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Friday, December 6, 2013

#Blogformation: What I Want Under the Christmas Tree

#blog #aviation #avgeek #christmas

It's Blogging in Formation Week!—Posts all week beginning Dec. 1

Philippines Air Force, PAF, cap'n aux, blog, air, aviation, avgeek, airline, adventure, Medal of Honor

Dec. 1: iFLYblog - Brent Owens

Dec. 2: Airplanista - Dan Pimentel

Dec. 3: Smart Flight Training - Andrew Hartley

Dec. 4: Flight to Success - Karlene Petitt

Dec. 5: House of Rapp - Ron Rapp

Dec. 6: Adventures of Cap’n Aux - Eric Auxier
This Month's Theme:
What I Want Under the Christmas Tree

What I want under the Christmas Tree, hmm . . .


cap'n aux, capnaux, captain aux, aux, novel, blog, blogging in formation, flight for control



   You mean, besides Karlene Petitt's new thriller,


   Flight For Safety? 


   (see karlenepetitt.blogspot.com


   it's due out very, very soon!)

I have to be honest: it took me a long time to come up with this post. "What I want under the tree" is, frankly, a tough question for "the guy who has everything." I have a home, a loved one, a loving family. I love my kids. I love my job. I love my hobbies. I am secure (or as secure as a pilot could be, anyway!).

And my Cap'n Aux friends keep me entertained to no end! Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and  Happy Holidays to Miss TWA, Swayne, Karim, Junior, Alex, Justin, Mark, Jason, Daniel, Hamza, Jordan, Alvin, Bill, Patrick, Rory, Leslie, Giulia, UK Dave, and all my other wonderful cyber-friends!

So, what is the one thing the Cap'n who has everything not have?


An airplane!

To wit, here is my Top Ten fantasy rides that I would love to see parked under my tree—i.e., I wish to either Fly for a Living (FL), Fly for Fun (FF), or own (O)!


cap'n aux, capnaux, captain aux, aux, novel, blog, blogging in formation
CAP'N AUX'S TOP 10 FANTASY JOY RIDES


cap'n aux, capnaux, captain aux, aux, novel, blog, blogging in formation

10.) Boeing 747 (FL)
Who wouldn't want to fly the "Queen of the sky?"

This is perhaps the all-time greatest airliner.
Once upon a time, I came within a hair's breadth of flying this for my airline.
Alas, we only had them for a couple of years, and I was too dang junior at the time, even for a Flight Engineer position!
cap'n aux, capnaux, captain aux, aux, novel, blog, blogging in formation

But I did get a few good jumpseats in 'er, including a couple rides to Hawaii, Japan and the Philippines . . .

and a fun, quick hop from PHX to LAS—a whopping 45 minute flight.

Too bad GoPros weren't around back then!

I'd settle for: A-380, B-727 (a classic)
cap'n aux, capnaux, captain aux, aux, novel, blog, blogging in formation

9.)  Boeing 777 (FL)

Again, who wouldn't want to drive, well, today's "King of the sky?"

An instant classic, the 777 commands respect everywhere it goes.

A beauty through and through and a marvel of engineering, it is truly Boeing's finest bird—for now.

I hated American's new livery—
until I saw an AA 777 rocketing into the sky out of DFW, emblazoned in all its red, white and blue glory. . .
cap'n aux, capnaux, captain aux, aux, novel, blog, blogging in formation

It gave me goosebumps.


I'd settle for: A340, A330.


cap'n aux, capnaux, captain aux, aux, novel, blog, blogging in formationcap'n aux, capnaux, captain aux, aux, novel, blog, blogging in formation
777—space age technology. But that steering wheel is sooo 20th Century!




cap'n aux, capnaux, captain aux, aux, novel, blog, blogging in formation
I'd settle for: Nothing less!
8.) DC-3 (FF)
To me, this beauty is aviation's all-time greatest bird. Introduced in 1936, it revolutionized air travel as we know it, and is still doing serious work today.

I came close to my dream of flying these while based in the Caribbean, where they are still used as cargo haulers.

You can still snag a nostalgia flight in one if you look real hard. Worth blowing a paycheck on, I'd say!
cap'n aux, capnaux, captain aux, aux, novel, blog, blogging in formation cap'n aux, capnaux, captain aux, aux, novel, blog, blogging in formation


cap'n aux, capnaux, captain aux, aux, novel, blog, blogging in formation
7.) Curtis JN-4 "Jenny" (FF)


I think this was the first plastic model I ever built, around age 7.


Hence, it became my first love.


Sort of like a first kiss.


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I'd settle for: Spad, Fokker, 

Hell, anything WWI !


cap'n aux, capnaux, captain aux, aux, novel, blog, blogging in formation

6.) Pitts Special  (FF)



Sort of a Jenny x 100!

I don't know much about aerobatic aircraft, but I do know this baby has been a force to reckon with since 1944, and remains so today.


cap'n aux, capnaux, captain aux, aux, novel, blog, blogging in formation



Not sure if I'd keep my lunch down for an entire aerobatic routine . . . 


but I'd sure like to find out!


(Are you hearing me, Ron Rapp, over at http://www.rapp.org??)

Come in, over!
cap'n aux, capnaux, captain aux, aux, novel, blog, blogging in formation
Ron Rapp, his beautiful bride, and their Pitts! http://www.rapp.org

cap'n aux, capnaux, captain aux, aux, novel, blog, blogging in formation

5.) Wills Wing  (O)

Speaking of First Loves, the first craft I ever flew was a hang glider—at age 15.


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It remains the single most thrilling moment of my life.


I have always longed to return to my—and aviation's—roots.


That of man's simplest attempt to emulate the birds.


I'd settle for: any hang glider or ultralight.


cap'n aux, capnaux, captain aux, aux, novel, blog, blogging in formation

4.) F-15 Strike Eagle  (FF)-(FL)
cap'n aux, capnaux, captain aux, aux, novel, blog, blogging in formation

On the other end of the spectrum, all pilots feel the need for speed!

My personal Top Gun has always been the F-15. Again, I know nothing about fighters, it just looks, well . . .

BADA$$!

I durn near joined the Air Force for one reason: to fly the F-15! 


cap'n aux, capnaux, captain aux, aux, novel, blog, blogging in formation, Saber, F-16, A-10

But I just didn't trust the Recruiter when he said, "Sure! Just sign on the dotted line . . ."


I'd settle for: F-16, F-14 . . . crikey, anything "F!"

A related fantasy: buy a T-38 for retirement!


A pretty cool F-15 "Silent Eagle" promo vid, found on http://tallyone.com blog. Lotsa c.g. shots, but also some nice real footage . . .



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3.) Millenium Falcon (FL)-(FF)-(O)


Hey, this is a fantasy list, right?

What better than that bucket o' bolts that outmaneuvers the entire Imperial Fleet—even through an asteroid field!

She may not look like much, but she's got it where it counts!
cap'n aux, capnaux, captain aux, aux, novel, blog, blogging in formation, Captain Malcomb Reynolds


A close second: that other smuggler's bucket o' bolts that's got it where it counts, Firefly Serenity

 —as long as Wash is my Copilot . . . er, Pilot!

I think I'd make a Goram Shiny Cap'n Reynolds . . . 
cap'n aux, capnaux, captain aux, aux, novel, blog, blogging in formation

I'd settle forStarship Enterprise (esp. the newest one), X-Wing, Y-Wing, Colonial Viper, space shuttle Orion, scout ship Dark Star . . . hell, even a TIE Fighter! 
If it goes FTL, Warp Speed or Hyperspace, count me  in!
cap'n aux, capnaux, captain aux, aux, novel, blog, blogging in formation

Photo: Danny King, Airliners.net

2.) DHC-2 Beaver (FL)-(FF)-(O)

But, seriously, folks—let's get back to the serious fantasies!


If you've read my novel, The Last Bush Pilots, this one comes as no surprise.


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The workhorse of Alaska, the DeHavilland Beaver, is a classic that rivals the DC-3 as the all-time greatest airplane.

While I've had my hands on the controls of a DHC-2, I never flew it commercially.


But I did fly its "Twin Cousin," the DHC-6 Twin Otter. In fact, it was my first "Captainship!"

(Trivia: Cap'n Aux also flew its quad cousin, the 4-engine DHC-7, for Rocky Mountain Airways, out of Denver!)
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A close second: the gorgeous Grumman Mallard. I fell in love with this stunning waterbird while flying Twin Otters for the Virgin Islands Seaplane Shuttle.


Oh, to have a Multi-engine Sea rating!

I'd settle for: Anything on floats




And Cap'n Aux's Number One Fantasy Ride of all time . . .


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3.) P-51 Mustang (FF)

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All I can do is . . . drool . . .



For grade school model building, doodling, or just plane fantasizing, this is my go-to bird.


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The lines, the design,
the bubble canopy . . .

the perfect airplane.

It's—it's just—JUST—

MAGICAL!


I'd settle for: Nothing less!


cap'n aux, capnaux, captain aux, aux, novel, blog, blogging in formation


But I sure as heckfire wouldn't turn down a ride in a Spitfire or Corsair . . .


(or any WWII bird!)




Caution: serious Airplane Porn ahead! ;-)



Who cares about the dang watch, I want one of these birds!

Link: https://vimeo.com/78059989

OK, so these are all the toys that I'd love to fly. They buzz around in my head, dogfight in my dreams, frolic in my imagination . . .

BUT NONE OF THAT MATTERS.

Life isn't about material things. It's not about cool planes, hot cars, watches that cost 6 months' salary . . .

If you believe it is, you will be miserable.

Now, would I turn down a ride in a P-51 Mustang? HELL NO!

But there is one thing that I would really, truly love to see this Christmas. Something that families around this great country are praying for every day.

For Christmas isn't about getting. It never was. To tell you the truth, it isn't even about giving.

It's about . . .

PEOPLE.
RELATIONSHIPS.
LOVE.

What would I would like to see under the tree for Christmas?


cap'n aux, capnaux, captain aux, aux, novel, blog, blogging in formation

TO SEE OUR TROOPS COME SAFELY HOME!!!*

cap'n aux, capnaux, captain aux, aux, novel, blog, blogging in formation

Warning: Hanky Section coming up . . .

"A Soldier's Light"by 15 yo Rylee Preston
Written for a friend who didn't come back.
Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OI-_wAX1tV8


Rylee Preston & the "Soldier's Light" Story: http://guardianofvalor.com/rylee-preston-15-year-old-writes-performs-soldiers-light-song-fallen-soldier/

One of the most touching reunion vids I've ever seen

Direct link: http://youtu.be/6dKWq0CzK-k

A Pearl Harbor Survivor's Dying Wish Granted
(sorry for the requisite ad)
http://video.foxnews.com/v/2871004056001/pearl-harbor-survivors-dying-wish-granted/
—  —  —  —  —  —  —
*Please don't construe this as a political statement. I am a proponent of maintaining a strong military. I would just like to see every troop come home some day. Wouldn't that be wonderful!

THIS POST IS DEDICATED TO THREE OF MY MILITARY PILOT-HEROES:


Staff Sergeant Justin C., brand new daddy and soon-to-be Private Pilot!

Airman 1st Class Dwight E., stationed in Alaska!
(Here's hoping your broken toe heals fast!)






And Marine recruit Taylor B.—suffering in boot camp, as we speak!

A SPECIAL MERRY CHRISTMAS TO THE THREE OF YOU, AND THANK YOU FOR DEFENDING OUR FINE COUNTRY!
—  —  —  —  —  —  —
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    LINED UP & WAITING
    Departing December 18 @ 11:00 PHX
    Cap'n Aux's Christmas Special!
    — — — — — — —
    HOLDING SHORT
    Blogging in Formation Week!—Happy New Year!
    Posts all week beginning Jan. 1
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    This Month's Theme: My New Year's Resolution
    — — — — — — —
    TAXIING FOR TAKEOFF
    Departing in January
    GoPro Vlog (Video Blog): Cap'n Aux Gets High!
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    . . . in the Altitude Chamber, that is!
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    17 comments:

    1. Eric,
      First I loved your wish list of exotic aircraft. I noticed the 787 was omitted....to many bugs yet on that new bird?
      Secondly, I completely agree with your wrap up. One of the greatest gift any American could wish for is for our service men and women to come home safe. Everything else is just...stuff.
      Brent

      ReplyDelete
      Replies
      1. Brent, Yes you're not the only one to call me on the 787 omission...it wasn't really intended, and certainly not a "slight". She's a beauty as well and would certainly, easily fit into the "I'd settle for" categories. I do think Airbus has the edge on Boeing in the 'lectric jet dept., hence, perhaps, my lack of enthusiasm for it...but don't get me wrong, she's a beauty!

        But, as we both agree, it's all just "stuff!"

        Delete
    2. What a perfectly awesome post!! There really is nothing else to say about it!! Just perfect!!! Wishing you a very Merry Christmas too!! p.s. my one wish - the FAA allows jumpseat action again for the regular traveler!! :) :)

      ReplyDelete
      Replies
      1. Ah, Mark, wouldn't that be a great Christmas prezzie, indeed!

        Thank you so much for the enthusiastic thumbs-up. That is certainly the "Planespotter" in you coming through! :D

        Delete
    3. That Pitts (or Extra 300, your choice) ride is waiting for you next time you're in the O.C. area buddy! Of course, I might need some stick time in your old Twin Otter in trade... :)

      ReplyDelete
      Replies
      1. OUTSTANDING!!!

        The Tw'otter was a wonderful, solid workhorse, in the vein of the DC-3, I believe. A joy to fly, especially in and out of the tight squeezes!

        After the Holidays settle down, I see a blog post or two in our future as Cap'n Aux visits the O.C.! :D

        Delete
    4. Thank you again for a brilliant post. I don't think I would change your list much, though I would love to experience some Alaska bush flying.

      You almost got me to cry at the end. It really is all about people. I will miss Christmas by about three weeks, but that won't make the reunion in January any less sweet. Thanks for this great message.

      ReplyDelete
      Replies
      1. Dave,
        Thank you so much for the comment and compliment!

        Now that I know you're still actively deployed, I'd like to add YOU to the dedication of this post!

        I went back a bit and read your Thanksgiving post...I can imagine how tough it is to be so far away from your loved ones!

        Everybody, visit Dave at aviationguy.com !

        Delete
    5. Eric, I don't know what to say. I hope all your dreams come true under the tree. I am so very touched that you put my novel at the top of the list. The reason I'm delayed in seeing this beautiful post, is I am working diligently to make number one come true. But life keeps having a way of pulling me a million direction.
      And then I watched the videos for the troops coming home and not. And the tears flowed. So... either I am so fatigued from life that my feelings are on the edge, or they were incredible. I highly suspect both. So... my gift to you is to get you to fly one of those planes on that list. I'm not sure which one, but it will happen!
      Thank you so much for the most beautiful post!! Happy Holidays!

      ReplyDelete
      Replies
      1. Karlene,
        I know all about the time it takes to write a novel--and do it right! You go right ahead and take your time! Glad you got a chance to read and watch the vids. They are pretty powerful!

        Hmm, you're giving me one of the planes...? I'll take the DHC-2! :D

        Delete
    6. Also some serious plane drooling (and the age-old debate of pilots vs airplane drivers?):
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LopZ4UVAB7c

      ReplyDelete
    7. The F-15 sounds real good Eric! Haha have a Merry Christmas!! ;)

      ReplyDelete
    8. You are awesome and so was this blog post!! loved it and Merry Christmas!

      ReplyDelete
    9. Wow !! you really hit the G's on your list. The F-15 video is one of my fav's .I am flying a 63" wing of a P-51 B 10 na That I built from a Top Flight Kit, I really put the details in this one because I wanted to represent the true beauty of this winged beauty ,I would like to send you a few pics, let me know if your interested.

      Thank You- Steve

      ReplyDelete
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