In this episode –


Mark Parry meets up with Joe Farina, an old friend with a long history of aircraft manufacturing and maintenance “back in the day!”

The California Nostalgia Margarita




Paula Williams: Paula Williams with ABCI. Thanks for joining us for Contrails & Cocktails. This episode ran off the rails just a little bit, but we were having so much fun that we just ran with it and shared pretty much the whole recording with you on this episode. Our guest was Joe Farina. Joe has 42 years of experience in the aviation maintenance field. He has an associate of science degree in aircraft maintenance technology from West Los Angeles College and earned a Certificate of Completion from Wentworth Institute of Technology in Boston In 1980. Joe owns an FAA rating of Airframe and Powerplant, starting out at the Lockheed California company, also known as Lockheed Martin. As a structures mechanic, Joe worked on assembling the first production stealth fighter and continued through the fifth model, including one of the structural test models.

Throughout his career, Joe has worked at Garrett General Aviation Services, US Air, and FedEx at LAX and US Air in Pittsburgh. He’s been responsible for heavy maintenance and line maintenance of Boeing, McDonnell Douglas, Fokker, Falcon Jet, and various other aircraft. In the late 1990s, Joe’s career turned toward the corporate sector working for Dana Flight operations in Toledo. They operated four citation jets, a Falcon 50 and a G4. Upon filing for bankruptcy and selling all the aircraft and hangers in 2001, Joe moved on to spending the next 12 years working for Air Transport International, a cargo airline that also operated several combination aircraft. This was the last DC-8 airline in the world. ATII ceased operations in Toledo in 2011, and Joe moved on to a small engine shop located in Toledo, working, overhauling Garrett TPE331. He missed working on the big jets, though, and in 2015 moved on to the USA jet in Bellville, Michigan, a small cargo airline that catered to the automotive industry. Now retired, Joe enjoys spending time with his three grandchildren playing hockey and annoying his wonderful wife, Carolyn.

As you probably already know, Contrails & Cocktails is sponsored by Global Aircraft Group. Global Aircraft Group offers desktop, appraisals, expert witness, pre-buy inspections. The founder is located in New England, and he travels free of charge to anybody in New England with a situation that needs his services. You may need an aircraft appraisal for an aircraft transaction, an estate settlement, a divorce, a legal situation, whatever it is. If you’ve got a problem involving aircraft values, Mark can solve it. Mark Perry is the president and founder of Global Aircraft Group, and he has over 30 years of experience in corporate aviation. He has a diverse roster of clients and unparalleled access to professional resources, which helps the organization achieve positive returns on his client’s investments and capital.

Prior to establishing Global Aircraft Group, Mark worked for Bombardier in various capacities, including sales, maintenance, completion, and pre-purchase inspections. He was also employed by Lockheed Advanced Development Programs, aka the Skunk Works, under Kelly Johnson. That’s, of course, where he met Joe Farina. Mark holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Massachusetts in management, and he is a senior certified aircraft appraiser and member of the PAAO. Lastly, he’s a licensed aircraft and power plant mechanic and attended law school. Couple of really smart guys with a history together. They met going to Wentworth College in the 1980s. They moved to California together, and the rest is history. Let’s jump into the conversation in process. There you are. Happy to see you.

Joe Farina: Yeah. There they are.

Mark Perry: We’re doing this a little different, Paula.

Paula: Okay. Tell me what we’re doing.

Mark: Me and Joe decided that we would have our cocktail before and during the podcast.

Paula: Good idea. I love that idea. Oh, and cigars, too. Did you bring enough every week?

Mark: I just got.

Joe: Yes, I did. Actually, my son has bought me half a dozen cigars.

Paula: Oh, nice. I like your son.

Joe: There’s four of them.

Mark: His son brought him a bottle of scotch and his favorite cigars for Father’s Day.

Paula: That’s amazing.

Joe: On my birthday, which is Friday.

Paula: Happy birthday.

Mark: Okay. Happy birthday.

Joe: What’s today?

Paula: Today is the first day of summer. It’s the summer solstice.

Joe: Okay. Tomorrow will be officially one year I’ve been retired.

Paula: Congratulations. Boy, you got a convergence of events.

Joe: Yeah, it was pretty cool last year. I got together with all four boys. We had a day, and I retired. Father’s Day and my birthday all at the same time.

Paula: Fantastic.

Joe: They gave me golf stuff I haven’t used yet.

Paula: Sounds great.

Joe: Puff me if you need.

Mark: We’re going Joe Rogan.

Paula: All right.

Joe: I’ve never seen Joe Rogan. Who is he?

Paula: He’s a podcaster that is pretty irreverent. I don’t know if I would recommend going full Joe Rogan in this episode, but that’s up to you, Mark.

Mark: No, but [inaudible] Joe Rogan.

Paula: Got you. All right.

Mark: There’s a celebration. Joe and I have not seen each other since 1983.

Paula: Wow.

Mark: We went out to California together. We’re [inaudible] together in Boston. Then I got married, and we lost track of each other.

Paula: You guys are already smoking and drinking, so I’m feeling like I’m needing to catch up.

Mark: You’re welcome to join us.

Paula: We wanted, too.

Mark: This is how me and Joe used to roll back in the day.

Paula: Just like old times, huh?

Joe: Mark was more of the drinker than I was.

Paula: You don’t drink that much anymore, Mark. What happened?

Mark: I got married and had kids.

Joe: Grew up.

Mark: I grew up.

Paula: Heaven forbid, fate worse than death. This episode is brought to you by…

Mark: The Global Aircraft Group, certified aircraft appraisals, desktop appraisals, expert witness at trial, and aviation insurance adjustment and maintenance oversight appraisals specific to calendar business jets, Falcon Jets, Fokker Jets, Gulfstreams, and all general aviation aircraft below business jets.

Paula: I know you guys were buds from way back.

Joe: Well, we met at Wentworth in Boston. That would be September of ’78.

Paula: Wow.

Joe: It was a two-year course, and there was probably 40 guys started with us.

Mark: Yeah.

Joe: It ended up at 28 after two years. I don’t particularly remember exactly meeting Mark. There were so many guys. We were a hub of us. We were at our own separate group at Wentworth. All our classes were together. Our labs were together, but we were split in two. Now, I don’t remember. Were we in the same lab?

Mark: I don’t remember, Joe. We might have been. I literally don’t remember. [crosstalk]

Joe: Well, I should have gotten [inaudible] a week.

Mark: 40 hours a week of lab and lectures. Then I was working every weekend and night and worked during the summer, during vacations.

Joe: We worked for that contractor. You remember that?

Mark: Yeah. My father-in-law or grandfather-in-law, the owner’s name was Joe. I think his name was Joe. But we were doing, after A&P school, Joe started working with me doing construction while we were trying to find jobs. Then Joe showed up one day, and he says, “I’m going to California. I got hired by Lockheed.” I’m like, “Oh, really? I didn’t know that.” Then he said, “Yeah, I just called Wentworth,” so I did. I called Wentworth, and they hooked me up. Did you get hired up in Lexington, Joe?

Joe: At a hotel up that way, yeah, probably. Up Mass Ave. I go from Lexington.

Mark: I was covered in dirt and sawdust. I called them up, and they go, “Do you have your A&P ticket?” I go, “Yeah.” “Can you bring it?” I said, “But I’m at work. I’m covered in dirt, sawdust.” He said, “We don’t care. Just get up here with your ticket, the driver’s license.” I think those were probably, maybe, CIA. I don’t know. There were some kind of [inaudible].

Joe: Well, Lockheed couldn’t find enough people in Southern California who could pass a background check, right?

Paula: Wow.

Joe: These are the days before drug testing, so you had to be pretty rot to not get a job. That was in Ben Rich’s book called Skunk Works.

Mark: Oh, really?

Joe: He tells a story of how they went all over the country looking for people. They got a lot of people from the Aviation High School in Queens, henceforth, all the New Yorkers we work with, and worked East Coast Aero Tech and other East Coast schools.

Mark: They just hired anybody and everybody they could get.

Joe: They hired us, right?

Paula: Well, that explains all the East Coast kids in California at that time.

Joe: Yeah. It was kind of fun. [crosstalk] I met a couple of New Jersey guys that said we had an accent. [inaudible]

Mark: I told you about that one California guy was asking. We were sitting around eating lunch, and he was asking where everybody was from, and he asked me where I was from. I said, “Near Boston.” He goes, “Oh.” I said, “No, in Massachusetts.” He goes, “Oh, I didn’t know you were from New York.”

Paula: Anything east of the Mississippi is New York. The map just gets squished into one state.

Joe: Yeah.

Mark: Yeah. He thought we were, but anyway. Well, I got a kick out of that.

Paula: That’s hysterical. Did you guys get into any trouble in school at Lockheed Martin?

Mark: Well, we all had nicknames and somewhere I can’t share.

Paula: Okay.

Mark: Everybody ended up with a nickname that you didn’t like, pretty much. We had a guy that was bald. We used to call him Skillet. I remember that.

Joe: Oh, yeah.

Mark: We all had nicknames. We were a pretty tight-knit group. Were you there at the time we went over to Emerson, where there was a girls’ dance?

Joe: Yeah.

Mark: We were all just having a great time because we’d spent so much time together. We’re always having a good time. Girls at Emerson were like, “What?” They came over and got us.

Joe: We used to have functions, I guess, like that with other. There’s several [crosstalk] [inaudible] colleges, Fisher, Emerson, and another one, because I had a lifelong friend that went to one of the girls’ colleges. There’s three of them there that I know of in that Boston area, plus Northeastern was next door. We also got invited there one time. Then I remember meeting some girls that went to Wentworth Library. I’m not sure if it was Emerson or Fisher or whatever the other school is, but we were studying, and they didn’t belong there. It was obvious. We just chatted them up, nothing big. [crosstalk] Young guys trying to meet every girl they can. That’s all. I’m not having a lot.

Mark: You know what? I just found out a few years just recently, the ladies from NorthEastern called us Wentworthians.

Joe: Okay.

Paula: Wentworthians.

Joe: It’s better than Went [inaudible].

Mark: We were watching Caveman.

Joe: Yeah. To them, it’s a trade school to most people. Whereas now, do they call it a university now?

Mark: I don’t know.

Joe: I know you can get a four-year [crosstalk] [inaudible]. It was a two year then. My brother-in-law went there for fire science about 10 years before me.

Mark: No, it’s a four-year engineering college. It’s one of the best engineering colleges in the Northeast or even in the country.

Paula: It’s pretty famous.

Joe: Really?

Paula: Yeah.

Mark: Paula has heard of it.

Paula: Of course, I’m in aviation, so everybody in aviation’s heard of it.

Mark: [crosstalk] Go ahead, Joe.

Joe: I know I got a good education, and I overall enjoyed my time there. I liked the atmosphere of being in Boston as opposed to other places we could have been.

Mark: That was just East Coast Aero Tech, and that was it.

Joe: That’s all there is now, right?

Mark: That’s all there was back then. It was East Coast Aero Tech and Wentworth.

Joe: I remember the lobsterman from Maine. Remember him? Every time he spoke, he turned red.

Mark: Oh, yeah.

Joe: His name was Russ.

Mark: Yeah.

Joe: A couple times, he brought down a crate of lobster. We definitely didn’t go back to class after lunch.

Mark: I don’t remember that.

Joe: He was a typical maniac.

Mark: We used to go to Chili, go over to Haymarket Square. There was a place that had this mega hot chili. Remember McLaughlin?

Joe: John McLaughlin. That little twerp.

Mark: Little John.

Joe: He was a good guy.

Mark: There was a group of us. We might not have been in the same lab. I don’t remember that lobster thing.

Joe: Oh, you probably weren’t invited. Sorry.

Mark: That could have been, too.

Joe: Oh, sorry.

Mark: Or I was working.

Joe: Were you in a class lab with Yoichi?

Mark: I think so. I don’t know.

Joe: Boy, I probably should have thought about this before we did this.

Mark: That doesn’t matter.

Paula: That’s okay.

Mark: We got plenty of talk. We got plenty of stuff to talk about. All right. I remember when I stopped by to see you in Ohio. Two weeks ago, we were talking about that professor. His name was Charlie.

Joe: Charlie Hand Prop.

Mark: Yeah. We called him Charlie Hand Prop.

Joe: He had a big scar on his face from catching a prop. He used to suck the gasoline out of the tank and say it was 80-low lead. He could tell by the taste.

Mark: He was an old school aviation mechanic, generally. I think he owned Marshall Airport, I think.

Joe: I know he had a 172 and we [inaudible] turns going up in it. That was my first small airplane flight. I was scared and thrilled at the same time.

Mark: Yep.

Paula: Now, we can get to [inaudible].

Mark: We used to go out. We went to Martha’s Vineyard. [crosstalk] [inaudible] Town.

Joe: I knew we flew over my [inaudible]. We flew along the Cape because there’s a lot more general aviation down there.

Mark: The plane that we went up in, it crashed two weeks later. It was a club airplane, a rental. They’d put an engine on it just prior to our flight to Martha’s Vineyard. Then two weeks later, a guy crashed it in the ocean, got out on top and he did a nice landing, I guess. Dropped it in and climbed up on top of the wing. They rescued him.

Joe: Wow. That must have been exciting. I’m glad I missed it.

Mark: Yeah. Me, too.

Paula: Glad your first flight wasn’t that exciting.

Joe: No, that was pretty boring.

Mark: That was not us, but that was the airplane two weeks later.

Joe: You mean Charlie’s airplane?

Mark: It was a friend of my cousin who got a pilot license.

Joe: Oh, okay. Then I went flying. Yoichi was taking lessons, and we were flying out of Beverly Airport with him by [inaudible], I forget.

Mark: Yeah. Once we got our tickets, we were doing construction. I had a 67 Volkswagen bus and Joe had a car McGee that was all rusted and it got totaled.

Joe: 1970.

Mark: Yeah.

Joe: You opened the door, and it sagged.

Mark: I went up to Joe’s house, and I bought the engine off of him for $50 and put it in by myself and through my 67 bus. I had my buddy, another friend of mine, that made me a mahogany bumper for the back of it.

Paula: Mahogany bumper?

Joe: Yeah. That was the thing in the 70s.

Mark: Yeah.

Joe: Wooden bumpers on cars.

Paula: Wow.

Mark: It was beautiful.

Paula: A VW bus with a mahogany bumper. That’s the coolest thing I’ve ever heard.

Mark: Yeah. My buddy that was a carpenter, he did that on his, and I’m like, “Oh, can you make me one?” I put one on mine. He had a 71-ish plus. Then I bought from Rangie, who’s on Facebook. I bought the camping gear from him. Anyway, once we got hired, I sold the bus, and we pooled all our money together.

Joe: I remember we flew on a DC-10 on World Airways.

Mark: It was transworld? No, it wasn’t.

Joe: World Airways was one of those people airline places that popped up.

Mark: Yeah. That was World Airways.

Joe: We land on the other side of LAX, if you know the airport, which I work there, so I know it now. All the cheap airlines went across to this separate place.

Paula: Yeah.

Joe: I remember that was my first flight in the rail airplane.

Mark: Oh, yeah. I had done a couple, but not many.

Joe: Well, your family was in Arizona. Mine was in the other room.

Mark: Yeah.

Joe: I never went anywhere.

Mark: We get into California, Middle of the summer, there’s all smog. You couldn’t see. I didn’t even know we were surrounded by mountains from Burbank.

Joe: While waiting for the cab to pick us up, we took something. I remember we had it all arranged. The place smelled funny. But that was the ozone or something like that. The pollution, you could smell it.

Mark: Oh, it was horrible.

Joe: It wasn’t bad. It was just different from Boston where it smells like the ocean, usually depending on the breeze to the haze of LA. September was a stage three smoggler for quite a while.

Paula: LA used to be terrible.

Joe: Yeah.

Mark: That was bad. But the money was good.

Joe: The cars were awesome.

Mark: Yes, the cars.

Joe: Nothing was rusted.

Mark: I know we only had about three or $400 to buy a car.

Joe: We paid, was it a $67 or $375 to Joe Joseph?

Mark: Seven Skylark. The Wildcat engine.

Joe: Yeah. What was that? That’s like a forfour. No, not forfour. What was that engine in those days?

Mark: 454. Probably a nail head. I don’t know. It was huge.

Joe: It had no heat.

Mark: Probably not. Didn’t need it.

Joe: We never needed it until we drove to your parents’ house in Tucson overnight in the desert. We had a blanket. We were so cold. I still got a picture of it.

Mark: I have that picture somewhere where I had that leather vest. I had a suede fringe coat I’d gotten in Mexico.

Joe: Man.

Paula: Cool.

Mark: I have to find that. Send it to you.

Joe: I just had a regular down vest.

Mark: Yeah, you’re right.

Joe: But a fuming Mustang[?] [inaudible]

Mark: [inaudible] Heat.

Paula: The desert is really deceptive. You think, “Oh, I’m going from LA to Tucson.” It’s not going to be cold, but overnight, it just loses everything because there’s no moisture and no heat.

Joe: No heat. Yeah. But Tucson is gorgeous. What a nice place. I don’t know if I’d want to live there, but it was 80 degrees, and people were wearing pockets.

Paula: Yeah. That’s cold for Tucson.

Joe: Yeah.

Mark: Well, LA was like that, too. Down at 50 degrees, and everybody got winter coats on.

Joe: Yeah. I remember sweating my ass off. The first few weeks, I was wearing flannel shirts to work because it’s work, and I’m dying. I learned.

Paula: You figured out pretty quick what the California kids wear to work.

Mark: Joe, what was the name of that place where we split an apartment? It was so nice.

Joe: Oakwood Garden Apartments.

Mark: Oakwood. Yeah.

Joe: We were in U30, ah, shoot. Because I moved to Z302 when you got transferred. I moved in with a guy I met at the pool and we were on the top floor in the last building. It was gorgeous. We were on the patio that you opened it, all you got was traffic.

Mark: Okay.

Joe: But the apartment was fine. Just couldn’t open the sliding glass door.

Mark: We thought we are [inaudible].

Joe: Yeah, that’s right.

Mark: I remember we arrived, they had swimming pool, huge jacuzzi, palm trees, night-lighted basketball and tennis courts, weight room.

Joe: None of which I play. None of which I loved[?].

Mark: A TV room.

Joe: They played some pool.

Mark: Yeah. Pool. They had everything. Pretty nice. But what did you tell me that place is now? You said it’s not an apartment thing anymore.

Joe: It’s still an apartment, but it’s for child acting. They have training for acting classes for children.

Paula: Oh, wow. That’s really good.

Mark: Literally a mile up from the hill. A mile from the Burbank studio, you see one in the old movies.

Joe: Yeah. You could see the old Lockheed sign on the Burbank Studios because during World War II, they covered Lockheed in canvas to make it look like a field because they were producing war materials. Then they turned the Burbank Studios into Lockheed California Company. Some of the older buildings, they don’t face the street. They left all that stuff there. You could see it from our apartment up on the hill. It was really nice. It faced the hill.

Mark: The second one?

Joe: The second one was higher.

Mark: Okay. Yeah.

Joe: Then you moved to Palmdale.

Mark: I got laid off and sent to Palmdale. I was working on the U-2.

Paula: Wow.

Joe: Didn’t they call that the TR-1, then?

Mark: Yeah, TR-1. Then I was on the ER-2. There was a couple of them they made for NASA.

Joe: If something works, it works.

Paula: Yeah. [crosstalk] That was the coolest plane ever.

Mark: Yeah. We were on the same jigs from [inaudible]. Got same jigs from the original YouTube.

Joe: Wasn’t that the only plane they ever restarted after? Because usually, they destroy all the jigs after a contract is up.

Mark: Oh, really?

Joe: Yeah. Somehow they did.

Mark: I tell you personally, those were the same jigs. They were all beat the smithereens. All the holes, they were beaten up.

Joe: It wasn’t as precise as an airplane.

Mark: Yeah. Maybe not.

Joe: It was built with paper-thin aluminum.

Mark: Well, I was putting together the flap wheels on the trailing edge of the wings for a while. Those skins were 16,000 of an inch with dimples for the rivets. It was really thin stuff to work with.

Joe: That’s like little Pipers and Cessna stuff.

Mark: Yeah. Really thin. Then I got sent over to another section after I told you that story about that guy Mike and I broke my toe. They got me mixed up, and another guy almost got fired.

Paula: Wait a minute, you broke your toe and almost got fired. Is this the same story or two stories?

Mark: Well, I broke my toe six or eight months prior while we were in the Flettner. I broke it. It was long story, but it turns out I broke my toe. They told me it was sprained at the company hospital. It’s about six written[?], and then I get laid off, sent up the Palmdale, and I got to the point where I couldn’t walk. I was throwing my whole body out, so I drove myself to the emergency room, X-rayed. He goes, “Yeah, you broke your toe.” I’m like, “Oh, great. I’ve been running and lifting weights and just thought it was horrible pain.” This other guy, Mike, we were splitting a house together with another fellow named Glen at Palmdale. Anyway, he was working down at [inaudible] as a bodyguard for Valerie Bertinelli and such like that at Starwood and Hollywood.

Paula: Cool.

Mark: He would go down and then drive 75 miles back and try to go to work after staying up all night. He would go to work, and it was union. He just would stand there all day, not really do much. It’s just plant supervisor. Kept seeing him. I found out my toes broke. I go in, and this guy Mike, we couldn’t get him awake. He didn’t go to work. I put my foot upright when this manager was walking by, and he confused me with the other guy because he had logged it in. This guy, “I’m going to talk to him.” He took me outside, and oh my gosh, it was horrible.

Paula: You got called on the carpet for being another guy?

Mark: Yeah. I went to the union rep, and I said, “Listen, I broke my toe, and you got me excused for someone else.” She fixed it. They moved me to work with another guy with more experience in another area. It worked out well in this new group area. I got this assignment to put in to drill all the hi-lok holes on the entire wing. It took me four days. I’m like, “Oh, I’m going to lose my job.” I get one of these messed up. I think they were, I don’t know. Were those chem mills? I don’t know. The challenger, those chem milling.

Joe: On the U-2, you mean?

Mark: I don’t remember if they were chem milling.

Joe: I don’t know enough about that plan because I was doing the [inaudible] on the 117. [inaudible] Titanium all day.

Mark: You know what I’m talking about by chem mill?

Joe: Yeah.L-10 and 11 was like that.

Mark: Challenger, all those wing skin panels are chem mill. Anyway, it doesn’t matter. I made a little go/no-go gauge, so I don’t trust those bird cages. Every time I used a bird cage, three or four, and the thing changes thousands or whatever. I made myself a go/no-go gauge out of the actual. No, they were rivet. It wasn’t hi-loks. I’m sorry. They were rivets. But I drill the hole in a rivet, put a pin in it, made a pin out of it for three days. They all came out.

Joe: It could be a little tedious some jobs.

Paula: Oh, I can imagine.

Mark: Well, I didn’t mind the tedious. I just didn’t want that counter sink to go off and lose my job.

Paula: Yeah. I wonder if pilots ever think about all of those rivets and the poor guy who had to put those in.

Joe: Well, they are more [inaudible].

Mark: [inaudible] They’re thinking about what they’re doing.

Paula: That’s true.

Mark: Trust me. [crosstalk] [inaudible] Think about what they’re doing, and they’re not what we did. Joe, you got recalled, right? Back to the stealth?

Joe: Yeah. Then we were taking them back from the field and re-skinning them with heaviest skin, and then doing all beef-ups. It’s just all kinds of mods were being done with lane to get connected and door entrances and exits, access panels. Everything was getting beefed up. They built it as light as they could. Keep it down and then charge them up to fix everything they didn’t do well.

Paula: Yeah.

Mark: I was telling Joe, this guy that was head of inspection. I shouldn’t tell this story. You might have to edit this, but he had rejected some of this classified material that was being used on that aircraft. The amounts were off and didn’t match the bills of lading and all that. He told somebody in it. He was just like, “This stuff’s not accounted for.” He got fired, and he was the head of inspection.

Joe: Probably blamed him for being out of place.

Mark: No. Well, I ran into him in Long Beach about eight, 10 years later. He was working part-time at Bombardier as a helper mechanic. I said, “Hey, didn’t you use to run?” He goes, “Yeah, that’s me.” Then he told me what happened. He goes, “Yeah, they canned me because I found this huge discrepancy. Obviously, somebody was playing around with things,” in his opinion. Who knows?

Paula: He is the bearer of bad news. They shot him [inaudible] [crosstalk].

Joe: [inaudible] Missed some job.

Paula: Ah, that’s too bad.

Mark: Yeah. Remember those guys? Did you know any of those guys that turned out it was Tonopah?

Joe: I knew some guys that did. I was in the fuel barn at that time.

Mark: Oh, okay.

Joe: That’s when they find all the mistakes after the planes built, then you go back in and fix them, [crosstalk] which is really stupid.

Mark: Guy’s last name was Reardon. I worked for him. I think you got laid off, and then I got called back down to Burbank. Anyway, we had to replumb the whole aircraft. The management there, I’ve used a lot of management skills in my career. All those guys came out of NASA, a lot of them. Boy, were they good, and they knew how to lead. They were really the guys that I was exposed to. The NASA supervisors were awesome.

Paula: Any particular stories about the NASA guys?

Mark: What’s that?

Paula: Do you have any particular stories about the NASA guys?

Mark: I do. Well, on that particular job, he called us all. He was running our crew, and he goes, “Listen, if you don’t want to volunteer, take a step back, no problem. But we have to work this 24/7.” The Air Force is involved, they’re all upset. This aircraft’s got to be completely replumb, and you have to stay on it till it’s done. You got to work as many hours you possibly can. If you don’t think he can do it, don’t worry about it. Of course, it was so much overtime. They had us volunteer for three months, I think. We got it done in five or six weeks, but it was 12-hour days for almost two months. I was so tired. I made a lot of money. But anyway, when we were done, he got us all little Lockheed award certificates they would give out of achievement. He got us sat. He all bought us a nice pen, a writing pen and a letter of accommodation from. I think it was Ben Richard and the guy under Ben Rich.

Joe: About that time, Ben [inaudible] and Kelly Johnson was just advisory.

Mark: Might have been Ben Rich. I’d have to go look it up. But he made a big deal out of it. I didn’t know who Ben Rich was at the time. What was nice is the appreciation. You got to do your job, and you’re expected to do your job. But when someone goes out of their way to appreciate after you’ve done something like that or worked a lot of overtime, make something happen. To me, I’m remembering here today because it goes a long ways.

Paula: Yeah. [crosstalk] Many years later.

Mark: I’ve worked with other people, and they go, “Oh, well, your thank you is in your check.” I’m like, “No, you never worked with the guys from NASA.”

Paula: Yeah, that’s for sure. Oh, they don’t make bosses that anymore. I guess they do make some, but they’re harder to find nowadays.

Mark: He was good.

Joe: My last job, I had a great boss. He came from the floor. He was a great boss. It’s funny how there was turmoil in the hangar, and when he got on board, everything got cleaned up. Production got better. Everything got better. He was so good. They booted him upstairs, and we got a jerk back.

Paula: No. Isn’t that the way it goes, though? But I love working those kinds of projects where everybody’s in it together to achieve some result, and then it works better than anybody expected, and you just appreciate each other because you were able to work on something bigger than yourself, and everybody was in on it. That is one of those things that happens a few times in a lifetime.

Mark: Yeah.

Paula: It’s just really cool.

Mark: Oh, it’s happened to me quite a bit.

Paula: Yeah. Okay.

Mark: But I didn’t get the thank you. We never got the thank yous, but we were expected to do work 20 and 30 days about the day off type of thing.

Joe: When we were young, single, other than hanging out with the guys because we didn’t know anybody local yet, I loved working overtime. It was great. That’s probably why they went somewhere else. Another reason to hire people from elsewhere.

Paula: True.

Joe: Come in, accomplished a goal with my first job. I was all gotten home. [crosstalk]

Paula: That’s social life and everything.

Mark: Hey, Joe, I was trying to remember which corporate aircraft you worked on.

Joe: Well, the first one was for Garrett General Aviation Services. We were retrofitting Falcon 20, taking off the CF700, and putting on Garrett 731.

Mark: Okay.

Joe: There was all sheet metal, which is cool because that’s what I was doing at Lockheed.

Mark: Yeah. Where were you doing that?

Joe: LAX on the south side of the runway, southwest corner. Everything’s broken up by direction. It was great. I enjoyed it, but the benefits were bad. My wife got pregnant. I moved onto an airline, but I loved the work for two years.

Mark: Did you do any other business? Jet stuff?

Joe: I used to work for Dana, a flight department here in Toledo. That’s how I moved to this area. They had a G4, Falcon 50, three citations, three 650s, and citation two, 10525.

Mark: I’ve appraised a lot of those.

Joe: That’s a whole different ballgame. You spent half your time cleaning. That plane had to be spotless every time.

Mark: Oh, yeah.

Joe: I got paid the same for cleaning and fixing.

Mark: They had a challenger jet that was owned by, I forget her name. She was the philanthropist for the Getty family. J. Paul Getty’s wife, I think. We had to get these little suede brushes and brush all the suede headliners in the cabin in one direction.

Joe: They get the nap all the same way. Oh, whatever they call that on suede.

Paula: Yeah. All running the same way, right?

Joe: Yeah. They would do that. That’s pretty common in a corporate jet to have. A ridiculous fabric like suede. It’s expensive.

Mark: Tommy, I always say his name wrong. Hilfiger, did I say it right?

Paula: Hilfiger? The designer.

Mark: I always say it wrong.

Paula: Okay.

Mark: [inaudible] I hear her laugh. It’s like she’s listening. She likes to correct me when I say stuff wrong. Anyway, his monthly cigar and wine bill for the aircraft was 25,000.

Joe: That’s amazing. [inaudible] Something wrong with that.

Paula: Yeah.

Joe: It wasn’t him smoking.

Mark: I’m like, “How good can he get at that price? You’re a bit of diminishing return.”

Paula: That’s true. At some point, you go, “Hmm, this is probably a good enough wine or a good enough cigar.”

Mark: Yeah. But he had the money.

Paula: That’s true.

Joe: Yeah.

Mark: He was rebuilding because he had some kind of drama, and then he had to start over kind of thing.

Paula: But he did employ a lot of people, too.

Mark: He did. He had a brand new 604, I believe. Quite a while. Challenger.

Paula: Well, we could go on all day, but unfortunately, I’m going to have to wrap this up in about 15 minutes, so I don’t know if you want cocktails. What’s your next priority?

Mark: I don’t know. What do you want to do? How long have we been on?

Paula: Oh, about 45 minutes.

Mark: Oh, geez. Okay.

Joe: Really?

Paula: Yeah. I’ve got a lot of great [inaudible].

Mark: I [inaudible].

Paula: I know. All I do is show up and listen. It’s great. This is fantastic.

Joe: I’ve got at least 40 minutes left in a cigar. Sorry.

Paula: Oh, my goodness. [crosstalk] You got a long cigar.

Joe: Okay, I got to [inaudible]. If you slog a cigar right, it should take two hours.

Paula: Really? I did not know that.

Mark: Right. Good cigar. I haven’t seen Joe. I found Joe on Facebook, and we talked last year, and then I was driving out to my niece’s graduation memorial. It was a Memorial Day weekend or the week before. Then I called him on the way back, and he’s literally halfway on my halfway point when I drove.

Joe: I’m two miles.

Mark: We haven’t seen each other since Lockheed.

Joe: No. Since you and Kim moved back to Connecticut.

Mark: Yeah.

Joe: That was ’83.

Mark: Yeah. ’83. Yep. Since ’83.

Joe: I also thought I was never going to leave California either.

Mark: I regret it. I wished I hadn’t. I was miserable when I got to Connecticut.

Joe: Tell me about it.

Mark: Well, I told you we’re out of time, but that guy, John from New York, got me into Bombardier or [inaudible] Air at the time. Then he was dating this gal in HR, and he got an airline job. His dad worked at Grumman and wrote a referral letter, and got me in there. It was pretty nice.

Joe: Grumman Long Island?

Mark: Yeah. He worked in the model department at Grumman, and he knew that he was friends with the supervisor. I asked him if they’d write me a referral letter, and his dad did, wrote me based on this guy John’s word. We worked together, and he didn’t want to go back. He could have gone back. But him and this gal, I think they got married, went up to San Francisco, and they had an airline. He got in with the airlines, and then she worked in HR. They were able to advise me. I ended up going to upper management because Kim was pregnant. We had to go back at the job all the same time. Plus, I was going to get laid off for the final time. They let me take a leave of absence, so I got that five-year recall that you ended up using.

Joe: Yeah.

Mark: I never got called back, but I was on the list. It was way better to take the layoff versus to leave. I don’t remember all the details. They gave me [crosstalk] salary, that guy.

Joe: You maintained some benefits when you take the layoff.

Mark: Yeah. That’s so long ago. I guess our cocktail, Paula, was a margarita with 1800 tequila.

Paula: Nice.

Joe: Well, I have, can you see it?

Paula: The Balvenie?

Mark: Oh, yeah.

Joe: Balvenie, and it’s a Caribbean cask. I have no idea what that means. I just like it.

Paula: 14-year-old Scotch. I bet that’s super [inaudible].

Joe: 14 years. It’s very smooth. Even my wife likes it, who’s okay on Scotch.

Mark: The Single Malt.

Joe: Oh, yeah. I like Scotch in general. Single Malt’s just a little nicer.

Mark: Huh? Joe still plays hockey two, three nights a week.

Joe: Mornings.

Mark: Mornings.

Joe: Best way. That way, there’s no kids around. That’s my gym.

Paula: Very smart. Well, that makes a lot of sense, and you got to do what you like because otherwise, you won’t do it.

Joe: I absolutely love it. I can’t sleep the night before because I can’t wait to get up and go. It drives my wife crazy.

Paula: That’s cool.

Joe: Yeah.

Mark: Well, we didn’t get a chance to get into Joe’s airline history.

Paula: Well, we’ve got a little bit of time. We’ve got at least 10 minutes, so go right ahead. If I’m late for my next thing, it’s no big deal.

Joe: Well, here’s where I retired from. Let’s see, can you see that?

Paula: USA Jet? Okay.

Joe: It’s a cargo airline out of Michigan. Obviously, they fly automotive and truck parks. When somebody messes up somewhere, and they need those parts, they kept us busy.

Paula: I bet they did.

Joe: Yeah. It was great. I really enjoyed cargo because passengers make a mess. They break stuff. They all make messes. Freight was great.

Paula: The passengers are a lot better behaved when they’re just car park.

Joe: A box doesn’t need to be on the seat. They don’t get sick, go for coffee.

Paula: Demand things.

Joe: Yes.

Paula: Right. No, that’s cool.

Mark: Joe had a good career. Was it FedEx? Lockheed, FedEx, and a couple airlines?

Joe: US Air, ATI, which was the last all-DC airline in the world.

Paula: Oh wow.

Joe: For good reason.

Paula: All right.

Joe: They were just getting old. They were great airplanes, but they were just getting old.

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