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Lessons Learned with TC Cappelletti

Welcome to the seventy-sixth episode of the Lessons from the Cockpit show! I’m your host Mark Hasara.

My circle of friends has expanded because of my book Tanker Pilot: Lessons from the Cockpit. One of those great friends has vast experience in almost every Boeing airliner… 727, 737, 757, 767, and the Lockheed L-1011 I found out during this show. My good buddy TC Cappelletti is also one of the most knowledgeable military historians I know because he’s a voracious reader of history. And most of the books in his library are signed by the folks in those books. TC shares several lessons learned from his beginnings in the C-9 Nightingale to flying 737-800/900s with Alaska Airlines.

This episode of Lessons from the Cockpit is supported by Wall Pilot, custom aviation art for the walls of your home, office, or hanger. These are four, six, and eight foot long graphics printed on vinyl you can peel off and stick to any flat surface. Wall Pilot can draw custom profiles of your favorite aircraft with your name, tail number and weapons load on the aircraft. Go by and chose from 140 Ready-to-Print profiles or fill out the custom sheet for a favorite plane

TC began his flying career in the McDonnell Douglas C-9A Nightingale, designed from the ground up for the aeromedical evacuation mission of the US Air Force. This is a print of the C-9A TC flew while stationed at Scott AFB near Bellevue Illinois.

The KC-10A Extender is the military version of the McDonnell Douglas DC-10-30. Sixty KC-10s were built for the Air Force to air refuel and move cargo. The 59 aircraft left in the inventory will soon be retired to the Davis Monthan AFB Boneyard. This KC-10 is assigned to the 60th Air Mobility Wing at Travis AFB, California.

The Boeing KC-135 has been passing gas since the mid-1950s. This KC-135R Model was my personal jet and flew with the 909th Air Refueling Squadron based at Kadena Air Base in Okinawa Japan. The 909th ARS heritage goes all the way back to the Vietnam War as the Young Tiger Tanker Task Force, the emblem on the nose of the aircraft.

During our discussion we spoke of John Connors, Navy SEAL killed during the Panama Invasion December 1989. A statue of John is being funded and placed in the park of his Massachusetts home town of Scituate. The website you can donate to is found at Measure of a Man.

We also mentioned another great organization which grants scholarships to young men and women who need help. The Red River Valley Association, nicknamed The River Rats, was created by Air Force fighter pilots in the early years of the Vietnam War. There is now a River Rat museum in Bowling Green Kentucky memorializing amazing pilots from all the recent wars. You can donate to the scholarship fund by going to the River Rat website.

This and previous episodes of the Lessons from the Cockpit show can be found on our new website at Sign up to be one of our All Ranks Club members for a monthly or yearly fee. We’ll soon have All Ranks Club virtual Bar Nights to share stories and most importantly lessons learned. Only All Ranks Club members will be able to join in the Bar Nights.

Thanks again for tuning in and downloading episodes of the Lessons from the Cockpit show!

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