Rethink Convention

November 4, 2016

The last days of a great adventure

​As I mentioned in our last post, we were going to perform an airway marathon.

That was exactly the case. The last three days were really intense. We have flown with Philippe more than 15,1 FLT, which is roughly a 6,500 NM airway. Philippe and I have sweated more than 20 liters of water. (5 for Philippe and 15 for me!)

The Phenom behaved perfectly during this trip! Only one spurious CAS message in 12 days of operation.

Operating conditions were kind of extreme. The highest airport elevation was roughly 6000 feet with a temperature of 38 degrees Celsius.

Reliable? Yes, it is.

The west coast of Africa from the sky was once again amazing. I am surprised by landscapes under our wings -- sometimes arid and sometimes really green. Colors are constantly changing.

The operation over Gulf of Guinea was really intense; the workload was high enough to keep Philippe and I really busy. The equator crossing was not even noticed as the atmosphere in the cockpit was serious.  At FL430, we met some CBs, which we had to avoid visually from time to time. Tropopause altitude can be really high at such latitudes. You can expect to get high convective activity up to FL600 and temperatures flirting sometimes well below -70 degrees static. (The maximum authorized limit for the Phenom 300 at FL 450 is -70 degrees Celsius of SAT). As the flights increased, nights for Philippe and I were really "sleepy." We are now used to each other, and as a constituted crew, each of us knows exactly what to do regarding the other.

The stops over Pointe Noire, Abidjan and Laayoune were really efficient. We had some minor issues, but it was more related to logistical snags. A fuel truck arriving a little late to the aircraft, a hotel pickup no-show and a missing flight plan at Abidjan tower. But nothing really serious.

Everywhere we landed, the enthusiasm generated by our presence and the Phenom was a very nice feeling.

This trip was just as impressive as the Phenom’s reliability. Before we departed Paris, Embraer provided us an AOG kit to cover all the major no-go items from the Minimum Equipment List. This kit was well packed in the aft bay compartment and was never moved from there. (We were so happy and confident about carrying our own repair workshop, thanks to Embraer.)

As the clockwise African marathon comes to an end, here are some figures to illustrate the performance during our adventure:

-11 legs in 13 days

-7 days of flight activity

-32:42 flight time (not block time)

-12,754 NM airway distance

-33,025 pounds of Jet A1 used

-4 instrument approaches and 7 visual approaches

-1 quart of oil

We have over flown: FRANCE, SWITZERLAND, ITALY, GREECE, EGYPT, SUDAN, ERITREA, DJIBOUTI, ETHIOPIA, KENYA, TANZANIA, ZAMBIA, ZIMBABWE, BOTSWANA, SOUTH AFRICA REPUBLIC, NAMIBIA, ANGOLA, REPUBLIC OF CONGO, the Atlantic Ocean (Gulf of Guinea), CÔTE D'IVOIRE, MALI, MAURITANIA, the disputed territory of Western Sahara, MOROCCO, SPAIN, FRANCE.

We have met so many friendly faces and seen thousands of great animals, giving us enough to dream about for a really long time. 

It is just the beginning of new adventures. 

I would like to thank Philippe and his family for giving me the opportunity to share such an adventure with them.

We also want to warmly thank all of those who supported us:

-Tim, Manuel, Sebastien, Luciana and all of the Embraer community, from the maintenance facility to the worldwide headquarters.

- Renaud and Willy from Speedwings Executive Jet GmbH, our dedicated and efficient operators.

-JETEX, WFS, Colibri -- great team ( Joyce and Hocine)

-All the people involved in this fabulous adventure

-Friends and family

-It is almost impossible to name precisely all the manpower involved in this journey

Once again, thank you for following us.

We look forward to sharing more amazing adventures with you soon.

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November 1, 2016

Three-day stop in Cape Town

​Our three-day stop in Cape Town was really interesting. Cape Town is a sunny and windy city on the shores of  Table Mountain and Lion’s Head. Cape Town is often named the City Bowl, due to the mountainous backdrop enclosing the central area. The city has a warm, summer Mediterranean climate with mild, moderately wet winters and dry, warm summers.

Cape Town looks like a European capital at the geographical end of the world. The atmosphere is really nice and it is a really good place to live.  People from a lot of different horizons and nationalities live there together in relatively good harmony. The city has museums, aquariums, architecture, sports and so on – everything is there to make you feel happy. 

One of the most exciting places to visit is Table Mountain National Park. Table Mountain is one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature. 

The main feature of Table Mountain is the level plateau approximately 3 kilometers from side to side, edged by impressive cliffs. It is so nice to breathe pure air up there while going for a walk or a hike. There are several circuits, from very easy to medium, but make sure you have a good pair of shoes. 

A very impressive thing when you are standing at an altitude of 1,084 meters is the sounds you hear from the city, which produces a constant roaring. I recommend walking above this altitude. But be careful, don't lose your cable car ticket or you will have to walk another two and a half hours  to reach the bus stop.  Sometimes you can walk into clouds at the top of this mountain. This cloud formation is called the "tablecloth." Legend attributes this phenomenon to a smoking contest between the devil and a local pirate called Van Hunks. In fact, this orographic cloud is formed when a southeasterly wind is directed up the mountain's slopes into colder air. 

Farther south, you will be able to find the Cape of Good Hope, which was once believed to be the dividing point between the Atlantic and Indian oceans. In fact, the southernmost point of the African continent  is Cape Agulhas, about 150 kilometers to the east-southeast. By tradition, Cape of Good Hope  is considered as this peculiar place where the two oceans rejoining. 

From  a romantic and poetic point of view, Cape of Good Hope is still considered as this  converging point.

Fauna and flora are really rich in this part of South Africa. So many diverse species – penguins, whales, seals, fish, ostriches, baboons and so on. 

During our visit to Cape of Good Hope, we were able to see a beached whale. The whale was there for two days and tourists were very enthusiastic about it until the middle of the day, when the smell produced by the combination of the really hot air and the washed-up whale became stronger.

We had more fun observing the penguins playing with the little shore waves. 

This morning, we headed back to the FBO to start our Northern African marathon. Cape Town to Paris via four stops and two overnights. 

The first stop of the day was in Windhoek, Namibia. A very dynamic airport.

In less than a month, three new operators have started to schedule flights to Windhoek. Qatar and Air Ethiopia have been flying there for a month now, and today was the inaugural flight of the Amsterdam junction, with an A330 from KLM with a lot of officials, journalists, photographers and African dancers.

The 4,000-meter- long runaway is really important, especially when you check the LFE (field elevation) at almost 6,000 feet, where the temperature reached 38 degrees Celsius (100 degrees) easily.

How weird, on the aft fuselage of the A330, you can read "The Flying Dutchman." That was the name of the frequent flyer program before the creation of Air France’s Flying Blue, but it is also known as a legendary ghost ship that can never make port and is doomed to sail the oceans forever. The myth is likely to have originated from the 17th-century, when a Dutchman came to the Cape in distress from bad weather and wanted to get into the harbor but could not get a pilot to conduct her and was lost at sea. Ever since then, her vision appears in very bad weather.

Hopefully, no ghosts and very good weather en route to Pointe-Noire, which is the second largest city in the Republic of Congo, after the capital of Brazzaville. Pointe-Noire is the main commercial center of the country and is essentially the center of the oil industry in the Republic of Congo, one of the main oil producers in Central Africa.

We were delighted with a fantastic visual approach for RWY 17. Aircraft parked, covered and refueled for our next trip.

So happy to have some sleep.

See you tomorrow.

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October 27, 2016

On our way to South Africa

​Yesterday's flight was: FVFA-FACT
Block time: 03:05

We spent the night in Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe. This place, which all of us have visited, is always great. After yesterday's trip, we decided to go straight to our accommodation for a good night of sleep. Toads and monkeys broke the silence of Zimbabwe's night.

The following morning, we walked to the Falls. The temperature at 10:30 LT (08:30 STD) was almost 38 degrees Celsius (100 degrees Fahrenheit). The sun was really strong! Once again, my skin looked like vanilla-strawberry ice cream!  But the difficulty of this 10-minute walk was forgotten once in front of the Falls!

The waterfalls, even during the dry season, are huge! They look like several sheets of water separated by big basalt plateaus. The entire volume of the Zambezi River pours through several gorges! The sound produced by the Falls is really loud, and water spray cools the surrounding area. It is a real wonder, and I imagine how impressive it might be during the rainy season or the river's annual flood! Around the Falls, everything is really green and rich! Monkeys are playing everywhere under the shade of trees sprayed continuously by the Zambezi water.

The indigenous people living in the area surrounding Victoria Falls, the Tokaleya, named it in the Tonga language, the Mosi-oa-Tunya. That means: The smoke that thunders. The width of the waterfall is 1,708 meters and the height is 108 meters. In height and width, it is rivaled only by Argentina and Brazil's Iguazu Falls. It is really spectacular!

After spending a couple of hours at the Falls, it was time to return to the hotel to prepare ourselves to leave Zimbabwe for South Africa! Our cameras are full of nice pictures! After a 30-minute drive, we arrived at the international airport of Victoria Falls. The building is really new. Last renovations of the airport were done less than a year ago!

The building looked really good! Once again, our handling agents did not seem really familiar with private flights, but as in Tanzania, they were efficient. Customs, fuel, preflight and baggage scanning were done in a very reasonable time frame under the strong sun of Zimbabwe! We took off on RWY 12 (more than 13,000 feet long). The airfield elevation was 3,500 feet and the temperature was almost 40 degrees Celsius. But the aircraft acceleration was still good! Twenty minutes after takeoff, we reached BONAL almost at our requested flight level (FL 430). This waypoint is the exit point of Zimbabwe airspace at the border with Botswana. Later, the airway UT916 led us over the Makgadikgadi Pan. This salt pan is in the middle of the dry savanna of northeastern Botswana and is one of the largest salt flats in the world.

We left Botswana at UDLUM waypoint to enter the South African airspace. The arrival at FACT (Cape Town International Airport) was beautiful. The light was nice and clouds were covering the top of Table Mountain! We landed after the ILS Z on RWY 19, the temperature on ground was 20 degrees Celsius and the wind was quite strong, up to 30 knots in gusts. Infrastructures at FACT are like those in Europe, and procedures looked really familiar.

We will spend three days there. Since our Paris departure, we have flown only in a southern direction for almost 6,500 NM airway distance. While we were in Victoria Falls, I saw a painting in front of a hotel that represented the weekly journey of the Solent, a passenger flying boat,  that began service in the 1940s. The routing was similar to the one we have used: Southampton-Augusta-Alexandria-Khartoum-Port Bell-Victoria Falls-Johannesburg. I cannot imagine how demanding it was in 1948 to perform such a trip.
It has changed nowadays with the Phenom and technology.

Next time we will use the N344PL, it will be on a northern direction on the western side of Africa on our way back to Paris.

The adventure continues.

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October 26, 2016

The Journey to Victoria Falls

Today, we left our base camp in the Serengeti reserve with our bush guide, Jeremiah, and departed Tanzania for Zimbabwe. We were pretty sad because this place was so nice and the Tanzanians were so kind. We will miss them.

We headed to Sasakwa airstrip for a 45-minutes flight on a bush airplane to Lake Manyara Airport. The turnaround was really quick, something like five minutes. Only two passengers left the single-engine turbine aircraft on the Lake Manyara stop. The next leg was a little bit shorter, 15 minutes to HTKJ (Kilimanjaro International Airport), where our vessel was waiting for us on the general aviation apron.

The wings of our aircraft were covered by an orange dust. Fortunately, we had used our nose and windshield covers, which look like big camo-green socks, to protect all sensitive areas such as the pitot tubes, static covers and windshield. This protective covering is really nice, especially when you are in remote areas, as the traditional silver sunscreen is not sufficient. You need something to protect the aircraft from ultraviolet rays. Our ramp agent, Joshua, from Swissport Dar es Salam, arranged everything in an efficient and smooth way; Tanzanians are so helpful. Joshua is always smiling, always happy to help. Despite that, the security check was a little bit complicated. They are not really used to dealing with private flights and things sometimes take longer than expected. Fuel was uplifted and passengers were on the way to the aircraft. Preflight was also done, and we were ready for our departure. Along  the runway edges, some little dust tornados were starting to grow right in front of our path for departure.

We took off from RWY 09 at an elevation altitude of 2,900 feet and +31 degrees Celsius. No problem for a Phenom 300, climb performances remind you of the 3,360 pounds of thrust produced by the PW535-E jet engines. As usual, no radio contact up to FL 320, and then the communications were really weak and broken. The squawk was never obtained from ATC, and we decided to set 2000 with our mode S transponder. We have never been requested by controllers to change it on a 1200 NM airway distance flight. It's funny, because we are not really used to this in Europe. Radar coverage is sometimes so sharp that we have to change squawk two or three times on a Le Bourget to Milan Linate flight. The feeling of being alone is omnipresent over Tanzania and Zambia.

FL 430 Mach 0.74 and OAT displays -64 degrees Celsius. 

As usual, everything is quiet, with only the communications from Zambia reminding us of human existence. After almost 3:00 of flight time, we were able to see a B337-8 from Springbok (This is the call sign for South African airways.), 10 NM west of our position. I prefer to observe Springboks on a Safari photo trip! Later in the day, after the debrief, Willy, our operations support, confirmed that only two aircraft were present over the Zambian sky! Zambia is bigger in area than France – 752,628 km<sup>2</sup> for Zambia versus 543,965 square Km<sup>2</sup> for France! Try to imagine how alone you are here.

Philippe and I were really excited to overfly Victoria Falls, not only for the arrival needs but for sightseeing. It can be tricky to try to perform 360 degrees at FL 070 at the border of Zimbabwe and Zambia for our passengers’ and our own pleasure! As you might know, in a calm sea, every man is a pilot. Let's try it. In the worst-case scenario, ATC will refuse it.

Thanks to the great Livingstone approach controller who was so helpful to us. He gave us the full procedure to achieve our trick with the air-to-air frequency used by tourism aircraft performing sightseeing flights overhead Victoria Falls. The only concern of the ATC was the fact we were considered a medium aircraft for the wake turbulence, but he was more relaxed when we advised him that we were less than eight tons of total weight! The view was unbelievable!!! The Falls are so impressive! What a great moment. After our little excursion off track, Philippe ended the flight via a well-managed visual approach for the 13,123-feet-long runway 12 at Victoria Falls airport. Tomorrow morning, we will go to the Falls. We will experience another magical moment, which we have been experiencing since our departure from Paris.

The new horizon for tomorrow after the Falls will be Cape Town in South Africa!!!! Take care and best regards!

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October 26, 2016

The beautiful Serengeti National Park

​We have spent the last three days in the Serengeti National Park. The park’s name comes from a word used by the Massai to describe the area -- "siringet," which means "The place where the land runs on forever."

That is so true. It seems there is no world outside this park, which covers almost 5,700 square miles. All this land is covered mainly by wildebeest and other animals, which are now making their annual migration based upon this year’s rainfall patterns. Due to global warming, locals advised us, things are seriously changing and it has an impact on the wildlife in such remote areas.

The best place to observe this migration is from the sky! So Philippe had a great idea about taking a hot air balloon safari at sunrise. Still a little bit sleepy, everybody jumped into the four-wheel drive to the takeoff spot.

We were welcomed by our captain, Mohamed Masud, a highly experienced hot air balloon pilot with roughly 2,500 hours of flight time during the last 15 years. It was a brand new experience for everyone. Safety briefing, weather report and now let’s go where the wind blows!The takeoff was really amazing, as we all sat inside this big wicker basket, like an astronaut in a spaceship preparing for departure. The hot air produced by the burner expanded into the balloon and we rose slowly at 100 feet per minute. The balloon started out slowly dragging, and then we were airborne in less than 30 seconds.

The altitude varies depending on what you want to see.  Above this infinite natural reserve, silence once again seemed to be omnipresent. Our balloon’s average cruising speed was between 12 knots near the surface and 20 knots a little bit higher. The maximum altitude on this flight was around 5,500 feet AMSL. Such values are far from our daily parameters when flying the Phenom, but Philippe and I were unanimous: "As long as we are flying, we are happy!!!"
 
Wildlife and aerology knowledge were perfectly mastered by Captain Mohamed. Once again, giraffes, buffaloes and gnus were present for our great pleasure. After a one-hour ride, it was time to land in Tanzania. Mohamed started to release the hot air from the top of the balloon. He performed a really nice landing and the basket did not tip over. We shared a glass of champagne on the landing site! (What a surrealistic experience to drink a cold glass of champagne in the middle of this Serengeti reserve among gnus and other wild animals!). As explained by Captain Mohamed, it is a tradition to drink champagne when you land in a hot air balloon. The tradition originated with the first balloon flights when pilots were unable to control the path of the balloon upon landing, often damaging farm fields. To prevent anger and aggressiveness from farmers, pilots decided to offer them champagne.

Mohamed was also really proud to have a group of French on this flight, reminding us that the first manned balloon flight, which took place on October 15, 1783, was piloted by a Frenchman named Pilâtre de Rozier. That was almost exactly 233 years ago. The magic was still there all these years later and we were delighted to have had such a nice experience.

Tomorrow is our departure for Zimbabwe! Everything is ready. Our Speedwings Jet Executive GmbH team from Geneva has once again well managed our day trip. A big thanks also to Fanny from World Fuel Services, who has made our fuel delivery easier.

I am now impatient to reach new horizons.

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October 23, 2016

Beautiful Safari

​After two days of our journey and our fourth stop, we will finally reach Kilimanjaro.

We spent the night in Arusha. Everyone is tired but very happy and delighted. Once again, it will be an early wake-up, but we have a great day ahead: The Safari.

We are going north of Tanzania, not far from Lake Victoria, on a bush plane that is capable of landing at the Grumeti Airstrip. Philippe and I were happy to be standard passengers today, allowing us to view the splendid landscapes of Northern Tanzania at FL85.

Bush pilots: What an adventure!

No autopilot, no retractable undercarriage, no anti-icing or deicing systems or Visual Flight Rules, and an unpressurized aircraft! It is a tough job and so different from our type of operation, but impressive and interesting.

We missed our fabulous Phenom 300 with all of its nice onboard features. Airstrips are not part of the daily routine of Embraer planes.

The flight was really nice, the air was smooth and still. We were airborne around 07:30 LT, and the outside air temperature was quite nice -- not too hot, something like 17 degrees Celsius. As far as I can remember, the Outside Air Temperature reading at FL 085 was 14 degrees Celsius.

To be honest, it was even a little bit too cold in the bush airplane,  especially on the second leg, which took roughly 50 minutes of flight time because we had to make  a stop for other passengers going into another wild reserve. As I was tired, I fell asleep. Philippe sat in the right seat next to the pilot, so everything was under control, except for the buffaloes or gnus herd wandering on the Grumeti Airstrip as we were established on short final and fully configured for landing. The pilot had to perform a go-around due to wild animals crossing the runway. It was an unusual experience, especially when you are used to flying in Europe to destinations such as Geneva, Paris or Farnborough.

After a low pass over the Grumeti runway, we finally landed on the airstrip.

The second part of the day was now starting after a warm welcome from our great guide, Jeremiah. We were ready for a really cool Safari!

All cameras were fully charged to capture the beauty of Tanzanian wildlife: Crocodiles, hippos, elephants, cheetahs, monkeys, wild dogs, gazelles, impalas, lions, giraffes, ostriches and much more.

Eyes and head are fully loaded with so many nice views and moments.

A nice sunset over beautiful Tanzania and a good dinner. It's time for bed and more dreams about this fabulous and exciting journey.

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October 22, 2016

Another Phenomenal Day in the Phenom 300, N344PL

Second day of our Journey: HECA-HDAM-HTKJ 

First leg: 03:55

Second leg: 02:55

That is a really long day, but such a great day, full of joy, adrenaline and astonishment! Africa here we are! Yesterday was the start of our dream today we are part of the dream.

The departure from Cairo this morning at 06:30 UTC was supposed to be really routine. Cairo is a big international airport with three very long parallel runways. It is like Europe but there is no more CFMUs ( Central Flow Management Units).

We were not expecting any surprises on our departure. FPL was filed and acknowledged by Egyptian services, everything was checked and briefed the day before by Speedwings Executive Jet GmbH, our operation provider. So on that lovely Morning in Cairo everything was fine, we were perfectly on time, one engine running for our convenience. I asked the start up on delivery clearance and the ATC was really surprised! "N344PL I do confirm we do not have your FPL!!" After 35' trying to find a solution with our ops in Geneva and the local ATC we managed to start the taxi.

Takeoff from Cairo with at least 01:00 of delay and we were now towards Khartoum FIR. The track was pretty simple all along the Red Sea to Djibouti. Philippe is an adventurer and he knows pretty well all the Phraseology subtlety: HF, primary and secondary frequency or IFBP on 126.9.

IFBP (in flight broadcast procedure is peculiar), you have to make a position report roughly every 10' or when crossing an airway and you can spend a long time trying desperately to hear a familiar voice to guide you over the immensity of Africa. This is a really remote area and I was glad about Philippe's experience in this region and his pedagogy to show me the trick! The SLOP procedure was also mandatory in this part of Africa. You have to make a track offset of 1 or 2 NM on the right for spacing reasons between all traffic.

The flight was long, but I have noticed when you perform a flight in the European area from Corfu to Brussels it seems to be an eternity, even if landscapes are great, but here, it is Africa, the workload was so high with ATC and overfly permit management that for us this almost 04:00 of block time seems to last a couple of intense minutes.

Overfly Permit!!! Thanks again to our ants from Switzerland, I am talking about Willy and Renaud, they are able to follow us on real time with a little GPS tracker even in remote areas! The satcom was so useful to gather information such as the acknowledgment of the overflight permit send 2 months ago via email.

Landing in Djibouti was nice and the sandwich meal brake was a delight for all of us.

Fuel uplift with our friendly handler from Djibouti and chocks removal and we are taking off to Kilimandjaro! Now it is show time - we will cross the equator - my first! And we will play with the ITCZ (inter tropical convergence zone) this is an area where weather phenomena can be really tough! You can expect CB's up to FL 530 and even higher with very low SAT temperature, ice crystals and other cool stuff that pilots don't like... But for the Phenom, no problem, a good flight preparation, fuel and a good radar are the best tools to feel comfortable in such regions.

The arrival in Tanzania after Kenya

Tanzania with Mont Kilimandjaro as landscape - what an amazing view! We landed on Runway 09 in HTKJ with a beautiful sunset. Thanks to our Egyptian delay the magic of our arrival was even better then forecasted. This evening all of us are tired but very happy about our flights. Philippe and I were behaving as kids with this fabulous toy on such a fantastic playground!

This adventure continues everyday and it is getting better and better! I was so happy tonight to share this part of our journey to Tim Epping, operations and my family.

We will rest a little bit and get some rest before next page of this tour on 26/10/16...

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October 21, 2016

Our first day on this great adventure

​First day of our journey: Paris-Taranto-Cairo (LFPB-LIBG-HECA)
First leg: 02:10
Second leg: 02:25

What a great day today! The atmosphere in Paris was really nice, and everybody in Paris was really hyped about this first day of our marvelous trip around Africa.

Tim Epping and Sebastien Abouly have managed a great departure for us, with N344PL parked next to his brother, the Legacy 450. The weather was a little bit cold and cloudy, but smiles on everybody's faces reminded us how warm the journey would be.

After half an hour of talking around those two great aircraft, it was time to request our startup for our first turnaround in Italy. Weather was really nice, engines and aircraft were running smoothly at FL450, our ground speed was around 450 KTAS with almost a 40 kts tailwind component all the way toward south Italy.

A few minutes after takeoff, we were heading east above the cloud layer, with our faces fully exposed to the nice, warm sun filtered via our windshield. There was a little bit of light chops above the Alps, as usual in this area, and our cabin was quiet as passengers were just recovering from the early wake-up.

We landed in Taranto for a fuel stop and a quick meal of delicious sandwiches, baguette and French pastries. After a 90-minute lunch break, we resumed our trip toward North Africa. Flying at FL450 above the clouds, we were not able to contemplate the beauty of the Mediterranean Sea. Philippe and I were discussing our different flight experiences and most of the time discussions were diverting to the great qualities of the Phenom 300.

Philippe's kids are really enthusiastic about our trip; they simply don't know where we are going. It is a surprise, and they try by any means to find our final destinations.

As you might expect, we were often trying to give them clues about destinations and sometimes joking about the situation.

The arrival in Cairo was really cool and soft. We landed on RWY 05C after an ILS performed in a light desert haze and a yellowish mist with a little bit of ocher sand dust everywhere.  Night was not far away, but Philippe knows this aircraft perfectly and we return to ground and reality with a gentle touchdown.

Let's see what news our trip brings tomorrow.

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October 21, 2016

Phenom 300 Around the World

​Ever since he was a child, Philippe Lacrosse  had always  dreamed of becoming a pilot.  Soon after earning his pilot license, his passion for flying transformed into an opportunity to discover the world with his family aboard their Phenom 300, named Colibri.

The family’s  first trip was in April 2013, when they flew from Paris to the Maldives, where he  was told his aircraft  was the first Phenom to land on the island.  The Lacrosse family hasn’t stopped flying since then, and now they are preparing to fly around the globe.


The first leg of their journey will begin in France  on October 21 and end in Morocco on November 2. Throughout their trip, they will  share their experiences with us  through this blog here. Follow the Lacrosse family’s adventure by checking out their posts, images and videos.

Trip dates: 21 Oct. 2016 - 2 Nov. 2016:
Trip itinerary: France - Italy - Egypt - Ethiopia - Tanzania - Zimbabwe - South Africa - Namibia - Congo (Point Noire) - Ivory Coast - Morocco (Occidental Sahara)

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July 1, 2016

Multifaceted job keeps facilities lead on the move

David Currier wears many hats in his dual role as Environmental, Health and Safety (EHS) coordinator and Facilities Department lead at Embraer Executive Jets in Melbourne.

Among his wide-ranging EHS duties are overseeing environmental management, safety audits, maintenance of aircraft-assembly tooling equipment and forklift training. David has gained expertise in many areas since joining Embraer Executive Jets in early 2011, keeping his knowledge and skills up to date through annual recertification courses.

His many responsibilities as a facilities lead include serving as the focal point for ordering all of the supplies needed to maintain equipment and buildings, managing aspects of security, health, and the well-being of workers.

David’s tasks and expertise have increased as Melbourne’s aircraft assembly facilities have grown. The job is challenging, he said, but the pace and variety suit him. “I’m not one that can sit in one place for long. I don’t like doing the same thing every day.”

His path to Embraer began while he was working as an electrical superintendent for the company that constructed Melbourne’s production/administration building. David said he was hired after his extensive knowledge caught the eye of an Embraer manager, who told him he knew the building better than anyone, including everything in the ground, walls and ceiling.

David’s passion, dedication and work ethic were recognized in 2012, when he was named one of Embraer’s two most valued employees in Melbourne, earning a six-day trip to Brazil with award winners from other Embraer sites.

Although he doesn’t build aircraft, David and his team are critical to keeping all of the facilities and equipment running smoothly on Embraer’s sprawling Melbourne campus and other nearby sites. “I like seeing the growth. I like the direction we’re going.”

David said he loves his job and the family atmosphere at Embraer Executive Jets. It’s just a great organization. Everyone is friendly, and it’s been that way since day one.  They take care of their people. They think safety first; they stress that.”

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June 24, 2016

Dynamic quality lead inspector thrives amid aircraft

Tremain Williams is capable of working as a quality inspector in every station of Embraer Executive Jets’ Phenom assembly facility in Melbourne. That’s because he has worked as an inspector throughout the assembly line, as well as in flight preparation and delivery, since joining Embraer when the facility opened in early 2011. 

Last year, Tremain was promoted to quality lead inspector, supervising 14 workers in production, flight preparation and the delivery center. 


 “I’m kind of the floater between every station … I make sure we have the manpower where needed. I’m kind of everywhere, not any one station.”

It’s an ideal role for Tremain, who has 16 years of diverse aviation experience and has been passionate about airplanes since childhood. “I love building airplanes, I love inspecting airplanes … I really just like being around aircraft.”

Before joining Embraer, Tremain worked at Piper Aircraft in Vero Beach for 11½ years in such jobs as assembly technician, fabrication inspector and lead assembly inspector. That broad experience made him a valuable addition to Embraer Executive Jets’ new production team.  “Embraer was looking for people with a heavy aviation background so they could help train others when the company opened. We trained on the airplanes in Brazil since we didn’t have them here yet. I did well there, so I helped train other guys who are still here now.”

Tremain said the assembly-line processes at Embraer ensure the business jets meet the highest safety and quality standards. “I see aircraft take the first flight and come back with minimal discrepancies, so that’s a testament itself to the quality we put inside the aircraft.”

He is thrilled to be part of the dedicated production team that is rethinking convention at Embraer. “I’m very proud to work here with a company that can create, produce and design aircraft, moreso than anyone in the industry. It’s great to be part of something of this magnitude.” 

Tremain is excited about the future as Embraer’s Melbourne campus continues to grow. “To see a company build as fast as we are is a wonderful thing to be a part of. Plus, giving me the opportunity to excel within the company is a good thing because one of Embraer’s core values is ‘Our people are what make us fly.’  I’m glad I’m part of that.”

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June 17, 2016

Seasoned jet-builder supervises second-shift team

When Jay Colon was hired as a team leader at Embraer Executive Jets in Melbourne in early 2011, he arrived to a huge empty production building.

Fast forward five-plus years, and every station of the Phenom 100/300 assembly line is bustling with activity and production is underway in the new Legacy 450/500 manufacturing facility.

Joining Embraer “was a perfect opportunity because building aircraft was what I was doing for 24 years before coming here,” Jay said.  He spent most of those years in Boeing’s  C-17 program in Long Beach, California, in such positions as an aviation mechanic, manufacturing analyst and supervisor.

After working as a team leader with Embraer for about a year, Jay was promoted to production supervisor, leading the newly created second shift.  Another second-shift supervisor was added last year, and together the two now oversee about 125 workers.  “For second shift, I’m their voice pretty much. The guys know what they’re doing … My functionality is to help them get what they need to build these aircraft.”

The production-line processes at Embraer ensure every jet is built correctly to the highest standards, Jay said. “We have electronic capabilities to access the work orders – all electronic, no paper. In there, they can also access their technical standards. They take laptops in the plane and they build per print.  If an issue arises, a line worker reports it to their lead and then to their manufacturing engineer  “and we make sure we’re building it properly.”
Jay doesn’t hesitate to declare why Embraer is a fantastic place to work. “The people, the culture. Our people are what make us fly.  We have a great group of people.” 

Helping to lead the team building the Phenom 300, the world’s most-delivered business jet for three straight years, is “awesome,” he said. And Jay is thrilled the Legacy 450 and Legacy 500 –  products of Embraer’s commitment to rethink convention – also will be assembled in Melbourne. “The sky’s the limit for those planes … Whatever they need from me, I’m there.”

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April 26, 2016

Engineer has ‘umbrella perspective’ of operations

Steve Anderson never forgets how privileged he is to have a hand in building innovative aircraft at Embraer Executive Jets.

“It’s easy to get caught up in all of the technical details and daily tasks that are part of any manufacturing facility, so I think it’s important to remember how lucky we are to do what we do,”  said Steve, a manufacturing engineer who joined Embraer when the Phenom assembly plant opened in early 2011. “Whenever I get the chance to see an Embraer aircraft in flight, I take that moment to enjoy the sense of accomplishment and pride, and remember that, ‘Hey, that’s pretty cool.’ ”

Steve, who has a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering,  is in charge of Embraer’s MES (manufacturing execution system), a paperless system that controls and documents the production process.  “I have interaction with almost every department that we have. I have an umbrella perspective to see how everything needs to work together, how the whole operation ends up producing an aircraft for our customer.”

Before an Embraer business aircraft is delivered to a customer, every aspect of that jet has been checked and rechecked, he said.  “There are many final documentation checks and balances that I hadn’t seen at other companies, making sure that the delivered aircraft meets all of the design requirements, it is built as it was designed and has all the essential equipment installed.”

Steve’s diverse background working at two start-up general aviation companies, including helping to design production facilities, prepared him well for his position at Embraer Executive Jets. “I got to see the entire process of a startup aircraft manufacturing company, going from the design into prototyping, into obtaining the type certificate and production certificate to produce aircraft. That was a big, wonderful learning experience.”

Today, Steve said he’s proud to tell people he builds business jets for Embraer, a company that has provided him with a wealth of technical, cultural and travel experiences “beyond anything I could have imagined 10 years ago.” And it keeps getting better as the Melbourne campus continues to grow.

“It’s very exciting to be part of an organization that is growing like ours is. It’s probably unheard of, growth of this magnitude in this short period of time.” 

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March 7, 2016

Fighter jet experience primed technician for faster pace

​Embraer Executive Jets assembly technician Eric Sneed became proficient at maintaining high standards while working under tight deadlines when he performed avionic maintenance on fighter jets during the Iraq War.

“I was a shop supervisor during Operation Iraqi Freedom, so basically every aircraft had to fly as much as possible,” said Eric, who spent eight years in the Navy as an aviation electronics technician in Virginia Beach. 

Eric said repairing wires and cables on F-14B and F/A-18 jets as efficiently as possible provided him the expertise to adapt to the ramped-up assembly-line pace at Embraer, where he installs electrical harnesses and antenna cabling on Phenom 100s and 300s. Since joining Embraer in January 2012, demand has continued to grow, especially for the Phenom 300, which was the world’s most-delivered business jet in 2013, 2014, and 2015.   

Eric always remains focused on building the best and safest executive jets possible, ever mindful of the customers who will fly in them. “I understand that 20 years from now, people are going to be in this aircraft. So I have to do my job to the best of my ability at the highest quality.”

He is proud to be a member of a knowledgeable aircraft-building team that continually rethinks convention, including fellow technicians and manufacturing engineers who have worked on military jets and the space shuttle.
One especially gratifying aspect of building Embraer aircraft is occasionally spotting one of the executive jets he helped to build. “If I’m not at work, I’m always pointing out Embraer planes and say, ‘I think I built that.’ Any time I pass by an executive airport, I’m always looking to see if there’s one parked there.”

Given the many years he has spent working on military jets and the Phenoms, Eric said he would love the opportunity to use his experience to assemble Embraer’s larger, technologically advanced business jet aircraft – the Legacy 450 and 500 – after production begins in Melbourne in 2016.  With the expansion expected to add 600 U.S. jobs over the next few years, he sees a bright future with Embraer.

“I hope and expect to be here for many years. They take care of their people and they have really good benefits. It’s just a great place to work.”

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February 26, 2016

Aviation veteran finds niche at Embraer

Carlos Roque has the ideal job for a lifelong airplane enthusiast who challenges the status quo and happens to be a perfectionist.

“I have a streak of perfectionism in me that is often considered a liability,” said Carlos, who has worked as an assembly technician for Embraer Executive Jets since March 2012. “But here, I have a very constructive outlet that allows me to practice perfectionism in my job. I can’t imagine doing anything less than the best when it comes to airplanes.”

Carlos began studying airplanes as a young child and later earned two associate degrees in aviation-related subjects, along with a private pilot license, a commercial pilot license and an airframe and powerplant (A&P) license.  Before joining Embraer, he pursued his passion in wide-ranging commercial and general aviation jobs, ranging from an airline mechanic to piloting a small plane doing traffic surveillance for a radio station.

 “I wouldn’t really want to do anything other than aviation,” he said. “I was always a hands-on person, always wanting to know how things worked and then how to operate them. I always looked up to aircraft as the epitome of machines.”

At Embraer Executive Jets, Carlos prepares smaller components and the main electronics rack for installation on Phenom 100s and Phenoms 300s.  To ensure the business jets meet Embraer’s highest standards of excellence, quality assurance inspectors monitor assembly processes daily and FAA inspectors pay visits to the facility, he said.  “I have to be able to explain to a quality inspector or an FAA inspector exactly what I’m doing and how I’m doing it. I have to have my references – blueprints, parts lists – right at hand. I have to be able to demonstrate competence over all our processes.”

Carlos said he is amazed at Embraer’s uncanny ability to rethink convention and consistently develop innovative business jet designs that appeal to customers.  

“Somehow, Embraer sees exactly what the market needs and designs an airplane to meet those needs. Even if the market didn’t know they needed it before, once that airplane is available, they’re buying it. It’s all very exciting."

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February 19, 2016

Former shuttle engineer right at home with Embraer

​As an engineer, Megan Leggett works in a field typically dominated by men, yet she feels more than at home working at Embraer Executive Jets. In fact, the manufacturing engineer cites her hardworking team members in the Phenom assembly facility as one of the best parts of her job.

“The guys are all great.  They’re so knowledgeable and dedicated,” said Megan, who joined Embraer in April 2012, after eight years as a mechanical engineer with United Space Alliance (USA) at the Kennedy Space Center, where she worked on the space shuttle’s solid-rocket boosters.

Megan, who has bachelor’s degrees in mechanical engineering and civil engineering from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, said her shuttle experience made for a smooth transition at Embraer, because of the similarities between the two jobs. At Embraer, she writes work instructions that technicians follow to assemble the Phenom 100 and Phenom 300, making sure production issues are promptly addressed to ensure the affordable executive jets are built to the highest standards of excellence.
“I learned quite a bit at United Space Alliance as far as the manufacturing process, so a lot of it just rolled right into this job,” said Megan, who works second shift in the assembly plant. “It’s pretty much doing the same thing.  All the rules and requirements are different, but the tasks that you do day in and day out are the same.”

Megan said she’s excited the Legacy 450 and 500 production facilities will open in Melbourne in 2016, and given her experience, she’s sure she will eventually work on the two aircraft featuring full fly-by-wire technology. But for now, the former space shuttle engineer is happy working on the Phenom and with her career at Embraer Executive Jets, which treats its employees well and offers “fantastic” benefits.

With Embraer Executive Jets’ rapid growth and success during its first 10 years, Megan is optimistic about the business aviation company’s future: “The sky’s the limit. I’m definitely proud to say I work at Embraer.”

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February 12, 2016

Brazil native relishes ‘cool’ job

When Pedro Holanda relocated to Florida from his native Brazil to work in aviation 15 years ago, he had no idea he eventually would work for a global executive jet maker with a Brazilian heritage. 

Pedro is thrilled his career path led to Embraer Executive Jets in Melbourne, brimming with enthusiasm as he talks about the company and his work as an avionics technician in the Phenom assembly plant.  


 “Embraer is something that makes us really proud to be Brazilian,” said Pedro, who joined Embraer in April 2012. “Being an avionics technician is something really cool. I like my job. I am proud to work for Embraer. The environment is great.”

Most of Pedro’s work takes place in the cockpit, where he performs exhaustive operational checks and avionics tests to ensure that all of the innovative electrical systems are functioning correctly.   “We go through every knob, every single little button in the cockpit to make sure everything works properly. It’s really fun to sit down in the cockpit and get to understand how every single system works on the aircraft.”

Manufacturing engineers lend their technical knowledge to rethink convention “because we really have to get into the guts of the electrical side of the aircraft,” Pedro explained.  Quality assurance inspectors also work closely with technicians, monitoring processes and completing documentation showing the work complies with the FAA’s and Embraer’s  highest standards. 

Pedro sharpened his skills while working as an avionics technician with a local aircraft manufacturer, and later as an electrical mechanic on the technologically advanced Boeing 787 Dreamliner at a final assembly plant in South Carolina.  When production of the Legacy 450 and 500 begins in Melbourne, Pedro said he would welcome the opportunity to learn a more sophisticated and complex system. 

The Brazil native is effusive in his praise for Embraer Executive Jets, which continues to grow in a competitive market, offering customers the broadest portfolio in the business jet market.

“It’s so exciting to see the company growing. Not every company out there is doing so great like Embraer. Embraer is so strong. It’s a massive corporation that’s not going anywhere. They’re here to stay.”

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February 12, 2016

Redefining what’s possible

When you are looking for a new business jet, you will likely interact regularly with our team members on the front line. But you probably won’t have the opportunity to meet the people who build Embraer’s executive aircraft. Day in and day out, each of these talented professionals plays an integral role in challenging the status quo and building our brilliantly engineered airplanes – one wire and one bolt at a time.

We at Embraer are launching a new series of profiles to highlight a handful of the highly skilled technicians and manufacturing engineers who work in our assembly facilities. Through these profiles, you will see how much dedication, expertise and care is devoted to each phase of every single aircraft we build.  

Our teams in Melbourne and Brazil include people who spent years working on the most advanced projects in the world, from NASA’s space shuttle to highly respected military and commercial programs, before joining Embraer.  In addition to their expertise, each of these employees exudes unbridled enthusiasm when describing his or her role in building our jets.

As you get to know our employees, you will understand that at Embraer Executive Jets, our mission is to continually redefine what’s possible and our commitment to excellence and serving you is paramount in everything we do.

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December 19, 2014

Our Journey Around the World - in Forbes!

We were delighted to see our journey around the world featured in Forbes Magazine!

Thank you all for your support. Wishing you and your loved ones happy holidays and a wonderful 2015!

Business Aviation: A Legacy in the Making, written by Tony Velocci

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November 11, 2014

The whole world is right here at home

​The night before a complex flight tends to be a sleepless one. I imagine that many other pilots endure their own painstaking habits and rituals before pulling chocks on similarly elaborate missions. In my case, the next day’s events haunt every dark corner of my hotel room. My eyes burst open from restless sleep at the slightest sound, and thoughts immediately begin racing through my mind – did I miss the wake-up call? No, thank goodness. But what does the weather look like outside? Will we be able to take off? And what about the weather at our destination – will we have to be rerouted? What about our flight plans? Did I file everything correctly?...


Yesterday, though, the sun rose on a cool and partly cloudy morning in London. The plan was to fly from there to Teterboro where we would deliver three of our passengers, and then to depart for Naples, Florida, where the remaining few would deplane and bid us a final farewell. All paperwork filed accordingly, all passengers accounted for, and clear skies on the eastern coast of the U.S. 


Since we always try to surprise our principal, we decided to try something novel to celebrate the last day of our travels. We cooked a rack of lamb in our convection oven and served it with equally impressive accompaniments. The meal was considered a huge success by our passengers, especially complemented by the decadent pastries that we had procured in London and served for dessert. Taking our passengers into consideration is our priority, of course. So, once they had expressed their awe and gratitude, the Crew and I were assured that the remainder of our voyage would be a success.

Up in the clouds, my anxious mind quieted, we crossed the Atlantic at 40,000 feet destined for home. Peaceful reflection surfaced memories from our trip, which once seemed so long but now seemed to have come and gone in the blink of an eye. My uniform could just about fly the airplane by itself, I swear, so we took turns strolling through the spacious cabin zones to stretch our legs. We kept lively conversation going, raided the galley for snacks, and marveled at the successful mission we were about to complete.

Today, after a full night of sleep in my own bed, the appreciation I have for these past few weeks is overwhelming, and indescribable. I hope that, one day, I will be able to share these types of experiences with my children. Amazing, isn’t it, though? You can travel around the entire planet, only to find that your whole world is right here at home…

Thank you for coming with us on this journey, my friends.

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November 10, 2014

The Flight Plan Home

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November 8, 2014

Hello from London

​Our flight plan from Dubai to London reflected a flight time of just under eight hours, covering Iran, Iraq, Turkey and the Black Sea, and the entire continent of Europe. We arrived late last night and, as fellow aeronauts can relate, my entire being was fatigued, as if I had run the whole route! Planning these complex multi-nation flights requires arduous mental processing, tedious calculations, special permissions and logistics… it’s enough to cry “vertigo”!

Now, as I sit in the enchanting chamber of our London hotel, many images from our latest adventures run through my mind. Did I mention that I was asked to do an interview with Forbes?! It was my very first media interview, and a welcome opportunity to talk about my passionate focus on the philosophy of Global Excellence.

Today’s world often ignores the indifference to detail that has spread to so many people. I am one who is not afraid to take ownership. As Manager of Aviation at our company, I am willingly and fully responsible for the quality of our passengers’ flight experiences. My aim is to excel at providing my customers with the highest level of services, from cleanliness and timeliness, to the anticipation of every whim. This is one of the reasons that I work with Embraer – the practice of Global Excellence is reflected in our every interaction with them.

Speaking of which, “Muito obrigado!” to LES and KEITH, two more representatives of Embraer’s outstanding support team. Thank you for burning both ends of the night with us!

On Monday we cross the Atlantic one more time. After we clear customs in Maine, we will bring a few of our passengers to New York before finally returning to our own families in Orlando. I can’t wait to see my best friend – my wife, Robyn. She is the driving force in my life and an inspiration to everyone who knows her. She is the mother and full-time educator of our three children, who have blossomed as individuals over the past decade.

Lucca, six years old, is not just a MineCraft expert; he is also one of the most highly recognized veterinarians in the stuffed animal community. Noah, my protégé, is nine years old and has already made science and flight tracking two of his favorite hobbies. And, Chloe, my teenager, is going to conquer the growing world of website development before she graduates, I just know it. I encourage all them to live like me, like Peter Pan – to seek new adventures with youthful spirit, always with “happy thoughts” in mind. For me, my “happy thought” is the promise of the biggest, tightest, five-headed hug of my life, and that thought will carry me home. My family is, after all, the real reason I can fly.

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November 7, 2014

Big Ben, here we come!

​We have eight hours ahead of us as we leave the warmth of Dubai for the cooler autumn weather of London.  Our bodies have had a chance to rest, and our circadian internal clocks seem to adjust with more ease than we have experienced over the past couple of weeks. We can feel home drawing nearer with each leg completed.
 
Our flight will take us over Iran and Turkey, ultimately carrying us north and west through most of Eastern Europe. Our airplane awaits us, prepared with over 20,000 lbs of fuel to transport incalculable numbers of mementos, a fully stocked galley, five delightful passengers, three diligent crew members, and a partridge in a pear tree. (Just kidding!)

With the holiday season upon us, a longing for family togetherness seems to occupy every quiet moment. In spite of a truly awe-inspiring and highly productive tour around the world, we are all anxious for our impending homecoming. We are looking forward to spending time with our loved ones before we depart for our next adventure. But for now, Big Ben and fish and chips, here we come!

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November 5, 2014

The Emirates Experience

​Today we departed Bangkok for Dubai.  Our carefully planned route had us flying at 40,000 feet over the Bay of Bengal in India, and then over the Arabian Sea before descending toward this amazing destination, where we will spend the next few days of our lives.

There really is no place like Dubai. Its people have combined the classics of Middle Eastern culture with modern life and luxury to create a unique charm that can only be found here. With London, Hong Kong, and Moscow located nearby at almost equal distances, it's no wonder that Dubai is a magnet for successful businesses and discerning travelers. This is a city of worldly enterprise, lavish retreats, and tremendous achievements in architectural and engineering innovation.

I love to visit the Emirates, and Dubai is certainly one of my favorites because its existence validates my love for corporate aviation in a way that no other place does. Dubai requires-... no, wait-... Dubai clamors for private executive travel to connect this regional gem to the rest of the world. For that, this city has conquered my heart. 

Just like my daughter says...

Dubai. Enough said.

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November 5, 2014

Learning to work well in other cultures

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November 4, 2014

Humble reflections

​Although he typically uses his aircraft for business and pleasure trips, our principal's high level of commitment to philanthropy demands an aircraft fully capable of sustaining his charitable missions. He and his wife are widely recognized as active humanitarians, providing aid and relief to multiple organizations around the world. In our home country of the United States, we have visited numerous children's hospitals, and esteemed universities, admiring our employer and his family for selflessly offering their time and resources to help improve the lives of our nation's young people. Overseas, similar acts of inspiration occur regularly. With our Legacy 650, our principal and his wife are able to visit places where their generosity is most needed. They meet the people who maintain these charitable organizations, and those who depend daily on the kindness of others. The connections that are formed during these visits are invaluable, and the warmth and humanity that we witness is tangible. These meaningful relationships are the result of, and the driver for, our principal's continued benevolence, at home and abroad.

Like our company, Embraer has taken a proactive approach to building and fostering a sustainable future, worldwide. For example, the company's high school program in São Jose dos Campos prepares students for an evolving, world-wide society at no cost to their families. Embraer doesn't just provide aircraft support to our endeavors; they encourage the ideals and values that we share in everything they do. Synergetic views like this are very important to us. These shared beliefs bring people closer together in a world that seems to grow smaller every day.

We depart Thailand shortly, knowing that we will be back again shortly to follow up on the charitable opportunity we came to investigate. A final THANK YOU to those we met during our visit. We can only hope to reciprocate your unrelenting hospitality one day soon.

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November 4, 2014

About to depart to Bangkok

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November 2, 2014

Greetings from Chiang Mai

​1 November 2014

Good morning from Chiang Mai!

We got here last evening.  This place is completely out of the fast track world, but the high end tourism attraction is strongly established here, beginning with lavish hotel accommodations. We are at Le Meridien luxury resort, and I could  definitely see myself here for a few more days. There is much to see, and we are all finding exotic treasures during our spare time that we plan to take home to share with our friends and family.

We can clearly see that the suitcases are becoming heavier with each stop.  With 1,000 lbs of baggage carrying ability, we have no trouble accommodating the extra shopping bags and the bulging suitcases. Our passengers have been able to optimize the abundance of baggage compartment space, utilizing every space with much left to spare!  They have multi-packed, meaning they have different suitcases for different locations. Hanging bags for dresses and business suits; golf bags awaiting the fairways; parkas and sweaters standing by for colder climates... All of it fits neatly into the aircraft until needed.

Thanks for following along, my friends, and keep sharing your photos on your social media pages! We love to see photos of you all showing your support for our team as we find ourselves nearing the end of our journey!

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October 30, 2014

Always at home in Singapore

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Singapore

Those of us traveling aboard our Legacy 650 have been settled into yet another hotel since Tuesday. We will spend a bit more time here before departing on Friday - Singapore is one of our most relaxing stops. It has been nice to see some new sights, although the view in the cockpit is never unpleasant. Tomorrow we will spend some time with our supporters at Embraer's office in Singapore. I always enjoy meeting with people who have been helping us from a distance. The fact that we are always welcomed as friends is a quality that remains constant throughout all of our Embraer encounters.

The hotels we stay in are nice, as you can imagine. Picture us walking through a cavernous reception lobby, being welcomed by a desk full of smiling hotel staff. The staggering number of reward points that a pilot carries with him typically warrants V.I.P. status among the Property Managers, so we are treated very well. Still, the Legacy really feels like the closest thing to "home" that we can find on a journey like this. Having the flexibility to live on your own schedule is rare, especially in the sky, but our aircraft never limits the way that our principals live their busy lives.

For example, our team prepares for every flight by planning a thematic value to add to the experience, no matter how short the flight may be. Everything from catering to decorations is tailored to that theme, whether it relates to destinations, seasons, or just an idea that we decided to explore.  Once the theme is chosen, we are constantly amazed to watch Sim, our In-Flight Concierge pull decorations out of storage and set the stage.  Somehow, we have been flying around the world with a selection of menus and decor that Martha Stewart would be proud of! All of this intimate festivity is greatly appreciated by our passengers.

Privacy can be a scarcity when traveling, even flying in first class, or staying in the most luxurious of hotels (some of which are located right here in Singapore, by the way!). One of the advantages on the Legacy 650 is the ability to close the galley's pocket doors, giving our passengers complete privacy. Behind these beautiful closed doors, we prepare meals discreetly, utilize the Crew bathroom... we even use this area to simply stretch and talk, never interfering with the passengers' flight experience.  With a hand picked crew and an aircraft that delivers an unbelievably quiet passenger experience, our principals are assured that their private matters and business enterprises will remain private.

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October 25, 2014

Embraer's Customer Support Experience

​Friday, 24 October 2014

Sapporo – Tokyo (some thoughts)

Such a long flight to Tokyo through Sapporo required a high dosage of concentration! We had to use all of the onboard technology to deal with the quick changes in arrival procedures, approaches, and runway assignments! I have spent many years flying, but the absolute need for technology in the cockpit has never been more obvious to me than it is today. Without all of this at our fingertips in such complex air spaces, we would be far behind the curve.

During our flight across the ocean, we had emailed the Contact Center using our Global Internet system. We mentioned that we had a galley food preparation table that would not operate quite correctly, and a refrigerator that was not cooling as much as we'd like. Our expectation was just to provide notification to the Contact Center so that we could have these items rectified when we returned to our base in Orlando, Florida. How surprised were we when Embraer had already made plans to resolve these minor issues upon our arrival to Singapore! Now THAT'S true customer support at the highest level!

Whenever I provide consulting services to future aircraft buyers who are either purchasing their first aircraft or right-sizing their fleet, I apply a "Global Excellence" approach to the process. To me, this means emphasizing the importance of long-term relationships when selecting a product, or brand. Twice today, we witnessed examples of the long-term investment that Embraer has in its products and its people. Around the world, Embraer proves itself time again as an OEM, a Partner, and a friend. Our relationship with the men and women of Embraer solidly confirm the confidence we have in our purchase.

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October 24, 2014

Our experience in Sapporo

​Friday, 24 October 2014
Sapporo – Tokyo 


We departed Sapporo in the afternoon for our next leg to Tokyo, leaving behind a superb ground support team now decorated with shiny, silver Embraer Birds! All of us were treated so well by this team that we were happy to share these highly sought-after lapel pins. If you are lucky enough to have one too, we would love to see pictures of you and The Bird on your social media pages! Post photos of you with The Bird, using some of the hashtags we suggest (below) to share your support For The Journey!

We landed in Tokyo today and were immediately welcomed by Elton Lima, Field Support Services Representative from Embraer's Singapore office. He was here to make sure we received the support and assistance that Embraer is known for around the world. The airplane performed flawlessly on this complex flight, and I would love nothing more than to share all of the benefits that make the Legacy 650 the perfect flying machine for our voyage. But, needless to say, jet lag has taken its toll... With unmatched efficiency, we were escorted through security procedures and whisked off to our next hotel. I now eagerly await some resemblance of a sunset in order to draw the window shades down and go get some sleep! 


Don't forget, my friends, I am here to share my travels with you, so please feel free to ask me anything. I am eager to address your questions in my spare time! 

Suggested hashtags:
#Embraer
#EmbraerExecutiveJets
#Legacy650
#Forthejourney
#Onemanslegacy
#Aroundtheworld

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October 24, 2014

Day 2 of the Journey

​Thursday, 23 October 2014

Anchorage - Sapporo

Part of having a successful operation is to have a strong operations team supporting the Crew, we just can’t do it alone. This evening, our partners at ABS Jets (operators of seven Legacy aircraft) alerted us of the very strong wind flow over the North Atlantic routes and suggested a stop. Although it normally takes three days for permits to be arranged, the ABS Dispatch team managed to secure all permissions for a stop in Sapporo before we continue on to Tokyo.

Having the ability to use CPDLC and ADS-B on the Legacy 650 gives us an amazing advantage. We have the ability to digitally send our position reports and the privilege to be monitored by air traffic control continuously, even in areas not serviced by radar. Some might think that this advantage is only applicable while crossing the ocean, but, for example, we used it just yesterday for the entire route over Canada. The ADS-B provides us with enhanced traffic avoidance and awareness safety, and the ability to clearly identify the air traffic around us in remote regions.

With our global Internet system and satellite phone, our CEO can stay in touch with our head office and continue to make critical decisions while in flight. This alone justifies his investment in the Legacy 650.

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October 23, 2014

Day 1 of the journey

Wednesday, 22 October 2014
Naples – Chicago

We safely arrived in Anchorage today after nine hours of solid flying. We were greeted by stunning vistas and the friendly staff at Great Circle Aviation. We could see over 200 miles with crystal clear weather. Thanks to the SATCOM system, we were able to research an excellent restaurant and make dinner reservations for our principal and his family before we deplaned in Alaska. They were quite impressed, of course.

Now we are off to the hotel for some much needed rest. Tomorrow – Japan! ​

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October 22, 2014

The Send-off Ceremony


Tuesday's send-off: Embraer Executives wish Andre and his team "boa viagem" as they depart from NBAA 2014.

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October 21, 2014

A few thoughts before departure

​Stepping onto foreign land is humbling. Every time. My own importance is tossed out of the spotlight, and into perspective, as reality illustrates how infinitesimal each of us truly is. Nothing in these foreign places is mine except a bag and its contents. The air we breathe, the waters we’ve crossed… even the sky that seems to be our only companion in flight – none of it belongs to us. We share this world with so many people, so many cultures, and each time we land, the tremendous range of diversity leaves me feeling momentarily lost. I am forced to abandon all that is familiar to me, to constantly remind myself that this place was not designed for me, but for its people. This discomfort is the greatest gift, in my opinion. It allows me to approach everything with humility, as if for the first time. On our journeys, we take nothing for granted. 

The life of a pilot is blessed, and brutal. We have studied for years, trained and re-trained, pored over countless charts and forms, and sacrificed terrestrial comforts, all for the sake of airborne freedom. We touch the skies, reaching heights that some people will only ever dream about. We are aviators. We see the world in a different way. Today we have begun our epic journey around the world and we invite you to see it with us. 

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October 21, 2014

A Journey all around the world in the Legacy 650

It was Andre Fodor who first came to Embraer Executive Jets, telling us about his plans to fly around the world in the Legacy 650 he pilots for his employer. His excitement was infectious, and together our teams have worked hard with tremendous enthusiasm, preparing men and machine for this elaborate three-week mission. 

From the U.S. to Asia, through the Middle East and onward to Europe, we will be monitoring the progress of our friends, ensuring their safe passage as they explore the world. We are honored to support Andre, Claudio, and Sim during their travels. With much gratitude, and on behalf of everyone at Embraer Executive Jets, we wish the entire team the very best of experiences.

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