Friday, May 31, 2013

Never Write The Ending

"Écris l'histoire dans ma memoire, mais n'écris jamais la fin."
("Write the story in my memory, however never write the ending.")

-Grégory Lemarchal 
(13 May 1983 - 30 April 2007)

I can't help to think of the quote above when I think of one of the world's most disastrous and fatal  catastrophes not only in French aviation but worldwide aviation with one of the world's most equipped and state of the art commercial transporters: The Airbus Industrie A330.

My response to two recent blog posts by two A330 pilots about this is:  

Thank you both for coming out and stressing to everyone the importance of knowing exactly what happened that night and why.  To write that story, (i.e., to make the story known, to make the public aware of the truth, to ask those questions, and also to promote higher training and safety standards so that the ending of their memories of those on board AFR447 will never be extinguished.  Not only that, but to prevent catastrophes such as this from ever happening again.

The two Pilots:

BILL Palmer is someone that I've recently had the honor of coming across online and reading the wealth of information he provides on his blogsite Trend Vector (click his name).  As seasoned Captain, Check Airman, and Airbus Instructor with a glider rating on the side, Palmer has published systems manuals for the Airbus with Northwest Airlines.  Because of Bill's seasoned knowledge of the A330, he was requested by Karlene Petitt to write about that tragic night.  And exactly that, he is doing. I highly urge everyone to check out his project ,  sign up for updates, and read it when released.  I know I will be for sure.  

KARLENE Petitt has taken an interesting, if not captivating, approach to getting the voice out through putting fiction in front of a mirror and having it shine back the reflection of truth.  As a result of her seasoned experience as a commercial pilot with many type rates for several airlines, she has already published her first novel "Flight For Control", is diligently working on its screenplay for an up and coming major Motion Picture.  Even more so, working on the sequel "Flight For Safety" where these events will be brought back to life.  To tell the truth through fiction.

(If you haven't already ordered and read "Flight For Control" please go to the right hand side of this website and order it.  It takes only a few seconds, maybe an extra one to write "Jeremy Sent Me"  in the instructions/comments section.  Please order it and read it before the sequel "Flight For Safety" goes to market this summer!)  

My hat goes off to both of these pilots.  Why?  Because they are writing the words that were never told from the souls that can no longer speak.

With these words, I present..

May 31st, 2013


Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Tuesday Trivia Returns!

by Jeremy Carlisle

Yes, it has been a long while since I posted a Tuesday 777 Triva question, however, I have decided to broaden the trivia horizons beyond the 777.  I will however, continue to post aircraft specific questions - especially with the Triple Seven to make up for lost time.

I want to re-launch this column with a very important trivia question that I've always wanted to ask not only the sports community but more so, especially, the aviation community.

Aviation Enthusiasts and Beyond

May 21st, 2013

Which international tennis stadium is named after a veteran pilot and war hero?   (Hint: an annual tournament is held in this venue every year with the same name as the stadium.)

And for extra credit:

I may post an expedited answer sooner than next Tuesday, however, please revisit next Tuesday for the answer (again) and next question!


Friday, May 17, 2013

First Time For Everything

A beautiful sunny afternoon rested around the New York City area as I was waiting impatiently watching the turbines of a GE-90 circumnavigate their encasements at the pace of molasses outside the waiting area of Gate 6 at John F. Kennedy's Terminal One.
Once the breezes picked up the turbines reacted accordingly or was it that I was becoming more impatient by the moment?  A beautiful Alitalia Triple Seven sat next door as the neighbor at Gate 4, the most insular one.

I had to walk down T1 a ways to grab a beer because I needed to get some alcohol down my system to take the edge of impatience off not to mention to get the party started.  Passing a Lufthansa gate, I immediately noticed elaborately dressed flight attendants with red laced hats having just debarked the plane at the next platform over - Emirates.
There was a reason to celebrate this afternoon.  Not because I was at JFK for a spotting trip, but it was 2006.  May 17th to be exact.  And it was to be my first time to ride in Boeing 777.

As I was making my return to Gate 6, my departing gate, from the beer fest, I heard some thunder.  I looked out the terminal window as every hair and nerve within my body stood up. It was United 100 in battleship grey.  Also a triple seven operation, thundering and rolling down 13R and as it hit Vr (rotate), I watched it's triple axel sever with the old pavement of 13R to make its "Gateway Turn" departure procedure starting its overnight journey for Heathrow.  Runways can change at the drop of a coin at JFK but I new I was in for a treat that late afternoon.

Once I heard the French boarding preparation announcement for Air France Flight 023 to DeGaulle, I was thankful that my French education from Central Michigan University proved to be at least somewhat effective in getting my nerves to calm down a bit.  Actually it was the opposite effect as my heart sped faster when my boarding area was called.  Making my way down the HSBC jet way my eyesight developed a white blur around it as if I was in a dream.  A dream that I had been dreaming a long time.  To return to Europe, in a Boeing 777 no less.  To France, a place I had once been as a student, even.

As I entered the massive single level heavy, "dream mode" was still in full effect and even more so once I heard the classical music over the PA system.  For a moment I thought I was on an Air France Concorde especially having come across a well trained flight attendant who quickly greeted me in the most pleasant manner, "Bonjour!" to which I started engaging in the short but effective French dialogue to get me over to seat 36L, the place I'd call home for the next 6 hours and 40 minutes.  That is if the tailwinds didn't pick up.

I made my way to my seat after having passed and greeted another two male flight attendants.  When I looked outside my window I saw what I had been longing to see:  A long, massive wing that stretched from near my seat all the way up to heaven.

With a quick pushback and an unexpectedly quick taxi down PAPA to the threshold of 13R at PAPA-FOXTROT, those two GE-90 powerplants pointed the one way ticket to my eternal  allegiance to the Boeing 777 as we went full throttle rolling and thundering parallel to Jamaica Bay.  

Moments after Vr, we lifted off, and seconds after I could see the smoke stacks of Bayswater, Far Rockaway positioned roughly 800 feet below the tips of the massive wingflex of F-GSPM making our "Gateway Climb" departure for BETTE3 our SID (Standard Instrument Departure).

The flight that night brought the Air France slogan "Faire du ciel le plus bel endroit de la terre" ("Making the sky the best place on Earth") to its true essence.

With these words, I present to you

May 17, 2013

My first Boeing 777 ride


(Turn up your speakers all the way up for full effect):

Passiez un plus bon week~end à tous!

Have a great weekend, everyone!


Tuesday, May 14, 2013

That's NOT a BOEING?!

"Love Is In The Air"

by Jeremy Carlisle

It was a dreary afternoon in late 2000 and I was standing on the Cedarhurst Long Island Railroad (LIRR) platform waiting for my train back into the city.  I had just transplanted to New York and was just getting used to the incoming and outgoing traffic out of New York's John F. Kennedy Airport that encompassed the airspace above the Five Towns area of Nassau County, Long Island on a daily basis.

As a I was waiting for my train, my ears detected a faint howling sound of jet engines distantly behind me.  I took a look back and saw a white vague shape, however, as it came closer, I saw that it had four engines.  I thought to myself, "Ah, it's another 747.."  Little did I know having just arrived from a rural area in Michigan where spotting heavies was a bit foreign to the spotter's eye.  To which a DC-9 was considered to be "heavy metal."  

As this plane came closer and closer, I noticed that this transport only had one level.  But with four engines?  Then the words came out of my mouth, 

"Wait a minute!  That's NOT a BOEING?!"  

Indeed it wasn't. Not only a new plane but also a new airline. As I watched the massive single level quad-powerplant pass overhead on final for Kennedy's 31R, big navy blue letters on its side signaled to my brain:

The French Acronym For:
Société Anonyme Belge d'Exploitation de la Navigation Aérienne 
(Literally: "Belgian 'Anonymous Society' for Exploitation of Air Navigation")


I remember the name "Airbus" being mentioned by my father prior to my arrival in NY.  As far as I recall, he mentioned that we had taken an A319 or -20 out to Denver with Northwest, but wasn't for sure.  As my passions for aviation grew, this name "Airbus" would be written, typed, less alone would come out of my mouth on a daily basis.

Of course, when jetBlue came on the scene February 11th, 2000, I was well acquainted with the A320 upon my arrival here, then using that model to identify other baby buses with other carriers.  

November of 2000, I received my formal introduction to Airbus, when I picked up the December 2000 issue (no longer in print) of Airways Magazine.  Norwegian aviation journalist and photographer Kjell Oskar Granlund took me aboard the life of a pilot on the SABENA Airbus A330-200, this time it would be OO-SFP.  The flight from Brussels National (BRU/EBBR) to Atlanta-Hartsfield (ATL/KATL) was under the controls of Captain André D'Hondt and assisting him seated in the right seat was the Chief Pilot of Sabena's A330/340 fleet, Captain Louis Cornet.

Vivid photographs of the flight deck aligned the article and as my eyeballs went across each line on the page like a tennis match. I was too quickly falling in love with this amazing aircraft.  The article elaborated its readers of the Airbus fly-by-wire technology along with ETOPS (Extended Twin-Engine Operation Performance Standards) missions as this A330 flew not only across the Atlantic but also across the page before my very eyes just like that day standing on the train platform.

Another amazing thing I noticed from the article, was the photograph of the sectional chart showing the route not scraping the eastern seaboard, but venturing down the St. Lawrence Seaway, Lake Erie, over Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, and down into Atlanta.

The article, like many good things, had to come to an end when a southern voice came from Atlanta center clearing the Belgian ship and its inhabitants in for a MACEY 2 STAR via WOMAC.  Being that Atlanta is one of the world's busiest, communications had to be to a "T" - but it made for an ending, a touchdown, to the article par excellence.  It took me a few minutes to read the article but for Captains D'Hondt and Cornet, it took them a total of 9 hours and 24 minutes to let those pages fly.

I must say that after reading this article, it left a special place in my soul for the Airbus - especially the A330.  Every time I am in town around JFK and see their finals and/or take offs around Kennedy I gaze up and smile.  It makes for an amusing conversation with my non-av(iation) friends who look at me identifying those buses to myself, as if I was from another planet, and say, "Whatever you say."  As much as I've heard the terms "Scarebus", "Airbust" and the like, nothing will scare me from riding in one of the Airbus fleet less alone many other aircraft.. And I certainly look forward to my first ride in the A330, or perhaps the fading A340, but most certainly the new A350.   

Sunday, May 12, 2013

What is "Love"


When we someone tells another, "I love you" one usually takes this phrase for granted or say it subconsciously without conceptualizing its true meaning.  Why do I say this?  Well, let's we should take a deeper look at what the definition of love is.

According to the Oxford Dictionary, here is the definition:

Definition of love


  • 1an intense feeling of deep affection:babies fill parents with intense feelings of lovetheir love for their country
  •  a deep romantic or sexual attachment to someone:it was love at first sightthey were both in love with herwe were slowly falling in love
  •  (Love) a personified figure of love, often represented as Cupid.
  •  a great interest and pleasure in something:his love for footballwe share a love of music
  •  affectionate greetings conveyed to someone on one’s behalf.
  •  a formula for ending an affectionate letter:take care, lots of love, Judy

What seems to be missing in my personal humble opinion from this entry is the word:


When we truly love someone, we are willing to sacrifice everything we have for that person.  I can not tell you what my mother has sacrificed for me to be where I am today.  

Not only the mentality I have, but the good work ethic, morals, and what it means to be a good and caring person to sacrifice and give to others.

In all essence to say, "I love you" without the sacrifice for that person seems so superficial. 

Please think of all the sacrifices your mother has made for you not only when telling your mother, "I love you" but also "Happy Mother's Day"

On behalf of myself and all of the contributors to this website, I not only thank each and every mother out there for all of the sacrifices that you've given not only to your children and their friends, but what you've given to the world.  Setting that example, that teaching of what it means to "love."




Friday, May 10, 2013

The Big Wedding

This week, six outstanding pilots/writers shared their stories in formation (see right hand side of this website) about how they came to aviation.  On the same token, they asked their audiences to reply to their posts.  To share our stories of how we came to aviation and how we also, like them, developed these passions to grow wings and fly.

I have been sharing my story as much as I can to their websites however, I have decided sum my story up with one photo:

My wedding photo.

.....The wedding  was June 18, 1996
my first time on an airplane.  Ever.

.... and ....
I was really nervous...

The reception was at Detroit Wayne Co.-Metropolitan, the wedding ceremony took place in International Airspace over the North Atlantic Track Crossing System.  Her Royal Majesty, The Boeing 747, The Queen of the skies herself was the master of ceremonies as the ceremony itself lasted 7 hours and 55 minutes long.  The wedding party was at Amsterdam Schipol immediately after landing the next morning.  Once landing was complete, I sealed the vow to love aviation for the rest of my life.. 

This marriage has lasted and will last forever. 

My marriage to aviation was complete.

With these words, master photographer Anthony Guerra of AirTeam Images presents you

May 10th, 2013

The moment my life officially took off..

This photo is Copyright Anthony Guerra.

Have a great weekend, everyone!  


Thursday, May 9, 2013

Ben Davison


Having been studying alphabet airspace and sectional charts for my up and coming FAA exam, I was reminded of someone who I connected with on Twitter a while back and who has been apart of my Twitter aviation family ever since.  This outstanding pilot, successful blogger, and fellow Mid-Westerner cleared me into his Class-B airspace for a few minutes so I could enter the world of "Airplanology"  Please help me welcome


Welcome to the flight deck, Ben!

I remember the day on Twitter you announced your site was no longer titled "Flying With Ben" and that you wanted a new identity.  Could you tell us what made you decide to blog in the first place and a little bit about this change? 

From the beginning I've been a blogging person. I ran a very successful respiratory therapy blog that had to be taken down for legal reasons, and when I re-discovered my inner aviator I decided to write about it.

Initially I was "Fly with Ben" and I updated maybe once every few weeks. I had a passion for aviation, but I had a lot of other stuff going on...and so it sort of took a back seat. 

Then I went to Oshkosh and it changed my life. I've been to airshows, I've seen the planes and the aerobatics. But Oshkosh is more than that. It made me realize exactly how much I love this flying stuff. There is something magic about flying and aviation, and while it can be fashionable in some sets to be burned out or blase or cool about flying, I've decided that I really prefer to be a huge AvGeek and let it be known to all and sundry that this - aviation - is what my life's all about.

 "I *love* to fly, and I *love* airplanes, and not ashamed." 

A view Ben and I know quite well.  The Chicago skyline over Lake Michigan.

So with that spirit in mind, I began to blog more, write more. As part of that change I came up with the Airplanology name, and gradually began trying to generate more and better content. It's been a struggle to do as much as I'd like as I've been busy with CTI school. But there should be much more to come for Airplanology, and I'm hoping to grow it substantially in the years to come.

I love how the trip to Oshkosh changed your life and your outlook.  It is definitely the quintessential aviation event of a lifetime no matter how many times a person participates.  It doesn't surprise me that this event inspired you to let the world know your love for aviation and to present better website content no matter the challenges.  Being that you just expressed your love for aviation, how did aviation first enter your life?

Aviation's always been an interest of mine. It also runs in the family. One of my grandfathers flew C-46's over "the hump" in India in WWII, plus some C-47 and B-26 time, and talking to him was always inspiring. My father was a long-term student pilot but due to some issues with substance abuse he never did get his license. 

When I was a kid I'd stop and look up whenever I heard airplanes, because it just seemed amazing to me that people could get into a small plane and fly wherever they wanted. I used to read old copies of Flying magazine and AOPA Pilot that my Dad had. 

I also used to be able to bike to KLEW, and I'd sit and watch the planes through the fence. One time some old WWII Warbirds came and I went and gawked at them all day. There's something special about the mix of aluminum, rivets and avgas that's hard to explain.

I wanted to go to college and be a 747 captain. I even took some flying lessons and got about 15 hours. But right when I was going to go to college 9/11 happened. It was a bad time for America and a bad time for the aviation industry, and so I took the pragmatic path and went into a career as a respiratory therapist and sort of left aviation behind me. 

Then one day, I was sitting on my porch in Florida, bored and wondering what to do, when a formation of planes roared over the house. Turns out I lived under the approach path to Sun n Fun. After a few batches of inbounds passed over me, I jumped in the car and drove to the airport. I got there just in time to see Matt Younkin's twin beech looping and roaring in the air. It gave me goosebumps,

"and it woke me up: what the hell was I doing with my life? I should be doing THAT." 

After that moment I decided to go back to it. 
I found a CFI and on October 16, 2010 I got my PPL. 

Ben, I am a very firm believer in the term, "from the heavens" - that everything is not by chance and happens for a reason.  Even though 9/11 happened and you but the plans on hold, that moment when those planes flying above your head was definitely as sign for you at the time and I am glad that it was what you needed to finish the PPL.  This also leads me to ask you at what other factors led you to say to yourself, "I'm becoming a pilot!"?

Deciding to become a pilot encouraged me to take a more active role in my life. I'd been sort of drifting along before, not particularly thrilled with my work or most of the rest of my life. Learning to fly has taught me to take control of my destiny instead of just riding along.

"Life is short; 
                      find your happy 
and go for it." 

In The Mountains with Oshkosh on mind.

Learning to be a pilot has also made me a better thinker. Good pilots are always a step ahead, planning, thinking, analyzing. These are all skills that work well in the non-aviation world too. 

Yes, those are definite qualities of an excellent pilot. Especially in the non-av world.  What are some of your most memorable moments so far as a pilot?

One of my most memorable moments was landing alongside some warbirds at KLAL. They were already on the ground when I arrived, but I got to park next to a P-51D, a B-17, and a B-24. I literally walked from my airplane into the B-17...a pretty cool moment for me. 

Also at KLAL, I got to fly pattern work with a USCG C-130. Being in a C-150 and sharing a pattern with a C-130 is an interesting experience, to say the least.

Nice!  I have a special love affair with the bombers.. especially the B-25, -29, and especially the -52.  All plane awesome.  I am also proud to say that I know a C-130 pilot as well.  A truly remarkable individual.  Which would you say would be your aviation loves?

With the Beaver
My favorite airplane overall, in terms of what I'd like to get out of general aviation, is probably the Lake LA-4. Amphibians are just "plane" cool, and the Lake seems to be an exceptionally capable and well-designed machine. Flying boats are (IMO) superior to floatplanes...the LA-4 looks good on a ramp or on a beach, it's got a decent carrying capacity, and it's just sort of cool. If I ever have a spare $80k I'll buy myself one. I also like the Republic RC-3 Sea Bee, though the 'Bee seems a little clunkier than the LA-4.  

Ah!  I see we both have more in common.  I love water/float planes.  I long to fly in one.  Being that you decided to become a pilot, what eventually lead you to want to keep the skies in order through ATC?

I came to ATC through a sort of long process. As I mentioned, I wanted to be a commercial airline pilot as a young child. And when I started my flying lessons, I still wanted to do that. When I spoke at length with my CFI about it, he actually discouraged me from getting into commercial flying: "It's one thing to go fly for fun because you love it, but it's another thing altogether to have to get up and fly all day even if you feel like crap." His experiences as a regional airline captain didn't sound like the sort of work I wanted to do, and I could see myself becoming one of those blasé and jaded pilots. I love this stuff way too much to let that happen, so I began exploring other options.

I hear the words of your CFI, and I can relate to it as I was in college as a music performance major to begin with and the hours where so intense and draining that it took something that I completely loved to do and burned me totally out of it.  One really has to have that passion to fly revenue under those conditions: fatigue, sickness, etc.  CFIs are not only there to teach us but also to guide us for our best interests in every way possible.  What was the final deciding factor for ATC?

ATC came to me in Atlanta, watching the planes land at KATL. Seeing the precise spacing of the airliners in 3-mile intervals, watching the flow on and off the runways, I realized what an amazing feat of infrastructure our ATC system is, and I wanted in. The ATC system is amazingly complex and it works amazingly well, increasingly so considering the aging technology and workforce that it is based on. I did some research and discovered that, if I went to college pretty quickly, I could graduate with two years time to get hired*. 

I like your mindset with that.  Even with guys like myself who coming in later in the game, and are looking for a career change love to have an evil twin that says, "It's just too late to become a revenue pilot."  The truth is, if one does the math, even for ATC, it isn't too late if you get in the game in the nick of time instead of wasting it.  Speaking of this time, what's the outlook for you and the future?

I graduate on May 18th and I have 25 months from that day before I am 'too old' to be hired as a controller. I'm cautiously optimistic that it will happen. 

I'm hoping to get hired as a controller in the near future, ideally at a mid-size Class C airport or a busier Class D. I'd like to be at a facility where I can work tower and radar, and then as I grow as a controller I can move in whatever direction seems best for me. I'd like to pursue more ratings on the side, and eventually get my IFR, commercial, and CFI. Aviation is a huge industry and I want to sample a little bit of everything: fixed wing, multi engine, seaplanes, gliders, helicopters, jets, IFR and name it and I want to do it. 

I'm hoping to begin construction on a Sonex once I finish my bachelor's degree, sometime in the next two to four years. 

Awesome!  I think this is fantastic and also that you are also looking to expand into IFR, Multi-Engine as I know of other ATC graduates who have a these backgrounds as well.  I wish you well on your Sonex construction and getting your bachelors.  Speaking of well wishes, I hear a congratulations is in order?  Please tell us..

I recently scored a 92.5 on the Air Traffic Selection and Training (ATSAT) exam, which places me in the "well qualified" applicant pool. Assuming that congress doesn't completely gut our infrastructure soon, I have a good chance of being hired before June 2015, when I'm suddenly too old to be hired. 

* The FAA will not hire controllers ab initio if they're older than 31. This is because (a) it takes a long time, sometimes up to four or five years, to fully certify a controller; and (b) the FAA has mandatory retirement at 56 years of age for line controllers, so hiring anyone over 31 means they have less than 25 years available to serve.

Interesting!  I thought becoming a pilot had its challenges.  Even more for a controller.  Thank you for sharing this information.  Would you like to share any recommendations for future pilots and/or our industry at large?

General advice, for pilots and non pilots: DON'T PANIC. The "Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy" says that this is the best advice out there, and it's correct. Don't panic, fly the airplane, stay a few minutes ahead of yourself, and life will be good. 

St. Pete
Advice to the industry: Tap into the magic. Flying is cool. It will always be cool. The fact that you can move thousands of pounds of stuff from one narrow concrete strip to another one thousands of miles away, with incredible precision and safety, thousands of times a day, is incredible. 

Also, educate the public. Treat passengers like people, not like cattle. And get some good PR. Talk to local news media, local politicians. Just be good. Be more Southwest and less Continental.

Advice to future pilots: Follow your heart. Don't do what I did and go into an industry you're really ambivalent about just because it's more lucrative or more pragmatic. I'd gladly give back my decade as a respiratory therapist for a decade as a CFI. I might have had less money, but I think it would have made me a lot happier, and in the long run that's all you've got. 

And advice to pilots, for dealing with ATC: Be respectful, be brief, and LISTEN. Attitude or ineptitude will make you "number last for landing," and failure to listen will make you look like a goober.

Thompson Lake, Maine

In a larger sense, I'd like to share my love of aviation with the world at large. More people need to see aviation as the triumph of engineering and human spirit that it is. We need to counter the public perception that flying is either (a) a bus with wings, or (b) reserved for wealthy robber barons. Flying is something that can inspire people and help them to grow as human beings and we need to maximize that potential. If I can spread the love of flying to a few other people, or keep my fellow pilots from burning out, I'll feel like I've accomplished something. 

Ben, I agree.  Aviation does need that better image.  Especially for those who are thinking of becoming pilots.  We don't need the negative attitude fed to them that pilots are nothing other than flying bus drivers and that it's not worth it.  For those to realize that there are those who bust their chops working to earn the money to learn to fly instead of having it handed down.

Mostly, thank you for helping spread the love of flying by clearing everyone and I to come into your airspace and to hear your story.  Thank you for your wealth of information and passion for what you do.  I am really looking forward not only hearing great outcomes in your future but also looking forward to fly with you when I am on one of my extended Chicago layovers for Grand Rapids, Michigan.

For everyone, Ben can be followed through the following:


Last and certainly not least, his 

Always spreading the passion,

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Synchronized Flying!

What happens when you take some of the world's most amazing pilots and synchronize them as being the most amazing writers?

This is what you get:


Please help me welcome these awesome individuals by visiting their sites on Twitter and find out what got them into the skies.  You never know how much the power of their words will give your wings the lift to make your dreams, goals, and ambitions soar beyond the skies.