Life can take you on many journeys and some can be calm while others turbulent. When reflecting upon his life, author Sandy Graham ponders many of his decisions, shares his childhood experiences and ingenuity striving in the many aspects of civil aviation. He progressed to digital avionics and flight management. A memoir of passion, inspiration and a man who never let anything stop him from becoming what he set out to do. Sandy grew up with three brothers and a mother who expected and controlled their education, friendships and coordinated their lives. Meeting her standards was hard and at times Sandy was handed some hard lessons. Finding his way into the field of avionics took many turns and in many directions before landing in Field management.
Every facet of his career is described and every job he was employed at too. With many goals in mind and then focusing on Field management this book is a serious resource for anyone that wants to learn more about digital avionics and wants to decide on this as a career. This is a great teaching tool as well as learning firsthand about each phase. Included are the many technical issues that he included.
The memoir is exciting when he explains how received his certification for Flight Management Computer. This is something and an accomplishment which changed the flight deck of commercial airplanes. Imagine being such a pioneer! Becoming part of Boeing was the bulk of the memoir. He shares his technical experience and describes being involved in a development program. With his friends Jim and Max who was the visionary of the team a manual was created a way to get Boeing as an account for the three of them. This was the author’s first assignment with an outfit consisting of pilots, flight engineers and navigators. No engineering staff and no dedicated mechanics.
No jet aircraft experience and the plan were that on each turnaround, the navigator would get the weather and build a flight plan. Sounds intricate and not easy. The flight engineer would handle any maintenance needed, and the co-pilot would perform the walk around and oversee the fueling and handle weight and balance calculations. The captain would oversee the flight planning and takeoff weight calculations. They had an operation manual, but it was too large for this. His job was to simplify the performance data presentation to fit their needs. Not an easy task as it took an extensive redesign of formats. The rest of the chapter highlights the other members of the team and what the outcome was plus the problem with the wrong fuel that was loaded and the way he managed to get around it. Some humor and creativity in his method. Chapter 13 focuses on Flight Ops Engineering and then 14 marriage and maintenance.
The memoir is filled with many of this experiences and different companies that he worked for but one thing that shines through is his passion for what he was doing and the respect for those that were part of his teams.
FAA Flight Manuals and the first time he had to deal with his team which focused on Flight Engineering and his position with Boeing and the team’s functions who was responsible for each leg or step of the flight ending in what happened when the wrong fuel was loaded. The humor involved in how they got around it was ingenious.
Marriage and Maintenance was focused in chapter 14 but in 15 he is taken out of Flight Operations Engineering to work on a configuration problem. Starting as an individual contributor but soon pulled to assist people. Boeing was instituting a remote terminal server system called: CTS and it looked like a great vehicle for implementing a change tracking system. He developed a program to do just that called Change Integration or Chin. To learn more, you need to read that chapter. Boeing as an account for the three of them. This was the author’s first assignment with an outfit consisting of pilots, flight engineers and navigators. No engineering staff and no dedicated mechanics.
He supported several 727 sales campaigns with examples in chapter 18. He expands during this chapter with many other examples and a trip to Lagos this time with a customer engineer. The experiences are wide and varied but his enthusiasm never dies. A first invention is exciting which was the development of the Performance Data Computer for 727-737 aircraft. There is so much more that he shares but you need to learn about EICAS and then Flight management and finally the integration of 767 and 757 plus airline reviews and in-service experience You won’t believe what he tried. Finally, like everyone else: What will tomorrow bring? Well this author, flight engineer and much more still seems to have a lot more on his horizon. From one reviewer to another: Great resource and great book.
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