Friday, October 19, 2007

Move to Tucson

I've retired from flying the line. Starting August 3, 2007 I donned the gray pants, white shirt, red tie and blue blazer; drank the Kool-aid and begin a new life. So far it is good. BTW, I did the change with style, my last flight was a reverse of my first flight for Evergreen, kinda fitting in a way.

The whole trip was typical Evergreen, total FUBR. First Evergreen tried to fuck me on the airline ticket to Abu Dhabi. We had a policy, it had just been agreed to, that on long international flights it would be "business or better". The day before I was to leave I discovered they had stuck me in steerage and to make it even better they had bought the rent-a-pilot going with me a business class ticket. What a way to ensure employee loyalty, back out of agreed policy and then to top it; stick the employee in the back and the rent-a-pilot up in business. I had nothing to lose, for the first time with Evergreen I said "enough is enough" and refused to go unless it was via "business'. In typical Evergreen fashion they grumped and tried to pull the guilt trip about how when "they fly, they ride in economy"....Bull Shit.

Because Smith wanted it, the LearJet, in McMinnville "now", "today is too late", it was hurry, hurry, got to get there and get the airplane back to Oregon No one would tell Smith that the Lear was not ready to fly. I knew it was not ready because I had talked to the mechanic the night before.

To be continued........ is good in Tucson. The photo is of the delightful and very delicious Ms. Okguy in our pool.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007


I’m on my last trip for Evergreen; the mission is to ferry a LearJet 35A from UAE to McMinnville, OR. I’ve been gone for two weeks and still no end, I may end up flying commercial home. We left Dubai a couple of days ago and made it as far a Glasgow, UK. During the pre-flight walk around the pilot flying with me found a loose wire next to the left engine fuel shutoff valve. We found a mechanic to work on it but so far he has not found the correct “pin” to replace the defective one.

I’m like a horse with the smell of the barn, all I want to do is strap the Lear to my ass and fly. If we get out of here this afternoon I expect it will still be a couple of days before I’m home. I’ll give it one more day then I’m pulling out the AmEx and buying a ticket out of here.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Goodby Evergreen

I have posted my resignation letter. I’m on what I expect to be my last trip as a corporate pilot and boy did I pick a dozy. I’m bringing a LearJet 35A back from UAE to McMinnville, OR. So far we have made it from Abu Dhabi to Dubai. We have been in Dubai for almost a week and I do not expect to leave here for a couple more days. I expect once we are moving it will only take two or three days to finish the trip. The good news, by the time I make McMinnville I will be through flying for Evergreen.

My new gig will be teaching. Life many times comes full circle; this is one of those times. I started flying so I could teach. That was all I wanted to do. The realities of life soon convinced me that I would have to find another way to earn my living or starve. As they…. who ever they is…. say the rest is history. I’m looking forward to the opportunity of returning to the classroom and to the Sim.

Hard time off had a little to do with it as well.

What a Company

A friend wrote the following in response to one of my emails:

“What an amazing company, but I have a feeling we have no idea what goes on behind the scenes that make your missions so unpredictable. They are tied into a lot of situations we will never know about”.

Oh how I wish you were right. I fear it is nothing but incompetence and ass covering. This trip is a prime example.....Smith was on my boss’s ass "I want my airplane here now". So JK is on the mechanic's ass in Abu Dhabi. The mechanic in Abu Dhabi tells JK that the airplane will be ready last Sunday even though he knows there is no way in hell it will be to get JK off his ass. JK then tells Smith the pilots are on their way to Abu Dhabi on Saturday to pick up the aircraft so he gets Smith off his ass. I know it happened that way because I was sitting in JK’s office while all the conversations were taking place. When I had talked to the mechanic about the airplane the night before he had told me it would not be ready before mid week at the earliest. Pure ass covering, so I get to lay around a J.W.Marriott for a week ($500 USD/day/room) paying a contract pilot $1,000 USD a day just because no one will tell Smith the truth. The only reason the company makes money is because of Crony Capitalism, we suck on the government teat. It always amazes me how many right wing nutjobs owe everything to fucking the government but if you were to ask Smith or any of his kind they would tell you government was the problem not the solution. That it is all those welfare queens and immigrants that are sucking the US dry.

Sunday, June 03, 2007


I love Scottish Pubs.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Farm House Stay

We stayed with one of Pat's friends from her middle school days. She and her husband live on a small farm outside of Sterling. They are rebuilding and adding on to the original farm house. The house still uses most of the old walls which must be 30 or more inches thick. The view out the windows is beautiful. The attached photograph is out one of their windows.

It is so easy to photograph here, every place you look is just as or more beautiful than the last. Here is a quote from the folks we stayed with "Thanks for
the lovely photograph - is that really the view? We just take it for granted after all these years!"

I shake my head :-) ,

Saturday, May 26, 2007


We are in Aberdeen.

The night before we left Kilmarnock for Aberdeen we went to see one of Pat's nursing school roommates and her husband. Their home was beautiful, set high over a valley with a wonderful view. They also had a full kitchen or maybe a better way to put it was a kitchen with States sized appliances. I haven't seen many like it here. Pat was a little envious, can't blame her, it was a beautiful 100+ year old home in a spectacular setting.

The super markets here are running the small shops, the butcher, the green grocer, the fish monger, out of business and what to me is very strange is how every thing in the super market is pre-packaged and how many items are pre-prepared. You can find bacon cooked and ready for the microwave, green beans are cut and wrapped as are the peppers, carrots and almost every thing else, few of the veggies are loose. I guess if I had to work in some of the kitchens I've seen I would want things ready to heat and eat as well.

Friday, May 25, 2007

From Scotland

Pat and I are in Kilmarnock visiting her folks.

My vacation was to start on the 16th, on the 16th I was still in Africa. We were scheduled to leave Portland at 07:45 on the 17th and catch a connecting flight out of Newark to Glasgow. I spent the night of the 17th in the Canary Islands, no way to make the Portland flight. Luckily the GIV was booked to go through KJFK and spend the night before going on to McMinnville. I hoped to make it to KJFK on the 17th in time for me to jump off and get to Newark to meet up with Pat on her flight to Scotland. We left the Canaries at 10:00 local, with the time changes after 7 hours of flight we arrived in KJFK at about 13:00 local. I changed into my jeans and grabbed a cab to Newark getting there just in time to catch up with Pat and board the 19:45 flight to Glasgow. I had a whole 30 minutes to spare. Talk about working without a net.

We haven't done much yet other than visit and catch up on sleep. Today we walked around the city for several hours and I even had time to make a couple of images.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Notes from Vacation

I’ve been on a long road trip. One of those if this is Tuesday then we must be in Italy types. We had just landed in Kuwait City and made it back to the hotel from the Afghanistan day trip and were looking forward to our first day with out a flight or a bag drag since the start of the trip, our ass was dragging, when the phone call came. "We have a Lear in Abu Dahbi that we want you to move to Kuwait tomorrow". It gets worst, they wanted us to catch a 04:30 flight with two of the Principals, wait in Abu Dahbi while they finished up their meeting and bring them back with the Lear. We put our foot down and said "no way Jose", we will get some crew rest, take a later flight and initially only I would go so one of us would be rested for the next day’s flight to Egypt. After I started planing the flight I found out the crew member in Abu Dahbi they wanted me to use didn't have a U.S. fixed wing pilot's certificate. After much thrashing around it was decided that my co-captain would have to go anyway.

We get to Abu Dahbi in the early afternoon load the aircraft, BTW it is my favorite Lear in our fleet, a really beautiful airplane. I let the other pilot take the left seat even though it was my leg because he has very little Lear time (< 200 hours) and I figure it would be a good time to do a little instruction. Little did I know how much instruction I would have the opportunity to do. Just after rotation, as I called "positive rate" the left engine shot craps and rolled back. Once I got the airplane cleaned up and we were climbing, my first thought was “why in the hell did I pick this time to teach”. The obvious good news is he did a OK job and we made it around with out bending anything or hurting anyone.

As it turned out the biggest problem of the day was when we tried to get on the airliner to fly back to Kuwait.....our passports had been stamped out and we didn't have a stamp back in...try explaining that to Passport Control.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Khartoum, Sudan Date 11/26/2004:

It's Friday and apparently a High Holy Day. Our driver was late (called to let us know) because he had to go to prayers. When he showed up he was in a white dress?..robe?...whatever they call it but he also had one of his giveme caps on. No flying yet, we are still working on Sudan permits, so most of the day was spent finding things to eat. I never thought I would find such joy in finding a jar of mayonnaise for sale or for that matter yellow cheese. Still no joy for pinto beans or corn meal. The meat here is very good, no pork but nice chickens and I bought a whole beef tenderloin for almost nothing. The veggies suck big time. Not a clue how I'm going to work around that other than keep looking for other sources. One thing I've found is the stores do not all carry the same thing so maybe there is hope. BTW it is really hard to de-glaze a pan and make a decent sauce with out wine, I'm getting there with other acids but damn I miss my beer and wine.

I am not a mathematician so I do not totally understand the Theory of Chaos but to drive in Sudan is, from my understanding of Chaos Theory, a demonstration of the beauty of chaos in nature. Stop signs, it is as if they do not exist, roads...maybe we stay on them ...maybe not, roundabouts are a thing of beauty, all of this going on with an amazing density of vehicular and pedestrians traffic on and along side the road, crossing it, coming on and off buses and private cars and trucks. Add in the donkey, jitney, and donkey cart traffic as well as the number of people living by the roads, some with herds of goats, it is astounding that traffic moves at all. But the reality is that it moves with what appears to be great efficiency. Go figure.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Khartoum, Sudan Date 11/20/2004:

Our apartment is on the third floor. It is large with three bedrooms, one bath, a kitchen, and a very large sitting area. It is almost clean, with a combination of English, French and Middle Eastern wall plugs. The best you can say about the bath is it will get you wet enough to soap and with effort you can rinse. The stove is small and the pots and pans are barely usable but I’ve managed to feed us so far. We are close to the airport and in a "nice part of town" but that is all relative. There is an ever present dust haze and traffic is unreal.

I went to the UN this morning to get my ID badge. For the return home instead of our regular driver I used one from the UN. What an adventure, “yes, yes I know the way” almost two hours later and at least six stops to ask directions we found it. The traffic is insane, it is total chaos, there are ¾ finished buildings everywhere you look, men in white robes riding tiny burros, herds of goats on many of the vacant lots, and people moving, standing, talking, and sitting on rugs under any shade they can find.

This is not a place I would vacation but if you were intent on seeing the world it would be a fascinating country to visit and I would guess a must stop if for no other reason than the mix of cultures. I'm trying to learn how to recognize the different cultures and ethnic groups but for now it is very confusing. Each has different ways of dressing so in time I will get it sorted out.

Khartoum, Sudan Date 11/19/2004:

Poor is poor the world over. Khartoum could be anywhere in the third world. It really reminds me of some of the places I've been in Mexico but here many of the men and women wear long white outer garments and there is not a beer to be found. There really is great cultural diversity, I've seen Arabs, Blacks, what appear to be tribes men with ritual scarring, and modern clothing, close to the full range of dress. I'm having visual overload.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Khartoum, Sudan Date 11/18/2004:

The trip over went well. We traveled for 4 days... the first day was short just one leg Anchorage to Edmonton, next day two legs Edmonton to Thunder Bay and then to Goose Bay to position for the flight across. We were very lucky for the crossing the MNPS had not been approved for the aircraft so we were limited to FL270 for the crossing. With no help we would have had a large "wet footprint" and might have needed a stop in Greenland. As it happened we had 140 knots on the tail almost all the way across and good Wx in Iceland, sure decreased the pucker factor. After Iceland we flew to London and spent the night. What a lovely place. The next morning we left for Crete to grab a drink and then on to Sudan. Because of time changes we finished the trip at 21:00 local time. We were met by the UN folks and our local Evergreen rep to speed our way through Customs. All in all a easy trip considering we crossed 12 time zones and almost 50 degrees of latitude.

Monday, February 26, 2007

First Day

Date 11/14/2004:
I finally made it out of Anchorage. We flew to Edmonton last night. The departure from Anchorage was hectic with pulling together lots of loose ends at the last minute. Anyway we departed about 4 hours late so I didn't get a photo of the crew and aircraft before departure but I will get one today. You should see the airplane, packed to the gills with barely enough room for the mechanic, we have to fly about 2.5 hours after takeoff to get down to landing weight there is so much junk packed in the cabin. I hope to make either Goose Bay or Gander tonight. The reason I don't know which one is that Goose did not have any rooms the last time dispatch checked.

The airplane seems to be a good one. It is the youngest Lear I've flown a high 500 serial number, certified RNP and RVSM with all the bells and so forth. It even talks to me, on final approach it tells me when I'm 50 feet, 40 feet....I think down to 5 feet but I'm usually too busy to hear it then.. The FMS is impressive and it is an early generation FMS. If you let it you could punch on the autopilot once the wheels were in the well and never touch the airplane other than the thrust levers and a mode change button or two until just before the wheels touch the landing airport. I expect I would be lost all the way if I used it like that :-) . Even stranger for an old Lear pilot the autopilot flys better than I can. This modern world (mid 1980's technology combined with current RVSM air data equipment) is amazing.

On a personal note I packed a big can of peppers and the biggest bottle of Louisiana hot sauce I could find so I figure I can make anything they serve me in Sudan eatable. We hope to be there in about 3 maybe 4 days but the way things go who knows it could take a week or more.

One more thing, I'm saddled with a weak co-pilot. He's trying hard and I think he wants to learn but he's older so it may be a lost cause. I will say this for him by his 4th position report last night (after much coaching) he got it right. We will see if he remembers how to do it today, that will be a good indicator if there is hope. Today's job is to work on his general radio phraseology. The proper form is always "who who where what what" but it is really hard to get co-pilots to reply in the correct order. You should see the blizzard of charts and papers on his side of the cockpit, like I said he's trying hard :-) .

A Brief Journal of Flying in Sudan and Afghanistan

A couple of years ago I was living the old Chinese curse "may you live an interesting life". I had two companies shut down on me in one year, one employed over 120 souls and had been in business for 30 years, the other was a start up so it wasn't much of a surprise. Then in October of 2004I went to work for the third company that year. I expected to be based in Oregon. The day I finished my indoc training and returned to Houston to load the truck for the move to Oregon I received a call requesting that I leave the next day for Anchorage to pick up a LearJet and ferry it to The Sudan. The company was starting a new U.N. contract in The Sudan and the Captain hired for the contract was not able to do the job. Long story somewhat short... a little over a week later after ferrying a LearJet 35A from Anchorage to Khartoum, Sudan I'm flying all over Africa on a U.N. contract.

What follows will be a journal and some of the photographs of the 4 months I spent in The Sudan and Afghanistan.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Flying the Line

I’ve had a long couple of days. We had the APU go tits up Monday morning. Sometimes it is better to be lucky than good and Monday was one of those times. We found a “huffer” cart that worked so we could start the GIV and we had one available at the other end. With minimum monkey motion and a short delay we were airborne and completed the planned trip on time. We had a day to fix the airplane before we were scheduled to depart for KJFK and then to London. The shop finally received all the needed parts around 21:30 and had the airplane ready to go by 22:30. We still had to fly it back home and get it ready for a two week trip before the 08:30 departure. With lots of help from the third pilot we made it.

Only one more problem New York WX sucked. They were having their first major snowstorm of the year and the forecast showed us arriving just in time to enjoy the full effects.

Our luck was holding, by the time we arrived in New York the worst of the storm was over. It was still cold and windy but the ceiling and visibility were pretty good. When we landed at KJFK the wind was over 20 knots almost directly across the only open runway and the whole airport was a sheet of ice, what a ride. Landing wasn't too bad other than sliding down the runway with the nose cocked about 30 degrees to the direction of travel several times while trying to stop but the taxi to our ramp was a bitch. It took almost 3 hours from the time we landed to taxi, put the airplane to bed (put on the covers, pick up the trash, and remove all the liquid stores), and get ground transportation to the hotel.

The hotel is another story; I need to do a photo series on the Five Towns Hotel. It is aviation flop house. Most of the locals think it is a "hot sheet" hotel and in a way they are right but it is just pilots using it, not hookers. There are no check-in checkout times. The maid service works 24 hours a day; your room gets cleaned before you check in and after you check out but not while you are there. Coffee and cake are always in the lobby and the airport shuttle runs every 30 minutes 24 hours a day. There are always crews in the lobby, eating cake and drinking coffee, waiting to check in, waiting for the shuttle, or just bored and wanting company. Check in, at least for our company, is just sign your name and give them your employee number they throw you a key card and that is it. God I love New Yorkers :-) When you check out they give you a slip showing the number of days you stayed. I will say this for the Five Towns, it is clean, the Internet works, the beds are good and it is in one of the few areas near KJFK where you can walk out of your hotel at night.

A couple of days to enjoy the Five Towns and then on to London.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Airport Bums

Last one for tonight. The little airport where I'm based is a throw back to an earlier time. There is always a fresh pot of coffee and someone to either tell you a "there I waz" story or to listen to yours. They could care less about the Lear or the Gulfstream but they sure love the Pacer.


Another one from FL450. We were on our way to Belize and having a great time. Flying air ambulance can be the best job in aviation, this one was. Shame it had to end.

Russian Cargo Plane

We were in El Obeid, Sudan for several hours, while there we visited with the crew of a Russian four engine cargo plane. The Russians were flying for World Food for Peace, we were flying for the U.N..

Another From the Day Job Series

A quick look in the back at FL450.

More Photo Book

This is Isam our driver in The Sudan. This was my first day in country and when I asked Isam if I could photograph him this is the pose he assumed.

Photo Book Project

I've been invited to join a group of photographers in a self published book. We will each be able to contribute 3 to 5 images. Over the next few posts I will show the images I plan to use, all are from my Day Job Series.

The first is of our cook and station manager in Kabul, Afghanistan.


I have only one question for either party. Who will step up and tell the U.S. how and when we will get out of Iraq, not a year from when he is elected, not even 6 months later, but how he will get us out of Iraq starting the day he/she takes office.

Once that question is answered the others will follow. What a fucked up mess we have to face, I hope the country and our politicians are up to the challenge. The place to start is a complete de-bushifacation of the government and the Republican Party. Everyone and every origination that had anything to do with the last six years, from the illegal installation of Bush in 2000 to Iraq, must be removed from power and the leaders must be made to stand trial. We must not allow this attack on our Constitution and our Government to be covered up. When we let the last bunch criminals off the hook after Nixon resigned they came back like the living dead. We can not let it happen this time. May their souls rot in hell.

Saturday, February 03, 2007


Pat and I parked the caravan in a State Park near Lincoln City last week. Pat was able to spend most of the week there and I drove back and forth. The WX was beautiful, clear skies, cool, and very little wind. It couldn't have been better or come at a better time. Oregon winters can be wet and gray with few breaks, when the WX is good you have to take advantage or you will be nuts by late spring early summer when the skies clear.

We didn't do much but we did see a couple of great sunsets, built a big bonfire, walked on a some beautiful beaches, ate good seafood, read and played cards. I tried to take a break from the political world,but Molly Ivins death brought it all back. I did find one of her books in Goodwill the day she died, damn the world will miss her.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Low and Slow Along the Oregon Coast

The local WX this weekend was beautiful, clear skies, temps in the mid forties, a little windy but not too bad. The wind was just strong enough and coming across the runway enough to make flying the Pacer interesting for an old guy that hasn’t flown tail draggers in more than 30 years.

Pat did her first flight lessons in the Pacer on Saturday and Sunday. I used the time she was practicing to sightsee. Saturday we went up the coast to the north and Sunday we went south. The Oregon coast is a magic place; I never get tired of seeing it.

Strange how as we age we return to things of our youth. I don’t really think I’m trying to slow aging or even trying to recapture youth. It is more a return to the basic things that give pleasure, a return to the reason I chose the road taken. Low and slow with such a feeling of freedom, knowing that the whole world is open to you, that you control the most amazing machine made by man, yet such a simple machine, one that could be built with simple hand tools and by almost anyone.

BTW, teaching Pat is part of the joy, watching her struggle, then understand and gain control. To see the same feeling of accomplishment I had when I first learned to fly. For someone with itchy feet there is nothing to compare with the joy of learning to fly.

Our little Churchills

A must read post from Glenn Greenwald....." We've now arrived at the point where the White House and its followers reflexively characterize any criticism of the Leader's war of any kind as aid to the Enemy and an attack on our troops. They don't even bother any more to pretend that some types of criticism are "acceptable." It is now the duty of every patriotic American to cheer enthusiastically for the President's decisions. Anything else is tantamount to siding with the Enemy...."

Monday, January 22, 2007


It is time for the Asshole from Midland to go.

Blog for Choice Day

Some Personal History

Abortion choice is as important for men as for women. Just before Roe became the Law of the land my future wife became pregnant. We were young with almost no money. She was in Nursing School; I was working two jobs, nights at a hospital lab and days turning wrenches at the airport, to pay for my flight training. We didn’t have the money to go to NewYork for a legal abortion and there was no way we could have a baby and have any future. By chance one of my jobs while I worked my way through college was Medical Sales and one of my customers was a “Dr. Brown”. I never met Dr. Brown but it was understood that he provided abortions for the wealthy and well connected of Texas. Someway we scraped together the $500 needed to have Dr. Brown end BJ’s pregnancy and we both went on to have productive lives. Most in our situation at that time would not have had our options. Their choices would have been have the child and who knows what would happen to their future, give the baby up for adoption, or have an illegal back alley abortion. We must keep Choice.


That's Shrub ..."Second, and more impotant, nothing we have seen or heard from this President in his public appearances and utterances over the last six years supports the notion that he is anything other than an inarticulate, illogical and muddleheaded thinker who is incapable of putting together an honest, realistic and coherent assessment of anything as complicated as Iraq..."


The photo is of an IED found on the Kabul, Afghanistan airport. It couldn’t be simpler, a large pressure cooker, some explosive, a little wire and a motorcycle battery. A few dollars spent and you have the potential to kill and maim many and to destroy multi-million dollar equipment.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Back for a Post or Two

What a year.

Can Shrub fuck up Iraq any worse that it is? Knowing his history I don’t want to know the answer.

I’m now the owner of a 1954 Piper Pacer. It puts a smile on my face every time I see it.

The GIV has new paint and carpet……looks pretty good. I will post a photo later.