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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Aug 9, 2022

The 18th Tactical Fighter Wing based at Kadena ABOkinawa maintained two Squadron of McDonnell F-4C Phantom II aircraft from November 1972 until May 1975.

On 6 November 1972, the 18th Wing dispatched the McDonnell Douglas F-4C/D Phantom II fighters of 44th Fighter Squadron and 67th Fighter Squadron to the Ching Chuan Kang Air Base until 31 May 1975, to assist Taiwan's defense against aerial threats from China.

The following are the units that the 18th Tactical Fighter Wing once stationed at Ching Chuan Kang Air Base in Taiwan

  • 44th Tactical Fighter Squadron (Tail Code: ZL) (6 November 1972 – 10 April 1975) (F-4C/D)
  • 67th Tactical Fighter Squadron (Tail Code: ZG) (6 November 1972 – 31 May 1975) (EF-4C, F-4D)

In March 1973, the number of US troops stationed at CCK was about 5,000.

16 September 1973 - A 44th Tactical Fighter Squadron F-4C aircraft crashed during a temporary duty assignment in Taiwan; the crewmembers safely ejected.

15 October 1973, an EF-4C 63-7462 of the 67th Tactical Fighter Squadron crashed shortly after takeoff from CCK AB.

On 13 November 1973, the 374th TAW was reassigned to Clark AB Philippines.

On November 15, 1973, the 6217th Combat Support Group was reactivation.

On 1 September 1974, the 6217th Combat Support Group was renamed the 6217th Tactical Group.

On 10 April 1975, the 44th Tactical Fighter Squadron of the 18th Tactical Fighter Wing withdrew from Ching Chuan Kang Air Base in Taichung, Taiwan, total of 24 McDonnell F-4C/D Phantom II fighters and 450 pilots and ground crews to Kadena Air Base in Okinawa.

In May 1975, the 67th Tactical Fighter Squadron was withdrawn from CCK AB, Taiwan, with the final squadron of 18 F-4Cs departing for Kadena Air BaseOkinawa, between 27 and 31 May.

From 1 June 1975, Due to the withdrawal of F-4 fighter jets, the 6217th Tactical Group was reorganized to the 6217th Air Base Squadron, and CCK AB had been placed in caretaker status.

On 31 July 1975, the number of US troops stationed at CCK AB was 571.

From 1977, the number of US troops stationed at CCK AB has been reduced to 100.

On 1 January 1979, the US normalized relations with the People's Republic of China (PRC). on 25 April 1979, which resulted in the lowering of the national flag by US Air Force personnel and their withdrawal from the base.

Jul 26, 2022

Preliminary evidence suggests the crash of a China Eastern Airlines Corp. jet in March may be the latest such tragedy, a person familiar with the investigation said. If confirmed, that would make it the fourth since 2013, bringing deaths in those crashes to 554.

So as aircraft become more reliable and pilots grow less susceptible to errors, fatalities caused by murder-suicides are becoming an increasingly large share of the total. While intentional acts traditionally aren’t included in air-crash statistics, they would be the second-largest category of deaths worldwide if they were, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. By comparison, 1,745 people died as a result of pilot error, mechanical failures or other causes on Western-built jets from 2012 through 2021.

“It’s scary,” said Malcolm Brenner, a former human-behavior investigator with the US National Transportation Safety Board who worked on the probe of the 1999 EgyptAir Flight 990 crash, which was found to be an intentional act. “It is a major cause of concern. It’s one the industry needs to address.”

So far, however, these rare but deadly acts have defied simple solutions. While improving mental-health care is a priority, those who have chosen to kill themselves and scores of others at the same time on jetliners mostly didn’t reveal any clues beforehand to coworkers, friends or family.

And because of the taboo nature of suicide, the cases create unique political and cultural challenges, at times leaving such events shrouded in mystery or open to dispute. The probe into Malaysia Airlines Flight 370’s disappearance over the Indian Ocean in 2014 found it was likely flown there on purpose, for example, but the Malaysian government’s report contains no information on who may have done so or why.

The risk of dying on an airliner has declined significantly in recent decades as a result of innovations in safety equipment, aircraft reliability and pilot training. After 5,005 people died on Western-built jets from 2001 through 2010, the total fell to 1,858 the next decade, according to data compiled by Boeing Co., AviationSafetyNetwork and accident reports. The odds of being on a plane involved in a fatal accident was about one in 10 million, according to Boeing.

But deaths attributed to pilot suicides bucked that trend, actually moving upward, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. If the China Eastern crash is confirmed as the latest such suicide, it will mean that deaths due to intentional acts have exceeded all other causes since the start of 2021.

So far, Chinese authorities have revealed few specifics about what led the China Eastern jet carrying 132 people to crash March 21. The flight, a Boeing 737-800 from Kunming to Guangzhou, was cruising at about 29,000 feet when it suddenly dove at high speed, according to Flightradar24 data. Surveillance videos show it hurtling nose-down toward the ground. 

Government authorities and Boeing haven’t announced any potential safety issues with the plane since then, suggesting no systemic faults have been uncovered. Preliminary information from the jet’s crash-proof data recorder indicates that someone in the cockpit initiated the dive, said a person familiar with the probe who wasn’t authorized to speak about it. The likelihood the crash was intentional was earlier reported by the trade publication Leeham News and Analysis as well as the Wall Street Journal.

China’s embassy in Washington didn’t respond directly to questions about whether the crash was intentional. Investigators are conducting the probe “in a science-based, meticulous and orderly manner” and will release information “in a timely and accurate fashion,” the embassy said in an email.

As with any crash investigation, it can take months or years to conduct the tests and analysis needed to pinpoint a cause and rule out even the most remotely possible system failures.

In addition to the Malaysian plane lost with 239 people aboard, a Lam-Mozambique Airlines jet with 33 people went down in Namibia in 2013 after the captain locked the copilot out of the cockpit. In 2015, a Germanwings GmbH copilot also locked out the captain before slamming into the side of a mountain in France with 150 aboard.

Four other intentional crashes occurred on airlines around the world prior to 2013, killing another 389 people, according to AviationSafetyNetwork and accident reports. The incidents don’t include terrorist acts, such as the planes that crashed on Sept. 11, 2001. 

After the Germanwings crash, which French investigators found was caused by a copilot suffering from mental-health problems, US and European aviation regulators expanded programs to give air crews access to more psychological treatment and encourage them to come forward without fear of losing their jobs.

Surveys of airline pilots have shown that about 4% to 8% have contemplated suicide, which is roughly the same rate as the population at large. Far fewer people actually attempt to carry it out -- and the handful of successful pilot murder-suicides on airliners is infinitesimally small by comparison.

Airline pilots must pass periodic medical exams to maintain their licenses and have been reluctant to report depression or other mental illness for fear of losing their livelihood, said Quay Snyder, a doctor specializing in aviation medicine who is co-leader of the US Aerospace Medical Association’s mental health working group. The association has joined with regulators, airlines and unions to create peer-to-peer counseling and other programs to allow pilots to receive treatment while retaining their licenses.

Safety Measures

But a panel advising the US Federal Aviation Administration in 2015 found there was “no convincing evidence” that screening for suicidal tendencies would prevent incidents such as Germanwings. 

“It is quite difficult to predict who is going to commit a murder-suicide,” Snyder said. 

Other possible ways to prevent pilot suicides run counter to long-standing safety or security measures. 

The sophisticated locks on cockpit doors that allow pilots to keep out other crewmembers were put in place to prevent hijackings. French authorities recommended against changing the door designs in the wake of the Germanwings crash, saying changes could undermine security.

One idea -- adding automated limits on a pilot’s actions in the cockpit -- would require a dramatic shift in the philosophy of aviation safety. 

“I’m a firm believer in the pilot who’s on the flight deck being the ultimate person or device in charge of the aircraft,” said Benjamin Berman, a former airline pilot who also worked as an accident investigator. “I don’t see technology supplanting that role. But that leaves the pilot in control, allowing him or her to do whatever they want.”

Multiple Pilots 

Even the simple solution to always have at least two people in the cockpit, which was recommended by European regulators after Germanwings, is no guarantee that someone bent on bringing down a plane couldn’t do it. While details of what happened aboard the China Eastern jet remain unclear, it had three pilots in the cockpit -- a captain, copilot and trainee -- according to Chinese media reports. 

For now, aviation groups are calling for expanding pilot access to mental-health treatments while acknowledging that routine psychological care might not make a difference in the extreme murder-suicide cases. 

“It’s so rare,” said David Schroeder, a former FAA psychologist who along with Snyder leads the Aerospace Medical Association’s mental health efforts. “That’s the difficulty. How do you try to predict that? How do you intervene when almost all flights are not like that?”

943 total fatalities:

1982 JAL 350 24 fatalities

1994 Royal Air Muroc 630 44 fatalities

1997 Silk Air 185 104 fatalities

1999 Egypt Air 990 217 fatalities

2013 LAM Mozambique Airlines Flight 470 33 fatalities

2014 Malasia 370 239 fatalities

2015 GermanWings 9525 150 fatalities

2022 China Eastern Airlines Flight 5735 132 fatalities

From NPR:

People experiencing a mental health crisis have a new way to reach out for help in the U.S. Starting Saturday, they can simply call or text the numbers 9-8-8.

Modeled after 911, the new three-digit 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline is designed to be a memorable and quick number that connects people who are suicidal or in any other mental health crisis to a trained mental health professional.

"If you are willing to turn to someone in your moment of crisis, 988 will be there," said Xavier Becerra, the secretary of the federal Department of Health and Human Services, at a recent press briefing. "988 won't be a busy signal, and 988 won't put you on hold. You will get help."

The primary goal of the new number is to make it easier for people to call for help. Lawmakers and mental health advocates also see this launch as an opportunity to transform the mental health care system and make care easily accessible everywhere in the United States. The Biden administration has invested more than $400 million in beefing up crisis centers and other mental health services to support the 988 system.


Jul 11, 2022

Matthew Lohmeier is author of the bestselling book Irresistible Revolution: Marxism’s Goal of Conquest & the Unmaking of the American Military.

His book Irresistible Revolution was published in May 2021, at which time Matt was a respected active-duty commander in the newly formed US Space Force. For publishing and speaking about his book, then-Lieutenant Colonel Lohmeier was relieved of his command and subjected to an Inspector General investigation launched from the Pentagon. He subsequently joined the nation’s biggest media personalities to discuss the proliferation of Marxist-rooted critical race theory (CRT) in the military and its divisive impact on the force and mission. Matt separated from active duty on September 1, 2021, and is now a highly sought public speaker and private consultant on matters of Marxist ideology and tactics, CRT, the betterment of military culture, and the preservation of our liberties.

A 2006 graduate of the United States Air Force Academy, Matt began his active-duty military career as a pilot, flying over 1,200 hours in the T-38 as an instructor pilot followed by flying the F-15C. After flying, he cross-trained into space operations and gained expertise in space-based missile warning. Matt promoted two years below the zone to lieutenant colonel, graduated at the top of his classes earning him the distinguished graduate (DG) award at four different Air Force schools, and served as aide-de-camp for a four-star general for one year. In October 2020, he transferred into the United States Space Force and was placed in command of a space-based missile warning squadron in Colorado.

Matt has two master's degrees—a master’s in military operational art and science, and a Master of Philosophy in military strategy from the School of Advanced Air and Space Studies (SAASS), considered by many the Defense Department’s premier strategy school. He lives with his wife and children in Idaho.

Jun 27, 2022

On May 3, 2019, Miami Air Flight 293, a Boeing 737 that took off from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, attempted to land at Naval Air Station Jacksonville. The jet overshot the runway and eventually settled in a shallow part of the St. Johns River.

There were seven crew members and 136 passengers on board the plane at the time of the crash. Of that, 21 people received minor injuries and three pets were trapped inside the plane's cargo hold. 

On Wednesday, the National Transportation Safety Board released its full report on the crash.  The report cites weather as a big factor but cited other factors as well.

In the moments before the flight was set to land at Naval Air Station Jacksonville, the flight suddenly changed its path due to the inclement weather, according to the NTBS report. However, the change led the flight through the center of the storm cell.

At the time of the crash, there was heavy rain, thunderstorms and wind at about 8 knots, or around 9 mph. Wind gusts reached as high as 16 knots, or about 18 mph, according to the report. These factors also caused low visibility of about three miles.

Captain Gabriel Cosentino, 55, was at the controls and had worked for Miami Air since March 2008, the report says. He had 7,500 hours of flying time prior to the crash. In an interview with investigators, he said he had flown into NAS Jax between five to ten times.

Cosentino also told investigators, "There was no concern about the weather, as the flight route took them west of it," the report says. 

He added he, "...did not remember the weather report received from the approach control," and called the landing, "pretty smooth," according to the report.

Cosentino has not been involved in any other accidents or incidents with Miami Air and was never disciplined for his prior job performance, according to the report.

First Officer Claudio Marcelo Jose La Franca, 47, and was fairly new to the company. He was hired in October 2018 and began training in January 2019, according to the report. He also had about 7,500 hours of flight experience prior to the crash.

In his interview, he told investigators, "...that there were thunderstorms developing," and he, "...recalled last seeing the airspeed at 100 knots and they were getting close to the end of the runway and not slowing," the report says.

It was his first flight to NAS Jax.

The report also reveals one of the two evacuation door slides failed to inflate as did one 46-person life raft. There were four life rafts on board.

The investigation finds the life raft's inflation hoses were not connected and states a review of the maintenance procedures where the parts were last tested is needed for a risk assessment.

Jun 20, 2022

Serving his first term in the U.S. House of Representatives, Congressman August Pfluger represents 29 counties in Texas’ 11th congressional district, including the cities of San Angelo, Llano, Brownwood, Granbury, Midland, Odessa, and much of the Permian Basin—the top-oil and gas producing region in the Nation.

A seventh-generation Texan, Congressman Pfluger grew up in San Angelo and graduated from San Angelo Central High School. He followed in his grandfather’s footsteps and answered his Nation’s call to serve—graduating from the U.S. Air Force Academy and defending this country in uniform for nearly two decades as a decorated fighter pilot commanding hundreds of airmen as well as serving in the Pentagon and NATO. Pfluger also served as an advisor to President Trump on the National Security Council and is a Colonel in the Air Force Reserves.

In Congress, Representative Pfluger is a strong advocate for national security, promoting our farmers and ranchers, protecting the unborn, energy prosperity, and securing our borders. He is a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and the House Committee on Homeland Security, where he serves as the Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Intelligence and Counterterrorism. He is also a co-leader of the Texas Ag Task Force and a member of the Republican Whip Team.

Congressman Pfluger is a conservative Republican, a proud husband and father, and a devoted follower of Jesus Christ. He and his wife Camille live in San Angelo with their three young daughters, Vivian, Caroline, and Juliana.

Jun 14, 2022

On May 18th I was at the peak of health. Prior to my instructional period at the United Airlines Flight Training Center, I went to the company exercise room and pumped out my usual 30 reps of bench press with my bodyweight, then taught ground school and simulator for 8 hours. Like usual, I wore a mask full-time, although the mask requirement had been lifted for several months.

In my opinion, the Training Center is a great petri dish to spread Covid and other illnesses, since almost all trainees have traveled by plane within the previous week, and could easily be asymptomatic carriers. Listen to The Covid Flight From Hell for more information on the potential for airline travel exposure.

On May 20th I was feeling very tired, and felt like a bad cold was coming on. I was up all night coughing, and at 0230 sent an email to the United Scheduling Department advising them that I would not be able to come to work for my 0700 instructional period. On May 21, I took a Covid test and the results were positive. I immediately quarantined from the rest of my family and contacted my family doctor, who prescribed a 5-day course of Paxlovid. At the end of the five days, I was feeling much better, and tried to resume a normal schedule.

I over-did it! My immune resistance was greatly weakened, and the Covid virus that was circulating in my body caused a resurgence of the illness, much stronger this time. And this time I could not take any medication, since Paxlovid is not approved for break-through Covid cases.

I have finally tested negative, and am really physically weak. I've learned my lesson, and will not overdo any work until I am fully recovered.

May 30, 2022

For today's podcast we are presenting the audio from an outstanding film written and narrated by previous RFT guest Major General John Borling.

May 23, 2022

My name is Gabe Evans, and I’m running for Colorado House District 48. I’m a Christian, Colorado native, husband, father, and own/operate a family farm in southern Weld County. I love my country and state. That’s why, after earning a BA in Government from Patrick Henry College, I served for 12 years in the US Army and Colorado Army National Guard as a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter pilot and company commander. I also spent over 10 years as an Arvada police officer, sergeant, and lieutenant. During those careers, I completed a combat deployment in the Middle East, responded to multiple disasters and emergencies in Colorado, and worked closely with federal, state, and local governments. Unfortunately, my ability to fulfill my oaths has been handcuffed by the failed policies of the radical Leftists who control our state. Crime is out of control. The cost of living has skyrocketed. School kids are increasingly subject to political indoctrination while actual academic performance is ignored. That’s why I’m running for State House District 48. I’ll fight to hold criminals accountable, empower law enforcement and citizens to work together to improve community safety, and protect civil liberties. Reducing the cost of living starts with encouraging domestic energy production, agriculture, and empowering the free market. I’ll tirelessly defend those things. Finally, I know that parents (not the government) are the best people to make education and health decisions for their kids. I’ll zealously support families and parental choice. I want to put my 22 years of experience to work for you and make Colorado a safe, affordable place to live, work, and get an education. As your neighbor I promise to listen to your voices and represent your concerns. Will you join my team? Together we can stand up for common sense, the Constitution, and pass on freedom, security, and prosperity to the next generation of Coloradans! 

May 16, 2022

In Demystiflying, Kine Paulsen tells you what you need to do in order to become a pilot by going inside of the minds of more than 200 pilots. Paulsen deciphers the meaning behind even the most basic pilot terms and concepts to encourage everyone to give flying a try. This is pilot 101 for anyone who doesn't speak pilot. The book is for those of us who didn't grow up hanging out at the airport or flying flight simulators.

This book is for you who are considering pursuing your pilot license, who might be curious what it is like to be a pilot or you may have already logged some hours. Or maybe a gift to someone you're close to who has talked about getting into the cockpit, but not sure how to. If you're already a pilot, it should be exciting to reflect on how much you had to learn in order to get to where you are today. This book is not meant to replace any educational tools, but simply to motivate and inspire.

Paulsen did not spend her childhood dreaming of being a pilot, but chance had it she started her pilot journey in her mid-20s. Like many before her, she was overwhelmed by the amount of information, money issues, and scheduling aspect and stopped after only flying for a few hours. When she started years later, she was looking for a book to ease back in the process hoping she could learn some technical terms, procedures and read about other pilots' challenges. She found many great resources, but confused by the jargon she found herself even more intimated to get back at it.

Her personal obsession with understanding the aviation world turned into Demystiflying, an entertaining book to prepare anyone for the first meeting with the cockpit. She was excited to learn that most pilots question whether they are cut out for the challenge. That others also got confused at first. And was surprised by how exciting pre-1940 aviation history books were.

In researching her book, Kine interviewed these pilots who were prior guests of the Ready For Takeoff Podcast:

Patty Wagstaff

Erika Armstrong

Carl Valeri

Kim Campbell

Jason Harris

Pierre-Henri Chuet

Tom Cappeletti

Sharon Preszler

Jessica Cox

Liz Booker

Peter Docker

Randy Brooks

May 11, 2022

Operation Linebacker launched on May 10, 1972. It marked the first bombing of Hanoi in North Vietnam since the end of Operation Rolling Thunder in November 1968. I was a ground spare, waiting to launch in the even that any of the strike F-4 aircraft from Ubon Royal Thai Air Base aborted, either on the ground or in the air.

I sat in my fully armed aircraft and waited for all of the strike aircraft to launch, then conttinued to wait until they had all reached the airborne pre-strike tanker aircraft, then I de-armed and taxied back to the parking revetment. And then I waited for my brothers to return. A few hours later, they all did. ALL of them.

The next day, May 11, 1972, was my turn to fly, as Number Two in Dingus Flight. (Later, strike aircraft carried tree call-signs - Maple, Elm, Walnut, etc. - but at this point in the operation we used call signs from the VCSL - Voice Call Sign List.) 

During the pre-flight briefing, Wing Commander Colonel Carl Miller made an announcement: “Yesterday, we had a close call. One of our aircraft mis-ID’d an aircraft and fired at one of our aircraft. Lucily, he missed, but we can’t have that again. Effective immediately, the Rules of Engagements are changed. All MiGs are silver. You MAY NOT fire at a camouflaged aircraft. If I hear that you fire at a camouflaged airplane I’ll ship your ass home the minute you land. Any Questions?” None of us had any questions. It was pretty clear. MiGs are silver.

On this day, like the previous day, our Wing Commander would lead the strike. The Commander of the 25th Tactical Fighter Squadron, my squadron, would be the lead of Dingus Flight. I was put in the Number Two position because I was still a fairly new pilot, an “FNG”, and the Number Two position was a place where the flight lead could keep a close watch on the FNG. Our target would be the Bac Mai Airfield.

We took off as the sun rose, headed north over Laos for our refueling, and proceeded toward our target. My back-seater was First Lieutenant Johnny Wyatt. Johnny was an “old head”: he had been on the strike over Hanoi the previous day, so he knew what to expect. We ingressed the target area in spread formation, approximately 1000 feet between aircraft. I was on Lead’s right. Just as Lead rocked us in to close “fingertip” formation for our bomb run, Johnny screamed at me.

“We got a SAM (Surface-to-Air Missile) at four o’clock! Break right!”

I had no idea what a SAM looked like in flight, and I didn’t see it. “I don’t see it.”

“It’s a f@#cing SAM! BREAK RIGHT!”

When easy-going Johnny is screaming, I knew it was serious. I broke hard right. Shortly after that, the SAM exploded right where I would have been.

Listen to the podcast for the rest of the story!

May 9, 2022

From LinkedIn:

4500+ hour professional pilot (instructor / evaluator / maintenance test), educator, and aviation/leadership/organizational management consultant built on a foundation of 21 years as a fighter pilot in the US Air Force (F-15E Strike Eagle).

Highly proficient in the use of basic & advanced information technologies to help plan, brief, execute, and debrief aviation-oriented solutions to even the most challenging aviation business problems.

Most Current experience:
+ Chief Pilot of Part 91 private business flight program
+ Lead Fixed Wing Pilot of Part 135 air ambulance program at Children’s Hospital Colorado
+ Affiliate Faculty at Metro State University of Denver, Aerospace Sciences Department
+ Consultant in air transportation planning, organizational leadership, and process improvement.

Depth and breadth of aviation & non-aviation experience as:
+ Executive leadership/management advisor & coach
+ Team and organizational leader
+ Program & project manager
+ Educator & trainer
+ Standards & compliance evaluator

International experience.
+ Aviation consultant and trainer in over twelve countries in
> Europe
> Africa
> West Asia (Eastern Mediterranean & Arabian Gulf regions).
+ Roles included
> Aviation planning/briefing/executing/debriefing training-team leader
> Multi-national aviation-related cross-functional conference project manager
> National defense consultant.

Lauded for ability to rapidly observe, analyze, and synchronize new information in order generate innovative solutions/improvements through:
+ Well-developed diplomacy and consensus building skills
+ Leveraging of highly effective process review & improvement techniques
+ Optimization of team diversity by focusing individual strengths toward a common purpose
+ Coordination of disparate individual efforts to achieve effective synchronization

Passion for helping organizations enhance individual and team relevance in an increasingly competitive globally-connected environment.

Apr 25, 2022

Directed by Louisa Merino (Managing to Win: The Story of Strat-O-Matic Baseball) and produced by Melissa Hibbard (The Glass House) and Oscar winner Ed Cunningham (Undefeated), the film tells the remarkable story of a World War II fighter pilot from New Jersey who flew the last combat mission over Japan.

On August 14, 1945, fighter pilot Jerry Yellin flew the last combat mission of World War II to attack airfields near Nagoya, Japan, carrying with him instructions to continue the assault unless he heard the word “Utah,” a code signaling the Japanese surrender, which never came. It was Yellin’s 19th mission over Japan.

Yellin returned home to a dark life of survivor’s guilt and daily thoughts of suicide. Married with four sons, he was forced to face his ‘enemy’ once again when his youngest son moved to Japan and married the daughter of a Kamikaze pilot. Through deep agonizing and soul-searching reflection, the two fathers eventually open their hearts and their arms to each other.

By the time of his passing in 2017, Yellin had become an outspoken advocate for veteran mental health and co-founded Operation Warrior Wellness, a division of the David Lynch Foundation that teaches veterans TM to better cope with the effects of PTSD.

Producer Ed Cunningham said: “Jerry’s journey from the depths of post-war depression to his late life transformation, which included him tirelessly advocating for peace and Veteran’s care, will inspire and resonate with everyone who sees this film. Add in the unbelievable twist of his son marrying a Kamikaze pilot’s daughter and the friendship the two fathers developed late in their lives, and this is a story we felt had to be shared.”

The movie is being released on home ent platforms this year.

Apr 18, 2022

There were more than 400 people on board the Boeing 747-400 that unexpectedly rolled into a left bank in Russian airspace over the Bering Sea, forcing pilots to maneuver to keep the airplane from rolling over and diving into the ocean.


The senior captain on that airplane was John Hanson, who helped maintain control of the plane and fly it while also trying to determine what was wrong with the plane and how to make adjustments.

Landing in Russia would not be ideal, and the decision was made to change course to Alaska.

Hanson, a Northwest Airlines captain, was recently honored for helping to prevent this potentially catastrophic aircraft accident and saving hundreds of lives Oct. 9, 2002. He was presented with the Superior Airmanship Award by the Air Line Pilots Association, International during the association's annual Air Safety Forum.


Although the situation above the Bering Sea that day could have been a scene out of an action-packed movie, the difference with the actual event was that there was no super hero -- there was teamwork, Hanson said.

"Teamwork got us through this thing," Hanson said. "I'll take compliments for the landing, but I'm more proud of being a team leader."

Hanson has flown for Northwest Airlines for 35 years and during that time has never experienced a situation in the air that has been so dramatic.

"That malfunction -- the manufacturer said it could never happen," Hanson said. "We had no procedure to follow."

What the crew found out later was that a mechanical malfunction resulting from equipment blowing apart caused the problems.

"Experts in structures have since analyzed the parts -- they can't find the cause," Hanson said. "Obviously, it blew apart."

There is no suspicion of foul play, Hanson said, but was rather a "freak deal."

Working with Hanson during the ordeal was another captain and two co-captains -- the plane had two sets of pilots since the flight from Detroit to Tokyo was so long. Hanson credits his co-captain with a quick recovery "that probably saved the plane."

Hanson was reading in his bunk in a private room for the pilots when the malfunction occurred.

"We were in smooth air and suddenly there was a violent shift," he said.

There were no windows in the room. Hanson quickly put his uniform on to go assess the situation. When he arrived in the cockpit, the pilots were fighting to control the plane, he said.

The cockpit operating manual was open and the pilots were desperately trying to find information on the problem.


Hanson and his co-pilot starting going through the manual as well but they could find no information that pertained to what was happening. An emergency situation was declared and the decision was made to head back to Anchorage.

Because of their location, communication with the ground was difficult and contact was made through San Francisco to Minneapolis using what Hanson calls the "old fashioned type of radio." A conference call was held to discuss the problem.

"We needed to work as a team and put all our heads together," he said.

As senior captain, Hanson decided he should be the pilot who landed the plane, and after discussion with the other pilots he took over the controls. The pilots actually had to take turns handling the plane since managing the controls required strength and stamina because of the malfunction.

To counteract the highly technical problem, pilots manually applied pressure to a foot pedal. At this point, the pilots were still not sure about the exact nature of the mechanical failure.

"I would have given $1,000 for a rear view mirror to have just looked at the tail," Hanson said.

A subsequent National Transportation Safety Board investigation revealed that the lower rudder failed in left hard over position at 17 degrees of travel, which was full deflection for their airspeed in cruise flight. It remained fully deflected for the rest of the flight.


The decision was made to fly at a lower altitude where the air is not as thin, Hanson said, and they did not have to operate as "close to the edge." They went down to 28,000 feet but could not go lower because of the mountains.


Early in the crisis it was decided to make the flight attendants part of the team, and information was shared regularly with them. They were told by the pilots that being able to land safely was in question, and once the plane was landed it might not be able to stay on the ground because of the problem.

The lead flight attendant received the information about the problem so plans could be made for an emergency landing.

Hanson then brought the plane down to 14,000 feet over Cook Inlet, where there was communication with Anchorage about the emergency landing. Hanson said they were low enough for thick air but high enough to recover if necessary.

"Since we didn't know the nature of the problem, we wanted to slow down and extend the flaps very gradually," he said. "We all decided on this plan. We picked the inlet over land to have more room for recovery instead of being over the mountains."

He and the other pilots had talked extensively about which runway to use based on what was happening with the plane, the wind and other factors.

"All the pilots talked about the advantages and disadvantages, he said.

During the landing, Hanson said the plane came in just a little bit faster than normal. He told the flight attendants it would be a "firm" landing. The pilots were also nervous the rudder would give bad directions to the plane's nose wheel.

"As it turned out, it was a fairly smooth landing," he said.

The flight attendants were told people could remain seated -- there was no need to evacuate. Since people on the ground had seen that the wheels and brakes "had been bright red" the plane waited in a remote spot to cool down.


The only awkward moment on the ground was that customs was not prepared to handle 418 people coming in so it took awhile to get everyone off the plane, Hanson said.

After leaving the plane, Hanson went to look at the rudder where the problem had occurred.

"We looked up at this huge rudder hard over to the left and we just shook our heads -- wow, what an evening," Hanson said.

Another 747-400 was sent to Anchorage to transport passengers to Tokyo the next day, and though the pilots were told they did not have to go up again, all of them did.

"Every single passenger also got on," Hanson said.

The pilots involved with the incident have since made a training video that is being used for crews. It demonstrates that not all emergencies are in the book.

Pilots at this level through their years of experience are a valuable source of information, he said, and involving people from the first moment allows them to be able to help.

The Hollywood version of this story would have one pilot acting as the hero, but "in real life, heroes are ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances," Hanson said.

Hanson has been flying since he was in his teens, and before he had even graduated college he was hired as a commercial pilot. Despite lucrative offers from airlines, he balanced college and eventually graduate work while flying.

Hanson turns 56 this month and regulations require he retire when he is 60. When he retires as a commercial pilot, Hanson said he will continue flying as a hobby, particularly antique airplanes.

Hanson said a truly successful career involves no "emergency" moments such as he had one year ago. Exciting moments for him, he said, are beautiful sunsets viewed from the plane, and traveling over the Canadian Rockies and Alaskan Wilderness.


Apr 4, 2022

3 March 1991, UA585, a 737-200Adv crashed on approach to Colorado Springs. The aircraft departed from controlled flight approximately 1,000 feet above the ground and struck an open field. After a 21-month investigation, the Board issued a report on the crash in December 1992. In that report, the NTSB said it “could not identify conclusive evidence to explain the loss of the aircraft”, but indicated that the two most likely explanations were a malfunction of the airplane’s directional control system or an encounter with an unusually severe atmospheric disturbance.

8 Sep 1994, US427, a 737-300 was approaching Pittsburgh Runway 28R when ATC reported traffic in the area, which was confirmed in sight by the First Officer. At that moment the aircraft was levelling of at 6000ft (speed 190kts) and rolling out of a 15deg left turn (roll rate 2deg/sec) with flaps at 1, the gear still retracted and autopilot and auto-throttle systems engaged. The aircraft then suddenly entered the wake vortex of a Delta Airlines Boeing 727 that preceded it by approx. 69 seconds (4,2mls). Over the next 3 seconds the aircraft rolled left to approx. 18deg of bank. The autopilot attempted to initiate a roll back to the right as the aircraft went in and out of a wake vortex core, resulting in two loud "thumps". The First Officer then manually overrode the autopilot without disengaging it by putting in a large right-wheel command at a rate of 150deg/sec. The airplane started rolling back to the right at an acceleration that peaked 36deg/sec, but the aircraft never reached a wings level attitude. At 19.03:01 the aircraft's heading slewed suddenly and dramatically to the left (full left rudder deflection). Within a second of the yaw onset the roll attitude suddenly began to increase to the left, reaching 30deg. The aircraft pitched down, continuing to roll through 55deg left bank. At 19.03:07 the pitch attitude approached -20deg, the left bank increased to 70deg and the descent rate reached 3600f/min. At this point, the aircraft stalled. Left roll and yaw continued, and the aircraft rolled through inverted flight as the nose reached 90deg down, approx. 3600ft above the ground. The 737 continued to roll, but the nose began to rise. At 2000ft above the ground the aircraft's attitude passed 40deg nose low and 15deg left bank. The left roll hesitated briefly, but continued and the nose again dropped. The plane descended fast and impacted the ground nose first at 261kts in an 80deg nose down, 60deg left bank attitude and with significant sideslip. All 132 on board were killed.

More information

From 737 Systems Website:

The main rudder PCU contains a Force Fight Monitor (FFM) that detects opposing pressure (force fight) between A and B actuators. This may occur if either system A or B input is jammed or disconnected. The FFM output is used to automatically turn on the Standby Hydraulic pump, open the standby rudder shutoff valve to pressurize the standby rudder PCU, and illuminate the STBY RUD ON, Master Caution, and Flight Control (FLT CONT) lights.
The standby rudder PCU is powered by the standby hydraulic system. The standby hydraulic system is provided as a backup if system A and/or B pressure is lost. With the standby PCU powered the pilot retains adequate rudder control capability. It can be operated manually through the FLT CONTROL switches or automatically. (Refer to Chapter 13, Hydraulics, Standby Hydraulic System)
An amber STBY RUD ON light illuminates when the standby rudder hydraulic system is pressurized. The standby rudder system can be pressurized with either Flight Control switch, automatically during takeoff or landing (Refer to Chapter 13, Hydraulics, Standby Hydraulic System) or automatically by the Force Fight Monitor. The STBY RUD ON light illumination activates Master Caution and Flight Control warning lights on the Systems Annunciation Panel.

Mar 29, 2022

On Tuesday, March 29, 2022, communities around the U.S. will pay tribute to Vietnam veterans and their families on National Vietnam War Veterans Day.

U.S. involvement in Vietnam started slowly with an initial deployment of advisers in the early 1950s, grew incrementally through the early 1960s and expanded with the deployment of full combat units in July 1965. The last U.S. personnel were evacuated from Vietnam in April 1975.

Approximately 9 million Americans served during the Vietnam era (Nov. 1, 1955, to May 15, 1975). More than 6 million are still alive.

The Vietnam War Veterans Recognition Act of 2017 established March 29 as the day to pause and commemorate, remember, recognize and honor Vietnam Veterans, former Prisoners of War, those listed as Missing in Action and their families.

March 29 was chosen for several reasons. It was on this date 49 years ago that the last combat troops departed Vietnam. It was also on this day, nearly half a century ago, that Hanoi freed the remaining prisoners of war the Republic of Vietnam was willing to acknowledge.

As part of the national observance, the Vietnam War Commemoration is interviewing Vietnam Veterans and their families and archiving these oral history interviews on the commemoration website and via the Library of Congress Veterans History Project. To learn more about this program visit or visit their Facebook page at

Our previous Vietnam veteran guests:

Steve Ritchie

Lee Ellis

Doc Weaver

Bill Driscoll

Steven Bennett

Larry Freeland

Ralph Wetterhahn

Manny Montes

Vic Vizcarra

John Borling

Charlie Plumb

Robert Shumaker

Smitty Harris

Randy Larsen

John Morrissey

Ric Hunter

Charles Doryland

Jim Badger

George Hardy

Robin Olds

Russ Goodenough

Don Mrosla

Ed Cobleigh

Dave Scheiding

Don Shepperd

Patrick Brady

John Fairfield

Lynn Damron

Lawrence Chambers

Bob Gilliland

Brian Settles

Mark Berent

Dick Jonas

Merrill McPeak

John Swanson

Dale Stovall

Walt Fricke

Bill Straw

Son Tay Raiders

Lance Sijan

Mar 25, 2022

Medal of Honor Citation:

While on a flight over North Vietnam, Capt. Sijan ejected from his disabled aircraft and successfully evaded capture for more than six weeks. During this time, he was seriously injured and suffered from shock and extreme weight loss due to lack of food. After being captured by North Vietnamese soldiers, Capt. Sijan was taken to a holding point for subsequent transfer to a prisoner-of-war camp. In his emaciated and crippled condition, he overpowered one of his guards and crawled into the jungle, only to be recaptured after several hours. He was then transferred to another prison camp where he was kept in solitary confinement and interrogated at length. During interrogation, he was severely tortured; however, he did not divulge any information to his captors. Capt. Sijan lapsed into delirium and was placed in the care of another prisoner. During his intermittent periods of consciousness until his death, he never complained of his physical condition and, on several occasions, spoke of future escape attempts. Capt. Sijan's extraordinary heroism and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty at the cost of his life are in keeping with the highest traditions of the U.S. Air Force and reflect great credit upon himself and the U.S. Armed Forces.

From Into the Mouth of the Cat: The Story of Lance Sijan, Hero of Vietnam:

On the night of November 9, 1967, Sijan was ejected from his crippled fighter-bomber over the steep mountains of Laos. Although critically injured and virtually without supplies, he evaded capture in savage terrain for six weeks. Finally caught and placed in a holding camp, he overpowered his guards and escaped, only to be captured again. He resisted his interrogators to the end, and he died two weeks later in Hanoi. His courage was an inspiration to other American prisoners of war, and he was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.


From Leading With Honor:

Chapter 9 page 117-118

Before my deployment to Southeast Asia, Air Force 1st Lt Lance

Sijan and I had been dormmates and golfing buddies. At Son Tay camp,

I learned that his plane had gone down one day after mine. Badly

injured, he survived in the jungles of Laos for 46 days before being

captured. His remarkable story was not a surprise. Throughout our

training he was always keen about his professional development. Lance

stood out in survival school because he appeared to be the most highly

motivated learner, both in the classroom and on the mountain trek.

As Ron Mastin (1st Lt USAF) flashed Lance’s painful story across the

camp to our building, I put the pieces together. I remembered our first

winter of captivity, when my cellmates and I had listened helplessly

as someone in a cell down the hall deliriously cried out for help. I summoned

the officer in charge, and a few minutes later Fat in the Fire

opened the peephole in our door. “Please, will you help this man?”

I pleaded. With a serious look on his face he replied, “He has bad head

injury. Been in jungle too long. Has one foot in grave.” He slammed the

peephole shut and left.

Of course, in the isolated cells of Thunderbird, we had no way of

knowing who was dying. Two years later, I realized that we had been

audible witnesses to Lance’s last valiant struggle to survive. After the

war, we learned more details of Lance’s heroic actions to evade, escape,

and endure. His courageous efforts to resist, survive, escape, and return

with honor were so notable that he was awarded the Congressional

Medal of Honor (posthumously). One of the Air Force’s most prestigious

annual awards for leadership is named the Sijan Award.

Mar 21, 2022

Jennifer-Ruth Green continues to serve her fellow citizens in the United States Air Force Air Reserve Component and is now running to represent her fellow Hoosiers in Congress.

A battle-proven leader, a trailblazer, and a selfless servant, Jennifer-Ruth Green is a candidate for Indiana’s First Congressional District. Her continued experience of over twenty years of military service and her non-profit work throughout Northwest Indiana has prepared her to fight on behalf of the Region in Washington, D.C.

Born to Vivian and Paul R. Green Jr., Jennifer-Ruth “Romper” Green is the youngest of six children.  At eighteen years old, Jennifer-Ruth followed in her father and grandfather’s footsteps and joined the United States Air Force.

After graduating from the USAF Academy in 2005, Jennifer-Ruth began her Air Force career in aviation and then transitioned to serve as a Special Agent with the Air Force Office of Special Investigations. She deployed to Baghdad in support of Operation IRAQI FREEDOM where she served as a mission commander for counterintelligence activities. After her deployment, Jennifer-Ruth assumed the role of Deputy Chief for a nuclear command post.

After twelve years of full-time military service, Jennifer-Ruth transitioned to the US Air Force Reserve Component and chose to make Indiana home.  Currently, she serves as the Chief Information Officer/Commander, 122d Communications Flight, Indiana Air National Guard. She is the first African-American, or Asian, woman selected to serve in this position in the history of the Fighter Wing.



Locally, Jennifer-Ruth serves her community in Northwest Indiana as an educator, and is the founder of MissionAero Pipeline, a non-profit reaching at-risk youth that seeks to transform lives, inspire STEM careers, and set students, as young as 5th grade through college, on a path of learning in the aerospace industry.

Jennifer-Ruth has been a trailblazer throughout her career. While attending the USAF Academy, Jennifer-Ruth was inspired by Lt. Col. Lee Archer, USAF, an original Tuskegee Airmen, and earned her pilot’s license. Now as a civilian, Jennifer-Ruth is a Certified Flight Instructor, commercial pilot, and one of fewer than 150 African-American professional female pilots in the US.



Jennifer-Ruth earned a B.S. in Asian Area Studies from the United States Air Force Academy, an M.Min. from Golden State Baptist College, and a B.S. in Aeronautics from Liberty University. She is currently enrolled in Air War College, studying strategic leadership across military operations, in joint, interagency, & multinational environments. She is a graduate of Air Command & Staff College. She is a regular speaker at aerospace/STEM events, loves traveling, and has visited all seven continents. Jennifer-Ruth lives in Crown Point, Indiana, and is a proud aunt to fifteen nieces and nephews.

Mar 14, 2022

Al Malmberg is a 50-year radio veteran who currently hosts The World of Aviation radio program.

(AM-1280-The Patriot)  Other than this one hour a week show, Malmberg is enjoying retirement and doing lots of flying off a private strip in Colorado.  He enjoys MCing The Minnesota Aviation Hall of Fame Banquet each year in the Twin Cities.

Al was on the air for 17 years on WCCO radio in the Twin Cities.  Concurrently, Malmberg was the regular fill-in host on "Overnight America" on the CBS Radio Network. 

He also hosted the nationally syndicated Radio program, The Al Malmberg Show on The Business Radio Network.

Malmberg has been married to his wife, Kathy for 50-years. They have two sons and six grandchildren.

Mar 7, 2022

Oshkosh — It was a homecoming of sorts for Caroline Jensen on Thursday. When she arrived at EAA AirVenture, it was with a bang.

Actually, it was a low rumble followed by a deafening screech that prompted spectators to stick fingers in their ears as Jensen and her five teammates soared through the skies over Oshkosh to prepare for their performances this weekend.

The Air Force major, fighter pilot and Wisconsin native is the third woman and the first mother to fly in the Air Force Thunderbirds flight demonstration team.

"For me, this is a dream come true — who wouldn't want to perform at Oshkosh? It's kind of like playing at Carnegie Hall," Jensen, 37, said in an interview outside her No. 3 plane shortly after arriving at Wittman Regional Airport.

Born in New Richmond, Jensen grew up in River Falls and got hooked on flight when she saw a plane flying in the clouds in a TV movie at the age of 5. She watched the Thunderbirds perform in Eau Claire when she was 13, sparking her dreams of one day becoming an Air Force fighter pilot.

She didn't get her first flight until she was 15 — in a single-engine Cessna 172. Her second and third flights were to and from the Air Force Academy for swim camp and her fourth was to basic training after she had been accepted as a cadet.

The daughter of a Marine helicopter pilot in Vietnam, she graduated from the Air Force Academy with a bachelor's degree in English and spent 10 years on active duty and the past five years as a reservist. She's the first female reserve officer to fly with the Thunderbirds

Before joining the famous flight demonstration team, she was a T-38 instructor and assistant flight commander for Air Force Reserve Command's 340th Flying Training Group at Sheppard Air Force Base in Texas.

She met her husband in glider school while they were at the Air Force Academy. He's now a commercial airline pilot and stays home in Las Vegas with their 5-year-old son while Jensen is on the road 220 days a year. With both parents pilots, it's no surprise their son has a propeller next to his bed, a Braniff Airlines poster on his wall and a bookcase in the shape of a plane tail.

When she finishes this season in the Thunderbirds, she'll head to Washington, D.C., to be a congressional liaison for the Air Force.

One reason there are so few female Thunderbird demonstration pilots is because only 7% of America's fighter pilot forces are female, Jensen said.

"To be on the team, you have to be at the right place in your career with the right set of skills, a family who's supportive and the desire to do it. So there's a lot of things that have to happen for any pilot who wants to be part of the team," she said.

She has spent quite a bit of time in the cockpit — it is, after all, her office — with 3,100 hours as an Air Force pilot, including 200 hours of combat in F-16s in Iraq.

Jensen was at Disneyland with her family, standing in Cinderella's castle, when her cellphone rang in 2012. On the line were all 12 officers from the Thunderbird team calling to congratulate her. Most pilots spend two years in the Thunderbirds but because the military's flight demonstration teams were grounded last year due to sequestration, the entire team stayed together for an additional year.

She flies the No. 3 plane on the right side of the diamond, sometimes as close as 18 inches from the lead plane at speeds up to 450 knots. It's not for the faint of heart. In some of the maneuvers, Thunderbird pilots feel as much as 9 Gs on their bodies and fly as low as 300 feet from the ground.

This weekend AirVenture air show spectators will see Jensen and the rest of the Thunderbirds perform loops and rolls as they zoom as low as 500 feet over the crowd in their white F-16s adorned with red and blue stars and stripes. Her favorite maneuver is when the four planes in the diamond split off from each other in four directions.

So is it nerve-wracking or comfortable flying in such tight formation?

"It's both," she said, adding that the pilots practice their show far away from each other and gradually move closer.

"It's all very controlled. I know exactly what (the lead pilot) is going to do, he knows exactly what we're going to do. There are commands we go through and we've literally done them hundreds of times," she said. "It's very deliberate, very rehearsed and very safe."

This is the first visit by the full Air Force Thunderbird flight demonstration team to EAA AirVenture and because the "aerobatic box" — the air space above the grounds — is bigger than for other air show performers, convention organizers are moving spectators 150 feet back from the normal flight line. Also, residents and businesses inside the aerobatic box must leave for a few hours while the team performs.

Feb 14, 2022

Rick is one of the most unique artists in the world. He has been likened to such great artists as Rembrandt & Maxfield Parish. He is an Old World-Flemish style painter, meaning he paints using transparent colors to build depth and color. Rick's artwork has continually grown in value over the years. Although he has specialized in Aviation artwork, he has created other works from landscape to space paintings. Rick is also the master at "Starlite" painting. He has developed a technique that uses UV and fluorescent paints to change his paintings under different light frequencies. His paintings go from a Day scene to a Night scene under Blacklight. This is an incredible process that allows his works to actually become living pieces. He can make clouds move. He is an Old World-Flemish style painter, meaning he paints using transparent colors to build depth and color. Rick's artwork has continually grown in value over the years. Although he has specialized in Aviation artwork, he has created other works from landscape to space paintings. Rick is also the master at "Starlite" painting. He has developed a technique that uses UV and fluorescent paints to change his paintings under different light frequencies. His paintings go from a Day scene to a Night scene under Blacklight. This is an incredible process that allows his works to actually become living pieces. He can make clouds move... Rick has thousands of collectors around the world.

Rick's first efforts with drawing and painting aircraft began as a child. He was a Boy Scout and earned the Aviation Merit Badge. As soon as he was 13 years old he left the Boy Scouts and joined the Pueblo Colorado Civil Air Patrol as a cadet. He stayed active with the CAP becoming a Senior Member when he was 18 years old. "The Civil Air Patrol was a huge help to me during my teenage years. I loved every aspect of the CAP and got to fly a lot too. I was in a Piper Cub waiting to take the active at Pueblo when a United Airlines jet airliner taxied up behind us and stopped only a few feet short of our airplane!" I took movies of that event and hope to get them on DVD sometime soon." 

Encouragement for Broome as an artist began as early as he could start coloring inside the lines. At age 7 he won a national coloring contest sponsored by the Better Homes and Gardens national magazine. This was when he was drawing and coloring aircraft from every era. His passions in aviation and flying were encouraged by his parents and friends. By the time he was 15 years old he was taking private commissions for original art from pilots in both the Denver and Pueblo areas. These early sales combined with true focus allowed young Broome to solo on his 16th birthday. He was checked out in 8 different aircraft within a month of his solo and logged hundreds of hours flying time while still in high school.

In 1971 Rick and Billie were also fortunate to begin meeting young officers returning from flying missions in Vietnam with new assignments to teach cadets at the Academy. The cadet leadership of the Air Force Academy class of 1974 was so pleased with his paintings that they commissioned an original painting of a USAF Cessna T-41 trainer for their Class Gift to the Academy at graduation. 

This set the precedent for Broome’s devotion to the Academy and their annual graduation class paintings. “The relationships we made with many of our cadets went on to become lifetime events for which we are very thankful. I know I have fed far in excess of a thousand cadets!” said Mrs. Broome during a recent interview." 

Rick’s final flight in the cockpit of a United airliner was on November 7, 1970 when he rode jump seat on a 4 hour training flight in a brand new United Boeing 747. “I got to fly the Boeing 747 back from Las Vegas in the left seat. Braniff Airways skipper the late Captain Len Morgan was my copilot. "Len asked me what I thought the bird felt like and I replied it reminded him of flying a C-47.” 

Len’s eyes got real big and he replied “You have flown a DC-3?” And then Rick told him how -- at the age of 14 -- he had indeed flown a USAF C-47 from Lowry AFB in Denver to the Academy and back as part of his Civil Air Patrol Summer Encampment activities! United Captain Ed Mack Miller and famed aviator and chart maker Elrey B. Jeppesen had begun mentoring Rick when he was 14 years old. 

Rick has flown about 2200 hours in 47 different aircraft. In addition he has completed nearly 3000 original paintings which are on display throughout the world. 

Feb 1, 2022

 Peter Docker is passionate about enabling people to unlock their natural talents and teaches leadership that is focused on commitment and human connection. This approach harnesses the collective wisdom of teams to generate extraordinary outcomes. Peter's commercial and industry experience has been at the most senior levels in sectors across more than 90 countries, including oil & gas, construction, mining, pharmaceuticals, banking, television, film, media, manufacturing and services. His clients include Google, Four Seasons Hotels, Accenture, American Express, ASOS, EY, NBC Universal and over 100 more.


Having served for 25 years as a Royal Air Force senior officer, Peter has been a Force Commander during combat flying operations and has seen service across the globe. His career has spanned from professional pilot to leading an aviation training and standards organization, teaching postgraduates at the UK's Defence College, to flying the British prime minister around the world. Peter has also led multibillion-dollar international procurement projects and served as a crisis manager and former international negotiator for the UK government.

A keynote speaker and facilitator, Peter presents around the world offering workshops and bespoke leadership programs. He also worked with Simon Sinek for over seven years and was one of the founding ‘Igniters’ on Simon’s team. He took his years of practical experience to co-author Find Your Why: A Practical Guide for Discovering Purpose for You and Your Team, with Simon Sinek and David Mead. Published in September 2017, it has been translated into more than 25 languages and has sold over 460,000 copies. 

Jan 20, 2022

Good Moral Character

  • Section 18 (Conduct an Airline Transport Pilot Certification, Including Additional Category/Class Rating)
  • C. Good Moral Character Requirement:
    An applicant must be of good moral character. The inspector must ask an applicant if the applicant has been convicted of a felony. If the applicant’s answer is affirmative, the inspector should make further inquiry about the nature and disposition of the conviction. If an inspector has reason to believe an applicant does not qualify for an ATP certificate because of questionable moral character, the inspector must not conduct the practical test. Instead, the inspector will refer the matter to the immediate supervisor for resolution. The supervisor may need to consult with regional counsel for a determination concerning whether the applicant meets the moral character eligibility requirement.

From AOPA:

Nothing can derail a professional flying career quicker than a revocation of an FAA airman certificate. Despite the FAA’s new compliance philosophy, which makes a very good attempt at establishing a “positive safety culture”—and recognizes that inadvertent rule violations can be best addressed and remedied through education, counseling, or remedial training—there are some transgressions that command the ultimate penalty: certificate revocation.

FAA Order 2150.3B. the FAA Compliance and Enforcement Program, is the guidance document that stipulates the processes FAA personnel follow when pursuing an enforcement action. Perhaps the most grievous of all “sins” committed by anyone who seeks or has a certificate or operating privilege is falsification. The order states, “In general, the FAA considers the making of intentionally false or fraudulent statements so serious an offense that it results in revocation of all certificates held by the certificate holder. Falsification has a serious effect on the integrity of the records on which the FAA’s safety oversight depends. If the reliability of these records is undermined, the FAA’s ability to promote aviation safety is compromised.”

Here are other highly probably revocation actions: student pilots flying for hire or compensation; CFIs falsifying any endorsements; flight operations by anyone whose pilot certificate is suspended; virtually any flight operation involving the use of drugs or alcohol contrary to the limits specified by the regulations; transport of controlled substances; three convictions for DUI/DWI moving violations within three years; reproduction or alteration of a medical certificate; and conviction for possession of illegal drugs other than “simple possession.” Other illicit activities that could result in a certificate suspension, civil penalty, or even revocation are listed in the FAA’s order.

If you have stepped way over the legal line and the FAA has taken all your certificates in a revocation action, are you forever grounded? Not necessarily. In general, revocation actions last one year. But, recognize that you will need to reapply for every certificate and rating that you once possessed.

The first suggestion: Re-familiarize yourself with the information on the knowledge tests. Study up for the private, instrument, commercial, and ATP during your yearlong hiatus. If you previously held an ATP certificate prior to revocation, then you must complete an Airline Transport Pilot Certification Training Program (ATP CTP) as required by FAR 61.156.

If there is any saving grace to this predicament, it is that all previous flight time remains valid. There is no need to acquire another 40 hours of flight time, for example, to retake the private pilot checkride. But, before taking the practical test for each of the certificates and ratings that have been lost, you are required to receive three hours of instruction from a CFI.

So even if the worst should happen and you lose all of those pilot privileges because of a serious misdeed, all is not lost. In a year’s time you can be back in the sky, hopefully much the wiser. But, who will hire you? Well, the news there is not that good.

An unofficial survey of recruiters for a few “big name” regional and major airlines revealed that those carriers have a “zero tolerance” policy. The problem for these companies is the potential risk and the fallout in the event of an accident or incident involving a pilot who has been suspended or revoked. The press would, no doubt, zero in on the fact that the airman has a “history of noncompliance” with the regulations. This kind of PR is unwelcome.

However, there could be smaller operators that would be willing to give you another chance. This may depend greatly upon when the violation took place. Perhaps the “drug bust” or DWIs took place at age 20 but now, at age 35, you have led a decade of stellar living. After all, shouldn’t “rehabilitation” play a role in hiring decisions?

One option for returning to the industry is starting an aviation-related company yourself. Whether it is a single-pilot Part 135 operation, aircraft management, banner towing, a flight school, scenic tours, or aircraft sales, there are other avenues to the sky.

For a superb example of forgiveness and redemption read Flying Drunk by Joseph Balzer. It is an inspirational story by one of three Northwest Airlines pilots who, in March 1990, flew a Boeing 727 from Fargo to Minneapolis after swigging beer at a local bar the night before. All three were arrested for intoxication, convicted, sent to federal prison, and stripped of their pilot certificates.

As Balzer says, “It was horrible. I didn’t want to live anymore. I was so humiliated, embarrassed, ashamed.” Of course, he feared that he would never fly again. However, American Airlines—in an exceptional and laudable extension of second chances—restored his career where he returned to the cockpit.

As an aside, the industry has a tremendous resource for commercial pilots who suffer from alcohol or substance abuse: the Human Intervention Motivation Study (HIMS) program. As stated on its website, “HIMS is an occupational substance abuse treatment program, specific to commercial pilots, that coordinates the identification, treatment, and return to work process for affected aviators.” Good to know, just in case.

We humans make mistakes, sometime serious. In the case of FAA certificate revocation, second chances are possible.


In terms of a state offense, DA Flynn says someone with a fake vaccine card could be charged with Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument in the Second Degree. That's a Class "D" felony, so someone convicted could face up to 7 years in prison.

New York State's attorney general Letitia James has weighed in on this as well. She's asked anyone who thinks they might be a victim of a COVID vaccination card scam to call her office at 1-800-771-7755.

On the federal side of things, the FBI shared a PSA this year that explains how Title 18 of the U-S Code, Section 10-17 stipulates you cannot fraudulently use the seal of any US government agency - and if you do, you could face up to 5 years in prison.

Jan 10, 2022

Have you ever really thought about what you might do if a super-storm, earthquake, fire, pandemic, or flood were to force you to leave your home suddenly?

What would you do that first day away, the third, or even two weeks later?

What would you able to grab and take with you??

What important things would you be forced to leave behind?


The Basic Bug Out Bag aka Go-Bag

Lets start with the primary items needed for survival. ShelterClothingFood and Water. Below is a list of the essentials you need to have ready should you have to leave your house in an emergency, and can only grab a Bug Out Bag before you go.

It provides you with the most basic of provisions to get you through 72-hours away from home. You probably already have most of these things already:

Print out this checklist if it helps you to have a paper copy of the items below. 

  • Backpack
  • Bottle(s) of water
  • Flashlight
  • Pen and notepad
  • Snack bars
  • Cash
  • Emergency Blanket
  • Change of clothes
  • Toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, deodorant
  • Beach Towel
  • Dust Mask
  • Pocket Knife
  • First Aid Kit (band aids, alcohol wipes)
  • Chap-Stick
  • Work Gloves
  • Deck of cards and/or a book
  • Cell phone charging cable
  • Poncho or umbrella
  • Street Map of Local Area
  • Sturdy Plastic Cup
  • Fork and Spoon

Keep it handy, and easy to find should you need it. If you have a family, have a pack for each person. We will get more in detail with the articles which follow and we will introduce you to The Bug Out Bag Builder Four Part Emergency System.

NOTE: If you only own one of something, and you put it into your emergency kit you will ultimately wind up taking it out of your bag to use elsewhere. This means you should have a second item dedicated for your kit itself. You won't remember to grab it on the way out (or have time to).

If you want to get something TODAY RIGHT NOW that at least gets you some coverage, head over to The Red Cross store and grab their basic Go-Bag. Its $55 and gives you a platform to build on.

This isn't our first choice because think its better to build your own from the ground up, but its better than nothing. You will still need to add to it though.


The next most important step - and the one that will really save your life:


Staying informed

You MUST to know what is going on in the world around you. You may only have a few days notice that a hurricane is going to hit your home, can you get you and your family ready in less than 48 hours?

How much time will you have if you receive a tornado or earthquake warning?

If cell phone service is down do you have other equipment which will help you communicate with the outside world?

You have to have some way to get information delivered to you quickly about local events - especially when a catastrophic one is heading your way. Local TV, AM radio, Emergency officials, are the most obvious, but we've added some below which will also help you get timely and accurate information:

Wireless Emergency Alert System


For those of us in the US with a smart phone made after 2012 the Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) system automatically sends severe weather, AMBER, and Presidential alerts to your mobile device.

There's nothing you need to do to enable it, its part of all phones made in the last few years. You will hear an alert sound from the phone and see a message on the screen. You can disable the weather and Amber alerts it if you'd like but not the Presidential alerts.

Jan 1, 2022

What You Need to Know

  • Delay travel until you are fully vaccinated.
  • Check your destination’s COVID-19 situation before traveling. State, local, and territorial governments may have travel restrictions in place.
  • Wearing a mask over your nose and mouth is required in indoor areas of public transportation (including airplanes) and indoors in U.S. transportation hubs (including airports).
  • Do not travel if you have been exposed to COVID-19, you are sick, or if you test positive for COVID-19.
  • If you are not fully vaccinated and must travel, get tested both before and after your trip.

Delay travel until you are fully vaccinated. Getting vaccinated is still the best way to protect yourself from severe disease, slow the spread of COVID-19, and reduce the number of new variants. CDC recommends you get a COVID-19 vaccine booster dose if you are eligible. People who are not fully vaccinated should follow additional recommendations beforeduring, and after travel.

Before You Travel

Make sure to plan ahead:

  • Check the current COVID-19 situation at your destination.
  • Make sure you understand and follow all state, local, and territorial travel restrictions, including mask wearing, proof of vaccination, testing, or quarantine requirements.
    • For up-to-date information and travel guidance, check the state or territorial and local health department’s website where you are, along your route, and where you are going.
  • If traveling by air, check if your airline requires any testing, vaccination, or other documents.
  • Prepare to be flexible during your trip as restrictions and policies may change during your travel.

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If you are NOT fully vaccinated, get tested with a viral test 1-3 days before your trip.

Do NOT travel if…

  • You have been exposed to COVID-19 unless you are fully vaccinated or recovered from COVID-19 in the past 90 days.
  • You are sick.
  • You tested positive for COVID-19 and haven’t ended isolation (even if you are fully vaccinated).
  • You are waiting for results of a COVID-19 test. If your test comes back positive while you are at your destination, you will need to isolate and postpone your return until it’s safe for you to end isolation. Your travel companions may need to self-quarantine.

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During Travel



Wearing a mask over your nose and mouth is required on planes, buses, trains, and other forms of public transportation traveling into, within, or out of the United States and while indoors at U.S. transportation hubs such as airports and train stations. Travelers are not required to wear a mask in outdoor areas of a conveyance (like on open deck areas of a ferry or the uncovered top deck of a bus).hands wash light icon

Protect Yourself and Others


  • Follow allstate and local health recommendations and requirements at your destination, including wearing a mask and staying 6 feet (2 meters) apart from others.
  • Travelers 2 years of age or older should wear masks in indoor public places if they are:
  • If you are not fully vaccinated and aged 2 or older, you should wear a mask in indoor public places.
  • In general, you do not need to wear a mask in outdoor settings.
    • In areas with high numbers of COVID-19 cases, consider wearing a mask in crowded outdoor settings and for activities with close contact with others who are not fully vaccinated.
  • Wash your hands often or use hand sanitizer (with at least 60% alcohol).

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After Travel

You might have been exposed to COVID-19 on your travels. You might feel well and not have any symptoms, but you can still be infected and spread the virus to others. People who are not fully vaccinated are more likely to get COVID-19 and spread it to others. For this reason, CDC recommends taking the following precautions after returning from travel.vial light icon

ALL Travelers


  • Self-monitor for COVID-19 symptoms; isolate and get testedexternal icon if you develop symptoms.
  • Follow all state and local recommendations or requirements after travel.

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If you are NOT fully vaccinated


Self-quarantine and get tested after travel:

  • Get tested with a viral test 3-5 days after returning from travel.
  • Stay home and self-quarantine for a full 7 days after travel, even if you test negative at 3-5 days.
  • If you don’t get tested, stay home and self-quarantine for 10 days after travel.

If Your Test is Positive

If You Recently Recovered from COVID-19

You do NOT need to get tested or self-quarantine if you recovered from COVID-19 in the past 90 days. You should still follow all other travel recommendations. If you develop COVID-19 symptoms after travel, isolate and consult with a healthcare provider for testing recommendations.

Dec 28, 2021

1 December 1993; Northwest Airlink (Express Airlines) BAe Jetstream 31; Hibbing, MN: The aircraft had a controlled flight into terrain about three miles (five km) from the runway threshold during an an excessively steep approach in conditions of snow and freezing fog. Both crew members and all 16 passengers were killed.

3 December 1990; Northwest DC9-14; Detroit, MI: The DC9 was taxiing in fog and strayed onto an active runway where it was hit by a departing Northwest 727. One of the four crew members and seven of the 40 passengers were killed. There were no fatalities on the second aircraft.

13 December 1994; American Eagle (Flagship Airlines) BAe Jetstream Super 31; Morrisville, NC: The aircraft crashed about four miles (seven km) from the runway threshold during an approach at night and in icing conditions. The flight crew incorrectly thought that an engine had failed and subsequently followed improper procedures for single engine approach and landing. Both crew members and 13 of the 18 passengers were killed.

20 December 1995; American Airlines 757-200; near Buga, Colombia: The aircraft crashed into Mt. San Jose at night at about the 9,000 foot level while descending into Cali, Colombia after its flight from Miami. All eight crew and 155 of the 159 passengers were killed in the crash. Colombian civil aviation authorities report that at the time of the accident, all navigational beacons were fully serviceable and that the aircraft voice and data recorders did not indicate any aircraft problems.

20 December 2008; Continental Airlines 737-500; Denver, CO: The aircraft, which was on a scheduled flight to Houston's Intercontinental Airport, departed the runway during takeoff and skidded across a taxiway and a service road before coming to rest in a ravine several hundred yards from the runway. The aircraft sustained significant damage, including a post crash fire, separation of one engine and separated and collapsed landing gear. There were about 38 injuries among the 110 passengers and five crew members, including two passengers who were seriously injured.

26 December 1989; United Express (NPA) BAe Jetstream 31; Pasco, WA: A combination of an excessively steep and unstabilzied ILS approach, improper air traffic control commands, and aircraft icing caused the aircraft to stall and crash short of the runway during a night approach. Both crew members and all four passengers were killed.

28 December 1978; United Airlines DC8; Portland, OR: The aircraft ran out of fuel while holding for landing and crashed landed. Of the 184 occupants, two crew members and eight passengers were killed.

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