The Loon is a Harsh Mistress: The Pilot’s Dysfunctional Love Affair

More than anything else, Jonathan Livingston Seagull loved to fly. —Richard Bach, Jonathan Livingston Seagull Ask a pilot how he started flying and you will hear a love story.* One just like mine: From age 5, I dreamed of flying.  Scanned the skies.  Built model airplanes.  Along with my buddy Alan, doodled dogfights during math class.  […]

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Zen Redux: Zen and the Art of Passenger Mainenance

“This is an emergency announcement,” the female voice declared in prim ‘n proper British accent over the intercom of the British Airways’ 747—while cruising at 35,000 feet over the North Sea. “We may shortly need to make an emergency landing on water.” Minor detail:  this “emergency announcement” was an accidentally-triggered prerecorded message. . . accidentally […]

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Zen and the Art of Aircraft Maintenance

Pilot’s maintenance write-up:  “Something loose in the cockpit.” Mechanic’s corrective action:  “Something tightened in the cockpit.” If you’re any kind of aviation buff, you’ve most likely seen this and other gems in a popular email of funny aircraft maintenance write-ups.  If not, I’ll take that as an excuse to plagiarize a few more here for […]

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The Poker Game That Launched My Career

“The event that ultimately defined my life was…a poker game.” It’s mind-boggling—”uncanny,” as my dad would have said—to look back on life and realize that there were single, seemingly innocuous decisions that ultimately determined the path that your life took.  I’m not talking about the deliberate life decisions we try to make—marry or move on?  […]

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The Life Aquatic and the Battle for Air Supremacy

Last week aviation headlines were made when a near miss occurred between a an Air New Zealand airliner…and a shark.  Yes, folks, you heard me right!  Captain Sully’s suicidal flocks of Airbus-downing Canadian geese got nuthin’ on this aero-nautical predator.  Nor, for that matter, does Jaws… But what the unsuspecting traveling public doesn’t know is […]

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