Author Archive


Most Experienced B-17 Pilot in Command of Plane that Crashed

October 4, 2019

The 75-year old California pilot in command of the B-17 Nine-O-Nine that crashed in Connecticut on Wednesday was the highest time pilot on that model aircraft in America with 73-hundred hours, according to the National Transportation Safety Board. Ernest McCauley, 75, of Long Beach, California was also the safety officer of the Collings Foundation, which owned the airplane since 1986 and operated it as part of its Wings of Freedom Tour. Jennifer Homendy, the NTSB board member at the scene told reporters “a lot has been accomplished” during the investigators’ first full day at the scene at Bradley International Airport outside of Hartford. “We’ve requested… Read More…


Warbird Operators Worry After B-17 Crash As Senator Calls for Closer Scrutiny

October 3, 2019

Having survived combat and oftentimes years of neglect, flying warbirds in America and their owners may be headed into a new battle. Triggered by Wednesday’s fatal crash of the Collings Foundation B-17 Nine-O-Nine at Bradley International Airport, Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal says more scrutiny is needed for passenger flights on historic aircraft. Seven people were killed and six others on the airplane injured along with two people on the ground when the Nine-O-Nine crashed shortly after takeoff. The Flying Fortress was to make a 30-minute fly-around the area during the foundation’s Wings of Freedom Tour that started earlier in the week. Responding to a question… Read More…


Irony of Pilot Laying Blame On Pilots in Boeing 737 Max Disasters

September 21, 2019

Full disclosure, I own and have read nearly every book ever written by William Langewiesche. He is a gifted writer with a stunning intellect and this is just an aside, he’s quite the looker. I have interviewed him twice but with his latest article in The New York Times Magazine, I think my crush is over. In a lengthy piece just published, Langewiesche weaves the known facts of the two 737 Max disasters into a jumble of opinion, pilot-bashing and Western superiority. Ostensibly, he is informing Times readers that not all pilots are Chuck Yeager and to justify the headline of the article, when it… Read More…


United Pilot’s Revenge Porn Case Exposes Larger Problem

September 18, 2019

After being charged by the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission with fostering a hostile work environment by failing to take action against a pilot posting revenge porn, United Airlines is now said to be in settlement discussions with the Federal agency. Perhaps, after years of pretending a flight attendant’s torment wasn’t the airline’s problem, United will finally do the right thing. When it comes to pilots behaving badly, it’s hard to beat the now-retired United Capt Mark Uhlenbrock of Chesterfield, Missouri. From 2006 until 2015 when he was arrested by the FBI, he posted nude photos of the United flight attendant with whom he’d had a… Read More…


Exhausted in a Gladiola Field, I Find Dutch Samaritans on a Bicycle Built For Two

September 12, 2019

  Intending no disrespect Google Maps, but could you please stop predicting how long it will take me to pedal 30 miles in Holland? I’m biking because I want to linger: see the sites, smell the roses, dig my toes into the sand on Holland’s expansive beaches all of which I CANNOT DO if I am racing across the landscape at 15 miles per hour. That said, when an expected two-and-a-half-hour ride from Rotterdam to Zeeland turned into something much longer, my energy level was so depleted that I started to worry I would not/could not make it to my hotel for the night.  Then… Read More…


Should Epstein’s Pilots Have Foiled His Child Sex Trafficking Ring?

September 7, 2019

As new reports emerge about the various ways the late convicted pedophile Jeff Epstein procured and pimped young women to some of the most influential men in the world, the public has heard little from the pilots who greeted the VIPs and the underaged girls as they boarded Epstein’s private jets. Larry Visoski and David Rodgers flew for Epstein for nearly two decades. How could they be unaware of what the boss was up to? Still, Visoski and Rodgers, both of Florida, remain free to work as commercial pilots with no enforcement actions taken against them from the years Epstein pled guilty to those activities…. Read More…


An Aviation Day Wish to the World’s Would-Be “Piolet”s “Layer”s and “Writter”s

August 16, 2019

In her career as a lawyer and law professor at Washington College of Law, my sister Lee Negroni mentored many aspiring professionals. But how far —and how long — do ripples of inspiration travel? Recently, she came across a packet of thank you letters she received in 1993 after speaking to elementary school students in McLean, Virginia. I suspect Lee, who specialized in mortgage finance law, did a great job explaining her work to the 7-year olds. In one of the notes from the students, Christopher Herring wrote that he also wanted to “work and solve peoples (sic) problems”.  Eleanor Ennis said that her “dad… Read More…


The Many Reasons To Rise With the Sun in Cadiz

August 12, 2019

  Nestled low among mid-rise, colonial-era buildings in the heart of the old city of Cadiz, my rental apartment had just one problem; the rising sun did not enter my bedroom window until well past 8:00. As I’d chosen to stay in Southern Spain in February to escape the New England winter I did not want to lose a moment of daylight just because my sun-sensitive body clock was tricked into thinking it was still too early to get up. A month later, (having surrendered to an alarm clock) I was doubly convinced. There is too much to enjoy in this historic city by the… Read More…


California Congressman Lands Sully in Bid to Legislate Runway Safety

August 9, 2019

With the help of the pilot who is arguably the most popular aviator since Charles Lindbergh, a California Congressman is proposing legislation that strengthens the power of the nation’s air investigators in dealing with the Federal Aviation Administration. But some are worried about inserting politics into aviation safety. At a news conference on Thursday, Cong. Mark DeSaulnier and Capt. Chesley (Sully) Sullenberger the now-retired US Airways pilot of Miracle on the Hudson fame, announced a need to correct flaws in the nation’s safety system. Referring to the uniformed airline pilots who shared the stage, Capt. Sully said of their job, “These gents and their colleagues… Read More…


Judge Warns Delta About Airing its “Laundry” In Case Involving FAA Nominee

July 9, 2019

Steve Dickson, the former Delta Air Lines executive nominated to run the Federal Aviation Administration has been slowed on his path to Senate confirmation for failing to disclose his role in a decision to send an employee for a psychiatric evaluation that the pilot claims was retaliation for reporting safety problems. Whether the lapse derails Dickson remains to be seen. But whatever qualms Senators have about Dickson’s commitment to safety, would certainly spike if they spent any time reading the transcripts of testimony in the lawsuit Karlene Petitt brought against Delta. When she reported safety concerns to Dickson and others at the airline, Petitt said… Read More…


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