A “Symphony of your life” blog with Mark Hardcastle
Captain’s Log: June 26th, 2021. One flight today from Denver to Orlando after a 90-minute delay for thunderstorms. My 967th flight as a Captain, 176 passengers onboard. And 4 years after completing my training to be a Captain. Here’s a memory from the day I graduated from Captain school, anticipating my first flight in that new role, and the days that followed. I hope you’ll enjoy reminiscing with me!
And so it begins. Tomorrow I fly my first trip as a United Airlines captain! I’ll start a new log book, recording details of all my flights as captain for the next 7 years. This picture shows me leaving the simulator after my final examination flight with the best copilot I could have asked for! Thanks, First Officer Tamela Michelle! You know what I’m gonna say next: I absolutely won the lottery when I won you as my First Officer for training! You are awesome! #newcaptain #newUALpilot #legacy #shipstavernquesadillas #wonthelottery #hardboiledeggsat4am #SOP #simulatedACARS #MasterandCommander #Tamequa #fistbump #talktomegoose #letsreadthechecklist #checkedsetdammitcheckedonsetauto #backmeuponthereject #youcanexpectmeto #didIforgetanything #ohyeahskiptotheyouknow #heresanotherone #bloodycoldbriefingrooms #andofcourselikeagirlfromalabama
That was it. The next day I ventured out with my new Captain’s jacket with the new 4th stripe, and my Captain’s hat with the laurel leaves on the bill, on my first trip. New Captains are by regulation accompanied on their first trips by more seasoned pilots who serve as mentors. At the end of their brief time together, these mentor pilots, or “Check Airmen” certify that the new pilot is ready to command on his own.
Captain’s log: July 7th, 2017. Today was that occasion for me. “It is the pinnacle of every pilot’s career when he becomes a Captain…” So began a very unusual and certainly unexpected PA announcement after I set the parking brake on a day first imagined on a Super Bowl Sunday over 40 years ago.
I had no idea as I stepped into my space at the cockpit door to greet my departing passengers that my Check Airman, Captain Mark Hoog, would let them know that they had been a part of this watershed event in my life, inviting them to offer me their congratulations. Many shook my hand on their way.
I was deeply moved by Mark’s gesture, as well as the kind best wishes of my passengers. A few days ago I wrote here about my first day as a captain. I spoke of carrying people to the places they need to go, enabling them to engage with the lives they want to live. The #meaningfulwork we do in the airlines. And it was all true.
It’s more true today. In the few brief days of this Initial Operating Experience, as it is known in the industry, I’ve already taken responsibility for the safe passage of over 2,000 travelers. There will be many more in the days and years to come. As I said in my last letter… “And so it begins.”
Post script: Someone asked here on Facebook a few weeks back about the right time for someone to give up on his dreams. After reading this, how would you answer? #victorfrankl #meaningfulwork #meaningfullife #symphonyofyourlife #perseverance #determination #launchandadjust #continuetomarch #neverstopmoving #stayintheprocess
Those were my memories around that deeply impactful moment. Now come back with me to mid-summer of 2021. As of tonight I’ve carried 131,196 passengers on those 967 flights. Tomorrow I’ll fly 148 passengers from Orlando to Chicago, then on to Las Vegas with 131 more. Those two flights will go into log book number 3, and year 5 will be underway. And… I wonder what all those hashtags meant???
Thanks for reading!
Mark graduated from the USAF Academy in 1982. After nine years as a pilot on active duty, he left the military to join a commercial airline. In addition to flying B-737s around the country, Hardcastle spends time in the Rocky Mountains and serves on the artistic staff of the Colorado Children’s Chorale. He lives in Centennial, Colorado, with his wife and four children. Need some help figuring out why you’re on this planet? Want to talk about discovering your mission and purpose? Contact Mark today at 720.840.8361 to schedule a free personal consultation. He can also deliver an inspirational keynote or workshop for your organization! email: firstname.lastname@example.org for information.
Posted in Inspiration, Motivation, UncategorizedTagged BeingUnited, CaptainsLog, determination, how, inspiration, NewWorld, perseverance, PostCovid, purpose, StayInTheProcess, StepOverTheBar, symphonyofyourlife, TheSymphonyofYourLife, United, WeAreUnited