How to Fly a Combat Plan (and Recover a Lost Business)
what they didn't teach in biz school
JOHN PETERMAN WAS strapped into a Marchetti SF260 combat plane beside an F-16 pilot instructor, locked in a dogfight 6,000 feet above Florida. At 270 miles an hour, the force of gravity crushed him into his seat. He could hear his voice sink lower as he pulled the hired fighter into a tight, fast turn.
Then he rolled the plane upside down. A cockpit camera recorded what transpired next:
"I got sick," admits the founder and CEO of the eclectic catalog company J. Peterman & Co. of Lexington, KY "But I kept on fighting. That's one of the lessons you learn. You learn to hold on for the next five seconds, and then the next five seconds after that. Never give up..
That lesson saw Peterman through bankruptcy and helped him recover his company.
The plane belongs to Fighter Pilots USA, a Chicago company that puts corporate teams at the controls of retired combat aircraft and hosts "business as combat" seminars.
Peterman sampled the flight experience in 1995. At that time, his urbane "Owner's Manual" of nostalgic rarities was at a turning point. …