Photo of Jeff in front of B-757

About Jeff

(Continued from sidebar.)
My first thought was to check the tire on my left main strut. It looked okay. Maybe the wheel came off the right side, or off the nosewheel. My heart rate rocketed through the roof.

I pulled the throttle back and began a descent towards base leg. When I turned base, I called “Cessna 5 Kilo Bravo, left base, Runway 7, um, touch-and-go?”

“Cessna 5 Kilo Bravo, cleared touch-and-go, Runway 7,” was all I heard. No “Holy cow, you’re on fire! Make it a full stop.”

I made my touch-and-go, turned left crosswind, and finished my 3-landing day with a full stop. Handshakes all around. T-shirt ripped off the back, and the rest is history. Turns out, this was a Saturday, and the Gainesville Airport Fire Department always ran an emergency drill on Saturday afternoons. I wish someone had told me that before I launched on my initial solo.

Thirty-two Years Later . . .

I’m still flying. You can take a look at what and where I’ve flown in the summary below. I’ve got a wide variety of experience thanks to some luck, both good and bad. With all my experience, you would think the memories that stand out most would come from combat flying time, and you would be partially correct.

Hairy Scary

Not only do I remember hairy nights flying combat over Kuwait and Iraq, but strangely, I remember what most would think rather obscure experiences from my student pilot days. In particular, I remember the high anxiety I felt the first several times I flew into what I then believed to be big-time busy airports: Jacksonville and Daytona Beach! I remember the flop sweat produced by having to fly and talk to ATC at the same time. It seems minor now, but it was a big deal to me at the time.

If you are just starting out, or you are a low-time pilot, with some confusion or anxiety about talking on the radio, I can relate. The good news is, practice does make perfect; and there is no substitute for hands-on practice with the radios. It’s my pleasure to offer you that opportunity with this website.


P.S. And for goodness sake, stay in touch! Write to me. Ask questions. Tell a good story, or a bad one. I’d love to talk about flying with you. Don’t be shy. I don’t care if your English isn’t good, or you are not a good writer. Let’s talk!

My Flying Experience in chronological order:

  • Civilian Single-Engine Aircraft: C-152; C-172; PA-28; M-20P.
  • Military Aircraft: T-37 (student and IP, Reese AFB, Lubbock, TX); T-38; A-10A (4-ship flight leader, Suwon AB, Rep. of S. Korea; Myrtle Beach AFB, SC; Desert Shield, Desert Storm, a.k.a. the Persian Gulf War: 33 night combat missions.)
  • Warbirds: T-34B (8 years teaching combat maneuvers, aerobatic flight, and formation flight to civilians and factory test pilots. Not CFI time; Atlanta, GA) Z-37A-2 (Zlin.)
  • Civilian Multi-Engine Aircraft: CE-500*; MU-300; DC-9 and MD-88**; B-757-200/300 and B-767-200/300/ER/400**.

This experience represents 14,500+ hours of flying time.

*Type rated. **One type rating for both aircraft and all variants.

39 thoughts on “About Jeff”

  1. I don’t have the combat time, but I can really relate to the first time on the radio at a towered airport! Thanks for reminding me.

    Now it’s my son’s turn. He is just now learning to fly and will certainly be using your tools!

    1. You’re welcome Felix. I’m busy working hard on the Aircraft Radio Simulator and writng more articles for the website. Yes, you will hear plenty.


    1. Hey Eric:

      You’re welcome. Wait til you see all the great training tools I’ll be making available in the next few months.



  2. Hi Jeff!
    I’m brazilian, and i got started my aviation course about 2 months ago! I’ve always looked up aviation, i like that! I also started studying in the same time, an english course, and it is my afraid about at all!
    My pattern language is portuguese, and I’m learning english, however i’ve listening to tracks between pilots and controllers to improve my clearence skills!
    I guess all about that, the sound and understanding is a little difficult, and both pilots and controllers speak so fast! In another hand, i guess that need practice and practice for to be able do it!
    I’ve used to play Flight Simulator since an adolescent, and i’ve listened the ATC the GAME, and it helps me today to get some comprehesion about it!
    Actually, I know that i can get this english improve communication, just studying and studying day-by-day, because aviation is my dream!

    Thanks for all Jeff,
    and apologizes about any incomprehesion or wrong write!

    If you could give me a hint about something, i’ll be pleasant in that!

    1. Hello Nascimento:

      Two bits of advice.

      1. When you talk to ATC, always tell the controller you are a student pilot.
      2. If there is something you do not understand, ask the controller. They will always try to help.

      I will finish the ATC language course very soon. It will help you.

      Thank you for writing.


      1. Thanks for all advice Jeff!
        Have all sure that i’ll remember what you told me!
        I’ve listened all your podcasts, it has been very helpful!
        Is very pretty to know, that there’s people like you in the world, and better to know tha you’re a pilot!

        Thanks for all Jeff!

  3. Hi Jeff I am a student pilot looking to improve my ATC communication skills. This site appears to be just what I am looking for. My only problem now is where to start.
    I have a little over 20 hours of flight time and just recently completed my first flight (with an instructor) to a towered airport. All of my flight experience up to that point had been at a non-towered airport. My first experience with an ATC facility left me humbled and with a realization that I need to greatly improve my communication skills. This website is a treasure trove and I would greatly appriciate a few pointers on where to begin. Thanks for making this site available.

    1. Hello Keith,

      Your question is very general, perhaps a little too general to answer with a simple answer, like “Start here. . .” What do you know right now? What are the gaps in your skill set? I’ll send you a private email and we can discuss this.


  4. I thought this website was great, but when I saw that you reply to every comment, that was what really amazed me. Please, keep up the great effort!


    1. Hey D-a-n-i-e-l,

      Thank you for your kind words.

      This website is all about working together to make sense of working with ATC. Working together begins with talking. I hope more people will recognize this and speak up.

      Too many people use the internet passively, waiting for the goods to come to them without asking.

      “Speak, and you will be heard. Knock, and the door will open.” I forgot who said that, but it definitely applies here.



  5. Jeff, your site is wonderful! It’s easy to navigate, full of useful information, and very personable. I really enjoy reading other reader comments and questions, as well as seeing their questions get answered by you personally. I’m a new pilot and really appreciate what you’ve done here.
    The care and time you’ve taken to put this site together shows a great passion and commitment to aviation. Encountering people who have been in the industry for years and have a genuine passion for it is inspiring to someone just starting out. Thanks!

    1. Kimi,

      First of all, I have to say: Your first and last name combination is quite possibly the greatest name I have ever heard! Totally serious about that. You might consider building a brand based on your name.

      Second, thank you for your very kind words. That’s the kind of fuel that keeps me going. It also reminds me that visitors to this website do not get a chance to see all of the conversation by email that goes on in the background between pilots and myself. Feel free to write to me at if you have questions or comments about radio work or flying and would like a personal reply.

      As I write this, I’m thinking about starting another venue to open up the conversation a little more. Facebook? Forum? I’m open to suggestions.

      Again, thank you for saying hello.


  6. Hi Jeff

    I am student pilot starting my Day 1 at KISM with a Cessna 172S.

    I wish to ask you if TOLD needs to be done every flight?

    Hope you are still active on this site.

    Thanks Jeff.

    I chanced upon this and this sort of calmed my nerves.

    1. Hello Lin Lin,

      Calculating takeoff and landing data answers two very important questions. 1. Is my airplane correctly loaded within its published limits? 2. Given my aircraft’s gross weight, can I safely takeoff or land on a particular runway. Every year pilots attempt an overweight takeoff and discover, too late, that their aircraft does not have the performance to lift off in the available runway. Or, pilots incorrectly load passengers and cargo into their aircraft and discover, after it’s too late, that the aircraft’s pitch cannot be controlled after liftoff. If the airplane is loaded with people and cargo too far forward of its center of gravity (CG), the airplane’s elevator will not have the authority to raise the nose of the aircraft to get airborne. If loaded too far aft of CG, the airplane may pitch up uncontrollably when the pilot raises the nose to lift off. Running the TOLD calculation, which usually only takes a minute once you get the hang of it, may save your life. It is worth doing before every flight.

      Now, having said all that, if you are flying an airplane you are extremely familiar with, you may not have to calculate TOLD. For example, if you are flying a 4-place airplane and all you are carrying is 1 passenger in the front seat with no cargo, and you are departing from a very long runway, running the TOLD calculations is not really necessary. I would say, in the learning environment you are in at Kissimmee, you will probably run a TOLD problem before every flight.

      I am very active at this website. Usually I address questions about radio procedures, but if you have a special question about aviation that does not involve radio work, feel free to write to me at Please don’t ask me about compass errors though. I don’t think I’d recognize a wet compass if it hit me on the head.

      Have fun!

  7. Hi Jeff,

    Your site seems to be an incredibly helpful site, especially for student pilots like myself.

    I recently completed a cross country flight with CFI to KEMT to KREI, back to my home airport, KSNA. Flying, noting ETA/ATA for each leg to KEMT on my knee board, and communicating was an awakening challenge. Radio communications has been my weakest link and I can’t really pin it down. On the ground it seems so easy: Say who I am, where I am, and my intentions. The leg back to KSNA I used VOR navigation and flight following and with my instructor asking questions and fumbling on the radio, it became painfully frustrating; the workload was too much to handle as my CFI began making radio calls for me! Compounding the problem, I used the wrong VOR radial enroute to Paradise VOR and realized I was heading to March Airforce Base! Weather also became a factor because in order to stay within VFR limits I had to judge whether I had enough time to climb over the approaching cloud layer to reach my intended cruise altitude; I could not so I remained 500 below the clouds so I had to double check my heading and altitude for airspace restrictions. Flying in Southern California Charlie airspace can be an incredible challenge, especially when things start to go South and things do not proceed as planned!!

    I need help with radio work and I can only seem to practice when I’m in the air! How can I get my radio skills up to par? Help!

    Thank you,


    1. Javier,

      I know it sounds like a shameless promotion, but my book Radio Mastery for VFR pilots is filled with tips and exercises on how to practice your radio calls when not flying. Also, my Radio Mastery for VFR Pilots Workbook has hundreds of structured exercises in radio work. As an alternative, this website has a lot of articles on practicing radio work. Type the word “student” in the search box in the left column of the home page. (You may need to scroll down a bit to see the search box.) That will produce an index of articles that discuss what you can do to improve your radio skills.

      I also want to let you know that what you are experiencing is extremely common. Here is an article that explains why: Why Can’t I Fly and Talk to ATC?

      Finally, sign up for free access to the Aircraft Radio Simulator using the link at the top of the right column at The simulator, while not complete, will let you practice basic flight skills and record your own radio transmissions at the same time. The simulator is housed at a website called That website includes other simulations and games that help you work on your radio skills. Everything at that website is 100% free.

      If you have specific questions about radio work, write to me at Good luck and keep in touch.


  8. What a wonderful site you’ve created Jeff!! Thank you so much, I just got here and I can’t wait to discover and learn all the knowledge you kindly share with us.

  9. Ruli Warner-Rosen

    Thanks so much Jeff this is such a helpful tool. As a student private pilot I’ve got about 30 hrs of flying under my belt. My solo went fine, and since then I’ve soloed in the pattern without incident, but I am getting a bit nervous as my instructor told me soon he’ll give me permission to solo around in the practise area about 15 nm west of the airport. I know its not such a long distance, but I’m very afraid of getting lost, or disoriented and then flying in the completely opposite direction. Got any helpful hints? Thanks so much.

    1. Hello Ruli,

      Are there navaids near the airport, such as a VORTAC or NDB? If so, you can determine the radial or bearing that connects your practice area to your airport. For example, let’s say there is a VORTAC near the airport. Perhaps the VORTAC’s 270-degree radial passes through the airport and extends to the center of your practice area. Tune in that VORTAC in your navigation radio and dial the 270-degree radial or 090-degree course into the VOR indicator. As you work in the practice area, you can occasionally check the VOR indicator and see where you are in relation to the radial or course. To return home, simply fly to center up the radial on your indicator and then stay on it as you head east back to the airport. Even if the navaid does not have a radial that connects the practice area to the airport, you can always fly towards the navaid to get oriented. Then, once over the navaid, you can follow a radial or bearing from the navaid to the airport to find your way home. A simple study of a map before you depart should reveal the solution.

      It’s also important to pick out some very, very large landmarks on the ground between the practice area and the airport, plus major landmarks in your practice area. Pick landmarks that can be spotted from some distance. Find those on a map first and then look for them as you fly out to the practice area. To stay oriented, remember to look for those landmarks between each practice maneuver. To return to the airport, sight your first landmark and fly to it. Find the next connecting landmark and fly to that. Follow the landmarks home like you would follow marks on any trail. These are time-honored techniques that have been used for decades. Good luck.


    1. Hey Jim,

      Yes I am still working for an airline. I fly the Boeing 767-400 internationally.


  10. William Mazango

    Hie Jash thank you very much for this website,I’m still new to aviation,going for my groundschool,I am in zimbabwe,please develop a mobile application for this site,I want to help market you to my friends here in zimbabwe.

    1. William,

      I have a lot to do before I can develop a mobile application for the website. There are many projects to finish before that. I thank you for your interest though and look forward to hearing from you again.

      Jeff, also known as Jash in some places

  11. William Mazango

    Thanks Jeff,I can now interprate the phonetic alphabet,so what’s the next best step I have to take to be a step ahead in RT?

    1. Willie, does not let me control discounts on books. As a matter of fact, I don’t even have that much say on the retail price of the book. I just noticed Amazon has slightly raised the price of the paperback version because it has been in high demand lately. Sorry I can’t provide a discount.

  12. How do I contact Cleanrance magic I bought their great software but had to have my computer re-formatted. I would like to replace it.

  13. Several years ago I did my my professional pilot training at Meacham Field, Fort Worth, TX. We had many students from the Middle East that would train together and be friends then go home and fight each other in their military.

    One student would hear me returning from a cross country flight. He would be flying in our practice area and say on 118.3: “Hello Joe, where are you? He apparently thought he was on a CB radio. I would never respond to his call.The tower would ask him to identify himself. He never would. One day I was returning from San Angelo, TX. He was out flying again. He called me to meet him in the practicec area. I ignored him. He then called the tower identifying himself. He was cleared to land and instructed to report to the tower after he had secured his airplane. I don’t know what happened but Tony from Beruit, Lebanon was a different pilot from then on.

  14. I had heard information about transitioning through class D airspace where ATC response was transition via the tower above 3500. What I have heard as a ATC direction is more like “Warrior 360N transition class d airspace approved transition via the tower at or above 3500 but not to exceed 5000”

  15. I remember fondly my many flights in and out of CYXE, CYYC, CYWG, CYED in my PA 28-140.m, Alas I haven’t flown as PIC in 24 years, am now 77, and wonder what would be required of me to recertify (other than medical) and whether it’s worth if for a sometimes pilot.

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