Friday, November 30, 2012

Dear April

The first time I took my window seat in a Boeing 777, I was amazed at how the wing stretched all the way from my seat to heaven.

What amazed me the most was inflight how the wings flexed as we gained altitude and left the turbulence behind.

As we remember the loss of our loved ones, we should always remember the above and how we will always be connected to those we remember in heaven by our beloved 777's wings. Like angelic wings..

Not only connected, but flexing our wings to climb above our pain to only remembering how they impacted our lives in the most positive ways.

Most of all, the sun shining on the wing is like how we see how we are a reflection of them.

For that, they will always be a part of us...

Photo captured by Jeremy's Flight Deck
Boeing 777 wing en route 
ATL-JFK-NRT from my seat:

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Fly It Forward

Thanksgiving weekend was pretty quiet however I did enjoy the company of two things:


These are just two of the things in my life that keep me going.  Not only those two things above, but the people in my life that have helped keep me going.  My friends.  Those people who have, currently do have, and will always have my back.  Not only that, those people who I feel like I can tell anything to.  We all need these people in our lives.  They are what I always call my "tailwind", the winds which travel along with an aircraft in its direction of travel, carrying it along quicker than expected to its destination.  It gives the aircraft what it needs, so that it can get the many people on board to that destination.

As people, we have this capacity not only to give to ourselves, but have the option to give the gift of giving to others.  "Pay It Forward" it is called.  But, we are aviators, so we shall call it "Fly It Forward", giving the gift of flight to others so that they can do the same to create a chain reaction that will make an impact on our industry.

One such person has told her story on Photobucket, and we share this story with you on the right hand side of this website.  Please click on the photos of "Fly It Forward" and let Karlene tell her story about how she came to fly and how she combated the headwinds, those people who told her she couldn't fly.  Not only let her story fly, but click "Like" on the top right hand corner.  By doing this, you will give back to her, but also give the gift of giving to so many others wanting to take to the skies.  Especially those attending the up and coming 24th Annual International Women In Aviation Conference held at the Opryland Resort & Convention Center in Nashville, TN next March, 2013.


What you can do to make the difference, to add tailwinds to a person's life, well, the possibilities are endless..


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Thanksgiving 2012

Sometimes the question is asked why do we take one day out of the year to be thankful for everything we have in life?  Why shouldn't we show this level of gratitude every day?

Seven years ago, I learned that something so simple such as having a parent could be taken for granted.  Seven years ago, my late father who I will be writing about next month was diagnosed with Renal Cell Carcinoma on Thanksgiving.

It was and always will be a Thanksgiving that I will never forget.

Thanksgiving we give thanks to those things that exist.  Things that could be taken away from us within seconds.  NYC and New Jersey residents learned that lesson all too well and for most of us here, it still will be a Thanksgiving we will never forget as for a lot of us - everything was taken away.  All we have left to be thankful for is our physical bodies, our souls, and the air we breath.

For those of you flying passengers on this Thanksgiving Day, my Captain's hat goes off to you - as you never know who you are flying home and whom they will be seeing, perhaps for the last time.  For our troops that are stationed overseas, my hat also goes to you as well.  Even though you are not able to be with your family and loved ones, your service to our country is a pure example of why we are thankful.  To be alive, free, and to be able to give thanks to live the way we do.  Your sacrifices are paramount.  

Having family around on Thanksgiving is the greatest gift of the day.  Not only having family around, but being thankful that they are still there with you to share Thanksgiving dinner with.  Always be thankful everyday of the air you breath you never know if your next breath will be your last.  Never take anything for granted.

With all of these thoughts, I wish you, along with your families a



Monday, November 19, 2012

Eoin O'Callaghan


A place where some of my family used to call home.

It is also the hometown of someone I immediately struck a major chord with on Twitter a few months ago and have been friends with ever since. Through Twitter, Facebook, iMessage, Skype, and other communications online, technology and social networking joined us together from across the globe to know each other on a greater scale - hitting many high notes through our dual passions for both aviation and classical music.

It is my honor and pleasure to welcome aboard 
my flight deck, Eoin ("Owen") O'Callaghan!

Welcome, Eoin!

Please share which roles music come to play in your life?

I am a full-time pianist, accompanist, church organist and all round good egg!

Mostly I teach piano in a small school of music in Kilkenny, Ireland. Once or twice a year I try to give some form of recital. I'd love to perform more often but teaching so much and travelling in between, it's not easy making time to practice. 

Beethoven's Sonata Op. 13, Pathetique, 1st Movement
Performed by Eoin O'Callaghan Live in Cork, Ireland 2007
A little music while you read the rest of this interview...

Recently I've been expanding my chamber music repertoire playing with clarinettists, flautists and piano quintets. I’ve had the opportunity to play with singers on occasion too. It has been some time since I have given a solo recital or performed with an orchestra. I will get back to solo repertoire but for now I’m enjoying working with other musicians.

With this Eoin, it sounds like you have a good repertoire you follow in life. Like myself, you have another passion and, like everyone, a story to tell with it.

I think my love of aviation first came about from my summer holidays as a child. Growing up, we used to visit my Grandmother in the US, so twice a year I got to go on an Aer Lingus 747-100 from SNN-BOS. 


 For as long as I can remember, I wanted to be the pilot up the front flying the plane. I think at the time flying was also an ordeal and a somewhat special event. It was not so common for people to be able to afford to fly on a regular basis (low cost carriers didn’t really exist in the 80s and early 90s) and so there was always something very special about every time I got on an aircraft. I think seeing a pilot was something that used to make people's heads turn. Pilots were special or considered elitist and I suppose that was a an attractive aspect also; still is.

I see that, like me, you were exposed early to the 747. Music to anyone's ears, especially the earlier models. Please share with us how aviation became music to your ears?

The initial attraction with aviation for me is just being to fly a very large, very powerful hunk of metal at 500mph and get paid for it! Any pilot I’ve spoken to feels the same. I think you always need a little of that to want to fly planes. For me, there's always a sense of excitement boarding flights. There's always the anticipation of departure waiting in the lounge watching the pilots through the windows do their pre-flight checks and seeing the ground crew loading and fueling the aircraft.

Over the Atlantic en route SNN - JFK

I totally agree with you: getting paid to take something to 500 mph? I'm all in it! I've also heard pilots express how they had will to take off on that career path. To do what one loves to do. To follow those dreams and passions..

Passions can take on many forms, however, the skills of a pilot and a classical musician do have their similarities. Perhaps, you could name us a few?

As far as ‘transferable skills’ go, there are many that one learns as a pianist that can be used as a pilot:

Playing any instrument is extreme multi-tasking to put it mildly. There's a certain amount that becomes instinctive over the years but for the most part there are so many things to consider while playing.

The first and most obvious skill I suppose is hand-eye coordination (and feet). Over the years, I have leaned how to absorb huge volumes of information on a score, process and interpret it and transfer it into my hands and feet to play. Logically, what follows from this are that you develop exceptionally fast reflexes. If you go wrong you must almost instinctively know what is was and how to correct it all before your audience knows anything is amiss. Whilst doing all of this one must also listen to not only the sound you create and make necessary adjustments but listen to everyone else playing with you and blend with them.

Musicians also have to develop high levels of concentration and focus. Some pieces of music can go on for as long as 25 minutes without stopping. The longest work I have for piano is around 45 minutes. It involves a huge amount of stamina to get through physically and mentally.

Performing for an audience or in a competition means that you are constantly working in high pressure situations. Practicing at home is one thing but it's entirely another to be able to do it again with 1000 people watching and expecting you to play it as well as their recording of it at home! An entirely wrong expectation to have going to a recital but there you have it.

A biggy and it definitely goes for pilots too (and no doubt most jobs) is having excellent interpersonal skills. Unfortunately there are many occasions where a lack of communication and coordination has lead to a major airline accident. As a musician and teacher it’s essential to have good communication skills. I work one to one with people or in small ensembles on a daily basis where you really can't be very successful or productive without being able to interact with others. The other half of the coin though, and possibly more important, is that you are able to listen to what someone else has to say. There's nothing worse in music or aviation than someone that is so narrow minded that they cannot consider other views and opinions.

Finally, musicians must have attention to detail. The precision involved in playing any instrument (or conducting for that matter) cannot be over stated. It's why professionals spend anywhere from 6-9 hours a day practicing. There's no room for inaccurate, indecisive playing in public. You must dot every "i" so to speak. One might say you must be sharp.

Yes, one must definitely be "sharp" (definitely taking note of that pun). In all, I agree with your thoughts above. Having played as a pianist, a cellist, and an orchestral bassist in front of many audiences, there is room for error, however, to fix it you must have fast reflexes and great communication skills if you are in an ensemble setting.  Just like an audience, passengers expect the best out of pilots just as those attending a concert or recital who expect that performance to be as good as the Deutsche Grammophon recording at home.  But to err is human, as we all are, and everyone needs to realise just that from the get-go.

Speaking of which, our lives sometimes become so intense with our passions that the notes start to fly off the pages. How do take some time away? Travel?

Landing In Shannon From The Last US visit.

My travels have taken to me around various parts of Europe and the US. I am also a US citizen (thanks mom!) and have been to New England many times. I spent most of my childhood summers in Pittsfield, MA, where my mum grew up. The little bit of flying I have done brought me to Long Beach, CA which was a great experience also.

In Europe, music has brought me to Holland to perform but for general merriment I have been to London (possibly my favourite place to visit for a weekend), Paris, Barcelona, Madrid, Krakow, Munich, Salzburg (to see Mozart's house, naturally), Malta, Zurich and Luxembourg (my brother lives there). 

Zurich, Switzerland

When you live in Europe, Ryanair, is your best friend for cheap flights everywhere. It's a European version of Southwest Airlines. Also, being and EU citizen allows you to freely travel between countries. On my list is Berlin, anywhere in wine drinking country and Scotland to drink some whiskey. Oh boy, do I love whiskey. Actually, that's somewhat of an understatement. It barely hints at my level of dedication. (Smile)

Besides music and aviation I love photography. I bought a semi-professional Canon DSLR last year. I like taking photos of scenery and wildlife for the most part. It’s a nice way to pass a day or a weekend. After all, I live in one of the most scenic countries in the world. All I have to do is throw lunch in a bag and jump over the back fence.

Small road in the Irish countryside..
Torc Waterfall, Kerry

Eoin, like myself, also has an eye for flowers.  Here is an awesome thistle.

Kylemore Abby, Galway

Fenit Pier, Coast of Kerry

In terms of sports, I LOVE golf and American Football! When I was in my teens I used to caddy on the Old Head of Kinsale which for many years has been a popular links course and has gained world recognition as one of the most beautiful places to play golf in the world (as well as being a good golf course). It is a popular stop for Americans on holidays. It was at this job that I learned to play. I’m not very good but I still like to play.

In Ireland it is not easy to get American Football on TV but I watch what I can. I’m a Pats follower (don’t hold it against me but at least I don't follow the Browns) 

Paragliding in Turkey

Mountaineering is also something I really like. As if I didn’t get enough risk from flying planes around (so my mother says. She thinks it’s safer behind my piano since its unlikely to fall on me) 

THE REEK: On a rare clear day.  Visible is Craogh Patrick.  Catholic pilgrims would make an annual visit barefoot to a small summit on top to celebrate mass there.
I want to climb, or attempt to climb and 8000er. For anyone not into mountain climbing, there are 14 peaks in the world higher than 8000m. All are located in the Himalayas and Karakoram ranges of Tibet and Pakistan and are affectionately known as, The 8000ers. Only a handful of people in the world have climbed all 14. To my knowledge, only one Irish man has summited Everest, and K2 (second highest mountain) but sadly he died while aiding others high on the peak when a massive corneas broke loose from a serac and killed him in 2008. 

It still amazes me that outside of aviation and music, how much we have in common. (Although I must say that I am a NY Giants Fan, sorry to break it to you there..) It seems that no matter what, you seem to climb to the highest levels either through flying or climbing a mountain. I, too, would love to take some people, yourself included, with me to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro someday...

Even though we like to climb the mountains ourselves, to fly the planes into the sunsets at the highest flight levels ourselves, we still have those people who help guide us, like the brave Irishman you mentioned above, to fine tune us into who we are today. Who has helped to fine tune your passions?

I have had many influences but if I were to single out one for music and another for aviation I would have to start with the Late Annette DeFoubert that taught me piano for eight years prior to going into my undergraduate degree in music. She was one of Ireland’s finest teachers and wasn’t I lucky she lived around the corner? She drew out the best from my playing and exposed me to all the right opportunities I needed as a young musician. I was sad to leave her tutelage after so many years but I couldn’t have been prouder to play for her four years in later in my final recital. I think had I not had her as young boy learning piano I would most likely have ended up doing computers or something in sciences (not an unpleasant prospect but I'm pleased I stuck with music.)

My biggest aviation influence would have to be my partner, Siobhan. When I was around 18 and left school I went straight into music having not adequately explored the options in flight training and soon put it to the back of my mind as something I just wouldn’t get to do in life. When I met Siobhan (6 years ago) I mentioned I would love to be able to fly but I didn’t see how it would ever happen as it’s too expensive. She persuaded me to really explore all my options some more and eventually I found a way to finance my PPL. 

Eoin being dunked upon the successful completion of his PPL

 I suppose without her nudge I might never have gone back to explore a career as a pilot. She encourages me all the time to not give up and one day I'll find the funding to finish training as a pilot.

Yes, you were very lucky to have had one of Ireland's finest teachers right there in your own back yard.  It was very meant to be.  Also, teachers definitely do make the difference not only in a person's life but their life choices. It's amazing the impact she made on you and how she shaped you into the fine musician you are today.

And thank you to Siobhan, someone I am also proud to say that I recently became acquainted with, she has been the carrying voice, the support you needed to take your life into new levels.  We all need somone like this in our lives to be there for us, to be our co-pilot so to speak and I am so happy that you have found yours..

Ever since FFCLIVENYC, I and others present, have come to learn that social networking has no longer become an escape from the world, but if used wisely, one can connect with others and form the most priceless friendships.

Eoin, you are a tremendous example of this and it is my hope that we all should gather soon, whether here in the US, in Ireland or abroad, as I believe we have some fine adult beverage tasting that is in order. That is, when we're not flying together, of course! 

The famous collection I've been hearing about

Eoin can be found on Twitter at @PilotmanEIWith those words, I thank you, Eoin, for coming aboard and I will say:


Wine Tasting



Wednesday, November 14, 2012


"You Have The Dream, We Give It Wings"
Academy of Aviation, LLC
Farmingdale, NY 

A question was once posed that if I could have anyone over for dinner, who would it be?  My answer to that question was pretty tough as the possible answers would be endless.  Until I had a dream.  A dream that I was sitting with a group of pilots where I was able to share any of my exciting moments in aviation with...

Little did I know, that several months ago, Karlene Petitt, International ATP (Airline Transport Pilot) and acclaimed author of the aviation-thriller novel "Flight For Control" would place wings on this dream and let it soar to the highest flight levels of reality.

After winning a contest to not only receive five free copies of this literary masterpiece but also her flying my dream all the way here to New York City to deliver them to me personally, she was able to do this..

After careful consideration, I chose the five following people to receive a free copy of her autographed novel:

Robert Keleti
Natan Hoffmann
Evan Kisseloff
Chaim "Foy" Feierman
Yossi Magalnic

To my surprise, I also received a free book - an awesome one I might add!

As a result, I wanted to do everything I possibly could to make her five hour trip out here an adventure..

Weeks, if not months, of planning went into effect and thanks to Natan Hoffmann, things rolled out pretty nicely.

Alex Wood

November 1st - 10th


of a lifetime

The event was a night that I, along with many others, did not want to end.

 Broadcasting Live With Us From
Our Partner Site In Brasil

Alexander Wood

 Alex is responsible for the many awesome graphics that were provided for this event.  I can't thank him enough also for helping to broadcast the event over Twitter amongst many other things he has done in support of this website.

  Provided by M & V Limousine
Commack, NY

Sponsored by:
Natan Hoffmann

 On our way to pick up our guests.  I did rest assure Karlene that there would be enough room for everyone coming along!  (And yes.. Alex did come along with us in the limo via Skype!)
Photo compliments of Natan Hoffmann

Natan and I prepped the limo with great music, tasty beverages, and soaring spirits.  
A flight deck fit only for the best pilots.

Photos compliments of Natan Hoffmann


The Food?
Provided by:
Sushi Tokyo - Lawrence, NY

Sponsored by:


Thank you to Sushi Tokyo for the beautiful platters.  Especially the airplane shaped one!

Flight For Celebration Commemorative Sushi Platter (photo compliments of Cecilie Larsen)

Photo compliments of Natan Hoffmann

 Bon Appétit!
Photo by Jeremy's Flight Deck

Say, "Cheese!"

During the course of the evening, we shared various stories about our aviation and flying experiences.  I, and several members of the extended guests and their families, conducted a brief interview about how "Flight For Control" came into existence and where we will be headed for the future.  I also relayed the story of how most of us came together.  The dots were connected.. Just like magic....

Here comes the...

Provided by 
Sponsored by:
Natan Hoffmann

Do You Believe In Magic?
Let The Pictures Do The Talking

It's all fun and games now..

Pick a card, any card..

Let's see which card you picked which I can now locate for you without looking.

Asking Cecilie to pick a book..

Cecilie - pick a page and point to it!

Writing that page number down..

Eyal with the page number..

Let's open that same book back up to see if the page you pointed to is ripped out and placed somewhere else!

Magic makes a lot of cents and Robert definitely proved that point quite well!

Two outstanding pilots who have equiped my dreams with wings and enabling them to fly to reality...

Robert, my flight instructor, with Karlene

You never know how even just one person could make a difference in your life.. Imagine more than one..  That night, we had many.  Not only many people that make the difference in others' lives, but also the abundance of good times, and memories. 

Counter-clockwise from top: Jeremy Carlisle, Natan Hoffmann, Yossi Magalnic, Robert Keleti, Eyal Baruth, Karlene Petitt, Cecilie Larsen & Molly McGoldrick


I am proud to call myself an aviator, a teacher, and a writer.  Mostly, I am proud to call you a dear friend.

Thank you for your time, your talent, and everything that you have willingly given of yourself not only me, but to the world.  You made the world for many people who attended Saturday night.

We are forever greatful..

Let's get together again... Real Soon!