Message Board Posting
Not as smart as Mike Gospe, Ken Bley, or Robin Kinkead, I pursued aviation and became a pilot, skydiver (1,208 jumps) and a parachute designer.
That led to writing technical manuals and popular books (126 books so far).
And later to speaking on aviation and book writing/promoting.
My speaking engagements have me flying more than 6,000 miles/week and I am out of the U.S. 40% of the year.
So far, I’ve landed in 52 countries and the North Pole (parachuted in).
I made 17 around-the-world speaking trips in past three years. Six more globe-circling itineraries are scheduled for this year.
Have you ever heard of an author who retired?
----------------------- Message from 50th Year Class Reunion ------------------
Ken Bley started this; here is my bio.
Now that you are reading this, we can talk about something else Saturday evening.
BTW, Ken and I go way back: Frederick Burk grammar school, Roosevelt Junior High, Lowell, Troop 17 and so on.
After two years of law school, I found skydiving, aviation and the parachute business.
They led me to writing and book publishing.
The books led me to professional speaking.
I left San Francisco at 21 and discovered I'd been cold my whole life.
Working for five parachute companies in the Northeast, I found out a lot more about winter.
Most of the time I worked as a parachute designer. I jumped the product on the weekends.
Along the way I became a pilot (SEL & Gliders), skydiver with 1,208 jumps so far (including one into the North Pole), a Master Parachute Rigger, past president of the International Hang Gliding Commission of the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale, Past president of the Parachute Industry Association and past chairman of the board of the U.S. Parachute Association.
I wrote my first book in 1969 and a technical manual on parachutes in 1972.
The first book on the new sport of hang gliding followed. It was so successful, I moved back to California and bought a home in Santa Barbara.
Been writing and publishing ever since. Books 122 and 123 came out this year. (See http://ParaPub.com)
While I have a home in Santa Barbara, I live on United Airlines; I travel some 4,000 miles each week.
Three days after the reunion, I will leave on an around-the-world flight taking in five countries in three weeks and making nine presentations.
Most of my time is spent speaking on book writing-publishing and some aviation topics.
There is a huge world-wide demand for this information.
I've never been married--except to my work.
(It is far more generous to make several women happy than to make one woman miserable).
I do not have children--except for my books.
Like any parent, I look at them with pride (not one has ever been in jail) and know they are my legacy.
I used to have a roommate: my cat Cricket. He lived more than 20 years.
He thought he was a kitten because he slept through 19 of them.
I’ve been extremely fortunate. My parents stayed married and they sent me to college for six years.
Imagine how they felt when I took up skydiving. Mom asked dad “Where did we go wrong?”
I’ve survived two accidents: Fell out of a hang glider over Fort Funston in San Francisco in 1973 and dove into the beach in Santa Barbara on a ParaSail in 1981.
Should have been killed both times. Skydiving has proved safer.
Have been self-employed for more than 30 years. Life is too exciting to retire; each day is more fun than the last.
Looking forward to the reunion.
My photos are attached: one at the North Pole and one indoors.
See you soon.
“Tough as nails
hard as bricks
we the class of fifty-six.”