Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Air Scotty

One of Auntie's greatest pleasures in life is to meet gifted people.

Tinker, tailor, soldier or sailor,  they all have one thing in common:  a natural passion for what they do.

Today, we pose some penetrating questions to my friend Scotty,  a pilot with Delta Air Lines and at the top of Auntie's list of gifted and passionate people. 

Last March, Auntie and Puddy flew from Nice to New York on Air Scotty and I can assure you that it was a very smooth ride.....

Hi Scotty!  We know you're a busy man so thanks for putting down the controls today to answer a few of Auntie's questions.   And thanks for the great photos.  Wheels up!

Where did you grow up?
I grew up in a small town called Holland, in Lower Bucks County, Pennsylvania, a lovely, bucolic suburb of Philadelphia. Mostly farms and woodlands back then, with beautiful homes on large, hilly lots. Now, it's overbuilt with expensive real estate developments and lots of traffic. 

The day I was born, my dad kept the hospital receipt for a prank he would pull on me 30 years later. On my 30th birthday, which was my father's age when I was born, he sent me a birthday card with the original hospital bill in it, demanding repayment. So I wrote him a cheque. He cashed it, writing on the back under his endorsement: "This doesn't even come close to making us even."
Scotty Reveals the Real Cause of Turbulence

How old were you when you knew you wanted to be a pilot?

When I was little, my dad used to take us into the city to a place called The Franklin Institute, an amazing science museum. Inside, there was a 1948 T-33 jet trainer, where visitors could climb into the cockpit and handle real jet controls, while other interactive displays introduced principles of flight, and how they impact aircraft design. 

On display at The Franklin Institute since 1935, there was also a Wright Model B Flyer—number 39—with its muslin-covered wings and workable engine. It was one of the first mass-produced aircraft ever built and was the first plane to fly non-stop from Philadelphia to Atlantic City. Before the Institute acquired the Flyer in 1933, it was owned by Grover Cleveland Bergdoll, grandson of a wealthy Philadelphia beer baron. The plane was in such good shape because Bergdoll never crashed and flew for only two years. Bergdoll flew 748 flights without a mishap and logged 312 hours and 34 minutes total air time. His last flight was in 1914.

It was here at the Franklin Institute that my interest in becoming a pilot was nurtured and developed. It was also here where I first threw up in public, carsick from my dad's driving during the ride into the city. It happened right in front of throngs of people, in a stairwell between exhibits. I was 5 years old. I have no idea why I remember this.

When did you become a pilot?

I became a certificated pilot while attending Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, which is the most prestigious aeronautical University in the world. I earned my Commercial Pilot Certificate with Single and Multi-Engine Land, Instrument-Airplane Ratings, and a Certified Flight Instructor Certificate with the same ratings. This was part of the curriculum for the B.S. in Aeronautical Science Program, which prepares graduates for a career as a professional airline pilot and in Flight Operations engineering and management. 

One out of every 4 commercial airline pilots in the United States is a graduate of Embry-Riddle. It's often referred to as "The Harvard of the Skies.”
Scotty's B767-300ER in Nice, France

What type of aircraft do you fly?

I'm currently flying the Boeing B767-300ER for Delta Air Lines on international routes to Europe and Asia, based in New York at JFK. I have flown many other aircraft in my career:  The Beechcraft King Air B100, Learjet 25, Saab SF340 Regional Turboprop, Boeing B727-200 and the McDonnell Douglas MD88. 

Actually, wherever you happen to be right now, take a look around and pick any object you see. Now put wings on it and I will fly it!

So, what's it really like to fly a big plane?

Other than having more advanced systems and having to work in a "crew" environment, it's not much different than flying smaller planes. Except it pays a lot better. And the lovely Flight Attendants, of course.

Ever get lost?  I know navigating through all those clouds is hard.

Hahahaha! No.

What's your favourite airport?

Madrid has a gorgeous new terminal, and some of the airports in the Far East are astounding. There's nothing comparable in the United States. Of course, Nice, France is probably my favourite, very well-run, and when I arrive I know I will see people whom I love.

Any Hobbies?  What takes up your spare time?

I like to eat!  Luxury, gourmet food. Haute Cuisine. I love to visit the finest restaurants, especially in France. I  love movies, especially independent and foreign films. 
I also spend time designing and building high-performance computer systems, creating all kinds of digital content, photography and post production. 

I spend time collecting Impressionist art:  Pissarro, Cézanne, Cassatt, Armand Robert,  Élie Anatole Pavil; Contemporary Impressionist Figurative/Landscape artists Royo, Joseph Latinsky, Bruno Zupan; and Contemporary Realism, Figurative artist Pino. I also spend a lot of time in my post-production studio I built in my home, creating all kinds of digital
content, photography and motion graphics.

Oh, and laundry. And unpacking and repacking my suitcase. That takes up most of my spare time, actually.

If you had to do something else besides flying what would it be?

Any of my hobbies would be great.  I’m only 45, so there's still time!

Pick One - The Rapid Round:

Captain Kirk or Jean-Luc Picard?

Tough one.
Captain Kirk had a tendency to ignore orders and subvert authority. He loved women of all colours, shapes, sizes, (even species) and he had a full, luxuriant head of hair, like me. I'm going with Kirk on this one

Rembrandt or Picasso?

That's easy...Rembrandt van Rijn! In Rembrandt’s painting The Good Samaritan, the beaten traveller is seen being lifted into the inn from a horse. So I can relate to this, the beaten traveller.  In this same painting, you can see a grotesque dog squatting down to relieve himself. Rembrandt put this in to make the point that, “A man must have reverence for all life, even if aspects of it occasionally disgust him.” And this was Rembrandt’s understanding of Scripture...if the Creator chose to give life to ugly dogs, man should not quarrel with it. This is exactly my philosophy when dealing with some of the people I have to work with.

Coke or Pepsi?

Pepsi for the Win, by a huge margin.

(Addendum: It appears that my airline has a "proud" Corporate partnership with Coca-Cola. Never mind what I just said. Enjoy Coke!)

Mr Ed or Secretariat?

Goin' with Ed. And I'll tell you why: By the 1960's, people were already lamenting the sad state of television programming. In 1961, FCC Chairman Newt Minow made his famous "vast wasteland" speech to the National Association of Broadcasters, who were struck to the core by his remarks. They felt compelled to respond, as America had responded to the Sputnik  challenge a few years earlier. It was T.V.'s "Sputnik" moment. After assembling the finest of their finest, the television industry marshaled their prodigious resources, and you know what they came up with? That's right, Mr Ed, the talking horse. 

Secretariat may have been the best race horse ever, but Mr. Ed represented a triumph of the American television industry's ingenuity and spirit.

Facebook or Twitter?

Facebook - love it. It's how I keep in touch with friends I've made throughout my travels all over the world.

Betty or Wilma?

I fell in love with a lovely redheaded girl from Austin, Texas once. Oh, how beautiful you were, Wilma...I mean, Lea.

Cat or dog?

Doggy...like my beautiful Cocker Spaniel, Callie. I love her more than words can express.

Any final words of wisdom for our Auntie Times Readers?

Never ask a question when you know the answer is going to be a lie.

1 comment:

  1. I think Nora should read this :)


Come on, tell Auntie what's on your mind...