Another One in the Books

ASCI 309 Aerodynamics

It’s very hard to believe but another semester of Aerodynamics has ended! Always amazing how fast the nine-week term goes.

Many thanks to Aindrea, Caleb, Jaewon and Sam!

Again, another exceptional group of students!

I thoroughly enjoyed my experience working with my four students, learned something new from each of them and wish them great success in their lives and careers going forward!


Aerodynamics in October

I teach another aerodynamics class for Embry-Riddle Worldwide tomorrow night, 5-8:20pm, through mid December (nine-week semesters).

I teach at the university’s new Phoenix–Mesa campus, which is located at the Phoenix–Mesa Gateway Airport.

ERAU Worldwide Classroom
ERAU Worldwide Classroom

The university has redesigned the undergraduate curriculum increasing the pre-req courses for many of the 300 & 400 level courses, including mine. Therefore, I’ve only four students in my class as many have yet to transition to the new curriculum. Many professors are experiencing similar small class sizes during this time.

ERAU Phoenix–Mesa campus
ERAU Phoenix–Mesa campus

Embry-Riddle recently moved to a beautiful, brand new building last month equipped with five classrooms, a student lounge, kitchen, break room and administration offices. It is a slightly larger floor plan than the previous location in Chandler including an additional classroom.

ERAU Worldwide  Phoenix-Mesa campus
ERAU Worldwide
Phoenix-Mesa campus
ERAU Classroom
ERAU Classroom
My classroom
My classroom

I met with my boss this morning to go over some last minute details for tomorrow’s class. I teased her saying I should hold my class in the student lounge (they have large very comfy overstuffed leather chairs!) since I’ve such a small group of students.

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ERAU Worldwide Classroom
ERAU Worldwide Classroom

The Freedom Tower

I was in Newark this morning operating a EWR – PHX flight and had a nice view of the Manhattan skyline and the Freedom Tower.

Freedom Tower
Freedom Tower

Although overcast skies this morning at the airport with some light drizzle, the view is always an inspiring one!

A distant Manhattan Skyline
A distant Manhattan Skyline
An adjacent American Airbus A321 parked at Newark
An American Airbus A321 parked at an adjacent gate at Newark

I Love LA

I immediately liked this picture because it represents something special to me.

Why is it special to me?

* Traveled to every country represented in this picture.

* Spent 18 years living in Latin America as a young kid. One of my earliest memories was looking up at an airplane flying overhead, as I walked alongside my dad, while living in Honduras. Where this flying thing first started!

* Traveled on AeroMexico, as a passenger, several times back in the day.

* Flown as a Captain on both the Boeing 737 and Airbus A320 series jets.

* Flown as a Captain into Canada and Mexico.

* Flown into LAX, one of my faves, on a regular basis since March 1987.

That’s why I love LA! You see everything!

Picture courtesy of

For additional information on the airport, click the link LAX.

Good Morning From Chicago’s O’Hare Airport. 

A very pretty morning in Chicago earlier this week. And, an easy day ahead of me, one-leg home from O’Hare to Phoenix.

This is a route I’ve flown countless times in my 28+ years in the airline business. During those years, I’ve flown the Boeing B737, B757 and the Airbus A320 series of jets into Chicago.

Here is our route as depicted on the website, FlightAware.


We flew the Airbus A321 at 32,000′ enroute to Phoenix. A little zig/zag around some weather in the Kansas City area and that was about it. Overall, a rather smooth flight with about an 85% load factor.

Here is a picture of the A321 passenger cabin as we prepare for passenger boarding in Chicago.

The First Officer (copilot) and I had stopped by Starbucks, naturally, for our morning coffee and treats prior to arriving at the American Airlines gate H12 that morning.

Nothing like that first cup of Joe! Mmm.. That banana nut muffin isn’t bad, either! Haha

I’m all set! Let’s do our pilot thing and get the Airbus A321 all set for this flight.

We’re scheduled for a 3:08 flight to PHX. A little bit of forecast turbulence for the first 45 minutes or so, weather related, and beyond that a nice flight is expected at an initial cruising altitude of 30,000 feet.

As we burn off fuel, resulting in a lighter Airbus, we’ll climb on up to 32,000. A bit later on, we’ll climb to 34,000 feet somewhere over southwestern Kansas or southeastern Colorado.

As we taxi out for departure for O’Hare’s runway 22L, we run into a typical morning rush hour and come to a complete stop. About 15-20 minutes later, we depart into the morning sky off towards PHX.

In the picture below, if you look closely, you can see the Chicago skyline on the bottom right of the picture. OK, you might have to squint to see the buildings!

I’m parked behind an American Boeing 737-800. I wondered where they were headed?

After takeoff, we were assigned a few left/right turns by Chicago Departure Control as we climbed to an initial altitude of 5,000 feet. The turns are designed to help align the jets departing O’Hare based upon a number of factors. One of these factors can include our initial departure path. In my case, we were departing the Chicago area to the southwest and towards St. Louis, the nearest large city along our flight path.

Our flight plan to Phoenix included the very standard O’Hare 8 Departure procedure. Something we’re all quite familiar with when departing O’Hare.

Eventually, the Chicago controller issues us a clearance to fly direct to the initial departure fix, Acito. (See the O’Hare 8 Departure plate below.)

Acito is located just south and west of O’Hare. From there we we’re on our way towards St. Louis and eventually, Phoenix.

Several hours later, we flew right over beautiful Santa Fe, New Mexico. One of my favorite places!

It was a sunny morning over the great state of New Mexico and a beautiful view from 34,000 feet.

Less than hour later, we arrived at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport.

All in all, an easy day! One-leg home days are generally easy.


It All Began in a Beechcraft C99

I cut my teeth in this Beechcraft C99, in the mid ’80s, flying around New Mexico.

Mesa Air Beechcraft C99 parked at ABQ
Mesa Air Beechcraft C99

Flying the C99 from ABQ to Roswell is essentially the same thing as flying an Airbus A321 from PHX to Denver. The only difference is better food and air-conditioning!

A lot of times while flying the Airbus, I think back to my New Mexico flying days and how this job is simply flying an airplane from A to B. However, I miss the awesome green chili chicken soup at the beautiful Albuquerque airport.

Albuquerque International Sunport - Courtesy ABQ Airport
Albuquerque International Sunport – Courtesy ABQ Airport

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A Perspective from 34,000 feet.


A Perspective from 34,000 feet.

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