Flying Lessons Blog

Times Have Changed: Breitling Stops Ads That Objectify Women

February 13, 2018

Breitling, the Swiss watch company that has taken heat for using scantily-clad women in advertisements and store displays, announced over the weekend that the practice will end. The company’s new chief executive, Georges Kern, told the German newspaper SonntagsZeitung that those themes are “no longer suitable and do not reflect values of today’s society.” Kern, whose college degree was in political science, knows the direction the wind is blowing. It was just one year ago at a Breitling store party in Manhattan that the company arranged for models to be in attendance, posing as pilots in caps, epaulets and stiletto heels but notably missing their pants. The year before, astronauts Mark and Scott Kelly and… Read More…


Private Jets and Physicians; A Photo Story of Generosity in Puerto Rico

January 12, 2018

Aviation writers get a lot of press releases pitching private jets; buy ‘em, sell ‘em, rent ‘em, blah blah blah. But the best story about private jet ownership came from my Puerto Rican niece, Xamayta Negroni.  When her charitable side kicked into overtime following Hurricane Maria, it was a private jet owner who helped her deliver. Xamayta is not one of those doctors who owns a plane, she’s not even a pilot. What she does do is help very sick children as a pediatric nephrologist in Ft. Lauderdale. After Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico, she and other physicians in a Facebook group called Doctoras Boricuas, (Puerto… Read More…


Hard hits and Close Calls Characterize Aviation in 2017

December 29, 2017

The year coming to a close will have to be remembered for the relentless onslaught of aviation drama and near-disaster. Outrageous behavior in the passenger cabin and eyebrow-raising piloting made the news as did end-of-days-like weather that played havoc with airports and the logic-defying conduct of world leaders and government decision-makers. So let’s get to it, 2018 will be here before we know it. One year ago, Australia’s decision to put an end to the sea search for Malaysia 370 unleashed a fury of criticism as families claimed the failure to find the Boeing 777 keeps the world from finding out what made the plane… Read More…


Dollars Not Enough to Fill Cockpits For The Holidays at American

December 11, 2017

When American Airlines chief executive Robert Isom sat down with the president of the Allied Pilots Association, Daniel F. Carey last week, it took mere minutes to come to an agreement, according to APA spokesman Dennis Tajer. “They had this,” Tajer said of the close-call American had with cancelling ten thousand or more flights during the busy holiday travel season. American agreed to pay pilots double time if they would return to the cockpit, filling flight decks left vacant after a software problem allowed too many pilots to opt out of holiday flying. But as I reported for Forbes, not all pilots are taking the… Read More…


This Christmas, SAAnta Pilots Earn Double Time

December 4, 2017

Last week I wondered how much will it cost to fix the American Airlines pilot scheduling snafu? This week I can tell you the answer: Double time pay for all American Airlines pilots who fly over the Christmas holidays. In a communication to members this weekend, the Allied Pilots Association said that the union and American management had agreed that those would-be Santas would be paid double their hourly rate for flying for the carrier between December 17 and the end of 2017. The terms came a day after a joyfully playful announcement by the union and the airline that read, “If Santa is flying,… Read More…


How Much Will It Cost to Fill AA’s Cockpits for Christmas?

November 30, 2017

Getting paid time and a half for flying over Christmas is an adequate incentive if you are an American Airlines executive. But if you are the pilots’ union,  you might consider it coal in the stocking. Like the homeowner who doesn’t know there’s a leaking pipe until the kitchen floor is underwater, the Dallas-based carrier was unaware that a software glitch on its pilot scheduling portal was allowing flight crews to drop or trade December assignments without those flights being picked up by others. Had the program been working correctly, that would have been impossible. Faced with the horrifying prospect of cancelling flights during the… Read More…


NASCAR Crash Points Out Disparity In Aviation Safety Standards

September 17, 2017

It is an odd situation that a man who successfully competed in race car driving, ostensibly a dangerous sport, should die in an airplane crash. On Saturday, NASCAR racing legend Ted Christopher, 59, was killed along with pilot Charles Dundas while flying through Connecticut en route to a race in Long Island, New York. The men were flying in a Mooney M20. A few factors, however, should make this news less than surprising. Over the past few months, Connecticut has been the scene of nine general aviation plane crashes, four of them fatal. The troubling statistics prompted Connecticut’s senator Richard Blumenthal to send a letter… Read More…


Wowch! Tow Truck Lacerates Kenya Airways 737

July 24, 2017

This pathetic looking Kenya Airways Boeing 737 is just eight years old, but my, oh my, what havoc a tow truck can do! The unfortunate run-in between the ground handling equipment and the 737 registration 5Y-KYF happened before midnight on Saturday July 23rd at Nairobi’s Jomo Kenyatta International Airport as the plane was parked at the gate. No one was aboard and the plane was being serviced for its daily 4-hour flight to Johannesburg. There’s no way to consider this good news, but the airline can be thankful for one thing. This happened the only day of the week the flight is conducted on a… Read More…


On Ohio’s Aviation Trail Bikers Pedal Through a Century of Flight

July 19, 2017

Ask anyone about the Wright Brothers and for sure, they’ll mention flight and maybe even that before inventing their famous airplane, Orville & Wilber Wright built bikes. Even though they are arguably history’s most famous bike builders it still seems like an aside. But look closely at a Wright Brothers airplane and you’ll see the brothers borrowed chains and sprockets and incorporated the geometric shapes from bike frames to construct and test their flying machine. “We marvel at the airplane while overlooking the bicycle,” Ryan Qualls a National Park Service Ranger told me. At the time, the bike was, “one of the simplest machines with… Read More…


Unhappy With My Dreamliner Coverage, Boeing Claims Conspiracy Theory

July 12, 2017

Its Boeing’s factory, it can do what it wants within its gates, but I have to wonder if its decision to ban me from the property during a Norwegian press event last month isn’t a sign of these Trump times. Many people are the subject of news stories they don’t like. What Trump’s journalist-bashing behavior seems to have taught Boeing is that when they don’t like the coverage all they have to do is slander the journalist. Here’s the backstory. On June 29, Norwegian took delivery of two 737 Max 8’s it has on order. The new 189 seat narrow body will be used to… Read More…


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