assigned a new instructor?” Mike informed me with some disappointing news that Jeremy had been let go. “Oh really?” I said rather taken aback. “Yes” came the reply. I didn’t speak further and said thank you to Mike and ended the conversation.
Jeremy was an excellent instructor and I learned a tremendous amount from him. He was very straight forward and would tell me where I did well and where I didn’t do well. He didn’t sugar coat anything by saying something like, “Well overall you did good today”. He was very honest about my performance and told me the areas I needed to improve upon. We nearly always went back to his office to discuss after every flight what I needed to do to become a better pilot. He also recommended the “Stick and Rudder” book to help me to fly better, and also asked other instructors to help me so that I could improve my landings. This was indeed very sad and disappointing news for me. I will miss Jeremy as my instructor and wish him the best in life and his endeavours. All the best Jeremy!