A Naval Aviator’s Log Book from WWII

My grandfather served as a US Naval Aviator in WWII.  We knew him as the patriarch of a large and vibrant family, a successful entrepreneur and executive, an avid sailor, civilian pilot and world traveller.  My grandmother Joyce was the love of his life, and he adored his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren… but I think he always thought of himself as an aviator.

As a kid who grew up in the 1930’s and hung on the fence at Floyd Bennett Field on Long Island, his dream was to fly for the US Navy.  He worked hard in his youth, as a bartender in Hell’s Kitchen taking care of his parents, and eventually followed his older brother into the US Navy.  He became a cadet and attended civilian flight training then flight school in Pensacola, Florida.  He graduated as an Ensign, then served in the Caribbean with squadron VJ-16 as a Lieutenant, j.g.

I think he was most proud of his service as a Naval Aviator.  He always captivated me with his stories from that era, and someday my cousin and I will finish getting them down on paper to share.  When we lost him last year, I created a slideshow for the funeral with pictures from his life.  In all the old slides and scrapbooks, I came across his Navy records and aviator’s flight log book.  Following the urging from some history buff friends, I’ve decided to scan and post some of the materials.

The first item is the log book you can find here, which I will add to on a regular basis as I have time to scan its contents.  I may also post some interesting letters and official Navy documents, including ones from the Secretary of the Navy and the President of the United States.  I’ll update the blog when new material is posted.

Jim Collins on Success Amid Turbulence & Uncertainty

In the interest of full disclosure, both major books of top selling business writer Jim Collins (Built to Last and Good to Great) remain unread on my bookshelf as I’ve taken a break from popular business books over the last few years.

From how his thinking, his writing, and his methods are discussed however, he’s obviously someone to keep an eye on.  I also happen to like writers who retreat to the cave or the mountain for years, and come back out with the rare but delightfully well-thought-out book.

Reading this interview in Fortune, I was curious about the topic of his research today and what his next book might be about.  We was on the ball a few years ago when he started looking at how businesses succeed in turbulent times (something relevant today, right?).

“The one thing you learn is that those who panic, die on the mountain.”

Spoken like the true rock climber he is.  He talks about how the period of stability that followed WWII is ending, and will likely not return during our lifetimes.  Companies that have core values (interestingly it’s more important having them then what they are) and realize the people you have with you are the most important thing (again, think about getting stuck on a mountain).  People that don’t need management, and consider their work as responsibilities rather than just a job.

It seems like common sense, but having a planning horizon that looks at the next 25+ years rather than the next quarter, is a clear differentiator.  We can only hope that our government remembers this when it rushes solutions with little planning yet huge long-term economic consequences upon the country.  I hope they read his next book.

It is easy in the world to live after the world’s opinion; it is easy in solitude to live after our own; but the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude.

Ralph Waldo Emerson 

Mercury 2 involved three vehicles and 13 launches, captured by two fixed DSLRs and one pad-mounted video camera.  We lost the hero of Mercury 1, my 20″ RTF, to a nearby tree but the star of the day was the flying outhouse.

More rocktes and payloads are currently being prepped for our next launch.  New launch sites are also being scouted as we await the current Santa Anna wind conditions to change.

You can see the whole photoset of Mercury 2  and the video from Mercury 1 below.  Scott and James can add links to their content in the Comments.

Excellent talk by Tom Kelly of IDEO about five practices to develop creativity and innovative thinking: Think like a traveller, treat life like an experiment, nurture an attitude of wisdom, use your whole brian and tortoise mind, and follow your passion. Great advice for work and life. Source can be found here.

“Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.” Steve Jobs’ inspiring speech about loving what you do, trusting your curiosity and intuition, the lightness of being a beginner, connecting the dots looking backward, thinking for yourself and remembering how little time you really have.