Sunday, February 14, 2010


The hi-ways of our national air transportation system, are fairly busy any day of the year. The jet routes, or roads, that pilots fly on, have multiple levels that are separated by one thousand feet. These jet routes start at 18,000 feet and go up to over 40,000 feet. Airplanes flying to the east, fly at odd altitudes and airplanes flying west, fly at even altitudes. Aircraft going in one direction are separated 2000 feet apart. Traffic going in the opposite direction is layered in between these aircraft 2000 feet apart. What you end up with are airplanes going 500 mph, flying in opposite directions, only 1000 feet apart. That's close!

In the cockpit, it ends up as a fun event to watch, over and over again, as you fly along the jet routes. Modern airliners are easily capable of maintaining this separation. All commercial aircraft have electronic devices that allow us to see the location and the altitude of aircraft around us, day or night, good weather, or bad. Sometimes, like today, you slowly catch up and pass a jet going in the same direction, 2000 feet above or below you. The video I attached was taken as we were overtaking a jet on our way from LAX to JFK, somewhere east of Albuquerque. The aircraft was 2000 feet below us. I did use the optical zoom on my camera to capture the exhaust trails from the engines.

The video is close to what we observe. Youtube has a good video depicting a 24 hour moving graphic of air traffic in the U.S. at

I would like to direct anyone interested to my good buddy and pilot Joe, who maintains the podcast "Fly With Me."
He is strarting a live podcast that starts next week. Should be pretty entertaining. The following is the email he sent to me,

"The first Fly With Me Live broadcast will be Sunday, Feb 21 at 1:00 PM PST. It will be on (link below). I hope you can join us. My guest will be "Betty" from the "Betty in the Sky With a Suitcase" podcast -- she'll appear via Skype video. And she's hilarious.

I will be encouraging viewers to call in via Skype to join in the conversation with us -- so make sure your Skype setup is ready! The call-in Skype address is "fwm_live".

If you don't want to call in, there will be chat via Ustream chat and the "social stream"(Twitter, Facebook, etc.). You can ask us questions about anything you want. And then we can just say whatever we want in return ;-) I hope you can participate, because this will be a lot of fun.

Also, let your friends know about the show -- I'm sure they'll enjoy it. You can just forward this email -- here's the link to the show:

Hope to see you there,

Twitter: @Joe_dEon"

Be Safe,


Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Fallen Soldier Redux

I continue to receive comments on my post, "FALLEN SOLDIER" One comment deserves attention. It was written by a member of the company honor guard. FlyGuy was humbled to tears when I read this individuals' comment. I wish I could shake the hands and look into the eyes of every one of these men and women, who give so much of themselves, to those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for all of us. The following comment has not been changed in any way. God Bless you all.

"Great story Fly Guy, however we are the XXXXX Air Lines Honor Guard. We have worked with the patriot riders on a few escorts.
We honor all those who serve in the military in any branch and in any capacity, we have honored those who have been MIA for over 65 years from WWII to a young man who passed away his last day of boot camp. I have personally never served a day in my life. I am honored to be surrounded by many agents who have served and few who have not but are just as dedicated. Some have served in Afghanistan, Iraq, Kuwait and Viet Nam, Two have lost family, one in Iraq and one in Afghanistan.

These people are dedicated and have no problem rendering honors in the rain, cold, wind and blistering heat on the ramp. I have people show up on their days off, before work, after work and even on vacation to help. This group is all volunteer, no extra pay or benefits no extra days off just the satisfaction that they have honored a person who has committed their lives to protecting ours and our great way of life. One thing I do not think most people realize is many times the escorts are themselves related to the service members. A few recent ones I will never forget.

An Air Force pilot that was shot down in Viet Nam in 1968 and finally recovered and identified was traveling through ATL on his way to be buried in Arlington National Cemetery. We went to render honors, and I went upstairs to get the escort, he had elderly woman with him and asked if she could come down as well, I agreed and we went down and preformed honors and when I gave him the card and coin to give to the next of kin he referred me to this small frail woman, she was the pilots wife. She is 81 years old and had been waiting 41 years for him to come home, she was in awe that a group of total strangers would take the time to honor a man none of us knew. She personally thanked everyone and then the Air Force escort pointed to his wrist, there on his wrist was an MIA/POW bracelet for this pilot he had been wearing for the last 17 years...

I had an escort come off a flight, a Command Sergeant Major, 30 years in the U.S. Army, a man to be both respected and feared. The honor guard had finished rendering honors on the remains he was escorting, an 18 year old “girl” who was killed in Afghanistan, I was getting ready to take the escort upstairs to board the flight when he asked me If I had any children, and if any were serving in the military, I told him “yes” I have three sons and my oldest was deployed in Afghanistan. He was trembling and asked that I give my boys a hug and next time I talked to my son in Afghanistan to let him know how much I loved him “because you never know.” The “girl” he was escorting was his daughter...

On April 24th we had an escort come off the flight from HNL and then connecting on to DFW I had done some research and had found out the remains were that of SSgt XXXXX of the United States Army Air Force, shot down in his B-24 in September of 1944. Normally if the remains is army the escort is army and so on. SSgt XXXXX escort was a United States Marine. This gentleman would not leave the remains for a second and was absolutely dedicated to watching over his ward. After rendering honors on SSgt XXXXX the escort asked if he could address the honor guard. At this point Captain XXXXX, USMC wanted to thank us and everyone at Delta Air Lines for the manner in we transported and the homecoming of SSgt XXXXX, his grandfather whom he had never met...

On October 8, 2008 my eldest son Sr. Airman Brian J McConnell Jr. USAF escorted the remains of my father MSgt Angus J. McConnell {USAF retired} through Atlanta. I was filled with many emotions that day, sadness for the loss of my dad and over whelming love and pride for my son and his commitment to honor his grandfather and get him home. I will forever be grateful to my Delta family for the respect and honor shown to my family and myself. Thank You All..."

Be Safe,