Snowplows and Jet Fuel and Zombies, Oh My!


I’m sorry, but we’ve had complaints about the jet fuel smell so I’m afraid Im going to have to ask you planes to leave.

It has been an interesting few months at the airport.  A very cool Boeing 757 came for a visit (along with some government official person or other) and four F-18s Super Hornets stopped by. Plus I finally figured out where the other FBO is located! Seems like there is always something new and different going on. Here’s a round-up of some of the latest happenings in my little corner of the terminal.

Disaster! No, Not Really

IMG_8231It’s disaster preparedness time! I was given the opportunity to sit in on a briefing for a disaster drill that is going to be held at the GA airport at the end of the month.  They’re keeping the exact scenario secret, but we were told that participating agencies include various police and fire departments, EMS, Med flight, multiple hospitals and health agencies, SWAT, the FAA, and the FBI.  Oh and a barbeque restaurant.  Hey wait a minute… health agencies?  SWAT? A barbeque restaurant? This can mean only one thing: Zombies! Oh. Hell. Yes.  I want in! But only if I can be a zombie.  I’ve heard that volunteer victims often get transported to hospitals which are running simultaneous drills of their own so it can be hours and hours before they get released.  As a volunteer zombie I figure I’ll get shot quickly, after which I can spend the rest of my time hanging out with the FBI participants, Agents Mulder and Scully.

Snow to the Plow

IMG_8142 (1)Our fall luncheon was held last month over at one of my very favorite places – the air field maintenance facility (where a lot of the way-cool ground equipment is kept). When one of the supervisors caught me admiring a snowplow he unlocked the driver’s side door and issued a challenge: if I could climb up there he’d let me sit in it. OK, first of all, you’d think all the air field people would have thoroughly been briefed by now. “Whatever else you do, do NOT allow her near the ground equipment!” Secondly, I’m sorry but did you say IF I can climb up there?  Are you kidding me?  Hell yes I can climb up there!  At first I was just excited – holy cannoli I’m behind the wheel of a ginormous freaking SNOWPLOW! But then I realized that quite a crowd had formed.  The next thing I knew the official event photographer was there and you guessed it – a pic of me in the plow now graces the pages of the quarterly newsletter. And for the record, getting into a plow is easy.  Getting out, however, is a whole other story!

Trading Cards!

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The Dreamliner doesn’t want to share.

Apparently airport trading cards are a thing. Who knew? My airport has joined the fun and during the luncheon we were each given a set (since we actually manage three airports the set has three cards – one for each).  There were lots left over so I took a few extra sets. I have it on good authority that ORD is also part of the trading card trend.  Anyone out there have an ORD trading card that they would be willing to swap? PLEASE let me know!  As for the rest of the sets, I’m thinking it might be fun to do some sort of giveaway. Stay tuned!

Living on the Edge

IMG_9134If you’ve read my Blog Post About Blog Posts, or if you follow the aviation scene on twitter, then you are already familiar with Captain Eric Auxier. He’s a blogger and author who flies airplanes for a major US airline in his spare time.  His most recent book in the Code Name: Dodger series just came out. I was super excited to get my copy so I decided to take it with me on my lunch break.  I wandered blissfully through the terminal and was riding the escalator when I suddenly realized that I was surrounded by security agents. And then I remembered that I was carrying a bright yellow book with the words JIHADI HIJACKING emblazoned on the front.  Um… oops! Fortunately they didn’t notice and they all got off the escalator on the next floor.  Phew!  Thank goodness I didn’t try to take it through security! If you’re looking for a fun read you definitely should get this book.  Just be careful if you take it to the airport!


Nice landing! You can expect an invoice for landing fees in about a month. Enjoy your visit!


Looming Pilot Shortage – Not Kid Stuff

FullSizeRender (19)There has been a lot of talk recently about the looming pilot shortage.  The high cost of  training and poor pay at many regional airlines are two potential causes. However I believe there is a serious contributing factor that has so far been completely overlooked – and it’s lurking in your child’s toy box.  I am, of course, talking about the deplorable selection of airport playsets available to children today.  You might be asking yourself, what on earth could be wrong with an airport playset?  As it turns out, quite a lot.

Are you kidding me with this?

IMG_8491At first glance this airport playset seems harmless enough. The construction is durable and the runway placement looks OK. There’s a cafe located right next to the airfield with no perimeter fencing in sight, but I think we can let that slide. The real trouble comes when you take a closer look at the ATC tower. No, you aren’t imagining things, that’s a dog working air traffic control! What the… ! Seriously? Who is the Tower Supervisor here? Scooby Doo? And I don’t even want to think about what is going on over at Center! Is it any wonder that a child using this play set might look over at the family pooch and think, “Screw this! No way in hell am I going to be a pilot!”

This Is All Kinds of Wrong!

IMG_8468There are so many issues with this next playset that I don’t even know where to begin. First of all, the runway is on top of the airport. Really? Who on earth thought this was a good idea? Even more troubling is the fact that the runway begins/ends directly in front of the ATC tower. This, coupled with the absurdly short runway length, pretty much guarantees disaster. Either planes will tumble off the edge of the airport roof, or they’ll slam into the tower. I think the designers of this toy are hoping that we’ll be so excited that the air traffic controllers are actually human we’ll overlook the fact that the airport is a death trap. Yeah… I don’t think so! You might be able to fool a one year old with this set-up, but by the time the child learns to talk his/her first words are going to be: “Pilot? NO!!!”

Seriously, What the Heck!

IMG_8469By now you’re probably thinking that an uncontrolled airfield would make for a better playset. You don’t have to worry about Astro working approach and the risk of carnage is a bit lower. I mean, how hard can it be to design a realistic runway with no buildings or ATC towers to deal with?  Apparently too hard. Allow me to introduce you to this airfield that appears to have been added to a train set as a random afterthought. The only building in the area is a helipad which is freakishly large in comparison to the runway. And once again the runway placement is questionable.  Right next to a road? Really? And why is the road longer and wider than the runway? It’s almost as if toy designers are deliberately trying to scare off future pilots.

No, Just No!

FullSizeRender (18)I know what you’re thinking. These airport play sets seem a bit dated. Surely modern sets are better. I thought the same thing.  And then this happened.  Behold the Boeing airport set purchased just a few months ago. Notice anything peculiar? How about the fact that the ground equipment is completely GINORMOUS compared to the airplanes? I mean just look at how the stairs truck towers over the Dreamliner. Now you know I love a good stairs truck, but a monster stairs truck that’s capable of trampling a large airplane? OK fine, I still love it. Most kids, however, would likely be completely confused if not downright terrified.

So What Do We Do?


If the dog in the ATC tower doesn’t kill you, the dog working the rental car counter will!

Think these are isolated examples? Think again! Next time you are bored, google airport play sets. I dare you! You think canines running ATC is bad? One play set has a truck handling air traffic control. Yes, you read that correctly. A truck! Do you think Charles Lindbergh or Amelia Earhart would have taken to the skies if they had been forced to play with these nightmares disguised as toys? I don’t think so! If we’re to cultivate the next generation of pilots, it’s time to stop the madness. Contact Hasbro, Mattel, Little Tykes, American Girl Doll, your representatives in Washington, and the Pope and let them know what is going on here.  While you’re at it you might want to contact the SPCA too, just in case.