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Wednesday, May 8, 2013


#aviation #blog #blogroll #airline #flying

Dear fellow #AvGeek,
All this week, I and several other aviation bloggers are writing a themed "Blogroll," our first in a new monthly series!  This month's theme: "How I was brought to flying."

If you haven't already done so, I encourage you to read the first two entries, already posted!

Hotlinks to sites:
05.06.13 iFLYblog - Brent Owens (Intro Post)
05.07.13 Flight to Success - Karlene Petitt 
05.08.13 Adventures of Cap’n Aux - Eric Auxier
05.09.13 House of Rapp - Ron Rapp
05.10.13 Airplanista - Dan Pimentel
05.11.13 Smart Flight Training - Andrew Hartley
05.12.13 iFLYblog - Brent Owens

Newbies—Welcome Aboard!


Just click Join this site in the right side column!------->

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And now...

(Note: long time readers may notice elements of this post from my Valentine's 2012 post, "The Loon is a Harsh Mistress," )

flight aware,airplane,aviation,avgeek

"More than anything else, Jonathan Livingston Seagull loved to fly."
Richard Bach, Jonathan Livingston Seagull
Ask any pilot how they started flying, and you will hear a love story.
One just like mine...
From age 5, I dreamed of flying.  Scanned the skies.  Built model airplanes.  Along with my buddy Alan, doodled WWII dogfights during math class.  Thrilled at the occasional trip to the airport, and practically peed my pants to actually fly.  To this day, I remember verbatim the conversation I had—at age 8—with the Hughes Airwest pilots in the magical cockpit of their Boeing 737.
When I was 14, I announced my intention to buy a hang glider.

Dad said, “Son, if you have the money, you can buy a hang glider.”  Little did he know that this flying-obsessed boy had been saving up lawn mowing allowance for the past three years!

I promptly bought a used Rogallo wing for $430.  I diligently took the ground school, aced the tests, and was thoroughly prepared.  Nevertheless, the flight school, perhaps wisely, made me wait another year, till I was 15, to fly.

And, God bless his soul, my father honored his words, crossed his fingers and let this fledgling chick spread his wings...
It changed my life.  The euphoric feeling I felt at liftoff was a drug that I would pursue for the rest of my life. 

Fly.  Flying.  To Fly.
cap'n aux,blog,hangglider,aviation,avgeek
Me and my First Love, at age 15
"My soul is in the sky."
— William Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night's Dream
Shortly thereafter I visited the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum, which included a viewing of the classic IMAX film, "To Fly!"*

Like few other earthbound media, it captured for me the sheer joy and grandeur and magic that is flying.

It began with these epic words:

FLY.  FLYING.  To Fly…

Hearing those words still give me goosebumps.
From that moment on, I was determined to fly two types of craft: a bush plane . . . and a spaceship.

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The summer of ’87 saw my first wish fulfilled in Alaska.
"When once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the Earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return."
—Leonardo da Vinci**

Death And Ex’s
A pilot retires.
While an Ex or two may have had her suspicions of a fling with a flight attendant, the true culprit would be my long-term love affair with "Fifi," my Airbus A320.  Today, her graceful looks, sleek, sexy lines and loving, yet quirky and unforgiving personality are my obsession.***
Indeed, I believe more airline-related divorces can be traced to this plain plane obsession than sexual flings.  Often, the plain plane-obsessed pilot comes home from his trip, pecks his wife on the cheek, repacks, and is off to the weekend fly-in.

Football widows got nuthin’ on airplane widows.
Cap'n Aux and Fifi.
Accountants, firemen, even physicians can retire and live to a ripe old age.  But, despite the relatively youthful forced-retirement age of 65, the pilot-retiree often augers in within scant months or years.

I am convinced that this is because, inside, he is heartbroken.  He has lost the Love of his Life;  his harsh mistress of 30-some years has traded him in for a newer model.  Oh, he may have dabbled with his own Cessna 182 during his brief twilight years, but it’s like trading the Supermodel for the cleaning lady.

He has lost his purpose, his identity, a large chunk of his core personality.

"Love.  You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take a boat in the air you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of worlds.
"Love keeps her in the air when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens.
serenity,firefly,mal reynolds,spaceship,starship
"Makes her a home."
 Captain Malcomb Reynolds, "Serenity"

Mal had his Serenity.
Han Solo had his Millenium Falcon.
Kirk and Picard had their Enterprise.
Adama had his Galactica...

And have my Fifi.

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Fifi is my spaceship.

Photo courtesy of Ryan O'Harren at

From her glass cockpit at FL390, on a moonless night I can gaze out the window at the lights of Planet Earth as they meld with the Milky Way, and imagine being in command of a starship cruising at Warp Speed.
I savor these fleeting years, when I and my mistress are perfectly content.

What drew me to flying?


star trek, bridge

MCCOY:  Well, I doubt seriously if there's any kind of love antidote we can give the Captain for the Enterprise.
SPOCK:  In this particular instance, Doctor, I agree with you.
KIRK:  Mr. Sulu, ahead warp factor two.

—Star Trek, Elaan of Troyius



Eric Auxier - -
Karlene Petitt - -
Ron Rapp - -
Dan Pimentel - -
Andrew Hartley -  -
Brent Owens - -
*To Fly! Still shown daily at the Smithsonian Air and Space museum in Washington, DC
**Attribution of quote to da Vinci is disputed.

***My all-time favorite planes:  Those I’ve flown:  de Havilland Beaver, Twin Otter, Grumman Mallard, Airbus A320.
Those I've always wanted to fly:  F-15, Curtiss JN-4 “Jenny,” DC-3, Boeing 727, 747, and anything on floats.
My all-time favorite airplane:  P-51D Mustang.

What’s your favorite plane, and have you been lucky enough to fly/ride in one?  And, briefly, what’s your most memorable aviation experience?  Please comment and let us all know!

Posting May 11 @ 8am PHX:

A Mother's Day Special!

Posting May 20th @ 11:00 PHX:
Cap'n Aux answers readers' Q's—Part IV, 2.0

airbus, airline, pilot, aviation, avgeek, blog, novel, best seller, capnaux, cap'n aux

YOUR Questions—the final round!

Sample Questions:
—What was the funniest thing that ever happened to you on a flight?

—When do you reference speed as a percent of Mach and when do you use knots?
—Are you familiar with the crash of Northwest Flight 255?
—Have you flown any celebrities?






  1. Eric this is great. LOVE is definitely the reason. It's also interesting to note how jealous people get when we go on and on about our passions. All of my non av friends are the same way including the ex spouse.

    An aviator has to have that special heart that no one other has. It's like we live in the world of Harry Potter and we are the wizards.

    For me it was a NW 747 that started it. The first time I ever flew in a plane was the 7hr55 minute DTW-AMS. That flight turned nervous into plane love.

    My allegiance is to the 777 but I will always have a special place for Airbus which I plan on blogging about. I love my sidestick with a passion.

    Thank you for sharing your passionate relationSHIP with FiFi and telling your story.


    1. Thanks, Jeremy! Your Harry Potter analogy is spot on—care for a game of Quiddich in our flyin' machines? LOL!

      Yes, and sadly the media treat GA pilots as rich elitists—really, REALLY??!! So sad we can't convey our passion and love to all...but as you found out, that comes from the inside!

      Haha yes it is a relationSHIP!

      Thanks so much for sharing your story! Everyone go check out !

  2. This post is great! Eric, Jeremy is right though! LOVE was your fuel supplying more power than an atomic source.

    You always had the wings and it all started when you had a glider's wing.

    Fifi is a hilarious and beautiful name for a plane. Fifi is my grandmother's dog. Do you pronounce it like "feefee"?

    How inspiring!

    Cheers Eric!

    1. Haha yes we prounounce it, "FeeFee!"

      I think one of our pilots here coined the term and it stuck. A few other aviation bloggers have picked it up as well, so I guess it's official! ;-)

      Although..."her" voice is that of an English gentleman, LOL!

      Yes, just like in Richard Bach's book, "A Gift of Wings"...we are all so blessed, are we not?!

    2. PS Everyone check out Alex's blog at !

  3. You are such a romantic! Most women will do things for love. Men logic. And you are in love with the plane, the sky, the feeling, the adventure. You love it all. Thus we call this passion. What can I say? I love it!

    Flying... something that captures the imagination of a child and takes hold and consumes their life.

    I have to share something with you for today. Adventures of 3 Beavers in Africa, that were shipped down from my neighborhood.

    You will have fun following this journey. I want to do something like this when I retire. Think about it... there is an adventure out there. Want to be part of my retirement journey

    1. Oh, wow Karlene, how cool is that!! I'll definitely be tuning in and living many aeronautical adventures to be had, so little time!

      Our blogs help keep me inspired and bring me back to that wonder that I had as a child. I never want to lose that you know there are so many of us out there who burn out in their career and become miserable and cynical...

      they forget that they are sitting in a chair...IN THE SKY!!!!

      Thanks Karlene, and again Gr8 1st post for "Blogging in Formation" on your site !

  4. Good stuff Eric! I love this post! Your story is a great example of how real pilots are built.


    1. Thanks, Brent! I think single-minded obsession leads anyone to be a "master" of their craft eventually lol!

  5. I wish everyone who flew professionally had your enthusiasm for flying! I've met a few for whom aircraft represented a paycheck -- and nothing more.

    I always feel kind of bad for those folks. Was their passion for flying beat out of them by the realities of Part 121 flying? Or did they simply never have it to begin with?

    In any case, thanks for the great read!


    1. Here here, Ron!

      It seems a large percentage of our peers have suffered professional burnout. I think it's like a marriage--you have to work at it. And, yes, perhaps it's also cuz the 121 stuff leaves so little room for, shall we say, "creativity" in the sky! ;-)

  6. I think Bunny has some competition!! :) What a great read!! You sure have that passion for the sky - and - for that Fifi!!


    1. Haha being a flight attendant, at least Bunny understands the competition, lol! So glad you enjoyed it, Mark. I always say my primary mission on this blog is to fan the flames of our passion for flying, and this post certainly fits the bill, I think! Thanks for the comment, Mark!

  7. You hit the nail on the head with this one Eric. My wife often expresses concern about my relationships with the flight know...the ones I fly with one leg and never see again! If only she knew. It's my love for AVIATION she should be worried about!

    1. Ya huh, APC--if they only knew! ;-)
      Thanks for the comment!

    2. PS—Always like to leave your url: !

  8. What a stellar write-up Eric. Planes really are a wonderful mistress aren't they? You get just as much pleasure without any of the guilt. :)

    You do a fantastic job of fanning my love of aviation, along with the other bloggers this week. There are not many communities like us avgeeks. True there are car and motorcycle clubs, but being a flyer is just something special.

    Thanks for all of your writing. I really enjoy it.

    1. Thanks Dave @ !

      That's my job, fanning the flames of avgeek passion--and it ain't too hard to do! ;-)

      "Avgeeks are just 'plane' people with a special 'air' about them" ;-)

  9. Replies
    1. Thanks, CPL, stop by any time!

    2. May be or may not be i am not confirm about this. Lets watch. Thanks.

  10. I hadn't seen "Serenity", so at first I thought Capt. Malcomb was you in your younger years!! It's supposed to be a compliment!

    As a long time airline employee, it is great to hear of your love. As difficult as our industry is, I love being around airplanes, my colleagues who love planes and travelling, and the loyal customers who keep coming back.

    Do you call every Airbus 320 you fly "Fifi"? I think it's great.

    Thanks for your "uplifting" blogs. I'm looking to forward to being entertained and educated. I learn more from the pilots than I do from management!

    1. "Anon,"
      Haha, thanks for the compliment! Actually I use his avatar from time to time, so that works! Serenity and its TV series Firefly are hands-down my favorite series ever. Check it out some time!

      I've always said, I love my job but hate the career. Glad you love it too! And Yes, we all call her "Fifi"--you know, spoiled, fickle French girl!

      I'm so happy to hear you think my blog is "uplifting!" I always try to sprinkle each post with a healthy dose of humor. I mean, if you can't see the humor in things, what's the point, right? If you're relatively new to the blog, feel free to search the archives (available in the right column.) There's tons there, including a recent Q&A series last Spring. It was intended as a 3-part series, but turned into 6!

      If you'd like to chat further, contact me at


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