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 Post subject: Re: O/T--Who Will Keep the Warbirds Flying?
PostPosted: Fri Jun 28, 2019 7:19 pm 

Joined: Sun Mar 05, 2017 3:05 pm
Posts: 41
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Is this the only reason you walked away? Your expectations may be unrealistic if you’re expecting to walk onto an organization’s property and immediately hop into the engineer’s seat.


Immediately hop into the seat, no. But expecting "years" of doing crap work nobody else wants to do to garner some small chance that the "old heads" might (and with a lot of groups that -might- never happens) move out of the chair and let you have a hand with some of the fun stuff IS NOT GOING TO FLY with a younger generation.

A man could complete an apprenticeship in a paying trade that ends in a real job that pays actual money in the amount of time some groups "might" start thinking of sharing the seat with you and younger people these days are taking that into account.

As for me not being a good volunteer - as a car host I wouldn't be. I don't like dealing with the public and have no desire to stand around and collect tickets. I'd completely suck at it.

However, I have excellent electrical and mechanical experience and a desire to restore and operate equipment. If I'm told my skills don't matter and I'll be stuck doing some suck job I'll hate for some undetermined amount of time "because that's the way it is" then you bet your ass I'm spinning around and heading back out the door I came in. Which is the exact same thing countless other potential volunteers are doing for the exact same reason.

I can spend two years cleaning a groups toilets and doing the weedeating with a good chance they'll never let me advance or a can spend two years of my life spending my free time doing something I'd enjoy. Younger people are choosing the latter.

There's a reason younger people aren't banging down the door and it's not complicated.


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 Post subject: Re: O/T--Who Will Keep the Warbirds Flying?
PostPosted: Fri Jun 28, 2019 8:09 pm 

Joined: Sun Oct 15, 2017 7:58 pm
Posts: 109
I'm 75 years old, and this is the best, most honest, discussion I've heard in a long time about the problems of keeping steam going in today's world.
No offence to my UK compatriots, but this is mostly about the North American scene.

I too stopped volunteering for the exact same reason, many years ago.
Closed shop, a social club for bunch of grumpy grandpa's.

The good news is, they are a dying breed, and the young un's will soon inherit all the toys.
The young 30 something, although a bit impatient..makes very valid points.
His skill set was completely ignored, so he left.

What's lacking is good leadership. I think the new generation will provide this.

Just my personal opinion.

Old Smokey.


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 Post subject: Re: O/T--Who Will Keep the Warbirds Flying?
PostPosted: Fri Jun 28, 2019 9:39 pm 

Joined: Thu Oct 08, 2015 11:54 am
Posts: 546
Location: New Franklin, OH
Well, ya gotta start somewhere. Start with one thing and volunteer to do other things. As people get to know you, you'll wind up doing what you're best at and/or eventually get good at a lot of different things. Over the last ten years, I've done just about everything you can do. I started by doing marketing and as a general mechanic both at the yard and then onboard our operating trains. Also a car host, cleaner, restoration carpenter, electrician, docent, switchman, locomotive mechanic, loader/backhoe operator, track gang and yeah, eventually engineer. Some jobs are definitely more fun than others and some suck but all are an educational experience. I'd say give it a try no matter where you start. You might like it. Or stop by our rail facility and we'll make sure you get tired, dirty and happy one way or another. And possibly learn something to boot.

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 Post subject: Re: O/T--Who Will Keep the Warbirds Flying?
PostPosted: Fri Jun 28, 2019 11:29 pm 

Joined: Wed Feb 24, 2010 8:21 pm
Posts: 402
Location: Danbury, CT
What I’m reading indicates to me an apparent desire for near, if not immediate gratification amongst those in the “younger” generations. Close? Here’s an interesting observation.... you want to work on the equipment and play with it but don’t want to deal with visitors or other members in the organization. There are plenty of people in this field that already fit this description. Some happen to be the very people you complain of. I can’t help but to find a little irony in that. Don’t be too quick to label jobs “crap work that no one else wants to do”. Those jobs are necessary and there are some great folks out there doing them at each and every operation. I appreciate them. With all that said, I genuinely hope that you don’t lose your interest in getting involved and I wish you the greatest success in your endeavor to do so.

As for warbirds, I believe they benefit in more aspects than railroad equipment and will continue to do so in the foreseeable future (merely an opinion).

Keep’em Flying!

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 Post subject: Re: O/T--Who Will Keep the Warbirds Flying?
PostPosted: Sat Jun 29, 2019 9:49 am 

Joined: Sat Apr 01, 2006 5:19 pm
Posts: 452
Location: Bowie, MD
My roots are in traction; just about grew up on the grounds of ORM back in the day. When I visited a local traction museum, I didn't even get to the part volunteering; I walked up to an information desk staffed by two older gentleman and asked if I could get some help understanding a (to me) confusing (and blurry) route map, I just wanted to know if the trolley lines were near where I worked. The response was basically, "the map is on the wall, it has all you need to know, go away." That said, the young guy running the trolley that day was more approachable and friendly.

But wait. Warbirds? Instant gratification? When I recently saw Fifi, the B-29, there were three less than 25 year olds on the ground crew, including one lady. Once it landed from a paying flight ($600 for a gunner's position, $1,600 for the bombardier position), all three of them were engaged in wiping it down, setting up cones and hanging information signs. Fly it? Are you kidding? Years of experience needed, heavily regulated license process that takes tens of thousands of dollars and requires thousands of hours of experience. The pilots? They were all grey beards. And they were manning the pay $20 to get on the tarmac booth, they were manning the rider information booth, one was manning the gift shop tent, and the two who had just flown, were standing by the aircraft deeply engaged with visitors.

Light and day.


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 Post subject: Re: O/T--Who Will Keep the Warbirds Flying?
PostPosted: Sat Jun 29, 2019 10:55 am 

Joined: Fri Mar 05, 2010 3:41 am
Posts: 3599
Location: Inwood, W.Va.
bbunge wrote:
My roots are in traction; just about grew up on the grounds of ORM back in the day. When I visited a local traction museum, I didn't even get to the part volunteering; I walked up to an information desk staffed by two older gentleman and asked if I could get some help understanding a (to me) confusing (and blurry) route map, I just wanted to know if the trolley lines were near where I worked. The response was basically, "the map is on the wall, it has all you need to know, go away." That said, the young guy running the trolley that day was more approachable and friendly.

But wait. Warbirds? Instant gratification? When I recently saw Fifi, the B-29, there were three less than 25 year olds on the ground crew, including one lady. Once it landed from a paying flight ($600 for a gunner's position, $1,600 for the bombardier position), all three of them were engaged in wiping it down, setting up cones and hanging information signs. Fly it? Are you kidding? Years of experience needed, heavily regulated license process that takes tens of thousands of dollars and requires thousands of hours of experience. The pilots? They were all grey beards. And they were manning the pay $20 to get on the tarmac booth, they were manning the rider information booth, one was manning the gift shop tent, and the two who had just flown, were standing by the aircraft deeply engaged with visitors.

Night and day. (quote corrected--I hope!)


OK, we have in this a great description of a challenge we've long had--too many museums and other entities run as a private club by "grumpy gramps with cramps," or else people who take liver pills or something.

Maybe it's a stereotype, but usually stereotypes like this have some basis in fact.

So, why do we seem to have more than our share of cranky geezers?


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 Post subject: Re: O/T--Who Will Keep the Warbirds Flying?
PostPosted: Sat Jun 29, 2019 2:20 pm 

Joined: Wed Feb 24, 2010 8:21 pm
Posts: 402
Location: Danbury, CT
J3a-614 wrote:
So, why do we seem to have more than our share of cranky geezers?



Great question. Most people begin with a fairly high level of passion and motivation. I believe that “crankiness” replaces that over time in some cases due to several factors. Few museums have the ability and resources to make progress quickly, let alone consistently in my experience. Patience and tolerance levels are tried over the years and eventually decrease. Most people will never appreciate this stuff as much as we do and that can be a source of frustration at times whether we know it or not. These are just a couple of examples.

It is important for us to take the time and remind ourselves that we all were once young motivated individuals with great passion for what we do. We can not be too quick to become annoyed and dismiss the younger generation. We can’t afford to do that. Instead, we need to mentor them. However, I don’t mean play nanny to them. “I’m not your mother, kid!”

It takes two to tango. Younger folks need to realize that certain “rights of passage” or paths of progression through the ranks are necessary parts not only to achieving inclusion in an organization, but acceptance into a family. Give a little, get a little. An exuberant “know-it-all youngster” who hops up in the cab and proceeds in a unsolicited fashion to verbally puke up vast quantities of his or her knowledge may not always be well received, even as innocent as said person’s intentions may be. Realize that you can learn something from these “old geezers”. Be a sponge. Soak it up. Then you’ll be in a better position to contribute. Remember that deep inside every crusty old fart, hides a kid who loves this stuff. You may even be able to discover that if you have patience enough to get to know them.

We all need to compromise a little to perpetuate the pool of caretakers for our beloved equipment and its history.

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 Post subject: Re: O/T--Who Will Keep the Warbirds Flying?
PostPosted: Sat Jun 29, 2019 4:06 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 9:54 am
Posts: 877
Location: NJ
My son and I toured the Liberty ship 'John Brown' maybe a dozen years ago. IIRC, the licensed Chief Engineer was in his 80s, and there was concern about getting younger people to pass the torch to. Think about this; other than nuclear power plants (carriers and subs), I don't think there is any conventional steam left in the Navy, and steam powered merchant ships, US flagged, are becoming few and far between.

So where does someone get steam experience (with boilers, not reactors-) at sea these days? And at the risk of hitting a nerve with another poster (nah-), who licenses marine steam engineers? There is a US Coast Guard process and exam, but the USCG doesn't even have any steam plants of their own.

Yes, OT but also related-


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 Post subject: Re: O/T--Who Will Keep the Warbirds Flying?
PostPosted: Sat Jun 29, 2019 4:19 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 04, 2013 10:39 pm
Posts: 12
Counterpoint: The older generation can learn a thing or two from the younger generation too. I've been involved in locomotive mechanical professionally and as a volunteer for 15 years, as well as a Marine Engineer aboard oil tankers for the past 8. I recently started volunteering on old steam ships, and initially was turned off by a large number of older people who seem to talk to people under 50 like idiots. These aren't the volunteers who retired from a career of sailing, but more of the types who served in the Navy 40 years ago for 4 years and [opinion ahead] are now trying to recapture their youth. Nothing like being a fully trained engineer who has stood more watches on active ships and being talked down to by a recreational mariner.

Like a real job, volunteers need to be screened based on the organizations needs as well as the volunteers skills and experiences. The only difference between volunteering and real job is one is paid and the other is not. That, and of you get someone PO'd enough it's easier for them to quit an organization. They both carry certain responsibilities, they each perform a useful function for an organization, and in our case, training and safety are federally regulated.

If I was at the organization where the gentleman wanted to volunteer as an engineer, I would look at his background. Has this person operated a locomotive before? Train crew? If no, I'd start him like the big boys do, as a brakeman/conductor, and then move into the engineer ranks. So many hours as a conductor and recommendation by a supervisor, and he can start engineer training. In off time from being conductor, he could start helping out in the mechanical department, as his background and education seems to warrant.

This old boys club and "we'll promote who we like" attitude will be the death of some museums.

Instant gratification? No. Placing people in the right position to fully utilize their skills? Yes.

Also, how do you make trains Sexy like warbirds? On my experience, people like flashy things. Would you rather go on a fully active WW2 cargo ship that steams along at 10 knots, or aboard the stationary mighty USS Iowa with big 16" guns (despite being a fully antiquated method of war fighting by the time it was built and being nothing more than a giant floating artillery battery). Most people will choose the Iowa. See SS Lane victory.


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 Post subject: Re: O/T--Who Will Keep the Warbirds Flying?
PostPosted: Sat Jun 29, 2019 4:29 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 04, 2013 10:39 pm
Posts: 12
EDM wrote:

So where does someone get steam experience (with boilers, not reactors-) at sea these days? And at the risk of hitting a nerve with another poster (nah-), who licenses marine steam engineers? There is a US Coast Guard process and exam, but the USCG doesn't even have any steam plants of their own.

Yes, OT but also related-


The USCG National Maritime Center licenses steam engineers. Many graduates of martime academies come out with a 3rd Assistant Engineer Steam, Motor, Gas Turbine of any Horsepower (like myself). As long as one stays active sailing on any propulsion mode, they'll keep their steam license at their current grade, despite sailing on other propulsion methods. The trouble comes in advancement. You need steam time to get a higher steam license. 3rd, 2nd, 1st Assistant Engineers and then Chief. With fewer steam ships, and newer motor (diesel) ships taking their place, it will become tough.

The ships need to develop their own internal training program approved by the USCG to train engineering officers, as well as engine ratings. One could also take a crossover exam to obtain a license in another propulsion mode that is equivalent to your highest rank held.

Licensing of marine personnel is much more difficult than railroads, and really takes professionala to hold the officer ranks. Most people after a career of sailing or during their career don't want to see another ship, not unlike railroaders.


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 Post subject: Re: O/T--Who Will Keep the Warbirds Flying?
PostPosted: Sat Jun 29, 2019 5:01 pm 

Joined: Wed Jan 20, 2016 1:15 pm
Posts: 482
On the flip side I made an official complaint about unsafe practices and was told by the foreman “he’s been a good volunteer for over 20 years, I’m not gonna fire him” - and he continued with unsafe practices.


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 Post subject: Re: O/T--Who Will Keep the Warbirds Flying?
PostPosted: Sat Jun 29, 2019 6:58 pm 

Joined: Mon May 24, 2010 10:22 am
Posts: 518
I think there are still a few steam powered boats in the Great Lakes fleet.

-Hudson


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 Post subject: Re: O/T--Who Will Keep the Warbirds Flying?
PostPosted: Sat Jun 29, 2019 7:46 pm 

Joined: Sun Oct 15, 2017 7:58 pm
Posts: 109
Mount Royal.

As you say, balance is required.
Expectations need to be managed.

One of the biggest mistakes museum management makes, is to treat volunteers as employees.. seen it over and over.

Volunteers are not employees.
If they are not appreciated ..they leave..Simple as that.

Yes, a "getting to know you" phase is absolutely needed to weed out the useless and the dangerous.

There are amazingly talented young people out there. Who can be of enormous help in promoting and supporting your operation. Telling them that cleaning toilets is important...guarantees their non participation.

Finding a place for them in your organization should be the goal.

In my personal opinion, of course.

Old Smokey.





It takes two to tango. Younger folks need to realize that certain “rights of passage” or paths of progression through the ranks are necessary parts not only to achieving inclusion in an organization, but acceptance into a family. Give a little, get a little. An exuberant “know-it-all youngster” who hops up in the cab and proceeds in a unsolicited fashion to verbally puke up vast quantities of his or her knowledge may not always be well received, even as innocent as said person’s intentions may be. Realize that you can learn something from these “old geezers”. Be a sponge. Soak it up. Then you’ll be in a better position to contribute. Remember that deep inside every crusty old fart, hides a kid who loves this stuff. You may even be able to discover that if you have patience enough to get to know them.

We all need to compromise a little to perpetuate the pool of caretakers for our beloved equipment and its history.


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 Post subject: Re: O/T--Who Will Keep the Warbirds Flying?
PostPosted: Sat Jun 29, 2019 9:42 pm 

Joined: Thu Apr 12, 2007 8:09 pm
Posts: 409
HudsonL wrote:
I think there are still a few steam powered boats in the Great Lakes fleet.

-Hudson


6 in service, 6 laid up (with little hope of ever running again).

I have seen many museums (and this is not limited to rail mind you), drive away some very capable volunteers, simply over ego trips, especially on the case of employee's in a craft associated with the museum, be it engineer, track, captain, whatever:

Weekend Warriors vs. the guys that do this every day and want to help but just to get shoved away because they are not part of the "club".

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 Post subject: Re: O/T--Who Will Keep the Warbirds Flying?
PostPosted: Sun Jun 30, 2019 12:45 am 
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Location: Pac NW, via North Florida
I find it funny how many people, in this thread and elsewhere, absolutely do not grasp the idea that people in their 20s and 30s are simply not going to work their way from sweeping the floors to something interesting, over many, many years.
They're not going to do that, and I don't understand why so many people don't get that it's not going to happen. They can go on and on about the way things used to be, but they're just not that way anymore.
They really, really, really are not.
Several people have made the comments about how volunteers are just not going to be treated as if they're paid employees. That is a very valid point, and another one that seems to fail so many people's ability to grasp.
Another aspect, which is actually very common in the aviation preservation field, is that the people in charge do not understand that unless you are a retiree, your job won't give you much time off.
I offered to be a weekend volunteer for a very high-profile Aviation / Space Museum, which is a pretty fair drive but still accessible for me. They insisted on meetings and training taking place during the work week. I work a job that allows very little time off even for vacations, and taking time off for something of that nature is simply not an option. That is not something that's going to change, as the nature of where I work, as well as many other companies, is to keep people at the job because they have grossly understaffed for the mission at hand. That is just the way employers are going these days, and you're not going to be able to get a lot of volunteers to show up, unless it's on the times they normally are scheduled to be off.
So, in the case of the museum I wanted to volunteer for, I told them I simply couldn't take the time off for all of their weekday meetings and training, but I would be a willing and knowledgeable person as a volunteer for the public, and willing to do whatever is needed. The reaction I got from the museum was less than enthusiastic, then was told in no uncertain terms that I clearly don't have a volunteer spirit ( whatever that means).
Let's just say that my reaction to that is not something I think I would want to post on a public forum.

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