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Specialized ProfessionDue to demand, here ya go. IAmA Air Traffic Controller with the FAA. Ask me anything!

May 15th 2017 by AnImbroglio • 76 Questions • 85 Points

Hello all! I got a lot of requests for an AMA in a recent post I made, so here it is! Here's the basic story, when I was about 5 years old my parents, 2 doctors, decided they wanted to sail offshore. So, they took lessons, bought a boat, and we took off! We lived on the boat for several years, sailing along the West Coast, until through some unfortunate events the boat sank out at sea. Feel free to ask any and all questions, and I will do my best to answer! Since a lot of it is from memory, it may be slightly off in timeframe, so forgive me.

https://imgur.com/XkAulos Here's a photo of our second boat, Ra, for proof.

Edit* Ok everyone, thank you so much for the questions! I have to take a break now, my fingers are getting sore! I appreciate all of your questions and comments.

Never stop exploring!

Gold?! Why thank you kind stranger! You made my day :D

Q:

Is the job more about managing flight paths ahead of time, or more about fixing potential collisions with minutes left on CPA?

A:

Hey, this is Leo and I'll be testing your ability to use Reddit. Can you respond to this question?


Q:

Mr Bacon - Would you like to see, and/or star in a Tremors remake??

A:

Brings to mind the Wired article from 7/2012 - Russia’s Top Cyber Sleuth Foils US Spies, Helps Kremlin Pals - Kaspersky has 300 million customers. His geek squad uncovers US cyberweapons. And he has deep ties to the KGB’s successors in Moscow."


Q:

As an adult now, would you do it again? Alone? With your parents? Your own family? What would you different?

A:

Oh it's way more about fixing future problems. I typically know 20 or 30 minutes ahead of time that two planes are gonna be in conflict. I just fix it right then.


Q:

Hi Leo, it is a pleasure to meet you.

A:

we are working on that!


Q:

Hi! As i said earlier, this article is complete and utter BS.

A:

Good question, now I probably wouldn't but i'm not really sure. I guess I would have to see what my child would be like and for that matter whoever I marry in the future. Not everyone can do boat life, and I wouldn't want to press that on my family. Alone, no way in hell, too dangerous and lonely. I'm a social guy, I wouldn't be able to handle it I don't think.


Q:

Damn so its almost like time travel? My Uncle is an Air traffic controller and he seems stressed out a lot.

A:

About the extinction of animals. Is there anything we could do to preserve the species like freeze DNA for future purposes or have surrogate birth from Vaquita's close cousin?


Q:

Would you do a cooking show called Kevin Bakin'?

A:

Article referenced

What part(s) of the article is BS?


Q:

now I probably wouldn't

Just wait until you hit adult life and the alternative is sliding papers around your desk for 30 years.

A:

lol more like seeing the future.


Q:

The vaquita is a difficult species to retrieve samples from. Despite this difficulty, all samples collected during necropsy are being stored, but there is no intention to utilize DNA at this time. The concept of a surrogate birth with a close relative is more theory based. The largest obstacle here is just capturing this cryptic creature and with a rapidly declining population and unknown survival probability the stakes are high.

A:

HMMMMMMM.....sure!


Q:

Hi! detailed here

A:

Good point. I'm partial to camping, maybe I'll go off the grid out into the woods with my family or something like that.


Q:

Not at all. They don't just grab random civilians to land passenger planes. Its more likely if there was a need they would seek other pilots on the plane who aren't working, ect.

A:

So are you guys right now focus on captive breeding programs?


Q:

Hey, Mr. Bacon! One of my favorite films you've starred in is James Gunn's Super. Did you enjoy working on that movie?

Also, how do you feel about the Kevin Bacon jokes on American Dad?

A:

Do you use a user account with local admin rights on your machine?


Q:

I'm OPs mom and sailing was so awesome and you were so brace. What was your favorite part of sailing and living out at sea?

A:

I think he's fantasising about an emergency situation where the pilot is unconscious, and he's the only one to land it.


Q:

Wild Lens is focusing on all aspects of this story. As for the groups that are on the front lines trying to save the species, yes, captive breeding has moved to the forefront of the effort. This is a last ditch effort since all the other efforts have either failed and time is running out.

A:

I loved doing super! and I don't mind jokes at my expense


Q:

No, and neither should you.

A:

Can confirm, this is mom! My favorite part was probably living in Mexico, the people were amazing, surfing each day and all that lobster.. oh man the lobster. Can't think of a better time :)


Q:

AI or automation a threat to the future of your field?

A:

What does Wild Lens hope to accomplish with their series of films about the vaquita?


Q:

What is your favorite bill Paxton memory?

A:

What's your first dog's name and mother's maiden name?


Q:

Dude is that really your mom?

A:

As it stands now, no. It's way too complex to have computers do it you'll almost always need people.


Q:

Well... our ultimate goal is to raise awareness about the vaquita. We want out film releases to be actively used by everyone to spread the word about the plight of the vaquita. More importantly, we want to impact the people of the northern Upper Gulf of California and get them involved in conserving this endemic species. It is important that the people, especially the youth of this region are involved in protecting their ecosystem.

We recently traveled down to San Felipe, Mexico and screened at local schools for hundreds of students and the result was amazing. The film engaged them and made them think what about what is happening in their communities. This is where change starts.

additional comment: Thus far we have released two films from the Souls of the Vermilion Sea project. We will create a feature length film in the near future incorporating all the aspects of this story. We have been releasing short films as we want the information to be relevant and not after the fact. We want to share the vaquita's story with the world while the vaquita still exists.

A:

I loved that man, you could not be in a bad mood around him. so enthusiastic


Q:

Nice try:-), and please note that phishing can be a punishable offense in the place you live in.

A:

Yep! She saw the ama since it got so big.


Q:

too complex to have computers do it

sounds like a contradiction, can you elaborate why it needs the human touch? Is it more an art than a science?

A:

What else do you think can be done to spread the word about Vaquita? There are less than 30 left, so it seems that it is a dire situation and getting the world to know what it is so there can be some public outcry might help the efforts?


Q:

Hey Kevin. Big fan.

I just recently watched the movie Cop Car and thought you were a great in it. So much fun to watch you be the bad guy.

Any plans to play a piece of human garbage again in the near future?

A:

What are some of the myths about malware and cybersecurity that didn't hold water in the earlier days (say 1990-2005), but turned out to be real and threatening post that age?


Q:

Ugh, you (and your mom ) are so frigging cool. Sorry about your dad being a barnacle though. :/

A:

Pop up thunderstorms happen, military airspace goes hot, turbulence and wind sheer can just happen outta the blue. Computers can't really handle all that on the fly.


Q:

First off, there is no one thing that will help save the vaquita by itself. This issue needs to be attacked from all sides. Awareness needs to be focused in the regions where this issue is having a direct impact like Mexico, China, and the US. Every issue starts with a conversation, so I encourage everyone to just start talking about vaquita. Learn what a vaquita is first, since it is impossible to care about something you know absolutely nothing about. I also recommend in supporting and collaborating with groups that are already involved in vaquita conservation. In addition to learning and sharing the vaquitas' story, also learn about where your seafood comes from. The vaquita are bycatch, caught in artisanal gillnets as fishermen harvest shrimp, fin fish as well as totoaba for their swim bladders. Also participate or create an event in your area for International Save the Vaquita Day on July 8, 2017. This is a day to engage the public and educate them about the vaquita. To learn more visit: http://www.vivavaquita.org/international-save-the-vaquita-day-2016.html

If anyone needs any other resources do not hesitate to ask.

A:

love beingh the bad guy!


Q:

Good question, was trying to recall such myths back from those days. Unrealistic myths, some ridiculous stuff never came into reality. But some bleak predictions like Internet worms, attacks on industrial systems, mobile malware, they all came true.

A:

Why thank you! She's pretty damn cool, best mom I could ever ask for.


Q:

Does the Reagan firing of 11,000 striking air traffic controllers on Aug. 5, 1981 still live on in your field and its lore?

A:

Well what are you as well as others doing to prevent this? I know it's probably something very dangerous but is there anyone at least attempting to take control of the situation?


Q:

You're quite adept at playing heroes and villains. Which one do you personally enjoy more? Cheers!!!

A:

What was your reaction to having your executive charged with treason? What is your response to this article?

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/russia-treason-fsb-spies-kaspersky-labs-us-intelligence-denies-cia-hacking/


Q:

I thought earlier in a post further up you said she was (deceased)?? Glad she is ok but that did that mean when you wrote it earlier?

A:

Oh of course. In fact, it's why I have a job. All those guys that were hired after are retiring now.


Q:

Yes, there are lots of groups involved in trying to stop this illegal trade. For our part - we produced a 30-min documentary about the issue with the goal of educating as many people as possible about what's going on. There are groups working in Mexico trying to find ways to shut down the illegal totoaba fishing, and groups working in China to try to stop the demand for totoaba swim bladders. The problem is that there is very little time left to save the vaquita - the species could be extinct by the end of this year.

A:

i like deep well rounded characters


Q:

Unfortunately we have zero information about the case, it is classified, and the company is not involved in the investigation. I was very surprised because the arrested guy was very enthusiastic about fighting against cybercrime.

A:

Sorry, I probably wrote that wrong, I meant my mother's mom was deceased by that time.


Q:

Do they generally think it was a good decision? It benefited them, but I would wonder if their opinions changed a few years on the job.

A:

When you say it is threatened by the cartels, is it because it is used as a drug or is it more of a belief thing like bear bile and powdered rhino horn?


Q:

Do you like bacon?

A:

Do the the new artificial intelligence based malware detection systems copy your signatures?


Q:

What is your favourite memory from your time on the boat?

A:

They put Reagan in an impossible spot. He really had no choice, so it's not about it being a good decision.


Q:

So the Mexican drug cartels are involved in smuggling the swim bladders of a fish species called the totoaba. This illegal wildlife trade is driven by the demand for these swim bladders in China - where there is a belief that the product has medicinal benefits like bear bile and rhino horn. This illegal trade is driving LOTS on illegal totoaba fishing in the upper Gulf of California, and this illegal fishing is wiping out the vaquita, because the vaquita can easily become entangled and drown in the totoaba nets.

In addition - the swim bladders of the totoaba are now worth so much money, that they have become an investment commodity in China. Lots of the people who are buying them are not buying them to consume them and get these supposed medicinal benefits, but as an investment or status symbol. People will hang the dried, preserved swim bladders on their wall.

A:

hell yes!


Q:

Hi! Not exactly but close to that

A:

The time a whale followed us for about 2 days, or the time we found ourselves in a giant pod of dolphins. Both stand out as the best times of my life.


Q:

Are busy airports or slow airports seen as the best places to work in your profession?

A:

Sigh. People suck.


Q:

How often do you play six degrees of yourself?

A:

Guess many have heard of the complexity and the difficulty of reversing Stuxnet, but I was wondering if there is a sample, or family, that had you or the team working long and hard to understand it? Or maybe just baffled or amazed by it's complexity or stupidity.

Pretty much anything that have made an impression.


Q:

Follow up question, what is the worst thing to happen to you while on the boat? Thank you.

A:

Depends on the person. Slow airports mean less stress. Big airports mean more money.


Q:

Yes, it's a deeply troubling situation. It's difficult to not give up hope - but we have to remember that lots of other species have recovered from similarly precipitous population declines. There were at one time only 22 California condors on the planet - now there are over 400.

A:

hahahaha never happens


Q:

I personally don’t analyze the code since 2007, so I suggest my GReAT guys can give a much better answer.
One of the most idiotic things I saw was a 13-byte MS-DOS computer worm which simply copied itself on the hard drive. Once.

A:

Hmm... two things stick out in my mind. First, we went to this island called Cedros. The thing about cedros, is that going through the passage in the middle of the island seems like it'd be ok, but it's a nightmare. the wind is crazy and it nearly tipped us over, I really thought we were going to die there. Once we got out, it was fine, but damn that place. Second, I had a lot of trouble getting my "sea legs" so I would puke a ton, the first month of each trip out was just un-fun. Couldn't eat, hard to sleep, just uncomfortable and sickly. So yeah, those two are the only ones I can think of.


Q:

Does every airport require an ATC? What do small town dusty airports with little traffic do? Are all ATC's on-site at the airport, or do some work from other locations offsite?

A:

Exactly. Matthew and Sean, however the Condor was dying from Neglect and ignorance and from a chemical no? I mean the state and national had more concern and control once the proper people were alerted to the problem.


Q:

Kevin, how hot was it on a set of "Wild Things" with those hotties almost naked?

A:

What is the process of finding a solution to a cyberthreat? Is it like coding in reverse, or more like chess, or does it depend from time to time?


Q:

Well, that and when the boat sank.

A:

No, they don't have towers dedicated to them. I'm a center controller (in the dark radar room). I'm the one that would guide you into an airport like that, and I control dozens of them.


Q:

There are lots of similarities and lots of differences between the situation faced by the California condor and that faced by the vaquita. Condors were, and are still, dying from lead poisoning from spent ammunition. So the solution to the problems faced by the condor is to find a way to get hunters to switch to a different time of ammunition - just like the solution for the vaquita is to convince fisherman to use alternative fishing methods (no gillnets). The main difference in my mind is that the fisherman are relying on fishing to sustain themselves, while hunting is a recreational activity. There's more on the line, so to speak, for the fisherman. But the difficulties in regulating lead ammo are similar in a lot of ways to the difficulties inherent in regulating the use of gillnets.

A:

very hot. Miami in august!


Q:

99.99%+ of the incoming malicious code is done automatically by our self-learning systems. The rest goes to the hands of our virus analysts working around the clock, mostly their job is about reverse-engineering of malicious code. Very complicated cases go to our special team of experts, and large investigations look more like collecting a very big and complicated puzzle, not chess.

A:

Yeah, but I wasn't on it for that event so I don't count it.


Q:

If you have planes crossing paths around the same time, why not have plane A fly at a different elevation than plane B? Is it still dangerous if they're heading for each other straight on, but one plane is a few thousand feet lower?

A:

Ignorance and greed and stupidity. Do these people really hate modern medicine so much, they could careless about animals? Apparently so? Who is going to stop them not the UN or the USA with guns or sanctions. So what options are there?


Q:

Hi Kevin Bacon, what is your advice on living a successful and happy life?

A:

Eugene, do you use a password manager?


Q:

When you say giant pod of dolphins... do you mean 20? 100? I honestly just don't know what a giant pod would be, but it sounds fucking dope.

A:

Oh they do all the time! All I need is a thousand feet between planes. But what happens when 35,000 feet is your only smooth altitude and everyone wants it? Gets tricky.


Q:

It's pretty safe to say that most of the people in China who are purchasing totoaba swim bladders have absolutely no idea that they are contributing to the extinction of the vaquita. So ignorance definitely. The real question is this - will they stop consuming the product if and when they learn about the harm that it's causing? We still don't know the answer to that question because the advocacy campaigns that have been launched in China are just now getting up off the ground. The real blame here falls on the governments of Mexico and China. This trade is already considered illegal by both governments, and yet neither is willing or able to adequately enforce their own existing laws.

A:

wow , stay in the day. breath!


Q:

I do, our own one.

A:

It was so large I couldn't see open water that didn't have a dolphin in it. 2000+ maybe? Hard to tell honestly.


Q:

Is Kennedy Steve a real person? If he is, is he a legend in the ATC community? Because he should be.

A:

Matthew and Sean, do you plan to inform people in San Diego and Phoenix and Tucson and Los Angeles since they are the major population centers closest to the Gulf of California ? And how do you plan to inform then of your videos and the Vaquita? Do you plan on showing the film in Arizona and southern California?


Q:

What's the worst joke you've heard about your name?

A:

When did you wrote your last line of code? And what was it?


Q:

That's amazing. I can't even fathom something like that. I would have been awestruck by 5 dolphins.

A:

He is, and he is.


Q:

Targeting those specific cities is not something that we have done. Our approach is to collaborate with as many organizations that are involved in vaquita conservation that already have an audience in their region. Many zoos, aquariums, NGO's, conferences etc. that are involved have been sharing our film and holding screenings at events. We continue to get requests for screenings as well at film festivals.

A:

lot's of sizzling stuff


Q:

First days of January 2010, location: Patriot Hills base, Antarctica.

A:

I almost couldn't believe what I was seeing, it was so amazing.


Q:

For someone looking to get into working in ATC, not specifically in the US, where would you start?

A:

Matthew and Sean, how do you plan to get people far far away from the Gulf of California in places like Iowa, Georgia, Massachusetts to care about an animal they have never seen and never heard of before?


Q:

Amazon Prime and "I Love Dick" in one sentence = You have my undivided attention. So what's the show about and what's your role encompass, Mr Bacon?

A:

What was the last big threat that really blew you away with its ingenuity?

second question, what is your interaction with law enforcement like? Do you assist governments in apprehending the virus makers?


Q:

a whale followed us for about 2 days

can you speak more on that?

A:

It really depends on your country. You can Google info on what's required, but outside the US, I really don't know.


Q:

Well, we made a film and built a campaign around it. Our hope is to get as many eyes on the film to get people informed. The big picture answer here is that this is much more than the extinction of one species....this is a about the peril of all species. We want the vaquita and the effort to save the species to be an example of hope for other species.

additional comment: If you have yet to watch the film, I encourage you to do so. May I ask where you reside?

A:

it's about a couple who's love life is re kindled by their lust for another man


Q:
  1. I’d need a lot of time to answer the first one. In short I can name Carbanak, Equation and Satellite Turla as those employing the most tricky tools. Check our reports for more details.
    2-3. There are many investigations in many regions and we assist many national and international cyberpolice forces like Interpol and Europol to stop criminal schemes and arrest the attackers. Many cases.
A:

Woke up one morning to a huge spraying sound, looked behind us and there was a whale about 30 ft back. Not sure what type, but it seemed to like us and followed us for the next couple days. Stayed behind in exactly the same spot, I think it thought we were a whale too. It was so cute and amazing, kid me nearly exploded from the awesomeness.


Q:

What about the US?

A:

Georgia.


Q:

Second question:

How come Kaspersky don't offer a free AV like many of your competitors do?

A:

Ive heard that people are always surprised by how much whales stink. Did you get any funk off the fucker?

Also, did you ever hear it sing?


Q:

Go to usajobs.gov and stuckmic.com. they have a lot of resources for ya!

A:

Thanks for sharing! So part of our approach with this project is to get as much feedback from folks like yourself as possible in order to find the best way to engage people and get them to care about an animal that they have never seen before. So I would encourage you to watch the film and let us know how successful we were in convincing you to care about the vaquita.


Q:

We already offer free solution in several regions, but later this year we’ll have some good global news. Pure free global solution (not a trial).

A:

Maybe a little but nothing horrible, and unfortunately no I didn't hear it sing that I remember.


Q:

Have you played Flight Control (smartphone/tablet game)? Are you really good at it?

A:

Sean and Matthew which charity or charities can Redditors support to help the Vaquitas?


Q:

Would you say you are more of a fancy bear or a cozy bear?

A:

Did the boat sink while you were on it? Did you have to be rescued?


Q:

I have, and I'm decent. I don't think my job gives me any edge, though.

A:

There are two groups here in the US that are deeply involved in vaquita conservation and could use all the support they can get, financial or otherwise - The Marine Mammal Foundation's Vaquita CPR program: http://www.nmmf.org/vaquitacpr.html And Viva Vaquita: http://www.vivavaquita.org/

There is also a grassroots program being run in Mexico that is directly supporting the Mexican fisherman who are opting to participate in vaquita conservation efforts - it's called Monitoreo Vaquita: http://www.monitoreovaquita.org/en/

You can also contribute to our film project about the vaquita, Souls of the Vermilion Sea. Although we've just released a 30-min version of the film, we are still shooting for a feature length documentary that will cover the full scope of this issue. Our production company, Wild Lens, is set up as a 501(c)3 non-profit - you can donate here: http://wildlensinc.org/donate/


Q:

I’m a Kamchatka bear-hunter.

A:

My mom and I were not on the boat, so what happened was that my dad wanted to sail from San Diego to Hawaii. My mom had a bad feeling about it, and wouldn't go, so he decided to solo it. My mom and I flew over while he tried to go solo. Something went wrong and the boat took on water, he had to ditch into a life raft and got rescued 12 hours or so later by a cargo ship. We were stuck in Hawaii for about a year while they worked to make enough to go home.


Q:

Since you guys have eyes in the sky at all times wouldn't you know if UFOs/aliens exist?

A:

How do you stay current on new threats/viruses?


Q:

holy shit that's a story

A:

Nope. They don't have transponders. But pilots report seeing weird shit sometimes.


Q:

My office is 5 meters away from some of my best researchers. And on my business trips I’m always in touch with our Global Research and Analysis Team (GReAT)

A:

Oh, I've got so many more too but I don't have photo proof for all of them unfortunately. Ran with the bulls in Spain at 15, climbed a mountain (I do have a pic of that one), got my scuba license as a kid and went scuba diving in Panama, checked out Morocco... So many adventures.


Q:

What's some of the weirdest things been reported?

A:

Have you seen a change in business in the US in recent months? (since there has been a focus on Russia and ties to the Leadership)

Edit- grammar


Q:

Sounds like you missed out on a lot of childhood things but also lived a fun and adventurous childhood!

A:

So I had a C130 military plane at 20k feet northwest bound... A citation wanted to land, going northeast, so I put him at 21k feet until they crossed out.

The citation said "uh, center, do I have traffic?" I alerted him to the C130, but assured him that wasn't traffic.

He said "No, someone just climbed through my altitude. Looked military." There was nothing on my scope.

I told him I saw nothing, then the C130 pilot said "Center, we see him too. What is that?!"

I still have no clue what they saw. I saw nothing.


Q:

We didn’t see any real impact on our business, but all these stories, they don’t make me happy. But to some extent they give us something close to free advertising. But what makes me really feel good is how our international team, including in the U.S. is working great with all this media pressure.

A:

Yes and yes, it was a mixed bag but I wouldn't trade it for anything. some of the best years of my life!


Q:

Moar if these stories if you've got em plz.

A:

Looking back on the past 20 years, is there any aspect of Security that you feel Kaspersky has gotten into too late?


Q:

What hawaiian island did you live on? I thought this was a funny post to stumble across because I lived on a boat (docked in a harbor) in oahu for about a year. Boat life is definitely not for everyone, but it sure is memorable and fun.

A:

As much as I'd like to say I do, I really don't. We don't have many UFOs that I've seen. Sorry!


Q:

20 years ago we were a tiny, globally invisible Moscow-based bootstrap. We simply didn’t have a lot of resources, and we knew we were losing opportunities. So first of all, we made the world’s best antivirus engine, and we licensed it to few other AV companies, because we didn’t have resources to develop a product. We had 5 engineers. We couldn’t do enterprise products, network security.
But ten years ago, based on our success, we invested in a wide range of security technologies, including our unique proprietary secure operating system.

A:

I lived on Oahu! Right in Honolulu :D How funny.


Q:

As a pilot what things do you like us to do and what can we do to make your job easier?

A:

Does the company have any plans to move farther away from signature-based AV to the more "next gen" solutions like Cylance or SentinelOne?


Q:

Why'd you have to stay in Hawaii - didn't they have insurance on the boat? I mean, I just assumed "whoops, I sunk the boat" was just pops pulling off a classic insurance scam.

A:

Love this question, and I'd love you to answer the reverse!

The biggest pain is when you're flying VFR. Call me up, and say "Center, this is N123FR." That's it. When I can, I'll say "N123FR, go ahead." You'll say "request flight following to wherever." I'll them give you a squawk code. I'll get you radar contact, them I'll ask you the type of aircraft. That's it, we're done.

Instead, they all give me every single bit of info in one go, most I won't remember, and expect me to type it all in without the slightest heads up, all while tying up my frequency when I have dozens of other planes, and making me get them to repeat virtually all of it.

As far as IFR, you're typically fine. Just check on with the call sign and altitude, and listen up to the radio, that's it.


Q:

We are not relying on signature-based AV only for many-many years, check this whitepaper
About ‘next-gen’ solutions, way too often we don’t see them in regular independent tests. How do you they know they are effective, because they tell you so?

A:

No insurance that I know of, pretty much everything we had went down with the boat so it was pretty devastating. We really didn't have any savings so that's why we had to stay there for a while, we were able to move back after about 8 months though.


Q:

At my job we fly small planes (2 pilots, 1-2 passengers) on VFR all the time (testing airborne equipment). Now I'm not the pilot, but we constantly do u-turns (dogbone shape) and various flight vectors (e.g. four east-west legs then two north-south legs in a ~5mile by 5mile area). Do we drive you crazy?

A:

What apps and sites are good to use to monitor/evaluate the data being grabbed by other apps and sites?


Q:

Was living in hawaii nice?

A:

Not even a bit. You guys usually don't care where I tell you to fly, or you just go to the warning areas and fly there. I don't even slightly care.


Q:

I’m not an expert in such software, I can only say that we have a browser plugin in our consumer product that blocks tracking by websites.

A:

Unfortunately, not really. The circumstances surrounding being there made it hard, and it was tough to integrate. I got beat up a lot, called "howle" because I was white, and overall I just didn't like it. Beautiful place, but not for me.


Q:

How stressful is it?

A:

I've heard your surname pronounced as "Casper sky" and as "kas-per-skee." Which is it?


Q:

What as the bad feeling? Storms?

A:

Pretty stressful. Hours and hours of boredom combined with moments of sheer terror, as we like to say. But if you like the challenge and want to be where the action is, it's a great job!


Q:

Like “Kasper-Ski”

A:

My mom describes it like this " I felt like my mom (deceased) was screaming at me not to go, so I listened." There was also an electrical storm as he went out that fried the boats wiring so he actually had to come back and let my mom fix it, as she was the electrics person.


Q:

I can actually answer this. As he said, it doesn't do anything to the plane. However, it will fuck your phone. Your phone automatically searches for a cell signal... cause it's a phone. However, searching for this signal takes a lot of energy. When moving across the sky at 300 nm/hr, your phone constantly loses and searches for cell connections. Basically, your phone will drop 10% battery every 5 minutes, maybe more.

A:

There were articles on topic "Antivirus is dead". What is the future of antivirus ?


Q:

Same thing happened to the Andrea Gale, one of the new crew took one look at it and noped out, said he had a bad feeling. Couple weeks later it sank in the perfect storm. I'm glad your pops made it home.

A:

Haha I've never considered it from the other side! That's hilarious. Well done!


Q:

In future we need to move from security to immunity, we need to have immune platforms and network infrastructure that would be immune to cyberattacks.

A:

Me too, sadly right after my dad was rescued we heard about another family that was missing and the "eperb", a locator beacon that sends a distress signal, was set off. We told the coast guard we would shelter them when they were found, but unfortunately the life raft was found with no people in it. It was a heavy blow, since that could have very easily been us.


Q:

What's the difference between working where you work, and working in a tower at an airport? Are you actually IN the airport? Or in a office setting somewhere? Sorry - just trying to get a sense of the way things work.

And lastly, do you ever develop relationships with pilots, or are there just too many of them?

A:

Hello, Eugene

How is the investigation of the FAS against Microsoft proceeding? Do you plan to enter into settlement?


Q:

Can u describe a daily routine out at sea? Is it mundane?

A:

I'm nowhere near an airport. I'm in a dark room with radar scopes everywhere. I control way more airspace than them. And way more planes. It's now like an office, with really big screens and really bad lighting.

And no, there are too many pilots, usually. Unless I know them outside work, I'll never recognize them, nor them us.


Q:

It’s a long story, but it’s going on and going well. Check for details on my blog

A:

Not really, there was a lot of maintenance to do, we had electronics so we could watch movies, play video games and listen to music. There was also fishing, swimming, and other fun stuff. Also, it was before internet was really popular (at least for us) so I had a much easier time relaxing and not being go go go.


Q:

I've heard stimulant drug use is common due to hours and need for focus. Any truth to that?

A:

Eugene, what are your short term and long term goals for Kaspersky Lab?


Q:

A follow-up. Did you really swim in the middle of the ocean with all creatures down below? I'd be terrified if I had to.

A:

I can't speak for everyone, but the FAA even sends out memos on the proper use of caffeine. They support us using it a lot. As to other drugs, I've never seen them used in my facility. Random drug tests are done, and people don't wanna risk this kind of career.


Q:

The short-term is to be number one company in cybersecurity. The long-term - to introduce the new immunity standards for everything digital

A:

Oh yeah, usually nothing is around so it's pretty safe, you stay close to the boat and since everything thinks it's a big animal nothing comes close. I did start to get that "i'm being watched" feeling on occasion and would hop out.


Q:

How much training and time does it take to enter the field? What are some prerequisites?

How many times could have something gone pretty bad but has been prevented by your job?

A:

Favorite malware and why? When interviewed for the Vice documentary, you commented a bit on Stuxnet, but what else has been of high interest to you.


Q:

Have you discussed this point of your childhood with your parents as an adult?

Maybe to see what they were thinking when they decided to up and live on a boat, since I'd guess that wasn't a spur of the moment idea. Did they plan it out with a child in mind? Why not let you in on it beforehand?

A:

Varies. I went to school for it, so that was 3 years (I already had a degree). Then you go to Oklahoma City for 3-4 months and do their academy. Then you train on the job for anywhere between 2-4 years. So quite a bit. As to prerequisites, you have to be healthy, under 31, and have good vision.

And literally every single day. There are over 65,000 flights a day.


Q:

Ask the same question to your dentist, does he/she have a favourite cavity?

A:

Yes, I've discussed it, they basically say that they thought it would be an interesting way to raise me and they wanted to live their dreams. With not telling me, I think they figured it would be easier to convince me once it was already in motion. I can't blame them, but sometimes I do feel like I didn't get a chance to really have a solid foundation in my childhood, but I think what I got instead was pretty worth it. I don't really know though, I'll have to talk about it with my mom sometime soon.


Q:

1.) In your ID photo, what sort of lanyard are you wearing? Sports team?

2.) Where is your duty station (am I using the right terminology?). If you don't feel comfortable telling us the exact city, can you please give us the state?

2.) Would you agree that StuckMic is one of the funniest forums on the Internet?

A:

I worked for you for a few years about a decade ago. We had a few beers together in a restaurant (Armenian IIRC) in Moscow, it was fun.

Can you say hi to Sergey Nevstruev and Vartan Minasyan for me?


Q:

Did you know about The Wild Thornberries? Did you ever feel like you were just like them?

A:

Yep, Kentucky wildcats. Go big blue.

I'm in ZJX, Jacksonville center.

It is pretty hysterical, though not quite as good as ATC memes.


Q:

Sergey has left the company, but I will say hi to Vartan! From whom?

A:

I loved that show and totally!


Q:

It's a good thing the air traffic control center has A/C...Jacksonville's humid.

Thanks for your response!

A:

I have a few questions: What did your parents do for money? And how was it readjusting to land life?


Q:

Really good AC. I'm constantly freezing in there!

A:

They were doctors, so they traded work for food and money. It wasn't too hard adjusting back, I think being around people was the only tough part, you get used to being fairly isolated out on a boat so dealing with social settings became odd after a while out. It was fine though after a little bit.


Q:

Do they sell winter coats in Jacksonville?

A:

How did they earn while living on the boat? Like, stop at a place and exchange their services for goods then move on again? Or was there a regular hospital?


Q:

They have them... Not so sure they actually sell, though. Had to order mine. lol

A:

A little of both, in Mexico they would barter work for goods and when we came back to the US they would work locums at the local hospitals. We would usually come back to the same towns, like Newport OR, so they had a kind of standing agreement with the hospitals there and it always worked out ok.


Q:

From LL Bean?

A:

How did you sink it?


Q:

Nah, I prefer my stuff to, ya know, actually last.

A:

Dad tried to solo sail to Hawaii against my mom's wishes, ended up sinking it and having to be rescued. Not sure how it ended up sinking exactly since the story he tells about it doesn't sound right, but I never pushed the subject.


Q:

I'd imagine your job has the potential to be stressfull and possibly scary. What has been the scariest moment at work?

A:

Remember that comment when some guy thought your parents were running from something?


Q:

Had a pilot go NORDO (that's when, for whatever reason, they aren't on my frequency anymore. They didn't get the right one, misheard, or their radios crapped out). It happens fairly often, and there are a number of things we can do to get you back in the right place.

This particular guy, however, went NORDO at precisely the worst time. He was going eastbound, which means he was at an odd altitude. He lost his radio, and his flight plan then had him turn southbound. That means he was supposed to be at an even altitude, which he obviously wasn't.

There were about a dozen different planes going northbound that were at his altitude, so he ended up running one heck of a gauntlet through all these people as I was descending and climbing them to get them out of his way.

Then, apparently in an act of sheer ignorance on the pilot's part, he decided to choose an even altitude all by himself, knowing he should probably be at one.

Remember all those planes I had to move out of his way? He managed to put himself right back into them. When you have closure rates of over 1,000 knots, that's not a lot of time to react to those things. At the end, my asshole was clenched so tight that when I stood up, the seat came with me.

A:

Ha, yeah, it would be hilarious if they were, but I think they were just running from a boring life.


Q:

My brother went to the Academy in Oklahoma City and washed out at the final portion. My question is: do you think the wash rate at the Academy is an accurate assessment of a person's ability to be an ATC? From what he's said, it seems arbitrarily difficult depending on who your instructor is and the subjectivity between instructing methods.

Secondly, he's going to keep trying to reapply: have you ever heard of a washout from the Academy being rehired?

A:

cocaine


Q:

Man, that's rough. I dunno, honestly. My class was lucky, only one of us washed out. But plenty washed out once they got to their facility after. I really don't know how accurate it is. I will say that OKC was really really hard for us, as it should be.

And no, I've never heard of someone washing out at the academy getting rehired. Not saying it hasn't happened...

A:

Maybe... Knowing him I wouldn't be surprised.


Q:

Thanks for responding, appreciate it!

To be fair to the FAA, I absolutely understand the needed rigor and stress involved with training. The brother was pretty smashed about it, it's what he'd always wanted to do (way more focused than I am), and felt that with even another day or so of training to solidify the concepts, the result would've turned out differently.

Are you en route or tower?

A:

Did any family come to visit u guys?


Q:

Yeah, I totally get that, I do. The Academy really is a crucible, and I'm not sure it's entirely fair, but it's the best we can do.

I'm enroute.

A:

Not really, we traveled up and down the west coast and would usually be offshore by about 200 miles (if I'm remembering correctly) so visits were difficult lol. We would visit them when we got back to shore, since we would only spend about 6-8 months at a time out before coming back to restock.


Q:

Awesome! Thanks for doing the tough work, man! Cheers to you!

A:

How does crossing the border work doing this? Do you have to go through passport control at each harbor? Are harbors even set up for that? I mean you could have been coming from South America or Asia and smuggling all kinds of stuff.


Q:

Thanks, I appreciate that!

A:

I don't remember ever having to give passports, but we did get stopped by the Mexican Feds one time. Besides that, I don't really remember, sorry :/


Q:

To the best of your knowledge, what went wrong with the MH 370 flight and how it be prevented to not lose a plane?

A:

What do you do now in life? Did real friendships derive from the time you lived on the boat?


Q:

99% of things like that are massive mechanical issues. They were likely non radar, with limited communication, and something bad happened. It was a problem with the plane, one that might not have been foreseen. In short, well, that's kinda just the chance you take, I'm afraid. It's really rare, and we're working to make it more so... But that's just kinda how it is, I'm afraid.

A:

Now I'm a student, I mess around with crypto curriencies and have made decent money off of that, but my real passion is Biochemistry and i'm applying to the U of Minnesota to study it. Not sure what my career will be, but I know it'll be science-y! I don't have any friends from that time, I met a lot of people but always had to say goodbye and never kept in touch because of my age and the distance between us.


Q:

How many people do you work with at a time? How often do you work with other ATCs to solve a problem?

A:

Went to University of Minnesota - started in Biochemistry. Good luck! Let me know if you need help with Gen Chem 1 - it can be brutal


Q:

There are 270 controllers where I work. At any time, about 2/3rds are there.

And every five minutes or so, I'm calling another facility to coordinate something. So yeah, a lot.

A:

Why thank you, I might just take you up on that :)


Q:

Do you have cool headset?

A:

Best of luck with getting into the U! Currently studying biochemistry there and love it. Tons of opportunities to get involved in really cool research.


Q:

No, it's annoying as crap. Gets tangled and clogged all the time.

A:

Thanks! I'm super excited to hear back from them, hopefully they aren't full already.


Q:

Do you have some stuff you can't talk about due to signing a NDA?

A:

Sorry if it's off-topic, but could you elaborate on the crypto currencies comment?

Did you trade them like other currencies, like Forex? How did you get into that?


Q:

Nope! We're federal. I can't talk about certain military operations or where Air Force One is going, but that's about it.

A:

So I first heard about Bitcoin years ago, and it interested me. I kept an eye on it but never really explored it fully, until a few months back I really got into it. You trade it on several exchanges, like poloneix, kraken, or bitstamp, and it's sort of like Forex I believe. I'm still in the learning stages of it but with how much crypto currencies have grown recently I've done quite well, I got my mom into it as well and she's done amazingly. I would suggest the bitcoin subreddit for more info if you are interested.


Q:

I fly little putt putt planes that can almost keep up with trucks on the interstate. Just wanted to stop by and say thanks for what you do, ATC has saved my bacon few times.

Edit: apparently if you don't ask a question, your comment gets removed. So, any good places in your airspace for $100 hamburgers?

A:

Didn't you have to go to school?


Q:

lol it's our pleasure, I assure you. You're welcome.

And I'd probably hit Ponte Vedra or Hilton Head for your burger. 😉

A:

Homeschooled by my mom mostly, so I did go to school :)


Q:

How accurate was Pushing Tin? Totally accurate, right? Like in every detail? Thanks, thought so.

A:

Did you notice a difference on school level when you returned to normal school aged 9? Were you homeschooled all the time?


Q:

lol I'll leave you to your dreams.

A:

Actually, I was a bit more advanced when I got back, I eventually was able to finish school a year early. My schooling was very...odd, so it's hard to say exactly. I moved a lot even after I got back and did all types of school, online, normal high school, college classes in the start of my junior year. So it's a little messy to say the least.


Q:

From an aspiring air traffic controller, Any tips for taking the air traffic controller test?

Where do you dream location to work?

A:

What'd you get a degree in? What do you do for a living now?


Q:

If St. Thomas paid the same as where I work, I'd transfer in a heartbeat. lol

As to tips... There are versions of the test online, I recommend them. Otherwise, just know the 7110.65, get tons of sleep, and be prepared for a long ass test!

A:

Have my associates in science, working towards my BS in biochem. Right now I do the "wait for school to accept me" gig, but usually I'm a caretaker for disabled adults.


Q:

How long are 107 waivers taking to process for a simple request to fly near a class D airport?

A:

Are you planning on going to medical school?


Q:

Not long at all, I'd imagine. Though that has nothing to do with us.

A:

Probably not, I work as a disabled adult caretaker but besides that I don't have much medical interest.


Q:

Craziest story? Craziest story about aliens?

A:

You mean BOAT - schooled?


Q:

Had a pilot go NORDO (that's when, for whatever reason, they aren't on my frequency anymore. They didn't get the right one, misheard, or their radios crapped out). It happens fairly often, and there are a number of things we can do to get you back in the right place.

This particular guy, however, went NORDO at precisely the worst time. He was going eastbound, which means he was at an odd altitude. He lost his radio, and his flight plan then had him turn southbound. That means he was supposed to be at an even altitude, which he obviously wasn't.

There were about a dozen different planes going northbound that were at his altitude, so he ended up running one heck of a gauntlet through all these people as I was descending and climbing them to get them out of his way.

Then, apparently in an act of sheer ignorance on the pilot's part, he decided to choose an even altitude all by himself, knowing he should probably be at one.

Remember all those planes I had to move out of his way? He managed to put himself right back into them. When you have closure rates of over 1,000 knots, that's not a lot of time to react to those things. At the end, my asshole was clenched so tight that when I stood up, the seat came with me.

A:

Exactly ;)


Q:

Gnarly bro...

A:

This is such a random question, but what did you guys do with your garbage? I imagine you had packaging from food, etc.


Q:

It was... interesting. lol

A:

There wasn't a ton, plastic wrap from food and that kind of stuff. There was a little cargo spot towards the back we would keep plastics and stuff not biodegradable, but anything that would break down we would just toss overboard. As long as it wouldn't hurt anything in the water, we chucked it. Good question though!


Q:

Are there repercussions for a pilot who does such things?

A:

How was the privacy handled? Did you have your own room?


Q:

There can be, sure. Especially since he changed altitude. We're not involved with any discipline or effects after the incident. I just report it and move on. I know it's a lot more severe for military pilots.

A:

There was a v-birth which is a little cabin up front, it had a curtain but besides that there wasnt much privacy. I was young though so I didn't really mind, you get used to it after a while.


Q:

My pops is a mechanic and taxis planes on a regular basis. With a runway closed at his airport there was a traffic jam and he was stuck getting the plane to a gate that was waiting. Controller told him to "expedite." So naturally never getting a chance to, he guns the bird fast enough to set the alarms off on the plane that was about to land that another might be going fast enough to take off. When was the last time you had an alarm go off like this?

A:

If a V-Birth is the little cabin up front, where is the C-Section on the boat?


Q:

I don't control at an airport, I'm a center controller. But I can assure you, when we use the word "expedite" or "immediately", we're really not kidding. I fully expect you to put passengers against the wall or their seats right now.

A:

More towards the middle ;)


Q:

How tall is your office?

A:

Yeah you're a child but your parents are adults....in a presumably sexually active relationship.....trapped on a boat for months with a small kid and no bedroom...


Q:

Tall? Umm. Three stories?

A:

Loud music and a curtain, I would go to bed... They didn't... Now I need to take a shower, I feel dirty.


Q:

Another one just so this doesn't potentially get lost in the other comment I made.

What are some of the funniest/most memorable radio transmissions you've had?

A:

My dream is to do exactly what your parents did (minus the sinking part). Any advice/warnings?


Q:

Almost no way I can list them... Sometimes, there won't be many planes in my airspace, and they'll get worried they haven't heard from me in a while. So a pilot will say "You still there?"

I'll say "Man, I have 18 years still to go..."

A:

Take good lessons for a long time before you do it, plan it out well in advance. Find a boat that's stable, not to damaged, and comfortable. Make sure to bring plenty of entertainment. One warning, everyone is sick for a while first going out, keep garbage bags nearby. Keep a life jacket on, always, you never know what might happen. Don't go alone, solo sailing is difficult to say the least and really lonely regardless.


Q:

Who or what inspired you to want to be a FAA ATC ?

A:

Would I be able to bring a dog?


Q:

I hated my previous career, and the guy that built my dad's house was a retired controller that took up contracting. He became a friend of the family, and told me about this job. I went back to school, and here I am.

A:

Actually, we had a german shepard named max that we tried to bring but he hated it so much we had to give him away. It was really sad since I had him since I was little, but the poor guy wouldn't eat or drink. I wouldn't recommend it, but some dogs do ok. Depends on the dog I guess.


Q:

Hey! I'm trying to get into a similar job up here in Canada, do you get a lot of interaction with the folks doing the same job across the border up here?

A:

Shit sorry to hear that man. We had to give away a dog when I was about 8 too, hard times. Thanks for the info, I'm guna start sailing lessons so early days yet but I've got a boat savings fund and I'm 100% guna do it. Might possibly have to drop you a message further down the line : )


Q:

I'm in Jacksonville, Florida, so no, not so much. Sorry!

A:

Please do! Good luck on the journey, I'm sure you will love it :)


Q:

Hi, and thanks for doing this IAMA for us.

Maybe too late to ask another question, but here goes...

1) Your opinion on Regan's air traffic controller Union busting? **

2) Do you see need for a Union? And, who now represents A.T.C.'s in bargaining for heath benefits, wages, etc, if there even is any?

Edit: ** I'll can see how the Union handled their strike wrongly, though what they were fighting for was valid.

A:

Honest question - where do you get your mail?


Q:

They put Reagan in an impossible spot. He really had no choice but to fire them. I agree, they were fighting for good things, but that wasn't smart.

I do see the need in my industry. It's funny, I mainly work with very conservative Republicans, and they typically hate unions. Virtually all of them in my job are in the Union. The FAA can be tough on controllers, and we've seen bad stuff happen to our pay, time off, and benefits before. It's the Union that keeps them honest.

A:

I think we had a family friend hold it for us and then we would get it when we came back after the 6-8 months, but i'll have to get back to you on that one since i'm not sure.


Q:

How much do you get paid?

A:

Thanks mate, just general curiosity, that's all.


Q:

I work in a level 11, and make $126,000 US a year.

A:

Of course! It's a good question, I never really thought about it.


Q:

What do you do to keep yourself unstressed and awake? And what did you have to study to become an ATC?

Also, do you have to factor in air rippling between airplanes? What I mean is, does the presence of one airplane disturb the air around it, potentially causing danger to another plane close by? nvm found out about wave turbulence

A:

Do you still like eating fish? I'm assuming you had many during that "trip".


Q:

Good questions! To stay unstressed,I drink, of course. lol but seriously, I'm into martial arts, and all manner of thrill seeking. As to studying, I majored in aerospace management. There are a little better than a dozen schools that have that major. I went to Beaver County, north of Pittsburgh.

It's called wake turbulence, and yeah, we alert planes to it. If a heavy 747 is flying over a citation, I tell him caution, wake turbulence. Especially if he's landing behind one. That stuff gets wicked strong at times. Scary stuff.

A:

Yes, but you're right that it gets old quick, I can really only eat it for one meal and then I need something to eat something different.


Q:

Thanks for responding!

One last question, what are some "checklist items" that you have to be constantly aware of when behind the screen(?)? As in, for instance, "altitudes? More than 2000ft, that's good. Wind? 12km/h SW"

A:

how was social life? I imagine you guys made stops at some point. Did you meet new people while living this life?


Q:

I'm gonna ask for more clarification on that question... Checklist for what, an approach? Over the ocean? It all varies wildly. There is no set checklist for planes in flight. I make sure you don't get too close, and you don't fly in a thunderstorm, and you don't get wrecked by wake turbulence... Can you be more specific?

A:

Totally! Met people everywhere, the best place was Mexico, lived there for a while and I met so many cool people and other kids. It was great, my only regret was having to say goodbye so often.


Q:

Do you have multiple chances when you make a negligent error, or it's one chance and that's it?

A:

Communication was probably tough but I'm sure you learned the languages, right?


Q:

We are taught to always have multiple back up plans, because plan A usually doesn't work.

An error for us is anything inside 5 miles, with a few exceptions. Of course I can still fix the problem if two planes get inside that before they hit, but I'll definitely be panicked if that happens.

A:

Yep! Learned Spanish when we lived in Mexico, I got pretty decent at it too, although after we left I didn't really have any way to practice it so I lost it until years later when I took school classes in it. It came back pretty easily though.


Q:

How far is five miles in time? Meaning, how much time do you have to correct?

A:

might be unrelated, im kind of a fan of learning languages. So did you learn spanish just by listening, and mimicking and picked up eventually? or were you taught by someone who spoke spanish and english?


Q:

Not very long at all. If they were head on, at altitude and are both big jets, around 30 seconds. Luckily head on traffic is usually the easiest for us to see, so there's rarely any issue. Plus, we have systems in play that are designed to alert us to things like that.

A:

Listening to other kids, asking my parents who knew both (though they werent the best at it so I had to figure it out on my own sometimes). It was a total immersion, so that really helped.


Q:

How often do these errors happen? Not that I'm scared of flying already, or anything like that..

A:

Would you rather have lived on the land during those years?


Q:

Errors happen, but not with terrible frequency. It's usually like someone got 4.8 miles away instead of 5. It's an error, and we take it seriously, but in the grand scheme, everything's ok.

A:

No, I think I gained a lot more than I lost, I mean how many people get to grow up on a sailboat?


Q:

How many lady ATC employees do you work with?

A:

What are some of the most creepiest/chilling experiences you've faced in the open sea?


Q:

It's getting larger, but at current, I'd say about 5 percent are female. It's been make dominated for a while.

A:

I would say storms on the open sea are the hands down, most terrifying thing ever. Huge, macker waves, just such raw power it makes you feel tiny.


Q:

Do you ever ask questions to other people on their AMA's?

A:

Is your nickname the Nard Dog?


Q:

Some of my most karma comes from those!

A:

Re-di-di-dit-dit-doo


Q:

Do you ever say or hear Roger Roger Vector Victor?

A:

How did pooping work? I've always wondered.. is there a septic tank that you would have to replace when you docked, kinda like an RV or did it just get released into the ocean?


Q:

Nope!

A:

Usually released into the ocean, or you could also just sit slightly off the deck and go right into the water. "Hang tooky" we called it, nothing better.


Q:

Why did y'all stop sailing? What did your parents move on to?

A:

Boat sank when Dad tried to foolishly solo sail from Cali to Hawaii, he was rescued but we were stuck in Hawaii for nearly a year and it wrecked my parents marriage. When we got back to Oregon they split and life got a little shitty for a while.


Q:

Oh no :(

A:

It all worked out in the end, it was better they split because my dad was starting to become more mentally ill and was turning into a bitter, nasty person. I actually haven't talked to him for almost 2 years because of his behavior.


Q:

Do you think his early mental illness was part of the reason he decided to live on a boat? (Like... was it a therapy for him or was he becoming paranoid and wanted to get away from people? Or something else?)

A:

Yes and no, I don't think he was really paranoid but he was slightly manic depressive and the manic side led to the desire to live such an extreme lifestyle. I think he liked being in charge of things, he is an ER doctor, so being captain was the ultimate thrill. He wanted to sail to some really hardcore spots, but my mom was always the voice of reason, she talked him out of a lot of very dangerous ideas.


Q:

Do you sail on your own now? If not, do you think you'll go back to it? I'm curious what changes you might have noticed in the past ten years regarding new systems and technology for sailors. Also, were you part of any communities of sailors on the west coast? My parents live aboard a 42' Tayana and are going through the Bahamas currently, seems like a lot of work but a really nice way to live.

A:

I don't sadly, I did a little bit of day sailing a dew years ago with my mom but it hasn't really been my thing oddly enough. I got my fill those years growing up, plus I get motion sick really bad now and school got in the way. I'd imagine the technology is just incredible now, I would love to see what a modern boat has under the hood so to speak. That's awesome that your parents are living the boat life, it is an amazing way to live and I hope one day i can do more day cruising in nice warm places like that.


Q:

Where was your "Time-out"? And was it still awesome?

A:

Well, there wasn't really a time out but one time my dad got a little mad with me and threw me overboard. I had a life jacket on and they got me right away, but I did my homework right then and there. Effective punishment if you ask me.


Q:

Where did you ride your bike?

A:

I didn't learn to ride a bike until I was about 10 or so lol


Q:

I've had quite a similiar experience: when I was 4, I sailed around the world with my parents and 7-year old sister for 13 months around the Atlantic Ocean. I'm 23 now, and the thing is, for me it was always very 'normal' for us that we've made the trip, but it has formed me into how I am today (I guess).

How do you feel about your years on the water, how thankfull are you towards your parents? Do you feel like you want to do this yourself when you have kids? Do you sail yourself? Sorry for the many questions, I don't come across someone with kinda similar experiences!

A:

Oh wow, that's so cool! I don't meet many people who lived like me either, we're a rare breed it seems :) The years out on the water were some of the best years of my life, I'm super thankful towards my parents, it would have never happened if they weren't so awesome. I don't sail myself now, school and work has gotten in the way, but hopefully I can do it again some day in a more relaxed manner. I like day sailing now, the offshore stuff I pretty much got out of my system lol


Q:

Any experience with rogue waves?

A:

No, nothing like that. Massive storms, but no rogue waves.


Q:

Did you guys mainly buy food or fish for food?

A:

A mix of both, we would stock up on non-perishables before heading out and then supplement with tuna that we would catch. You get sick of tuna though pretty fast, so one time we happened to pass another boat out in the middle of nowhere and we radio'd them to see if they wanted to trade anything. They were out of movies, and we wanted meat which they had! So we put the movies in a waterproof bag and tossed it to them as we passed each other, and they threw us the meat. It was an amazing moment and so funny.


Q:

This is my favorite part of the whole thread

A:

It's one of my favorite memories, just such a rare and special moment out in the middle of nowhere.


Q:

Did you ever come across any sharks? They're my favorite animal, but I've only been able to see/swim with them once in the wild. If so, what types?

A:

We accidentally swam near great whites in Guadalupe, didn't see them but the locals we're screaming at us when we swam in. It was terrifying once we realized what they were saying.


Q:

In those years, were you introduced to the internet and did you have access? If not, how was turning back to shore on a world filled with it?

A:

No internet, didn't really have it until we stopped sailing and even then it was dial up so I never really used it. I got my first real taste of it around age 11 or 12, and by then I had very much readjusted to land life so it wasn't much different then other kids my age.


Q:

How often did you go back to land?

A:

Every 6-8 months, then leave again after a month or two.


Q:

You should write a book. What did you do daily if you were offshore for months on end? I'm guessing there was no internet so what was daily life like?

A:

I'm actually writing one! I have a lot of other stories to tell, some amazing and some terrible, but I've always wanted to write a book so I figured why not? Daily life depended on things like the weather and where we were, if it was calm or stormy. Usually it would just be taking turns steering, setting lines to catch fish, plotting the course for the day. I had school work to do, as I was homeschooled, and then we would make dinner and my dad or mom would read to me before bed. We also had wind generator and electronics, so I could watch movies, listen to music or even play video games! I had a PS1 at the time, it was awesome.


Q:

I would totally read that book

A:

Thanks! I'm still coming up with a title, but "Damn you Kafka" is one i'm partial to, so look for that!


Q:

Are you me? My parents did the same thing but from age 9 to 12 for me. We have a 49' ketch that we sailed down the west coast to Panama from Seattle. I wonder if we met/crossed paths.. The cruising community is pretty small and it seems like the same time range. 2000-2003.

A:

Quite possibly! That would be amazing if we had, I do remember meeting a lot of boat kids while sailing, but we all went along our ways. Literal passing ships in the night.


Q:

Two questions: First, Did you guys live of massive cases of bottled water or figure out a filtering system? Second, how did you (or I guess more so your parents) stay up to date on news or culture related stuff? Did you ever feel like when you got to Hawaii you maybe were smarter but not "down with the times"?

A:

You know, it's a little hard to remember if we stayed current or not. We would talk to other boaters we met, we never went more then a week or two without seeing someone so we weren't fully out of touch. For the water, we had big tanks and we had to ratio, we also had emergency filters in case something happened.


Q:

With all that time spent at sea, did you or your parents ever experience anything unexplained?

A:

Hmm... Not that I can remember, I guess the one thing that was kind of weird was this one night, we were sleeping when all of a sudden my mom got up because she felt weird. We were anchored off this island, next to another boat, and she said when she got up she decided to go above deck and make sure they were ok. Sure enough, there was smoke coming out of their boat because an electrical fire had started and they didn't notice since they were asleep. She rushed over on our little dingy, and was able to put it out after waking them up. It was amazing, they would have probably died if she hadn't seen it happen. Still can't explain how she knew.