Thursday, May 28, 2009

Training Times

We're getting shorter here with lots of retirements and people moving on to staff positions. Developmentals are getting used more and more for staffing coverage. That cuts back on our training times of course. Whenever I do get to train, it seems to be smack dab in the middle of our slow times. It's very frustrating.

I don't know about you guys, but I broaden my capabilities when it's busy, not when it's slow.

Yesterday, for example, I was training on the Pensacola bank. I had two training sessions where I literally talked to three airplanes in the space of each hour. I even remember what they were on the first one: a JetLink regional jet landing here, a Seneca overflight, and a T-34 transitioning from NAS Whiting to NAS Pensacola for practice approaches. The rest of the time, my airspace was devoid of any traffic. The second session was more of the same.

Later on, I was assigned to work Flight Data. My instructor was assigned to work the Pensacola East bank. He ended up having an extremely busy, complicated session with all kinds of strange requests and general funky stuff. And there I was, running strips while my instructor was handling the best traffic we've seen all day by himself. That's the kind of traffic I need to experience, and I was annoyed that I wasn't working it.

On a good note, he says he's recommended me for checkout on the bank. However, I'd like to see a few more crazy sessions before the checkride to help boost my confidence level. I'm comfortable on the West sector. It's the East sector that still chews me up some.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

It's Refreshing

Just an observation: it's rather interesting to note that many people appointed for various safety-critical positions in the new administration have actual prior experience in their fields. They have been selected for their experience and applicability to the role, not their party affiliation. What a concept!

I don't know about you guys, but I can't wait for the next two or three weeks to be up so we can finally see just what the heck is coming out of the FAA/NATCA talks. I don't talk about that stuff much here on the blog, but change has been a long time coming. However, I won't believe any rumors until I've seen something in writing.

Maybe at some point in the near future, I won't have to ride my $25 "Garage sale special" home from work two or three times a week.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Writing, Music, and Loud Jets

I'm back from vacation. Good times, lots of relaxation, and lots of writing got done - just not on the blog unfortunately. I've got a few blog post outlines nailed down but I've had a lot on my plate.

I just finished two stories, both of them steampunk fiction pieces. One 6000 word piece has already been picked up by a publisher (details forthcoming). The other's a 15,000 word piece that I'm tweaking just a little bit before I send it out to publishers.

I've also got a Top Secret project in the works. It's ATC related, but that's all I can divulge at this point. It may or may not see the light of day, but I hope it comes through. It'll be quite cool if it does. More on that when the time comes.

Tunes for Sale

Amongst other things, I enjoy creating music. I've just released my first album, a collection of songs I've been working on for a while under the name Escape the Clouds.

It's been a true labor of love for me. I wrote all the songs and played all of the instruments. This is actually the first time I've put my music out there for sale, in all the years I've been writing songs.

You can listen to a few tracks here: A quick description:

Escape the Clouds' debut album Bring the Rain includes 11 instrumental tracks that blend equal parts hard rock, industrial, and world music. Sample the tracks at! An additional bonus track is included for those needing a pop/punk fix!
If you like what you hear, here's a link to purchase it. I posted it for $7. The tracks are in 192k MP3 format, so they'll work on pretty much every type of iPod or other MP3 player.

For those of you who decide to buy it, consider it a donation to the blog. I'll definitely appreciate it.

Cover art (can you guess the aircraft type and what happened to it?):

Since the late 90's, I've dabbled in music, starting originally with bass guitar and then the electric guitar. Later on, I began learning synthesizer, drum, and sampler programming. In a past life, I played in a couple of bands that had gigs throughout Miami and Miami Beach. More recently, I've been exploring a lot of "world music" sounds. My many influences include Nine Inch Nails, Stabbing Westward, Rachid Taha, Asian Dub Foundation, and Cirque du Soleil soundtracks.

I hope you guys and girls like the songs. I'd love to hear any feedback you have on it, whether or not you bought it. Please feel free to friend me up on MySpace as well.

Live Target

What? You thought I'd leave the post without anything ATC related?

I'd just like to add that I really do like working on an airport. That's not just because I like airplanes, but because it's kind of cool to be a radar controller and still be able to see the aircraft you're working. It's a good reminder that they're real airplanes and real people, not just targets on a scope.

Like this morning, I worked a bunch of itinerant Navy T-45 Goshawks who landed here at Pensacola Regional. Later in the afternoon I was standing out on the TRACON's outside staircase when one of them headed for home. Loud little bastards, but man, would I kill for a ride in one of those!