Posted by: Korry | February 7, 2012

Techie Tuesday: Expecting the Unexpected

Airline flying is boring. That may sound crazy coming from me, but it’s true. With safety ratings far better than 99.999%, thousands of flights take off and land safely every day, which for an airline pilot, means things are often pretty routine and–dare I say it–boring on the flight deck. Even so, our job is to expect the unexpected, which comes in handy when you get a trip like the one I just finished–three days and seven legs worth of non-stop unexpectedness.

Today, for Techie Tuesday, I want to bring these past few days to life so that you can see exactly what it’s like on three very UN-boring days on the line.

Day one started with a 9:30AM departure to Cleveland. After hand-flying our 737 off the runway and up to about 10,000 feet into the crisp winter air, I reached up to turn Read More…


Last Thursday, I posted on my twitter feed, LifesFlightPlan, “Friend thinks she can judge a pilot’s skill by quality of PAs. What do you think?” Before long, I had the following conversation:

Flight­_Blog – It definitely is not that way

LFP – There’s more to it, yes, but can’t a PA reveal pilot’s confidence, professionalism, etc…essential qualities for a great pilot?

F_B – Absolutely, but for an overall validation of the other attributes, the judgment cannot be concluded by just PA. Agree?

LFP – I absolutely agree with you! Found it to be great example of how important good comm is for inspiring confidence in abilities.

F_B – That brings another point, effective comm is so essential between crew and with passengers

LFP – Or how about just saying that good comm is essential in life…period!

My friend is not just some random person who isn’t familiar with what makes a good pilot or a bad pilot. Actually, she has worked in the airline industry for years. Unfortunately, like it or not, perception is reality.

And you know what? To a large extent, I agree! Read More…

Posted by: Korry | February 2, 2012

A Year in the Life of a Pilot

When you travel for a living, you definitely don’t think about all the places you go. One trip leads to the next. One overnight blends with the next. And before you know it, you speak as cavalierly about going to Europe as your neighbor speaks about going to Wawa or 7-11!!

And then there are those occasions when you step back and look at all the places you go and you are amazed. As an airline pilot, I definitely rack up the miles! As part of the presentation I mentioned briefly on Monday, I put together a few PowerPoint slides that graphically show just how many places I do visit in a year.

Today, I’m going to show you what two busy years as a pilot look like…on a map. Read More…

Posted by: Korry | February 1, 2012

QOTW: Gaining Strength By Facing Fear

“You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing which you think you cannot do.”

-Eleanor Roosevelt

Earlier this week, my wife Jen and I were out walking our dog and talking about her current job search. After spending most of her adult life working for universities, Jen desires to move into the corporate world. Unfortunately, the job market today is not exactly ideal, especially for people like her who are hoping to switch careers. With so many professionals currently unemployed, the job seekers far outnumber the jobs available. Additionally, websites like and have basically commoditized the job market. Employers know the basic requirements they want and if your resume doesn’t perfectly match those requirements, well, good luck getting your name picked for an interview.

Have you found yourself in this dilemma? Read More…

Posted by: Korry | January 31, 2012

Techie Tuesday: What is Lift?

In last week’s Techie Tuesday about De-icing, I wrote that the main reason airplanes get de-iced is so that the wings stay clean in winter weather which allows them to create lift. But what is lift and how does a wing create it? That’s what today’s Techie Tuesday is all about!

Whether the airplane is a tiny two-seat Cessna 152, a massive Boeing 747 or something in between, every airplane takes to the sky because its wings generate lift. The truth is that lift is a fairly straightforward concept to understand. It has everything to do with the shape of the wing, the speed of the air going over and under the wing and the resultant pressure difference that creates.

Of course, it’s easier to understand lift if you can see it, not just read about it, so I’m linking to a really good video Read More…

Posted by: Korry | January 30, 2012

Sharing Your Passion

Last week, I had the opportunity to speak to a group of people outside of Philadelphia about what it’s like to be an airline pilot. Most of you who know me personally know that I have always been one to enjoy public speaking and Toastmasters (yes, I realize there’s something wrong with me). In this particular instance, it had been a while since I’d last had the opportunity to share my passion in person with a group.

For twenty minutes, I spoke about what it’s like to be a kid who never gave up playing with toys–they just keep getting bigger and more expensive! I spoke about the ability to see the world on someone else’s dime. I spoke about typical trips and what a year in the life of an airline pilot looks like (check back Thursday for a look back at my 2011. It’s an impressive journey you won’t want to miss). I was energized, the audience was engaged and it made me remember how valuable it can be to share your passions with others. Read More…

Posted by: Korry | January 26, 2012

The Promotion Dilemma

Picture this: you’re sitting in your office when you hear that your boss is getting a promotion. For months–if not years–you’ve silently thought to yourself, “I bet I could do my boss’s job. In fact, I bet I could even do it better!” Now, that job is open. You meet all the qualifications. You always pictured yourself in that position. The new gig would pay more. You’d get more responsibility. You’d even have direct reports! It’s basically everything you wanted in a new job.

But for some reason, you just can’t decide whether you should toss your name officially into the ring by applying. You struggle with the new time commitments it may present. As you think more about it, you wonder if you really would do the job better than your boss did. You ask yourself what would happen if you didn’t do well. You figure you’ve got a good thing going at your current job. It’s comfortable and you do it well. So as the deadline for applying draws nearer, you’re just as torn as the day the job posted.

Sound familiar? Now, I’m not about to tell you whether you should or should not apply for a promotion. Valid arguments can be made either way. But, I will ask you two questions: Read More…

Posted by: Korry | January 25, 2012

QOTW: Risking Your Life…Or Even More

“You risked your life, but what else have you ever risked? Have you risked disapproval? Have you ever risked economic security? Have you ever risked a belief? I see nothing particularly courageous about risking one’s life. So you lose it, you go to your hero’s heaven and everything is milk and honey ’til the end of time. Right? You get your reward and suffer no earthly consequences. That’s not courage. Real courage is risking something that might force you to rethink your thoughts and suffer change and stretch consciousness. Real courage is risking one’s clichés.”

-Tom Robbins

How thought-provoking is this quote??? I love this because almost all of us are hard-wired to believe that risking our life is the greatest risk a person could take. But what if that isn’t true? What if risking our life is actually the safe choice, not the courageous one? Read More…

Posted by: Korry | January 24, 2012

Techie Tuesday: Aircraft De-Icing

It’s winter and that means snow and ice, two things that do not go well with any airplane. If you’re a frequent traveler in the wintertime, you may have been on a plane that needed to be “de-iced.” Today for Techie Tuesday, I’m going to explain why planes need de-iced in the first place while also providing some insight into what the process entails.

The gist of the entire concept is this: to create lift, an airplane’s wings and tail must allow air to flow smoothly over and around them. Next week, I’ll explain how a wing actually works to create lift, but for today, lets just keep it simple. When air can flow smoothly over and around the wing, it makes lift. When the air can’t flow smoothly, the wing doesn’t create lift. No lift = no flying. Read More…

Yesterday morning I awoke to some very sad news: Joe Paterno, the legendary Penn State football coach, passed away at the age of 85. It’s been a difficult few months for the Penn State community, and Joe Pa’s passing marks yet another low spot. Thankfully, the Paterno legacy of “Success with Honor” that he cultivated over 46 years as head coach will live on forever. 

Paterno’s connection to Penn State was about as strong as it can get. The really sad part to me is that Paterno passed away just 74 days after having that connection severed by his firing on November 9, 2011. Yes, in recent years, his age was definitely showing as he faced a hip replacement and other ailments common to people his age, but it was only after he was let go from the job he loved that he was diagnosed with the lung cancer that ultimately took his life.

So I can’t help but wonder: did Joe Paterno die, at least in part, because he lost one of the strongest connections in his life? Take Steve Jobs or Aurlo Bonney, for example, and decide for yourself. Read More…

Posted by: Korry | January 19, 2012

Emergency Preparation Tips

Last night, my wife and I were watching some of the news coming in about the capsizing of the Costa Concordia cruise ship off the coast of Italy. Aside from our mutual disgust with the cowardly “captain” who apparently took the first opportunity he could to get off the boat, the aspect that most fascinated us was the actual evacuation by the passengers…in the middle of the night.

Would you have been ready?

Thankfully, there are a few simple tips you can follow to increase your chances of surviving one of these incredibly rare events. Wanna know the best part? They take virtually no time at all to actually implement in your routine. Read More…

Posted by: Korry | January 18, 2012

QOTW: Rescue Boats

“I am here with the rescue boats, I am here, I am not going anywhere, I am here.”

-Costa Concordia Captain Francesco Schettino

So by this time, you’ve probably heard about the cruise ship carrying 4,200 passengers and crew that capsized off the Italian coast last Friday. From the most recent news article I’ve read, 11 people have died and 29 people are still missing.

While investigations and trials will stretch on for months if not years, one thing’s for sure: Read More…

Posted by: Korry | January 17, 2012

The Key to Being a Great Leader…or Great Captain

It’s the strangest thing, really. Whenever I meet a captain for the first time, I can generally tell within just a few minutes whether this person is going to be a great captain. It’s strange to me because I can make this judgment with a high level of accuracy (in my mind at least) without probably even seeing the captain give a crew briefing, make a takeoff (let alone a landing) or handle any number of issues that could arise on a given flight.

Sure, I realize the incredible power of first impressions, (enter cliché here) but I think there’s more to it than that, and so does Malcolm Gladwell, who discusses this concept at length in his book, Blink. Gladwell believes the human mind can “thin slice” all sorts of things, taking a small sample and creating highly accurate assessments of everything from the likelihood of a couple having a successful marriage to sizing people up during a first encounter.

I believe this same concept explains why it’s relatively easy to spot great captains and great leaders, and it has everything to do with setting the tone. Read More…

Posted by: Korry | January 16, 2012

Dream On

Today is Martin Luther King Day, a holiday marking the birthday of one of America’s greatest civil rights leaders. He inspired people to dream big. He rallied people around a singular cause and provided both a voice and a direction to the movement in order to help achieve their goals.

While America had many great civil rights leaders, it was Rev. King who took the lead in promoting non-violent civil rights activism. By doing so, Rev. King did something almost all great leaders (or great captains) do: he set the tone. As you reflect on this holiday, I hope you also take time to consider what tone you’re setting in your own life, both personally and professionally.

Happy Martin Luther King Day everyone. I’ll be back with regular postings tomorrow.

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Posted by: Korry | January 12, 2012

United Airlines Flight 232

OK, so I know that I said yesterday that today’s post would be about what makes a great captain (or a great leader). Unfortunately, life happens and my home remodeling has taken more time than I anticipated…so you’re going to have to wait until next week for that post. In it’s place is a link to a full-length episode of National Geographic’s Seconds From Disaster that highlights the crash of United Airlines flight 232 in Sioux City, Iowa. While 111 people died in the crash, what is even more amazing is that 185 people survived since the catastrophic mechanical failure that occurred during the flight rendered the plane nearly impossible to fly. Despite the challenges, the pilots determined creative ways of maneuvering the plane allowing them to bring the severely wounded bird to an airport where help was standing by.

The incredible story of United 232 is a testament to pilot skill, ingenuity and especially the power of teamwork in overcoming unimaginable obstacles.


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Posted by: Korry | January 11, 2012

QOTW: Teamwork

Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision. The ability to direct individual accomplishments toward organizational objectives. It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results.

-Andrew Carnegie

This week I’m taking a look at teamwork, particularly from within the cockpit. Read More…

Shortly after someone learns that I’m a pilot, I almost inevitably get the following question: “So are you a pilot or a co-pilot?” You can imagine my answer of “Yes and yes” doesn’t really help to clear anything up! So today, for Techie Tuesday, I’m going to make an honest effort to explain what really is the difference between a pilot and a co-pilot.

Lets start with the basics. Read More…

Posted by: Korry | January 9, 2012

Working in Teams…Over Colorado

A few weeks ago, I was enroute to San Francisco. The clear, night sky over eastern Colorado was smooth as glass, but the “turbulence” was just about to begin. My captain and I were chit-chatting about company issues when through my headset I heard one of the flight attendants ask over the plane’s public address system, “Is there a doctor on board?” I told the captain what just happened and then waited for a call from the back of the plane to fill us in.

I didn’t have to wait long. “We’ve got a 34-year-old male complaining of chest pains and shortness of breath. Read More…

Posted by: Korry | January 5, 2012

No Sleepy Pilots For You!!

Let me guess: you don’t want sleepy pilots…and neither do I!! Anytime you step aboard an airliner, you place your life in the hands of the two pilots at the controls. You have every right to expect that those pilots are well rested regardless of whether the flight is in the morning, the afternoon, or even the middle of the night.

Unfortunately, being rested after dealing with time zone changes and constantly changing schedules can make that task difficult. Even though pilots are professionals and try their best to be well rested for every flight, they’re not machines; they’re humans. They cannot sleep on demand. And the current regulations governing how much pilots can fly are antiquated remnants from a bygone era of aviation where jet travel and jet lag weren’t much of an issue.

Thankfully, the FAA issued [long awaited] new rules last month that are based on the science of sleep Read More…

Posted by: Korry | January 4, 2012

QOTW: New Beginnings

Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.

-Maria Robinson

It’s the new year and with a new year comes new opportunities. It’s a fresh start and a new beginning. As Maria Robinson tells us, it’s not important what has happened in the past; what matters is what we do from here on out. I think it’s that sense of optimism that I like so much about this quote. Read More…

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