Monday, November 9, 2015

Whiny rambling unedited drivel

I am excited to enter a new phase of life.

After thirty one years as a professional Airman I need time to reflect.

I look forward to experiencing a closer walk.

There are multiple reasons for stepping back from flying.  The mundane mid-life crisis issues, the birth of my first grandchild and other less concrete rationalizations. 

I am in constant pain.  The residual effects of 20 years as a paratrooper, cancer and the treatment protocol have damaged my body.  It takes me about two hours of intense physical therapy to prepare for work.   Any head movement causes shooting pain throughout my nervous system.  It takes all my concentration to retain situational awareness and force myself to scan for traffic. I am sure the seated position is not healthy for me.  Getting in and out of the aircraft is not pleasant.  Peripheral neuropathy is a constant reminder of the chemotherapy.  My hands and feet feel like they are on fire most of the time.  This makes fine motor skills more challenging. 

I am constantly impressed by people who fly with glasses. I find it distracting and I only need reading glasses. 
 “Getting old ain’t fer sissies.”
I was upside down in the Super Decathlon and attempting to read the oil temperature and pressure gauges I realized I could not see without my glasses.  I glanced down to retrieve them and thought "That is not a good plan."  When I looked back up the straps from the parachute harness had fallen down in front of my face obscuring my view of the horizon.  Here I was spatially disoriented in an unusual attitude of my own making.  Thank God for allowing me to survive my bad decisions once again!  Training probably helped; thanks Bill, Catherine, Greg, Bob and Eric.
Chronic pain relief can be provided by alcohol. Alcohol is an FAA approved drug. The legal limit is 0.04 and you must stop drinking no later than 8 hours prior; the flying club utilizes a 12 hour “bottle to throttle rule.” That is the same rule we applied in the United States Air Force and seems to be a reasonable method for normal operations.  Aerobatics requires a longer period for me to perform. 
I am a junkie. Not an alcoholic, or opioid addict, I am an adrenaline junkie, and tobacco slave.
Utilizing alcohol to make me pass out and become nonfunctional for a period of time is a method to be able to work but, is a non -sustainable lifestyle
Utilizing tobacco for stress relief is also not good for my long term survival.
I was able to experience some pain relief from a non traditional method, namely acupuncture. It took a congressional and senatorial inquiry and 8 months to get a prescription for acupuncture refilled.
None of the FAA approved drugs cut the pain to any recognizable amount.
The doctor often asks “What is your pain number today? Utilizing a scale of one to ten where one is no pain and ten is the worst pain you can imagine.”
I respond: “How about this? Ten is the worst pain I can remember. Because the worst pain I can imagine is spiritual or psychological. Ten just makes you pass out. Nine makes you defecate and regurgitate at the same time. Nine sucks. Eight makes you ball up in the fetal position and cry like a little girl. Seven brings you to your knees and makes you pray.  6.79 and that is my final answer.”

I wish I was a cowboy. I've been around professional tough guys much of my life and cowboys are the toughest.
I was helping my buddy Tino with his chores.  He was a big kid and had to do something with the horses.  One of them was resisting his efforts and raring up and trying to hit him with its hooves. Tino's dad hopped the coral which was about shoulder height, and grabbed the horse by the lip and told it to mind his son. I have always tried to cowboy up.
They removed a portion of my throat and part of my neck during the cancer treatment.  Sometimes it is hard to swallow and can make it hard to breathe.  Whether it is true or not sometimes I feel like I am choking to death.  A sip of water relieves the symptoms. I utilize a hydration backpack to keep water close.  My training as a military diver allows me to remain calm during times of oxygen deprivation.  This can be very distracting.
My resilience is limited.  With about two hours of preparation I can operate at a fairly high level but I do not have much endurance and my recovery period can be lengthy.  I need a fourteen hour nap after a hard flight.  I discovered some of these limitations while training for my ATP.  I informed my instructor that “I can not perform well early in the morning.”  Due to limited availability we were conducting training at 8 AM.  While inspecting the landing gear assembly my neck/body began cramping and I had to rest under the aircraft for a few moments.  “Are you OK?” said the instructor with more than a little concern in his voice.
I do not think this is the performance the airlines are expecting.  “Why is our departure delayed?”  “Oh the first officer is taking a nap under the nose gear.”
I have significant hearing loss and I wish to minimize any additional damage so I can hear my grandchild coo.

At some point you have to assess your level of skill.  I applied for pilot training while in the service.  During one round of selection there were 63 applicants, three were selected.  I did not make the cut.  I got a ride in an F-16 before I was a pilot.  I have seen incredibly talented pilots who started young.  I am but an adequate pilot.
My recovery is a miracle; I returned to flight and taught in a tail wheel airplane. I was able to pass my ATP checkride and even compete acrobatically. My good friends helped me acquire a beautiful machine. They allowed me to fulfill my dreams. They released me from my obligations when the operational costs became too high.  I have had a tremendous time teaching and learning.  I was able to provide for my family and provide two children the college experience.  
My editor suggested I add a paragraph about my amazing students.  That will take several volumes to capture.  I continue to live the most amazing experience.  It is been my pleasure to serve people achieving their dreams. Sometimes it has been painful to help others realize their limitations. One of my first Masters let me know he expected that I exceed his abilities. God blessed me with incredible students, mentors, and peers.  The view from the giant’s shoulders was grand!  The next generation will continue to thrash the limits. 
My first flight student was a paratrooper and after completing his private flies helicopters for the Army since 2006.  Some are flying for the airlines, a few have interned at NASA, some are flight instructors and several are enthusiastic hobbyists. 
 I have had an incredibly rich experience. It doesn't matter how many hours are in your logbook, 25 grand night equipment jumps, Draeger LAR 5 dives, or any other past accomplishment the next 15 seconds are essential to our survival. Certificates, ratings, rank, position, ethnic background, sexual orientation, religious preference, political affiliation, or net worth have no impact on physics.  Learning how to compartmentalize emotions is important. 
The life of an airman has associated hazards. I have had incredible luck. One of my great blessings was the people that I got to know. The carnage associated with the life of a professional daredevil has some emotional effects.  None of my flight students have died in an aircraft accident yet.  Knock on wood.  One came close because he did not recognize that his limited time-in-type was a hazard that needed mitigation. The guy who gave me my first checkride died in an airplane accident, as did my buddy’s wife, my ground school teaching partner and several others in civilian aviation.  My military experience was harsher. 
I used to tie a knot in the string on the back of my beret for each of my fallen brothers.
It would piss the Army First Sergeants off.  “You can’t have a string hanging on the back of your beret.  It is against Army Regulation XX-XX.”
“I ain’t in the Army.”  Good fun!  I knew it would make my fallen brother laugh especially if I got hammered for it.
I did not include personnel that I had peripheral association with such as the aircrew that died with my close friends.  I did not include losses from joint/combined forces.  The numbers would get stupid, the string is not long enough, and that is too much emotional baggage for one person. I quit at twenty-one.  It just seemed gruesome.  Not much fun anymore.
It took almost ten years to fly my flag again.  I have been able to acknowledge and process the deaths.  The day before I left for my ATP training I was thanking God I knew the three young men who died in a plane crash and I heard news of a fatality at a near-by airport.  I did not research further until my return.  As I suspected the NTSB report will include another friend.
I have a BS in psychology which is an appropriate two letter explanation.
  The psychologist asked me "Do you have suicidal tendencies?"

"Yes, they are one of my favorite bands.  What is your favorite song?

I am stoked to be alive!  Living a peaceful life filled with joy is a sustainable program.

I have been conscious to apply risk-management to most of my activities.  When I got married I quit dropping into half-pipes on my skateboard because I did not want to risk injury that would prevent me from remaining on jump status.  Marriage is expensive! 
When my children arrived I quit riding my motorcycle like a mad-man, although I still managed to get one stuck fifty feet in a tree.
I know my Mom was happy when I retired from the service.  She was not excited to find out I wanted to flight instruct, acrobatically. 
My wife asked me “Do you always have to do the MOST dangerous things possible?”   
I guess not. I love her.
I knew she was Mrs. Right when I married her. I just did not know her first name was "Always."  
She is smarter than me and has my best interest at heart I should listen to her.
"Don't pet a burning cat" "Don't throw aerosol cans in the fire."  and other words of advice.  

I hope it was not too whiny.  

Friday, November 6, 2015


I hate rambling, whiny emails.  The key to being an effective writer is to have brutal editors who understand the King's English.  Here is the final email product I put out to the general public:

Life happens.  After thirty one years it is time to reflect.  It may be a vacation, a sabbatical or retirement. I look forward to a closer walk.
There are multiple reasons for stepping back from flying.  The mundane mid-life crisis issues, the birth of my first grandchild and other less concrete excuses.
My recovery is a miracle; I returned to flight and taught in a tail wheel airplane. I was able to pass my ATP checkride and even compete acrobatically. My good friends helped me acquire a beautiful machine, allowed me to fulfill my dreams and then released me from my obligations when operational costs became too high.  I have had a tremendous time teaching and learning. 
My editor suggested I add a paragraph about my amazing students.  That will take several volumes to capture.  I continue to live the most amazing experience.  It has been my pleasure to serve people achieving their dreams. Sometimes it has been painful to help others realize their limitations. One of my first Masters let me know he expected that I exceed his abilities. God blessed me with incredible students, mentors, and peers.  The view from the giant's shoulders was grand!  The next generation will continue to thrash the limits.
It would not have been possible without the support of my beautiful wife.  Feel free to thank her for loaning me to the cause all these years.Thank you for the opportunity.  Have fun, be safe.  Be good stewards of aviation.   See you around campus.
Ronney Moss

For whiny rambling unedited drivel read this blog.  

Wednesday, October 14, 2015


Visual flight rules require pilots to "see and avoid" other air traffic. 

My good friend and I learned to fly at the Kadena Aero Club in Okinawa, Japan.  We split time in a Cessna 152 building cross country hood time.  We pursued and completed our ground instructor and commercial certificates.  We taught ground school together. 

Eight years later we retired after full and rewarding military careers and became flight instructors.  He was in Ohio and I in North Carolina.  We ribbed each other over the "first in flight/birthplace of aviation" rivalry.  We ribbed each other with full respect over our chosen branch of service.  It seemed that retired life was going well.

October 14, 2005 Alan was teaching a student how to hold over an NBD when he was hit from behind.  The other aircraft was on a recreational flight.  Good weather, VFR in effect.  Four humans died because the pilot did not see and avoid.   The survivors of the other aircraft hired lawyers to insult the grieving process. 

They tried to sue everyone.  The one issue that made it to court was the avionics manufacture provided a product that worked so well that the pilots we lulled into inattention.  That suit failed.

The issue of looking out the window to avoid injuring each other has migrated to the rest of society.  Texting and driving while listening to the radio and the GPS is incredibly common these days.  The same thought process of "everyone else's fault but mine" is alive and well. 

I am glad I got to know Allen.  I miss him.  He loved his wife and kids.    Be careful out there.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Louisiana Man

I was born in Baton Rouge.

Both my papa and my daddy worked and payed taxes.

They were productive members of society.

They provided for their families the best way they knew how.

They tried to be responsible citizens as best they understood.

Poor bastards. Have you ever been hungry?

Have you ever fished for breakfast? No fish, no breakfast.

Doodle bugs taste like salt lick.

The saying "it's better than nothing" applies.

And by daddy I mean the fella who paid my child support.

My papa was the man who loved my mom and took care of us.

The work ethic is ingrained in us from an early age.  You take care of your own either directly or indirectly.
Feeding your family is your job.  
We tend to eat anything that moves, or sits still.  I seem to recall it was more because we had a big appetite built up in anticipation of a big fish than because we liked to eat possum or armadillo.

For some rural kids seeing people outside your immediate family is rare.  Going to town is a celebration because it is an unusual event.  Directions to our house included the phrases "and then the highway ends, and then the black top ends, and after the dirt road ends."  

People say we talk funny and dress strange.

People are probably right. 

Monday, August 17, 2015

Chapter one

I am a product of your society. 
Let's start the beginning.
I was born. Of this I'm sure.
 I have documents proving it. I was born December 18, 1964.
The Wright brothers first flew December 17th 1903.
I think I was born an Airman.
My grandmother use to take me to the airport in Shreveport, Louisiana so I could watch the airplanes take off and land.
She had a Volkswagen beetle and would splash the mud puddles on the way. As far as I can remember I have been telling people " look airplane! "
Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome. I have said I wouldn't mind getting Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. The first word is post. That means the trauma is over.  The disorder is that it makes the person non-functional.

Now this second part is hear-say that is to say although I witnessed it I do not have confirmation or evidence.
My mother was heavily drugged during my birth. I was removed from her womb with forceps.  The medical device left marks on my head that looks like horns.
Or I was born with horns.
I think my dad joined the Coast Guard and moved to Alaska.

I wanted to join the coast guard but I was too short.
You have to be 6 feet tall to join the Coast Guard.
That way can walk to shore if the boat sinks .  Ha,ha.
That's my Coast Guard joke.
Those guys are awesome.
Most people are mad at them because they tell them to put a life jacket on.

JD taught me about life preservers. He threw me out of a boat. Way out in shark infested waters.  Then he told  me to swim to shore.
He helped keep the sharks at bay buy driving the boat around me at high speeds. The wake made it challenging for me to swim.
He would occasionally ask me if he had advised me to wear my flotation device while aboard his vessel.

He did.  I did not wear my flotation device.  That was stupid.  JD did not have time for stupid airmen.  If I drowned he would have to fill out paper work.  He hated paperwork.  I wear my flotation device.  He loved me.  I think he still does. 

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

God loves us

            I am sure God loves us.  He gave me working taste buds AND ice cream.  He gave me my wife and the ability to experience and practice LOVE. 

Sunday, June 21, 2015


            I am eternally grateful that I am a father.  I am very lucky to have a father and a pop.  My parents divorced early and I saw my father sporadically as I grew up.  He is a good man and always worked hard to provide financial support as I grew up.  I know I hurt his feeling tremendously when I changed my last name to Moss.  
Hank Moss raised me.  He loved me unconditionally even when I was an idiot and did not deserve love.  I lived with my grandparents until I was seven.  Soon after moving in with Hank and mom I was trying to be a good kid and washed the car.  I made sure I got all the bird poop off.  I used a brillo pad and took the paint off all the way down to the metal!  Hank did not lose his cool with me.  He really loved my mom.  He raised me with as much patience as anyone could expect from a human.  
When I was in the Air Force and getting my passport renewed they said that I could be in trouble for fraudulent enlistment since my birth certificate did not say Moss.  All of my school records, marriage certificate and other documents were Moss.  That is who I thought I was so I changed my name legally to match.  I wish my father would forgive me but I understand. 
Fatherhood is a different deal than being a daddy.  Fatherhood is responsibility.  Daddy is love.  Fatherhood is a duty.  Being a daddy is fun!  A “good” father is both.  My children are a product of the love I have for my wife. And she is my favorite human.  Thank God that I have been blessed with two wonderful men that loved me so much.  Please Lord let me be a good father to my children and a good husband to my wife.  I have friends who are orphans and did not know what it is like to have a family.
Happy Fathers Day.