Rethink Convention

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 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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