Father’s Day: Beyond the Hallmark Perspective

In less than a week, Father’s Day will be here. We celebrate that day in varied ways. Our fathers are many things, among them: biological, paternal, and role models whether good or bad. The actual day will be different for each of us: ALL of us reading this have fathers, but not all of us ARE fathers. For those of us who are fathers, we “fathered” a child in the biological sense, but there was no manual of how to be a good father, great father or exceptional father. Some have done better than others.

While it is my belief that all fathers desired at some point to be, in the words of Muhammad Ali, “The Greatest”, some have achieved, and some have fallen short of that goal in the eyes of sons and daughters. Fathers are, after all human. That is why picking that perfect Hallmark Card is so challenging!

I’d like to share one of the most interesting father/son relationships I have ever witnessed. It is that of a CIA U-2 pilot and his son. The story of Francis Gary Powers and his son, Gary Powers, Jr. is one story that truly embodies the honor that a son has for a father. I met Gary Jr. about 8 years ago at an airshow in Florida. We shared a common bond in that his father and I had flown the U-2. I attended Gary Jr.’s talks and was fortunate enough to spend some time with him outside the airshow. What I learned during that time and up to now, has had a profound impact on me. Exodus and Deuteronomy instruct us to honor our father, and Gary Jr.’s efforts have gone way beyond that.

In May 1960, before Gary Jr. was even born, his father Gary Francis Powers was shot down during the Cold War. Politically, this was one of the worst times for a U-2 pilot to be shot down and captured. It resulted in an international incident, the collapse of a political summit and added to Cold War tensions. His trial and imprisonment bridged the nexus of the Eisenhower and Kennedy presidencies, and captured the attention of the world in a “pre-internet, pre-cable TV” era dominated only by three major networks. The Steven Spielberg, “Bridge of Spies” movie chronicles only a portion of Gary Powers Sr.’s life; from the time he was shot down until he was traded for a Soviet spy. I have learned from Gary Jr. and his dedication to his father, there is much more to the story.

Gary, Jr. was not even born at the time his father was shot down. There’s a much more interesting saga after Gary Sr. returned to the United States. Upon his return from an 18-month imprisonment (he was originally sentenced to 10 years), Gary Sr. was subject to official inquiries and subsequent dismissals from the CIA and the Air Force without pension. His story did not get any better. His marriage suffered and he lost his job with Lockheed as a test pilot for publishing his story in 1970. Gary Jr. was born in 1965 to Gary Sr’s. second wife, five years after his father was shot down. In 1977, Gary Sr. was killed in a tragic helicopter accident in Los Angeles, CA.

Gary Jr. was only 11 years old when his father died. To this day, he has not stopped honoring his father. The efforts he spearheaded were instrumental in getting the attention of other patriots who have helped uncover the truth. The result is that the record had been corrected.

In 2012, the Powers family was presented with a posthumously awarded Prisoner of War Medal, Distinguished Flying Cross, and National Defense Service Medal, as well as the CIA’s coveted Director’s Medal for extreme fidelity and extraordinary courage in the line of duty. And later, the Silver Star medal for demonstrating ‘exceptional loyalty’ while enduring harsh interrogation in the Lubyanka Prison in Moscow for almost two years.

According to Gary Jr., “It’s never too late to set the record straight; Even if it takes 50 years, it’s something that the family members and the loved ones of these military personnel who go through these type of situations — it goes to help put closure to it, to find closure.”

Since then, Gary has honored his father in several ways. He is the Founder and Chairman Emeritus of The Cold War Museum, works with the National Park Service and leading Cold War experts, consulted with Steven Spielberg on the “Bridge of Spies”; authored “Letters from a Soviet Prison” in 2017 and “Spy Pilot” in 2019. Both books have helped dispel the misinformation surrounding his father’s U-2 Incident. He has served as a Board Member on the Strategic Air Command and Aerospace Museum and the International Spy Museum, the Junior Chamber of Commerce selected him as one of the “Ten Outstanding Young Americans” in 2002. He currently lectures internationally and appears regularly on C-SPAN, the History, Discovery, and A&E Channels.

For me, his most moving and interesting work is “Letters from a Soviet Prison”. It is a meticulous transcription of his father’s letters between his wife, parents and siblings during his imprisonment in Lubyanka prison in the Soviet Union. This is a work worth reading from a historical perspective, but as you read it, you have to admire Gary Jr.’s dedication to his father.

Imagine today being imprisoned in the era of the internet and instant telecommunications: bad enough! Now, imagine being imprisoned and the only way to communicate is via the written word via snail mail across continents. Most of us could never imagine that. Letters written, letters received, crisscrossed, not knowing what was received, when received or if ever received or delivered.

In “Letters from a Soviet Prison” you will live the drama of his imprisonment through the actual letters. No, he was not tortured physically, but you will gain a unique perspective of the psychological pain he endured. Along with that are some profound observations in 1961, over fifty years ago, still true today in some respect:

                Journal entry: “One thing I have learned since I have been in prison is to distrust the newspapers. This is all newspapers and not any special ones.”

                Letter, August 7th, 1961: “It appears to me that even though we have two parties in the U.S. there is only one group of people who control both parties and things don’t change even though the second party takes over.”

                Letter, September 16th, 1961: “I look for the USA to drop out of the UN soon… I don’t personally think that there will ever be any use for it anywhere now. The United States could save a lot of money by dropping out. It will not be any good till every one abides by its decisions.”

There is much more in the book and many historical vignettes and observations like the above could be a text for a college course. But the one thing that always strikes me about this book, is the heartfelt effort that a son has put forth in honoring his father. Sometimes the process is just as important as the product. It is in this case. Hallmark can try, but it can never duplicate this example of love and dedication.


The book is currently in print only but will soon be available digitally. Go to GaryPowers.com for more information.

Go to SpyPilotBook.com for Gary’s most recent book, “Spy Pilot”.

Bridge of Spies, the U-2 and the Cold War

Those of you around in the 60’s will probably remember Bert the Turtle’s “duck and cover” drills and “atomic alerts.”

And those of you not around, might have learned about this tenuous time in US history known as the Cold War from school or your family members.

And for those history scholars, the date of this post (October 28th) marks the end of the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962.

Your Thoughts?ColdWarThoughts

Are we already in another Cold War?  Are the stakes higher now?  Is the media making more out of everyday politics than is deserved? How is the US handling the apparent tensions we see? I will leave it up to you to assess our current state of relations with Russia, and welcome your thoughts and comments below.

Spies in the Movies

Last week, I was at the very first showing of Steven Spielberg’s “The Bridge of Spies.”  While my main interest was the May 1960 shoot-down of Francis Gary Powers and his U-2, I was surprised by all that our government did in the background to obtain his release. It truly was magnificent what the US did to ensure his eventual safe return and that he did not have to serve 10 years in prison.

The movie ends with Powers being traded for Rudolf Abel; and there is another twist with a third party, so you will want to go see the movie. Tom Hanks, as always, delivers!

Because of the declassification of materials, there were many efforts made to ensure that Powers was finally (starting in 2000) posthumously honored with the Prisoner of War Medal, Distinguished Flying Cross, and National Defense Service Medal, the CIA Director’s Medal, and then in 2012, the Silver Star.

An Honor to Meet and Learn

I met Francis Gary Powers, Jr. earlier this year and got to talk with him about his father. It is truly amazing to hear how Gary Jr. hColdWarMuseumas honored his father, and is helping to preserve what we learned from that time in history.

Gary Jr. has founded the Cold War Museum. It is west of DC near Manassas, VA and worth a visit. Next door, is the Vint Hill Winery, which also has historical significance with the Cold War.


U-2 Pictures, Videos and Facts

You can learn more about the museum and winery on a page that I put together that has U-2 pictures,onapproach videos, links, books and other cool stuff about the U-2, that is still flying at age 60! Thanks to all my U-2 brothers for their contributions. I update the page as I get more information.

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Responsibility or Accountability: Just What Difference Does it Make!?


Are the two words synonymous? Is there really a difference? As a leader, how can you put them into perspective to ensure what you plan to get accomplished really gets done?

The outcome of any team is dependent upon many variables. Consider a seven member team that has carefully defined roles and responsibilities to tackle an organizational task. As a leader, it is vital that you can effectively guide the team to a successful outcome. Distinguishing the nuance between the two words (accountability and responsibility) can help you better prepare and succeed.sitting_on_books_reading_custom_book_15399


Having recently studied a stack of CRAP (Columns, Reviews, Articles and Posts) regarding public officials being held responsible and accountable (or not), the two words often seemed to be used interchangeably. As a result, half of the stack was a bit confusing.


Stop 1: find a dictionary.
Here is Miriam-Webster boiled down:
•        Responsibility: the quality or state of being responsible as moral, legal, or mental accountability
•        Accountability: the quality or state of being accountable as an obligation or willingness to accept responsibility.

custom_life_balance_13780Huh? Use one term to help explain the other? Seriously?

Stop 2: use Thesauras.com to find synonyms and antonyms.
This stop only added to confusion in the quest for clarity.

Stop 3: ask everyone’s favorite spy, Agent Google.
Here are six (out of scores of hits) showing a range of views.

•        A scholarly discourse by Thomas Bivins, who discusses both terms within the public relations profession. The 20 pages were interesting, but further muddied the water.
•        A practical blog like the Oz Principle suggesting that “responsibility may be bestowed, but accountability must be taken” – the Dalai Lama would love this!
•        A business oriented view by Travis Lindsay that suggests the two terms, “…while differentiated, often occupy the same place” – any sage consultant can use this to raise their fee.
•        An organizational perspective by Scott Eblin who defines the terms by using them as adjectives: “If you’re accountable, you answer for it. If you’re responsible, you do it” – okay, more action oriented, but can’t I do both?
•        Another perspective by Dennis Hooper suggesting a temporal distinction with accountability following responsibility – ah, so they should occur in order – another piece of the puzzle.
•        And finally, in a Monty Python (something completely different) angle, Anna Mar uses both terms in the already complex realm of project planning – ah, let us now enter the Matrix!

One lesson from the surfing safari was a common thread in the discussions: Leadership – both on the organizational and personal level.


The definitions, logic and explanations above all have great points, and I like Dennis Hooper’s best. So here is a simple framework to expand on his discussion. Think of the two terms on a continuum of “planning” to “execution.”

On a personal leadership level you can plan or pledge to be responsible in your role as a mate or a parent. Specifically, you make it your responsibility to increase your income so that you can afford that new car; or you make it your responsibility to assist your children with their fundraising for a school project. Upon executing those pledges (or not delivering), you then become accountable.

On an organizational leadership level, think of job descriptions (either for you or your team). A job description is really a plan for what you or your team members are responsible for. Written correctly, they establish roles and boundaries. Normally, at the end of a reporting period, you are held accountable for what you executed or delivered (or not). And, if you are a leader, you are also accountable for ensuring you hold your team members accountable.


1. Whatever you do, hold yourself accountable before you ask it of others. If you are an organizational leader, you are more visible than you probably imagine. Your followers will emulate your actions. Show them that you value accountability.
2. Be definitive in planning to be responsible. Write it down – in a job description – on a planner – on a sticky – wherever! Use measurable language, specifics and timelines. It will be easier to assess and determine you and your team or organization’s accountability. figure_insert_your_writing_300_clr_14473
3. Include others as you frame your responsibility box. Whether it is your mate, your children or your team, it is a great way to set goals and establish realistic objectives. If it is something personal, consider sharing it with a close friend, mentor or trusted agent.
4. Build periodic reviews into your schedule to assess accountability.  Be honest as to your progress. If you or your team didn’t fulfill the responsibilities, find out why. If you have to devote more resources or energy, do so – and if you are on a team, remember the “weakest link” analogy and act if necessary. If you are successful, rejoice, praise and raise the bar!
5. Consider letting go of old commitments. Sometimes we sign up to become responsible for too much. It’s easy to do. Times change and so do we. So it is important to recognize when we can no longer realistically commit.


The words responsibility and accountability are often used interchangeable, and in the end, it doesn’t hurt to use them that way. Most people will understand. However, as a leader, consider using a continuum from planning to execution to help you think through your roles and responsibilities and ensure that you can gauge accountability for yourself and your team.

There’s a big difference between responsibility and accountability. The most important thing a leader can do in ANY organization; public, private, or non-profit, is to hold responsible people accountable. Be accountable to yourself before you expect it from others. Duty makes the Difference! — Sam Crouse, Ph.D.  (March 16th, 2014, ABC News KAIT8.com)


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Brief Musings on Socrates, Job Satisfaction, Stress and Hobbies


The V4© model applied at a personal level helps you answer these important questions, “Where are you going? How fast are you going? How much “stuff” is on your plate? Is your life adding value?


For many, this is a time to re-assess. As Socrates said “the unexamined life is not worth living.”

Whether you are a college student, homemaker, wage-earner, executive or entrepreneur, the importance of reexamining your path periodically is worthwhile.

Even if you find yourself generally on the right path, there may be some room to adjust or enhance your journey by adding a hobby.


For those in the workforce, it’s a good bet you are part of a growing population that feels unfulfilled in their current position. About a year ago, I started researching job satisfaction at both a professional and personal level. There is a considerable body of literature, studies and polls revealing how many people dislike their jobs.

One study conducted by a very reputable global consulting firm that indicates that as many as 80% of workers have very little or no passion for their job.

Another reputable poll indicated that only 13% of people felt “engaged” in their jobs.


Melanie Winderlich in her medically reviewed article “Want to Relieve Stress, Take up a Hobby” states that “choosing a hobby you feel successful at can boost your self-esteem and sense of well-being. Finding pleasure in this type of activity seems to offer a sense of control, and improving a skill set or ability also contributes to self-esteem.

So why not at least try to align your passions and talents with your need to make a living? Start off with relieving stress and maybe you will find a way to cash in on your passion!


Step #1: Find out what you love to do!

•        Maybe it’s time to take another look at Marsha Sinetar’s classic book entitled “Do What You Love, The Money Will Follow: Discovering Your Right Livelihood”

Now I am not suggesting that you quit your job tomorrow morning and go fishing, but I am saying that you may want to look at exploring the magic of passion and just what that would mean for the quality of your life.

•        Take the Hobsessment™, a new, short interactive survey that helps you match your personality and interests with some potential hobbies. Then explore those hobbies to see what it takes to get started.

custom_corner_street_sign_14248Step #2: Become great at it!

•        It might take some time, but there are endless resources on the web that “Agent Google” can help you find.

•        Here is a one-stop site that will guide you with tons of top notch resources, associations and tools for each of over 200 hobbies. This funny YouTube video explains it!

Step #3: Find and fill a market niche!

•        There are many, many problems yet to be solved by mankind. In many regards, each time one problem is solved, another potential opportunity arises. There is always a better mousetrap!

•        Christine Clayfield’s recent book, “Niche Marketing Ideas & Niche Markets. 177 Free Ways to Find Hot New Profitable Niches” has over 177 ways to find, hot profitable niches – some will undoubtedly align with your strengths and talents. And, it’s quite possible the book will give you that magic #178 to make you the next Steve Jobs!


Being happy in your chosen vocation is absolutely critical and also attainable. By getting involved in something you want to do, you’ll find renewed energy and even meet some people who have your same interests.

The global economy is in constant evolution and you CAN learn to be in synch with the changes. One of my favorite radio programs is The Dave Ramsey Show. Dave is a master at advising on life, happiness and money. This book, “48 Days to the Work You Love: Preparing for the New Normal” is worth putting on your January reading list.

What will your legacy look like? What will you leave behind?hop_to_something_new_anim_150_clr_14367

So, go out there and have a great 2015! It is a new year, filled with new challenges, new directions and potentially a new you!

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From AREA 51 to P-51


While I had the honor of flying the U2 Spy Plane during my USAF career, I had a “bucket list” item that I just had to do while I could still do it. Since I was 10 years old, I had an acute affection for the P-51 Mustang. I made models of it, read books about it, and drooled over it at airshows. The North American Aviation P-51 Mustang, an American long-range, single-seat fighter and fighter-bomber, was used first during World War II, and is credited with helping win the war by ensuring Allied air superiority and protection for our bombers in Europe.

2013-09-16 09.00.42

There are not many of them left in the world, and the two-seat versions are even rarer birds. During May of 2013, at a book signing in Washington DC, I was introduced to a new friend. Even though Art was not a pilot, our conversation drifted to the subject of airplanes and found we soon discovered we shared a common bucket list item: Fly the P-51 Mustang!


After corresponding with Art over the next month, we decided to head down to Florida and fly with Lee Lauderback’s Stallion 51 operation. By all measures it seemed to be a first class operation. The next few months made us realize it was the only choice. Art and I corresponded via email and phone. I sent an email to Stallion 51 in mid-June and had a very timely response from Julia. I had put in a request for a two-ship flight; me in one aircraft and Art in the other. This, as we learned, was not a normal request; and it was also complicated by the fact that some of the Mustang pilots there had vacation scheduled, but it all seemed that it could come together.


I remember where I was standing in mid-July when the phone rang and it was from a Florida number. “Hello,” I said. The voice from the other end said, “Hi, I am looking for Sam Crouse, this is Lee Lauderback calling from Stallion 51.”  I had read about Mr. Mustang, as he is called; now I am in my living room talking to him on the phone. It was a great conversation. After exchanging pleasantries, Lee told me he was going to work hard to arrange the schedule so that there would be two airplanes and two pilots. He then asked what we wanted to do. I told him that Art was not a pilot and a little bit about him, and that I had a pilot background. Then, in pilot lingo, I rattled off, “formation take-off, split up enroute to separate areas, aerobatics, then rejoin for a formation return to a pitchout and landing.”  We chat a bit more, and he asks me about my pilot background. I run through my normal litany of planes I’ve flown, and he says very kindly, “Hell, I’ll just give you the keys.”  While that was a very nice comment, it served more to convey a message of trust and humility between the two of us. He pledged to put a note in the file and we would touch base closer to the date. Within seconds of hanging up with Lee, I was on the phone with Art.


Art and I were banking on planets lining up: a second pilot, cooperative weather, good airplane maintenance, our health, and other unknown schedule impacts. We both arranged to arrive in Florida a day or two early and stay a day or two late. This would make sure we got there, and that if weather or maintenance problems arose, we had a backup plan. Also, due to mid-September Florida weather, we started watching the hurricane tracks a week or so out. I had already opted for a morning flight, so we would’t have to pay homage to the afternoon thunderstorm gods. We started to talk like we were going to a prom; “what are we going to wear?” Hell, we had to look good, and the only choice was to look like a pilot, so: fight suits, patches, boots, scarves, gloves were either procured from my aviation museum (as my wife calls it), ordered or borrowed. We were going for it! For mental preparation we started pouring over P-51 flight manuals we found online and comparing notes. Art even found a 3-D online cockpit simulator he shared with me.

2013-09-16 08.58.33


We got to Orlando and the fun began with a rendevous at a local bar, dinner and smiles that could not be stifled. We were there, in place, the weather was cooperating and we took a drive by the hangar just to make sure we knew where to go the next day. On the morning of the flight we went to breakfast at the hotel all decked out in our flight suits, scarves and patches. We got to Stallion 51 like two kids ready for their first roller coaster ride. We entered the hangar and there they were. Two of the most pristine P-51 Mustangs anyone could imagine sitting on a floor that you could eat off.  We were there. We asked the mechanic, Greg, who was busy babying the two mighty birds where we go. Greg welcomed us like family and showed us the stairway to flight operations. He was a former Navy Crew Chief and you could tell how much he loved his job and the airplanes. Art and I stopped along the way to admire the displays of the Mighty Merlin engine, the 50 caliber machine guns and pictures. In the very nicely appointed sales area and were greeted by Julia, who makes everything work in style!


2013-09-16 09.31.45We checked in with her and took care of the business end of the deal, spent more money at the gift shop, then waited until we were greeted by Lee and John, our lead pilots. Art spent some time with John and I spent some time with Lee chatting separately getting to know each other and talking about flying. Once that was complete, we all gathered together for a formation briefing. As a former military instructor, I’ll say this was one of the most professionally run briefings I had ever seen. For Art, they explained everything to him as a novice. I marveled at how these two professionals flying such vintage aircraft understood their students’ differing levels. Everything was tailored for us to ensure we knew what we were doing. We had a blast as the photo below suggests. John and Lee both ensured we were ready.


2013-09-16 10.35.18It was time to head downstairs, get into the airplane and go fly. On the way down to the hangar, Lee told me, “Sam, forget everything you have read about the Mustang and let’s just go fly!” He knew I had studied the manual and read a lot about the airplane, but wanted me to experience the flight without too much thought. It was a good tip!

Everything was briefed and executed like clockwork. We went over cockpit familiarization items and egress procedures and soon it was engine start time. The roar of the Merlin was awesome and our taxi out, run up and line up were complete. 2013-09-16 10.34.47We took off and Art and John were soon on our right wing as we flew out to the area. I flew the aircraft soon after lift-off and pretty much had it the entire flight with coaching from Lee. Once we were to the practice area, Art and John split off and I went through a series of maneuvers. Some gentle turns, wingovers, normal stalls, accelerated stalls, Barrel Rolls, Aileron Rolls, Cuban 8s, Loops, Immelmanns, Split Ss, and Reverse Cuban 8s. It was a total blast and a perfect day for flying the Mustang (go to the top right sidebar of this page to see “Two Minutes with Lee and Me). We rejoined on Art and John (well, Lee did the rejoin) and I then took it for the rest of the flight. We reported Initial for Runway 06, a left break and took spacing, and I got to land the Mustang – what a superb day!

2013-09-16 10.52.18


2013-09-16 10.48.35We taxied up to the ramp, got out and greeted each other with beaming smiles and handshakes. Later, upstairs we were treated to a debrief using our films. Lee’s Mustangs have three cameras (one on the vertical tail, the horizontal tail and the cockpit). Art and I both got our “tapes” after the debrief. Lee and John took turns describing the flight to help reinforce learning, just like any instructional flight. We were also given certificates and pictures. I had prepared a special gift for Lee, a special bottle of wine we had made for the U2 50th Anniversary and signed it for him. For Art and for me, this was very special day, and we did something few get to do. Art, who had a very distinguished US Army career, was always intrigued with Area 51 stories. I knew some of what he did in the Army, and always thought he had been there. In any case, that day Art and I slipped the surly bonds of earth. We are still talking about it!

2013-09-16 12.03.17

Left to right: John, Art, Sam and Lee (Mr. Mustang)

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Problem Solving: A Building Block for Teaching and Learning

Problem Solving Style: Relating to Your Students

One of the building blocks to a successful learning experience at CAMP ABC© is an understanding of how your students learn and solve problems. More basic to that knowledge is insight into how your “wired-in” style of creativity affects how you relate to your students.

Preferred “Style” of Creativity and Problem Solving

Knowing and understanding our preferred style of creativity and problem solving presents us with an opportunity to modify our instructional techniques. Since 1990, I have had the opportunity to take numerous “personality and learning” surveys and tests. While I found them interesting, I became more intrigued how to use the results in small groups, teams, and classroom learning. My next step was to become trained and qualified to administer four psychometric instruments over the next decade (MBTI, VIEW, FOURSIGHT, and KAI). The one measure I always resort to is the Kirton Adaption-Innovation Inventory or as it is commonly called, the “KAI.”  Like similar measures, this is a “style” measure, not a “level” measure, such as an IQ test.  It is therefore not an intimidating measure, which is another reason I prefer this instrument.

The Basis: We all Solve Problems and We are All Creative

Very simply, a properly administered KAI assessment accurately and precisely measures your individual approach to creativity and problem solving.  Dr. Kirton’s theory includes a fundamental precept that ALL people are creative and ALL people can solve problems.  Where you measure on the scale indicates your “style” or pre-disposed preference to creativity or problem solving. Given a problem or challenge, how do you prefer to deal with novelty, boundaries, structure and authority?

Your Preferred Style Dealing with Change: Evolution or Revolution?

Change is everywhere, of course. To understand the KAI, think of two perspectives: 1) Adaptive Change or Evolution and, 2) Innovative Change or Revolution. You may be on either end of this continuum, but more likely somewhere in between. The benefit of the KAI is where you are in relation to others in your family, your community and your work. Here is a brief description of each.

1) Those with a more Adaptive style: ◾Like doing things better ◾Find benefits and support in structure ◾Accept the problem definition ◾Work within the stated rules and regulations ◾Emphasize improvement and usefulness ◾Are seen as precise, thorough, dependable

2) Those with a more Innovative style: ◾Do things differently ◾ View structure as limiting and confining ◾Challenge the problem definition ◾Challenge authority, “bend” the rules ◾Emphasize originality and uniqueness ◾Are seen as ingenious and unconventional

Apply the Insight: Teaching and Learning

Given the nature of your job and your various life roles, how do you interact with co-workers, teams, groups?  How are the interactions with your spouse, partner, children and relatives? What about the relationship with your subordinates or supervisors? What about the changes you are facing at work? And, if you are reading this as a teacher, instructor or facilitator, how does the theory help explain what might be going on with those “challenging” students?

Your Students and Your Teachers

It  works both ways. Those “challenging” students might just have a preferred “style” different than yours!  The more Adaptive students capitalize on existing definitions and likely solutions to problems by stretching existing “givens” into creative ways. They are excellent at evaluation in great depth and detail. The more Innovative students tend to redefine problems and are concerned with doing things differently. They have less expected, and sometimes less accepted solutions to problems. Because of your “wired-in” style, your built-in subconscious bias may be hindering your effectiveness in reaching some students. As teachers, instructors and facilitators we need to understand and recognize differences to make contributions. The differences are in “style” only.

Both are Needed

Successful learning, problem solving and creativity requires diversity of thought and approaches. Managing that diversity is a key element to successful learning. Take a critical look at your instructional techniques, your stock answers, your biases, your favorite students, and your challenging students.

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To all of my pilot friends, wherever you are…

This piece, whose author is unknown recently appeared on the back page of the February 2014 issue of the Order of Daedalians magazine. Pass it on to your pilot friends in the spirit of brotherhood!

(Author Unknown)

          As we get older and we experience the loss of old friends, we begin to realize that maybe we bullet proof Fighter Pilots won’t live forever, not so bullet proof anymore. We ponder…if I was gone tomorrow did I say what I wanted to my Brothers. The answer was no! Hence, the following few random thoughts.                

          When people ask me if I miss flying, I always say something like – “ Yes! I miss the flying because when you are flying, you are totally focused on the task at hand. It’s like nothing else you will ever do (almost). But then I always say “However, I miss the Squadron and the guys even more than I miss the flying.

          ”Why you might ask?” They were a bunch of aggressive, wise ass, cocky, insulting, sarcastic bastards in smelly flight suits who thought a funny thing to do was to fart and see if they could clear a room. They drank too much, they chased women, they flew when they shouldn’t, they laughed too loud and thought they owned the sky, the Bar, and generally thought they could do everything better then the next guy. Nothing was funnier than trying to screw with a buddy and see how pissed off they would get. They flew planes and helos that leaked, that smoked, that broke, that couldn’t turn, that burned fuel too fast, that never had auto pilots or radars, and with systems that were archaic next to today’s new generation aircraft. All true!

           But a little closer look might show that every guy in the room was sneaky smart and damn competent and brutally handsome! They hated to lose or fail to accomplish the mission and seldom did. They were the laziest guys on the planet until challenged and then they would do anything to win. They would fly with wing tips overlapped at night through the worst weather with only a little red light to hold on to, knowing that their Flight Lead would get them on the ground safely. They would fight in the air knowing the greatest risk and fear was that another fighter would arrive at the same six o’clock at the same time they did. They would fly in harms way and act nonchalant as if to challenge the grim reaper. 

          When we went to another base we were the best Squadron on the base as soon as we landed. Often we were not welcomed back. When we went into a O’Club we owned the bar.  We wore our commanders name tag…..all of us.  We were lucky to have the Best of the Best in the military. We knew it and so did others. We found jobs, lost jobs, got married, got divorced, moved, went broke, got rich, broke something and the only thing you could really count on was if you really needed help, a fellow Pilot would have your back.                

          I miss the call signs, nick names, and the stories behind them. I miss the getting lit up in an O’Club full of my buddies and watching the incredible, unbelievable things that were happening. I miss the Crew Chiefs saluting as you taxied out the flight line. I miss the lighting of the Afterburners, if you had them, especially at night. I miss the going straight up and straight down. I miss the cross countries. I miss the dice games at the bar for drinks. I miss listening to bull shit stories while drinking and laughing till my eyes watered.                

          I miss three man lifts. I miss naps in the Squadron with a room full of pilots working up new tricks to torment the sleeper. I miss flying upside down in the Grand Canyon and hearing about flying so low boats were blown over. I miss coming into the break hot and looking over and seeing three wingmen tucked in tight ready to make the troops on the ground proud. I miss belches that could be heard in neighboring states. I miss putting on ad hoc Air Shows that might be over someone’s home or farm in far away towns.                

          Finally I miss hearing DEAD BUG being called out at the bar and seeing and hearing a room of men hit the deck with drinks spilling and chairs being knocked over as they rolled in the beer and kicked their legs in the air, followed closely by a Not Politically Correct Tap Dancing and Singing spectacle that couldn’t help but make you grin and order another round!                

          I am a lucky guy and have lived a great life! One thing I know is that I was part of a special, really talented bunch of guys doing something dangerous and doing it better than most. Flying the most beautiful, ugly, noisy, solid aircraft ever built. Supported by ground troops committed to making sure we came home again! Being prepared to fly and fight and die for America. Having a clear mission. Having fun.                

          We box out the bad memories from various operations most of the time but never the hallowed memories of our fallen comrades. We are often amazed at how good war stories never let the truth interfere and they get better with age. We are lucky bastards to be able to walk into a Squadron or a Bar and have men we respect and love shout out our names, our call signs, and know that this is truly where we belong. We are Fighter Pilots. We are Few and we are Proud.                

I am Privileged and Proud to call you Brothers.
Push It Up! &  Check SIX!
This piece, whose author is unknown recently appeared on the back page of the February 2014 issue of the Order of Daedalians magazine. Pass it on to your pilot friends in the spirit of brotherhood!

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Protecting Sensitive Information

Ever since the Edward Snowden case, the U.S. Government has been in a damage control mode.  What network (or pipes) did he use to extract the information?  What methods did he use to defeat the countermeasures, rules and protective procedures (protocols)?  And what pieces of information leaked? Along with his motive, these are the three basic questions that may take years to uncover.

“The only truly secure system is one that is powered off, cast in a block of concrete and sealed in a lead-lined room with armed guards – and even then, I have my doubts.”          Eugene Spafford

Not All Information is Created Equal

Having spent over three decades in varying capacities working on government programs, I firmly believe the same basic disciplines and processes can be applied to the private sector, at an individual or company level. Think about it; what you communicate to others might reveal:

  • indicators of a specific vulnerability,
  • a small proprietary piece of your product or service,
  • part of a trade secret or specialized know how, or
  • tidbits of personal information.

All these are items that a competitor, hacker or adversary can piece together to defeat you, put you out of business or even steal your identity.  

“Even minutiae should have a place in our collection for things of a seemingly trifling nature when enjoined with others of a more serious cast may lead to valuable conclusion.”
George Washington

The good news is you can do something about it. Take a look at the diagram below for a simplified model of the challenge.

  • The black pipe represents whatever network you are using. Unless you have your own satellite or limited, closed network, you are depending on someone else’s pipe.
  • The blue gauges, valves, and meters represent the various protocols. The protocols are the monitoring methods, rules, measures and audits used as countermeasures to detect and identify threats as well as protect the system.
  • The green pieces are bits of information that flow through the pipe (network).


Pipes and Protocols

The pipes and protocols evolve and change constantly no matter what program or platform you use.  As Spafford suggests in the opening quote, it is a huge and almost daunting challenge.  But we can’t give up on it, either.

First, realize that you must stay on top of the pipe and protocol challenge.  Next take some action. That action, comes with some time and investment, but is not only worthwhile, it’s absolutely necessary.

I know how you feel, I felt the same way, but I found that investing just a little bit of time, I learned a great deal that about how the pipes and protocols work. You don’t have to be a geek, and there are some things you can do once you learn and establish a routine. Here is what I found:

  • Updating your site is fundamental in staying ahead of threats and vulnerabilities
  • Better use and management of passwords and the proper use of administrative accounts
  • Understanding the nature of hacking and attacks help you think like the adversary
  • Using protection against viruses and malware
  • Keeping your site clean and backing it up properly and effectively

Awareness and action are absolutely required steps for clean, healthy pipes and protocols!


Understanding the nature of the pieces can be a big challenge. If you put a piece of information, a picture or a tweet in the pipe, there can be some risk! Even if it is only a social blunder! And contrary to some belief, if you later delete or discard it, some digital trails remain out there in cyberspace.

Snowden’s pieces were largely classified. Our jobs and lives, while maybe not at that level, can have similar consequences if not well thought out.  By communicating, posting, chatting or tweeting, you can reveal certain pieces, that we term sensitive information. We define sensitive information as any privileged, personal, or proprietary information which, if improperly leveraged, altered, corrupted, lost, misused, or disclosed could cause harm to the person, organization or operation.

As we try to communicate; whether it is a personal or company website, Facebook, LinkedIn or a Twitter account, the risks are real. We find this to be particularly challenging in the business development arenas. It is a double-edged sword. While trying to get a message out about a product or service, we risk telling our secret. There are ways to do it, but it requires thinking, delicate balance and a collaborative approach, particularly for business.

“Oh, but it is only one piece of information.” I hear this often. Okay, then later you add another, and another.  Pretty soon you have revealed enough pieces to put a picture together, discover a trade secret, or foil an operation!

Process: Protecting Sensitive Information (PSI©)

Identifying your sensitive information is the first of five steps to protect your pieces. Subsequent steps help you highlight hazards, weaknesses and clues. After weighing these factors, you can then consider the risk by examining the likelihood of loss against the consequence of compromise. The final step is to determine what to do – it requires that you or a team make a decision after considering alternatives and scenarios.

There are some tried and true techniques to make the process simple and effective. Although, the process is not considered rocket science, the teams I have worked with over the years can become very passionate, detailed and invested in the outcome.  I have also found that the journey is sometimes more valuable than getting to the destination.  Diverse teams that work across traditional organizational boundaries forge stronger bonds, continue collaboration and ultimately ensure survival.

What About You?

All three elements: pipes, protocols and pieces are important to consider as you think about protecting yourself, your team or your business. Awareness and action in that order are necessary to be successful. No awareness: You are like the proverbial ostrich with a head in the sand! Awareness without action: “Hope” might work for some things but is not the best strategy here! Awareness with action: Means you are working to put a plan in place! And that is good!

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Damn, I landed at the wrong airport!

In November 2013, a modified Boeing 747 Dreamlifter landed at the wrong airport in Kansas. The two-person crew touched down 8 miles north of its intended destination on a shorter runway than planned. While embarrassing for the crew, intriguing to the public, it is conceivable for those who have been there (or almost have been there). The next day, a new crew took off the massive jet safely. The FAA will investigate the incident and we all will have the opportunity to learn from the facts.

A story like this is rare in the professional pilot world. The stick_figure_plane_150_wht_6648constant crosscheck of air traffic control procedures, onboard computers, radio transmissions, visual clues and basic navigation skills normally work in a positive manner to help pilots avoid these types of mistakes.

On the other hand, in the United States there are a total of 19,786 landing facilities. So, there are a lot of places to land smaller airplanes, and given that airport runways are laid out to take advantage of local prevailing winds, many airports look similar. Just like the sign at the baggage claim carousel that states Many Bags Look Alike, pilots can be lured into making a wrong choice.


Such was the case early in my career as a student pilot on my long solo cross-country flight. My flight plan had two scheduled stops and then a landing back where I began. I landed at my first destination without incident, taxied up to the Fixed Base Operator (FBO) and then shut down my engine. After properly chocking my venerable Cessna 150 and doing a post flight inspection, I found someone to verify that I had actually landed there and had them endorse my paperwork. After checking the weather, milling around for a while in the pilot’s lounge and gawking at some of the airplanes, I went back out to the ramp. I did the pre-flight, cranked up the mighty Continental O-200 engine and departed the controlled field for my next destination, an uncontrolled field, where I planned to refuel for the third and final leg back home.

The destination was Aeroflex-Andover a name that I will never forget. I don’t remember much about that second leg of the cross-country until after landing. I taxied up to the ramp, chocked the airplane, then sauntered into a small building I thought was the FBO and asked for a fill-up. A tall, lanky gentleman in overhauls looked down at me and politely told me that they did not have any fuel there. If Homer Simpson would have been born at that time, there would be a thousand DOH’s echoing through the New Jersey countryside!  What, how could this be?  I told the man that they had fuel listed in the airport directory! Again, he just looked at me and finally, the “Clue Bird” landed on my shoulder. The realization that I was at the wrong airport hit me. I remember thinking that my student pilot career was going to be shortened right then and there.


While I cannot remember analyzing why and how I got there, I do remember frantically assessing how to get to Aeroflex-Andover. I glanced at my sectional chart, but don’t remember actually measuring a course or distance to get to where I needed to be, but the kind gentleman said it was just a short distance away. Just takeoff and turn right, you will see it beyond the trees about two miles away – you can’t miss it.” Okay, that seemed to be about right. Fuel quantity, another important concern popped into my mind. I went back to the plane, and looked at the non-linear fuel gage markings (which always seemed to be a mystery to me) with a sharper eye. I knew it was damn low. I asked for a ladder, climbed up and checked the tanks visually with a flashlight. I could see fuel. I reasoned that if I took off, headed directly to the airport, could find the runway and landed there that all would be well.

Today, with nearly 40 years of flying experience, remembering this incident sends shivers up my spine and ranks as one of the most stupid things I ever did. I took off, found the right airport (although it was not as easy as I was led to believe), landed, dusted off my ego, and refueled. I do remember being aware of the time I wasted, so I hustled and got the plane back into the air, now fully fueled and headed on the final leg. Landing back at my home airport was uneventful. Upon taxiing up to the parking spot, I did get a glimpse of my instructor standing outside the FBO with his arms crossed – I didn’t think I was that late!

I do remember confessing my sin. Next, I endured a lengthy debriefing from my instructor, normally a calm, patient man. After a lecture on navigation, proper flight planning and procedures, he asked me for the fuel receipt. The Cessna 150 fuel capacity was 26 gallons. I won’t say how much fuel was on the fuel receipt, but suffice it to say that my instructor went into a rant on fuel starvation that rivaled Linda Blair’s exorcism performance.


A lack of experience combined with complacency resulted in my failure to use basic dead reckoning (time and heading) concepts, apply map reading skills and interpret radio navigational aids. My intention was to land on Aeroflex-Andover’s Runway 21 approaching from the north. Note the water to the north, and the road to the east of the airport.


About a mile and a half northwest of Aeroflex-Andover was (at that time) Newton Airport with a Runway 6-24 configuration (I landed on Runway 24). Note the water to the north and the road to the east of the airport as well. Newton Airport has since been closed as depicted by the closed runway markings.


Looking at a bigger picture, note both airports Aeroflex-Andover and Newton Airport below. Drifting off my course a little bit at a time and talking myself into following the wrong landmarks, I was lulled into believing what I saw was correct.



Using basic navigation principles can back up any electronic guidance, even in the GPS era. Elapsed time, speed and heading are the three key ingredients for any navigational problem. How long have I held the heading? How fast am I going? And, in what direction have I traveled? That is it!  Later, as I became an instructor, I religiously taught “CLOCK to MAP to GROUND” in visual navigation flight lessons. A properly prepared map (sectional chart) will have a course plotted with tick marks for time. In the air, the student must first look at the CLOCK (to note elapsed time), then reference the planned spot on the MAP (to see where they should be), then look at the GROUND to confirm. Looking at the GROUND first, then looking at the MAP to find something that looks “right” can lead you to a wrong interpretation, and eventually to strange and unwanted places.


No matter what electronic gadgets are in the cockpit, they can always malfunction and the programming is prone to human error as well. If you are flying with another pilot, use crew resource management and crosscheck there. If you are flying with a passenger, give them an appropriate task to help you crosscheck. And finally, when you have the runway in sight, confirm that the runway number painted on the runway is the right number. That definitely would have saved me on my cross-country flight, and it might have alerted the Dreamlifter crew to go-around and sort it out!

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