Have you ever had that dream of flying in your veins that can't seem to escape you? That has been my lifelong dream from the time I was five years old. I remember traveling on BOAC from England to Guyana. I received my first logbook and a tiny pair of gold wings on that flight.
The log book had about seven thousand miles and the captain’s signature. The first time I got behind the controls of an aircraft was in America on September 23rd,1990, at Islip Long Island in a Cessna 152 N93292 belonging to Brooklyn Aviation. I remember feeling an immediate belonging to the sky on takeoff.
Photo credit to Charles Hutson
I remember being in awe of these metal birds, even though a dangerous passion some would say. A few years later, tragedy struck when my father was on an operation and the helicopter he was in crashed. He and the two occupants survived. Badly broken and injured, all three occupants were flown to Georgetown Hospital. I remember going to the hospital; there was a distinct smell that lingered in the air. The pilot injured his back and I recollect seeing him in what looked like a hamster wheel. To this day, I can visualize the blood-torn clothing and smell of mercuro-chrome. Thankfully, they all made a recovery. The pilot who remains disabled, continues his passion of flying. He owns an Air Operation in Guyana.
Inspired by the Pilot Next Door
I was so shaken by my father’s accident that for the longest time, I feared flying helicopters. I came to the realization that accidents happen but I couldn’t live my life in fear. I needed to follow my passion. Therefore, I continued to hang around my father's military base. As a child, I admired many of the Guyanese pilots. I knew many of them by name and would attend the ribbon cutting events for any aircrafts that were purchased. I will never forget Pilot Tony Austin who flew for the GDF and then GAC. He lived two doors down from my house. He gave me my first book on Aviation. Unfortunately, Tony passed away. I remember how he waved to me from the cockpit window and gave me words of encouragement. That meant so much to me. I wish I would have told him the positive impact he made on my life.
Moved to the United States
At the age of 17, I came to the United States to live with my mother in New York and attend the University. I joined the US Army by the age of twenty. Six years into my service commitment, I still had my passion for flying.
President Clinton deactivated military units and I was given an opportunity to take any assignment and unit of choice. I chose the aviation option. I was so grateful as a friend arranged for me to interview at his unit. Sadly, I was given many excuses from the commander as to why I couldn’t fly for that unit or attend the flight school. I tried, for I had already amassed several hours in fix wing flying including 20 hours of solo with a long cross country flying completed. Additionally, my training included 10 hours in a R22 and C300 type helicopters.
However, it was not in my cards. That very week, my friend who was an instructor, informed me that they just sent five men to flight school who had zero flight time. I was disappointed but, moved on. I continued on in the US Army both in Signal Battalion and then into Military Intelligence before being discharged at the end of my eight year contract.
The R22 Helicopter Crashes.
I recall heading out to Islip airport, and hearing on the news, as I'm walking out door, that a Robinson R22 helicopter crashed. If I recall it was LTE - loss of tail rotor effectiveness. This happened to be the same helicopter and tail number I was flying previously and heading to that day. The incident occurred with my Instructor and a commercial student. Thankfully, they both survived the crash in the Long Island waters, however 186KC was destroyed.
Tragedy Struck Again
I received a call from my then Instructor and now a very good friend Ron Sadler. He informed me that one of my former Instructors from NAI, Tony Samuels was in fatal accident in Columbus, Ohio. He was the co-pilot on a United Express flight that encountered bad weather conditions. You can find details from the crash at the above link. This was a reality check for me. I was fortunate to know many pilots in South America and in the US, however this in turn also meant that I needed to experience the sadness of hearing of some that passed away doing the very thing we shared in common.
When Tony died, it hit home for me. He and I flew together, and spent many nights on the phone discussing aviation. I enjoyed our talks as I learned so much about his life’s ambitions. Nevertheless, I pushed on. I took an extended break from aviation to now pursue film directing at NYU.
While attending the University, I was also working in Corporate America as an integration engineer. I chose to leave my position in engineering to raise my boys and build my film production companies. Today my main career includes directing and or producing feature films, while building my Youthful Ambition brand: Hermafrodita, Prime Of Your Life, and For Michelle.
I recently directed the Alfredo Versace documentary film called What's In A Name! A Versace Story, and Produced the Legendary Marion Williams’ documentary.
I am in development of a film based on the book Seven Doors In. This book will be released in May 2021. The book can be pre-ordered on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other places. The book tells the story of one teacher’s experience behind prison walls. Walk in through those seven steel doors with her and see what happens behind Door 7.
Serving with the USAF - Civil Air Patrol.
After a twenty-year break, my passion and desire to fly continued in the back of my mind. I joined the Civil Air Patrol and received my Mission Scanner and Mission Observer ratings at a Senior squadron in Concord. I enjoy the operations aspect of the work. Everyone in CAP is a volunteer, but we are professional volunteers doing a serious mission for FEMA, the Military, and many other organizations. Emergency services, cadet programs, and aerospace education are our focus. CAP is part of the USAF's total force. I enjoy contributing to this prestigious organization.
A Promise to my Father
My dad, now very ill with pancreatic cancer, reminds me to not take life for granted. It was father's day 2020 when he made me promise him that I would get my license and ratings. I'm on scheduled to complete my training this year. I'm very grateful for his encouragement and that of my family and friends.
My Brothers Share my Passion for Flying
Visiting Guyana Civil Aviation Authority with my brothers (l) Arlington Gordon 2nd from left Lt. Col Ret Director General Egbert Field 3rd, from left Dorian Gordon, (r) Terence Gordon
It is exciting for me to know that two of my brothers are also following their passions to fly. They recently decided to attend flight school to be pilots. We are researching business opportunities in the world of aviation. Perhaps some day we will have the opportunity to contribute to the world of aviation.
Youthful Ambition YA
I am currently training with ACES (Aviation Career Education Services) Aviation. This is a new flight school. As I document my journey in aviation, you will see and hear more about ACES and YA’s collaboration. Perhaps someday you will see the Youthful Ambition's Logo on their planes and others!
What is your Passion?
Please share your dreams and ambitions. We all have a story to tell, what's yours?
Filmmaker / Aviator