Ok, now it’s my turn – I’m the other Steve; sometimes called ‘DOS’. A little about myself. Up until January 29, 2014 I was an active pilot for a major airline. On January 29th, during my routine physical, they found I had a rapid heart rate. 123 beats per minute to be exact. I wasn’t concerned, figuring I was just a little nervous. However, just waiting a few minutes and retaking my pulse again didn’t seem to be an option. The first thing they did was give me an EKG to check my heart. The results of the EKG showed I had an enlarged heart. OK, I had now officially failed my physical and was sent to a cardiologist to do more tests. I met with the cardiologist and after doing a few tests, he started me on medication. A few more tests, more medication and before I knew it, it was July. The medication hadn’t done nearly enough and the tests couldn’t come up with any finite answers. I had been on disability ever since my failed physical, but it was still possible to return to work at some time in the future if my heart condition improved. I truthfully couldn’t see that happening, but there was nothing concrete keeping me from flying again…until I was told I needed to have a pacemaker/ defibrillator implanted. It really wasn’t a difficult decision. While before the pacemaker/defibrillator was implanted my flying career was still up in the air (no pun intended,) with a pacemaker/defibrillator passing my physical wouldn’t ever be possible. I now have a pacemaker/defibrillator and am a retired pilot.
I always loved traveling and during my 33 years as a pilot with a major airline I traveled a lot. However, I did more exciting traveling during my off time than while I was working. My first aircraft I flew was the B-727 and was based out of JFK flying down to the Caribbean, mostly St. Thomas. I worked with a very senior pilot who liked flying with me. I never asked any questions, but he worked it out for us to fly together. He also liked working his schedule out where he would fly a lot and then have a long period, 5-6 weeks off in a row. I did this for a period of six years or so until he retired. I flew the B-727 for a few more years and then flew the B-767 until the late 90’s when I moved to the B-777.
From 1981-1987, having these six week breaks from work, I traveled a lot. While Steve Uno took cruises, I took group tours. I either traveled alone or with my mother. She was the only one I knew who could take six weeks off to travel. As I was young and full of energy I took a minimum of four and sometimes five long tours a year. The average length of these tours were 25-40 days. To say I was the youngest tour participant in these group tours was an understatement. I loved every minute of it and met some of the most interesting people while on these tours. I could say I traveled in three star hotels and traveled on a very tight budget, but that wouldn’t be completely truthful. I would choose my tours by the itinerary and always wanted to find something out of the ordinary that visited places that at the time were more exotic. The tour operators I used at that time were, Hemphill Harris, Lindblad, Abercrombie & Kent, Travcoa and the like. In an upcoming post I will list some of the places I visited during my travels.