The wag who said he was "sure there was money in aviation because he put it there" might have been Ebby Lunken, who saw a sizable chunk of cash disappear into his beloved Midwest Airways. It was a grand idea and would have succeeded if the income from ticket sales had even approached the outgo from a series of unfortunate setbacks and avoidable screw-ups — gear collapses, belly landings, blown engines, militantly gay station agents (when that was an issue), lost and damaged bags, oversold flights and justifiably pissed-off passengers. On the bright side, it launched a bunch of young guys into airline careers, faithfully paid salaries to everybody except Ebby and gave us a reason to hang out at the airport. Midwest was my baptism into the business end of aviation and of life; for five years we worked all hours of the day and night, laughed often, cried some and cursed a lot. But, crises and all, it was a helluva ride.