Sunday, April 28, 2013

The Broker

One of the worst feelings is to be wanted.  Not only wanted but wanted dead.  Having given your family a bad name, they want nothing to do with you.  You were a power shot broker in Washington and all it took was a bad deal on an international scale and now you are a Federal prison rat. 
A lame duck President sits fading as the final days, hours, minutes, less alone seconds pass by in office knowing he is on his way out and you are banking on the fact and act his graces will grant you his last pardon to escape the death penalty.  But the greatest question is: would it be less painful to be dead or alive where many people are out to hunt you down to kill you?  All you want to do for the rest of your life is to stay in a cold, dark Federal correction cell but even in that environment it is hard to trust those who protect you.  This is the only lifestyle that could be lived and know how to be lived.
Author John Grisham took the suspense of his pen to introduce us to Joel Backman, this power shot broker in Washington who had to pay a price for a bad deal, by carving a masterpiece through to which mystery, drama, and the science of what it means to take a man out of his own element and placing him in another form. 
All it took was the Feds whisking Backman away in a military cargo plane (yes, there was a catch to me reading this novel) and sending him to an unknown place to which he would have to leave the man he knew his whole life.  To change himself completely.  Adopt a new name, a new language, less alone lifestyle within a matter of days as if he had been living in this new place his whole life.  Not only that but to be given one last chance at life.  The Feds were backing him up and keeping him well protected, well, for now..  But was it a plot for his own government to kill him before the others?  The Saudis also wanted him.  So did the Chinese, and the Israelis.  There was purely no escape only that which would test the limit element to which he would've never realized he could possibly achieve.  This is coming from someone who always got what he wanted.  The element of survival as the American government was also eventually closing in on him.
Within all of this, he has to have a connection to the outside world.  A world that he once knew.  Freedom.  But at what price would he have to pay?
I fell in love with this novel not only because of the above, but because Grisham took me not only back in time but also abroad to a place I call fantasy land: Italy.  Grisham allowed me once again to roam the cobblestone streets of Assisi aligned with the smell of the cafés of Genoa with the breathtaking views of Florence and Rome.  He not only took Backman/Lazerri out of his element but did the same with me.  Because of this novel I found myself reminiscing as I was brushing up on basic Italian at lightening speed while eating my favorite Italian foods.  When I make my return to Italy, I must say that Bologna will be on my list.
Florence, Italy
This book was about running away only to find out that you run away to face your own fears in the end more than you would had you not left in the first place.  Leave it to Grisham to accomplish this, not only to captivate his readers but to do it with style.  Italian style.
Thank you Mr. Grisham for not only introducing me to Joel Backman but also transporting me to the world of Marco Lazerri.  Not only once, but twice.

I would ask you if there is any place in the world where would you go if you wanted to test the limits of your own element, your own environment, however, I will give you the answer to this: enter into the world of

Friday, April 26, 2013

New Beginnings

This week I left behind a piece of machinery that has left so many memories and has helped me accomplish so many projects - especially creating this site: 
My Dell Inspiron E1505 laptop
Not only writing, blogging, amongst other things, it was also used as my gateway to the world of virtual flight: Microsoft Simulator 2004.  Yes, the same program that John and Martha King are seen explaining their love of aviation and what it means to learn how to fly.  In that case, to fly a computer.  A computer that I have flown thousands of miles over hundreds of hours across many oceans using professional add-on software to not only make it all the more realistic, but also to learn as much as I possibly could before the intro flight.  I obsessively speak of this program because it has made an impact on where my aviation world is today. 
The quite unsuccessful installing of the King Schools preparation course software into my Inspiron this week led to me obtaining a new laptop as the software wasn't compatible with my older version of Windows Vista and also some of the number keys broke.  I knew its days were numbered as purchasing a new computer was less of a hassle than dealing with updating and replacing keys.  Not to mention battery life issues..

Another factor was that one can only use the King Schools course on one computer and for that student pilot's computer only.  Had I installed the program on the old laptop, I would have had some issues should I needed to purchase a new one.  So.. because of the above, the decision and time was right.
I had to get a new machine.  To leave the old one behind and start anew with new memories.  With this, I have now established a new relationship with John and Martha King in this regard making new digital flight memories - this time, the real deal.
So I will leave you with this week's visual.  Here are to new beginnings:

April 26th, 2013
The new control center to
Jeremy's Flight Deck
Seattle graphics by default
Cheers & Have a great weekend everyone!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Karlene Petitt

It's 7:47 PM out here on the East Coast and throughout the day the words: Air Traffic Control, Sequester, and Safety have been ringing in my head all day.  Not to mention: landing, traffic patterns, weight, and airspeed to name a few others.  

Or wait, the five things off the top of my head: 
Speed, Heading, Troubleshoot, Communication, and Secure.

I have been studying for the past several days in preparation for an FAA Knowledge Exam which will test my knowledge in many areas.  I not only want to pass this test, but pass it with flying colors.

The reason is simple.  I want not only to be an excellent pilot, but.. a safe one.

Speaking of safe.., I recently took a trip down memory lane to an interview I conducted a little over a year ago when our friend Karlene Petitt launched her first novel "Flight For Control" - the same "Flight For Control" which I have had the chance to read not once, not twice, but many times.  It was also a novel that brought several pilots, myself included, together for an event here in NYC last November.  

Now Karlene is about to present to us the sequel to Flight For Control - Flight For Safety published by JetStar Publishing Company.  A novel that we will all be looking forward to.  And for me.. another seven.  That is, when I am taking a break from studying.

To my dear readers, I present to you the interview I conducted with Karlene Petitt on March 30th, 2012:

Accomplished.  Distinguished.  Successful.

These are the words that come to mind when I think of an individual who I stumbled upon Twitter many months back.  She really needs no introduction, however, I invited her to come aboard my flight deck as she has a new hit novel out entitled, "Flight For Control"

Dear Readers,
May I introduce to you


Welcome to the flight deck, Karlene!

Aviation!  Why?  What was your force to say, "I'll be the pilot!"

When I was 9 years old I was told that I couldn't become a pilot unless I was a girl.  The challenge was on.  I told everyone that I was going to be a pilot from that point on.  I couldn't back down.  When I took that first flight I thought, "Wow!  They're going to pay me to do this?!?"

in the Boeing 747
With those words, she did embark on that non-stop journey to success.  Throughout her love and passion for aviation, she acquired a type-rate on seven different equipment, from the Boeing 727 to the 767, was a Senior First Officer, Check Airman, and Instructor for several different airlines.  She currently operates the Airbus Industrie A330 as a First Officer for a world renowned international carrier.  Karlene also holds master’s degrees in Business and Human Services.  Most importantly, she is a devoted wife, mother, and grandmother to a beautiful family.  A mentor, a motivator for many of those like me who are striving to obtain the highest flight levels.
Karlene recently opened a new and most important chapter in her life.  One that is not only the most important to her’s, but the lives of others. As we all know as of yesterday’s news in the aviation world, fiction just became reality and the importance has set in like stone.  This event was echoed in the launch operation of her new novel:

Of course I had to go in and find the drive behind this aviation thriller.

What was your driving motivation behind your website "Flight to Success" and what led you to go full throttle with your new novel?
Flight to Success was something that is my passion. To help people. I love training, teaching and motivating. Helping people is what I love. I know the industry needs to be fixed and we need to take care of our employees… especially our pilots since they are caring for the lives of many. 
So this book creates awareness of human factors. The next will create awareness of the problem with automation and proficiency. Then the final will be when I get my Ph.D. in Aviation and solve the problem.
Inspiration for the book came from a Union captain who said, “I’d rather see them shutdown that give them anything!” At the same time I was working in the helping side of ALPA and pilots were calling often with serious personal stress. Then I went to a conference and learned that a number of pilots had committed suicide. I have worked with pilots under great deal of stress. I just had finished my Masters in Human Services and counseling. All this combined made me realize that there is a story here, that must be told.

What kind of impact do you hope your novel will make on our industry less alone your readers?

Public: Create awareness of the reality in the industry, and support the crew members.

Pilots: They need to take care of themselves because the industry isn’t. Awareness that anyone can break….as we saw with Jet Blue Captain today.  See Karlene’s Article
Future Pilots: The industry is up to you. Hold strong to your work rules, pay, and regulations. Pilot’s shouldn’t be flying high time to make ends meet… they can’t be their best if they are… so the pay has to be there in the first place.
“We don’t want to believe that pilots can breakdown. But they are just human. This is a reality.”

Karlene’s last point really hits home especially for those recently on the jetBlue flight.  Karlene and I realize the importance of long haul flight planning on an international scale.  Getting everyone to the their final destinations quickly and in one piece.  She definitely has set out her flight plan to get everyone and the aviation industry to it’s final destination: SAFETY.  Having connected to Karlene not only online, but through her novel, I wish to add an adjective to the list above in her introduction:


Karlene, thank you for not only breaking the sound barriers of aviation, but also by fulfilling your dream of becoming a pilot, and becoming an asset to our (aviation) industry.  You have given so much motivation to so many individuals out there who are pursuing their dreams.  It was truly an honor to have you on my flight deck and I hope to have the honor of sharing an “Auto-Pilot” session with you sometime on the A330, or perhaps, the 777 someday!

In the words of Karlene:

Enjoy the journey!


Friday, April 19, 2013

Sunrise, Sunset

America is the land of the sea to shining sea.  The land of opportunity.
The music group Augustana gave the world a song to which it tells about someone who had a failed relationship and wanted to move to the east coast to start a new life.  And that song was named:


The first time I heard that song was when I was driving through downtown Boston at night and it started to snow lightly.  That song couldn't have come on the radio at a better time and a better place.

This week has yet been another week of loss, for such a great city with great people, however, if there is one thing to keep in mind it is this:

Where ever there is a sunset, there will always be a sunrise to replace it...

on the other side - just like in that song which sings its praises to a city which suffered such a terrible tragedy and losses this week.

From myself and those who contribute so much to this website, I want to let this wonderful city know that our thoughts and prayers are with you.

April 19, 2012

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

There's no place like home

Imagine you've been crossing oceans for days with an uncooperative flight crew. You don't know what time it is, less alone the day, month, or perhaps, even the year.  Turbulence both outside and inside the plane and you have a splitting headache. Eyes blurry from fatigue and an upset stomach on the side from eating tasteless macaroni salad with tough grilled chicken that tastes like rubber. Not to mention you've been sleeping on mattresses that feel like the cardboard seats back in steerage. (I'll use the term "steerage" to be at least somewhat dramatic.)

All you want is to be home having a home cooked meal, a shower, less alone sleeping in bed next to your loved ones - even if it's your teddy bear.

Imagine those who've been living in an apartment for decades and finally had the money or means to purchase a new home. Or to build a new kitchen, a new living room.

The sense of comfort and belonging come into play.

Today marks the sixty-fifth birthday of a place on Earth which has been in the news so much and is one of the most hated (unfortunately) yet one of the most loved places in the world:


I can't say that I have been yet but I will say that from what I've been told by many people both Jewish and not, that when one travels to Israel, there is a special aura about the environment there that is inexplicable. The Garden of Eden. If heaven could have a place on Earth.

Israel also is also one of the few middle eastern countries which has advances in the sciences, aviation, medicine, and technology. Most of all, Israel promotes not only human rights, but women's rights less alone the rights of many other groups. The paramount of Israel is that it is a guiding light in the eastern part of the world for democracy and freedom amongst its citizens no matter which religious background you come from.

Israel is home to many people. People who have been exiled and have come back after a long trip abroad. For some, the trip has lasted for thousands of years throughout many generations.

Try to imagine and keep the beginning of this post in mind when you think of what it is like to visit Israel on many levels.

There is no place like home...

חג עצמאות שמח

Here's to many more, Israel...

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Quality Not Quantity

I am not the type to discuss how many hours I have logged, whether few or many, but people both aviation and non-aviation still flat out ask me, "So... how many hours do you have already?"

Why do people honestly need to know other than the FAA, instructor, airline, and other applicable people? It's a personal thing to me despite the fact the competition is out there to be the best. 

Now... I could be a total prick and say, "none of your business" but my personality would never take a nose dive to that altitude. To figure out a response to that question, my instructor has taught me something valuable for the past month which will give me some perspective on how i could go about answering that inquiry specifically:

It's not about quantity, but the quality of learning that you have within that time.

My instructor reflected on a fellow student of his that has only 100 hours on his time sheet but when it's all said and done, because of his seriousness, hard work and dedication within a short period of time, his 100 hours were as if he had flown over fifteen hundred. It's also to point out that you could have pilots with over 1,500 hours and it is as if they are in their first 80. Nowadays it's not the hours. It's the QUALITY of those hours.

With that said.. I must say that if I were asked again, I would respond, "It depends on how you define 'hours'"

If you must know.. I arrived at the airport at 3:15pm and left at Within that time a lot of training occurred to which after I got on the Long Island Rail Road the studying didn't stop. And will not as I have yet a lot of work to do before I go airborne again less alone bed tonight.

While I study, I will leave you with some photos from my afternoon with someone I am proud to call my instructor:

Have a great week all!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

The Iron Dream


This week, on the same day, we lost two amazing people but gained their immense legacies. They were some of the most influential women to walk the Earth's surface during their lifetime.

A dream is a wish your heart makes and dreams became reality for many because of these two women.

For one of them, we were encouraged to be strong like an iron fist. The other, encouraged to be strong with a smile while soaking up the sun.

Together, they urged us to flex our wings and reach for the stars.

April 12th 2012

13 October 1925 – 8 April 2013

October 22, 1942 – April 8, 2013

Friday, April 5, 2013

Perception Speaks


April 5th, 2013


This photo was taken and edited by someone deep within the world of Autism.  This someone is also one of my students who I have trained and continue to train in photographing moving objects.  To the eye is within the beholder and to someone within the Autism spectrum, one perceives the world at a whole different angle.  Ironically enough, my student and I share the same eye direction - always pointed to the sky at planes.  Even though our perceptions are different, we always meet at a common angle.

To the world, this photo could come across as if two planes were about to collide with each other.  But with someone with a different perception of the world, this photo has a much more different look to it.  But how will we know what that look is?

April is also known as AUTISM AWARENESS MONTH.  Even though the births and diagnosis statistics are continuing to grow rapidly, there is still a majority of the our society which is unaware of these facts.  A society which individuals within this spectrum feel estranged from because of this fact.  Not only our society which is unaware of Autism and the statistics, but also lack the training and knowledge about Autism to know how to interact with those individuals who are - to know exactly what that look from the above photo is.

Out of every 10 families I know personally, one of them contains someone with Autism.  The concerning fact is, my statistics are growing.  I am grateful that I have had the training and experience in Applied Behavior Analysis for the past 10+ years in not only understanding how someone with Autism looks at the photo from above, but also to help them at understanding at how I look at the photo to help them find their way home to society where they rightfully belong.  Where they feel they are estranged from.

Find out how you can become educated about Autism.  Even if it's on the most elementary level.  We all had to start from somewhere.  Especially 10+ years ago...

Have a great weekend, everyone...