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"We are the protagonists of our stories called life, and there is no limit to how high we can fly."

PHD. MBA. MHS. Type rated on A350, A330, B777, B747-400, B747-200, B757, B767, B737, B727. International Airline Pilot / Author / Speaker. Dedicated to giving the gift of wings to anyone following their dreams. Supporting Aviation Safety through training, writing, and inspiration. Fighting for Aviation Safety and Airline Employee Advocacy. Safety Culture and SMS change agent.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Wednesday Wellness: ECG's

Dr. Larry

"Off the Record Q & A with a Local A.M.E."

DR. Larry

Dr. Larry, I’m told ECG’s are transmitted to the FAA as they are taken. Is this true? What is an ECG? What does it show?

Answer: A heartbeat occurs when a little spark near the top of the heart causes the heart muscle to contract. Stick-on skin electrodes pick up the electrical energy as it travels down the heart muscle to the tip of the heart, creating an electrocardiogram. An electrocardiogram, or ECG or EKG, displays the rhythm, direction and energy of the heartbeat.

In the typical evaluation, known as a 12-lead ECG, the electrical pathway is viewed from 12 different positions. Like radar revealing an airplane’s course, ECGs indicate when the heartbeat deviates from the norm. Irregular heartbeats or altered pathways can indicate damaged heart muscle.

Many pilots express concern the ECG is transmitted to the FAA before it can be checked for errors, which could lead to unnecessary down time. Typically an AME obtains the ECG then reviews it with the pilot prior to sending. In our office, if we find something abnormal, we discuss its significance and if necessary, begin an evaluation to assess the potential problem. Only after this discussion do we fulfill the requirement to transmit the ECG to OKC.

Rarely will an ECG lead to a loss of license. When potential problems do appear, down time is possible while further evaluations are undertaken. When the pilot and AME work together, the pilot has the best chance of returning to work ASAP, often within the time the AME is allowed to issue a certificate – 10 to 14 days.

ECGs are required only for first-class medical exams, once after a pilot’s 35th birthday, then once every 12 months over age 40.

Here are some tips to optimize a healthy ECG:

  • Avoid or minimize stimulants such as caffeine and decongestants
  • Be as well rested as possible
  • Take cell phones and electrical devices out of pockets - they can create electrical interference
  • Relax, don’t talk or move during the ECG - it can create artifact
  • Have confidence the outcome will be fine - anxiety raises adrenaline and heart rate and potential for irregular beats
  • Don’t hesitate to ask your AME to review the ECG before transmitting to OKC.

Remember, ECGs are a reflection of one’s wellness. Keep the heart healthy with good cardio-type exercise, minimize one’s risks (cholesterol, sleep, stress, nicotine, alcohol) and the outcome should be a good one.

To your good health,

Dr. Larry.

Thank you Dr. Larry! To read more about Dr. Larry, and learn how to contact him, click HERE

Enjoy the Journey!

XOX Karlene

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

On The FRINGE...

Gregory Barton: The Golf Guy who Writes great books!

Pilots an golf just seem to go together, and for those who carry clubs around the world on their trips show a bit more dedication than most. But when you’re going to be stationed in Jakarta for a month—why not?

This is where I learned to golf. How could I not with four of the best teachers? “Your legs are too close together,” one captain said. “Your legs are too far apart,” another chimed in. “Use the power of your body as you swing,” a flight engineer added. “Make sure you look at the ball.” You know how those pilots are—always telling you how to do it better.

I had more help than I knew what do with. But despite their gallant efforts I proceeded to hook the ball—it flew to the left on the driving range. And then one of the captains’ said, “Try my clubs.” His clubs happened to be left-handed and my problem was solved. I just used them like I hit backhand on the racquetball court and it straightened out. Perfect! 110 yards—not far, but straight. For all avid golfers you know I wasn’t really swinging the club properly. I think the comment would be “more body, less arm.”

True Golf Story: A 747 Northwest Airlines captain had to give up golfing for a few years after he lost his clubs—he threw them into the water. Every golfer has a story.

Greg and his sons

What could be better than giving that golfer in your life a compilation of golf stories?

Gregory G. Barton’s book, ON THE FRINGE and other uncommon tales of golf, was a fun read. I’m thinking this may be the gift to give that person who has everything—except the perfect game.

This well written book is filled with golf stories that only a true golfer could enjoy. If you know a golfer, or you yourself swing a club, leave a comment and share your story, or just tell G.B. hello and you’ll be entered into a drawing to win an autographed book for you, or someone you love—and just in time for Christmas.

Please follow Greg on Twitter at @GGuilfordBarton He would love to hear from you.

More great news… The kindle edition of Greg’s book The Nimble Men, golf is no ordinary game, is now available. This is a single story out of the compilation of stories. Click HERE for an easy download.

Do you have a golf story you’d like to share? Leave a comment and you’ll be entered into the drawing for an autographed copy of ON THE FRINGE and other uncommon tales of golf...

Drawing to be held on December 22nd

If you can't wait for the drawing, you can also purchase a copy of ON THE FRINGE and other uncommon tales of golf by clicking HERE.

Enjoy the Journey.

XOX Karlene

Monday, November 28, 2011

Monday Motivation: Timing

"Everything Happens in Perfect Timing with the Universe"

Ever hear the saying when the stars and moon align? Maybe they have.

Last week I was given a trip that deadheaded me from Seattle to Detroit to Nagoya to sit for 48 hours. A flight to Honolulu to sit for another 35 hours, and a deadhead home. I was missing Thanksgiving, and spending 23 hours plus sitting in the back of planes around the world for a 7 hour flight.

I have a huge remodeling project going on at home. My middle daughter is due to have her baby any day. Holiday decorating is waiting. Recurrent training pending. Final edits on Flight For Control in the process... The list goes on. I didn't have time to sit on a plane! Or did I?

I finished my novel between DTW and NGO. I gave up the HNL layover and made it home in time for the first 1:30 a.m. call to babysit the big brother so my daughter could get to the hospital. (False alarm... my newest little granddaughter is in a holding pattern.) While nothing is organized at home, I managed to get the staining done after my grandson was sleeping last night.

The point is... as much as I have to do, it always gets done despite what perceived obstacles are thrown in my way.

In hindsight~ everything worked out as it should. Sometimes we have to sit back and accept when the Universe has a different plan than we do... it may just be better.

Enjoy the Journey!

XOX Karlene

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving from Ghana

"Thank you all for your giving happily to MoM all year, may your Thanksgiving day be a wonderful one.... we give thanks for you all being our friends, supporters and encourager's from the USA - you and your families!

All the best wishes possible are coming from Kpong Airfield and the Medicine on the Move Team in Ghana to you in the USA as you celebrate this special day, may it be a safe and peaceful one!

Take care and enjoy the day, we wish you were all with us over here - it is a bit warmer than 'chez vous' at this time of year!"

A wonderful message from my friends in Ghana to all...

Watch for the gift of giving party when Flight For Control is released...
We'll have a book signing event where proceeds go to Medicine On the Move...MOM... It will be spectacular! Everyone is invited. Date and location to be announced.

Enjoy the Journey!

XOX Karlene

Friday, November 25, 2011

Barry Schiff: Friday's Fabulous Flyer

Captain Barry Schiff

Taken earlier this year when I got checked out in a B-29.

Barry may have started his flying career by ducking a flying shoe—but he ended it as a Captain with TWA in 1988. And ending his career is open for debate, as Barry is actively involved in writing, teaching and mentoring young pilots... and getting checked out in new (old) planes.

His life has been an amazing adventure. 20 years old he taught ground school to work his way through college. He built a small business, Aero-Progress, Inc., which he eventually sold in 1963 by to “Times-Mirror for its subsidiary, Jeppesen.”

Barry and Elroy Jeppesen when he sold his publishing business to him in 1963

Karlene: You’re one of the most accomplished, humble pilots, who has gone far beyond the realm of just flying planes, but to writing, educating, mentoring, and teaching, too. You also have one of the most unique stories. Can you tell our readers how Barry Schiff became interested in aviation and the obstacles you faced?

Barry: I am going to respond with a very long answer because I wrote about my inauspicious beginnings about 20 or so years ago and just happen to have it available. So, here goes:

The road through life is a fascinating series of forks, turns, and twists that often take us to unlikely and unpredictable destinations. No one who knows me would guess that my aviation career was a direct result of my having been a juvenile delinquent.

In front of a flight school at Clover Field in 1952 (age 14), but this is not the school at which I took lessons.

I recall the seminal event as if it were yesterday. I was 13 years old and sat nervously between my parents as we faced the vice-principal of Emerson Junior High School in West Los Angeles in the spring of 1951. “Mr. and Mrs. Schiff, I believe that Barry’s behavioral problems are the result of his hanging out with the wrong crowd. I suggest that he be sent away for the summer, away from such bad influences. Otherwise,” the man in the suit warned, “Barry will become worse.” My parents agreed to have me spend the summer with my grandparents in New Jersey.

A month later, my parents led me toward my first airplane ride, a North American Airlines’ Douglas DC-4 that would whisk me from Burbank to Wichita to Chicago Midway to LaGuardia. They could ill afford the cost of this ticket and would not allow me to forget how its purchase had wreaked havoc with the family budget.

I sat next to a window and stared incredulously at what I saw. The iron wing stretched endlessly into the night like the arm of some prehistoric monster. I knew that the wings kept us from falling but did not know how. They did not move or flap or do anything to help me understand what prevented gravity from having its way with the iron monster. Blue fire streaked from roaring engines bolted onto the wings. They snarled and shook incessantly as if to keep some imaginary enemy at bay. If I had pressed any harder against that window, either it or my nose would have broken.

Curiosity drew me to the library in my hometown of New Brunswick (partly because I got bored of throwing freshly laid eggs at the chickens running around my grandparents’ back yard). There I discovered a 1945 hardbound book entitled The Science of Pre-Flight Aeronautics, another seminal event. I was totally consumed by its 774 pages and found myself drawn deeper into its esoteric subject matter. There I encountered those words now so familiar: Bernoulli, Venturi, airfoil, camber, pitot. The wing, I discovered, was so elegant in the way it worked without really working at all.

As you might know, I learned to fly in taildraggers.
This picture shows that I consequently was not very good with tricycle landing gear

I could not fathom all of what I read, so I hitchhiked to nearby Hadley Airport hoping that I would find friendly pilots to help me better understand the more complex concepts. It surprised me that they did not know as much as I had expected. There I was offered a flight in a J-3 Cub, which my grandparents absolutely forbade me to accept.

Before summer’s end I had read all five of my library’s aviation books. I could hardly wait for the airline flight home and to tell my parents about my burning desire to fly.

The response was predictable. “You will not take flying lessons,” my father barked sternly. “You will become a doctor or a lawyer or other professional.” I refrained from informing him that there were professional pilots lest his belt would have found bottom, my bottom.

Barry (the tallest of the group) and his first 3 students

standing next to the airplane in which he learned to fly

and instructed, Aeronca N81881. 1956 (age 18).

That did not stop me from hitchhiking to nearby Clover Field (now called Santa Monica Municipal Airport) and sneaking onto a taxiway where I stuck my thumb into the air whenever an airplane taxied by. (If I could hitch a ride in an automobile, I reasoned, why could I not do the same in airplane?) I was desperate for a flight in a little airplane, and I got one.

A year later found me with new and better friends at school, but I was still enough of a rebel to forge my mother’s signature on the application for a student pilot certificate. I also got a job at the airport working in exchange for dual instruction. I told my parents about the job but not its purpose. They had wondered why I was always so broke. I did not have the courage to tell either parent that I was taking flying lessons. I did not have to.

"My hero, the flight instructor, 1956, age 18. This in front of the hangar at Bell Air Service, where I did learn to fly"

One day my instructor called home to let me know that the Aeronca “Champ” (N81881) that I was scheduled to fly later that afternoon was in the shop and would not be available for my flight. He left that message with my father. Oops.

Enough time passed between the call and my arriving home from school for my father to develop a fuming rage. He chased me out of our apartment and into the nearby alley. At 14, I was thankfully fleeter of foot, but I did notice one of his thrown shoes sailing over my head.

I slept in a neighbor’s garage that night and developed the courage to go home the next morning. When my father saw that I was determined to pursue my passion, he reluctantly agreed to allow me to continue flying because it seemed to have given me a productive direction and diverted me from earlier behavioral problems (or so he thought).

One of Barry's early students, actress Jill St. John

Karlene: Did you parents ever approve of your career?

Barry: My parents never really approved of their elder son becoming an aviator until I was hired by Trans World Airlines in 1964. This is when they learned that they would be given free passes to travel anywhere along TWA’s global route structure.

At 21 Barry held his ATP, and when the "big three" were hiring— American, Trans-World and United Airlines. Barry opted for TWA because “it was the only one at that time with both domestic and international routes. It was the "Lindbergh Line," the "Airline of the Stars." For me, there was no other choice.”

"We figured that if that headgear helped the Japanese find Pearl Harbor that they would help us find HNL."

During his 34-year career during he flew everything from the Lockheed Constellation to the Boeing 747 and was a check captain on the Boeing 767. He also earned ever FAA category and class rating except airship, as well as all possible instructor ratings.

Working hard: Athens-JFK flight in an L-1011.

Karlene: You’ve flown more hours in more types than I could ever hope to fly… I think a world record. How many hours and types are you up to these days? And of course we want to know which is your favorite plane?

Barry: Currently I am at almost 28,000 hours and have flown 325 types. It is difficult to specify a favorite type because each has a different role and purpose. Having said that, I would choose a P-51 for pure unadulterated excitement, any of several open-cockpit biplanes for going on a romantic flight at twilight on a warm summer evening, the L-1011 as my all-time favorite jetliner, and the list goes on, depending on my mood and the purpose of the flight.

With my best friend, Hal Fishman (left), as co-author,

I wrote two novels, "The Vatican Target" and "Flight 902 is Down."

Photo taken in cockpit of TWA L-1011

Karlene: If you could give one tip for the next generation of pilots, what would it be?

Barry: Working one's way into the left seat of airliner can be a difficult and lengthy process and reminds me of when Tom Hanks played a coach in the motion picture, “A League of Their Own.” The star player, played by Geena Davis, wanted to quit the baseball team because “it is too hard.” Hanks told her, “It’s supposed to be hard. Hard is what makes it good. If it weren’t hard, everybody’d be doing it.”

The same is true in pursuing a professional piloting career. A person should never allow himself or herself to become discouraged, never waver from the task at hand, and never let your eye to wander from the target. The goal is achievable irrespective of how tortuous the route.

Barry on the right, and his student, Griff Hoerner, after an emergency landing on a Santa Monica beach.The cop gave him a ticket for illegal parking of a motor vehicle on a public beach, but the judge threw it out of court.

Karlene: Have you always had a passion for writing, or did you begin writing because you had so much to say?

Barry: I entered the writing profession through the back door. Again, this is something that I wrote about many, many years ago.

Click HERE to read more. Let’s just say he sold his little publishing company to Jeppsen.

when I started an aviation publishing business, Aero-Progress, Inc., in 1959 (age 21).

I sold that business to Jeppesen in 1963, the year before I started with TWA.

Karlene: Many articles you'd written discussed "personally developed concepts, procedures, and techniques" Would you share one technique with our readers?

Barry: The first one involved turning around following an engine failure shortly after takeoff. The "rule" said never to do this, but it seemed illogical. There were times when such a maneuver could be safe. So I researched the subject and have been writing about it every since I first wrote about it in 1959. Since then, many others have done the same.

I also developed the procedure of stopping the prop at high altitude following an engine failure to improve glide range. I also developed the concept of pressure-pattern navigation for light airplanes at low altitude.

Karlene: Your training books... Proficient Pilot 1 and 2, Flying wisdom, and Flying the golden Science, I know touch on a different area of training. Could you tell me in brief sentence what the readers will get when they read each? What your intent was when writing.

Barry: The purpose in my writing usually is to present material in a different manner so that the subject matter becomes easier to understand. I have always strived to simplify complex subjects without sacrificing accuracy.

Karlene: You flew the Spirit of St. Louis, and you tell us what if felt like taking her into the sky?

Barry: I felt privileged, honored to have a taste of what Lindbergh experienced. It was like flying across the pages of history. I didn't want to come down.

“I soloed my son, Brian, on his 16th birthday, September 8, 1967. He started flying for TWA when he was 21,

became a 727 captain, and now flies for American Airlines.”

Karlene: You started your son out early teaching him how to fly a glider. But is he flying for an Airline today?

Barry: Brian started out flying for TWA when he was 21 years old and became a Boeing 727 captain. Then when American Airlines purchased TWA, he became an AA pilot.

Barry and son, Brian in front of a B-757 engine

on the occasion of my retirement flight, June 21, 1998.

(TWA had sold its L-1011s and 747s during the previous year, which is why I didn't retire on one of those.)

Karlene: Your grandson is darling. Do you think you have another aviator in your future?

Barry: I hope so, but that, of course, would be up to him. I never pushed any of my children to become pilots. I felt it important that the desire to fly develop within their souls. All I ever did was to encourage and attempt to facilitate whatever it is they wanted to do. The passion for flight has to come from within. All I could do is hope that they would catch my infectious enthusiasm for aviation. Two of my kids did; the other two did not.

Barry and his son, Brian, and his first grandson, Brett, at the end of his final flight.

“What made it remarkably specialwas that Brian was my first officer,

and the event occurred on Father's Day, 1998.

By the way, I, Brian, and Brett are known as BS1, BS2 and BS3, respectively.”

Karlene: Did you parents ever approve of your career?

Barry: My parents never really approved of their elder son becoming an aviator until I was hired by Trans World Airlines in 1964. This is when they learned that they would be given free passes to travel anywhere along TWA’s global route structure.

"I finally mastered tricycle landing gear (while filming a video about how to fly a taildragger)"

Barry has mastered more than the tricycle landing gear, he's mastered life. He's giving back too! Click HERE to learn more about the $3000 scholarship he's gifting out. Thank you Barry for all that you've given to the world of aviation!

Enjoy the Journey!

XOX Karlene

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving: Day of Gratitude

My family has a tradition of taking turns sharing what we’re grateful for during the year. I won’t be with them today, but tomorrow I’ll be home, and will be just as grateful for each of them tomorrow, as I am today.

Each one of us has someone we can be grateful for in our lives. The mentors who've molded and shaped our lives, and given us courage and confidence to follow our dreams. I have so many, but today is not my day.

This is Barry Schiff week, and today I’m sharing Barry’s gratitude for two significant people in his life. The pilots/mentors who gave him the gift of wings.

Barry had said there had been “innumerable people who inspired, encouraged, and assisted my aeronautical growth," and today we’ll meet two—Paul Blackman, and Paul Bell. While they are no longer with us, their memory lives on, as did their impact on Barry.

From the writings of Barry Schiff~

Paul Blackman:

He kept his North American Navion at Bell Air Service, where I was working as a lineboy and learning to fly. My relationship with his magnificent airplane initially consisted only of towing it in and out of the community hangar, pumping fuel into the wing tanks, and cleaning the windshield.

To me, there was nothing more alluring in the world than that immaculate Navion (N5227K). Its sleek lines and sliding canopy reminded me of the airplane after which it had been designed, the North American P-51 Mustang.

Blackman had been a bomber pilot during World War II and afterwards became an executive in the meat-packing business.

“Barry,” he asked one day. “If I checked you out in my Navion, would you fly one of my cattle buyers to Visalia this weekend?” It was a rhetorical question, and Blackman knew it.

Transitioning from an Aeronca “Champ” to a Navion was a giant leap. This was a big, heavy airplane. It had a hydraulic system and a panel so loaded with gadgets that it made me feel as though I were in the cockpit of an airliner.

(Photo taken from click here if interested in purchasing)

After some maneuvering, Blackman had me level off at 7,500 feet over the Los Angeles Basin. During that smooth, rock-solid flight, he turned to me and said that he thought that I could hold 7,500 feet just as easily as I was holding 7,600. Blackman had no tolerance for sloppiness.

During a subsequent flight, he feigned sleeping in the right seat, and every once in a while would blurt out, “I felt that.” Blackman had golden hands, and he expected others to manipulate the controls with equal finesse. “You should never feel what a pilot does with an airplane,” he would teach. “There’s nothing we can do about a gust knocking down a wing, but raising the wing doesn’t have to be matched by the pilot with equal vigor. It’s not how quickly you restore attitude as long as you get it moving in the right direction.”

Blackman taught me a great deal about flying and patiently nurtured and molded me into a decent pilot.

That weekend I flew Blackman’s cattle buyer to Visalia. His name was Harry Abdul. Eight years later, he and his wife would have a baby girl who eventually became famous as song-and-dance sensation, Paula Abdul. Little did Harry know that his 17-year-old pilot had only 120 hours in rag-covered, taildragging trainers and was commanding the Navion for the first time.

As the years passed, Blackman’s and my roles became transposed. He relied on me to provide him with advice during biennial flight reviews and instrument proficiency checks. It seemed so strange teaching him techniques that he could not remember having taught me so very long ago.

Every pilot should have a mentor during the formative years of his flying career, someone to provide support and encouragement. A special gratification comes from helping someone to reach a goal. Blackman played no small role in helping me to reach mine, and I will be forever grateful.

Paul Bell:

Another such person was Paul Bell, who owned the flight school where I worked as a lineboy for several of my mid-teen years.

He trained me to become a flight instructor. No, not just a flight instructor. He taught me how to be a teacher.

And then when I was 18 he hired me as his chief flight and ground instructor. He showed great confidence in me and incessantly encouraged my aeronautical growth.

Sadly, both men are gone.

Thank you Barry for sharing these stories and your gratitude of your mentors. We are all grateful for you.

Who are you grateful for today?

Happy Thanksgiving!

Leave a comment and get, yet, another entry into the autographed book giveaway.

Enjoy the Journey!

XOX Karlene

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Flying Scholarship... Relieving Stress

Wednesday Wellness…

Removing the financial stress of learning how to fly!

How much stress can one person take?

“If only we knew. Crystal ball anyone? Given what we put ourselves through on a regular basis, it’s obviously an amazing amount. Fortunately, our bodies have incredible resiliency. Nevertheless, everyone has a breaking point. Do you know what yours is? Unlike the planes we fly, it’s challenging for us to tell when the effect of stress will cause calamity, and unfortunately, we don’t replace body parts before they fail.

So on the eve of Thanksgiving, let’s pause to be grateful what our bodies do, how well they withstand the pressures we put them under, and how wonderful it is when they work as intended.”

Gratefully, to everyone’s good health,

Dr. Larry.

Thank you Dr. Larry... and now, a special Thanksgiving gift.... from Barry Schiff!

Time to Remove the "Financial" Stress of Learning How to Fly!

Barry Teaching his son, Paul

Barry Schiff is spending the week with us, and today he is reducing the financial stress of learning how to fly. He is running a scholarship to give $3000 toward one lucky winner to learn how to fly, up to their solo!

Why is Barry Providing a Scholarship?

"Aviation has been good to me in a wide variety of ways. I cannot imagine how any other vocation or avocation could have provided me with such a lifetime of gratification and joy. Along the way and especially during my early years, there have been innumerable people who inspired, encouraged, and assisted my aeronautical growth. I would like to honor them."

Sporty’s founder, Hal Shevers, told Barry, there are three stages in life: learning, earning, and returning.”

Barry tells me, I’ve spent my share of years learning and earning. Now, I think, it is time to begin returning, to give back some of what I have been so fortunate to have received.”

Words we can all live by.

How is Barry Giving Back?

He’s taking, teaching, mentoring and introductory flights to the next level by providing someone… who many not have the opportunity on their own… to take to the sky, “to develop the self-reliance and independence that sets pilots apart from those forever limited to travel in two dimensions.”

Eligibility Requirements:

  • The contest is open to any young man or woman who will have reached his or her sixteenth birthday by February 1, 2012.
  • Before flight training can begin, however, the winner must obtain and provide a copy of their student pilot certificate.
  • He or she must also provide parental consent to begin flight training if less than 18 year of age on February 1, 2012.
  • He or she must not have reached their twenty-first birthday by the same date.

How to Enter:

  • Go to Barry's Website by clicking HERE
  • Click on "Email Barry" on the bottom of the left-hand column.
  • Attach a 500-word, double spaced, essay describing why you want to learn to fly.
  • Grammar, spelling, and punctuation will count.
  • Contestants must provide your snail-mail address, email address, birth date, and telephon number... all will be kept confidential.


Hurry! Time is Flying.

What will the winner get?

  • $3000 toward flying lessons at any flight school of their choice as long as it is in the United States.
  • A private pilot ground-school course (on widescreen DVDs) and a kit that includes books, an E6B computer, plotter, logbook, and other items needed to become a private pilot…. Thanks to Mike Lorden of Aviation Supplies and Academics (ASA)
  • And more..! Barry tells me, "Almost all of the headset manufacturers have donated headsets. An aviation artist, Rick Broome, has donated a beautiful (and expensive) print. A pilot in Dallas, George Shanks, donated an AOPA membership. Mostly though, people have stepped forward with money to sponsor a number of other solo scholarships. I don't have permission, though, to give their names. Their generosity completely blew me away."

Thank you Barry, and Mike, for giving back and supporting the future of our children. Good luck to everyone entering the contest. Remember to leave a comment here and you'll get another entry into the drawing for chance to win an autographed book from Barry.

Enjoy the Journey!

XOX Karlene

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Aviation Author: Barry Schiff

Barry Schiff pilot/author extraordinaire~

How does a young man with a passion for flight become a successful author?

Imagine twenty-year-old Barry teaching ground school as he works his way through college, trying to describe the sounds of low-frequency four-course ranges, used for navigation, to very confused students. “My attempt to whistle the sounds didn't help, so I told my class that I would attempt to record these sounds during my next flight and play the results at our next class meeting.”

Recording in 1958 was nothing like it is today with portable, battery operated recorders. Despite the challenges, Barry held true to his promise when he and his close friend, an electronic genius, Richard Somers set up a large, A.C.-powered, reel-to-reel tape deck in the backseat of a Cessna 170. They then recorded the sounds that he “failed so miserably to describe in class.”

Not only did they record the low frequency ranges, but they recorded numerous other sounds of aviation—marker beacons, localizer, VOR, and DME identifiers, and a ground-controlled radar approach as the controller talked a pilot through an instrument approach by providing precise heading and sink-rate instructions.

Barry’s recording was a success. “When I played that tape in class, 19 of the 21 students wanted to buy copies. Upon hearing about this demand, another friend, E.J. "Buzz" DeBardas, encouraged me to produce and market a similar phonograph record that was to be entitled, On Course, On the Glide Path. Writing the narration for this and subsequent 12-inch records was my first attempt at professional writing.”

Barry’s small business, Aero-Progress, Inc., was eventually purchased in 1963 by Times-Mirror for its subsidiary, Jeppesen. If you’re a pilot—you know the power of that name.

A year later the airlines began hiring. At the time the “Big Three” were American, Trans-World and United Airlines. Which route did Barry go? I opted for TWA because it was the only one at that time with both domestic and international routes. It was the "Lindbergh Line," the "Airline of the Stars." For me, there was no other choice.”

The stars were definitely shining on Barry. During that year, the editor of Private Pilot magazine, Robert Said, contacted Barry to tell him he liked his recordings and asked if he’d be interested in writing an article for their new magazine.

Barry said, I was flabbergasted. I barely squeaked through English Composition and didn't know the difference between a split infinitive and a dangling preposition. (I'm not sure that I do now.) But the prospect of being published had great appeal.

Said was a Pulitzer Prize nominee and told Barry, "It is more important to write something about which people are interested, than it is to be a proficient grammarian."

Said then shared a story with Barry about a manuscript submitted to a New York book publisher by Robert L. Scott. Robert. "It was atrociously written, but the underlying story was so compelling that the editor believed that it would be worth the effort required to make it readable." Barry tells me, “If this editor had not seen beyond the crude grammar and punctuation, God Is My Co-pilot would never have become a bestseller.”

When Barry said, “Reading some of my early material makes me cringe in embarrassment,” I smiled. I’m sure we’ve all been there. But Barry’s words of inspiration on how to succeed in writing resonate with me, as they are so true.

“Writing, like other crafts, is a skill that improves with time. Said used to tell me repeatedly that one can become a good writer only by "reading a lot and writing a lot." But despite all of the reading and writing that I have done, I still do not consider myself a particularly good writer. Richard Bach, Ernest Gann, and Antoine de Saint Exupery have arranged words to form literary strands of pearls. My best does not compare to their worst, but they provide the inspiration and lofty goals to which I incessantly aspire.”

Barry doesn’t believe he’s an “artist in the style of the masters.” But he does consider himself as a decent craftsman who’s achieved a modicum of success. What does he attribute that success to? “Not because of talent but because, hopefully, I communicate information worthy of distribution.”

“I continue writing and hopefully improving because it enables me to teach in a very large classroom. (Not everyone necessarily agrees with all that I profess, but that is another story). Writing also gives me an entrĂ©e deep into the industry I so love. The rewards far outpace the agony of staring every month at a blank computer monitor and a blinking cursor when I sit down to write.”

My favorite words-of-wisdom from Barry is the necessity of being thick skinned.

“Most rewarding are occasional letters detailing how I wrote something that might have made someone's flying a little safer. Conversely, there are those who are spring-loaded to jump on and chastise me for my errors. One cannot write for the public and be thin-skinned. To paraphrase a printer's axiom, "everyone makes mistakes, but writers publish theirs."

Barry has many articles that define his personally developed concepts, procedures, and techniques. When I asked him if he’d share one technique with us he said,

“The first one involved turning around following an engine failure shortly after takeoff. The "rule" said never to do this, but it seemed illogical. There were times when such a maneuver could be safe. So I researched the subject and have been writing about it every since I first wrote about it in 1959. Since then, many others have done the same.”

Barry also developed the procedure of stopping the prop at high altitude following an engine failure to improve glide range, as well as the concept of pressure-pattern navigation for light airplanes at low altitude.

Proficient Pilot 1 and 2, Flying wisdom, and Flying the golden Science, all touch on a different area of training. But the purpose of his writing had one focus—“To present material in a different manner so that the subject matter becomes easier to understand. I have always strived to simplify complex subjects without sacrificing accuracy.”

Wait until you see what Barry is doing for future pilots! You won’t want to miss tomorrow…Wednesday Wellness is dedicated to relieving stress, compliments of Barry Schiff.

Leave a comment for Barry, and you’ll be entered in the drawing to win an autographed book, Test Pilot, 1001 Things You Thought you Knew about Aviation. Drawing to be held December 22nd.

Enjoy the Journey!

XOX Karlene