Folks, from the Flight Blog, welcome aboard “Cap’n Aux Airlines!”
As an A321 Captain for a major U.S. airline, for the past few years, I have been very blessed to be a part of the Airways Magazine team as a Columnist. What’s more, in 2017, Airways Magazine and I went on a mighty fun tear. We ripped up the skies (on paper, at least) with some great aeronautical adventures. Between my columns and articles in Airways Magazine, here on Airways, and my own blog at Capn’ Auxier (“Adventures of Cap’n Aux”), 2017 proved itself to be chock full of literary aeronautical adventures.
Just the way I like it—and I’m sure you do, too!
So, without ado-ing further, I’d like to welcome you aboard our Best Of 2017 Flight, with multiple stops along the way to our final destination. So, please, fasten your seatbelts, ignore the smoking sign if you prefer, and sit back, relax, and enjoy our fine service from 2017!
In addition, we will be serving you a few anecdotes from the year, along with some inflight gourmet tidbits and morsels.
Nope, this ain’t no peanut service!
We hope you enjoy today’s flight!
Stop 1: Boeing Field, Seattle, WA
September 2017, Airways Cover Story
Our First Stop is Airways’ September 2017 issue.
In my opinion, the September cover is one of the most gorgeous we’ve ever printed, with an aerial shot of a DC-3 flying in front of Mount Rainier at sunrise. Simply spectacular!
And, not just any DC-3, either, but Breitling’s fully-restored Goony Bird, which in 1940 was dubbed by American Airlines, “Miss Cleveland.” In the same month as our cover story, Miss Cleveland completed her history-making, world record-breaking Around the World tour. Touching back down in Geneva, Miss Cleveland became the oldest aircraft in history to circle the globe.
Our main article chronicles my adventure jumpseating on said piece of history, from Boeing Field, Washington, to Oregon. The piece generated quite a lot of great comments from you all. More articles cover the colorful history of Miss Cleveland and the DC-3 line (the greatest aircraft ever built, IMHO), as well as an interview of her Captains, who discuss their harrowing, 42-hour marathon jaunt over the Pacific Ocean—at 1,500 feet above the waves, and with no deicing capability!
For a hard copy of our original story, check out the September 2017 issue. Companion stories can also be found on my blog:
- Part 1: Jumpseating on a Piece of History Pt. I
- Part 2: Jumpseating on a Piece of History Pt. II
- Part 3: Jumpseating on a Piece of History Pt. III
This series also made it into my latest book, “There I Wuz! Adventures From 3 Decades in the Sky, Volume IV,” which is available in print, ebook or audiobook at Amazon.
Today’s Inflight Movie: “Word on the Ramp!”
Over at my Cap’n Aux blog, we produce a whacky aviation video news program called, “Word on the Ramp.” It’s our “Periodic Video Roundup of All Cool Things Aviation,” and we have a lot of fun not only reporting current aviation events, but also bringing you the coolest AvGeek stuff out there. Back in October, I went all out on this fun, Halloween-themed vid. Airways editor in chief Enrique Perrella loved the broadcast so much, he asked me to include it as our inflight movie!
Lotsa fun, and lotsa aviation news, all packed into five quick minutes of aeronautical insanity!
Stop 3: Pearl Harbor, Hawaii
Of course, in any given year, we all experience triumphs, failures, gains and losses. And, nothing is more devastating than the loss of a loved one. That is why I always take the time each year on the blog to honor our military heroes on Veteran’s Day and our fallen heroes on Memorial Day. Last year, Cap’n Aux blog ran an encore post, “Honoring Our Heroes,” with a touching story of a chance meeting with a Navy Korean War vet on Pearl Harbor Day. Originally published on Airways, December 2016, I don’t want you to miss it. The article can also be found in There I Wuz! Volume IV.
A Sobering Inflight Snack…
For Team Aux, 2017 was a year full of challenges, but also miracles. Early in the Spring, our Producer Bunny was diagnosed with lung cancer. A nonsmoking athlete all her life, Bunny was, understandably, devastated. The evil C word thwarted her 2017 goal of adding to her national bodybuilding trophy collection and instead saw her undergo surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation. In December, the doctors officially diagnosed her in remission, and she is now back in the gym three hours a day, in what can already be called a spectacular comeback.
Thank you, God, and the forces of the universe, for her healing!
The above-mentioned “There I Wuz! Volume IV” is dedicated to Bunny, and half of the author proceeds from the book go to the lung cancer charity TeamDraft, founded by former NFL star Chris Draft and his wife, Lakeasha. Sadly, Chris lost Lakeasha to lung cancer, and now he travels the country blessing and motivating other lung cancer victims, such as Bunny.
Please join us in supporting TeamDraft!
Stops 3 & 4: Boeing Field & Southeast Alaska
2017: An Airways Odyssey
I was once again blessed to be a guest speaker aboard Airways Magazine’s annual cruise, this time in June to Alaska. Before the cruise, however, we kicked off the event with a tour of Boeing Field’s amazing aviation museum, as well as a tour of the Boeing plant. What’s more, while there, we got to view the landing of, not one, but two Boeing Dreamlifters, which I captured on video!
Part 2 continues our Airways adventure aboard our spectacular Alaska cruise, kicking off with raw footage while flying off the water in a gorgeous DHC-2 Beaver floatplane with my good buddy Kevin, a long time bush pilot out of spectacular Ketchikan, Alaska.
In fact, Kevin and I kicked off our flying careers together by flying for now-defunct Wings of Alaska out of Juneau. The amazing experience gave birth to my most popular book, “The Last Bush Pilots,” which, in 2013, garnered a spot on Amazon’s Top 100 Breakthrough Novels—Mainstream Fiction category.
Part 3 continues the adventure with more videos and pics of Alaska, our onboard readers and staff, and even includes a short clip from my presentation to our fellow Airways cruise readers!
- Part 1—2017: An Airways Odyssey
- Part 2—A Song of Icebergs and Fire!
- Part 3: Scorching Hot Planes and Icy Airways Adventures!
- The Last Bush Pilots—an Amazon Top 100 Breakthrough Novel
Tons of AvGeek treats in this series. Don’t miss ‘em—and don’t miss our 2019 Caribbean cruise, either. I know I’ll be there!
Stop 5: The Hudson River, NY (Brace for Impact! It’s a water landing!)
Sully Movie and Lessons From the “Miracle on the Hudson”
One of last year’s most popular posts on my blog was a combination of two earlier articles that I wrote for the Airways, which was later published in a previous issue of Airways Magazine. The first online article, “The New ‘Sully’ Movie: How Accurate?” was the second most popular post for Airways in 2016, and garnered over 70 comments by readers. The second, “Keep Calm and Fly the Plane: Lessons From USAirways 1549,” attempts to glean lessons for pilots from the fabled event.
As a pilot on the same plane, and for the same airline as Flight 1549, I have lots to say on both subjects. Whether you’re a pilot or not, they’re well worth the read!
Our Second Inflight Movie
Another wild and crazy Word on the Ramp episode, this one also has a lot of fun with all the crazy inflight news of the week.
Bonus: A little cameo by the Three Amigos!
Stop 6: The Airline Cockpit!
An updated version of an older blog post, this one continues to harvest traffic for obvious reasons. It’s my best advice to you up-n-coming pilots and those dreaming of a flying career!
For ground pounders, it also offers some fascinating insights into what pilots must undergo to pursue their careers.
As mentioned in the above article, the long-awaited “Pilot Shortage” is finally upon us.
One of the major factors is the massive drove of retirements that will peak at nearly 1,000 per year—and that’s just at my own major airline! In any case, for those of you who are up n coming in the industry, the future’s so bright, you gotta wear shades!
However, as a pilot, you still gotta “pay your dues.” Hence, the next article…
Stop 7: Freight Dog Cockpit
They call themselves, “Freight Dogs.”
They belong to a mythical yet elite outfit called, The Order of the Sleepless Knights. When you go to sleep, they go to work, schlepping boxes 25,000 feet over the countryside, often in aging aircraft, some even without autopilots, through rain, sleet, snow, and hail. Oh, and most certainly, dark of night. This article also appears in There I Wuz! Volume IV
Kudos to all you Freight Dogs out there. Cap’n Aux salutes you!
Final Destination: The Airline Cockpit—Finally! Or…?
Originally published on Airways and the most popular blog post of 2017, this post is special to me, as it is an interview with my dear friend, former Captain Ron Budnick. He chased his dream of an airline career, caught it, and—well, that is where his tale begins.
While I mentioned above that the future looks bright for the up n coming pilot, this is a very volatile business with no guarantees. And, this article is an excellent “cautionary tale” for those dreaming of a career flying airliners.
A companion piece to this article appeared in Airways Magazine as “Interview with an Aviation Inspector” (June 2017 issue.)
The article can also be found in There I Wuz! Volume IV.
I hope you’ve enjoyed today’s flights, and here’s to a spectacular 2018!
As I say on my blog, This is Cap’n Aux . . . Signing off!