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"We are the protagonists of our stories called life, and there is no limit to how high we can fly."

Type rated on A330, B747-400, B747, B757, B767, B737, B727. International Airline Pilot / Author / Speaker. Dedicated to giving the gift of wings to anyone following their dreams. Supporting Aviation Safety through training, writing, and inspiration.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Gene Nora Jessen

Fridays Fabulous Flyer

Gene Nora (pronounced Janora)

Where do I begin for such an incredible awe inspiring woman? Last weekend at the 99 Northwest Conference where I had the most fortunate opportunity to meet Gene Nora? Or was it during the banquet when they bestowed the prestigious Governors Achievement Award for her outstanding commitment to aviation?

Actually... let's step back in time to 1960 where she was working her way through college as a flight instructor, on staff at the University of Oklahoma. But the excitement really began when she became part of the Mercury 13!

So the story began, that Dr. Lovelace was running a research clinic in Albuquerque where he would be testing women for an astronaut program. Thus Gene Nora wrote to him, and he invited her to come on down and test. She was one of the 13 women, out of 25, who passed testing. Thus, Mercury 13 was so named for the 13 surviving candidates. She was headed for phase II. The fact she never met Dr. Lovelace, or was never actually told she was in an astronaut program, some considered this as nothing but research.

Yet, she quit her job at the University in the Fall of 1961, to continue testing with phase II of "research", but a few days later the program was cancelled. Out of a job and her chance to fly to space she took a job as a flight instructor in 1962, the best flying job she could find as a woman. Yet...the story doesn't end there. She gets the job of a lifetime. Seriously... Beechcraft hired her as a sales demonstration pilot of their Musketeer. 

Three Musketeers!

She would fly a 90-day 3 airplane formation across the 48-contiguous states. Now, I'm not going to tell you more about this adventure because you have to read the book. Seriously... she wrote a book of this exciting duty The Fabulous Flight of the Three Musketeers. And it's great!

Not only is Gene Nora a brilliant author, but her story is amazing and the history of the Beech Musketeer is fascinating. I had no idea why that plane came into being, or the challenges of what it took to climb into a new model aircraft that you have never flown, in your high heels and a dress, and teach yourself how to fly formation. You will love this book as much as I, and understand why Gene Nora is one of the aviation greats.  

Not only did Beech give Gene Nora the job of a lifetime, but they gave her additional ratings that enabled her to fly the entire Beech line, but that's where she met her husband Bob Jessen. Bob had been a WWII B29 pilot and she met him as a Beech regional sales manager. They moved to Boise Idaho, where they raised their two children, owned a Beech dealership, ran an FBO and I think last I heard they've been married 51 years and counting.

Gene Nora also wrote a book about the first Powder Puff Derby.  The Powder Puff Derby of 1929. I think we all need to read this book, as Angelina Joli purchased the movie rights. The movie has not been made yet, but I for one am waiting for it. She is also an avid speaker, and will delight any audience, and has on many occasions.

Of her many accomplishments she has been the president of the Ninety-Nines, served on numerous community boards, and participated in founding two aviation museums. Not to mention, she has flown many air race classic races (ARC) the modern day Powder Puff Derby, and she still flies!

I also don't think I have laughed so hard at an aviation story, as listening to Gene Nora and Patty Pilot (retired United pilot) share their story about flying to  the most recent ARC banquet. Then I heard Gene Nora had a third book Amelia Was Right.

What was Amelia Right about? Well, Amelia Earhart wrote a book titled Flying is Fun. And Gene Nora has stories to prove that she was right... and they are in the Amelia Was Right book! I will order this book as well, and then make a point to go find Gene Nora for the autograph on those, too. I hear she hangs out at airports. I absolutely love The Fabulous Flight of the Three Musketeers, and I am sure the others will be as incredible.

Karlene and Gene Nora

This aviation community is small and filled with incredible people who are helping others to earn their wings, or gifting them the love of flight. Gene Nora is one such a woman. She has the heart and soul of an aviator with the passion for flight, and continues to share her love of flight with the world. And she will make you smile. Gift one of her books to yourself, and to those you want to share a bit of aviation history and your passion of flight with.  It was such an honor to meet Gene Nora! After you begin reading, you'll feel like you know her too!

 Flight For Sanity coming soon....
 Catch up on the series so you will be ready!

Motivation and Children too! 

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Emergency Aircraft

The Debate is on!

I was recently in a debate as to what determines an emergency aircraft. More specifically whether or not the lack of an autopilot and autothrust created an emergency condition. My contention is that lack of an autopilot and authothrust should not be an emergency for a pilot.

Photo credit to

My points in this debate include:
  1. At the very minimum pilots should be able to manually fly their aircraft. 
  2. An FAA safety advisory (2103) encouraged pilots to hand fly (no autopilot and autothrust) to retain their flight skills. 
  3. If the FAA is advising hand flying behavior, then how is following the advised behavior an emergency? That would mean the FAA was advising an emergency condition, which we all know would never happen.
What do you think? 
Do you think the lack of an autopilot and autothrust constitutes an emergency aircraft?  

 Flight For Sanity coming soon....
 Catch up on the series so you will be ready!

Motivation and Children too! 

Monday, September 19, 2016

Follow True North

On Your Journey Through Life... 

Allow your compass to be your guide 
in truth, honesty, and integrity.
Hold strong to your values, 
for they will be your greatest success. 

A quote from Flight To Success... 
be the captain of your life.

 Flight For Sanity coming soon....
 Catch up on the series so you will be ready!

Motivation and Children too! 

Friday, September 16, 2016

Petter Hörnfeldt

Friday's Fabulous Flyer

Petter Hörnfeldt

Petter is a 35 year old training captain and Type Rating Instructor (TRI) and Type Rating Examiner (TRE) for a European Low Cost airline. He currently flies the Boeing 737 from his base in Girona, Spain, where he lives with his two small sons and wife Sandra. He's been flying commercially for 15 years at a variety of bases in Europe, but with the same airline. I met Petter on Linked in and so glad I did. He is yet another pilot sharing his passion.  

About 18 months ago Petter started a YouTube channel called Mentour Pilot. There is no better person to tell you what he is doing and why, that Petter himself. 


The reason I started the channel was that I was getting a lot of questions about aviation and how to become a pilot from friends and young people and I realized that there are precious few places on the internet that delivers positive and constructive advice about this subject.. I started doing a few videos based on the most common questions I received and the response was very positive. 

I am very clear about the fact that the views that I present in the channel are only my own and that I do not represent anybody except myself.  After having run this channel for a while I realized that a lot of people were asking for ways of seeing the cockpit and if they could jump-seat or visit the cockpit. As you are aware, this has become largely impossible after 9/11.

I was thinking that this is very unfair for the generation of pilots who are growing up now. They are expected to fork out outrageous amounts of money to try and achieve a dream that most of them haven’t even seen for real.  So I started looking for ways to solve this problem. As filming in the flight deck during sterile phases of flight is largely impossible as well I had to come up with something else.

Windshear Escape Manuever

My solution was Virtual Reality
This technology is coming fast now and its relatively easy and cheap to use provided you have a modern smartphone which most people tend to have. I met up with an Italian VR expert and together we created a company (Mentour 360 SC) and the first VR mobile application for aviation enthusiasts. 

The application is called “Mentour 360” 
and is available for both Apple and Android devices.

The app lets the users occupy the jump-seat on a Boeing 737 while me, and my co-pilot Holly, flies some selected manoeuvres.  If you have a google cardboard the experience is as close you can get to being inside of the cockpit without actually being there.

The response from my viewers have been fantastic with the app averaging 5 stars on all app stores all over the world but I am having trouble reaching out to the bigger audiences since I am on a very limited budget after having developed the app.

My dream is to try and use this technology to improve CRM and MCC courses in the future and even take one step further and use Augmented reality to improve type-rating courses. It could be used for cabin-crew fire drills in order to enhance realism and also for aircraft visits during re-current training."

You must read this article to learn more about how to become a Virtual Reality Pilot with the Mentour 360 App.  
Then visit Petter at

 Flight For Sanity coming soon....
 Catch up on the series so you will be ready!

Motivation and Children too! 

Thursday, September 15, 2016

ATC Training Part II

The Discussion Continues...

Two weeks ago, I posted an email from a reader who was concerned about ATC training:  

The discussion that ensued prompted a second email. Enjoy the read, and as always... I am looking forward to your thoughts.

"I’ve been reading the responses on twitter and in the comment section on your blog, and I wanted to write back and clarify a few things.

We have the best air traffic controllers in the world. My previous post was in no way directed at the people who separate our planes.

Not all of the students are lazy. In fact, several classes spend their break time with their books open, asking each other questions. I should have brought attention to them, too, but I mainly wanted to raise awareness about the problem groups. Last week I overheard two instructors discussing the novelty of seeing so many students with their textbooks open. If anything, people who went to the Academy knowing they worked hard and showed respect to their instructors have no reason to be offended.

It’s important to be able to look around and recognize when things aren’t as good as they should be. I hear people badmouth my university all the time, but I know I’m not the subject of their complaints and I also know which of their issues are valid, so I don’t take it personally.

Academy training is very different from facility training. Mostly, the facilities will wash out people who can’t make the cut. Sometimes a person can do very well at the Academy and get all the way through most of their training, only to fail certification on the last sector. This means anywhere from two to five years’ training is down the drain. It’s really unfortunate, but sometimes it happens. We have no way of knowing whether these new hiring changes are getting people through their facility training at higher rates yet, since it’s only been two and a half years since they were instituted.

If anything, more people failing at the Academy instead of at the facilities (not failing in general) would be a good thing. Why? It costs the taxpayers less money when someone fails after only a few months instead of a few years.

The job is always going to have an 80-90% washout rate, because so few people can do it, and so much of it can’t be taught (or at least taught quickly), such as picturing movement in three dimensions. But dedication to the training goes a long way, too, and someone with a demonstrated interest in aviation would, in theory, be more likely to complete training than someone who only applied because they heard it paid well. There will always be people who pick it up faster than others, but there’s a noticeable difference between people who study their phraseology and people who don’t.

It boils down to this. 30,000 people applied to the most recent hiring bid. The FAA can only process 1400 a year through the Academy, yet they need far more, close to 10,000 over the next five years. Surely they can find 1400 people who can read military time and know that 250 knots is faster than 90. The burden should not fall squarely on the facilities to sort out who’s qualified and who’s not."

 And then what should be posted on line last week?

 Flight For Sanity coming soon....
 Catch up on the series so you will be ready!

Motivation and Children too! 

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

A330 Understanding

Normal Law! 

When you thought you knew it all... then we learn that there is so much more to know. For the Avgeeks or Airbus experts alike, this is for you. A Bill Palmer book for 99 cents! 

Excellence and education 
has never been so affordable!

 Flight For Sanity coming soon....
 Catch up on the series so you will be ready!

Motivation and Children too! 

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Giving More Than 100%

Creates Success...

My mom forwarded an interesting email to me, and I had to laugh. Truth is not only stranger than fiction, but often funnier too.  This is about all those people who say they are giving more than 100%, and the organizations that demand it. The email questioned how much more we should give than 100%? And what exactly makes up 100% in life?

Two math teachers
 created a mathematical formula 
to help answer those questions:

Is represented as:
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26.

8+1+18+4+23+15+18+11 = 98%

11+14+15+23+12+5+4+7+5 = 96%

But ,
1+20+20+9+20+21+4+5 = 100%

2+21+12+12+19+8+9+20 = 103%

AND, look how far ass kissing will take you.   
1+19+19+11+9+19+19+9+14+7 = 118%

"So, one can conclude with mathematical certainty, that while Hard Work and Knowledge will get you close, and Attitude will get you there; it's the Bullshit and Ass Kissing that will put you over the top. Now you know why some people are where they are!"
Remember to Smile
It increases your face value! 
 Flight For Sanity coming soon....
Catch up on the series so you will be ready!