Logbook Stories

from my "Standard Pilot Master Log"


Portable Hobbies for Pilot Layovers

June 25, 1984

Pilots need something to do on layovers to occupy their time. Some just sit in the hotel room and watch movies. Some like to occupy their time with something they can do on the road. Sometimes I was a cheap tourist, as I've detailed in another logbook story, where and where there was something to see. I had jumped into the personal computer age very early by lusting after a Vic-20. I ended up going with an Atari 800, which turned out to be a terrific first personal computer, and it sucked up a lot of my spare time and change when home. But I couldn't take it with me. I tried a couple of "luggable" computers, but ended up with a ...

... Tandy TRS-80 Model 100, which proved to be ideal for ease of transport and use in a layover hotel room or in a transient pilots' lounge. That computer was so ideally suited for corporate pilot life that it merited a logbook remarks notation for its first RON trip with me to Atlanta, which logbook line item prompted my memory for this story. While on layovers I spent many hours with that little AA battery-powered computer learning programming languages, writing programs and going on line to CompuServe. It only had an 8x40 LCD screen, but with a built-in file manager, BASIC, text editor and even a 300 baud modem and telcom program it was pretty handy. Later I added an external disk drive. The computer and drive packed up neatly into a briefcase. That little computer was a pretty good pilot layover portable hobby for me.

Every pilot has their own outside interests. Sometimes they're portable and sometimes they're not. Some of my fellow crewmates had different portable hobbies. One liked to play golf and took his clubs with him whenever and wherever he might have a chance to play a destination's local golf course. (One of our occasional destinations was August, Georgia). At times, this particular layover hobby proved to be a bit of a problem in the smaller aircraft we flew. Another crewmate liked to go fishing and took his gear along when we went to places like Marathon, Florida. Pilots need something to do on their layover time, and sometimes corporate and charter pilots' layover time can be extensive. Just sitting in a hotel room watching old movies is, in my opinion, just a way to kill time. One of my senior captains liked to spend his time reading. That's a very portable, worthwhile and rewarding layover time-consumer. Another senior captain was quite the amateur photographer, and took advantage of both in-flight times and layover times to capture some really wonderful images. Some prints of his photos are hanging on my walls today. If pilots can spend their layover time doing something they enjoy, and if it's something they can take with them, then it makes a part of their job which could be just an interruption in what they really want to do, something else they want to do.



References for Non-Pilots: