Based upon a reader’s idea (Bob Jefferies), I am seeking your photos taken from the air for The Devil Dragon Pilot Instagram account.
If you have cockpit or airborne photos you would like to submit, I’ll post for you, along with your name, onto the Instagram site. They can be air to ground, air to air, you in the cockpit, carrier based, or anything you feel fellow readers would like. Especially if you read the book, and have a great picture from one of the locations featured in a chapter! Like this one from 45 Bistro Restaurant in Savannah, Georgia. Thank you for your participation!
I think it’s a terrific idea, and I appreciate your input very much, Bob!
In a recent conversation with a reader who was getting ready to finish “The Devil Dragon Pilot”, I was asked about decision-making in the cockpit. She asked me about how pilots know what to do and when, during a flight. My answer? It depends. As she read in the book, it also depended for both Ford Stevens and Wu Lee, too.
Ford Stevens, the main character in “The Devil Dragon”, follows the aeronautical decision-making process, known formally as ADM. It is decision-making in a very matchless environment, except for perhaps medicine and spaceflight. It is an organized and efficient set of steps of practice used by pilots to consistently control the best course of action. A pilot’s decision will be based upon the situation on the ground or in the air, and the information a pilot has at the time.
Consider all the items a pilot must think about: altitude, fuel, navigation, air traffic, radio calls, birds, weather, passengers and cargo, enemy fire, system malfunctions…the list goes on. While some is very systematic and checklist oriented and dictated by FAA policy and aviation law, other situations require solid judgment.
What is great about this mysterious ADM is that you can learn it. Time has demonstrated in the industry that you can learn to improve your decision-making through experience and critical thinking. The ADM process takes pilots through the decision-making in the cockpit and layouts out the steps to success:
These steps are known to pilots for good decision-making:
Identifying your personal attitudes hazardous to safe flight
Learning behavior modification techniques
Learning how to recognize and cope with stress
Developing risk assessment skills
Using all resources available
Evaluating the effectiveness of one’s ADM skills.
As you read “The Devil Dragon Pilot”, I think you will see the pilots going through these steps verbally. In many scenes, I have written them into the characters as they are thinking and talking to themselves. If you look closely in the book, ADM is alive and well.
Get reading with your Book Club! I’m happy to provide a Group Reading Guide for The Devil Dragon Pilot, one that can be downloaded and printed for your use.
It involves a few short Q&A questions, followed by ten (10) questions that you can use next time your Book Club meets. The goal for the Guide is to help guide your talks and facilitate a great discussion about “The Devil Dragon Pilot”. The link can be found here.
For additional information about Book Clubs and how you can start one at work or in your community, click this link.
Ric Edelman, the #1 NY Times Best Selling Author and Financial Planner, will be announcing the release of “The Devil Dragon Pilot” on his national radio show in December! I’m honored, Ric! Thank you!
Our main character, Captain Ford Stevens, is a fan of Ric Edelman. In one scene, after getting picked up by the FBI in Washington, DC for “something”, Ford and two FBI agents listen to Ric together as Ric gives advice to a caller on how much cash savings the caller should have. You’ll soon read that although Ford Stevens follows Ric’s advice, he has more on his mind at the moment than cash.
Ric Edelman is a #1 New York Timesbestselling author. With more than 1 million copies collectively in print, his eight books on personal finance have been translated into several languages and educated countless people worldwide. The Truth About Money was recognized with an Excellence in Financial Literacy Education (EIFLE) Book of the Year Award from the Institute for Financial Literacy (March 2011), a Gold Medal Axiom Award (March 2012), an Apex Award (June 2011), and was named Book of the Year by Small Press magazine (1997). The Lies About Money was awarded the Axiom Personal Finance Book of the Year (March 2008) and an EIFLE Award (October 2009). Ric’s eighth book, The Truth About Retirement Plans and IRAs, a #1 national best-seller, was published in April 2014.
Ric’s radio show has been on the air for more than 20 years and is heard throughout the country. In 2014, 2015 and 2016, Ric was named among the “Heavy Hundred” in the radio industry by TALKERS magazine. Ric’s television show, The Truth About Money with Ric Edelman, airs on more than 200 public television stations across the country and has won 8 Telly Awards.
The book “The Devil Dragon Pilot” features a variety of U.S. and Chinese military aircraft, but one corporate aircraft that I write about extensively is the Gulfstream 650ER. Fictionally borrowed from Corning, Inc. of Corning, New York, our main character Captain Ford Stevens does some remarkable stuff with this jet.
This model of the Gulfstream is their newest aircraft, and can extend the reach of the aircraft to 7,500 miles without stopping. Not only is that an impressive distance, but that is non-stop, flying at Mach 0.85. The jet can comfortably fit 19 passengers, sleep up to 10, have a maximum takeoff weight of 103,000+ pounds, and cruise at 51,000 feet mean sea level. Impressive performance in the pilot and passenger worlds.
The outstanding presentation of this jet is extraordinary to non-pilots and pilots alike. This extended range alone, to put it in perspective, makes it possible to fly from Hong Kong to Washington, DC, or Singapore to Houston, without stopping for fuel. Gulfstream pilots tell me no other jet has this combo of speed, aircraft performance, passenger load and distance, and is a real pleasure to fly.
The interior, which is featured extensively in “The Devil Dragon Pilot” in multiple scenes, provides extreme quietness, comfort, and luxury. Many configurations of the jet are available, from conference rooms to private bedrooms to leather couches. The 16 windows allow a terrific view of the sky above and earth below. Can you imagine having a shower in your jet? Yes, Gulfstream can make you one.
The cabin circulates 100% fresh air every two minutes, which helps cut down on jet lag. What also helps is that the cabin altitude is at only 4,000 feet, which helps all on board feel great as everyone crosses multiple time zones.
What also comes into play for Ford Stevens is the onboard technology. Without giving away too much to readers that have not read “The Devil Dragon Pilot” yet, Gulfstream has generated an extensive Cabin Management System that allows passengers and crew to control lighting, window shades, temperature and other “things” with their Apple iOS smartphone. This technology will provide the reader with a very exciting scene while airborne!
Lastly, the cockpit is a dream to any pilot. If there was a pyramid of aircraft on any pilot’s wish list to fly, this G650ER is at the top. The technical, high-end avionics and glass instrumentation help the aircrew fly and navigate to nearly anywhere on earth. Her onboard computers work with the Captain and First Officer in creating a smooth, safe flight for all. The large format screens give the crew the ability to move flight information information and instrumentation around, depending on what stage of flight they are in, right down to touchdown landing, rollout, parking, and shutdown. Impressive to say the least.
My friend and professional photographer Bill Young was kind enough to share some of his professional photos with me. Please visit his website at www.BillYoungImage.com if you would like to see some of his outstanding photographs.
The last portion I’ll mention about this G650ER jet is that I modified it a bit after reading about the great work being done at Gulfstream Special Missions in Savannah, Georgia. This office has the capability to custom modify any Gulfstream jet to a customer’s specifications. From Space Shuttle simulators to atmosphere studies to military missions, this special office deserves the title Special Missions.
Needless to say, Ford Stevens, Gulfstream and Corning Corporate take care of business! Read it on December 10, 2016!
I had the honor and privilege of talking about aviation on the Ready For Takeoff Podcast with Captain George Nolly recently. We discussed everything from military flight training to the C-130 to the upcoming release of The Devil Dragon Pilot.
George Nolly launched his aviation career at 17 while still in high school. An appointment to the Air Force Academy prepared him for his two tours in Vietnam, flying O-2s over the Ho Chi Minh trail in Laos and F-4 Phantoms over Hanoi. After his service, George went into commercial aviation, flying for United Airlines as Captain and Flight Instructor for 26 years. After finishing his Doctorate in Homeland Security, George went on to conduct airline safety audits for the for International Air Transport Association on carriers throughout the globe. George continues to instruct on the Boeing 777.
Our main character Ford Stevens grew up in China with his American family, and moved around a lot due to his father’s career with the oil company. In order to explain “Jojo Rising”, it is worth mentioning the background on how the phrase was born to both Ford and his Chinese best friend, Wu Lee.
In once scene, Wu, after a life or death experience in the story, looked up at Ford from the ground. Wu then looked up at the sky, and blinked slowly. He stared off in to the abyss, thinking about what just happened. In his heart, he was forever indebted to Ford.
“Jojo rising,” Wu said, barely, with a slight smile, referring to their favorite band The Doors, and their ‘L.A. Woman’ song from the 1971 Elektra label album. The original lyrics sung by lead singer Jim Morrison were “mojo rising”, but when Wu first heard the song, he could not make out the words. So he started singing “jojo rising” instead, and it stuck.
“Jojo rising, Wu,” Ford replied.
Their private saying ‘Jojo rising’ meant to them a greater spirit and internal flame that enabled them to do things together and tackle life. It was their special sauce, the exceptional charisma and determination to accomplish goals, was their jojo rising. Wu loved the American music video of The Doors’ lead singer Jim Morrison, just cruising and driving around Los Angeles, California in his Mustang, and to Wu, it was classic America. Just driving around, taking in the palm trees and ocean and warm weather, doing what you wanted to do, when you wanted to do it. It was very American, and very different from Wu’s upbringing, which was why Wu loved it. Some critics argued Jim Morrison put a sexual connection to the phrase, but that’s not how Ford and Wu took it at all. It meant boundless, no limits, land of opportunity. Go out there and make something happen. It was, to them, simply, jojo rising.
Ford Stevens is a pilot’s pilot. All he wanted to do since he was a young was get into a cockpit. Perhaps explore the world a bit, to understand it…to experience flight in different cultures and be in the sky. He traveled globally with family as his father was moved around for his corporate career, but Ford never lost sight of his goal. Ford wanted to fly when he saw that first fighter jet years ago, and was, from that point, inspired forever. His thirst for flying was satisfied when he was first given controls to an aircraft and looking down below at the earth.
Ford Stevens never thought about another career ever again, except for flying, and his desire to fly was as strong as anyone’s on any given subject. Being part of military aviation, to him, was larger than life itself.
Which is why, you will soon read, he’s ready for the ultimate international mission in serving his country.