Will the real Larry Shannon please stand up

David Stone

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Will the real Larry Shannon please stand up
« on: May 20, 2020, 08:34:36 PM »
When you first connect to the ZID TS you find yourself in 'Larry's Lobby'. This is the story of how that name came to be. Larry's Lobby is named in honor of Lawrence Shannon, a former controller with the virtual Indianapolis ARTCC, who passed away in 2010 at the age of 65. Larry spent many hours controlling in the ARTCC. In fact, aviation was his life. After his passing, his wife sought out the staff members here at vZID and expressed her gratitude for the many hours of enjoyment he got from working with the members controlling the virtual skies. And when he wasn't controlling you could probably find him flying in a vintage aircraft from the golden days of aviation. Although there are probably only a couple of members on the roster today who personally remember Larry, we still honor him today. This is in large part due to the environment of the Indianapolis ARTCC, where each member of the roster is a part of our family, not just a controller.

But the main purpose of this post is to tell you the real story behind Larry. Who was he really? I hope you enjoy the story.

Larry "Grampa Pettibone" Shannon (CID 921387) was a former controller here at vZID up until his passing on May 24th, 2010. He worked his way up to Senior Controller C3 and could often be found manning Indy Center or flying in a vintage aircraft. It is in his honor that the common meeting room in TeamSpeak is named. But there is so much more to his life beyond vZID, not to mention a few bumps of turbulence.
Lawrence Shannon, or more correctly the Rev. Lawrence Shannon, was not a real person at all. This was the pen name used for a book entitled 'The Predatory Female', which is still available on Amazon.com and possibly in your public library if you are interested in giving it a read.
So who was the real Lawrence Shannon. His name was Stephen Stuart Rullman who lived in Reno, NV at the time of his passing. He started life in Omaha, NE and moved with his family to Hollywood, CA at the age of 4. He had an interest in aviation from an early age, which might be attributed to his father who was a Naval Aviator in WWII. Grampa Pettibone was a cartoon character in US Navy Safety Publications, and this most likely is where he picked up the term. He soloed at age 16 and by age 18 he had single- and multi-engine ratings, was a CFI and CFII. By 19 he had his commercial license and ATP license at age 23. He was the youngest pilot ever hired by American Airlines and actually had to wait until he was 20 years old to start his class. Taking full advantage of his passion for flying and the opportunities American offered, he obtained type ratings in most every aircraft American operated and was one of the few to experience the transition from round engines to the jet age. Steve was a legend at American Airlines and retired at the top of the seniority list after 37 years.
Steve's love of aviation carried over into the virtual world here on VATSIM and with his virtual WWII squadron. His camaraderie is missed but let us not forget the man behind the name.
David Stone
Air Traffic Manager

Robert Shearman Jr

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Re: Will the real Larry Shannon please stand up
« Reply #1 on: May 21, 2020, 05:16:24 PM »
Ten years gone, but not forgotten.  A touching tribute.

Clay Brock

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Re: Will the real Larry Shannon please stand up
« Reply #2 on: May 22, 2020, 02:54:14 PM »
What an amazing story! Thanks for sharing this David!
Clay Brock (CB) - 1299667
Training Administrator
ACE Team