Ready For Takeoff - Turn Your Aviation Passion Into A Career

The Ready For Takeoff podcast will help you transform your aviation passion into an aviation career. Every week we bring you instruction and interviews with top aviators in their field who reveal their flight path to an exciting career in the skies.
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Jun 7, 2021

Andy Cook is one comfortable guy.

He’s on a Louisiana layover.

Inside what’s left of a retired, renovated, old New Orleans Hornets Boeing 727 airplane.

WGNO’s Bill Wood is there, too.

He’s been invited into Andy’s man cave.

Andy has decked out his home away from home.

It’s actually just behind his home.

He landed his 727 man cave right in his own backyard.

And it’s a short commute from work.

Andy Cook is an air traffic controller at the Houma-Terrebonne Airport in Houma, Louisiana.

He’s had a career of guiding in planes across the country.

He loves planes, always has.

His passion started when he was a kid.

The plane he snuggles up in now flew for the NBA for New Orleans, when the team was the Hornets and for two other NBA teams.

Fasten your seatbelt for one of the few 727s still in service.

It’s on a non-stop flight.

In the first-class imagination.

Right there in the driver’s seat, there’s a Louisiana pilot.


Jun 3, 2021

A flight attendant on a Southwest Airlines plane lost two teeth over the weekend after allegedly being punched by a passenger who had "repeatedly ignored standard inflight instructions," according to an airline spokesman.

The Port of San Diego Harbor Police Department charged Vyvianna Quinonez, 28, with battery causing serious bodily injury in the incident, which was caught on video and later went viral.

The incident sparked widespread outrage, but for flight attendants it was just the latest example of an increase in travelers becoming disorderly and in some cases turning violent against those tasked with enforcing federal and airline rules.

Southwest Airlines said Friday it would delay its return to serving alcohol to passengers "given the recent uptick in industry-wide incidents of passenger disruptions inflight."

"We realize this decision may be disappointing for some Customers, but we feel this is the right decision at this time in the interest of the Safety and comfort of all Customers and Crew onboard," the airline said in an email.

The FAA is keeping track of attacks

The number of unruly passengers on U.S flights has taken off in 2021, with many more people boarding planes as the pandemic eases.

According to the Federal Aviation Administration, from Jan. 1 through May 24, there were roughly 2,500 reports of unruly behavior by passengers, including about 1,900 reports of people contravening the federal mask mandate, which is still in place.

The FAA has not always tracked unruly passenger reports but began keeping a tally last year as it started to observe a surge in complaints, specifically around noncompliance with the face-covering mandate, said FAA spokesperson Ian Gregor.

"Based on our experience, we can say with confidence that the number of reports we've received during the past several months are significantly higher than the numbers we've seen in the past," Gregor said in an email.

The FAA does, however, keep data on the number of "unruly passenger" violations it has identified. Through May 25, the agency has already recorded 394 potential violations, while in all of 2019 and 2020 there were just 146 and 183 violations, respectively.

Flight attendant unions say the hostility is unprecedented

Sara Nelson, president of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, which represents nearly 50,000 flight attendants across 17 airlines, said the level of hostility toward flight attendants is unprecedented.

"We've never before seen aggression and violence on our planes like we have in the past five months," Nelson said in a statement. "The constant combative attitude over wearing masks is exhausting and sometimes horrific for the people who have been on the front lines of this pandemic for over a year."

Nelson said the strained situation is causing some flight attendants to quit.

The surge in unruly passenger complaints is also getting the attention of federal officials, who have warned travelers to be on their best behavior in airports and on planes or risk facing the consequences.

"Let me be clear in underscoring something," Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said during a Tuesday press conference. "It is a federal mandate that one must wear a mask in an airport, in the modes of public transportation, on the airplane itself — and we will not tolerate behavior that violates the law."

Just this week the FAA announced that it was proposing civil penalties as high as $15,000 against five more passengers for violations that included allegedly assaulting and yelling at flight attendants.

In an open letter, Lyn Montgomery, president of TWU Local 556, the union for Southwest flight attendants, suggested the airline be more consistent in banning unruly passengers and called for an increase in the number of federal air marshals on planes.

From The Points Guy:

There has been a succession of news stories lately about unruly passengers causing trouble in the air during this recent travel surge. U.S. airlines are taking precautionary measures as they’ve witnessed a recent uptick in disorderly passenger behavior.

American Airlines is the latest airline to ban alcohol sales in its economy cabin this summer. According to an internal memo sent to flight attendants on Saturday and first obtained by CNN, economy passengers flying with the airline will have to wait until at least Sept. 13 before they can order a mid-flight drink.

This comes at the heels of the Southwest Airlines announcement that they too are pausing alcohol sales after a flight attendant was physically assaulted in-flight by an inebriated passenger.

In the memo, vice president of flight service Brady Byrnes stated the reasoning behind the airline’s decision:

“Over the past week we’ve seen some of these stressors create deeply disturbing situations on board aircraft. Let me be clear: American Airlines will not tolerate assault or mistreatment of our crews. While we appreciate that customers and crewmembers are eager to return to ‘normal,’ we will move cautiously and deliberately when restoring pre-COVID practices.”


The Sept. 13 date coincides with the federal face mask requirement for airplanes, airports and other modes of transportation that currently runs through Sept. 13.

American was planning to resume full main cabin beverage service, including alcoholic beverage options, as well as its buy-on-board food program later in the summer. However, those plans have now been put on hold.

For now, pre-departure beverage service remains suspended in premium cabins. In the main cabin on flights under 250 miles, non-alcoholic beverage service is available upon request. On flights of 250+ miles, non-alcoholic beverage service with be offered with a snack. “Alcohol will continue to be offered in premium cabins (First/Business class),” according to the memo — but only inflight. American notes that “Pre-departure beverage service continues to remain paused.”

When asked whether or not it had plans to change its alcohol sales policy, Delta Air Lines said in a statement to TPG there are “no changes” to on board services including beer, wine and cocktails for purchase in the main cabin “on most domestic flights.” The spokesperson continued, “Nothing is more important than the safety of our flight crews and customers. And as part of our values-led culture, respect and civility among all are key components of the Delta experience for our customers and people.”

TPG also reached out to United Airlines for comment and will update this post with additional information.

May 31, 2021

Commander Jake Ellzey decided to become a fighter pilot when, at age seven, his dad took him on his first plane ride.

A graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, Commander Jake Ellzey served as a fighter pilot and completed his service as the Air Boss on the U.S.S. Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier. In his 20 years of service, Commander Ellzey was deployed nine times, including to Afghanistan and Iraq. He served five combat tours by air and one by ground with Seal Team 5. 

For his service, Commander Jake Ellzey received two Bronze Stars and eight Air Medals. After retiring from the military, he became a successful local businessman and was appointed by Governor Rick Perry to serve Texas as Commissioner on the Texas Veterans Commission. Today, Commander Ellzey is a commercial airline pilot based out of DFW. 

Jake and his wife Shelby are raising their two children on ten acres in Ellis County. 

Most Americans look to Texas for the way forward for prosperity and freedom and liberty. Commander Jake Ellzey understands that what happens in Washington DC could threaten all of that. Commander Ellzey is running to bring Texas values and a hometown conservative mindset to Congress. Especially under this new administration, we need tough conservative representation more than ever.

May 27, 2021

Furious Backlash – In what some observers are referring to as “state-sponsored hijacking,” a Belarussian jet forced a Ryanair jetliner flying from Greece to Lithuania on Sunday passenger airliner to land in Minsk so authorities could arrest a journalist on board.  The dissident is Raman Pratasevich, a key foe of authoritarian Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, who ran a popular Telegraph messaging app that played a key role in helping organize massive protests against Lukashenko. 

The government of Belarus used a transparent ruse to justify the operation. According to Associated Press (AP):

Ryanair said Belarusian flight controllers told the crew there was a bomb threat against the plane as it was crossing through Belarus airspace on Sunday and ordered it to land. A Belarusian MiG-29 fighter jet was scrambled to escort the plane in a brazen show of force by Lukashenko, who has ruled the country with an iron fist for over a quarter-century.

The apparent target of the forced landing: Raman Pratasevich, who is “a 26-year-old activist and journalist who ran a popular messaging app that played a key role in helping organize massive protests against the authoritarian leader,” AP reports. “He and his Russian girlfriend were led off the plane shortly after landing — and authorities haven’t said where they’re being held.” 

According to AP:

Passengers described Pratasevich’s shock when he realized the plane was going to Minsk. “I saw this Belarusian guy with girlfriend sitting right behind us. He freaked out when the pilot said the plane is diverted to Minsk. He said there’s death penalty awaiting him there,” passenger Marius Rutkauskas said after the plane finally arrived in Vilnius. “We sat for an hour after the landing. Then they started releasing passengers and took those two. We did not see them again.”

“State-sponsored hijacking” is what RyanAir CEO Michael O’Leary called the events this weekend, according to the Wall Street Journal. “The incident has sparked an international outcry and raised questions over the legality of the plane’s grounding and the ramifications for the airline industry,” the Journal reports.

Thankfully, in a rare unified, prompt the European Union responded loudly and clearly. On Monday it agreed Monday to impose new sanctions against Belarus, including banning its airlines from using the airspace and airports of the 27-nation bloc.

While this is indeed a horrible act by the Belarusian strongman Alexander Lukashenko. a willing puppet of Russia’s Vladimir Putin, this isn’t the first time a civilian jet has been intercepted by military aircraft and forced down to arrest passengers. In 1985, President Ronald Reagan used U.S. F-14s jet fighters from the carrier Saratoga in the Mediterranean to force an Egyptian airliner to fly to a U.S. naval base in Sicily. 

The airliner was carrying four terrorists who had just hijacked an Italian cruise liner and brutally murdered an elderly disabled American tourist, throwing the wheelchair-bound man overboard. The men had negotiated a deal to go to Egypt.

Reagan had vowed that the terrorists would not evade justice. The significant difference in the two incidents – one was conducted by a democracy to bring cold blooded murderers to justice. In the other, a young, peaceful democracy activist now faces torture or death by a murderous illegitimate regime. 

May 24, 2021

September 1962: On a moonless night over the raging Atlantic Ocean, a thousand miles from land, the engines of Flying Tiger flight 923 to Germany burst into flames, one by one.

Pilot John Murray didn’t have long before the plane crashed headlong into the 20-foot waves at 120 mph.

As the four flight attendants donned life vests, collected sharp objects, and explained how to brace for the ferocious impact, 68 passengers clung to their seats: elementary schoolchildren from Hawaii, a teenage newlywed from Germany, a disabled Normandy vet from Cape Cod, an

immigrant from Mexico, and 30 recent graduates of the 82nd Airborne’s Jump School. They all expected to die.

Murray radioed out “Mayday” as he attempted to fly down through gale-force winds into the rough water, hoping the plane didn’t break apart when it hit the sea.

Only a handful of ships could pick up the distress call so far from land. The closest was a Swiss freighter 13 hours away. Dozens of other ships and planes from nine countries abruptly changed course or scrambled from Canada, Iceland, Ireland, Scotland, and Cornwall, all racing to the rescue—but they would take hours, or days, to arrive.

From the cockpit, the blackness of the Atlantic grew ever closer. Could Murray do what no pilot had ever done—“land” a commercial airliner at night in a violent sea without everyone dying? And if he did, would rescuers find any survivors before they drowned or died from hypothermia in the icy water?

The fate of Flying Tiger 923 riveted the world. Bulletins interrupted radio and TV programs. Headlines shouted off newspapers from London to LA. Frantic family members overwhelmed telephone switchboards. President Kennedy took a break from the brewing crises in Cuba and Mississippi to ask for hourly updates.

Tiger in the Sea is a gripping tale of triumph, tragedy, unparalleled airmanship, and incredibly brave people from all walks of life. The author has pieced together the story—long hidden because of murky Cold War politics—through exhaustive research and reconstructed a true and inspiring tribute to the virtues of outside-the-box-thinking, teamwork, and hope.

From Eric's webpage:

In 2009, Eric Lindner became a hospice volunteer, helping patients cope with the reality of dying. His book, Hospice Voices: Lessons for Living at the End of Life, was critically acclaimed by leading doctors and caregivers, NPR, BBC, Washington Independent Review of BooksPublishers Weekly, and Booklist’s Rebecca Vnuk, who named it one of 2013’s five best memoirs. Since 2015, the attorney, businessman and DC native has been teaching Ethics in Action at Georgetown University, a course that dissects the NASA Challenger disaster. He‘s married to Captain Murray’s daughter; they live on California’s Central Coast. 

May 20, 2021

In a measure that will likely irk flyers, airlines could soon require plus-sized passengers to step on the scale — or provide their weight — before boarding the aircraft.

The initiative, which was outlined in a recent Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) advisory, strives to provide new data on average passenger weights as the current numbers reportedly don’t reflect today’s sky-high obesity rates in the US. In turn, this would help ensure aircrafts, especially the small ones, don’t exceed their allowable weight limit, View From the Wing reported.

To put it plane-ly, the FAA wants to gauge how much fatter Americans have gotten, to prevent things from coming apart when planes take to the skies.

The new mandates, which were reviewed by airline industry publication AirInsight Group, would require airlines to take surveys to establish “standard average passenger weights” for crew members, baggage and passengers via random selection, Fox reported.

Once they’ve chosen a traveler, an operator may “determine the actual weight of passengers” by having them step “on a scale before boarding the aircraft,” per the guidelines transcribed by AirInsight.

If that’s not an option, they’re urged to ask each passenger their weight, while making sure to add 10 pounds to account for clothing.

They even have a contingency plan for when operators suspect flyers are miscalculating their heft. In that case, crew members should “make a reasonable estimate about the passenger’s actual weight and add 10 pounds,” per the document.

Naturally, weighing people like luggage may seem a bit obtuse, which is why the FAA also provided guidelines on conducting the procedure in a way that protects passenger privacy.

They stipulate that the scale readout should remain hidden from public view” while “an operator should ensure that any passenger weight data collected remains confidential.” Chalk one up for bedside manner.

Thankfully, travelers have the option of declining “to participate in any passenger or bag weight survey,” per the guidelines.

In order to update guidelines on “standard passenger weight,” airlines will have to up the weight of an average adult male passenger and carry-on bag to 190 pounds in the summer and 195 pounds in the winter — a 20-pound increase from the current guidelines, Fox reported. Meanwhile, female passengers and carry-on bags will increase from 145 pounds to 179 pounds in the summer, and 150 pounds to 184 pounds in the winter.

May 17, 2021

Kilrain was born in Augusta, Georgia, as Susan Leigh Still to Dr. Joseph Still, M.D. and his wife, Jean Ann Batho; she has nine siblings. Her father was a prominent burn surgeon who founded and directed the Joseph M. Still Burn Center in Augusta, Georgia. Kilrain graduated from the Walnut Hill School, Natick, Massachusetts, in 1979. She graduated from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in 1982 with a bachelor's degree in aeronautical engineering and received her Master of Science degree in aerospace engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology in 1985.

She is married to Vice Admiral Colin J. Kilrain, who previously served with North Atlantic Treaty Organization Special Operations Commander Headquartered in Belgium. Kilrain and her husband have four children, and reside in Virginia Beach, Virginia. She is active as a motivational speaker, presenting mostly to schools and universities. Her main message is "Live Your Dream" - anyone can become an astronaut.

After graduation, Kilrain worked as a wind tunnel project officer for Lockheed Corporation in Marietta, Georgia, and earned her graduate degree. She was commissioned into the U.S. Navy in 1985 and designated a Naval Aviator in 1987. Kilrain was selected to be a flight instructor in the TA-4J Skyhawk, and later flew EA-6A Electric Intruders for Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron 33 (VAQ-33) in Key West, Florida. After completing U.S. Naval Test Pilot School at NAS Patuxent River, Maryland, she reported to Fighter Squadron 101 (VF-101) in Virginia Beach, Virginia, for F-14 Tomcat training. Kilrain has logged over 3,000 flight hours in more than 30 different aircraft.

Kilrain reported to the Johnson Space Center as an Astronaut Candidate in March 1995. Following a year of training, she worked on technical issues for the Vehicle Systems and Operations Branch of the Astronaut Office. She also served as spacecraft communicator (CAPCOM) in mission control during launch and entry for numerous missions. A veteran of two space flights, she logged nearly 472 hours in space. She flew as pilot on STS-83 (April 4 to April 8, 1997) and STS-94 (July 1 to July 17, 1997). She was most recently the Legislative Specialist for Shuttle, for the Office of Legislative Affairs at NASA Headquarters, Washington D.C. Kilrain retired from the Astronaut Office in December 2002 and from the U.S. Navy in 2005.

May 17, 2021

Kilrain was born in Augusta, Georgia, as Susan Leigh Still to Dr. Joseph Still, M.D. and his wife, Jean Ann Batho; she has nine siblings. Her father was a prominent burn surgeon who founded and directed the Joseph M. Still Burn Center in Augusta, Georgia. Kilrain graduated from the Walnut Hill School, Natick, Massachusetts, in 1979. She graduated from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in 1982 with a bachelor's degree in aeronautical engineering and received her Master of Science degree in aerospace engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology in 1985.

She is married to Vice Admiral Colin J. Kilrain, who previously served with North Atlantic Treaty Organization Special Operations Commander Headquartered in Belgium. Kilrain and her husband have four children, and reside in Virginia Beach, Virginia. She is active as a motivational speaker, presenting mostly to schools and universities. Her main message is "Live Your Dream" - anyone can become an astronaut.

After graduation, Kilrain worked as a wind tunnel project officer for Lockheed Corporation in Marietta, Georgia, and earned her graduate degree. She was commissioned into the U.S. Navy in 1985 and designated a Naval Aviator in 1987. Kilrain was selected to be a flight instructor in the TA-4J Skyhawk, and later flew EA-6A Electric Intruders for Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron 33 (VAQ-33) in Key West, Florida. After completing U.S. Naval Test Pilot School at NAS Patuxent River, Maryland, she reported to Fighter Squadron 101 (VF-101) in Virginia Beach, Virginia, for F-14 Tomcat training. Kilrain has logged over 3,000 flight hours in more than 30 different aircraft.

Kilrain reported to the Johnson Space Center as an Astronaut Candidate in March 1995. Following a year of training, she worked on technical issues for the Vehicle Systems and Operations Branch of the Astronaut Office. She also served as spacecraft communicator (CAPCOM) in mission control during launch and entry for numerous missions. A veteran of two space flights, she logged nearly 472 hours in space. She flew as pilot on STS-83 (April 4 to April 8, 1997) and STS-94 (July 1 to July 17, 1997). She was most recently the Legislative Specialist for Shuttle, for the Office of Legislative Affairs at NASA Headquarters, Washington D.C. Kilrain retired from the Astronaut Office in December 2002 and from the U.S. Navy in 2005.

May 13, 2021

28 November, 2016. The aircraft was an Avro RJ85, registration CP-2933, serial number E.2348, which first flew in 1999. After service with other airlines and a period in storage between 2010 and 2013, it was acquired by LaMia, a Venezuelan-owned airline operating out of Bolivia.

The captain was 36-year-old Miguel Quiroga, who had been a former Bolivian Air Force (FAB) pilot and had previously flown for EcoJet, which also operated the Avro RJ85. He joined LaMia in 2013 and at the time of the accident he was one of the airline's co-owners as well as a flight instructor. Quiroga had logged a total of 6,692 flight hours, including 3,417 hours on the Avro RJ85.

The first officer was 47-year-old Fernando Goytia, who had also been a former FAB pilot. He received his type rating on the Avro RJ85 five months before the accident and had had 6,923 flight hours, with 1,474 of them on the Avro RJ85.

Another pilot was 29-year-old Sisy Arias, who was undergoing training and was an observer in the cockpit. She had been interviewed by TV before the flight.

The party flew with a different airline from São Paulo to Santa Cruz, where it boarded the LaMia aircraft. The refuelling stop at Cobija was cancelled following a late departure from Santa Cruz.

The aircraft was carrying 73 passengers and 4 crew members on a flight from Viru Viru International Airport, in the Bolivian city of Santa Cruz de la Sierra, to José María Córdova International Airport, serving Medellín in Colombia, and located in nearby Rionegro. Among the passengers were 22 players of the Brazilian Associação Chapecoense de Futebol club, 23 staff, 21 journalists and 2 guests. The team was travelling to play their away leg of the Final for the 2016 Copa Sudamericana in Medellín against Atlético Nacional.

Chapecoense's initial request to charter LaMia for the whole journey from São Paulo to Medellín was refused by the National Civil Aviation Agency of Brazil because the limited scope of freedom of the air agreements between the two countries, under International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) rules, would have required the use of a Brazilian or Colombian airline for such a service. The club opted to retain LaMia and arranged a flight with Boliviana de Aviación from São Paulo to Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia, where it was to board the LaMia flight. LaMia had previously transported other teams for international competitions, including Chapecoense and the Argentina national team, which had flown on the same aircraft two weeks before. The flight from São Paulo landed at Santa Cruz at 16:50 local time.

The RJ85 operating LaMia flight 2933 departed Santa Cruz at 18:18 local time. A Chapecoense team member's request to have a video game retrieved from his luggage in the aircraft's cargo delayed departure. The original flight plan included an intermediate refueling stop at the Cobija–Captain Aníbal Arab Airport, near Bolivia's border with Brazil; however, the flight's late departure meant the aircraft would not arrive at Cobija prior to the airport's closing time. An officer of Bolivia's Administración de Aeropuertos y Servicios Auxiliares a la Navegación Aérea (AASANA – Airports and Air Navigation Services Administration) at Santa Cruz de la Sierra reportedly rejected the crew's flight plan for a direct flight to Medellín several times despite pressure to approve it, because of the aircraft's range being almost the same as the flight distance. The flight plan was approved by another AASANA officer. The distance between Santa Cruz and Medellín airports is 1,598 nautical miles (2,959 km; 1,839 mi). A fuel stop in Cobija would have broken the flight into two segments: an initial segment of 514 nautical miles (952 km; 592 mi) to Cobija followed by a flight of 1,101 nautical miles (2,039 km; 1,267 mi) to Medellín, a total of 1,615 nautical miles (2,991 km; 1,859 mi).Bogotá's airport is 1,486 nautical miles (2,752 km; 1,710 mi) from Santa Cruz's airport and 116 nautical miles (215 km; 133 mi) from Medellín's.

The flight crew anticipated a fuel consumption of 8,858kg for their planned route of 1,611nmi (including 200kg for taxiing). After refueling at Santa Cruz, CP2933 had 9,073kg on board. ICAO regulations would have required them to carry a total fuel load of 12,052kg, to allow for holding, diversion and other contingencies. The RJ85's fuel tanks have a capacity of 9,362kg. At around 21:16, approximately 180nmi from their destination, the aircraft displayed a low fuel warning. At this point they were 77nmi from Bogotá, but the crew took no steps to divert there, nor to inform ATC of the situation. The RJ85 continued on course and began its descent towards Medellín at 21:30.

Another aircraft had been diverted to Medellín from its planned route (from Bogotá to San Andres) by its crew because of a suspected fuel leak. Medellín air traffic controllers gave that aircraft priority to land and at 21:43 the LaMia RJ85's crew was instructed to enter a racetrack-shaped holding pattern at the Rionegro VHF omnidirectional range (VOR) radio navigation beacon and wait with three other aircraft for its turn to land. The crew requested and were given authorisation to hold at an area navigation (RNAV) waypoint named GEMLI, about 5.4 nautical miles (10 km; 6 mi) south of the Rionegro VOR. While waiting for the other aircraft to land, during the last 15 minutes of its flight, the RJ85 completed two laps of the holding pattern. This added approximately 54 nautical miles (100 km; 62 mi) to its flight path. At 21:49, the crew requested priority for landing because of unspecified "problems with fuel", and were told to expect an approach clearance in "approximately seven minutes". Minutes later, at 21:52, they declared a fuel emergency and requested immediate descent clearance and "vectors" for approach. At 21:53, with the aircraft nearing the end of its second lap of the holding pattern, engines 3 and 4 (the two engines on the right wing) flamed out due to fuel exhaustion; engines 1 and 2 flamed out two minutes later, at which point the flight data recorder (FDR) stopped operating.

Shortly before 22:00 local time on 28 November (03:00 UTC, 29 November), the pilot of the LaMia aircraft reported an electrical failure and fuel exhaustion while flying in Colombian airspace between the municipalities of La Ceja and La Unión. After the LaMia crew reported the RJ85's electrical and fuel problems, an air traffic controller radioed that the aircraft was 0.1 nautical miles (190 m; 200 yd) from the Rionegro VOR, but its altitude data were no longer being received. The crew replied that the aircraft was at an altitude of 9,000 feet (2,700 m); the procedure for an aircraft approaching to land at José María Córdova International Airport states it must be at an altitude of at least 10,000 feet (3,000 m) when passing over the Rionegro VOR. Air traffic control radar stopped detecting the aircraft at 21:55 local time as it descended among the mountains south of the airport.

At 21:59 the aircraft hit the crest of a ridge on a mountain known as Cerro Gordo at an altitude of 2,600 metres (8,500 ft) while flying in a northwesterly direction, with the wreckage of the rear of the aircraft on the southern side of the crest and other wreckage coming to rest on the northern side of the crest adjacent to the Rionegro VOR transmitter facility, which is in line with runway 01 at José María Córdova International Airport and about 18 kilometres (9.7 nmi; 11 mi) from the southern end. Profile of the flight's last 15 minutes

Helicopters from the Colombian Air Force were initially unable to get to the site because of heavy fog in the area, while first aid workers arrived two hours after the crash to find debris strewn across an area about 100 metres (330 ft) in diameter. It was not until 02:00 on 29 November that the first survivor arrived at a hospital: Alan Ruschel, one of the Chapecoense team members. Six people were found alive in the wreckage. The last survivor to be found was footballer Neto who was discovered at 05:40. Chapecoense backup goalkeeper Jakson Follmann underwent a potentially life-saving leg amputation. 71 of the 77 occupants died as a result of the crash. The number of dead was initially thought to be 75, but it was later revealed that four people had not boarded the aircraft. Colombian Air Force personnel extracted the bodies of 71 victims from the wreckage and took them to an air force base. They were then taken to the Instituto de Medicina Legal in Medellín for identification.

The Grupo de Investigación de Accidentes Aéreos (GRIAA) investigation group of Colombia's Unidad Administrativa Especial de Aeronáutica Civil (UAEAC or Aerocivil – Special Administrative Unit of Civil Aeronautics) began investigating the accident and requested assistance from BAE Systems (the successor company to British Aerospace, the aircraft’s manufacturer) and the British Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) as the investigative body of the state of the manufacturer. A team of three AAIB accident investigators was deployed. They were joined by investigators from Bolivia's national aviation authority, the Dirección General de Aeronáutica Civil (DGAC – General Directorate of Civil Aviation). In all, twenty-three specialists were deployed on the investigation; in addition to ten Colombian investigators and those from Bolivia and the United Kingdom, Brazil and the United States contributed personnel to the investigation. On the afternoon of 29 November the UAEAC reported that both flight recorders – the flight data recorder (FDR) and cockpit voice recorder (CVR) – had been recovered undamaged.

Evidence very quickly emerged to suggest that the aircraft had run out of fuel: the flight attendant who survived the accident reported that the captain's final words were "there is no fuel", and transmissions to that effect from the pilots to ATC were overheard by crews of other aircraft, and recorded in the control tower. Shortly after the crash, the person leading the investigation stated that there was "no evidence of fuel in the aircraft" and the aircraft did not catch fire when it crashed. Analysis of the FDR showed all four engines flamed out a few minutes before the crash.

The investigation found that LaMia had consistently operated its fleet without the legally required endurance fuel load, and had simply been lucky to avoid any of the delays that the mandated fuel load were meant to allow for. An investigative report by Spanish-language American media company Univision, using data from the Flightradar24 website, claimed that the airline had broken the fuel and loading regulations of the International Civil Aviation Organization on 8 of its 23 previous flights since 22 August. This included two direct flights from Medellín to Santa Cruz: one on 29 October transporting Atlético Nacional to the away leg of their Copa Sudamericana semifinal, and a flight without passengers on 4 November. The report claimed the eight flights would have used at least some of the aircraft's mandatory fuel reserves (a variable fuel quantity to allow for an additional 45 minutes of flying time), concluding the company was accustomed to operating flights at the limit of the RJ85's endurance.

On 27 April 2018, the investigators, led by Aerocivil, released the final investigative report for the crash of Flight 2933, listing the following causal factors:

  • The airline inappropriately planned the flight without considering the necessary amount of fuel that would be needed to fly to an alternate airport, fuel reserves, contingencies, or the required minimum fuel to land;
  • The four engines shut down in sequence as a result of fuel exhaustion;
  • Poor decision making by LaMia employees "as a result of processes that failed to ensure operational security";
  • Poor decision making by the flight crew, who continued the flight on extremely limited fuel despite being aware of the low fuel levels aboard the aircraft and who did not take corrective actions to land the aircraft and refuel.

Additional contributing factors cited by the investigators were:

  • Deploying the landing gear early;
  • "Latent deficiencies" in the planning and execution of non-regular flights related to the insufficient supply of fuel;
  • Specific deficiencies in the planning of the flight by LaMia;
  • "Lack of supervision and operational control" by LaMia, which did not supervise the planning of the flight or its execution, nor did it provide advice to the flight crew;
  • Failure to request priority or declare an emergency by the flight crew, particularly when fuel exhaustion became imminent; these actions would have allowed air traffic services to provide the necessary attention;
  • Failure by the airline to follow the fuel management rules that the Bolivian DGAC had approved in certifying the company;
  • Delays in CP-2933's approach to the runway resulting from its late declaration of priority and of fuel emergency, added to dense traffic in the Ríonegro VOR area.

The CVR had recorded the pilots discussing their fuel state and possible fuel stops en route, but they were so accustomed to operating with minimal fuel that they decided against a fuel stop when ATC happened to assign them an adjustment in their route which saved a few minutes of flight time. For unknown reasons, the CVR stopped recording an hour and forty minutes before the FDR, when the aircraft was still about 550 nautical miles (1,020 km; 630 mi) away from the crash site at the Rionegro VOR. Aviation analyst John Nance and GRIAA investigators Julian Echeverri and Miguel Camacho would later suggest that the most probable explanation is that the flight's captain, who was also a part owner of LaMia, pulled the circuit breaker on the CVR to prevent a record of the subsequent discussions, knowing that the flight did not have the appropriate fuel load.

The aircraft was estimated to be overloaded by nearly 400 kilograms (880 lb).

Due to restrictions imposed by the aircraft not being compliant with reduced vertical separation minima (RVSM) regulations, the submitted flight plan, with a nominated cruising flight level (FL) higher than 280 (approximately 28,000 feet (8,500 m) in altitude), was in violation of protocols. The flight plan, which was filed with AASANA, included a cruising altitude of FL300 (approximately 30,000 feet (9,100 m)). The flight plan was sent for review to Colombian and Brazilian authorities as well, in accordance with regional regulations.

A week after the crash, Bolivian police detained the general director of LaMia on various charges, including involuntary manslaughter. His son, who worked for the DGAC, was detained for allegedly using his influence to have the aircraft given an operational clearance. A prosecutor involved with the case told reporters that "the prosecution has collected statements and evidence showing the participation of the accused in the crimes of misusing influence, conduct incompatible with public office and a breach of duties."

An arrest warrant was issued for the employee of AASANA in Santa Cruz who had refused to approve Flight 2933's flight plan - it was later approved by another official. She fled the country seeking political asylum in Brazil, claiming that after the crash she had been pressured by her superiors to alter a report she had made before the aircraft took off and that she feared that Bolivia would not give her a fair trial. A warrant was also issued for the arrest of another of LaMia's co-owners, but he still had not been located four weeks after the crash.

May 10, 2021

Commercial Airline Pilot – Captain – currently flying for a major U.S. Carrier

Qualified on aircraft: Boeing 767, 757, 737, Airbus 320, Lockheed L-188 (civilian P-3) and Convair 580 –  flying International and domestic routes, military contracts

Flight and Ground Instructor – Multi-engine Instructor, Commercial Flight Instructor, Commercial Flight Instrument Instructor, taught all levels of flying and ground schools

Qualified on aircraft: Various twin and single engine aircraft, various aerobatic aircraft

Bachelor of Science degree in Aeronautical Science: Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University

CBS National News Aviation Consultant

CNN Aviation Consultant

Media: TV, radio, podcasts, guest speaking

Author – “Remove Before Flight” A guide book to empower passengers while increasing overall aviation and operational knowledge for  a better travel experience.

Author – “Lost and Found” A journey of perseverance and resilience – a mother’s struggle and sacrifice to save her son from a mystery illness

Guest Speaker – Numerous and various types of events in regard to aviation, health, and child development

Blogger – “”

Social Medias – Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Youtube

Airshow Director of Operations – Wanda Collins Airshows, Inc.

Ninety- Nines International Woman Pilot’s Association – Awarded “Pilot of the Year” and Scholarship


Co-host of the San Francisco Bay Area Fleet Week Special KRON 4 News – Two hour live airshow broadcast with anchor Ken Wayne discussing aviation and the performances by the Blue Angels, Team Oracle, Patriots Jet Team, United Boeing 777, along with many others. Oct 12th, 2019 ranked the number one special in the ratings category and was entered for an Emmy Award.

CBS This Morning Show, CBS Evening News, CBS Live Stream, CBS Radio – Various aviation topics, special stories, current industry news.

Girls In Aviation Day – event host for major airlines. Introducing under privileged girls to the world of aviation – the future career possibilities in all fields supporting airlines. Oct 5th, 2019 with LA’s Best.

Mic – “Do Airplane Rules like turning off your phone during takeoff really matter? Pilots Reveal the Truth”. Contributed to article for Emma Sarran Webster. July 17th, 2019

Thrive Global – “Mental Stamina of a Great Business Mind” – Dr. Damian Jacob Sendler collaborating on what it takes to maintain resiliency, fortitude, and perseverance under the most challenging of circumstances. Scientific Leadership, June 24th, 2019

Just Do Your Dream – Interview with Montrie Rucker Adams for book and website. Stories of motivation and drive to accomplish your goals and achieve your dreams. May 29th, 2019

The Verge – “The many human factors that brought down the Boeing 737 Max”. Daryl Campbell – Contributed to this very in depth and comprehensive article on the various issues that have played into the Max status. May 6th, 2019

Feedspot Blog Reader – “Top 10 Female Pilot Blogs, Websites, and Newsletters in 2019”. March 27th, 2019

Conde Nast Traveller – “The World’s Most Influential Women Travellers”. Gold Edition. Named amongst these top women for this honor. March 1st, 2019

The New York Times – “Behind the Lion Air Crash, a Trail of Decisions that Kept Pilots in the Dark”. Contributor on this article with Zach Wichter for a detailed look at factors involved. February 7th, 2019

Reno Air Races – Appearances, meetings, collaborations, photo shoots. Supporting aviation and sport racing. September 17th, 2018

Created “Adventures in Aviation” – Television Docu Series with Captain Joe Rajacic to highlight all areas of aviation and how it helps the world. www.AdventuresinAviation.TV  Aug 9th, 2018

Guest Speaker – Supporting OBAP with major airlines for the ACE Group to inspire young high schoolers in the field of aviation. August 8th, 2018

The Seth Markzon Podcast – Guest on Success podcast sharing my history, words of inspiration, thoughts of knowledge and tips for everyone. Episode #5  July 27th, 2018

The Jet Set Travel Talk Show – Season 3 Episode #1 discussing the recent decompression, how travelers can be best prepared, and preparing for the summer travel season. Episode #3 Season 3 discussing the myth of chemtrails, talking about the pilot shortage, and sharing thoughts on the future of aviation travel. July 7th, 2018

Women’s History Month – Guest Speaker for major airlines. Sharing words of personal journey, resiliency, and motivation for other women. March 29th, 2018

The Jet Set TV Travel Talk Show – Guest on Season 2 episode #16 airing the week of September 16th, 2017 and episode #18 airing the week of September 28th, 2017. 13 million viewers across the country with several large networks – discussing the future of aviation along with climate change affecting air travel.

Travel Weekly magazine – “Warming Trend: As the mercury rises, airlines’ operations may be impacted” article by Robert Silk published August 28th, 2017.

KRON Channel 4 News, San Francisco Bay Area – Guest on primetime news with producer Mark Burnette and journalist Dan Kerman aired July 14th, 2017. A current story about the close call of Air Canada jet that was lined up to land on a taxiway full of airplanes.

KRON Channel 4 News, San Francisco Bay Area – Guest on primetime news with producer Mark Burnette and journalist Dan Kerman aired July 6th 2017. This was a story re-visiting the Asiana 214 accident at the SFO airport – over reliance on automation and lengthy rescue time.

The New York Times – Collaboration with Zach Wichter front page article “Too Hot for Takeoff: Air Travel Buffeted by a Capricious Climate” Published June 20th, 2017 is an excellent read about how the heating of the earth is affecting air travel

My Domaine – “8 Summer Vacation Ideas for When You Just Want To Escape the Crowds” article with Lindsay Tigar. Published May 28th, 2017 and profiles fabulous places to see and experience.

The Jet Set TV Travel Talk Show – Guest on Season #1 episodes #46 airing across the country week of February 25th, 2017 and episode #49 airing the week of April 1st, 2017. www.TheJetSet.TV  Pilot guest answering questions from the viewers, discussing the book, and other great information.


Huffington Post – “What Pilots Want You to Know” with travel writer Suzy Strutner. March 17th, 2017. You can read her great articles in the Travel section of the Huffington Post news.

Traveling with Francoise – Radio Show guest. Interviewed live streaming radio with Francoise on Money Radio February 12th, 2017. Sundays 11:00-1:00 on 1200AM and 101.1FM. under podcasts. Discussing book, flying, travel, and lots of fun stuff.

Just Do Your Dream – Profiled in book “Just Do Your Dream!” by Montrie Rucker Adams Dec 2016. under “Misc” profiles. Discussing perseverence and drive to achieve your goals and dreams.

Ready for Takeoff – Guest on Podcast with Dr. George Knolly – “Ready for Takeoff” episode RFT058  Dec 12th 2016. Discussing flying, experience, the book

The Jet Set Tv Show – Pilot Guest – Travel Talk Show “The Jet Set” episodes for Oct 10th and Oct 17th 2016. www.TheJetSet.TV, syndicated across the nation, 1.1 million viewers

USA Today Contributor – Article written by Christopher Elliott discussing code sharing in the industry published Oct 17th 2016.

Reno Air Races – Guest Speaker for ALEX (Aerospace Learning Experience) speaking to over 1600 school children on field trips about aviation. September 14-18th 2016

The Boston LifeZette Magazine – Article written by Deidre Reilly  discussing the effects of September 11th on pilots and families.  Published September 11th, 2016

CNN Aviation Consultant – Multiple story works since May 2015 in regard to aviation, safety and security

South Bay Magazine Profile – Article for Women in Business edition about Captain Laura. September-October 2015

May 6, 2021

Kimberly is an international Captain on a Global Express and Gulfstream 650 aircraft.  She has piloted jet aircraft on six continents and lived on three.  Kimberly was influenced by her experiences living in Nigeria, which laid the foundation for her creating Aviation for Humanity.  She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Aviation: Flight Operations and a Master of Arts degree in Political Science with a concentration in International Relations.  She enjoys international travel both professionally and personally.  She insists on taking her two daughters to the remote regions of the world to instill the same sense of global community that led her to developing the non-profit.  Along with her piloting career, she is a gender equity activist through her published works and public speaking on gender parity. She previously served on the Board of the Pacific Northwest Business Aviation Association and continues to mentor women in aviation through her membership with industry organizations.  She is an outspoken optimist with a passion for inclusivity and equity in educating our youth.  She believes in a global community and hopes to use aviation as a method for philanthropic outreach.  All of Kimberly's interviews and published articles can be found on her website


May 3, 2021

Margaret “Peggy” Dennis Carnahan is retired from the U.S. Air Force and currently a Captain for NetJets. Peggy is a member of the 1980 U.S. Air Force Academy Class, the first to graduate women! She rose to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel, serving as an Air Force Instructor Pilot and Squadron Commander. Her awards include Air Training Command Master Instructor (1985) and Outstanding Young Women of America (1987). Peggy’s impressive bio is included at the end of this article. 

Being the first in anything is rarely easy. Each career path comes with its own set of challenges and the Air Force is no exception. Today Peggy is considered a trailblazer for women military aviators, but it almost didn’t come to be. Very early on in her career she began to realize obstacles she would need to overcome if she was going to have any success at all. We’re sharing Peggy’s story with our readers as a testament to what can be achieved if one is willing to break barriers, from within and without. 

Peggy, the sixth of seven children, grew up on a farm approximately 60 miles south of Chicago in a small town whose population was less than 3,000. Peggy was named after her grandmother Margaret, who passed away a few months before she was born. Her small town wasn’t big enough to have two “Margarets”, so she was given the nickname “Peggy”. Her father, an engineer and farmer, and her mother, a schoolteacher, set expectations for all of their children to attend college. Peggy’s brother who is five years older went to the Air Force Academy, and her sister, two years older than her, got a full Army ROTC scholarship to Arizona State. 

As Peggy was exploring her options, she spoke with the local insurance agent, who was her dad’s high-school friend. He was a Colonel in the Air Force Reserve and a local Liaison Officer. Peggy vividly remembers stopping by to see him on a Friday to pick up a letter of recommendation for an ROTC scholarship. He asked her to look at the Air Force Academy as on option, as President Ford had recently signed a law abolishing the all male tradition in military service academies. The only catch was that she needed to give him an answer by Monday! She was 17 years old, and as one might expect from the forward thinking of a 17 year old, she decided that it would be a good idea. Why not! Besides, she had the thought that mountains are prettier than cornfields! And, one of her male high-school classmates was going to attend as well. She would have an ally, though in reality she rarely saw him. 

Peggy struggled throughout her four years at the Air Force Academy, close to quitting several times. Eventually she realized she didn’t think beyond her decision to attend. Where were her four years going to take her? The Academy was challenging because of her mindset and lack of clarity. It took Peggy two years before she developed a mindset of “I want what this will give me; I want to be part of this group; I want these people to be my peers; I want to be one of them”. Today when she speaks with young people who are considering going into the Academy, she encourages them to consider what it will give them, and what their other options don’t, and to be sure that they want it! 

When Peggy entered the Academy, she knew she was there because the initiative of having women was mandated by Congress, but hadn’t spent much time thinking about what she wanted from her time spent there – what her future would look like. Flying was not an option when she entered; there were no female pilots at the time. The Air Force was just starting to test that possibility. Looking back, Peggy realized that she was presented with an opportunity, and to fully benefit from this, she had to be willing to want what they had to offer and to get through it! 

The whole emphasis in the Academy is teamwork. The basic training premise is to make the individual go away and build cadets back up as a member of a team where they are all the same. Competing against each other is a great way to fail. You can’t get through there by yourself. You do it as a team. You do it as a military unit. You have to take care of your roommate, you have to take care of people in your squadron, and you work together as a team. Because if you try to make it as an individual, you’re not going to make it. 

Peggy was in awe with the other women. Coming from a fairly sheltered small town, she didn’t even have girl’s sports in high school until her sophomore or junior year and then they had no uniforms. The girls had to buy their own t-shirts and use masking tape to make numbers to create their own uniforms. Coming from that kind of environment, she met other women who were playing soccer since they were six years old. Peggy was astounded with the other women’s backgrounds and talents. She was surrounded by superstars and found it eye-opening and humbling! 

Peggy’s roommate in her upper class years was Gwen Knuckles, the daughter of an Air Force Master Sergeant. She had traveled the world and lived overseas, a very different upbringing from Peggy. But that was not the only difference in the two women. While Peggy continued to struggle, Gwen was excelling and enjoying her time in the Academy. Gwen was bound and determined she was going to medical school. Her focus and positive outlook had a huge influence and impact on Peggy’s own focus and looking ahead to the future, in terms of where she was going and what she was going to do. In Peggy’s words, “She was a lifesaver for me.” In retrospect, Peggy realized that Gwen wanted to be there, did not complain, knew why she was there and where the Academy was going to get her, was clear on what she wanted to do, and more than anything, had a positive attitude. From that point forward, Peggy began looking at the positive side of things, and gravitated towards people with positive energy. 

Gwen would go on to medical school and serve as a doctor in the Air Force. Peggy went into the Air Force flight school and began the next phase of her career – pilot training. At the time, there was a pilot shortage and women could officially go to pilot training, it was no longer a test program. There were only 26 women who were pilot qualified in her class, and they were still pretty much considered an oddity! Another factor in Peggy’s decision to go to pilot training was that her older brother did his pilot training five years earlier, and she wanted to show him that she could do it! Once in pilot training, Peggy’s mindset was one of determination and she knew what she had to do. She knew it would require a lot of work, concentration, and studying. And she was determined that if she didn’t make it, it wasn’t going to be for lack of effort on her part! She was not going to fail because she didn’t work hard enough. Positive mindset and focus! Peggy became the dedicated disciplined student she could have been previously, asking herself, “What can I really do?” She made sure she had set study time, sleep time, etc., making sure she did her part to ensure a successful outcome. And, in her words, “It turned out that I was actually kind of good at it and that I enjoyed it!” Peggy realized that the Air Force airplane recognizes talent. It doesn’t care who you are; it just cares about the skills of the pilot that has the controls. 

Peggy excelled in pilot training and stayed on as an instructor. The program has changed quite a bit since then with technology and new aircraft. Then, it was a two-phase program where she flew T-37 for about six months and then flew the T-38 twin-engine tandem seat supersonic jet, which is still in use for pilot training. 

One of the reasons Peggy wanted to remain as an instructor was because she felt strongly that the military would open up combat aircraft to women. And in 1993 Congress repealed the Combat Exclusion Law, but it took another year for the Air Force to allow women into combat cockpits. By that time, Peggy was considered too close to her retirement for the Air Force to consider her a candidate. Up until that point, the Air Force had severely restricted opportunities for women to have orientation flights in fighter aircraft. Peggy noted that this restriction significantly hampered her ability to counsel future pilots on career choices. When a four-star General visited her base and stated that he wanted more fighter pilots, Peggy asked, “If you want me to convince people to become fighter pilots, why am I not allowed to learn what that entails?” Right then and there, the General turned to the Colonel and said “Make it happen!” 

Additionally, when women started looking for other ways to move their careers, Eileen Collins, the first woman to command a space shuttle, was the only female T-38 instructor on Peggy’s base, and Peggy was there! 

Greatest Obstacles
Peggy’s positive attitude has served her well, through a great career in aviation. One of the biggest obstacles she had to overcome was her own mindset. When she began, she didn’t think she was capable of some things, didn’t think she was good enough, didn’t think she had the potential, and would sell herself short. Additionally, she was raised thinking her options were to become a schoolteacher, nurse, or secretary. Peggy really shifted her trajectory with pilot training, where she decided she was going to put in her full effort and be as good as she could be. She knew she would either make it or not, and that it was up to her. She eliminated the thought that had crossed her mind many times – the thought that she is a woman and shouldn’t be there. Peggy shifted that by telling herself that she had every right to be there; every right to be like the others who were there. If she was not good enough it was not going to be because of her gender. Today, when Peggy looks back she realizes the societal changes and how opportunities have progressed for women. The mindset of women had also changed in how they view themselves, and women still have a ways to go. It takes several generations. 

Peggy’s insights and perceptual filter shifts inspire and empower those following in her footsteps. She has trained many cadets and has helped them with their mindset – they are worthy and can be a great contributor to the Air Force, even if they are not the best graduate in their Academy class. She did it, and they can do it too! Peggy would not change a thing from her past experiences. They have all contributed to where she is today, and she is happy where she is. 

Peggy’s guiding philosophy: “Stay optimistic; then your eyes stay open to opportunities. You’ll see the positive in the opportunities, and it’s up to you to act on it. You’re the one responsible.” “People can see and feel a positive attitude.” She shared the following from Colin Powell leadership lessons: “Optimism is a force multiplier.” 

Peggy overcame obstacles and shifted her mindset to a positive one, and as a result, became a pilot trainer pioneer to pave the path for other women to have an opportunity to fly military aircraft for their country and is considered a “warrior” for women and their advancement. Additionally, because of her positive attitude, she has had incredible opportunities to witness some important events in history, such as the awarding of the Congressional Gold Medal to the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP), her mentors. In the course of her military and commercial flying careers, she has had the opportunity to brush shoulders with aviation legends such as General Chuck Yeager, as well as notable persons in the worlds of politics and entertainment.

Apr 29, 2021

Speaker, pet welfare activist, corporate manager, and member of his local government, Julian Javor formed Pet Rescue Pilots out of the belief that every pet should have the chance to know a loving forever home.


Julian began flying rescue pets in 2017 after receiving his Commercial Pilot’s License. Since then, he regularly spends his weekends flying up and down the Western United States – from Southern California to Washington, and even into the Western provinces of Canada – proudly delivering pets into the arms of rescue groups, fosters, and forever families.


Julian has always enjoyed serving the community and giving to those in need. He puts his musical talents to use playing piano every Tuesday afternoon for his local chapter of Music Mends Minds. In addition, Julian has previously served on two non-profit boards, and currently serves on his local government’s Recreation & Parks Commission. He graduated from University of Southern California with a degree in Business Administration and Jazz Studies and a Master's Degree in Taxation.


The two major constants in Julian's life have been a love of flying, and an irresistible impulse to pet every dog he sees. Pet Rescue Pilots represents the epitome of marrying one’s passions with an aspiration to help others.


Julian resides in Los Angeles, where he shares his heart and home with his two rescue pups Shadow and Bella.

Apr 26, 2021

DR. CECILIA ARAGON is an award-winning author, airshow pilot, and the first Latina full professor in the College of Engineering at the University of Washington in Seattle. She’s worked with Nobel Prize winners, taught astronauts to fly, and created musical simulations of the universe with rock stars. Her major awards for research, and a stint at NASA designing software for Mars missions, led President Obama to call her “one of the top scientists and engineers in the country.”

Her new memoir, Flying Free (2020), debuted on five bestseller lists and is a TODAY Show and Ms. Magazine Recommended Read. Flying Free lifts readers into the skies on a woman’s journey from fearful, bullied child to champion aerobatic pilot.

Apr 22, 2021

Mandy was the only female pilot on her Front-Line Tornado Squadron, flying multimillion-pound fast jets for the Royal Air Force. She has operated in hostile environments, including patrolling the ‘No Fly’ zone over Iraq.
Drawing on her experience of calculated risk-taking, decision-making under pressure and the critical role of the human in the system, she transfers vivid lessons from the cockpit to other management and leadership contexts.

Mandy is a highly demanded keynote speaker and has been invited to share her insights with some of the most successful organisations across the world where she describes the Strategies, Tactics & Behaviours that she adopted when the stakes were at their highest. She talks with humour and great passion to inspire those around her.

Author of best-selling book An Officer, not a Gentleman an inspirational journey of a pioneering female fighter pilot. You can also buy her book from her website.

Apr 19, 2021

Interesting facts about Dave and Michelle Pryor and our aviation careers:

Michelle and Dave met at the United States Air Force Academy during basic training, where they were SCUBA partners and later went on to become SCUBA instructors while at the Academy. They were also partners as survival instructors during the summer between their sophomore and junior years at the Academy.

Michelle earned her jump (parachute) wings while at the Academy. They were married 30 days after graduating from the Academy, and as a wedding present, Dave’s family got them each a chance to go tandem skydiving! They sat next to each other in the same Undergraduate Pilot Training class and were assigned the same instructor for T-37 training.  They had the chance to fly formation against each other in the T-37.

Dave went on to fly T-38s and Michelle went on to fly T-1s.  Post training, they both returned to Laughlin AFB as First Assignment Instructor Pilots (FAIPs), Dave in the T-38 and Michelle in the T-37.  They once again had the opportunity to fly formation against each other in the T-38 (4-ship) with 3 mil-to-mil couples (no one flying together with their spouse) and a solo student in jet #4!  Dave also had a complex emergency in the T-38 where he experienced a dual compressor stall.

They spent the next 7 years overseas (Japan, Korea, England).  Michelle had a 2 day MedEvac mission in the KC-135 that turned into almost 4 weeks away from home!  During those 4 weeks, she had the chance to refuel Dave in the F-15 for the first time over the skies of Nevada during Red Flag.

Michelle also had an interesting KC-135 mission to Africa while stationed in England.  After flying all the way to their destination in Africa, the three KC-135 tanker crews were unable to remain at that destination and had to divert to another location, making for an almost 20 hour day!

Dave’s aircraft flown include: T-37, T-38, F-15C, and E-11A

Michelle’s aircraft flown include: T-37, T-1, KC-135, and C-12

They were in the Air Force for 21 years, all of those years as pilots although they spent some time out of the cockpit for staff jobs and professional development.  They managed to be stationed together for the majority of the time.  We spent about 4 years apart at different assignments over the 21 years.

Their son was born as we both neared 17 years of service in the Air Force.  Dave was deployed to Afghanistan flying the E-11 when our son was born and first met him when he was almost 3 months old.

Michelle deployed to Al Udeid AB where she was the Operations Officer for the KC-135 Expeditionary Refueling Squadron.  On the day she re-deployed, she had the opportunity to give a tour of the KC-135 to four NFL football players who were visiting the base as part of a morale boosting tour for the troops.  Go Browns!

They’ve also owned 2 personal airplanes – a C-182 and an RV-8; Dave flew the C-182 from Alabama to Cozumel, Mexico to compete in an Ironman triathlon.  Michelle was also competing in the Ironman triathlon, but chose to fly commercial to the race (from Oklahoma)!

Michelle commanded a T-1 squadron (training) at Vance AFB, OK and later returned to Laughlin AFB, TX to finish her career as the Vice Wing Commander.  She learned she had been the first female Vice Wing Commander at Laughlin a year after retiring from the Air Force when she was featured in a “Laughlin’s Firsts” article in the Del Rio Grande magazine.

Dave made the difficult decision to separate from the Air Force after 19 years.  He joined the Air Force Reserve and flew T-38s at Laughlin AFB, TX in order to allow our family to be stationed together for their final assignment. 

They flew their fini-flights for the Air Force on the same day.  Dave led a T-38 formation and Michelle led a T-1 formation.  They both came down final approach one formation after the other and taxied back to park at the same time!

Currently, Dave is flying for a legacy airline (although his last flight was in September 2020 but expects to return to the cockpit soon).  He made the most of his “time off” by starting his NTD Racing company, putting together a team, and building a Baja truck which the team raced in the Baja 1000 in November, 2020. 

Currently, Michelle has stepped into the entrepreneurial realm and recently designed a hiking app for kids called Hiking Bingo.  Her mission is to inspire kids to explore the outdoors! 

Apr 15, 2021

After coming down with a mild case of Covid-19 in November, W. Kent Taylor found himself tormented by tinnitus, a ringing in the ears. It persisted and grew so distracting that the founder and chief executive of the restaurant chain Texas Roadhouse Inc. had trouble reading or concentrating.

Mr. Taylor told one friend he hadn’t been able to sleep more than two hours a night for months.

In early March, he met friends at his home in Naples, Fla., and led them on a yacht cruise in the Bahamas. Some of those friends thought he was finally getting better. Then his tinnitus “came screaming back in his head” last week, said Steve Ortiz, a longtime friend and former colleague.

On Thursday, March 18, Mr. Taylor died by suicide in his hometown of Louisville, Ky. He was 65 years old and had overcome early flops to build a successful chain of more than 600 casual-dining restaurants, most of which evoke traditional roadside eateries with steaks, music and free peanuts.

Friends said that as far as they knew, Mr. Taylor had no history of depression. “Quite the opposite,” said Mark J. Fischer, a friend since childhood. “He was so used to being positive and feeling good.”

From Mayo Clinic:

Tinnitus is when you experience ringing or other noises in one or both of your ears. The noise you hear when you have tinnitus isn't caused by an external sound, and other people usually can't hear it. Tinnitus is a common problem. It affects about 15% to 20% of people, and is especially common in older adults.

Tinnitus is usually caused by an underlying condition, such as age-related hearing loss, an ear injury or a problem with the circulatory system. For many people, tinnitus improves with treatment of the underlying cause or with other treatments that reduce or mask the noise, making tinnitus less noticeable.


Tinnitus is most often described as a ringing in the ears, even though no external sound is present. However, tinnitus can also cause other types of phantom noises in your ears, including:

  • Buzzing
  • Roaring
  • Clicking
  • Hissing
  • Humming

Most people who have tinnitus have subjective tinnitus, or tinnitus that only you can hear. The noises of tinnitus may vary in pitch from a low roar to a high squeal, and you may hear it in one or both ears. In some cases, the sound can be so loud it interferes with your ability to concentrate or hear external sound. Tinnitus may be present all the time, or it may come and go.

In rare cases, tinnitus can occur as a rhythmic pulsing or whooshing sound, often in time with your heartbeat. This is called pulsatile tinnitus. If you have pulsatile tinnitus, your doctor may be able to hear your tinnitus when he or she does an examination (objective tinnitus).

When to see a doctor

Some people aren't very bothered by tinnitus. For other people, tinnitus disrupts their daily lives. If you have tinnitus that bothers you, see your doctor.

Make an appointment to see your doctor if:

  • You develop tinnitus after an upper respiratory infection, such as a cold, and your tinnitus doesn't improve within a week.

See your doctor as soon as possible if:

  • You have hearing loss or dizziness with the tinnitus.
  • You are experiencing anxiety or depression as a result of your tinnitus.
Apr 12, 2021

My personal philosophy is to be authentic, of service, and always courageous.

I love inspiring pilots and helping them build the footwork necessary to achieve their dream flying job. I work with pilots 1:1 and in group coaching sessions on all the important facets of success outside the cockpit. I also develop online courses to support pilots. My courses are on interviewing, perfecting scholarship packets, and also my signature course, The 5 Step Plan to the Flight Deck.

I earned a Bachelor of Science Degree from Kansas State University-Salina in Airway Management, Professional Pilot. I have since spent 20 years in the aviation industry in various roles but mostly as a corporate pilot.

Career Highlights:


Corporate pilot Part 91/135 in a C210, C525, Bonanza, Baron, Hawker 800, King Air 200, Learjet 45, Phenom 100, and a Citation X.

121 Seaplane pilot on the Twin Otter for Seaborne Airlines in the Caribbean.

First Officer and Captain Part 135 in the Phenom 100 jet for JetSuite, “Red Stripe”.

Raised $8k on Kickstarter to self-publish “Finding Amelia” a children’s book I wrote to inspire girls about aviation.

Flight School Manager at Aerodynamic Aviation in Monterey CA, Part 61.

Operations Manager and Interview Consultant at Cage Marshall Consulting.

PreFlight Aviation Camp Volunteer Coordinator.

NBAA Small Flight Department Committee Member.

Student Body President for the College of Technology and Aviation at Kansas State University.

Awarded the Kansas State University at Salina award for Dedication and Determination.

Apr 8, 2021


On May 24, 1963 I was cleared for a one-hour flight out of the traffic pattern. I had been accepted to start at the United States Air Force Academy in another month, and this would be my last flight at Lovett Field. I was really looking forward to this flight after finishing my afternoon classes at the University of Delaware.

I mean, I was REALLY looking forward to this flight. You see, it was a very warm spring day, and the word at the university was that the coeds would sunbathe au naturale on the roof of the Student Union building (the stairs to the roof had a sign that read "Women Only"). I wanted to see for myself if this was true!

Waldo probably figured I had an ulterior motive when I told him I wanted to check out the route from the university to the airfield. Before I took off he said, "Be sure to stay high enough that no one can read the airplane numbers".

So I flew at about 4000 feet over the University of Delaware, looked down at the Student Union building, and discovered that from 4000 feet you can't tell the difference between a lawn chair and a sunbathing coed. So I headed west to practice some airwork.

I did a few stalls, practiced some chandelles, and got the feel for the airplane in a variety of maneuvers. And then it occurred to me that I had no earthly idea where I was! My airplane had no electrical system, no radio, no aeronautical charts, and I was totally lost.

I made another discovery on that flight. I learned that even though I was still bathed in sunlight, at dusk the ground below is very dark and hard to distinguish landmarks.

Fortunately, Waldo had been cutting the grass on the sod runways, and the distinctive runway pattern clearly stood out in the distance, and I was able to make my way back, albeit a bit later than anticipated.

Apr 5, 2021

PilotsTogether is a charity established by current pilots and their supporters. Our goal is to ensure that pilots made redundant from a large UK-based airline remain a part of our community, retain the skills they already have and to help them gain new ones, and ultimately find new jobs.  We also aim to ensure that no former colleagues face significant financial hardship. We are a new charity, established in summer 2020 in response to the impact of Covid-19 on our community.

I am a professional pilot working with a major UK airline on the 737. With a Masters in Human Factors in Aviation, well-being and pilot mental health are my real passions.

Having previously flown the Q400 for Flybe, and seen many of my friends deal with redundancy as a result, I know it’s purely luck that I’m not in the same situation. Being able to contribute a little to help those individuals struggling in the current climate seems the least I can do.

One key aspect of well-being is making sure that those pilots not currently flying still feel part of the aviation family, and supported by us, and that is key to what I want to help achieve.

If you want to help furloughed pilots, you can donate here.

Apr 1, 2021

In August 1962, I was 17 years old and taking Private Pilot lessons at Atlantic Aviation in Wilmington, Delaware. I was taking my lessons in a PA-18 Super Cub, and felt like I was getting close to solo. At the time, a minimum of 8 hours was required to solo, with most students taking about 12 hours. I had slightly under 11 hours and my instructor indicated my solo would be soon. I was on cloud nine as I drove home from my lesson. I would be able to solo before starting classes at the University of Delaware in September!

There's an old expression, "The most dangerous part of flying is the drive to and from the airport". That was certainly true for me. On my way home a drunk driver slammed into the back of my car, causing a serious whiplash injury. I had to wear a cervical collar for nine months.

When I showed up for my next flight lesson, my instructor told me there was NO WAY I could solo as long as I couldn't turn my head to clear for traffic. He was right, of course. I continued taking lessons every couple of weeks, but it was starting to get EXPENSIVE - after all, it was costing TEN DOLLARS AN HOUR for flying lessons!

Finally, in March, I was able to remove my cervical collar for a few hours a day, and expected to immediately solo, but my instructor apparently wanted to be sure I could safely clear for traffic. I was at 24 hours total flying time, and still hadn't soloed. I decided I needed a different flight school. I was living in a U. of D. dorm in Newark, and found a nearby grass strip with a "Learn To Fly" sign a few miles down Highway 279. 

I met the owner, Waldo Lovett, and showed him my logbook. 

He was immediately concerned about what a dangerous student pilot I must be, having that much time without soloing. But he agreed to train me in his PA-11, which is a J-3 Cub that can be flown solo from the front seat. I got the training for $9 an hour.

No electrical system, no radios, no starter. No preflight inspection. For three more half-hour flights, I got in the airplane and held the brakes, Waldo spun the prop, and we practiced landing on turf. FINALLY, on April 2, 1963, I was cleared solo!

In my heart I absolutely KNEW that I would never become a military or professional pilot, because I was such a lousy pilot it took 25:30 to finally solo!

The PA-11 I trained in, N4681M, was unfortunately destroyed in a landing accident in 2016. I had often thought of trying to buy it, but the 65 horsepower engine would never have been able to handle Colorado's mile high elevation.

Mar 29, 2021

Mo Barrett launched her distinguished career as a successful failure at the Air Force Academy, persevering after becoming the first member of her pilot training class to receive a grade of “Unsatisfactory.” As an Air Force pilot, she flew the Alenia C-27A throughout Central and South America, then moved to Northern California to fly the Lockheed C-5 around the globe. After 9/11, Mo deployed with a small team to bare bases in Uzbekistan and Afghanistan, converting them from austere fields to airlift hubs.

Mo has dealt with the shame, stigma, struggle and success of being a life-long non-conformist and lesbian in the military’s structured environment. She retired as a Colonel after a 25-year Air Force career leveraging hard work and an ability to view the world through lenses of humor, optimism and perspective. She has survived and thrived as a multi-minority and now connects with audiences of all ages and walks of life as a DC tour guide, podcast co-host and storyteller. Mo entertains audiences with her unique presentation style and contagious energy as she charts a course for people who want to laugh, learn and think!

Mar 25, 2021

In the airline world, there are a number of new rules, limits, and terms a pilot needs to learn. One area in which a new understanding needs to be had is in the takeoff.

Gone are the days when, as a general aviation pilot, you can just eyeball the runway, the load, the airplane, measure the wind with your thumb, and go for it. When you are flying passengers and cargo for hire, you need to be able to comply with the segmented climb. Specifically—-and this is key—-you need to be able to meet the climb requirements on a single engine (assuming you are flying a twin-engine jet) as a result of an engine failure at V1 [takeoff decision speed, but a beyond the scope of this post]. It is assumed that you will meet all the requirements if every engine is running.

The first segment is short—it ends when the airplane is airborne and the gear is retracted. Not partially retracted, but fully up-and-locked retracted. The airspeed must be up to V2, commonly known as “takeoff safety speed,” but in technical terms, the speed for best climb gradient.

The second segment requirement is often the most difficult one to meet. Segment two begins when the gear is up and locked and the speed is V2. This segment has the steepest climb gradient: 2.4 percent. This equates to a ballpark figure of around 300 feet per minute, and for a heavy airplane on a hot day with a failed engine, this can be a challenge. Often, when the airlines announce that a flight is weight-limited on hot summer days, this is the reason (the gate agent doesn’t know this kind of detail, and nor does she care; she just knows some people aren’t going).

The magic computers we use for computing performance data figure all this out, saving us the trouble of using charts and graphs. All we know is that we can either carry the planned load or we can’t.

Second segment climb ends at 400 feet, so it could take up to a minute or more to fly this segment. Think of all the obstacles that might be in the departure path in the course of 60 seconds or more.

Third segment climb begins at 400 feet, and here the rules can vary. The climb gradient is now half of what it was before: 1.2 percent. However, we are also required to accelerate to a speed called VFS (final segment climb speed). In graphs and publications, the third segment of the climb is often depicted as being a flat line for the acceleration. In many turboprops, that’s exactly the way it’s flown. The airplane is leveled off (and the pilot is using a very tired leg to overcome the increasing yaw tendency via the rudder) and accelerated before the final climb begins.

In jets, however, there is generally enough power in the remaining engine to avoid a level-off. If the airplane can continue to accelerate during the third segment, it may continue to climb, so long as it can do so without a decrease in speed or performance. In fact, during the climb it must continue to meet the climb gradient while accelerating to VFS.

Third segment climb ends upon reaching VFS.

The fourth and “final segment” begins upon reaching VFS and completing the climb configuration process. It is now permissible (and maybe necessary) to reduce thrust to a Maximum Continuous setting. The climb gradient is again 1.2 percent, and VFS must be maintained to 1,500 feet above field elevation.

V1 cuts and single-engine climbs are a staple of turboprop and jet training. It is critical that a pilot of such equipment understand what the objective is when it comes to performing the maneuver, and why the requirements are what they are. This material is taught in much greater detail in ground school than I presented here. In fact, there may be a few deviations and exceptions to the above, as this is a general introduction (there are, like many things in aviation, always caveats, so bear that in mind).

Some pilots dread V1 cuts, but the best way to approach them is to take them as a challenge and constantly push yourself to master them and excel in your performance.

Mar 22, 2021

For the women who have served in aviation, being surrounded by other women in our field, either physically or virtually, is magical, especially for those of us who spent most of our careers in isolation. My hope is that the sheer volume and diversity of these stories inspires us, and those who will take our place in the future.

And there’s room for so much more. Every one of you has an inspiring story to tell, and there’s an audience for that story. In addition to featuring books already published, this website is a resource for aspiring writers, with writers’ panels and discussions on everything from publishing your own memoir, to doing historical research for biographies or historical fiction. If you’re a woman writing, or considering writing in aviation, please join us in the Writers’ Room.

My vision for this community is that it is a living, breathing resource. You can consume and participate in any way that fits for you. Read one new book, or read one every month with us. Share our amazing stories with your friends and colleagues. Find books for that Young Aviatrix who you’re hoping to inspire. Listen to monthly Aviatrix Book Club author interviews, and find out more about writing in the Writers’ Room. Leave reviews of the books you’ve read—here, and at your favorite book seller or book review website. Host or join small group virtual book discussions, or start one up with your local aviation club or chapter, and connect with others from around the world who share your passion, interest, and experience through stories.

  • Liz Booker transitioned to full-time writer in 2019 after a 28-year career as a Coast Guard helicopter pilot and foreign diplomat. She holds a Master in Public Administration from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, and a Master of Fine Arts in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts. She continues to fly, pursuing an extensive aviation bucket-list—a.k.a. ‘research’.

Liz has a LinkTree at

Mar 18, 2021

Captain Kgomotso Phatsima is best known in Botswana for her pioneering work as one of the few women pilots in the country. Her career began in the military, and she diligently worked her way up to becoming a real force to be reckoned with. Captain Phatsima’s work as a pilot and her passion for youth development led her to discover that there were very few girls who were adept at, or even interested in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects, which are key for the aerodynamics space. Not only are STEM subjects integral for becoming a pilot, or engaging in the aerospace industry, they are also essential for the development of human capital and the future of business in Botswana, Africa, and the world.

She founded and is President of the Dare to Dream Foundation in 2008 which deals with the advancement of youth, women and girls in STEM, aviation and aerospace, as well as entrepreneurship development, with the intention to get young people interested in STEM-preneurship and the aviation and aerospace business. “When I was growing up, I never had the chance to sit like this with a pilot or get into an airplane until I had the chance to fly one. After I qualified as a pilot, I sat down and thought: ‘What can I do to give the upcoming generation, especially those who grew up in a village, like me, an opportunity to do that?’. I started Dare to Dream to give back to the community and to try and open up their eyes to opportunities that they wouldn’t otherwise be exposed to,” Captain Phatsima says.

She says there are a lot of young people who are interested in technology. She says Botswana are in a good position to take advantage of what is happening around the world. “We just need to channel the youth in the right direction to take advantage of the technological era, and prepare them for the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) and the businesses of tomorrow, which will be definitely different from the businesses of today,” she says. “In other African countries such as Rwanda, you’ll find that coding and robotics are part of the curriculum.”

She has written a book about her journey, Born To Fly.

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