Jim was an ex-RCMP constable and was on his second career as a private jet pilot. One of the owners of the jet he was responsible for would some times like a second pilot to tag along "just in case".
It wasn't my first time "tagging along" when he asked me to come along for a milk run between Red Deer, Kelowna, Seattle, Kelowna, Seattle and back to Calgary. At the time I had my commercial with multi and just started my IFR and I had never been in actual IMC like most young pilots. We were heading back into Kelowna for the second time and the weather just turned nasty, solid overcast from 7000 right down to minimums with turbulence just to make it fun.
As we are coming down on the approach I start to sweat buckets, I know that there are mountains around and I am completely out of my element and white knuckling my kneecaps to try and avoid freaky out. I look over at Jim and he is just flying the insuments and he says "fly the approach and call the minimum" with soothing confidence. So the minimum is reached and I call it and look up and the runway sitting right in front of me clear as day.
We land and off load the pax and Jim looks at me and smiles and all I could say was " how did you know that the runway would be visible at the minimum?" And he chuckles "I didn't, I had to trust myself and my training and if it didn't work than you conduct the missed and follow your back up plan, you know that, you just never had to test yourself when your own fanny was on the line." "You won't have that problem again cause now you have seen it and you know you need more training, I am just glad that you were able to learn this now and not at the last second when your life could be on the line" he said with a little grin.
I Said " I hope so cause we have two more stops on this trip." The rest of the trip was in just as bad weather but Jim just added at the end of every appoarch briefing "fly the appoarch and call the minimum".When the whole trip was done and the bird was put away back in calgary he asked me the question " So do you think you can fly an appoarch now?" I looked at him and told him flat out no, I needed a lot more training and experience. He agreed with me and told me that knowing your limits was part of being a pilot but wanting to expand them was an even bigger part.
I have learned a lot from Jim over the years and I am saddened from his passing and knowing that I can't learn anymore from him but I hope this story can be read by another young pilot and that Jim can keep teaching for along time to come.
Jim may your soul fly amongst the skies and when a young pilot needs you, ,may you be the whisper in their ear, the voice in the back of their head , that feeling in their gut that keeps them safe. You will be missed my friend and may I see you when the day comes for me to file my final flight plan it will be a lot easier knowing that there is a fellow pilot up there ready to talk me in. Rest in peace Jim.