Ramblings about flying for fun and profit.

Category: Aviation People Page 1 of 2

Another Fun Crossing

I’m on a layover in Asia again, but that’s nothing new.  The westbound flight was really nice – hardly a bump the whole way. Island just north of Kodiak Island, AK. Our route this time took us across the northern Pacific quite a distance south of Anchorage. I took this picture looking north just as we passed over Kodiak Island. We believe we could see Mt. Redoubt and a small steam cloud rising quite a bit to the north of us, but one mountain out of many is not easy to pick out. The haze and distance prevented a photo.

The captain I was sharing the cockpit with for the first half of the flight is an individual I had worked with before when we were both flying the 747-200. He’s a really nice guy and is a fellow light plane pilot. Unlike me though he didn’t buy his plane, he built it. Steve has a really nice Van’s RV-4. He says he compressed a 4-year project into 15 years, but there were extenuating circumstances affecting his building effort. We’ll call them ‘family challenges’ and leave it at that. He says that both the plane and his kids turned out great, so whatever extra effort and time that it took was well worth it.

Seatmates While Commuting

One of the benefits (?) of being an airline pilot is that you have the option of living where you want while working somewhere else.   More traditional jobs usually require you live relatively close to your place of employment. Airport hangout for a commuting pilot.Instead of a drive to work, I drive to the airport and then take two airline flights before I arrive at my base of operations on the opposite side of the country. So far it has been relatively easy making my commute flights (knock on aluminum/composite) . I always take the first flights available that head me in the right direction. I figure that it is better to spend a little idle time in close proximity to my base knowing that I will be able to check in for my flight rather than waiting until the last minute to make the commute and not really know if it will all work out. I guess I’ve just been doing this too long to depend on one option for getting to work.

This morning I got on my first flight at 7 am, jumpseating with the great folks at Southwest. There were a few empty seats in the cabin, so I even got a ‘regular’ seat rather than the one that folds down out of the cockpit doorway. I grabbed a window seat and was sending off my last tweets before the door closed when a man took the aisle seat. Nice guy.  He asked if I minded a question. I hesitated, then I said sure give it a try. As much as I dislike it, I commute wearing my airline uniform. It makes the gauntlet through security marginally easier if it is obvious that you are an airline crew member. The down side is that you risk getting the ‘back seat driver’ comments and occasional inane questions.

Aviation Blogs and Podcasts

A couple of days ago I had the opportunity to take part in the aviation podcast that is published by AirplaneGeeks. I was a bit apprehensive when they first contacted me about being on the show, but in the end I really enjoyed the experience. They introduced me as a highly experienced pilot, not a description I am used to hearing.  I have a lot of aviation experience because I have been flying for 40 years and that has given me the time to fly a lot of different airplanes and accumulate quite a few hours. It just sounded funny to me because there are several pilots I look up to who may not have logged as many hours as I have, but who I consider to be exceptional pilots.  When you get right down to it, the number of hours in your logbook doesn’t matter as much as how you fly the next one that you log. You can listen to the podcast, episode 36, on their website or you can do as I do and subscribe to it via iTunes and listen to it on you iPod or iPhone.

When I started this blog I wasn’t sure what I was getting into or how it would be received. I had been reading a few aviation blogs and felt that I had something that I could contribute to the aviation community, so I started AroundThePattern to try and pass along some of this enthusiasm I have for aviation.  Office MonkeyI have no background or experience in journalism and I am finding that writing well, or trying to,  is much more work than I had expected. I say this not because I intend to retire from blogging, but because I now understand the effort involved and I  have a deep respect and admiration for the individuals who are regularly publishing to their blogs, researching and writing about aviation events and their experiences as they progress in their flying careers.

After witnessing the steps necessary to prepare and record a podcast I have an even greater appreciation of the work involved in that area. Selecting the stories, researching their subjects  so that more depth can be covered than just the printed information, recording the show and then doing the final editing and publishing all take an enormous amount of time. Add to that the upkeep of the web site associated with the podcast and the writing and publishing of the show notes and you approach the time involved with a full-time job. As soon as one episode is published it is time to start work on the next one, especially if you keep to a schedule of a new podcast each week.

The youth of today are growing up in a world with “always on” internet. It is available on our phones and in our homes, in hotels and in coffee shops with increasing reliability and speed. The internet is the way we now stay in touch with each other, schedule outings and track progress. When we become curious about a subject, whether it is a news story, a conversation we overheard or something we saw as we traveled to work or school, the first place we go to find out more information is the Internet. This is the way that we are going to be promoting aviation to the younger generations. Unless they have a family member or family friend who is involved in aviation, the Internet is where young people will learn about the wonders of flying and how they can find their way into the world of aviation. Face it, it is rare that you can go out to the airport and walk up to a plane and start talking to a pilot these days and airport access is not going to get any easier. The new AOPA Summit format, the Women in Aviation International Conference (being held this week) and EAA AirVenture are great venues for making new contacts in the aviation industry, but increasingly the attendees already know several of the people that they want to meet. There is a large (and growing) aviation segment visible on Twitter. Contacts are made and friendships grown within a 140-character social media world. Friends who have been ‘tweeting’ for months finally meet in person at the conferences. There are also active aviation forums on the UCAPP web site. MyTransponder and other sites where contacts are made and experiences exchanged. Conference and event attendees are reading aviation blogs, listening to podcasts and participating in forums on a regular basis and  make online arrangements to meet the authors and speakers before they go to the physical events.

The internet, via blogs and podcasts, will spread the word about aviation and its benefits to both the private and business worlds. My hat is off and I give a deep bow to the individuals who continue to blog and record and to spread the word about aviation.

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