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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.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Sharing the Gift of Flight

Through his podcasts...

Nicolas Jackson

Friday's Fabulous Flyer!

"My love affair for aviation started in my first decade when I got a ride in a GA aircraft from my home airport in Chico, CA (KCIC) to Vacaville, CA (KVCB). It was a unique experience for someone in their first decade. Looking on at The Sutter Buttes, Sacramento River and miles and miles of orchards and farms below with a whole new perspective. As soon as I got home, I started pretending to be a pilot on my bunk bed.

Eventually, though, the bunk bed wasn’t enough. My flight simulation addiction started when I convinced my parents to buy me Sierra Pro 99. When that got old, I got Flight Sim 98 (it was cheap) followed by FS 2000, FS 2002, FS 2004 and FSX. I was self taught so I learned by trial and error. With a big emphasis on error.

My introduction to commercial aviation came in the form of a Southwest 737 flight from Sacramento (KSMF) to Ontario, California (KONT).The flight was only an hour or so but it was enough! How was it possible to be zipping through the air at over 500 miles an hour? I was introduced to the 747-400 in early 2001 when I went from LA (KLAX) to Melbourne, Victoria (YMML) on Qantas. 

I had no idea at the time how much that pushed the 747’s range. After that flight, I spent many a days on Flight Simulator 2000 using heading select and altitude hold in an effort to duplicate that epic flight. I don’t think I was ever successful.

In high school my passion for all things transportation overshadowed all the normal things. But, I never considered being a pilot. It was never in the cards from a financial perspective. Instead, I opted to study Game Design. Hoping to get a job making flight simulator at Microsoft's Aces studios in Redmond, Washington. 

Nicnacjak Podcast

I did well in college. But, the majority of my time was spent advancing my knowledge of flight simulator. It started with learning VATSIM (multiplayer online ATC) in 2005. And, before I knew it I was a pro. I ended up using The PMDG 737NG and 747-400 for FS 2004. At long last completing that 744 flight to Melbourne the right way with VNAV, LNAV and naps! 

Towards the end of college, as I started trying to get a job with Microsoft, I started attending flight sim conventions, listening to aviation podcasts, making podcasts and thinking about flight school. The killer combo of flight school, a job at Microsoft, and a Beech Bonanza A36 never did come together. Microsoft closed Aces Studios and shut down the flight sim franchise in January of 2008. A little over a year after obtaining my Bachelors of Arts in Multimedia with an emphasis in game design.

The last decade has been hard in many ways. But, at some point, I started using FSX and continued with my podcasting efforts. Now things are finally starting to turn around. I started a flight sim podcast that has morphed into a more generic aviation podcast. Karlene was actually the first person that agreed to do an interview with me back in October of 2015. FSRideAlong is in Itunes and GoogelPlay and seems to be growing strong as I improve my podcasting skills, continue to play flight simulator and meet more people in aviation.

These days, I am slowly transitioning to X Plane 11 and I am still using FSX to fly PMDG’s Boeing aircraft all over the world. Lately, I’ve started working with people like Karlene to set them up with their own desktop simulators. I am also thinking about going back to school to do something that will merge my interests in aviation and technology and earn a bit of income!"

Flight Hours: 5
Sim Flight Hours: Too many to count
Planes Flown: Piper Tomahawk, Cessna 152, Cessna 172

Sim Planes Flown: 
Piper Tomahawk, Cessna 152, Cessna 172, 
A320, Boeing 737, 747, 757, 767, 777, Beech Bonanza

Twitter: @nicnacjak 

Why Nicolas isn't flying for a career...
Click Here to

Enjoy the Journey
XO Karlene 


  1. Nicolas:)

    Karlene was your 1st interview? Very impressive!
    She's tops in her field. I've started to listen to that
    interview - a few nights ago. You're very articulate;
    that's what occurred to me.

    Karlene: Do you own a glider? Has Nicolas ever
    been up in one?

    1. Dan, Thank you so much! I really appreciate that comment. I do not own a glider, but I do have the books to study. My gift to myself after I finish the PHD is to get the glider rating. Definitely on the horizon!

    2. Dan,

      Trust me I know Karlene is tops. I like the gilder idea! Thanks for the kind words!

    3. Ah... thank you Nicholas... Thank you for the kind words!!


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