Published in Midwest Flyer – December 2019/January 2020 issue
Bob Worthington of Las Cruces, New Mexico, has joined the editorial team at Midwest Flyer Magazine to share not only his experience as a pilot and aircraft owner, but also as a military officer, psychologist, and survival expert. Bob is an instrument-rated, single-engine land pilot with 40 years of flight experience and over 7000 hours. He has owned nine airplanes and flown to 49 states and three foreign countries.
Bob did not become a pilot until he was almost 40, resulting in an unusual approach to aviation safety. Prior to learning to fly, he was a combat infantryman and special operations officer having served on three combat tours.
After 15 years as a combat infantryman, Bob received his Master of Arts Degree and PhD in Psychology, transferring into Army medicine as a clinical psychologist. Due to his rank and military experience, he was assigned as the Psychology Consultant for the Army in the U.S. This assignment required considerable travel and his Army pilot friends suggested he become a pilot and fly himself. He called the local Army flying club, asking what it took to become a pilot, and in a few short months, received his private pilot certificate.
While in flight training, his instructors impressed on him the fact that flying had its risks, but that these risks can be mitigated by the pilot. Combat missions are dangerous, yet combat leaders are expected to execute, not say, “this looks too risky…I think I will not go today, and instead wait until the situation improves.” However, Bob learned that a pilot has the option of doing just that (i.e. “The weather doesn’t look good today, so I will stay home until it improves.”)
Bob’s interest in aviation, safety, and the behavior of pilots led him to becoming an aviation psychologist where he developed several seminars for Army pilots on the psychological aspects of safe flying and survival.
Upon retiring from the Army, Bob joined the Civil Air Patrol and became a search and rescue pilot, and ran the cadet flight orientation program.
Both Bob and his wife, Anita, had graduate degrees in Business, so they formed a management consulting company serving aviation businesses. Bob also convinced the editor of General Aviation News to hire him as their business editor. Thus, began his aviation writing career (he was already a non-fiction writer in areas of military, firearms, behavioral science and business).
Bob has been involved in aviation at the county, state, and national level, and has served as president of the U.S. Pilots Association (USPA).
As an FAA Safety Counselor and FAASTeam Representative, Bob Worthington has created and taught dozens of WINGS safety seminars. As an aviation psychologist, he developed and taught a safety seminar entitled “The Aging Aviator,” which was the original seminar specifically created to show pilots how aging affects performance, and what older pilots can do to off-set the negative aspects of growing older and flying airplanes.
Bob has taught seminars on mountain flying and used to guide pilots through western Canada, around Alaska, and back into the lower 48.
As a non-fiction writer, Bob Worthington has written over 2500 articles, mostly about aviation. His articles range from tips on flying, to aircraft selection, purchase, ownership, and selling. Bob covers technical concerns while doing considerable research on current aviation topics, such as ADS-B equipment and its 2020 deadline, and the problems with the Boeing 737 MAX.
Currently, Bob Worthington is very much involved with writing his military trilogy books. His book “Under Fire with ARVN Infantry,” published in October 2018, is about his first tour as a combat advisor in Vietnam. His second book, “Combat Advisor in Vietnam: Special Operations,” will be published in mid-2020, and is about his second tour in Vietnam. His third book about his service as an Army psychologist, will be published in mid-2021. He also produced the documentary film, “Combat Advisor in Vietnam,” which was released in March 2019.
Anyone who has a fascination or curiosity with the Vietnam War will find Bob’s books and documentary of interest. To order “Under Fire with ARVN Infantry” go to https://mcfarlandbooks.com/product/Under-Fire-with-ARVN-Infantry/. To order the documentary film, “Combat Advisor in Vietnam,” go to www.borderlandsmedia.com.
In the mid-1980s, Bob Worthington created his column, “The Left Seat,” for another aviation magazine, so we are proud to have his column finally land at Midwest Flyer Magazine. For additional information, visit www.BobWorthingtonWriter.com.