Captain Leslie Morris (ret.)

On June 30, 1954 Capt. Morris got his first lesson in a Piper Cub. He wasn’t happy about riding in the back seas but it got better once the instructor got out of the aircraft and Morris soloed.

In order to avoid the draft, Morris took the test for the Air Force Aviation Cadet program. He thought it would be better to fly versus digging foxholes.  After passing the Aviation Cadet exam, Morris was contacted by the New York Air National Guard to become one of their pilots.  So, in April 1957 Morris reported to Lackland AFB in San Antonio, Texas as a New York Air National Guard Pilot in the Aviation Cadet Program. He graduated in July 1958 and finished his F-86 fighter school training at Williams AFB near Phoenix, Arizona in December 1958.  Morris then spent one month at Ellington AFB in Houston, Texas, honing his instrument skills before returning back to New York.

Now holding a commercial pilots license, Morris qualified to become an Air Traffic Controller.  He started in New York Center in August 1959 as an Assistant Controller.  He moved up the ranks and finally became a Radar Controller/Coordinator and Crew Instructor before leaving for Eastern Airlines in November 1965.

On November 8, 1965, Morris reported to Eastern Airlines in Miami to become a Flight Engineer on the Constellation.  Due to the lack of training resources, he finally got out of school in April 1966 and finally got to fly the line in New York.  In May 1967 he was back in Miami checking out as a First Officer on the DC-8 , only to go back to New york and fly the Connie until his two year probation ended.

Morris flew the DC-8 until Easter got rid of them in anticipation of getting the L-1011.  However, with a strike at Rolls Royce and problems with the engine, the L-1011’s did not show up on the property until 1972.  So, Morris flew the B-727 as a First Officer for a couple of years.

He finally got on the L-1011 and few it as a First Officer until checking out as a B-727 Captain in July 1979. Six months later, he was promoted to Manager of Flying and Check Airman on the B-727. In 1986 Morris checked out as a Captain and Manager of Flying on the B-757 and flew the aircraft until March, 1989 when Eastern pilots went on strike. He did not return to Easter but officially retired on December 31, 1991.

In August 1989, Morris became the Chief Pilot for the Pan Am Shuttle and left when Delta Air Lines purchased Pan Am in 1991.

In July 1993, Morris started working for Flight Safety International as a simulator and flight instructor on the Falcon 900. In addition, he flew part-time for Paul Tudor Jones until moving to Green Valley, Arizona in June 1994. Presently, Morris instructs on the Lear 60 with Flight Safety in Tucson, Arizona.

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