Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Happy September!

So, the answers to the previous weeks' trivia questions:

SIDs (Standard Instrument Departure)s:
  • DIRTY2 (Hartsfield-Jackson/Atlanta - ATL/KATL)
  • PISTN (Detroit Metro/ - DTW/KDTW)
London - LA - Auckland

STARs (Standard Terminal Arrival)s:
  • WYNDE6 (Chicago O'Hare - ORD/KORD)
  • MAGGI3 (Honolulu Int'l - HNL/PHNL)
  • CAMRN4 (Kennedy Int'l/NYC  - JFK/KJFK)
  • MELON (Narita Int'l/Tokyo - NRT/RJAA)
  • BIBAX (DeGaulle Int'l/Paris - CDG/LFPG)
  • GLASR9 (Seattle-Tacoma/SeaTac Int'l - SEA/KSEA)
  • SADDE6 (Los Angeles Int'l - LAX/KLAX)
  • SIRON (Ben Gurion Int'l/Tel Aviv - TLV/LLBG)

And.... the answer to the trivia question from Karlene Petitt's sequel thriller, "Flight For Safety":

In "Flight For Safety", Kathryn Jacobs persuades her boss, Mr. Santos at the FAA, to accept her training proposal indicating that more hours isn't necessarily the answer to the training solution.  It's the quality of those hours with the fact that pilots are fulfilling the required hours only on automation and not actually training through real life strategies to real life (unfortunate,  aviation catastrophe) situations where pilots didn't know how to fly beyond the auto-pilot.  Pilots need to learn how to fly planes, not to be computer programmers.

So, the difference between playing a piano and flying a plane:

Kathryn states:

       "Imagine you were taught how to play the piano.  You learned your notes well enough to get through a song, but ninety percent of your piano training was learning how to program a player piano.  Then you went on tour and all you had to do for years was know how to program that piano.  Then one day, your piano player broke, but you still had to play the concert.  Could you do it?"

As she went to open the door to leave his office, she then continued to tell him, 

"I forgot to mention, if you don't play that concert to perfection, you and 300 people in the audience will die."

* * * * * * * 

So, taking a breather from trivia, however, I will ask one thing from you who are Twitter users:

Zach Neuman is a candidate with Wildwood Publishers based out of Melbourne, Australia to have his new novel "Second to the Right" published.

You can vote for Zach and his new novel be entered into a sweepstakes to win a free auto-graphed copy of his novel by tweeting the following:

 " is the origin story Peter Pan deserves. Using the source material, you'll see how it could have happened."

Second to the Right can also be purchased as an e-book on iBooks (great news for Apple fans!) and on the right hand side of this site!  Links are also included here.

Once again, congratulations to Zach and Happy September to everyone!

Fly safe,


Friday, August 28, 2015

Book Your Flight

We all look for a getaway.  Sometimes we need a break from family, friends, or most of all - from reality.  Some of us go to work to escape our home lives.  Some escape our work lives by staying home or going on vacation to some exotic destination.  And then, some, never have to escape from reality because they are "living the dream" already.

One of the best and most cost effective ways to escape from reality is not to book a costly vacation, but take a flight away from reality without traveling more than a mile from home.  I am not talking about firing up Microsoft Flight Simulator (which is very far from reality, unless if you are using PMDG.)  I am talking about finding your favorite book, a quiet spot, and your favorite eats or drinks to go along with it.  Or perhaps, your favorite music while reading.  It's your getaway and you can do anything you want with it.

I have personally picked five authors below as they have the power to not only take us from reality but also face it at the same time to help us transform our perception of it.  To make reality better, less painful.  Safer.  More aware.  To pay tribute to the lives we've lost due to reality.  To ensure a better reality.  To educate us on how to navigate through the skies of reality.  To see where fiction mirrors reality.  Most of all, these authors give a similar message.  To achieve our aspirations.  To turn reality into dreams and dreams into reality.

I have had the pleasure and honor of meeting two of these authors personally.  The other three, I hope to meet them and personally thank them someday, sooner than later.  It has been an honor to have met three of them online connected with them.  To all of them, they have made great contributions to the English language, literature, and education - aviation and beyond.  To make our aspirations fly back home to reality and to make our greatest dreams come true.

 Please take the time to read and enter the world of the following, outstanding authors:

* * * * *


Through his years of experience as an instructor, author of aircraft training manuals, and a check airman on the Airbus Industrie A330, Captain Bill Palmer takes us on a "behind the scenes" look at one of the deadliest aviation catastrophes which happened during the very early morning of June 1st, 2009, as the aircraft, an A330, entered a high altitude stall crashing into the mid-south Atlantic ocean perishing every single person on board the flight that night. The flight crew and guests were en route from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil to Paris, France as Air France Flight 447.  Captain Palmer clarifies any misconceptions and/or misunderstandings about the flight operations, interface, and inputs to the A330 in a very precise and concise manner.  This book is recommended for all pilots no matter what status, licensure, or rating.

Captain Bill Palmer is currently a senior airline captain with an internationally renown carrier on the Airbus A330 as well as a subject matter expert on his aircraft.  Captain Palmer has appeared on CNN on both television and print to offer his expertise on recent, and unfortunate, air crashes such as those with Malaysia Airlines.  He also writes for his blog Trend Vector where he continues to spread his vast love of flying glider aircraft, wealth of knowledge in aeronautical science, and expertise to a network of pilots and everyone alike.


  • "Flight For Control": Karlene introduces us to Kathryn "Kat" Jacobs who comes back to the NTSB and shares the same mission as her husband, Bill, a check captain with Seattle based Coastal Airlines.  Along with Kathryn's best friend, Darby Bradshaw, a Senior Captain at Coastal, alongside with her husband Bill, was not only the life of the party, but also held the same mission to fix the industry.  Planes are crashing consistently and they don't know why.  The way Kathryn and her husband Bill go about their attempts to fix the industry are much different.  This is a thriller, mystery, romance, and comedy book all at once.  Perhaps that's the reason why I could never put that book down and read it seven consecutive times.
  • "Flight For Safety": The sequel to "Flight For Control" - without giving too much information about the first book, Kathryn and Darby are out on a mission, especially when Kathryn and Darby find out after an Airbus A330 has crashed from a high altitude stall en route from Tokyo to Singapore that the training records of her new airline have been tampered with.  Not only that, line checks are being let through the cracks without knowing how to fly without automation.  Global was looking to cut training in order to save money.  Was it worth putting the lives of their pilots, and even more, passengers in jeopardy?  Read this book, but make sure you buckle your seat belt because it will be a choppy ride over some very choppy and icy waters.
  • "Flight For Survival": The sequel to "Flight For Safety" and the series finale to the "Flight For" series.  Kathryn Jacobs now up in command with the FAA is now concerned that even though her evil ex-husband, former captain for Coastal Airlines has been locked up for multiple life sentences, he is behind the flight controls of planes that keep crashing.  Darby Bradshaw, still a jr. first officer sitting long amounts of time on reserve for Globals A330 fleet, has been interrupted by crew scheduling from celebrating her two million offer for new safety book "Fight For Safety: Inside The Iron Bubble" to fly, without adequate rest according to FAR 117.  What lies ahead for Darby is lethal.  Kathryn, Jackie, and Linda come together to be with her as she fights so many battles both inside and outside the flight deck.  This is a novel where pilots put their lives on the line for their "Flight For Survival"
  • "Flight to Success: Be the Captain of Your Life" - A book to answer all the questions a person would ever want to ask about how someone becomes a success.  Karlene uses each letter of "Flight To Success" to tell her story of how she became what, who, and why she is today.  And it wasn't as easy as many think it is.  This work was a pure motivation for me to press on after my relocation from NYC and to pass the tests I needed.  To get the licensure I needed so that I can advance my flight time and aviation career perhaps not in the way I had planned, but that is life - taking its course.  This book is meant for everyone to learn that course, not just for pilots but for everyone to learn how to become a Captain and navigate through the skies of life. 
  • "I Am Awesome: The ABCs of Being Me" - This book, written by Karlene Petitt and designed by her daughter Kayla Wopschall, entails twenty six educational illustrations of career choices for children representing each letter of the alphabet to promote education and identity in our youth.  All proceeds go to the Children's Museum of Central Oregon.
Karlene Petitt is an experienced international pilot on the Airbus Industrie A330 for an internationally renown carrier.  In her over thirty years career as an commercial aviation industry, she has been at the flight controls for eight different airlines and has been typed (certified) on the Boeing 727, 737, 747, 747-400, 757, 767, and Airbus A330.  Karlene has also appeared on CNN to offer her insight and experience due to some of the recent, and unfortunate, air crashes.  Karlene is currently pursuing her Ph.D in Aviation Safety from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. 

Karlene is also an author, screen writer, grand-mother, and mother to three daughters and several grand-children.  You can follow Karlene as she writes for her blog, Flight To Success


We welcome to the world of literature, Zach Neuman, who was featured this past Tuesday on CaptainAboard.com and has written his first novel, "Second to the Right."  Zach takes to the flight deck to fly us internationally back to Edwardian London to introduce us to the character, David, who wanted nothing more to make an escape from a world which he was not meant to live in - even if it meant that he would never grow older.  David's story teaches us that the only way out is up.  This story is truly the origin story that Peter Pan deserves.  A story where the impossible becomes possible.  How possible?  Well, I leave that for you to find out by purchasing and reading his story.

Zach Neuman is currently pursuing university studies in New York City.  "

Zach can also be followed on Twitter and on Google+ via his blogsite The Shining Jar.


 Syd describes "Circle" as:

"Discovering a girl under his bed isn’t the strangest thing happening to Spencer. The real shock comes when he finds out who she is and why she is on Earth.

Mandy, an extraterrestrial girl, has been hiding out ever since the jet she stowed away on crashed in the desert behind his home. When the pilot is captured by the Air Force, Mandy is left lost and alone. She asks Spencer to risk everything to rescue the pilot from Edwards Air Force Base and help them get back home with the one thing their civilization needs to survive.

On the run from soldiers, fighter jets and attack helicopters, Spencer and his family fall into crisis when they find out what it is that Mandy and the pilot have really come to Earth for."

Syd is currently a pilot and author.  In addition to "Circle" her works also include her first novel "Fly Girl" in which stars Jill, who only wants one thing, to go up.  A place where she knows she belongs.  All she wants to do is impress Robbie.  Unfortunately, her dream comes crashing down and there is only one way to go.  Up!  

Syd can be followed via visiting her website (where you can view video testimonials) and following her amazing feed on Twitter.


CRM (Crew Resource Management) is an imperative and integral part of flight operations.  Jean Denis Marcellin explains in detail Human Factors models and how they incorporate into principals of behavioral and social sciences - the studies that people work with together in the concept of mechanics - in this case flight operations and the harmony of the flight crew as well as teamwork in order to have a safe and successful flight.

He also explains Team Assessment, realizing teams strengths, weaknesses, limits, and situational awareness/TEM (Threat and Error Management.)
There are many factors that come into play when working with a team.  If you are an international pilot flying multiple time zones, fatigue, stress, and other physical factors come into play to which he explains to detail how to know yourself.  Your strengths and limits.

I have thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and is an imperative reading for all pilots.  This book will educate those and avoid situations between life and danger.

Jean Denis Marcellin is a professional Canadian pilot with experience as a Captain on the Pilatus PC12, specializing in CRM, and Founder/President of "Plane&Simple Solutions."  He is an avid traveler at the controls of the LearJet, and loves to promote aviation and people in aviation.  You can follow him by visiting "People of the Sky"

* * * * *

Please choose one, a couple, or my recommendation, all of these authors.  Purchase and read their books.  Leave reviews for them on Amazon!  (Links included above!)

Wishing everyone a great escape as well as a great weekend!



Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Second to the Right

Last week, I mentioned that building bridges and establishing new relationships were one of the major keys to success.  One example of this happened in the underground of Penn Station, New York City, on the LIRR (Long Island Rail Road) heading back to Long Island on a cold December evening. Having had one of the most exhausting and stressful days of my life  - an absurdly crowded train was the last thing I needed.  Little did I know, things changed, the impossible day, ended with endless possibilities.

A young gentleman appeared in the train, walked down the aisle, and asked me if the (literally) only empty seat which happened to be next to mine in the train car was taken.  I wasn't one to deny anyone of a seat and was more than glad to offer the seat, (especially being he had an enormous suitcase with him and I knew back then what it was like to travel heavy on crowded planes, trains, and buses.)  He sat down next to me, and after a few minutes we began to strike up a friendly conversation on many topics: mobile devices, conversations with neighbors on the train, and of course, travel and aviation.  Not only did we have great conversations, but they lasted all the way to our connecting train, then on to my final destination.  (I almost missed my stop not to any one's fault.  Time flies when you are having fun and we were the flight crew that night for the hour duration.)  

Little did I know, Zach Neuman, the very gentleman I sat next to on the crowded train that night, would eventually take to the controls in the left seat and take us on an international flight back in time to Edwardian London and introduce us to his first novel and character, David:

Zach explains:

"This is the origin story Peter Pan deserves. Utilizing the source material as much as possible, this story shows the beginnings of the "Boy who would never grow up" the way it could have happened. Stuck in Edwardian London, our young protagonist will find his way to do the impossible, to fly amongst the stars and onward to Neverland with even the biggest skeptics believing in him again."

Intrigued to know more, Zach explains further:

"Where Peter Pan's story begins, he was already doing the impossible.
St. Augustine’s fences, covered in an icy black tar and tall enough to touch the clouds, were supposed to keep the orphan boys from escaping. Yet David decided to accept the challenge and was already at the top. From so far up, the treetops were within reach, the sky felt closer and the world felt open to him for the first time. And the grown-ups looked like tiny dots.
He felt like he was levitating off of the ground, with one leap away from freedom. After losing all of his friends to the cold world that was Edwardian London, he was determined to find a way out of it, to rise above it to the world he truly wished to live in. A world where anything was possible, even to never grow up.
So in the moment before he jumped off the top, with his fingers sparkling with warm, golden dust and armed with a lovely thought, he knew that this was the only way to escape the world he despised and begin his journey to Neverland."

I definitely will be reading this novel and I urge everyone to purchase it and #spreadtheword not to mention, nominate, and hashtag #WildWoodPrize to vote for his novel with @Wildwood_Prize .  Zach can be found on Twitter (@Zach_Neuman) and his blogsite The Shining Jar.  

His novel can be purchased through several sites (a permanent badge has been placed on the right hand side of this website.)

(Please note: that some sites may require subscriptions to purchase his novel!)

Something in my mind told me to keep in touch with Zach - to keep building that bridge we had started - after we shook hands and temporarily parted ways.  Our paths crossed for a reason - not by mere chance.  We do indeed remain in touch on social media to this very day after I unfortunately had to leave the Big Apple.  

* * * * * * * 

A special thank you and congratulations to Zach for becoming a new author, for writing his novel, sharing its message, and thank you for reaching out, not only to me in NY after a difficult day, but reaching out and connecting to many other people, abroad through his brilliant command of the English language.



Friday, August 21, 2015

Fly-by Friday

Fly-by Friday, indeed.  This week flew by at supersonic speeds.   It's been crazy, but being I also posted a lot this week, I thought I would put the whole week worth of blogging into one posting for a quick wrap up and reference.

  • Monday, August 17th: SUCCESS was all about Success by building bridges, not burning them.
  • Tuesday, August 18th: TUESDAY TRIVIA part II, the first Tuesday Trivia is up for grabs and if you read the comments section, you will find out what's in it for you, should you answer the SIDs and STARs correctly.  The second part, the question for this week, is from Karlene Petitt's book "Flight For Safety."  Kathryn Jacobs gives a very interesting analogy with a punch at the end.  Do you know the answer?  Click here, read the question along with the comments section, and answer correctly by replying in the comments section.  Answers are coming faster than you know it.
  • Wednesday, August 19th: AVIATION DAY!  You all make it what it is.  From the propulsion engineers, interior/aircraft designers, to the pilots and cabin crew.  You are why I take to the skies.
  • Friday, August 21st: 

It wouldn't be a Friday without a Friday Foto:

Have a great weekend, everyone and be sure to read up for Tuesday Trivia!  

Fly safe,


Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Aviation Day 2015

Once upon a time...

Aviation started with a dream...

Which was implemented.
When it was implemented, it took flight.

When that first flight happened..  That dream spread and attached itself to many other people worldwide, like splitting atoms....

JFK, Terminal 7.

Myself included...

Bound for AMS, 17 June 1996.  Northwest Boeing 747.  My first flight.
The next morning in AMS, I was ready for more.. 

When we acquire this dream, we will do whatever it takes to make it a reality...

I wish everyone, and I mean everyone, out there, to take a flight, if you haven't already done so.  

You will never regret it.

Aviation will never be a hobby nor a job, nor a chore.  It will be your blood which will passionately flow through your body, mind, and into your soul for the rest of your life.

And we have only those to thank. The people who inspire us to fly.... 

The pilots you have met that have told you never to give up.  The skies are only the beginning...

Always have a positive rate of climb above the weather. 
I personally want to wish everyone out there...



Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Trivia Tuesday II

Last week's Tuesday Trivia is still up for grabs!  Please read and answer in the comments section!

Being that I finished my second reading of Flight For Safety, I decided to make this week's trivia question based on that book.  If you haven't read it, please buy and read it.  If you already have, then this is a chance to brush up on it.

So.. the question:

In Flight For Safety, what is the analogy that was used by Kathryn between playing a piano and flying? What would have been the end result?  What was the purpose for Kathryn telling that analogy?

Answer next week, so read the book and/or refresh yourself.

Tomorrow is Wednesday, which means only one thing: this week will be over before you know it.  Have a great rest of the week and read up!

Fly safe,

Monday, August 17, 2015


How do you view success?  Is it tangible?  

Yes.  It is.  For some, success is the almighty dollar.  For others, it is meeting a goal, no matter how you get there, (or unfortunately, what or who you have to step on to get it.) 

(Speaking of goals, I promised that I would update everyone on my smoking, or non-smoking, goal for that matter.  I am happy to say that I have not touched a cigarette in close to five months and going strong.  (I do enjoy an occaisional bourbon and cigar once in a while on a special occasion, when I am on the ground.) 

I want to take a different flight path to the definition to success that I have learned recently which takes care of the first paragraph.

Success is:

Building Relationships

Positive relationship building is one of the foundations of daily life and costs you nothing, both money and time.  Relationship building is not only important in business, but also in your daily life.  Taking a second to go out of your way to say hello to someone, to introduce yourself, meeting people, networking.  If you take a bird's eye view of the society, you will see that there are people who are indeed extremely financially successful, however, if you take a look at and track how many successful relationships they have, or better yet, don't have, one will see how successful they truly are.

Tacoma Narrows Bridge collapse 7 NOV 1940
Have you ever heard someone say, "never burn bridges?"  Yes, there are bridges out there that were never meant to be built in the first place.  Life has taught me that lesson a very hard way, unfortunately.  But that statement holds true.  Never burn a bridge, keep your enemies close.  Didn't you know that your worst enemies could become your best friends and vice-versa?  While I hope best friends never become worst enemies, there is a solution for that and also building new friendships.  Anyone who has been married for a while will tell you that relationships take commitment, hard work, Keyword: SACRIFICE.

Rebuilt Tacoma Narrows, along to a new addition - it's new companion.

My final words to you this Monday:
  • Build Bridges
  • Enhance and Add To Them
  • Repair The Broken Ones
  • Cherish The Ones Youve Already Have
  • Strive To Build As Many More As Possible
  • Retain Them by Follow-Up
  • Dedicate Them By Showing Loyalty

Flying the Hudson Corridor over the Verrazano–Narrows Bridge
Success is not easy and wasn't meant to be.  Like I stated before: commitment, sacrifice, and dedication will help things come into fruititon.  For that, not only will you be successful, it will lead to success in many other areas of your life.

Learn more about how you can be successful by reading "Flight To Success" by Karlene Petitt.  You will learn a lot from this book.  You don't have to be a pilot to read it.  You don't have to be in sales and marketing to read it.  This book applies to everyone.

The Mighty Mackinaw Bridge which connects the upper and much larger lower peninsula of the state of Michigan.

Have an amazing Monday everyone!

Cheers to a great week ahead,

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Tuesday Trivia

Why on Earth should yet another Tuesday slip by without a Tuesday Trivia?

So, as stated on Twitter last night, it's good to know your instruments, SIDs, and STARs, because, like life, air traffic can be chaotic, and needs to have a system in place.  

For some this may be foreign, for others, a sinch, but I thought I would throw this one out there:

Listed are some SIDs and STARs.  Some airports they lead in and out of are big, some are small.  Some SIDs and STARs have numbers, some don't.  Some are local to you.  Some are overseas.  Which airports do they match up with? (Airports/fields not included.)  What do the numbers mean?

  1. WYNDE6
  2. PISTN
  3. MAGGI3
  4. CAMRN4
  5. MELON
  6. DIRTY2
  7. BIBAX
  8. GLASR9
  9. SADDE6
  10. SIRON
Ok, that's all for now.  Answers to come later.  Have a great hump day tomorrow and make it an awesome one!

Monday, July 13, 2015

Taking Off

"The greatest pleasure in life is doing what people say you can not do."
 - Walter Bagehot

Every person has had someone in their lifetime, at least once, tell them that they can not do or become something.  An astronaut.  A pilot.  A student not that great in 7th grade Math wanting to be an accountant.  This has happened to me personally several times.  I am here to say, that I was able to have the pleasure of showing that person that yes, I was able to become what I am today whether or not they knew or not the price in which I had to pay in order to reach that mark.

As the well known aviation quote goes, "When everything/one is going against you, know, that an aircraft takes off going against the wind."

Having people in your life that make it a point to bring out your faults is actually a major blessing.  They give us the fuel to go against them and attain the pleasure of saying to them, "Yes, I can."

Many people have many backgrounds in life.  To have someone, and their attached ego, who feel the need to tell us things that they think we didn't already know about ourselves, to tell us that we will never be able to do something, gives us the fuel to do so.  Take that opportunity and prove them wrong.  It feels soooo good.

I hope that everyone's week finds them with nothing but jet fuel and success.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Passing The Test

"Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it."
                                -Ferris Bueller

As a pilot, time flies - pretty fast.  You are the pilot of your time, you are also the Captain.  I know I have neglected my blog for months, but it has been for many good reasons.  Had I not taken these opportunities, I would have missed several big opportunities in my life, both aviation and non-aviation related.   (I hope everyone is enjoying the summer months as we've had a lot of celebration going on here in the US with July 4th, numerous air shows across the world, and with OSH15 on the horizon.)

Life is a test...
If there is one thing that I have learned during this time that is if a person has to take a major exam to determine if he or she is fit to earn a license or a rating, take it seriously, but also do not let the exam questions intinimate you or determine your self-worth and/or self esteem should you pass or not pass. Don't beat yourself up if you do not pass the first time.  Many people have taken many exams, many, many times.  Not in all cases, but there are some cases where people passed the first time who really do not deserve it and end up loosing the license down the road altogether.
As I have learned recently, it's better not to pass an exam the first time.  Experience is the best way to learn and gain development for any career you wish to pursue, both aviation and non-aviation.  Also, when you prepare for the exam, don't rely on studying the questions alone and guessing which of those questions will be on the exam, because they won't.  Read and experience the material first hand.  Use whatever add-on study aids your course or (flight) training provides to your advantage.  If you are going for a written exam, use Mobile Apps, MP3 files, your own flashcards or flashcards that come with your course.  Of course, there are videos out there to learn the material or course rating on what to do and what not to do.

Stepping outside of the above a bit, life is a test.  We think about life situations and questions we have that if we become too focused on them, we loose focus on how to prepare ourselves to receive the best answers to life's questions - if we don't stop to take a look around at the lessons we've learned.  With life's experience under our wings, we will know the answers to the questions needed to be answered in this life tet and we will never miss many of life's most adventerous, exciting moments, and to grab as many opportunities as we can.


Thank you, everyone, for your patience and understanding during my Sabbatical as I was able to accomplish a lot in my personal life and to get the licenses needed to continue to help other people.

Here's to success for everyone!


Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Aviation Safety Month

The month of March itself is the first sign of spring.  The weather gets warmer in some places, (well, at least a little), and we are constantly reminded of the first blossoms.  The sign of life.  To many, like myself, flying is life.

Sometimes we don't know, or understand why, so many souls leave the Earth too soon, due to an aviation tragedy.  All we can do all we can is investigate to understand why, or through which they were taken from us ever so soon.  That is why I wish for my blog to designate an important topic to the aviation world to have a month to discuss what can be done not only to improve the safety of the skies, but to pay hommage to the many people that we've lost due to every aviation tragedy thus far.

We are blessed with many experienced and veteran commercial airline pilots all over this world who dedicate their careers and their whole lives to work toward this goal.  Not only to work toward this goal, but to pay tribute to the lives we've lost and to which I, and many others are forever grateful. 

My birthday last year was not a good one, as the world and I learned that night of the disappearance of MH 370.  A Boeing 777. Hearts skipped a beat, or nearly stopped for a second or two within many, upon learning that tragic news.  To this very date, we are still looking and searching to the deepest and most far point for so many far away answers - especially the victims' families.  Families from so many past aviation tragedies around the world are grieving for their loved ones every day, every moment, they are not with us.  It is my mission, and the mission of so many other pilots, to make sure that these tragedies do not reoccur.  For the not only our sake, but as a tribute and vow to the departed souls that we will never be able to replace.

As a child, I once walked beside the memorial site of ground zero of Northwest Orient Flight 170 to which N121US disintegrated in air and crashed near Tell City, Perry County, Indiana, on March 17th, 1960 on it's way from Chicago-Midway to Miami, ending the lives of every single person on board.  I read the names of the souls to which some were instantly buried there since the crash.  From that point, having never flown before, I vowed never to take to the skies - especially in a prop plane.  It was nearly a decade later that I took to the skies, for the first time, as a passenger flying with that same airline on a transatlantic flight.  From that point on, it was love at first flight.  I went on later to take to the skies in a prop 172 for my intro flight to become a pilot..

That's the way it should be for every flight no matter gen-av or commercial.  Safe.

Something told me to write this post today having thought consistently every day this week about what happened on the early night of May 31st/June 1st, 2009 over the South Atlantic Ocean.  Not only that time, but the early morning of March 7th/8th over Southeast Asia, and the list goes on. 

Thinking of what can be done..

The work that is still left to be done...

Israeli-NY Flight Club Safety Meeting with Karlene Petitt
Learn as much as you can as a student pilot, whether you are flying in a Cessna 172, to the 744, 748, 777, or as a student inside the massive super A380 jumbo.  You are a living piece of flesh and blood with a brain.  Our airplanes are not.  If you sense something is amiss, say or do something about it immediately.  Do not ignore the signs, whether they be warning or not, early or late - it's never too late until, it actually is.  (Speaking of being late - it is, by the way, never too late to obtain a glider rating.)  Buy and read books on Aviation Safety whether they are fiction or not.  Didn't you know fiction mirrors truth? If you are a commercial airline pilot, train and encourage CRM & TEM (Crew Resource Management / Threat & Error Management) and promote every single crew and emergency resource you have to its advantage.  Encourage your aviation high schools, aviation academies, and flight clubs to hold safety meetings.  Invite non-pilots to these meetings to show them that flying is safe and fun.  Promote aviation safety and enthusiasm.  Keep yourself healthy, learn from your mistakes and take responsibility for your actions or non-actions.  This is how we climb and grow.

Train yourself to be several steps ahead of your aircraft.  Encourage others to do the same.  Fly safe.  Fly smart.  And spread the word.

Pre-flight checklist complete.

For this, will be the biggest first step.  Every soul both alive on this Earth and departed from it are counting on you.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Ford International Airport

Gerald R. Ford International Airport
Grand Rapids, Michigan

For the first time in weeks, I had a chance to get out of the snow clobbered streets of my new home in Grand Rapids, Michigan.  The month of February wasn't easy, less alone an enjoyable one, for the eastern half of the U.S. with the uncooperative and unforgiving weather, but the weather is starting to pay off and make up for the most difficult travel experience for many, and my relocation experience from NYC to West Michigan.


What would a pilot do on a beautiful day with the highs in the 40s (F), clear blue skies, with melting snow, such as today?  

Head to the airport!  

I took this time today to head over to the gateway to the Midwest, if not, the world, like I do on many occaisions when I fly to the offices of Gerald R. Ford International Airport (GRR / KGRR) to say a quick, "hello!"

Named after the 38th President of the United States who was raised in Grand Rapids, Michigan area, Ford International Airport has serviced over 2.3 million passengers traveling to, through, and from West Michigan worldwide.

One of the things I love about this airport, besides the field being quite close to my new home, is the fact they offer services to which many airports do not.  Gerald R. Ford International Airport is not just any air field.  Beyond the air field, is a state of the art, refurbished, modern terminal area (Concourse B) including a game room for youth, shops, and what we all need especially for those early morning flights, that Pike Place taste of Seattle - a Starbucks. A nice array of food shops are also available for pilots and passengers/guests alike.

If you are an animal lover like I am, then GRR is also the place for you.  Ford Airport provides pet therapy services to passersby and I had the honor of meeting one of the dogs during my visit today.  This is something for those travelers who have come from afar needing a smile on their faces from a caring K-9. 

Another specialty is that when the holidays come around, Ford Airport invites special groups come in from local middle and high schools to do live performances, giving that warm holiday welcome and wish for a pleasant journey - or for that matter - that welcome home for the holidays.  That means a lot, especially for pilots, crew, and passengers alike who are away from and unable to be with their families over the holidays.

One of the amenities they have to offer for a pilot, if not, the aviation spotter is the observation deck.  Not only an observation deck, also an outdoor park adjacent to runway 08R/26L, which is currently undergoing expansion to be opened this summer.  This is a definite place to take visiting friends from out of town, or perhaps, the whole family out, for some plane spotting while enjoying some fun in the sun.

In this day and age, air travelers and passenger loads are doubling and tripling by leaps and bounds.  Ford Airport has made, is making, and continues to make all the means to not only be most accomodating to all of their passengers, but also add that hometown feel to the experience.  It is my pleasure and honor knowing that not only when I fly, but to have them right next door.  If you are coming to Michigan, (especially on your way to Oshkosh/OSH15 this summer), please stop by and enjoy the Ford Airport experience!

One can fly many carriers non-stop from Ford Airport to:

  • Detroit, MI (DTW/KDTW)
  • Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN (MSP/MSP)
  • Atlanta, GA (ATL/KATL)
  • Cincinatti, N. Kentucky (CVG/KCVG)
  • Chicago, IL (ORD/KORD)
  • Denver, CO (DEN/KDEN)
  • NYC/Newark (EWR/KEWR)
  • Denver, CO (DEN/KDEN)
  • Baltimore, MD (BWI/KBWI)
  • St. Louis, MO (STL/KSTL)
  • Orlando, FL (MCO/KMCO)
  • Tampa, FL (TPA/KTPA)
  • Chicago, IL (ORD/KORD)
  • Dallas/Ft. Worth, TX (DFW/KDFW)
  • Philadelphia, PA (PHL/KPHL)
  • Las Vegas, NV (LAS/KLAS)
Other airports/General Aviation:
  • W K Kellog - Battle Creek, MI (BTL/KBTL)
  • Coleman A. Young - Detroit, MI (DET/KDET)
  • Republic Airport - Farmingdale, NY (FRG/KFRG)

The list above is a current snapshot per date of this post, as routes, airlines, and citypairs are based on various fluxuating markets. 

Of course, my personal dream is to have a seasonal non-stop service from Grand Rapids to Amsterdam, The Netherlands.. perhaps, with a 787?  It wasn't coined "Dreamliner" for nothing.  A great way to celebrate the Dutch heritage of West Michigan.

For further information about Ford Airport, please visit their website or follow their Facebook and Twitter accounts.

Thank you, Ford Airport, for your 50 years of service.  You have been a tremendous asset not only for West Michigan but the world you serve.  Not only the physical world, but the worlds of dreams you are building for the future of aviation through the aspirations of growth within our youth.

For those who I met in the airport offices today, (puppy dog included), it was a pleasure and an honor.  We shall be seeing each other again, soon!