Skygods: A Mirror to The Rise & Fall of…

by | May 10, 2012 | Archives

Skygods is an interesting book but more… it  is a mirror reflecting the rise and fall of a generational wave.

We can use these mirrors to see crests and troughs as the natural rhythm of things.   Understanding these up and down paths can help us better understand how to be in the right place at exactly the right time.

skygods tags:

Read about Skygods the fall of Pan Am here

Skygods is a great book. Am autographed copy sits in my library.   Yet,  “Skygods” is much more than a book.

A low pass.  Absolutely. So that’s what he did.  Low.  He brought Clipper Goodwill right down the center line of runway 12, low enough for the folks on the ground to count the rivits.

The line above from “Skygods” describes Flight 219 New York JFK International to Bridgetown, Barbados, on its return… flown by Captain Mark Pyle… Pan Am’s last flight and the end of an era.

“Skygods” tells the story of a special time and situation that I know especially well… having lived through a big part of it.   This reflection is a more like a partial recording of my life and 60 million others who gained from that special golden era.

We can profit in numerous ways by analyzing the rise and fall of Pan Am from three views.

View #1  is a reflection on government intervention.

Skygods is the tale of the rise and fall of Pan American Airways… from its beginnings… until its end. Pan Am was founded through the rigmarole of government intervention.

Here is an excerpt from page 14 and 15 of “Skygods” which tells how Juan Trippe was involved in forming an airline called Aviation Corporation of America.  He intended to bid on a proposed airmail route between Key West and Havana.  The book says:   Pan American was the dream child of Major Henry “Hap” Arnold of the Army Air Corp. In 1927 he incorporated Pan American Airways and filed its application for the Key West-Havana airmail route. 

Meanwhile yet another consortium headed by a financier named Richard F. Hoyt, Chairman of Wright Aeronautical Corporation applied for the Havana route. 

That made three applicants competing for the Key West-Havana route including Trippe’s Aviation Corporation of America.  At the urging of Assistant Postmaster General W. Irving Glover, the three groups were persuaded to merge. On July 19, 1927 the U.S. Post Office awarded FAM 4, the foreign airmail route from Key West to Havana to Pan American World Airways. After much backroom finagling and manipulation of stock Hoyt emerged as Chairman of the Board.  Twenty-eight-year-old Juan Trippe became president and general manager.

Government intervention had a lot to do with Pan Am’s start… its rise and its fall.  Pan Am’s story begins on the upside of a bell curve called the Jet Age… when transoceanic flying was glamorous… exciting and something new.  Pan Am had a huge head start with government blessed route protection as the only US overseas airline.  Gandt tells how government intervention began to build clear back in the 1930s when Joseph P.  Kennedy headed the Maritime Commission.   Kennedy was opposed to Pan Am’s monopoly in international commerce but Trippe used all his political clout to effect passage of the 1938 Civil Aeronautics Act, thus snatching control of the airlines from Kennedy’s commission and to a separate agency.

Government intervention is a double edge sword. Kennedy became Trippe’s implacable enemy and this spilled into the 1960s when JFK became President of the United States.  Trippe rubbed further salt into this wound by ordering six French Concordes after JFK has asked him to postpone any action until JFK’s decision about the US Super Sonic Transport.   JFK and LBJ were both on the phone furious and saying they were double crossed.  JFK’s parting words on the matter were “Tell Mr. Trippe we will not forget this.”

“Skygods” explains: Times had changed. What used to work back in the pre jet days didn’t work anymore.  The era when Trippe could pickup a phone and influence a route decision was not only over, it had left a lasting resentment against Pan Am.

Domestic airlines were allowed overseas routes, but Pan Am was not allowed domestic routes and this was a big part of its decline.  Support did not get better in the Nixon era.  In the 1970s Pan Am and TWA, which had similar problems, tried to merge.  The Nixon administration did not want such a large airline that could once again would raise the old bugaboo about monopoly and unfair competition so it stonewalled the merger.   Pan Am had not been a contributor to Nixon’s reelection campaign so the merger and a later  request for subsidies by Pan Am to the government were also ignored.

The Carter administration did not help either.  Stimulating competition meant giving away more overseas routes that hurt Pan Am.  Carter’s appointee to the Civil Aeronautic Board, Alfred E. Kahn, summed up his feelings one day when after hearing about Pan Am’s problems he told the press… “Pan Am can go to hell.”

Government intervention helped launch Pan Am and turn it into a behemoth. Then the same forces thwarted the airline when in trouble again and again.   Government intervention did not do it all… or cause the rise or fall.

The lesson is that Pan Am was a dinosaur… the perfect survival machine  in its time.  Then as the climate changed, the company became a lumbering mess.

The lesson is that government intervention can do this to any of us.  When we get used to feeding at someone else’s trough it is hard to relearn how to feed ourselves if that trough is removed.

gant-skygods tags:

I flew millions of miles on 707s mostly on Pan Am.

If you are running an airline it’s pretty hard… perhaps impossible to not be politically inclined.  We with micro businesses can often enjoy pretty good profits and not have to mess with… but can take advantage of  the politicos.

This is especially true if the micro business is in writing… or speaking… because we as writers are guaranteed freedom of the press.

Here is an excerpt from a forthcoming lesson about “Skygods” in our online course, Self Publishing 202:

View #2 “Skygods” is as a story. Sensing where society is at any particular time is vital for writers.  We all have a story to tell. We all want to enhance change and somehow make the world better through our words.  These are vital traits in a writer but capturing and keeping a reader’s attention is important as well… perhaps more important that the rest.

This is where writing and quantum science come together.   Perfect words, not read, remain scalar energy… just potential.   The conversion of potential into vector energy manifestation comes from the reading.  This recalls an age old question…” if a tree falls in the forest and no one hears it, is there sound?”   This leads us to ask… if a book is written… and no one reads it… is there a book?

We can be sure at the much grosser material level is that if no one reads it there will be no profit… except for perhaps the satisfaction of getting the words out!

Since our courses are about how to write to sell we describe writing as more than words.  Our definition of a publication is “writing and a paying audience”.

If thoughts are too far out of phase with current thinking… the words will not be read… or if read not understood or even worse misunderstood.

Current thinking includes language… time… and personification.

To communicate well, we have to be in tune with the language of the paying audience.

For a growing segment of the population the sentence… 4COL,  2moro, Ill B ther 4 U.  B4N would be easily understood.  In text talk this means “for crying out loud, tomorrow, I’ll be there for you. Bye for now”.

However who would understand what this means?  “Woulds’t thou be prithee to an answer? Verily, verily I say unto thee,  go thither and yon and test ye site”.

Writing in Old English is fine for an extremely small group in really tightly governed circumstances (scholars, aficionados or medieval recreators such as… but most of us will pass on this.

The fast pace of our times forces most people to focus their greatest transformative energy through their Beta brain waves… the logical linear part of thinking that looks after what is exactly in front of us.

In today’s time most successful writing begins by aligning with and capturing that energy. Then the words shift and aim at the more emotional brain waves… the ones that rule intuition, hope… dreams and the heart.

Notice how many books today start with an event… something bad or good happens and the event ends with a mystery… something the logic cannot handle.  The event is often very evil…a death… an accident… a conspiracy… bad… attention… grabbing stuff.

The next chapter brings on the personification… a hero… a sympathetic character striving for a worthwhile goal… the man, woman, animal or group who is a caricature of goodness who will win the heart… not the brain.

Once the mind and the heart are captured, the writer cannot let either escape.  The words must contain human, emotional elements that move the story along.

This is what Gandt does so well in “Skygods”… as well as his other non fiction books such as the “Twilight Warriors”.  He takes what could be dry history and weaves in the human touch.

For example the first sentence in “Skygods” humanizes the history. Here it is:

“The image would remain fixed in Rob Martinside’s memory for the next twenty five years: brushed aluminum fuselages, sleek tails slanting skyward, blue-on-white paint schemes gleaming in the morning sun.”

The story becomes more than the history of Pan Am.  This is the tale of the impact of Pan Am’s rise and fall on Rob Martinside and others as well.  Clear through the story we read about how Pan Am affects him. At the end of the book, Gandt tells how Delta took on many of the Pan Am pilots… and the fate of those it did not accept.

He writes on page 300, “Rob Martinside was one of the lucky ones. He was among the seven hundred, roughly a third of the Pan Am pilots, who made the list. With his fellow inductees, Martinside stepped off the shuttle bus one October morning at the Delta headquarters complex. And then he stopped with his mouth opened.”

Skygods keeps you reading because the history…  a reflection of the rise and fall of the first aero industry era is seen and felt through people.  From beginning to end the reader is caught up in Rob Martinside’s story.

Gandt tells the story of the battle of Okinawa… 95 days of the most ferocious history seen through the eyes of Roy Erickson who is introduced on page one and is last heard from on page 348 of this 348 page book.

gant-skygods tags:

I flew on Pan Am's first San Francisco London 747 flight. What a change... and a mess getting baggage at Heathrow. Now that's as story to tell.

The third view of Skygods is of its form… a book in great color and paper that a day before was just a digital form.

Gandt autographed my copy of  “Skygods”:   For Gary and Merri- An example of the new era of publishing – My best wishes, Bob Gandt.

Gandt owns the copyright of his book and though it was first published in print by William Morrow, Gandt now offers it himself in digital form for Kindle and Print on Demand.  There is no inventory and when an order arrives the book can be printed in just a day.

This ability to avoid the printing and distribution costs creates a huge benefit for new writers and self publishers.


There is one other lesson we can gain from Gandt’s books. One of the reviews at says: I am a pilot for American airlines and think this is a must read for anyone in the airline industry. If you think your company couldn’t fold, you need to read what happened to Pan Am. It’s also an entertaining read. I highly recommend this book.

My comment is:  If any of us think our idea…our business…our company… our government… our way of life cannot fold… beware.  This is dinosaur thinking… a logic that grows increasingly dangerous as global change increases its pace.

gant-skygods tags:

The world is changing quickly. My children were booked on and flew on Pan Am 103 the day after this terrorist attack so I have a very visceral understanding of what global change can mean.


Seven P Secrets of Self Publishing

When you write, you can work anywhere. 


Here I am working poolside in the winter, at our Florida farm.

gary scott

Here I am with our hound Ma, working during the summer at our North Carolina farm.

Learn how to earn everywhere, while living anywhere you choose.  I have been able to earn by writing in Hong Kong, England, the Isle of Man, Dominican Republic and Ecuador to name a few of the places I have lived.   Anywhere I am,  I am  able to work.

All I need is my laptop.

That’s all you need too… a laptop to be free!

Before computers, a pencil and pad did the job.

Freedom is just one benefit you can gain from a laptop business.

Another benefit is income.   Writing has brought me both our farms in Florida and North carolina, free and clear… plus a lot more.

Another good example of earning potential is my friend Hugh Howey.   He was working for $10 an hour in a book store when he self published his novel Wool, typing in a storage room during his lunch breaks.

Soon he was earning over $100,000 a month on  This helped secure a six-figure book deal from Simon & Schuster, and an option for film by Ridley Scott, director of Blade Runner and Alien.

That’s what he’s doing now.

Hugh Howey

Hugh and I playing chess (he beats me badly).

Writers like Hugh are great inspirations.

A couple of years ago Hugh  left Florida, and moved to South Africa.  He had a sailing catamaran built for him and now can sail the world while he continues to write.

Hugh explained it like this: And that’s the miracle of working as a writer: I can do it from anywhere and everywhere. The past few years, I’ve done a lot of writing from airplanes and airports while on business trips abroad.  SAND was entirely written overseas while traveling through seven different countries; I think it’s a better story because of those inspirations.  In upcoming years, I may be writing near your home port.

Hugh’s a super star writer and his success could not happen to a more deserving and talented person.  He pours enormous energy into being worthy of his readership.  But you do not have to be a million dollar a year earner or a traveler to benefit from writing.

The good news is… you do not need a huge success to have a rich and fulfilled lifestyle.  Self Publishing can bring you a life that most people only dream of, as a journeyman writer, instead of a super star.

May I hastily add that the path to stardom begins as a journeyman… so the journeyman’s path brings success without stardom… but can also lead to stardom.

What most success stories like Hugh’s rarely explain is the many hours of writing that was devoted before their self published book sales soared.   Hugh, like most writers were journeymen first.  Stardom came later.

Here are sevens secrets that can help you become a journeyman writer. 

The secrets are a writer’s armory of tools that allows almost anyone to create successful publications for income, freedom and fulfillment.

Take Merri’s and my publishing business as an example.  

Merri and I are not writing stars.  We are journeymen who have for more than 40 years, year in and year out, earned solid income writing and self publishing dozens of publications about multiple subjects.

Some years that income has been more than solid… over a million dollars.  Yet in terms of stardom, we are hardly known.

In a moment you’ll see why that’s fine for us and probably will be for you too.

First some history.

Merri became involved in self publishing over 40 years ago… first helping a veterinarian publish a book on a very specific market… animal acupuncture. Then she showed a needle point artist how to sell more books to an even more specific audience… “needle point enthusiasts”  about her needle point work to an audience larger than the population of the city she lived in.  This led Merri to eventually become Executive Editor of an award winning magazine in Florida.

My story allowed Merri and me to work and live from Hong Kong to London to Europe to Eastern Europe, then the Caribbean and then Ecuador… making millions in the process of following our adventures… having fun… while helping a large readership adapt to a rapidly changing world.

That’s what self publishing can bring, profit, adventure and fulfillment, a great feeling of worth and wonder.

Self Publishing has created exactly the lifestyle we desire allowing us to span the world and work with meaning and purpose.

Self Publishing has become a new business art form. 

The seven secrets can help you start your own self publishing business now.

Everything in publishing is new and exciting and changing.  Publishing is being recreated by the wonderful power of destructive technology.

Everything is new… except the seven secrets. 

Change in the publishing industry is disturbing many.   We love this evolution due to these seven secrets we call the 7Ps.  The 7 Ps are so fundamental to writing and publishing that new technology enhances rather than reduces their power.

The First P is Passion.

Whatever your passion, you can immerse yourself in it AND create income with self publishing.  This can be your direct ticket to the kind of fulfillment you’ve always wanted.

Whether you want to travel the world or live as a recluse, work 12 hours a day or not work much at all,  you can set your schedule to succeed, if you’re willing to learn these seven secrets.

You can start part-time with any dream, passion, and budget.  Once you’ve created a product, you’ll enjoy the “multiple effect” of producing profits over and over again.

So the question is… What do you love to do?

What’s Your Passion:  An example is that thirty years ago, a client of Merri’s had a passion to help people who were in pain?  He published a series of pamphlets explaining various chiropractic disorders in very simple terms.  For example: “What Is Whiplash?”

The pamphlets contained solid information, but were simple 5″ x 7″ brochures with drawings and explanations. He sold them with a rack to chiropractors, who put them in their offices for patients to read.  These little self-published items sold year in and year out for decades.

There are thousands of ideas of this sort that can lead to big business.  It’s just a matter of defining and then acting on your passion.

Although I can work when I please and go where I wish, for me the most important reason for being a publisher is the satisfaction it brings. 

I love the projects I take on, so work doesn’t feel like, well… work.

What do you love?  If you love golf, then you can write and sell publications about golf.  Love travel, fishing, dogs, dolls, or art?  Write and sell publications in these fields.

Are you concerned about crime, war, poverty or environmental issues?  You can publish information products that help reduce these concerns.

Would you like to help the world be a more spiritual place?  Publish a newsletter, write a book (or hire someone to write it for you), record a tape… publish something that enlightens people.

Whatever your passion, you can immerse yourself in it and earn income by publishing for ereaders, print on demand, CDs, lists, bound books, or any format you choose.

Be immersed in your passion and get paid well for it. 

This is why stardom is not the main goal for most writers and self publishers.  Extra income, more freedom and fulfillment are usually more than enough enough.

The seven Ps are:

#1: Passion

#2: Problem

#3: Person

#4: Profitably Priced Product

#5: Prospecting Pathway

#6: Promise

#7: Presentation

The first time I exposed others to the secrets in Self Publishing was in a weekend “Writer’s Camp” seminar.  We offered the camp for $1,500. 80 delegates enrolled.  People from all walks of life attended—chiropractors, businessmen, investors, doctors, realtors, inventors, airline pilots, engineers, and housewives.

Merri and I were so overwhelmed by the response, we decided to make it available to a larger audience.  We created a written course based on our current self publishing activity called “Self Fulfilled – How to be a Self Publisher.”  Then we recorded the weekend “Writer’s Camp” seminar.

Thousands have used the course as it has evolved over the decades.

You can receive both the written course and the recorded weekend seminar, in an MP3 file, in a special “Live Well and Free Anywhere” program I am making available to you.  The normal fee is $299 for the written course and $299 for the recorded workshop.   I’ll send you both the course and the recorded workshop and my course on how to expand the profits of what you write called “Eventful Business” (also $299) all for $299.  You save $598.

We are so confident that you’ll gain from this offer that if you are not fully satisfied, simply email us within 60 days for a full refund .

These courses are not theoretical.  They describe, step-by-step, how Merri and I built a million-dollar international business and how we are running this self publishing business right now.   We use the 7Ps today just as we did four decades ago to create a strong annual income.

This correspondence course is for those who would like their own international self publishing micro business for fun and profit. If you want fun, freedom, extra income and fulfillment with your own full or part time writing or want to build your existing business, by writing to sell you can profit from this course.  The course can help who want their own business or who want to have a business together or a family business.  This is the perfect course for those who can no longer find employment, who are looking for ways to earn abroad and who wish to retire and supplement their income.

Whether you are retired, an investor, chiropractor, doctor, dentist, professional or already own your own business, this offers another way to make money, to turn your passion into profit. We guarantee that we have shared all we know to help you start and run your own international business.  Enjoy and live a life of following your Passion to Profit… through writing.

Here is a special offer. 

Whatever your passion, however you do business, chances are you’ll be writing either to create a product or to sell a product. 

You save more than $598 because you also receive a recorded webinar conducted by our webmaster David Cross (at no extra cost).

David-cross-images tags:"2012-4-20"

David Cross

David has been our webmaster since our website began in the 1990s.  He is Merri’s and my business partner. We could not run our business as we do without him.

Learn the tactics we use in our web business that condenses 27 years of practical experience about search engine optimization, and writing for search engines.

For the last 27 years David has worked with companies large and small – IBM, Agora Publishing, AstraZeneca and many small business owners.  He has worked in 22 countries, and lived in six of them.

David’s clients span the globe and represent companies and charities both large and small.  From corporate giants to small, one-woman businesses and everything from finance, healthcare, publishing, technology, real estate, veterinarians, alternative health centers and everything in between.

David is an essential part of our web based business.

Myles Norin, CEO of Agora, Inc.  wrote:  “I have found David’s knowledge and experience unmatched in the industry.  Without David’s expertise and guidance for the past 7 years, we would not be nearly as successful as we are.”

As Senior Internet Consultant to Agora Inc. in Baltimore, MD, he worked closely with Agora’s publishers and marketers and – over a 7-year period – helped to propel Agora’s online revenues from around $20 million to well over $300 million.

David’s webinar will help you gain benefits in your micro business that large internet marketing companies use.  In this practical recorded workshop you will learn valuable skills to help your micro business.

There has never been a time when the opportunity for small businesses abroad has been so outstanding.  Expand your borders now!  Increase your economic security freedom, independence and success.

If you are not fully satisfied that this offers you enormous value simply email us for a full refund within 60 days.  You can keep all three courses as our thanks for giving our courses a try.

You also receive a report  “How to use Relaxed Concentration to Brainstorm Business Ideas” and a recorded workshop “How to Become and Remain Rich With Relaxed Concentration” at no additional cost.

Plus you get more in the program.

You receive regular writing and self publishing updates for a year.  Businesses usually need to evolve.  Merri and I continue to publish and have our independent businesses.  Some basics have remained for decades, but new strategies occur all the time throughout the year.  We’ll be sending along updates that share our most recent experiences as we learn and continue to grow our international micro business from Smalltown USA.

My special offer to you in this “Live Well and Free Anywhere Program”, is that you receive:

  • “Self Fulfilled – How to Write to Sell” course
  • Video Workshop by our webmaster David Cross,
  • The entire weekend “Writer’s Camp” in MP3,
  • MP3 Workshop “How to Gain Added Success With Relaxed Concentration”
  • The business course “Eventful Business”
  • Any updates to any of the courses, workshops, reports or recordings for a year

We are so confident that you’ll gain from this offer that if you are not fully satisfied, simply email us within the first three months for a full refund. 

Order “Self Fulfilled – How to Publish to Sell” and a full year of update lessons $299.  Click Here.      

See success stories from Self Publishers and a few who have attended the “Writer’s Camp” that you will receive on MP3.


gant-skygods tags:

Bob Gandt says: Aviation journalist and pilot Gandt interweaves the complex and interesting story of Pan Am’s rise under founder and visionary Juan Trippe with American business and politics. Trippe molded Pan Am from the glory days of flying boats and the opening of Pacific routes to new piston-driven airliners and the transition to jets. In 1965 Pan Am was the world’s preeminent airline, boasting 40,000 employees, 143 airliners, and over $1 billion in revenues; it was also the torchbearer for new aircraft designs. How Trippe achieved this and influenced Presidents Kennedy and Johnson reveal the workings of American business and politics. In 1968 foreign carriers increased, revenues declined, and Trippe resigned. In the Seventies a series of catastrophic accidents, increasing competition, rising fuel costs, and a strike started the downward spiral exacerbated by the 1988 Lockerbie tragedy and Chapter 11 proceedings. A fascinating commentary on aviation and American business.

Order Skygods at here


Learn more about Bob Gandt’s Twilight Warrior here