Friday, September 22, 2006

Ask Josh The Pilot, Vol. V, Day 5: I'm a pilot

This is something Ryan The Rocket Scientist sent me on AIM three years ago:
I'm a pylot
I'm a peylot
I'm piylot
I'm a pilut
I drive airplanes
I think he was trying to make fun of pilots, which is extra funny now because when he graduated the Air Force sent him to pilot school!

I've run out of questions to answer. If y'all have more, post them in the comments or email to:

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Ask Josh The Pilot, Vol. V, Day 4: Wedding themes, BC names, and my career

Anonymous said…

When you and MB finally take the plunge, will there be flight/NASA/blonde champagne themes during the big event

Absolutely! We’ll have details when they’re available.

Doddy said...

Is there any room for negotiations in naming? Did you have any input in the 'Josh The Pilot' tag, or how about Fletch of 'Fletch The Extremist'?

No negotiations. All titles come from the amazing and fertile mind of our beloved Tink. Personally, I don’t see any need for negotiations. After all, I am a pilot, and Fletch, well, if you ever meet him you’ll understand.

Jill said...

Do you plan to continue flying (for a career or fun), or are you keeping your feet firmly on the air traffic control tower? Please explain!

Gladly! First off, I do not work in a tower. I work in an enroute control center. My job is to track airplanes while they're between their departure and arrival airports. Airplanes have to be watched over at all times, not just in the vicinity of an airport. Pilots like to think they’re the ones keeping their airplanes on track and away from other airplanes, but it’s actually controllers who are doing the real work.

I plan to continue flying for fun while I am a controller, and when I retire in 25 years I plan to fly full time until I am no longer able!


MB left me another voicemail this afternoon while I was in a briefing by an FAA big-wig. She said Normandy was really amazing. Tomorrow they are going to the Louvre and to Notre Dame. She did not mention Versailles, so perhaps they switched.

The new labor contract is awesome: at

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Ask Josh The Pilot, Vol. V, Day 3: Africa, faith, and kids

These next two questions are related, so I’m going to answer them at the same time.

red pill junkie said...

I wanna ask about your childhood in Africa. What was that all about man?
Also, I want to ask this: If you and MB... lemme rephrase that: WHEN you and MB finally get hooked up, and you have a couple of rugrats, how are you going to deal with the "two-church" business? Are you going to raise them as catholic, lutherans, Ganesh worshippers? Or will you let them choose their church when they grow up?

Marla said…

As the other protestant who reads MB, can you share more of your religious background?

I grew up in the countries of Cameroon and Chad. My parents are missionaries with a Bible translation organization. My parents aren’t actual translators, they are administrators who do everything needed to keep the translators in the field working on their projects. I grew up in the large capitol cities of Cameroon and Chad, not in a village, so I didn’t have the “typical” MK (missionary kid) experience. I was able to keep up somewhat with current news and trends back in the States, so whenever we would come back here I wasn’t completely culture-shocked and freaked-out. As MB mentioned before, I kinda-sorta-learned French, but after 10 years back home I’ve pretty much forgotten it all, except I still have a great accent, so I tried to teach Tink how to say “bonjour” correctly.

Being missionaries, my parents raised me in a strong Protestant Christian home. Their faith was the reason we were in Africa, and I got to see daily applications of that faith. I have happily made their faith my own, and that faith has sustained me through many difficult times, most recently the last two years of waiting on the FAA.

Within Protestantism, I am specifically Lutheran (Missouri Synod), but I’m not much for dwelling on denominational differences; all through college I went to a Church of God church, and right now my parents go to a non-denominational church in Orlando. I am proud of my Lutheran background, but it didn’t blind me to the fact that Mary Beth, being Catholic, and I hold the same basic faith. Yes there are many differences, but we agree on all the important points, and we trust in the same God.

Concerning potential children, at the moment we are not planning on having kids. We’ve decided it wouldn’t be the best idea in light of my student loan debt and her health, mental and physical. Later on, we may decide to adopt, and/or we may have children of our own. IF we are blessed with kids, they will be raised Catholic but with a strong Lutheran influence from me.

Tink location UPDATE!

MB left a voicemail for me this afternoon while I was in class. She is in Paris, all bags accounted for. She and her dad took a cruise on the Seine tonight, I'm assuming on the Bateaux-Mouche, sightseeing boats that run up and down the river. She said she saw the Eiffel Tower, and tomorrow they are going to Normandy. On Friday they are going to Versailles.

Vive la France! at:

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Ask Josh The Pilot, Vol. V, Day 2: How We Met, and football

Ruby Rose said...

Continuing with the Australian theme: JTP - when and where did you guys meet?

I have come latterly to Blonde Champagne and so despite diligent searching of archives, the first mention of you I can find is when you took MB up in a plane and nobody got killed.

Sorry if that's a bit nosy, and treating your actual personal relationship like a movie I just found channel-surfing and decided to stay with, but....? :)

Oh - and how true is Pushing Tin? (There - a PROFESSIONAL question.)

Alexandra, it’s nice to know someone cares enough about us to search through the archives looking for when we first met. We first met at the end of October 2004, when she was living in Orlando and I was living in Daytona Beach. I had been reading Blonde Champagne for a while and I knew I really wanted to meet her. We talked on the phone a couple times and arranged to meet after I went to Orlando to vote in the general elections that year. Needless to say, we hit it off quite well, and the next day she came up to Daytona Beach, I took her flying, and three weeks later we became an official couple. Fittingly, I asked her out when we were at a small racetrack (cars, not horses) watching my old boss’s nephew drive in a big race. She’s not a car racing fan, but she likes me enough that she was willing to go to a race with me, and said yes when I asked her to be my girlfriend. :-)

Regarding Pushing Tin… I thought it wasn’t too terribly inaccurate, but it obviously contained dramatic license. It did for air traffic control what Bring It On did for cheerleading. Pushing Tin did not show the years of training it takes to become a controller. Unless you’re Billy Bob Thornton, you can’t just show up to a facility and start working traffic. Even someone who was a controller at another facility has to spend a lot of time learning the airspace and local procedures for his/her new facility. Another obvious inaccuracy was the whole wake turbulence thing. Number one, you can’t stand on a runway, that’s why there’s a fence around airports. If someone was standing on a runway, the tower would shut it down. The main point is if someone where standing behind a 747 as it was touching down, they would not survive being tossed around like that. Period.

Jcat2323 said...

What's your fav football team, college and NFL?

College would be the Air Force Academy Falcons, because I went there before transferring to the University of Airplanes. I also like the Miami (FL) Hurricanes, mainly because I’m sick of the whole Florida/Florida State nonsense, but also because UM was the only school out of the three to send me an application when I was in high school.

My favorite NFL team by far is the Carolina Panthers. I’ve been with them from the start, and to this day I still despise the New England Patriots for robbing my Cats of their Super Bowl championship. Lately I’ve become a Cincinnati Bengals fan, too. I’ll let you figure out why…

Down! Set! Hike! at:

Monday, September 18, 2006

Tink checks in!

When I woke up this morning (technically afternoon, it was 12:15 p.m.) and turned on my phone there was a voicemail from Mary Beth waiting for me! One of the other people on the trip had a cellphone with international calling and Tink convinced her that she just had to call me or the entire world was going to come crashing down. The timestamp on the message was around 8 a.m. EDT, so she was already well into her day touring France. When I get off work tonight I'm fully expecting to read about the first of many of her efforts to improve France/U.S. relations by intending to ask where the bathroom is but instead insulting Charles de Gaulle's memory.

She said all is well, except they did lose one of her bags, however not a big deal because she has enough underwear, glitter, and graham crackers in her other bag to last until the lost one arrives tonight. She reported that the wine is excellent, the food not quite so, but she's enjoying it all as a new experience. Today they are travelling to Grasse, a little to the west of Monaco. I know she loves me because she mentioned that this morning they drove along part of the Grand Prix route in Monaco. How did I get so lucky?

good ol' airline travel at:

Ask Josh The Pilot, Vol. V, Day 1: UFOs and sudden realizations

Many thanks to Mary Beth for entrusting me with the Blonde Champagne reins while she’s off globe-trotting with her dad. You know it’s the 21st century when someone says “I love you” by giving you control of their blog for a week. I promised Tink before she left that I wouldn’t scare away her readers, so y’all please do me a favor and come back next Monday even if I horribly gum up the works these next few days.

For the first question of this week-long edition of Ask Josh The Pilot, I went waaaaaay back in the archives, back to an unanswered question in response to Vol. IV:

Red pill junkie said…

Hey Josh, I've been wanting to ask you, and I know this is kind of a stupid question for most people, but anyway... Have you ever seen a UFO during one of your flights? Or have any of your flight controller buddies had a weird experience with any unidentified "traffic"?

Now I know that you bought the Independence Day DVD, so unless you are a hardcore Will Smith fan (as MB clearly is :-) ) I assume there's an interest in the topic.

I'll be waiting for your reply, (which I guess will arrive by August
or something, judging by the rate of answers you've given so far and the numerous questions still on the list!)


RPJ, it's now September, thank you for your patience. Also thank you for your patience with the director's commentary of MB's reading of The Waltz. That project is on hold right now, pending resolution of some technical problems I keep running into.

You’re not the first person to ask me about UFOs, so don’t feel stupid. There are no stupid questions here on Ask Josh The Pilot. No, I’ve never seen a UFO while flying, and no controller I know has ever spotted one on a radar screen. I have no doubt UFOs exist, but they are not the extra-terrestrial kind. I am convinced all stories of UFOs are either desperate attempts by really bored people to get attention, or times when secret research projects were spotted by chance, but the technology is so far from the mainstream that it truly is “unidentified.”

I bought Independence Day because I think Will Smith is funny, and I like watching stuff blow up, so a movie with both was irresistible to me! Moving on…

The buxom wench said...

Okay, JTP, when was it that you first realised MB, in all her witty and blonde champagney glory, was the one for you? :)

Rather than a single moment, realizing I wanted MB around for the rest of my life was more of a gradual process, and it still continues to this day. However, if I had to point to the start of the process, it would be about two weeks after we met. Shortly after our second date, I took her to a comedy show at the University of Airplanes (this was before she started teaching there) and to make a long story short, after the show I attempted, keyword attempted, a cheerleading stunt with one of my old teammates, and I made a complete fool of myself. Tink got really mad at me (but didn’t show it, bless her), not only for making a fool of myself in public, but for touching another girl while on a date with Tink, something I thought nothing of because the other girl was a former teammate, nothing more.

When we got back to the car, Mary Beth very calmly and gently told me she was upset with what I had done, but she understood I would never intentionally anger or embarrass or hurt her. I apologized for my thoughtlessness and stupidity, and thanked her for not flying off the handle and storming out of my life. It was that moment when I realized how special a woman she is, and I wanted to get to know her more. I’ve spent the last almost two years falling more and more in love with her, and hopefully soon we’ll get to make things more permanent between us.

Well folks, that’s all for now. It’s past four a.m. CDT, definitely time for bed. This week my class is on night shift here at Controller Boot Camp, so tonight I meant to stay up late to get used to working long into the night, but I didn’t mean to go this late. Good thing I don’t have to be at work until 1530. That’s 3:30 p.m. for you civilian types. :)

Please keep the questions coming, and I'll do my best to satisfy everyone’s curiosity. Feel free to dig back in the archives and re-submit any questions I haven’t answered yet. I remembered the UFO question, but I’m sure there are others that I missed during my quick check of the archives.

Depart northeast, turn right heading zero three zero until joining Victor Four Seventeen, climb and maintain seven thousand at:

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