New i pad App The i HUD


As many of you know the i pad has and is still in the process of revolutionizing aviation.  The ability to electronically store all of the maps and approach plates in the world has definitely made my life as a ferry pilot WAY easier.  In the olden days I would have to bring a stack of paper maps and approach plates that weighed literally POUNDS!  Now all I bring is my i Pad.  The latest gizmo I’ve found is the i HUD.  The i HUD is a virtual heads up display that in the event of the loss of your vacuum pump, followed shortly by your artificial horizon, can give you attitude information for up to eight hours.  You do need to buy the sending unit that costs about $800 but in my opinion if this thing works would be worth it.  The app also claims to give you synthetic vision that, again if works as advertised, would be a great tool when shooting low IFR approaches.  The future is here people and technology is making flying so easy even I can do it. 

Ferry Flight Pic of The Day

Hula Girl in Brazil

When a ferry pilot delivers an aircraft to it’s new owner more often than not he’s treated pretty damn good, sometimes like a king.  When Cory and I delivered a Bonanza to Brazil last year the owner had us fly it to his ranch where we were treated to a Brazilian style Barbeque and then a horseback tour of the countryside.

Sky Cowboy








Flying stories and fresh lamb

Phenom Trip Day Five, Into The Evil Empire


After a hard day of pulling on a rope and eating Sushi we flew the Phenom up north to Mother Russia with a quick stop in Hiroshima for a sip of go juice.  Hiroshima was a fuel only stop, meaning that we didn’t have to clear customs, just pay the landing fee, file the flight plan and hit the road.  A handler met us at the plane to take care of everything because we weren’t allowed to leave the immediate area of the plane.   This normally works out great and really saves time, that is unless you’ve  been flying for four hours without a pit stop and had another four to go.  Marcio and I conveyed our dilemma to our keepers but were met with the most common word we ran into in the far east when asking for something non-standard…”CANNOT!”   we were up aginst some sort of head security guard who kept looking at us like we were asking to see the Emperor instead of use the throne.  We offered to do our business on the side of a hanger and the guard looked like he was going to have a stroke, finally giving us access to the terminal for a quick pit stop.

Our flight path to Russia took us uncomfortably close to North Korean airspace.  Marcio and I agreed that if we ran into mechanical trouble we would try and limp back to Japan before landing in the forbidden kingdom.  After landing in Vladivostok I saw a large contingent of soldiers and what had to be customs and immigration people marching across the ramp towards our aircraft.  I turned to Marcio and said, “Aw geez, this doesn’t look good!”  and it wasn’t.  We spent three hours on that damn ramp while the customs agents tore through the jet. They just about had a fit when they saw how many cameras we had mounted all over the plane for the TV show we’re filming and I must admit it sure did look like a spy plane.  At one point one of the soldiers pointed to John our cameraman and said with a straight face and wagging finger “John, no, James Bond!”  We all thought that was pretty funny, well everyone except the Russians that is.  They finally let us go after taking pictures of everything on the plane to ensure that we didn’t sell any of it while we were in Russia.    While all this was going on they wouldn’t let us film or take any pictures but I did manage to take a few shots when they weren’t looking.

                                                                                                                Who’s James Bond now?                      

Phenom Trip Day Four, Tug of War

World record tug of war

After wasting four hours in Manado it was imperative that we turn and burn quickly in Manilla, and we did.  Our handler met us as we got off the jet and had everything we needed set up perfectly.  While he took our passports to customs the fuel truck showed up for a nascar fast fill up.  I filed the flight plan while Marcio begged the handler in Okinawa to wait for us, we were running just a little behind.  Forty five minutes after landing we were airborne again, a new record!  

The sun was setting as we left Manilla and seeing as it was my leg to fly Marcio paid me the honor of total trust by immediately falling asleep.  Flying the Phenom at night over the ocean was a sublime experience.  The Bose noise cancelling headset I was wearing was working great, blocking out all noise and giving me crisp clear music from my I pod.   I turned down the instrument lights and stared out at the milky way above us and imagined that this must be what it’s like to pilot a space ship.   Half way to Okinawa I heard a US. Navy aircraft trying to get in contact with an unknown plane that had strayed into North Korean airspace and was apparently giving the commies fits.  We got into Okinawa late but our handler was still the picture of perfect Japanese politeness as he took care of the paperwork and gave us a ride to our hotel.   

 The next day’s plan was an easy flight to Hiroshima then on to Vladivostok.  Because of this Marcio and I decided to have a few drinks and sleep in  get a good night’s sleep because crew rest in very important.  When we finally got ready to leave the hotel we found out that we happened to be in Okinawa on the one day a year that they held the century’s old tradition of a massive tug of war  between two rival cities.  When we were told that it was the world’s biggest tug of war with over twenty five thousand people participating we just had to spend the day pulling on a rope with the locals.

"Here, pull this"





Phenom Trip, Day Three


The plan for the day was a quick flight from Darwin over the Timor sea and the Banda sea to Manado Indonesia for hopefully a quick fuel stop.  From there another quick fuel stop in Manila then on to Okinawa.   The flight started out great with scattered clouds sprinkled over the beautiful blue ocean.  The approach into Manado reminded me of why I ferry airplanes around the world, it was over a tropical paradise filled with coconut trees, grass huts and a dormant volcano with a halo of clouds. 

At Manado we ran into big problem number one for the trip.  The immigration officer was quite upset that we hadn’t called the required twenty four hours in advance to obtain a landing permit.   Marcio tried to explain that he had called over two days before and whoever he had talked to hadn’t mentioned anything about a landing permit.  The officer couldn’t seem to care less that we’d gotten bad information.  He then asked us where our handler was and when we told him that we didn’t have one he got even more upset.

  There are many challenges involved in ferry flying and although the actual act of flying a small aircraft over distances it was never designed for is hard enough sometimes the biggest headaches are on the ground.  After landing a pilot has to clear security, customs, immigration, pay landing fees and file a flight plan.  Of course it would be extremely helpful if one could accomplish all of these tasks in one place but more often than not each of these offices are scattered all over the airport and finding them is like some sort of scavenger hunt.  Once found said pilot must humble himself before the  petty government employee who’s kingdom he’s invaded and beg for service, woe be it to the high and mighty pilot who demands such service.  When I started ferry flying back in the 90’s there was no such thing as airport handlers, at least I’d never heard of such a thing, but lately they’ve become all the rage.   Airport handlers assist foreign pilots in jumping through all the bureaucratic hoops that are required to transit an airport and I must admit that having someone who speaks the language and knows where the restroom is can be quite handy.  At some airports hiring a handler is mandatory and apparently Manado was one of them.

    Marcio and I were escorted to the immigration office where the officer proceeded to tell us over and over that a twenty four hour notice is required. 

  US:  “We agree that we screwed up and what do we do now?”

  HIM:   “You must have a landing permit, it is the law.”

  US:  “Yes, we understand and we’re very sorry.  What do we do now?”

  HIM:   “Twenty four hours in advance, that is required,”

  US:   “Right, we get it, we’re very very sorry.  So what do we do now?”

  Him:  “The regulations state that in order to land you must advise the airport at least twenty  four hours prior.”

  US:  ………………

  We went round and round with guy until we finally figured out what is was that he wanted.  With one less Benjamin Franklin in the aircraft we were on our way to Manila.

                                                                                                                       Random Atoll



Ferry Flight Pic of The Day

Hurricane Katia

Sometimes when you get a weather briefing for a flight outside of the United States you have a hard time interpreting the vague and incomplete data.  Sometimes not so much.   Last summer Stu and I stopped in the Turks and Caicos for fuel while delivering a Beech Bonanza from North Carolina down to Brazil.  The FBO had wireless and Stu was able to pull up a satellite image on his i pad.   What we saw was sobering.  Hurricane Katia had sped up and turned west, threatening our intended flight path to St. Martin.  Our choice’s were take off and hope we could sneak around the hurricane and get to St. Martin unscathed, spend the night in the Turks and hope the hurricane didn’t hit the island and destroy the aircraft, or us, or take the advise of Sir Robin and RUN AWAY!  We were responsible for the Bonanza and the prudent thing to do might be to get the plane out of harm’s way.  In the end we decided to go for it, was there ever any doubt?  I made the call based on the fact that we had Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic as escape routs if we found a hurricane in our way.

      The decision being made we blasted off under a VFR flight plan because I didn’t want any delays that might come with filing an IFR flight plan.  The first half of the flight was great, smooth air and great visibility.  But ahead of us we could see the sky getting darker and darker, an ominous sign.  It wasn’t long before we flew into strong rain showers and moderate turbulence, we were hitting the edges of the hurricane and the conditions were getting worse.  Discretion being the better part of valor we altered course over San Juan and hooked around St. Croix to stay clear of the worst of the weather.  Clear of the Hurricane we were treated to a spectacular sunset.Just another day.   

Phenom Trip Day Two, Across Austraila

Taking off on a trip of this magnitude is definitely not something to be taken lightly.  Proper planning is everything, make one mistake, miss one important item and it can cost you dearly.  A good ferry pilot  insures that he is well prepared with all the maps and approach charts for the route, spare parts and oil for the aircraft, landing and overflight permits filed and most importantly……snacks.  The choices you make at the grocery store before you take off can haunt you for thousands of miles, if you know what I mean.

Marcio and I left Sydney with three bags of salt and sugar, we told our wives it was fresh fruit and rice cakes,  and a case of good India Pale Ale on ice.  There is nothing like a clod beer after on the ramp after a long day’s work.  Our first planned stop was Mt. Isa in central Australia, Heart of the outback Mate!   But a one hundred knot headwind at thirty eight thousand feet caused us to make an unplanned stop in beautiful Longreach home of the…..of the…….well not much but it did look like there had been water there sometime in the last few years or so. 


Getting out of the Jet we were surprised to find that Longreach is home to the Qantas Air museum.  It had a Dc-3  747 and a few other old jets that I don’t remember.  I miss the days when they named airliners like name ships, the plane in the foreground is called the CITY OF CANBERRA  and the 747 is called THE SPIRIT OF……….., can’t remember.   You just never know what you’re going to find on one of these trips.The rest of the flight to Darwin was over some of the most beautiful and primordial looking countryside I’d ever seen.  I would dearly love to go back there someday with my family and go on a walkabout.  Getting into Darwin there were a few thunderstorms to dodge but being in the Phenom made it a non-issue.  When we landed it was still light out, a rare treat for a ferry pilot, we flew all the way across Australia in less than eight hours!  I could really get used to flying in jets, the same trip in a small single engine plane would’ve taken over thirteen.  

  After checking in to the hotel and having dinner Marcio and I wandered over to one of the local watering holes for to observe the Sheilas in their native environment.  Being a two young   old,  good looking  Haggard looking, single  married guys on the loose in Darwin you can only imagine what an epic night we had.