I am sure that all the retired airline pilots here can appreciate the satisfied yet sad feelings I had as I signed off and released my flight control team (the "Iron Team") for the last time last Friday. I have had the great privilege and honor of leading human spaceflight activities from the pointy end of the stick as Flight Director in NASA’s Mission Control for close to two decades – and I was blessed to be a flight controller for more than a decade before that (starting with the first Shuttle mission). It has been a heck of a ride, and while I can’t say that every day has been a good day, I can honestly repeat what I have always told the folks who really enjoy real time operations – that the worst day in the control center is still better than the best day in the office.
I’ll be retiring from NASA at the end of January – it will take me that long to clean out an office full of memories. I want to thank the many folks who have followed the program and encouraged us to great heights. The men and women I have worked with (and there are more of them here on the forums than many know) are dedicated to being the best, and it has been a pleasure to have served with them all in the grand adventure.
What’s next? We’ll see – aviation is a big world. For now there are a few airplanes with my name on them, and I can hear them calling….
Paul “Iron Flight” Dye