Monday, August 17, 2009

Big Sky Airport

We flew into Ennis, Montana (Big Sky Airport) last week and there happened to be another company plane on the ramp. The sunset was awesome and I had to get the shot with both planes on the ramp.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009


I know it's been a while since my last post, so here is an update. I got married on May 9, 2009 to a wonderful woman named Melanie. I went down to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico for 9 days and stayed at the five star Hilton Beach and Golf Resort.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

SFO Landing

I never get tired of flying into large airports such as San Francisco.
We have the best seat in the house for watching the heavy iron land
and takeoff. I took this yesterday while we were holding short of
runway 28R in SFO waiting for departure.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Laguna Seca

Laguna Seca MRY, originally uploaded by Mike Lombardi.

View of Laguna Seca Raceway from the Piaggio. This was taken on final to Runway 28L in Monterey, CA.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Porsche Crew Car

We flew to a nice FBO yesterday in Lexington, Kentucky called Air 51. They have great customer service, free soda fountain drinks, various snacks, and a Porsche Boxster as a crew car. As you can see in the picture, they let us take the Porsche overnight to the Campbell House Crown Plaza Hotel where we were staying.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Redmond to Rockford

Today I met the plane in San Jose, we flew it empty up to Redmond, OR where we picked up two people and flew them to Rockford, IL, northwest of Chicago.

At 1398 nautical miles, this was the longest distance I have flow in the Piaggio. Luckily, we had an average of 60kts of tailwind to help us get to Rockford non-stop. We ended burning 314 gallons of fuel flying at 39,000 ft and the time enroute was it in 3 hours 48 minutes takeoff to landing, which is an average speed of 368 kts (416mph).

We could have gone much faster if we flew a bit lower and were not in gas saving mode, however this is still very impressive for a little turboprop.

Click on the picture for a larger view of the route.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Stratosphere Tower

Stratosphere Tower, originally uploaded by Mike Lombardi.

I was bored on an overnight the other day in Vegas, so I grabbed my camera and took this long exposure picture of the Stratosphere Tower at night. The tower is over five and a half miles away and the light streaks you see is from an airplane landing from right to left.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Downtown Ketchum

P1010768, originally uploaded by Mike Lombardi.

We had lunch at a Nice Soup and Sandwich shop (not shown) in downtown.

Downtown Ketchum

P1010764.JPG, originally uploaded by Mike Lombardi.

Bald Mountain

P1010763.JPG, originally uploaded by Mike Lombardi.

Bald Mountain ski resort in Ketchum, ID.

Sun Valley

P1010761.JPG, originally uploaded by Mike Lombardi.

We had an overnight in Sun Valley last week, so we went out and explored the area.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009


P1010174, originally uploaded by Mike Lombardi.

Testing embedded video.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Flickr Blog Feature

N150SL, originally uploaded by Mike Lombardi.

I just found out that I can post pictures to this blog straight from my Flickr account!

Here is a view of downtown San Diego from the Landmark ramp at the airport. The view is awesome at night as you can see.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

On our way to Burbank in the back of 137SL.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

East to West Coast

I finally made the transition from St. Petersburg, Florida to Camarillo, CA in a Piaggio. This marks the first time in nearly four years with the company that I actually flew a plane from the east coast to the west coast. Most of the time when we get a cross country trip, it is going east and I end up flying home on an airliner. I left St. Pete on Thursday morning in Piaggio N137SL (Piaggio I)and flew to Houston,TX - Harlington,TX - Dallas,TX - Fort Smith, AR - Albuquerque,NM and ended up in Camarillo on Saturday.

The company needed a Piaggio II qualified captain in Palm Springs, so tomorrow I am catching a ride in the back of Piaggio N137SL from Camarillo to Burbank, where I will rent a car and drive to Palm Springs to take over N172SL and fly it to Aurora, OR with five passengers.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Six check complete

I completed my six month check ride today in the "red rocket". This is actually one of our older airplanes that was painted in Ferrari colors. From what I understand, it was painted to celebrate the close ties between Ferrari and Piaggio ( Ferrari owns part of Piaggio ) .

I also got the chance to test out our new touch screen EFB's (Electronic Flight Bag) which are really cool. In the past we used tablet PC's with a stylus, but these are much smaller and have a touchscreen to access important information easier.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

I have been very busy lately with holidays and getting things done around the house, so it's been a while since I posted some pictures. I am currently in St. Petersburg, Florida at our company headquarters to do my six month check ride which is required by the FAA.

The checkride is basically the equivalent of taking your drivers license test every six months (but more difficult obviously) and if you fail, you will be required to do more training. If you fail again, then you may lose your job, so failing is no good.

The first pic is of my luggage under some interesting hotel room lighting, the second picture is from Puerto Vallarta, Mexico and the third is from Kalispell, MT.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Parking brake reminder

I just met up with N178SL in Van Nuys, California and noticed this
picture of a piaggio next to the parking brake handle.

I'm really glad the factory put it there so we don't forget what type
of plane we are in!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Still stuck in Kalispell, Montana

The weather cleared up today and we were able to complete a maintenance run, however, the problem was not fixed so we will be here another night.

While we were at the airport, another Avantair plane flew in and dropped off some passengers. I wanted to get a shot of the plane departing, so I waited in the below freezing weather (3 degrees Fahrenheit) for them to depart. After waiting outside for about five minutes, I was able to get this shot just as my exposed ears started hurting!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

More Snowy Maintenance...Yeah!

We have been stuck in Kalispell, Montana for the past two days due to a maintenance issue. We where going to due a test run today, but due to the low visibility and unrelenting snowfall, we were unable to safely complete a test. We will have to try again tomorrow.

The current Accuweather Realfeel temperature is -15 F! It is 8 F with a 16mph wind. Good thing I brought my light weight windbreaker instead of my warm leather flight jacket! I think I will pack the leather jacket next tour.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Denver Snow Plowing

Last night we flew the plane to Denver Centennial Airport to have some maintenance work done and it was freezing... Actually, it was well below freezing at 10 degrees Fahrenheit! I think it is time to start packing my warm leather flight jacket as I have been packing my lightweight company windbreaker up until now.

The maintenance hangar was located far off the runway in the very back of the the airport and since the maintenance personnel had already gone home, we had to be escorted by the airport operations truck with his lights on to help guide us to the right hangar.

We had a good time plowing through the 4-5 inches of snow on the ground with the plane. It really felt like we where off roading the 7 million dollar plane because we couldn't tell where the ramp stopped and the dirt/grass began. We went very slow to avoid sliding around.

I took a few pictures will we waited for the FBO van to come rescue us from the bitter cold. On the van ride back to the FBO, the driver told us how happy they where that we decided to taxi the plane all the way to the maintenance hangar because if we just pulled into the FBO, the line guys would have had to tow it for twenty minutes in the sub freezing weather to the hangar.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Flying Magazine

Check out this months issue of Flying Magazine and you will see the Piaggio Avanti II featured on the cover! There is a multi-page article about the design, comfort, fuel efficiency, and speed of the Plane.

The Piaggio Avanti II is an amazing feat of engineering and reading the article made me appreciate it even more.

Click here to read the article.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Pacific Coast Sunset

One of the best parts of my job is being able to witness some of the most incredible views. One example is a sunset over the Pacific Ocean a few days ago.

We where repositioning the plane from Oakland, CA to Seattle, WA and the sunset was incredible.

Here are a few pictures I took on the way up the coast looking west over the Pacific. Unfortunately, the camera is unable to capture the whole range of colors and light that made this sunset so amazing, but it give a good idea of what it's like in person.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

El Dorado Buffet

We ended our day In Reno, NV yesterday and we are staying at the El Dorado casino located in the heart of downtown Reno.

We were starving when we arrived, so we ate at the their buffet which was awesome.I decided to come back to eat breakfast at the buffet this morning and so far, it has not let me down. I'll try not to eat too much!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Haunted Hotel La Rose

Last week we had an interesting overnight at the Hotel La Rose in Santa Rosa, CA. This historic hotel is located in "Railroad Square" and was built in 1907.

The hotel does not provide shuttle service from the airport, so they leave car at the Santa Rosa Jet Center for pilots to drive to and from the hotel about five miles away. We arrived at the hotel around around 9pm and checked in at the front counter. They had a full size replica of Rosie the robot maid from the Jetsons greeting visitors in the front lobby, which I thought was odd, but amusing at the same time.

The hotel looked like it had some history to it, so I asked the girl at the front desk if the hotel was haunted. Her eyes lit up and she began telling us about how they just had a seance a few days earlier on Halloween night and that there was definitely some spirits around the hotel.

Supposedly the story is that many years ago, there was a family staying in room 42 that where killed by bandits and the ghost of the little boy named Daniel, who was killed in the murders, rides the elevator up and down at night looking for his parents.

My First Officer, Paul, stayed in room 44 and I was lucky to stay in room 23, two levels down from the supposed haunted floor. I was a little weirded out after hearing the stories, but I actually slept very well. Paul said his room was a litle spooky, but he didn't hear or feel anything out of the norm.

The next morning, I woke up and looked out my window and the fog had rolled in, adding to the ominous feeling I got of the whole place. I was a little spooked as I was riding the elevator down alone, I had the feeling that there was someone next to me, but I think it was all in my head.

I asked the new front desk lady and the lady serving breakfast if they ever felt or heard anything in the hotel. They both said that they have heard someone call out their name and objects have been be moved around when no one is looking....

The Official Haunted Overnight 2008 Web Page

Ever wanted to be a Ghostbuster? Learn how here! How To Hunt Ghosts!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Flight Map

Here is a map which shows our flights this week. As you can see, most
of the flying was done on the west coast, then we had an owner who
wanted to fly from Santa Rosa, CA to St. Augustine, FL.

I am currently in Pittsburg preparing to fly back to Philly where I
will catch a Southwest airlines flight back to San Jose.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

America's Highest Commercial Airport

It has been uneventful this week flying up and down the west coast, so I thought I would post a few pictures of the Piaggio in Telluride, CO.

Telluride Regional Airport sits atop Deep Creek Mesa and is North America's highest commercial airport. This is one of the more challenging airports we fly into due to the 9,078 ft elevation.

Check out this video to see what it's like to land at Telluride airport.