Talking Flight (aviation)











April 2018
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Captain James "Zip" Trower visits us at Talking Flight. Zip is a Retired Naval Officer and a Retired Alaska Airlines Captain.

My friendship with Zip goes back more than 30 years. He is an amazing leader with a wicked sense of humor!

In this Podcast, we talk to Zip about his Naval career. We learn about the rigorous training, and what it is like to land a jet on an Aircraft Carrier. Zip also tells us about his duties as a Landing Signal Officer (LSO), and what happens when you have a fake Admiral on your plane.

After leaving the Active Duty Navy, Zip went to Alaska Airlines to begin his civilian career. He had to learn the differences and nuances between Military flying and flying a Commercial Airliner with 140 passengers on board. Captain Don Fox took him under his wing, and showed him the real way that an airliner should be flown.

Zip was part of the Check Airman team that indroduced the MD-83 Aircraft to Alaska Airlines. He later became the Fleet Captain on that jet. We discuss the challenges that they faced in bringing a group of hard core stick and rudder pilots into the digital flight guidance age.

Alaska Airlines spent several years flying into the Russian Far East, and Zip shares some of the challenges of flying into that part of the world. 

Zip says "Put your ego aside, and learn and practice, learn and practice."

I hope that you will enjoy our time with Zip as much as I did. Pure Magic!

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Direct download: ZIP_TROWER.mp3
Category:Aviation -- posted at: 5:53pm EDT

Alaska Airlines Captain George Bozlinski joins us on this episode of Talking Flight. We have a great conversation about George's journey into a flying career and his adventures at Alaska Airlines.

Here are some of the things that we covered in this episode:

  • How he worked with a student pilot who had a fear of flying.
  • George's past life as a Mime.
  • His most embarrasing moment as a 727 Second Officer (Flight Engineer).
  • A retirement flight that went rogue, and how today's technology would prevent that from happening.
  • The life of a 727 First Officer (Copilot).
  • How the September 11, 2001 Terror Attacks inspired George to become a Television Producer.
  • George's methods of getting a pilot through a training issue on the 737.
  • The day George and his friends hit a golf ball on the world's longest commercial runway.

This is a great conversation that we know everyone will enjoy. George says "Don't Give up!....Believe in yourself!"



Direct download: GEORGE_BOZLINSKI.mp3
Category:Aviation -- posted at: 3:51pm EDT

Mike Swanigan visits with Alaska Airlines Captain Blake Gibson. Blake describes his exciting journey growing up in a small town in Texas to the life of an Alaska Airlines Captain.

Blake is a respected Check Airman and an Aircrew Program Designee (APD) for Alaska Airlines, and he is a role model and mentor for the Alaska Airlines Pilot Group. 

We learn how he was inspired by his late father, Braniff International Captain Art Gibson, to become a pilot. Blake tells us about a gear up landing he made as a young pilot in a light twin many years ago. We also talk about the challenges of flying a jet into the airports of rural Alaska. Blake also shares his approach to training pilots in the Alaska Airlines flight simulator environment.


Direct download: Blake_Gibson.mp3
Category:Aviation -- posted at: 9:16pm EDT

Captain Mike Swanigan interviews Alaska Airlines Flight Simulator Engineer DeMarco Best about his journey into the world of Flight Simulation. It all began on a 6th grade field trip to the JFK airport in New York.

Demarco tells us what he had to do to overcome his initial difficulties in getting through the challenging USAF training environment. 

Later, they talk about the upcoming shortage of Simulator Engineers and Simulator Technicians.

"In Technology, you have to keep learning, or you will be left behind." DeMarco Best.

Direct download: DeMarco.mp3
Category:Aviation -- posted at: 7:00pm EDT

Mike Swanigan interviews Alaska Airlines Captain Philip Parish. They talk about Phil's journey from the world of a child fascinated by airplanes, to his present life as an Alaska Airlines Captain.

Phil talks about his days as a flight instructor and the challenges of teaching a novice pilot how to fly. Later, he talks about his days flying an air ambulance, transporting premature babies around Colorado.

Phil spent several years flying in Acrobatic competitions, and he tells us about his days of flying in air shows around the U.S.

We also talk about Phil's approach to training Alaska's pilots in his present position as a Check Airman.

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Direct download: Phil_Parish.mp3
Category:Aviation -- posted at: 2:00am EDT

Mike Swanigan visits with Alaska Airlines Captain Paul Lotakis. Paul talks about his journey from a childhood in New York City to his career at Alaska Airlines. He tells us about his four years attending the US Air Force Academy, and his military flying career with the USAF and the Alaska Air National Guard. 

The conversation later covers the challenges of flying in the Alaska Arctic, and about what happens during an inflight medical emergency over the Pacific Ocean.

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Direct download: Lotakis.mp3
Category:Aviation -- posted at: 1:39pm EDT

Mike Swanigan gives some helpful advice on how to improve your performance on flight checks. Remember to Bug It, Brief It, Scan It, and Check It! 

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Direct download: Ace_Your_Next_Checkride.mp3
Category:Aviation -- posted at: 8:08pm EDT

Mike goes up to Canada to spend time with John Lovelace. John has produced and hosted several aviation themed television programs, including "Wings over Canada", "The Aviators", and "West Coast Escapes TV". John is also the President of the Century Flight Club. Mike talks to John about his adventures as an aviator, and about the aviation television shows that he has created.

You can find more information about John at and

Contact us at

Recorded April 18th 2013

Direct download: John_Lovelace.mp3
Category:Aviation -- posted at: 12:40pm EDT

Alaska Airlines Captain Mike Swanigan interviews Colonel Rick Grayson about his dual career as a Senior Air Force Officer and Alaska Airlines Pilot. Rick Says that "aviation is like keep playing until the final whistle."

Recorded at the Sheraton Keauhou Bay Resort in Kona Hawaii.

Direct download: Colonel_Rick_Grayson.mp3
Category:Aviation -- posted at: 5:47pm EDT

Alaska Airlines Captain Mike Swanigan interviews First Officer Latisha "Tish" Shupert. Tish shares the story of her journey from a college basketball court to the flight deck of an Alaska Airlines 737. Her motto is "Wish it, Dream it, Do it". Special thanks to Alaska Airlines Captain Phil Parrish for the opening theme. Note: This is a re-release with audio correction.

Direct download: Tish_Shupert_..mp3
Category:Aviation -- posted at: 2:00pm EDT