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International Security and

the Corporate Aircraft


When Captain Mouden and I first discussed the idea of my presenting a paper to this seminar, the topic was along vague lines of cockpit and cabin awareness, VIP service, and corporate operations in the Middle East. When his letter arrived, he had changed the topic to “International Security and the Corporate Aircraft.” I was a bit dismayed at first 

Ode to a Gulfstream IIB; An Airplane with a Soul


I hadn’t planned to go to New Orleans, but when I heard she would be there, I changed my mind. Just the thought of seeing her again brought a warm smile to my face. Before our separation, The Lady and I had been together for several years. Both of us had changed considerably....

Designing the Perfect Corporate Jet

March 1994

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The perfect woman, the perfect man, the perfect pet, or the perfect plane. All dreams. However, we should remember that present day reality is based on someone’s earlier dreams. I have the perfect woman and I once had a pet rock that I’ve long since lost. That just leaves the perfect man and the perfect airplane, and only...

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ILS 33R Hades

Kuwait July 1991

Back in eighth grade, in the God-fearing American Midwest, Sister Mary Catherine Thomas, of the School Sisters of Notre Dame, insured that I carried the mental image of hell for the rest of my life. It probably had something to do with my behavior patterns back then. Nonetheless, I never expected to encounter the vision she so vividly described until.....

The Last Person You'd Ever Expect to Fly Private

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As we enter 2018 and I enter my 53rd year in aviation, I have really started to think about what I want my legacy to be in this industry. In many ways, this is an unanswerable question. Maybe the only way I can tackle it is to look at patterns in my career. I am proud of my industry. Since I started in 1965, I have seen...

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A Day in a Falcon 900 Front Office

November 1994

It was 05:15 a.m. as I started my Jeep Cherokee and my uniform shirt was already drenched with sweat. I looked at the overhead temperature indicator and saw 34° Celsius. Since I’ve never been able to remember the conversion factor I punched the button and changed it to 94°F. Sorry...

Thoughts on Aircraft Management

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You’re a high net worth individual and you really don’t enjoy traveling on airlines anymore. You and your family might feel much safer on your private aircraft. Or you might have a successful company. You realize that in a soft economy, you and your team need to get around more. It just might be a mistake to quietly await the economic upswing. A more aggressive approach to...

The US, Gaddafi and Me

When I was twelve years old and my older brother was twenty nine he threw me across his knee and spanked the dickens out of me. Granted, I deserved it. He was home on leave from the Army and wore suspenders with his uniform. I thought it was great fun to sneak up behind him and snap them across his back. He warned me several times that....

Jeddah, 1986
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Gray Market Charter Flights

February 2013

"Everybody talks about the weather but nobody does anything about it.” Whether Mark Twain or Dudley Warner said it first remains debatable. The point is that the same thing could be said about gray-market charters. I have been in corporate and VIP aviation for decades, and I have been hearing the legal charter operators complain about this issue for my entire career.

Marty and Thom


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You would have liked Marty. Everyone did. He was young, ambitious and charming. Someone once said about him, “He could charm the birds out of the trees.” I liked that. He really could. He was confident, too. He had an aviation related Master’s degree from Embry Riddle, a really sweet wife and a darling little girl. When I knew him, he worked long hours at low pay, building time as a flight instructor/charter pilot. 

Speak Up and

Keep Us All Alive


'November Oscar' was part of the callsign of a Boeing 747, and this month marks the 10-year anniversary of the 'November Oscar incident.' This incident became a landmark case in aviation history because, due to a series of judgment calls, an airline captain involved in an incident, not an accident, was judged a criminal, lost his job with a  major international airline and, shortly thereafter, committed suicide.

International Relations

What’s a corporate airplane without a bar on it, right? Everyone knows the passengers like a little hit now and then. It puts the color back in white knuckles. I’ve even heard tell of a crew or two that’s been known to have an occasional little shooter out of the private stock once the bird’s in the barn. That perk won’t be around for long though. Congress is sure to find some way to tax that...

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March 1994

Being a little too long in the tooth, and not naturally predisposed toward hero worship anyway, I still enjoy admiring people who have achieved a degree of success in their chosen callings. As a result, I sometimes find myself putting these folks on a pedestal and am disappointed when they slip.

Living half a world away from my aviation “roots,”....

The Most Abused Frequency on Earth

March 1997

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The trip to Europe came up suddenly and there had been no time to leave word that I wouldn’t be around to have dinner that night with my pal. I knew, having been in the flying business for years, Clint would understand we would get together another time. He was landing in the Middle East on a Boeing 747 cargo flight from Europe. There was a crew change and he had...

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Romance in Aviation

January 1986

It seems you hear more and more pilots bemoaning the fact that there is no longer any romance in aviation. I vote that’s ridiculous. There’s still lots of romance left. We all get jaded and just lose sight of what romance is.

On a recent trip from London to Jeddah, fellow crewmembers and I were discussing what still turns us on about flying....

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Airbus 380 Freighter Conversion, reasonable or Not?

As an aviation consultant I am frequently asked by would-be entrepreneurs if they have just had the original idea of converting an A380 passenger airliner to cargo. They all seem to have variations of the same basic introductory comment, “Airbus 380s are being grounded all over the world since passenger traffic is down and it seems to be an overlooked investment opportunity.

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