Thursday, December 27, 2007

Back at home

Tired. Very tired. Two days off and I fly out on Saturday.

Fry's had 300 GB Maxtor hard drives on sale....picked up on for the Media Center. Running great now.

New camera works great.

Flying at 40,000 feet was fun.

I made 2 really smooth landings and

Time to rest.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Christmas Day

So Christmas Day 2007. I am in Indianapolis, Indiana. Why? Because I am working. I am staying at a very nice hotel, The Hyatt Place. The hotel is very new and updated. The rooms are very nice with warm colors, nice wooden furniture and a 42 inch Plasma HDTV with actual HD content! For Christmas dinner I am having a Subway sandwich. Very tasty. Kelli and I knew going in we would likely not spend too many holidays together.



Thursday, December 20, 2007

The Sims 2 ....very liberal

So I have spent the week playing The Sims 2. I am having a good time. I actually took a Character thru College....graduated, married, had kids, took the kid to College, the main Character died, I then took the kid thru College again and married. Apparently the Sims 2 is quite liberal. I was playing around with a female character and low and behold....she kissed a girl! Heck the game allows same sex dating, kissing and even whoopie! I only tried with a female character. Took her thru college, married and had her "hook up" with a guy just to get preggo and then back with her girlfriend. Quite the game.


So I was a little off on when I was leaving for Chicago. I leave Saturday afternoon for Chicago. I stay in a hotel overnight and start flying on Sunday. Sunday is going to be a busy day. I leave Chicago at noon for Cleveland. We touchdown at 2:20PM and take off again at 2:50PM back for Chicago. We touchdown at 3:25PM and get a "break" until 5:05PM when we leave for Detroit. We arrive at 7:25PM (there is a time change) and leave again....30 minutes later. We get back to Chicago at 8:20PM with an hour break and leave for Oklahoma City at 9:25 arriving at 11:30PM. Long day! The next two days are much easier with just 2 flights per day. I do spend Christmas Day in Indianapolis. I arrive at 10:30AM and don't leave until 6AM the day after Christmas. I am done on Tuesday at 11:30 AM. I have a 1PM flight back to Dallas. Hmm.....that's only an hour and a half difference. As long as the weather is good it shouldn't be a problem.

So I was past my Amazon free trial period. I ordered a few more things and then sent an email asking if I canceled now would I get anything back.  Well they did something unexpected. They canceled the Amazon Prime account....even though I had used several "benefits". Nice I guess. I didn't say I wanted to cancel...just "what if". Oh well. The camera (Canon SD1000) arrived last night. Very nice camera. It's both easy to use and VERY customizable. One thing I don't like. The battery has to be removed from the camera to charge. The last camera would charge with the battery inside.

The Media Center is having issues. While watching TV it will pause, have lots of hard drive activity, then either skip ahead or lock up. There are no errors in the error log about hard drive failure. I will likely just buy a new drive and have it dedicated to recorded TV.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Holiday Shopping

So I have had my eye on a new digital camera for a while. The Canon SD1000. It is a small, full featured point and shoot camera. I wanted a camera that was easy to use, fast start up and recorded video at 640x480 with 30fps.  This one fit the bill. It was on sale for $150 the day after Thanksgiving...but I missed it. Since then local stores have had it for $180-$250. Amazon has had a fairly steady $165.  Speaking of Amazon...popular items have several different prices throughout the day. I also wanted a Zune. The price fluctuates over a $20 spread most days. Anyways I finally ordered the camera last night. Some time in the past I signed up for a free trial of "Amazon Prime" that gives huge discounts in shipping in exchange for a yearly fee. I am still in my free trial period. I got overnight shipping for my camera for $3! I ordered some shirts and socks with free 2 day shipping. Shirts and socks? Yeah Christmas gift to myself. I actually need white undershirts and black socks.

I am almost done shopping for Kelli. Three gifts or two to go.

American Eagle announced massive openings yesterday. This isn't a growth spurt. It's the results of a mad rush to the exits. There are over 200 openings at American Eagle right now. All on jets. The pilot shortage is here. I talked about getting in the flying years ago after reading about the predicted shortage.

I think I leave Saturday. I am going to call the training center today and firm a few things up.

For now....The Sims 2.

Good day at work

I had a good day at work. Less than a week until Christmas and I only have one gift for Kelli. Not sure what else to get. We are spending less this year given our smaller household we don't really need/want much.

Next August is rapidly approaching. My payoff on my car will be $15K. The trade in will be around $18-19K. I will likely buy it.....or buy a car with 0% financing. I dunno. I have pretty picky taste on cars. We will see.

I have the next few days off. I start work in Chicago on Friday. I will be flying up there on Thursday. My first time flying will be out of the winter. Can't wait.

The following photo was taken from in Montrose, Colorado yesterday. I downloaded it from my aviation blog with the webmasters permission.


Sunday, December 16, 2007

Going up

Today is my first time on the "real plane". I won't be flying it though...just observing. I will be sitting in the cockpit as the 3rd man. I will be observing 4 flights today. I will observe a flight to Oklahoma City and back and then to Montrose, Colorado and back. First flight leaves at 7:25 AM and I should be back by 3:45 PM. I should start flying for real tomorrow or Wednesday.

Weekend was okay. We went to Kelli's Christmas party Saturday night where she proceeded to get drunk and then some as she does every year. This year was the pinnacle of her drinking though. That's all I will say about that.

I realized I didn't have any black shoes last night. Well I have black shoes....but they are scuffed up. I bought a new pair. Not sure how happy I am with them......will see.

I don't have my parking pass yet so I have to park in regular people parking. I should get my pass tomorrow.

Let's go to the work.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Passed the check ride....

So I passed the check ride yesterday. I did very well. I made a few small mistakes....there is no such thing as a perfect check ride. I barely made it to the ride at all. All week long I had 2 PM in my head for the time to be there. Well I was eating lunch yesterday and decided to check my schedule to see what time I had to be there today (Friday). Well it's 2:30 PM show time for a 4 PM sim time. I then looked at my check ride....1PM show for a 2PM check ride! It was 12:45PM! I gathered all my stuff, hauled ass (legally) and walked in the door right at 1PM. The check ride started right away. I was nervous enough being late. We hopped in the simulator at 1:30PM and finished just prior to 3PM. All done. I now have second in command privleges for the CRJ 700 along with the business jet version of the plane. Today I go in for a 4 hour sim session involving a real time flight to La Guardia and Washington D.C. Ronald Regan airport. After today I have no idea what's next or when. I assume I will have a "base day" where I get my parking permit and get a tour of the terminal I will operate out of (Terminal B). I will then get two or three observation flights where I sit in the cockpit and watch the crew fly. Then I will be placed in the right seat to fly for real. I still have to buy luggage. Prolly gonna order something today.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007


Checkrides are like a jar of Mayo. You are warned to keep cool...and don't freeze. Never been more stressed in my life. Lucky I have tomorrow off. Gotta chill.



One Of Life's Lessons

"A Mayonnaise Jar and two cups of Coffee"

When things in your life seem almost too much to handle, when 24 hours in a day are not enough, remember the mayonnaise jar and the 2 cups of coffee.

A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him. When the class began, he wordlessly picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls.

He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was.

The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls. He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed that it was.

The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else. He asked once more if the jar was full. The students responded with a unanimous "yes."

The professor then produced two cups of coffee from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar effectively filling the empty space between the sand. The students laughed.

"Now," said the professor as the laughter subsided, "I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life. The golf balls are the important things--God, your family, your
children, your health, your friends and your favorite passions--and if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full.

The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your house and your car. The sand is everything else--the small stuff."

"If you put the sand into the jar first," he continued, "there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls. The same goes for life. If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff you will never have room for the things that are important to you.

"Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Play with your children. Take time to get medical checkups. Take your spouse out to dinner. Play another 18. There will always be time to clean the house and fix the disposal. Take care of the golf balls first--the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand."

One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the coffee represented. The professor smiled. "I'm glad you asked. It just goes to show you that no matter how full your life may seem, there's always room for a couple of cups of coffee with a friend."

Sunday, December 9, 2007

No $ means no say

So Kelli changed our power company to Green Mountain energy. We used to have Reliant. Green Mountain Energy is supposedly better for the environment. They are also 4 cents higher per Killowatt hour HIGHER at CURRENT rates as is the rates that any schmuck can sign up for. The power bill that used to be $130 is now $150. It's all nice to save the environment, but the "good" we do with Green Mountain energy is almost assuredly negated by the amount of trash we throw out that could be recycled. Kelli recycles...but only the stuff that she chooses to. A lot is throw away that could be recycled. Kinda like ordering a Diet Coke with a Big Mac. I don't put any money towards the bills so apparently I have limited say. Really pisses me off though. I am really working on saving money. Delaying trips, buying food only on sale. I have reduced what I spend on food to less than $6 a day! But when you don't put in.......guess you have no say.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Cleaning house.....via eBay

So I am filling up a table with stuff that has to go. I am going to begin taking photos and listing items on eBay this evening. So what's for sale? Three General Motors keyless entry remotes (from cars I have owned), Jeppesen Flight Instructor video set, CX-7 flight computer, Matrox dual head video card, many laptop parts from Kelli's old laptop and, when I get it back my, Telex Stratus 30XT headset. I am sure there will be more.

Budgeting. I have never *really* set one before. I always spent money conservatively. Well I am going to have to budget on my meager salary. I earn a little less than 1/2 of what I did when I was at Pinnacle. With many set amounts (car payment, student loan for flying and student loan for college), it should be pretty easy to see exactly how much money I have left over. Should be fun.

I think my laptop is going out. Every now and then there is a burning smell from the back when I have it plugged in and charging. This can't be good. I am backing it up daily just in case.

My dieting is going well. I just have to resist the urge to splurge. I almost went out yesterday. Thankfully I told myself to save the gas. So I didn't. I then had a low fat organic hamburger (no bun) and a serving of tater tots. I haven't had anything fattening in over a week.

Time to get ready for the sim.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Getting Cold

So this morning it dipped below 32 for the first time. Kelli couldn't start her car. Well...let me rewind. She was in the garage using a cigarette lighter powered air compressor to fill up the air in her tires. I came out and heard it was running slow. She thought it was the unit....I knew it was her car. She started her car and backed out...and then turned the car off. That's where the fun began. The Prius is not a normal car. She came in and stated it wouldn't start again. I went out and sure enough all the lights on the dash came on and flashed. Not good. I figured I could jump start it. I backed my car out, opened my trunk...and realized that my jumper cables are in my Toyota Matrix...that I traded in 2 1/2 years ago. Nice. I then tell Kelli to call her Roadside Assistance. I keep fumbling with her car. I remember reading in the Prius owners manual or via a Prius forum that the car may not start if the battery is low and the key is not inserted into the slot. I insert the key and it fires right up on the second try. Before you get crazy the Prius has a smart key system that can normally just "sense" the key somewhere in the car and start up. Inserting the key allowed for direct contact. I back out and drive in circles in the cul-de-sac. I then go inside, grab my phone (in case the car dies) and drive around the neighborhood to charge up the battery. I think her battery is going out. It's the original battery and is 4 years old. A new one is $80. It's stored in the trunk....but shouldn't be too hard to replace.

Training is going well. I am in the simulator phase now. I am "done" training next week...then off to the real thing.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Giving lessons in Extended Warranties to Toyota

So sometime early last year I told Kelli to buy an extended warranty for her car. Being a "new" type car full of electronics I figured it was better safe than sorry. Turns out I was right. Ever since we had the car it has been making an odd "charging" type sound from the outside of the car. Last time she brought it in for service several technicians gathered around turning it off and on looking for the noise. Turns it wasn't normal. Now we have brought the car to the dealer for every service and the noise has always been there. They happened to notice it after the basic warranty expired. Nice. Well I brought it in yesterday and advised the service writer we have a Toyota extended bumper to bumper warranty. He then repeated to me three times that 3rd party warranties don't cover air conditioning components (thats where the noise was coming from). I stated 3 more times that I was positive we have a Toyota Bumper to Bumper Extended Warranty. He was unable to find it in the computer and said he would call me later in the day.

So I am sitting at the airport when he calls and states our car only has  a Toyota powertrain warranty. This is where Darren started getting pissy. I call back and state again we have a Toyota Platinum Extended Warranty. He says he called Toyota and all we have is a powertrain warranty. I state I can bring the paperwork up to the dealer this afternoon. He stated it would be $1600 for the repair of the A/C and the driver side power window. @#(%#%*!%#. I tell him I will call him back. I then go online and go to the site where we bought our warranty. I find the phone number. Then I go to Geico and get Kelli's Vehicle Identification Number. I called Toyota and verify we have a warranty. They state that indeed we have the best they offer....$0 deductible. I ask if the dealer should be able to find the same info. They stated there is no reason why the dealer should not be able to easily pull it up. Now Darren is really pissy. I call back the dealer and leave a firm voicemail stating our type of warranty, the policy number and the number to call. I wait 20 seconds and call back. I get the service writer. He takes down my info...calls me back and states "it seems you do have a Toyota Warranty". How about that. The part will be in today, but we won't get the car until tomorrow. Her warranty covers a $50 a day rental car. Well Toyota sees the repair as a one day repair. The dealer says it will take 2 days....and "sorry".  After all of this is done I am writing a letter to the dealer and Toyota about the lack of communication and low customer service. The reason the dealer couldn't find the warranty is because he called the Toyota distributor for this region, Gulf States Toyota, and not Toyota national. Don't get me started on Gulf States Toyota. If you buy a Toyota or Lexus anywhere in Texas or neighboring are likely getting ripped.

On another note. I went to Northwest Regional Arkansas yesterday instead of Pittsburgh. It was a different way to spend a day.

American Eagle is being sold. This will likely end up being a good thing overall.

Time to waste time. I have the day off.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

No USB 2.0

I have no functional USB 2.0 ports on my main computer. All the ports work....but in 1.0 mode. No idea why. I tried to motherboard "hard" ports as well as the "soft" ports. The soft ports are those that need a connector to the outside of the computer to work. Hmmm internal/external would have been a better description. Anyways I have the same problem in both XP and Vista. So I don't think it's a driver issue. I have a USB 2.0 card laying around here somewhere I am going to throw in and see what happens. Could be a BIOS issue.

Flying to Pittsburgh today with Graham, another new pilot. Why Pittsburgh? Well the original plan was to fly first class on a 777 somewhere and then fly back.  Problem....we couldn't find any open 777 flights. Instead we are flying on the plane we will fly, a CRJ-700 to Pittsburgh and back. Silly. Yes. I have only been on a CRJ-700 once. I should be taking photos and uploading to Flickr.

Monday, November 26, 2007

We Knew This Was Going To Happen: iPhone Equipped Passenger Takes On Flight Crew Over Weather

I hate that pilot IPhone commercial!

Posted from : Plane Buzz

We Knew This Was Going To Happen: iPhone Equipped Passenger Takes On Flight Crew Over Weather

One of our subscribers sent me this story today. We all knew this one was inevitable when the latest iPhone commercial rolled out -- now didnt we?

"Oh joy! I can't wait for the next ground delay or long taxi due to weather somewhere to get a smart ass with a freakin I-phone shoving it in my face saying "It's NOT raining there... SEE !" Too late ... already happened to me.  We push back, get advised of a ground stop in MEM due to storms in the area. Go to the penalty box and wait. My Captain does the lecture over the PA... not one minute later, we get dinged from the F/A "Some guy with an IPhone says the weather is good, and wants to know what the real reason is for the delay. Is something wrong with the plane?"

I want to tell this clown what he can do with his IdiotPhone - but the Captain does it even better. He gets on the PA and makes the following announcement :

"If the passenger with the IPhone would be kind enough to use it to check the weather at our alternate, calculate our fuel burn due to being rerouted around the storms, call the dispatcher to arrange our release, and then make a phone call to the nearest Air Traffic Control center to arrange our timely departure amongst the other aircraft carrying passengers with IPhones, then we will be more than happy to depart. Please ring your call button to advise the Flight Attendant and your fellow passengers when you deem it ready and responsible for this multi-million dollar aircraft and its passengers to safely leave."

Needless to say, the pax was pretty embarrassed. The F/A later told us the rest of the plane was outright laughing at this dude. What a clown."

Sunday, November 25, 2007

All Gone

The inlaws are almost all gone. Mother in law and Father in law are the last to leave. Good times. I am going back to the hotel today. I have an oral tomorrow.

I reinstalled Windows on Kelli desktop. She has been getting errors for a while. She rarely uses the computer as she uses her laptop most. Well I figured I would upgrade her to Vista. I used the File and Transfer Settings Wizard of XP to backup all her stuff. I figured Vista would surely support that export format. I wiped the hard drive clean and then installed Vista. She doesn't have a DVD drive on that computer so I had to remove mine and install it in an external unit. The Vista install went fine. I then went to import her files and settings. NOT SUPPORTED!! WTF?!?!? How can the File and Transfer Settings Wizard from the previous version of Windows not be supported in the next??? One would likely use the Wizard to backup stuff to go from XP to Vista! I had to wipe the drive clean, reinstall XP, import that Files and Settings, then re-export using the Vista Wizard then install Vista. Actually since it was a clean version of XP I had to reinstall service pack 2 first, then import. By this point I was pissy. I just upgraded XP to Vista rather than do a clean install. All is well now.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Eat outside the box

So my in-laws are in town. We went out to eat tonight. I first wanted to go to Rawlings All American Grill
which appears to be open according to the website. Well they weren't. I then figured...BBQ. They are all from up north. So we drive over there. No go. They don't want it. They wanted OLIVE GARDEN! The same place we went to when we were in Times Square in NY City. Olive Garden?!?!?!? I will give credit to my Father in Law, Mother in Law, Sister in law and her wife...they will eat almost anything. The rest of the group though. Seeesh. Live a little! We ended up at Mimi's Cafe.

Good week

So there is some issue with Vista and my laptop wireless network card. There was *some* update installed that has caused the card to timeout at various times. ANNOYING! It's not the computer because when I plug in the old fashioned cable...the internet works fine. I am going to reinstall Vista I think. Still haven't bought a camera. Found one yesterday I liked. But they sold out online before I could get one. We don't *need* one right now anyway. I was thinking about a zune. I could watch Media Center recorded programs while on the road. The 30 gig version is onsale for $99. A lot better than the original $249!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Think I am ready

I have my systems exam Friday. It's a 100 question written test. Tuesday I have my oral. The following Saturday I begin my simulator sessions. All of the instructors I interact with tell me I am ahead of the game. I feel ready.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

In laws coming in

In laws are coming in town today. Not sure if my family is coming up. I booked a hotel room for my dad just in case. We will see. I "work' tomorrow. There are no holidays in the airlines.

Monday, November 19, 2007


We had a good weekend. Washington, DC was our first trip using my flight benefits. We were both able to snag first class seats on the trip there. I did some research and found Ronald Regan International airport is only 3 miles from the Smithsonian while Washington, Dulles is 25 miles away. There is a Metrolink train that goes directly from the airport to just across the street from the Smithsonian. The cost? $2.70 round trip each! The museum was very nice. We happened to come on the opening day of a new exhibit showing how air travel has progressed over the years. The exhibit was awesome. We then treked down to the American History Museum for a bit. Afterwards we went to the Whitehouse and then made our way back to the Metrolink.

The trip back wasn't as smooth. I tried to get us on a flight leaving an hour before ours...but it was full. The flight I listed us on was fairly full....but we were #2 and #3 on the standby list. I can see the exact loads on all flights as well as the standby list on my phone. Well my phone started dying. The standby on American Airlines flights goes paying customers, American standbys then American Eagle standbys. On American Eagle flights it's paying customers, American Eagle standbys then American standbys. Right before the flight it wasn't looking good. Thankfully there was a gentleman who was taking a cat onboard who did absolutely no research on what kind of pet carrier is needed. The one he brought was way too big to fit under the seat. That left one seat in the cabin and one in the cockpit. The gate agent brought Kelli and I down to the plane and told us to standby as they were going to let the cat guy see if the carrier would fit. It didn't. We were both rushed on board. I had never been in a cockpit jumpseat before. It's a free seat (I pay a nominal fee for Kelli and I if we sit in a real seat) but damn hard. The American airlines crew was very nice and friendly. We had a funny discussion the whole way back. Whenever Kelli and I travel together we only really need one seat as I can ride in the cockpit of almost any airline with the captains permission. Nice perk. Our day trip to the capital including air fare, parking, lunch and ground transportation??? $85. Giving your wife the ability to travel anywhere in the world? Priceless.

Now to training.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

My place in the house.

Sometimes I forget where I stand in order of importance. So I ask Kelli to get me a 12 pack of Coke Zero when she went shopping today. She didn't get any because it wasn't on sale. She did however get her dogs two bags of treats along with some fancy dog shampoo.  Oh yeah she didn't pay for the shopping trip. Her mom did. Am I being petty? Absolutely.

Friday, November 16, 2007

My Office

It is a place where I have expeirenced many emotions and learned many lessons.
It is a place of work but also of dreams.
It is a place of deadly serious encounters,
yet there I discover much about myself and about life.
I have felt joy and sorrow, pride and humility and fear and triumph.
I see much from that office that most can only dream of.
At times, it terrifies me, yet I always feel at home there.
It is my place, the aircraft mine, for those moments.

Though it is a place where I could quickly die,
the cockpit is the place where I truly live.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Another pilot flew west

Robert Davey...a student...a aviator....died in a plane crash Thursday east of Abilene. Details still coming in. I flew with him when I first started teaching in Arlington. He was ex-military. An awesome guy. He was teaching two students in a single engine Piper. I know he went down fighting. Robert Davey is the first pilot I know......I flew not come back.

Update, here's the news story:



I hope there's a place, way up in the sky
Where pilots can go when they have to die.
A place where a guy could buy a cold beer
For a friend and a comrade whose memory is dear.
A place where no doctor or lawyer could tread,
Nor a management-type would e'ler be caught dead!
Just a quaint little place, kind of dark, full of smoke,
Where they like to sing loud, and love a good joke.
The kind of a place that a lady could go
And feel safe and secure by the men she would know.

There must be a place where old pilots go,
When their wings become heavy, when their airspeed gets low,
Where the whiskey is old, and the women are young,
And songs about flying and dying are sung.
Where you'd see all the fellows who'd 'flown west' before,
And they'd call out your name, as you came through the door,
Who would buy you a drink, if your thirst should be bad,
And relate to the others, "He was quite a good lad!"

And there, through the mist, you'd spot an old guy
You had not seen in years, though he'd taught you to fly.
He'd nod his old head, and grin ear to ear
And say, "Welcome, my Son, I'm proud that you're here!
For this is the place where true flyers come
When the battles are over, and the wars have been won.
They've come here at last, to be safe and alone,
>From the government clerk, and the management clone;
Politicians and lawyers, the Feds, and the noise,
Where all hours are happy, and these good ol' boys
Can relax with a cool one, and a well deserved rest!
This is Heaven, my Son. You've passed your last test!"

— Captain Michael J. Larkin, TWA (Ret.), 'Air Line Pilot' magazine, February 1995.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007


So I have a lot of clothes. A lot of clothes. It comes from my dad. My dad has every t-shirt he has bought, been given or acquired since I was born. I'm not kidding. His pants are a similar story. I went home after class to get my paycheck and the mail. Kelli was on a rant about how many pairs of pants I have. How many? Well there were 25 pair of pants there. Including what I have in the hotel brings it up to about 30 pair. Not including about 13 pair of shorts. Excessive ? Eh. They range in sizes as do I throughout the year. She wants me to get rid of some. I gave her one pair that I bought that were a smidge too short. Not good enough. Is it my fault I am a fashion geek ?

My uniform came in yesterday....but I didn't get it. The pickup time was during a period that I was still in class. I hope to get it today.

I went to Hooters last night with the other CRJ pilots. There was a little boy...about 8...who was celebrating a birthday. We all chipped in and bought him a Hooters 2008 calendar. Made his night.

I think my car is going to need brakes and tires soon.

Monday night my laptop would not connect to the hotel wireless. Reboots...turning it on and off did nothing. I thought the wireless was down. My roommate and my cell phone connected fine. Tuesday evening and right now it is working fine.

Time for school.

Sunday, November 11, 2007


So we got this thing in the mail touting the new semi-fiber optic TV option in our area from AT&T. It's called Uverse. Looks cheaper and better. I just gotta make 100% sure we can keep Vonage and we won't have to sign up for their phone system. More info here  I will have to keep looking up info and schedule the install for some weekend day when I know I will be here.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Version 3.0...pilots...not students

So since I lost my camera I didn't have the photo I took with my version 3.0 students....pilots. One of them, Lauren, posted the photo on their myspace...and I stole here it is! This was taken during my party. Derrick on the left and Lauren on the right. I was lucky enough to have awesome pilots to teach my entire tenure. The last set, Derrick and Lauren, were honestly a pleasure to fly with.


Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Walking in kilometers

Living in the hotel is bearable. I am getting more studying done than if I was home.

I have been asking around. Looks like I will be able to list my mother in law on my travel benefits where my mom would normally go. What's the difference? Well if I can list my mother in law as a D2 (where my mother would go) versus a D3 (where my mother in law would normally go) she would get higher priority boarding and much cheaper tickets. DFW to PDX roundtrip would be 1/20th the cost as a D2 versus D3.

I am surprised that Kelli is keeping up her website, .

The higher gas prices are influencing me not to get a FJ Cruiser next year. Still not sure which way I will go.

No news on the baby front.

I am exercising almost daily.....twice this week since Monday. I am doing 30 minutes right now. Might bump it up. One annoying thing....damn treadmill here reads out in kilometers!

Monday, November 5, 2007

Back in the hotel

So I moved back in the hotel yesterday. This morning I found out my roommate is a snorer....and a snoozer! The snoring I can handle...headphones...but the snooze button.

This bed sucks.

The towels aren't soft at all.

This is the life of an airline pilot?

I can deal. Flying is awesome.

New Camera

Since I lost the old camera...I had to buy a new one. I did several hours of research before I bought one. I decided on a Fuji FinePix 8.2 MP camera from Best Buy. The price is good $139 and has the features I wanted.  So I thought. I used the movie function of our last camera quite a few times. It recorded at 640x480 at 30 frames per second. The new camera will only do 320x240 at 30 frames per second. Not acceptable. I haven't opened it yet and will return it. I am still looking into either a newer version of our old camera or a Sony DSC-W55.

Below is the current Fuji Camera...that's probably going back...I like the form factor and button placement though.


Next is the Sony camera....which has the biggest fault of expensive memory cards.

sony1.jpg sony2.jpg

Finally the new version of the camera I lost.

Milk expiration dates. I was always taught to trust them. No more! Yesterday I had a bowl of cereal (Fiber One Honey Clusters) and used milk that was set to expire today. Well with my first bite I gagged. The stamp lied!

We ate lunch with Eric and Angela at Stratos yesterday. Awesomely fattening greek food.

I had seen 3 babies in 3 days. All quite. None fat. Ours will be doomed.

Time for work.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Unlimited Travel

One of the perks of my new job is that Kelli and I can travel anywhere we want as much as we want for almost free. Yeah I said almost. The charges are very inexpensive. I can fly Kelli roundtrip to Sacramento or Portland for less than the cost to fill up 1/2 a tank of gas. First class is only a little more. It would be cool for us to fly this weekend, but Kelli has a lot to do.

My eye is feeling much better today...still red....but not painful.  Debating on whether or not to wear the patch today.

This new website for the most part is good. I still don't like the way pictures show up if I chose to place them full size. If I put in  a thumbnail (forcing you to click on it for full size) it looks fine. Bleh.

Pirate Darren?

So I was watching TV Wednesday night and my left eye started annoying me. I thought it was just the contact being itchy. I took the contact out. The annoyance continued. Thursday morning my eye was really itchy and red. Bad. I bought some anti-redness drops and headed to American Eagle. Crazy long day. My eye got worse and worse. I soon realized I had a scratched cornea. I called my eye doctor to make an appointment. I then got a call back stating I needed to call my primary physician to get a referral. No biggie right? Well I called. Nope. They wanted me to come in first. I have one eye! So Kelli drives me. He looks at it...thinks he sees the abrasion and gives me a make shift patch and some anti-biotic ointment. So eye'd Darren for a day or two.


Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Until right now

Sometime Friday night some Waitress at Denny's stole our digital camera. Not good.

Saturday we saw Dan in Real Life. A good movie.

Sunday I took Kelli up in a plane, she did very well for her first time. We even joined the "mile high club" by kissing at 5500 feet.

Monday first day at a new company.

Tuesday Kelli is getting sick. Not wanting to take or look up what medications are safe to take annoyed me.

Wednesday....that's right now. Gotta go to school.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Good weekend

We had a very fun party Friday night. I would love to post photos....but some waitress at Dennys stole my camera. Well I did leave it behind....but when I returned early Saturday morning, Saturday afternoon and Saturday evening no one turned it in. Nice. I will have to ask one of my students to email the photo we all took together.

Sunday Kelli and I went up for the first time in a "little" airplane together. We flew from Grand Prarie to Stephenville. I would have liked to have left from Arlington....but Grand Prarie is only 5 miles east. Bleh. The weather was, low winds and good visibility. I let Kelli take to controls a few times. She did very well only straying a few feet off altitude and a few degrees off heading. My landing in Stephenville was a 9...almost perfect. Kelli thought it was nice. I am pickier.

We each had a very good lunch. Part of the fun of Stephenville is being able to hop in the golf carts and drive to the resturant. Kelli thought it was odd that we could just take one without telling anyone. Heading back to Grand Prarie I let Kelli fly a little more. She did very well again. My landing back in Grand Prarie was a 9 again. Smooth...but I had a double bounce....a very slight bounce....but again Kelli didn't notice.

Kelli and I flying together for the first time!

Getting Ready to depart Stephenville

So from here on out I will be updating four different websites. Do I need four websites ? Absolutely..................

Friday, October 26, 2007

Plastic Chairs...not available

So yesterday I flew the Skyhawk for the first time in 5 months. Yeah. I went to Aviator Air ( to get checked out so I can rent a plane to fly Kelli and myself to Stephenville for BBQ on Sunday. I can also rent a plane whenever my heart desires. The Skyhawk is such a simple plane. So much slower than the Seminole. Thankfully the winds were right down the runway, even if they were gusy, so my take off was smooth. My first landing was a 7. I was on centerline, but a little bumpy. My second was much better, bounced the third, and but the next two were nice. Aviator air only charges for air time...not "on time" ATP. What's the difference? Well at ATP the student is "charged" from the moment the battery master switch is turned on. This can easily add 20-30 minutes to the flight due to start up, taxi, runup, waiting for takeoff and then taxi back after landing. It's legal according to the FAA....just kinda unfair to the student. Aviator air only charges for air time. The flight to Stephenville will only take 45 minutes or so air time while total time will be an hour. The cost will be much less than I estimated. The cost to get checked out was only $75. I paid for 1/2 an hour or air time plus 1/2 an hour of instructor time.

We want some simple plastic outdoor chairs. Ya know the ones everyone has....$5 or so a piece. We went to Garden Ridge Pottery, Big Lots and Home luck! WTF!?!?! We are having a small get together tonight and we have no outdoor chairs. I am gonna swing by Wal-Mart this morning and check there as well.

Sunday is going to be a busy day. Sunday morning we are going to fly to Stephenville at 11 AM, returning around 2PM. I then check in to my hotel for training. Then take Kelli to the airport as she is going to Los Angeles to testify Monday. I will then check in to the hotel and stay at least the first night.

Today.....I have request to clean my office, the living room, Kellis desk and....I think that's it.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Flight Instructing is dangerous

Not coming home was in my mind every now and then. Lifting off the earth into the skies...I would sometimes think "what if". Well "what if" happened to two aviators this week. Godspeed.........

Annette Klosterman (left) and Adam Ostapenko

Civil Air Patrol says UND plane, bodies found

Annette Klosterman (left) and Adam Ostapenko

A flight instructor and a student pilot died when a University of North Dakota airplane crashed in a swampy area during a training flight from St. Paul to Grand Forks, the Todd County Sheriff's Department confirmed Wednesday night.

An air crew from the Minnesota Wing of the Civil Air Patrol found the wreckage near Turtle Creek Township northeast of Browerville around 4:10 p.m., the CAP said.

A search and rescue team from the sheriff's department and a CAP ground team from St. Cloud confirmed the find.

The pilot, Annette Klosterman, 22, a UND flight instructor from Seattle, and Adam Ostapenko, 20, a junior aviation student from Duluth, were killed in the crash, authorities said.

The UND plane had left St. Paul shortly before 9:30 p.m. Tuesday. Air traffic officials in Minneapolis last spoke to Klosterman and Ostapenko in a routine conversation at 10:15 p.m., in the St. Cloud area.

The plane was due to arrive in Grand Forks at 11:45 p.m. Tuesday, Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman Elizabeth Isham Cory said. The FAA sent out a notice at 1:46 a.m. Wednesday, alerting airports and law enforcement officials along the flight path, when the pilot did not close out the flight plan that had been filed with the agency before takeoff, she said.

"What (the notice) does is alert airports and sheriffs and local law enforcement on the path ... and asked them to start looking," Isham Cory said.

A ground search of all airports from St. Cloud to Grand Forks was conducted early Wednesday, UND said, and the Civil Air Patrol sent five aircraft at daybreak to continue the search.

Civil Air Patrol Capt. Al Pabon said more planes joined the search Wednesday afternoon, with volunteer pilots coming from several Minnesota cities.

The crash site is about 20 miles northwest of Little Falls.

Last December, two UND students were killed when a single-engine Cessna left the Crookston airport and crashed into a farm field. Friends said pilot Jacob Rueth, 18, of Orland Park, Ill., and passenger Jacob Allen Sundblad, 19, of Annandale, had gone to practice takeoffs and landings.
(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

All done

I am no longer a flight instructor at Airline Transport Professionals. My tenure is over. That being said. A new site is up that will track my progress at American Eagle and all of my flying bits. Kinda catchy eh? It's up...go take a looksee. Speaking of new sites Kelli has an all new site back at . Suposedly she will keep it up. Time to relax for a while....another life changing event is coming up.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

$5K To go to American Eagle now....I jumped too soon

So I got this email today. If I would have waited until now to apply at American Eagle....I would get $5K. I emailed to see if I qualify as I haven't technically started yet. Bleh.

Great news! ATP will now reimburse $5,000 of training costs for graduates of ATP's Regional Jet Standards Certification program who go to work for American Eagle and successfully complete training. In our continuing efforts to help you in your career, ATP has worked out an arrangement with American Eagle that makes this cash tuition reimbursement possible.

If you are interested in flying for American Eagle and receiving the $5,000 tuition reimbursement, your next step is to email <>. Include the following information:

- Name
- Total Time
- # of Months Instructing
- Regional Jet Standards Certification Class Date

Under the new arrangement, American Eagle is hiring for November and December classes right now.

It is essential that you handle all your American Eagle employment communication through ATP to ensure that you remain eligible for the reimbursement. For complete details, email the RJ Program office. DO NOT contact American Eagle directly.

We will be making a formal announcement soon on the web site, but we wanted to distribute this new information to all current ATP CFIs as soon as possible.



Regional Jet Program Director
Airline Transport Professionals (ATP)
800-ALL-ATPS / 800-255-2877

Last flight

I flew the Seminole for what I bet was my last flight last night. I flew to Lubbock again. This time it was much smoother air. On the return flight we got back early so we took turns landing. I made two really nice greasers. I touched down on the main wheels first and then slowly let the nose down. Awesome. My last landing was filmed by my student. I will post it later, but it was not smooth. I was making a short field landing and was firm. Bleh.

Below is a photo of my last flight. James Webster is to the right. He is an awesome guy....even if he is a crazy liberal democrat.

Last Flight

I go in today just for some paperwork. I might stick around for a little while. Tomorrow....who knows. I am not sad right now. Hasn't really sunk in. I don't think it will until Thursday morning....when I don't wake up and go to the airport. Oh wait....I am going Thursday to get checked out in a plane so I can fly Kelli around Sunday. Hmm...then Friday it will sink in. Bleh.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Return to Lubbock

I haven't been in Lubbock since May 1996. A long time. Well a long time ended last night. I flew to Lubbock with a student on a crew training flight. The flight out there was interesting. We flew across a front which caused a severe pressure/temp change along with a good dose of turbulence and wind change. The turbulence was enough to throw us into the roof a few times as well twist the plane every which way. I was smiling. I enjoy makes flying interesting. The approach to the runway was fun as well. The wind was blowing from the right at 23 MPH gusting to over 30 MPH. Our airspeed indicated 100 knots while our ground speed was only 60 knots. Yeah. We were coming in almost sideways. Crazy. The air was cold as we opened the warmed cockpit.

On the way back to Arlingotn we hit more turbulence, high winds, steady rain and clouds. The temprature was near freezing at 9000 feet so we kicked on the pitot heat (heats up the tube that we use for airspeed indications) and the heater ever higher. We were in the clouds for over an hour

I do the same flight tonight.

Three more days and I am done at ATP. Gonna miss my students the most. All of them have been fun. I still keep in touch with Version 1.0, 2.0 and of course 3.0. I am sure the communication will continue....hopefully for the rest of our careers.

I figured out how to post my video...which is only working in Firefox and not Internet Explorer...If you see a empty box below click this link . My ATP video.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

My First Video

I made a video of my time at ATP. It's 7 minutes long....but I have been here for 17 months! Turn up your speakers...grab some popcorn...and enjoy.

Saturday, October 20, 2007


Today is the Alliance Airshow ( I am going with one other instructor and 5 or so students. Should be fun. Kelli thought about going....but I don't think she would have fun. Being around airplanes makes me happy. Fun day ahead.

Yesterday I started the crew training for two students, James and Nick. These students are "special". Why? Well I was supposed to be their instructor. When my jet course was moved up I had to change the my schedule for starting new students. I instead got Derrick and Lauren. The instructor the James and Nick got was the same one they had for their that didn't care a whole lot. They got a sub-par education for the multi-engine and instrument ratings. I felt pretty bad for them. Yesterday was a crash course in instruments. I feel really rewarded when I teach. Gonna miss it. I spent 4 hours lecturing. They were wide eyed soaking it all in. I think I am going to fly with one of them to Lubbock, Texas and the other to Alexandria, Louisiana. I want to go somewhere I have never been. I would love to go to Galveston....but I doubt ATP would approve it. I also want to go to Nacogdoches. Bleh.

Friday, October 19, 2007


Credit card companies are so damn greedy. I signed up for paperless bills. I was 1 day late paying off my balance on a card...and they charged me $39! I have never been late before. I am going to cancel paperless statements on all my cards AFTER I cancel with the company in hand. I called them and very nicely asked for a refund. They refused! This is my "Drivers Edge" card that I get rebates back for car related purchases. The rebates go toward my next car. Hmmm maybe I will just not use the card anymore until I get my next card. Citibank you're evil!

I don't get some of my fellow flight instructors. They are putting their own lives and outside activities ahead of students. I do the opposite. My job is to teach students to fly.  I do whatever it takes to get the job done. I don't schedule students training around my partying or going out with friends. Lot's of other instructors do though. One I know has rushed students through training that normally takes 3 days into just one day. What does the student really learn? Nothing. I promised a student weeks ago that I would fly with him after his instrument check ride and that I would do his crew training. Another instructor wants me to fly with another student instead so they can go out this weekend. They said, " you get $100 either way what does it matter?" That really pissed me off.  I don't think they love teaching. I really do.

What's on the board today? Well I am going in around 10 or so to start the crew training. That's about it. Tomorrow is the Alliance Air show. Sunday is Sunday. Next week is my last week. Then off to American Eagle.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Finally took the check ride

So the two students I trained finally took their check rides Wednesday. They were supposed to go Monday. Thankfully they both passed. They are both very good pilots. One of them was my Version 2.0 student. What's next? Well I only have 6 days left. I am going to provide crew training for one student...maybe two. Then I hope to fly with Joe for his commercial multi-engine check ride...then that's it.

The new look. I am not married to this layout 100%. Expect to see small changes over time. I do like how my Flickr photos show up in the bottom right hand corner and will be updated as I take new photos. One thing I don't like about the log in link. I have to jump through hoops to log in. I am sure it's an easy PHP thing......but I don't know PHP.....I know HTML! I remember writing in HTML way back in 1995. Crazy. It's still the defacto standard for web pages.

Saturday is the Alliance air show. I have organized a few students and instructors to go. Should be fun. Kelli is NOT invited. She was waaaaay bored last year. I plan on staying all day this year.

I slept in today. I am going in at 10 AM. I have gone in at 6 AM for the last 4 days. Yuck!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Come to Texas!

So I must has pissed off mother nature. Yesterday the clouds stayed low all day. In fact thick fog moved in in the morning reducing visibility to less than 1/4 mile. So check rides didn't go again. Yeah. Probably won't go today either. This sucks.

People who live in Frisco complain about the traffic. Hello!??!?!? Your silly ass moved to Frisco knowing they had traffic issues. If you didn't know then you didn't go research. A city that has grown by more than 100% in the last few years is bound to have traffic issues. I love Euless.

I am at the airport now...started this page at home...had to drive. There are supposed to be 6 check rides today. No one is here! I am the first one to arrive! WTF?!?!? I really don't want to sit here all day again. Bleh.

Ever since I got a job I have been looking online less and less. There is nothing else to really research. I won't know exactly what plane I will be on until the 29th. I guess I will start the transformation of this website to the PHP format. I am REALLY nervous about it. I like being able to easily look back at any day for the last 4 years right here on my local computer. The PHP format stores everything in a database. Bleh.

My sister in law might be looking into moving to Texas. That would be way cool. We will have babysitters close by. The house across the street is for sale. How cool would that be if they moved right to our street. They could sale their house in California and probably pay cash for the house here. Gotta start the Pro-Texas campaign.

Same look

After using HTML's now PHP. I did use PHP for a short time.....but I hated it. I am jumping in head first now. This should be better. This new format will allow me to update from my phone...from my home computer...or any computer. Jumped in head first.