Friday, February 27, 2015


It's been a month, a little over even, and my office still hasn't arrived into Grand Rapids from NYC.  It's a good thing that my office window and desk both face the street, as I am able to keep a look out for the first sight of a mini-semi.  I guess waiting another five minutes wouldn't be the end of the world?  Oh wait, that was five minutes ago..  While the name of the moving company will remain nameless for now, I will say that I am glad the weekend is coming and looking forward to that glass of wine or two and an early bed time - with NYC officially behind me.

The end of a week and the end of a chapter in my life.  Ready to start anew with new challenges.  Life is about writing chapters, especially when your goal in life is to be the Captain Aboard it.  Yes, to be the Captain of your life.  Karlene Petitt, author of aviation thrillers "Flight For Control" and "Flight For Safety" just published and released her new motivational book, "Flight To Success: Be The Captain Of Your Life"  The stories out of that book were all about writing life's chapters, overcoming obstacles, and soaring your life to success - as a Captain, The Captain.  You don't have to be a pilot to be the Captain.  She explains why.  Buy it.  Read it.  Leave your review on Amazon. will be doing a complete review of the book this up and coming week.  Stay tuned!

As for now..


This week, I wrote about the importance of health, taking care of ourselves, and getting adequate rest and relaxation time.  This is not only how we function as pilots, but also as human beings.  This recipe is so that our brains can function in the time when we need them the most, especially when situations occur both in the air and on the ground.  If we do not follow this pre-flight checklist, we will have the recipe for disaster.  Always remember that our flights, are NON-SMOKING.

I also wrote about speaking up and asking questions, not only for pilots in training, but for any pilot no matter what rank, no matter which rating, no matter which airline.  Speak up, it is our mission to make the skies safer and the industry better.  IMHO, there is no right or wrong question.  How specific and to the point in order to get the information you need in a timely manner is key to saving both time and money.  It also helps the pilot prepare for exams and check rides/line checks.  Most of all, they save lives.

What would a Friday be without a "Foto"?

And not only is it a "foto", but also very common, simple, quick, and easy recipe with an added fresh and healthy ingredient:

"Kale Guac"

(Ingredient portions may vary to your liking or guest/party size, below the portions below usually serve two people):
  • Two avocados skinned and chopped, or mashed
  • One tomato, finely chopped
  • Fresh kale, 1-1.5 cups, finely chopped
  • Olive Oil, 2 tsp.
  • Fresh Lemon Juice, 2 tsp.

Add skinned pitless avocados into bowl along with chopped tomato.  Add the two cups of finely chopped kale.  Mix or mash depending on the consistency in which you prefer.  Add the teaspoon of lemon juice along with the two teaspoons of olive oil.  To finalize, add a pinch of salt and/or pepper to taste.  Garnish with one or two leaves of fresh kale or any garnish/spice of your choosing.

This makes for an awesome burger topping, can also be served best with fresh multi-grain bread as a vegetarian/vegan sandwich or chip dip option, and best accompanied with your favorite beer or adult beverage to kick the weekend off to a great start.

Great book, great dish to eat while reading, and a great take off for a great weekend!

Thursday, February 26, 2015

The Almighty Question

In aviation, questions can mean the difference between life and death.  We, as pilots, ask questions to clarify, organize, and/or verify important information about a flight whether it be the weather, aircraft systems operations, performance, or asking the tower to repeat or verify an instruction. 
In aviation, there also is no room for embarrassment for being afraid to ask a question or speak up about something - no matter if you are a student pilot, or any rank within a commercial airliner.  Most of the time, people do not ask questions out of fear.  This is a habit that must be eliminated.  Also, not asking questions, even if one is interested, yet still afraid to ask, shows flight instructors regardless that their students are dis-interested. 
We are pilots.  Aviation is our passion.  We care about it and wish to spread our passion.  My question is: Shouldn't we be so interested in whatever we are being taught that we would always be asking questions?  Well, yes, we do ask questions not only to fuel our interests and passions in aviation further but also help improve our knowledge and make the aviation industry a better place.

I have personally come to believe that there is no right or wrong way to ask a question.  A question is a question and should be asked.  However, I focus personally on how specific I form my questions based on what I am being taught by a flight instructor. The way I word my questions is more important than the specific answers I am receiving back.  We all know the basic questions such as, "Who?", "What?" "When?" "Where?", "Why?"  More specifically, some of the biggest questions that I ask myself, especially before going into a training session is, "What will my instructor expect from me?", "Which checklists, maneuvers, or procedures will I be performing?", "What are the key terms or points that I will need to gain out of this session?", "What can I do to apply this flight session with other areas of my flight training?", "Which spontaneous and simulated emergency situation will happen to the aircraft/flight during this training session that I will be expected to catch and rectify immediately?", "How will my gains from this training session apply for whichever FAA examination I take in the future?"  So, the more I, we, ask these types of specific questions, the quicker we get the answers we need, the quicker we get the most important information without wasting time researching, and the easier the exams and line checks will be.  In aviation, time is money.  Asking the right questions, can help save both, we gain knowledge, and improve examination skills all in the same flight bag.
There are times when I am in a session and there is so much information that is given by my instructor that I have to soak it in before questions start to occur.  When I am asked by my CFI, "Do you have any questions?" I sometimes reply, "I do not have at the moment, but that doesn't mean that I will not have any in the future once the information sinks in."  Sure enough, we continue the session and I end up calling my CFI later that day with my list of specific questions to which he is most happy to answer, even if it is at three a.m.
Questions show that you both listen and learn.
Sometimes I catch my self asking the same questions over and over.  Not because I wasn't listening, but I was re-verifying information - especially if there is a difficult or emergency procedure.  Don't be afraid to verify information, no matter how many times.  It doesn't matter whether it's a CFI, co-pilot, or even the ATC Tower, especially.  Do not be afraid of what they may think about your ability to absorb information.  If you have a good instructor, he/she will think more of you that you are doing your best to listen, take interest, and to be a responsible/safe pilot.
Not only can questions be used to spark (more) interest and verify pertinent information, but I've also learned that they can also be used to "test the limits" of information.  For example:
  • "When does this flight pattern not apply to this given approach during this type of weather?"
  • "What happens when icing conditions occur at this altitude and diversions are limited?"
  • "What if icing conditions occur on the wing and I enter into a high altitude stall?"
I will admit, I like to look at extreme case scenarios and for good reason.  I push and test the information limits to be prepared, two to three steps ahead.

Don't doubt the power of the almighty question.  Not only will you learn from what you ask, but you will also test your limits and show you things that you never thought you could do before.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Wednesday Wellness

"You are what you eat.  You feel what you think.  You do what you want."

Some personal life lessons, I'd like to share:

  • Don't live to eat.  Eat to live.
  • Exercise on a regular basis.
  • Life's journey is a non-smoking flight at all times.  If most smokers knew which ingredients were packed into the very cigarettes which are inhaled into the lungs, they would think twice about smoking poisonous, chemical bombarded nicotine more than we give them credit for.  As I was writing this post, I was informed that one of the ingredients in some cigarettes is Formaldehyde (i.e., the fluid that funeral homes embalm bodies with before showing them to families,)  If that wasn't something to make me think twice, I don't know what would have.  If you are looking to quit, e-mail: for support and encouragement.
  • Find out which foods your body is craving.  Sometimes you could have strange cravings for strange food combinations.  You could have a vitamin/mineral deficiency.  Listen and accept what your body is telling you , rather than your mind, and make a habit of adjusting either via healthier food or supplements accordingly to each given situation.
  • Stay away from (white processed) sugar.  Even though every person's body is different, sugar tends to create an emotional roller coaster - no matter who you are.  Yes, the sugar "rush" and the sugar "crash."  Protein shakes and energy drinks are filled with sugar and people become addicted to them for this fact.  To others, sugar intake means that it will send their body into a major fatigue, to which they "crash"  Sugar cravings sometimes mean that the body could have a deficiency of water or healthy food (fruits, i.e., natural sugars, and vegetables.)  Your mind (also known as your deceitful "sweet tooth"), tells you to continue to eat only foods and drink only sodas loaded with white, processed sugar to fulfill those cravings - instead of the healthy foods your body tells you it needs to keep both it and your sugar intake, body, and mind stable.
  • Sleep comes best when your body and mind expect it.  Set a reasonable time and a good sleep rhythm for your body and mind to expect it and make it a habit.  Sleep is the cure for many things such as anxiety, stress, depression, not to mention a whole list of other things. 
  • Practice deep relaxation and meditation.  Even if it is only for five minutes, or even one minute.  Breathing and relaxation help clear the mind, just as much as sleep does.
  • Wash your hands regularly in luke hot water with anti-bacterial hand soap for more than 30 seconds.  Hand sanitizer is only a liaison between germ filled hands and a sink.  Once hand sanitizer is applied, and rubbed into your hands, the alcohol solvent will leave your hands germ-less for enough time until you are able to get to a sink, not to mention dry to the point of skin cracks.
  • Why mention the above?  Clean hands prevent the spreading of germs and COLDS.  How fun is it to be near or above 10,000 feet with a head cold?  Getting sick definitely not only impairs our ability to operate aircraft, (especially ones with pressurized cabins), but also takes the fun out flying.
    • Family, friends, and lovers, that control your life and incite drama.  Get away from them.   Far, Far, Far, away from them. I know it sounds impossible, but it takes time, will be emotionally draining for you, but it is doable.  Your mental and physical health are more important than these people.  Associate yourself with family and friends or "framily" (friends who are like family), those people with positive attitudes and outlooks on life.  People that encourage you to get out on your own, to make your own decisions about your life, and to challenge yourself.  To make something of yourself.
    • WORRYING is mental suicide.  It drains your life away.  One should not worry about troublesome situations - only be concerned realizing that each worry isn't necessarily the end of the world.  Make a list of your worries  (jobs, money, etc.), plan out to take action against your worries.  Also focus, on even the minute, positive aspects of life.  What gives you the most enjoyment in life?  (E.g., A favorite pet, watching the beautiful sunset the night before from the flight deck, the warm breeze in the air after a long and brutal winter, etc..) Take inventory, and increase it little by little and focus on the positive.  You will see that the more things you add will overpower the cons of life.
    • SELF-ESTEEM is very important.  You are worth it.  You were brought into this world for a purpose.  Show everyone your purpose and be proud of it and yourself.  This world was made for you to do exactly, that.  Anyone that devalues your self worth, truly does it only for the simple purpose that their self-esteem is quite low and they need to burn your flame out to make theirs (whatever little self esteem they have) look brighter.
    • Don't ever let people tell you that you will never become, do, fulfill, ___(fill_in_the_blank)___.  Look at how many successful people there are in this world and how many people turned them down or told them that they would basically never amount to anything in life.  One good way of changing thinking habits is to make thoughts concrete by writing them down on paper.  Such as making a list of "I" statements such as:
      • "I am who I want to be."
      • "I am a pilot."
      • "I am attractive."


Easier said that done, right?  I may or may not have succumbed to several of these target habits, but I've had many people in my life that have and they range from: alcohol, drugs, poor eating habits (eating disorders), anger management, or lack thereof, depression, anxiety, or procrastination.  Some of the items on this list compliment or are the cause of one another and it is imperative to nip it in the bud before the list grows.

Here are some steps to which you can start changing habits:
  • Research The Target,  Read up and do research on your target habit: depression, anxiety, eating, etc. and develop strategies to change.
  • Change Directions, DRO (Differential Reinforcement) and finding things to replace the habit.  Find new friends, create new goals, change location (move to a different state, country, etc.)
  • Support. Use positive family and friends and those positive people mentioned above to help encourage you.

Please also read the following books:

"Flight To Success: Be The Captain Of Your Life" by Karlene Petitt, and, the book she gave to me, which has helped wonders on my journey to be smoke free:

"THE POWER OF HABIT" by Charles Duhigg.  

Fellow pilots and non-pilots a like.  This is your pre-flight / pre-pilot checklist.  If any of these things are missing, do as much as you can of this list before heading to the airport to fly the next time.  We often see ourselves blaming the airplane, the instruments, or the weather for our aviation accidents, especially in general aviation.  All we have to blame is ourselves, how we treat our minds, our bodies, and our responses, as a result of these, to such emergencies.  Your flight and the people who join you on your flight depend on it.

Be healthy.  Be well.  Take care of yourself.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Freedom To Fly

Today is President's Day and over this nice long bitter-cold weekend, I had time to warm up and catch up on some reading which has been way, way, way, over due.  The good thing about catching up on reading is the fact that it means only one thing: get to the computer to write or video record book reviews!

So to give you a preview of which books I will be reviewing...

Karlene Petitt


"the PILOT factor"
Jean-Denis Marcellin

 Stay tuned for now, and reflect the facts that, besides one's political views, how grateful we are to have people who dedicate their lives to protecting the United States of America and for what this country stands for.  (Not to mention what a beautiful residence these leaders get to fly in.)  It's all about: Freedom.  Liberty, and justice for all.

Fly Safe!

Friday, February 13, 2015

Love Is In The Air..

Valentine's Day...

Some people love it, some hate it.  A love-hate relationship.

I grew up observing Valentine's day in elementary school, but once I reached Jr. High and 'til this very present day, the day just seems like every other ordinary day - except I still carry around the message of the day, everyday: to love others just as you love yourself

Even though a day was designated for this eons ago and still observed by many - single or not, I still make mention of this day.  Not only mention it, but to share some photos related to the weekend as I do on Fridays.

February 13th, 2015


Home is where the heart is....

Chicago - ORD

Ford Airport, Grand Rapids - GRR



There is a Winter Storm Warning issued for the Lake Michigan area until tomorrow, so I will need something keep me company while I am inside nestled by the nice smelling aromas of a warm house lit with scented candles... I just received my copy of Karlene Petitt's book, "Flight To Success: Be The Captain Of Your Life"  

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

The Decision


A habit that is totally mental.  A mental habit that has a physical impact which has led many people to the most undesired and lethal health effects.  I started in my late 20s and smoked off an on.  Mostly for social reasons.  However, after I moved to NYC, and as of a year ago, I started to smoke cigarettes "full time."  My reasons went beyond social.  Smoking became an outlet for stress relief.  My mind has been deceitful in to making me think that smoking would calm me down from stressful situations.  It would give me an outlet to to socialize, de-stress, and replace other bad habits in my life.  Now that I have changed scenes, I decided that I needed a change in my life.  This had to be it.

Now that I have been presented with all of the facts of cigarette ingredients, how deceitful it has played with my mind, not to mention the aftermath of what cigarette smoking has done to both my mind and body, I have decided to quit. 



  • Smoking did not decrease stress.  It enhanced it.  A lot
  • Smoking did not slow my heart rate down and wasn't a source of relaxation.  It increased my  heart rate on so many levels and was/is/always will be an addictive stimulant.
  • That annoying cough that will not disappear.
  • Smoking has instilled into my brain that bad habits are always acceptable.
  • I realize the negative effects that it has been placing on both my body and in my mind.
  • I care about my career in aviation.
  • I realize that it's never too late to quit.
While I will never bud into other people's lives that do smoke, I will be there to support the decisions and actions of those who have decided to quit, just like I am now doing.


Now.  Cold Turkey.

I realize that each person is different and each person has or had their own way of quitting.  I am not stating that if one were to quit smoking that the only was is "cold turkey" or "my way or no way."  If you decide to quit smoking, I am here to help give you some ideas on how.  Every way to quit is the right way.  One thing to keep in mind...

TIME is the best way to quit.
It takes TIME.
Some people do it quicker than others.
Better late than never. 

Smoking has been such an addictive habit for me, that my mind always deceived me into thinking that each cigarette will be the last.  I always thought such statements such as:

  • "When I finish this pack, it will be my last."
  • "I will quit smoking as my New Year's Resolution next year."
  • "I will chew the nicotine gum and trim down the number of cigarettes I have."

Having worked with both children and adults on the Autism Spectrum with some pretty challenging and aggressive behaviors as an ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis) trainer and therapist, I have come to take my experiences and training and use this as a way to use the "DRO" method.

What is D.R.O.?

"DRO" is a proceedure called:

"Differential Reinforcement of Other (Behavior/Habit)"

This means that we will take a Target (i.e., Negative Behavior/Habit) and replace and reinforce a more positive behavior/habit.  Thus, placing the negative habit into "extinction."  I.e., to completely rid of the target behavior/habit.

Here is how I am applying that information with my decision to quit smoking:

I take what I enjoyed most about smoking:
  • The motion of taking a lighter and lighting the cigarette.
  • The aroma which comes out of the cigarette.
  • The warm sensation of smoke being inhaled into my esophagus and the "calming" effect.
  • The sensual feeling of how my brain reacts to the feeling of holding a cigarette and the effect of nicotine towards both body and mind.

Being that I love scented candles, I have chosen that to be the more positive habit I am replacing or reinforcing over the target (negative) habit.  Every time I have the urge to smoke, I will light a scented candle of my choosing with the same lighter I use to smoke with.  I will use that time with the scented candle to practice positive breathing exercises and mediation while inhaling the aromas and fresh air surrounding me to replace the inhalation of smoke to create a brain sensation that will crave the scented candle over the cigarette.  This method covers both the physical and mental aspects of the habit to which I am trying to replace.

I will keep everyone updated on my progress..

I have some people that I wish to thank and that have been an inspiration to me towards my final decision to quit smoking for good.

Robert Keleti, my CFI.

last, and certainly, not least:

Your support has been astronomical.

I also wish to mention a book which was given to me by my friend Karlene:

Charles Duhigg

This book has been a great resource for me in my endeavors to quit smoking.  Not only to quit smoking, but my endeavors to make life as positive and as meaningful as possible.  This book is a must read even if you do not have any habits you need to break.  

Did you know that Pepsodent was discovered by the pure and simple fact that the U.S. faced a dental epidemic, researchers were looking for a way to solve it, and that multimillion dollar company just because people needed to break the habit or lack of dental hygiene?  

Multi-billion dollar companies are based on habit.  Buy this book and find out how.

Speaking of buying books, 

Karlene's new book "Flight To Success" is now available for pre-order!  An auto-graphed copy can be pre-ordered via her website or pre-ordered on

It's all about finding the best possible ways to enjoy life and make it meaningful at the same time.  Have a great day, everyone!


Thursday, February 5, 2015

We've Been Cleared!


"Impossible is NOT a word.

It's just a reason for someone NOT to try."


I came across this quote on Instagram yesterday and and it struck a chord with me.  Reflecting on certain situations that have happened not only with myself, but other people, I have come to realize the truth to the quote above.

We may have situations in our life along with goals and ambitions, that we think that would be impossible to accomplish.  Events fall into place which make it difficult to accomplish dreams.

Two aviation quotes come to mind to supplement the main quote above...

"A mile of highway will only take you a mile.. A mile of runway will take you anywhere!"

"When everything seems to be going against you, remember that an airplane takes off against the wind, not with it."
-Henry Ford

When we have the dream to line up our lives for take off, we must be prepared for everything to go against us.. Even if events and the timing of them, seem impossible for us to accomplish our goals and ambitions, we must remember where our accomplishments come from, the very things that go against us.  That is how we succeed and be the Captain of our lives.  That experience and "flight time" so to speak.  That is how we take off.  And with that, the word "impossible" is not an existence, only the excuse for a person not to want their plane of success to go in the air..

With those words in mind, this website has a plane lined up for take off..:

I am very happy to share that we are breaking into a new dawn and a new day.  Within the month, this blog/website will be expanding into broadcasting.  I will be going live over the Internet broad system with book reviews, views on current events in both aviation and non-aviation topics, amongst other topics.  If you haven't already, sign up for a free account at USTREAM as we just created our channel over there entitled, "Sailing The Skies"  Please stay tuned on our social media and this blog for updates on dates and times of our broadcast.  

We look forward to seeing you there!

Have a great rest of the week!