Saturday, June 9, 2012


You may think since all Pilots wear, essentially, the same uniform, it would be hard to distinguish the senior guys from the newbies.  But take a closer look...  the uniform tells the tale.

The NewHirePilot has uniform pants that are well fitting.
The SeniorPilot still wears the same size pants as when he was brand new, only now he fastens them below his gut, allowing the belly to hang comfortably over the waistband.

The NewHirePilot has pants that are in good repair.
The SeniorPilot smells vaguely like a Sharpie marker because his wife has to touch up the threadbare corners of his pocket flaps with a permanent marker before he leaves the house.  And while its awkward to stare, if you see a pilot struggling with his zipper at a urinal, he's a SeniorPilot.  The pull tab on his zipper broke of months ago.  He must now use a paperclip, ink pen, or safety pin to "MacGuyver" lowering and raising his zipper.

The NewHirePilot still sports the Styrofoam ring in his visor cap, and subsequently, looks like a dork.
The SeniorPilot has removed the ring and spent hours drinking Maker's Mark while bending and shaping his visor cap just right.  He now looks like a U-boat Captain... and he likes it that way.

The NewHirePilot has his shirts cleaned with heavy starch to make a good, crisp, impression.
The SeniorPilot has his shirts cleaned with heavy starch so he can wear the same shirt for four days because he's on his third wife, second company bankruptcy and can't afford to go to the Dry Cleaner more frequently.

The NewHirePilot boldly breaks from uniform standards to wear festive neckties for Christmas and Independence Day.
The SeniorPilot wears the same exact tie every day, all month, because its easier than keeping a log book.  He can simply recall where he's flown by the stains from the food court fare left on the tie.

The NewHirePilot has a crew case/"brain box" decorated with stickers of the aircraft he flies.
The SeniorPilot has a crew case/"brain box" decorated with Republican bumper stickers, NRA stickers, and "FU Pay Me" stickers.

The NewHirePilot has well polished Cole Hahn leather shoes.
The SeniorPilot sports cowboy boots, black sneakers, or proper dress shoes that have been re-soled 5 times.

The NewHirePilot wears his uniform to the grocery store (whether he just got off a trip, or not).
The SeniorPilot takes off his epaulets, tie, wings, and name plate so he can hit the liquor store on the way home without judgement.

They may all wear poly-wool blend jackets and pants in shades of navy, black or brown, but it all depends on the mileage!  Like Jane Goodall studying the Chimpanzees, you must immerse yourself in the species to be able to discern the subtle differences.


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  2. Just saw SeniorPilot picking up take-out from local Mexican restaurant. He was clearly on his way home because his plain, black tie was quite stained and his re-soled "sensible" shoes were scuffed. His non-starched yellowed shirt barely covered the joe hanging over his belt and he drove a 15+ year old S Class Mercedes. Clearly a legacy guy on 2nd or 3rd marriage!

    1. Rich, Thank you for your comment. I don't make this stuff up! I just bear witness to the truth.
      ;) APW

  3. As someone who manufactures and tailors uniforms for several majors & regionals...I have to say this was the highlight of my week. Seniors want me to fix their dry rotted jackets while New Hires are sculpting down to their athletic frames. Totally on point!