I learned to fly at Long BeachAirport in Southern California while attending college at Long BeachState University. I soloed in 1966 and became a flight instructor in 1970 and a bush pilot in Alaska
Hello my name is Mike and I have known Fernando Ferracini and his brother Clauss Ferracini since 2009. Since then I have flown several planes to South America for them. I can’t tell you how many as I have been too busy flying them to keep track, but I bet Fernando knows how many.
Fernando and Clauss have asked me to play a small part in their extensive website and of course I will. I have a long and variable background in aviation.
I learned to fly at Long BeachAirport in Southern California while attending college at Long BeachState University. I soloed in 1966 and became a flight instructor in 1970 and a bush pilot in Alaska in 1972.
I loved flying in Alaska. I think any young man would like that and it provided me with some awesome flight experience on skis and floats etc. I spent 4 years in Alaska and I lost 10 pilot buddies during that time to crashes in that State. Commercial fishing and bush flying both inAlaska are the two most dangerous jobs in the USA.
In 1976 I was fortunate enough to finally land my “dream job” and was hired as a pilot by Western Airline at LAX. What a great company with a rich history. Western was America’s senior air carrier at the time. In other words its oldest airline with a long proud history that dated back to flying air mail contracts in the western part of the USA in open cockpit biplanes. Life was great for me at Western!!
I started as a flight engineer on the B727-200, which was the fastest airliner in existence at that time except for the SST. After ten and a half years of working bliss at Western Airlines my fun came to an end when, on April 1, 1987, Delta Airlines bought Western and absorbed us. It did not take long for me to come to dislike like that Gestapo run airline. My Delta uniform was actually the US Navy officer’s black double breasted dress uniform. The xNavy pilots just bought theirs at the Navy PX store. And Delta was run like the military, yuck!
I was a first officer or co-pilot on the B727 when that merger took place and in 1991 I checked out as captain for the first time on an airliner. It was a DC9-30. Which is a nice flying airplane, but totally different from a B727 or 737 which is what I had flown as copilot at Western, so the training was difficult, fast and furious for me, but I studied hard and marched right through it.
Next I flew captain on the MD88. We called that the Mad Dog because the automation on it back then was so difficult to operate and worked so poorly you had to watch it very close when GEORGE (the autopilot) was flying. It would do things like say it was holding altitude as it was programmed to do but would actually be descending 200 feet a minute. You had to watch that Mad Dog believe me!
Next I was captain on the B737-200. Fantastic, I was finally back home on a Boeing. Like we used to say “if it an’t Boeing I an’t going”! There are actually more B737s flying right now than any other airliner.
Many years later (2007) I would ferry an xDelta B737-200 that had been mothballed in the Southern California desert. I ferried it toKabul, Afghanistan from Victorville,California. I flew it in the War Zone for a Russian company for a year training their copilots. That was after I retired from Delta and had started my own aircraft ferry company ferrying planes all over the world. I have ferried hundreds of planes to just about anywhere and everywhere. Oops I haven’t been toChina yet.
I really like flying just about any kind of plane, but if I had to pick a favorite I think it would be the Cessna 185. I loved flying that plane as a young bush pilot in Alaska. I think Cessna really got it right when they hung that 300hp engine on the front of the Cessna 180 airframe. I have owned 3 C180s and 3 C185s a Helio Courier and a couple C210s and an F33A Bonanza over the years. The F33A I bought in Germany. I currently own a nice 1976 C180.