Category Archives: Uncategorized

Like most writers, I have a job. Something I do to keep the wolf from the door, financially speaking. Frank McCourt was a high school teacher. Jack Kerouac washed dishes, pumped gas, and worked a farm. Kurt Vonnegut managed a Saab dealership in Massachusetts. Tom Clancy was an insurance broker. Me? I’m a pilot.

Writing fiction is something I truly love to do. It allows me the luxury of ruling the universe while freed of the constraints of time, space, and the laws of physics. Anything can happen. As long as the people and events I depict remain consistent within the confines of the story being told, I’m good. The reader is entertained. All is well.

Of course in real life that’s not at all true. Reality is very important to me on a day to day basis. The weather, the condition of the airplane, my own physical state, and even the mood of the person I’m flying with all come into play and affect my decision making process.

That may all seem ominous, but believe me, it’s not. It’s joyous. It’s something to celebrate. At some point in my day I’ll find myself well above the surface of the earth, motoring past flocks of birds, puffy white clouds, and maybe, someday, an actual UFO.

It could happen.  Read More →

by Jamie Beckett

Sci fi is a literary genre that’s long been unappreciated amongst serious readers, and occasionally maligned as unfit for consumption by serious human beings. I’ll make the argument that sci fi is as valid and compelling a form of storytelling as any other. In fact, I’ll go one further than that. I’ll actually give you five great reasons you should be reading sci fi now, and in the future.

And those reasons are…

1: You might learn something. A considerable percentage of sci fi stories are based, at least loosely, on real scientific principles. Sci fi writers tend to be forward thinking, creative types who have actually contributed to your real life as well as to their literary output. Think Arthur C. Clarke, Robert Heinlein, and Michael Crichton .

2: Escapism. Real life is stressful enough. A good sci fi story can transport you to a place where the IRS doesn’t exist, mortgage payments are unheard of, and the kid’s orthodontist bill never comes. Plus, how often do you get to be a bystander who watches in total safety while an entire plantary system is overrun by invading hordes of extra-terrestrial super-soldiers? Read More →

I’m a big believScreen shot 2012-10-10 at 3.58.36 PMer in doing what your heart tells you is the right thing to do. Not romantically, but professionally, vocationally, even avocationally. If you want to be a singer, then sing. If you want to be a carpenter, then be the best one you can be. Me? I wanted to be a pilot. So that’s what I did. Admittedly, it was hard for me. But then it’s hard for everyone. There is very little of value in the world that can be accomplished without some effort, a tad of sacrifice, a bit of discomfort. Yet, if the pot of gold at the end of your particular rainbow is truly of value to you – then it really doesn’t matter that you have to work at it, give something up to get it, or suffer a little along the way. Pursue your passion. Nobody else can do it for you. So go. Do it. Be what you want to be.

General Aviation News published a lengthier piece I wrote on the topic. You can find it here. I hope it helps, if not you, then someone you know.


Screen shot 2014-01-24 at 3.08.53 PM
In the 1970s right around the time Bruce Springsteen made the covers of Time and Newsweek simultaneously, I was a high school student. I was in my junior year and limping miserably through an academic career that would make nobody proud – least of all me. My parents were beginning to have doubts too, I’m sure.

Into that intellectual void stepped a man who made a profound impression on me. I continue to rank him as the best and most valuable teacher I ever had. His name is Mark Cohan, and I use the word, “is” intentionally. He is not dead and gone and he is certainly not forgotten. He is alive, vibrant, and still making an impression on me all these years later. Read More →

It’s official. is getting a facelift. Not Jamie himself mind you. He’s going to continue to age, get wrinkly, lose what’s left of his hair and possibly even become a bit less warm and fuzzy in his old age. The site though, that’s a different story altogether. We’re dressing up a bit, taking a new look at ourselves, and considering how we might make a visit to the site a more enjoyable, enriching, life-affirming experience. Okay, we might be going a little overboard on that last bit – but you have to aim high, right?

So check back often, let us know what you think, and we’ll keep banging away at making a place where you are happy to hang out.

Big smiles!

Yep, it’s an Uncle Billy’s Enunciator Panel quick take. If you don’t know what a quick take is you’re in luck, because it will only take you five minutes to listen to the whole thing. The topic is a natural for an aviation oriented podcast – art. So if you’re curious about art with an aviation bent, this is just the quick take for you.

Check it out. Oh and by the way, this week’s episode is sponsored by…oops, no time for that. It’s show time.

BTW: if you can guess the name of the theme music or the artist who plays it, you get extra points.