Thursday, November 27, 2008

THANKSGIVING


Hello everyone. I hope everyone had a blessed Thanksgiving and got to spend it with loved ones as I did. I'll be off the blog for the next week as I'm heading to Houston to visit with my sister and due my annual currency check ride. (8 hours of simulator fun!!!) I wish everyone a great weekend and I'll be back to see you in a few days. Here's a nice New York City sunrise I took from Newark a few weeks back.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

THE PIPITONES COME TO TOWN


I had the good fortune of having some of my dearest friends fly down south from New Jersey to visit for a few days. The Pipitone's....Vinnie Sr., Vinnie Jr., and their mom Enid (missing from the photo unfortunately....but I'll get one of her soon ;-) ), came down a few days ago. We've already gotten together a few times....and as always, a great time was had!!! They've invited us over for their annual Thanksgiving day dinner at Enid's moms place in Boca Raton. Whenever I'm at my "crash pad" in Newark, NJ (EWR), the Pipitones ALWAYS invite me over for a scrumptious home cooked meal.......lobster, steak, crab legs, shrimp, walnut salad.....EXQUISITE!!!!! I met the Pipitones through a great pilot fraternity I am a member of. I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving this year! Let's all be thankful for incredible friends this holiday season!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

COPPER MINES


When flying over the southwestern part of the United States, it's always interesting to see what things look like from the air. Copper mines are one of the most beautiful blues you can imagine. Seems kind of strange to see these brilliant turquoise blue man made ponds in the middle of the desert. At least it gives us something to look at during the "boring" parts of the flights. I'm always amazed at how crowded New York City, Los Angeles, and places like that are, when you won't see a home for 100 miles in many areas of Arizona, Utah, and Colorado. When you hear how they're not making land any more, you have to wonder why no one moves where no one else is. Ahhhh, the peace and quite!!!!

Monday, November 24, 2008

SHAWSHANK!!


Here's a shot I took a few months back while flying into Newark, NJ (EWR). The photo is of the prison used in one of my favorite movies, "The Shawshank Redemption". Most of the guys I fly with have never seen it even though it's just to the left of our arrival to the northerly runways and we fly by it almost every day. Always a neat thing to see places that have been used in a movie!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

BEWARE!!! MAN 'O WAR!!!!


When walking on the beach you look for shells, sharks teeth, sand dollars, and just about anything else that will give you a nice memento of your visit. One thing you do NOT want to pick up, is a jellyfish lying on the beach that looks like an iridescent balloon. Popping one is just as hazardous. Why? Because the Man 'O War jellyfish is very poisonous and toxic, and even though it looks harmless lying there, it IS potent. The tentacles are almost invisible and sometimes extend out a few feet from where it is lying. Touching them will result in a painful burning sensation and welts on your skin. Even though most of the ones on the beaches in southeastern Florida are fairly small (3-4 inches) they are still dangerous. Often you'll see kids come running out of the water screaming, and yet the parents and bystanders have no clue as to what's happened. Well............it'those pesky jellyfish stings that have just ruined their day at the beach! Be careful but have fun! You've been warned!!!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

GOING FAST.......REAL FAST


Every now and then when I'm flying a trip, we get a wonderful thing called a "tailwind". Usually it's nothing more than high level winds pushing us along... and sometimes they push us really fast. I flew from Cancun, Mexico, to Newark, NJ, a couple of months ago in 2 hours and 50 minutes. It takes almost that long to fly from Fort Lauderdale to Newark (2+30)!!! We had some incredible tailwinds helping us along our way up to Newark. Here's a shot of one of our instruments displaying a ground speed of 645 knots (645 x1.1516 ='s miles per hour) which means we were actually flying at 743 miles per hour!!! That's moving my friends!!!! We were covering a mile every 4.85 seconds! My record is 670 knots (772 mph) which I've only seen once.....and even the air traffic controllers couldn't believe we were flying that fast. I think our tailwind was around 300 miles per hour or so that day, and we covered our route from Indianapolis, IN, to Newark, NJ, in just an hour. The only problem with tailwinds that strong is that it takes forever to get where you're going due to the HEADWINDS getting there!

Friday, November 21, 2008

POLE SITTING


Every now and then I see something that grabs my eye. This seagull seemed to be guarding his section of the beach, while grabbing some sun. I guess the vantage point he has allows him to watch for any beach goer who might leave little morsels of food so he can be the first to swoop in and get them. It's interesting to watch these birds go after each other as soon as one of them finds some food. Good thing humans aren't so vicious when we eat. :-)

Thursday, November 20, 2008

COOL BIKE


Here's a nice motorcycle I saw at the recent car show in Hollywood. I've always thought sidecar bikes were pretty neat. This one sure caught my eye. Maybe one day I'll get one of these and cruise around the neighborhood........or maybe not.... ;-)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

CAR FOR SALE


If you are looking for a great car at a great price, let me know. I'm selling my 1996Mercedes Benz C36 AMG. The car is in great shape, runs like a dream, and is faster than all get out. (It's best acceleration speed is from 60-90 mph, and it'll literally throw you back in your seat!!) The car is in immaculate condition and I'd rate it as a 9/10. Has a few small "rock chip" spots on the hood from highway driving but for a 12 year old car it's hardly noticeable.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

MORE SHUTTLE STUFF




Here's a shot of the moon and a couple of other pictures I took during the shuttle launch. Unfortunately, I didn't have a tripod......and the pictures didn't turn out very good. I was surprised the moon shot turned out so well since I was holding the camera as steady as I could with nothing to lean on. But..... nevertheless, I WILL be prepared the next time! You can see how bright the moon was in the picture with the contrail in it. The shuttle is a speck of light on the left side of the photo. Hard to believe that only 8.5 minutes after liftoff, they can see the shuttle in NYC!!! Incredible!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

ROSWELL BONEYARD






One thing about the New Mexico climate is that it's VERY dry. So much so that a lot of airlines have been parking their airplanes there while trying to figure out what to do with them. It's really pretty sad to see 100's of millions of dollars of airplanes sitting on the tarmac just sitting their remaining life waiting for "disposal" instructions. A few years ago I actually saw three B-727's that I'd flown over in Europe, being slowly dismantled. It was pretty sad to know that these beautiful airplanes that had allowed me such a wonderful view of Europe were dying a slow, piecemeal death. One day I'll rescue one of these grand old birds and make a nice home out of it. What do you think about that????

Saturday, November 15, 2008

SPACE SHUTTLE NIGHT LAUNCH!!!!






My girlfriend and I decided to go up to Titusville, FL, (just a few miles away from Cape Canaveral) to watch one of the last space shuttle night launches on Friday, November 14th, 2008. It was absolutely GORGEOUS, not to mention thrilling and heart stopping. Everyone cheered when the shuttle lifted off. The whole event didn't take much more than about 40 seconds (and my cameras decided to give me fits too.....hence the attached images which was all I had time to take). These photos were taken 13 miles from the launch pad without a tripod. I looked everywhere but couldn't find my spare...... ;-( so these handheld shots were the result .We spent three hours driving there, one minute watching, and three hours driving back home, but it was certainly worth it to see this spectacular sight. We even heard the shuttle's engines approximately one minute after lift-off! Hopefully we'll get up to see a day launch before the shuttle program is scrapped in 2010. Folks, this is really something you HAVE to see.

Friday, November 14, 2008

ANTELOPE!!!



One of the neat things about driving around New Mexico is the vast array of wildlife. When I took my mom to Ruidoso last week, we came upon a few grazing antelope. They are such a beautiful animal and don't seem to mind being photographed. When driving from Roswell to Albuquerque, it's not uncommon to see hundreds of these animals grazing in the fields. Deer, antelope, badgers, turkeys, etc..... New Mexico is certainly an environment for the wildlife photographer! But as the second photo shows, it can be quite barren too!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

ALIENS EVERYWHERE!!!



Well, as most of you know, I went to visit my wonderful mom in Roswell, New Mexico, for a week. Got a LOT of things done for her.....plumbing, lawn, lights, car, etc....., and I got a few shots of the local "sites" too. Here's a couple of shots I took of what's put Roswell on the map.....ALIEN stuff. Even the local McDonalds has a "UFO playground", the only one of it's kind. Of course, aliens are their to greet you to their parking lot. ;-)

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

I'M BAAAACK!!!

Hey everyone, sorry about the lack of posts lately. I went to Roswell, NM, to visit my mom and since she doesn't have a computer, I could only use the ones at the local library, and they are pretty much locked out of being able to do much. So, I'll post some of my photos that I shot during my visit starting tomorrow!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

ALLIGATOR ATTACK!!!


A couple of months ago a buddy I went to high school with in Roswell, NM, and I went bike riding in the everglades. We happened to find a small alligator (three feet or so long), basking in the sun, and I decided to take a couple of photos. (You can see the alligator just to the right and a bit behind Butch in the photo). Moments after I took this shot, the alligator moved a couple of inches, Butch moved about 20 feet, and wondered if he could tell everyone he was "attacked" by an alligator. We both laughed and drove our bikes back to his jeep. I told him we'd classify the alligators movements as an "attack" and we'd just leave it at that. See how stories get started???? ;-)

Monday, November 3, 2008

ME IN MY OFFICE


Here's a shot of me at work. What a GREAT job!!! I LOVE being a pilot, and it was the ONLY thing I wanted to be since I was a young kid. My love of aviation started when I was around three years old. Their was a lot of obstacles along the way, but I never let them get me down. One thing I've learned is NEVER give up. You WILL succeed if you want something bad enough. A dream will come true if you want it to!!! I waited till I was almost 40 years old before I was hired on with a major airline. I almost gave up many times, but the my inner spirit told me to keep going. Sometimes you have to wait for the good things in life, but the wait will be well worth it; trust me!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

WORLD RECORD ATTEMPT IN HOLLYWOOD

Today they are trying to break the world record for numbers of drummers playing the same beat. It just so happens that this event is taking place just two blocks from my condo, and boy is it loud. They are making the attempt at 5:45PM. Here's a quick video I took of the scene unfolding. I guess they are "linking" across the country with a few other cities and together all the drummers from each city will comprise enough to set the record. Pretty neat, eh?
video