"Tell us about your experiences, but more importantly what you learned or how it changed you!"

Pondering this past year and our new normal, I realized lessons learned from ancient and modern battlefields can be used in so many areas of our lives. Sitting down one night, hundreds of stories and lessons learned flowed onto the notebook pages. Three close friends told me “Share these with the rest of us!” The Lessons from the Cockpit podcast was born. 

Flying is described as long periods of boredom interrupted by short intermittent periods of extreme terror.

On the Lessons from the Cockpit show, we debrief the most intriguing pilots, aircrew members, maintainers, and aviation enthusiasts, investigating their tactics, techniques, and procedures cultivated during extraordinary military, commercial, and private flight operations.

Our exploration gives practical advice on how the aviation world works and expands critical thinking skills in the air and on the ground.

Many of our guests were involved in front-page headline news, others in events taking great pains to ensure they didn’t end up in the news.

So grab an adult beverage of your choice and sit down… strap in… and launch the Lessons from the Cockpit show!

Lessons from the Cockpit episodes

001 Aviate, Navigate and Communicate

There is a three-word slogan every aviator memorizes to help deal with emergencies in the air. It’s so simple and has saved countless pilot’s lives.

An instructor in Pilot Training taught me the five commandments of flying complimenting the three-word slogan. On a training sortie, I violated two of them and almost killed myself.

A Navy SEAL taught me a slogan that guides their training philosophy. This slogan is a reason the US Military is the world’s finest fighting force on the planet.

Welcome to the Lessons from the Cockpit show!

Link to Nancy Brier’s great article: 


002 Squawk 7700 and Ident

On this episode of the Lessons from the Cockpit show…

Many aviators have flown into bad situations or worse killed because they didn’t listen to the voice in their heads. The military has a term for this voice: GUT CHECK. Malcomb Gladwell has written an entire book about this gut check phenomenon.

Recently I had a discussion with a close friend and both of our professions, he an EMT in Houston and myself a military pilot, realized we shared similar attributes in working problems. One attribute of gut checks causes our brains to slow down during a crisis yet have total situational awareness of what’s happening around us, the problem, and its solution. This attribute often leads to simple solutions to very complex problems never tried before but they work!

As aviators, we really do use our five senses while flying. Our five senses feed problem-solving capacity and intuition. On a flight out of Hawaii, I literally “masked” one of my five senses which would have told me what was really wrong with the plane.

Strap in for another episode of Lessons from the Cockpit!

003 Fast Asleep to Full Up War

On this episode of the Lessons from the Cockpit show:

Twenty years ago this past Saturday, a phone call at 5:50 in the morning caused me to go from fast asleep to full up war in 30 minutes. The United States was under attack.

While driving into work that day I was doing “Taker Math” in my head, the number of sorties and amount of gas it would take to keep all the fighters and Command and Control planes airborne to maintain a NO FLY ZONE over America, and these numbers will astound you!

Talking with a very good friend of mine this past weekend he told me what a fighter pilot is probably thinking when tasked to shoot down an airliner over the U.S. because on 9/11 there were no rules of engagement to do this. How do you stop a jetliner filled with American citizens from becoming a cruise missile that might be flown by one of your airline buddies?

This episode is sponsored by the book Tanker Pilot: Lessons from the Cockpit available in all four formats on Amazon. 

004 Mike “COMA” Reed and Flying Phantoms in Cold War Asia

Welcome to this week’s episode of Lessons from the Cockpit.

This week my best friend from my boyhood Mike Reed callsign COMA was in Utah. He and I sat down to talk about his lessons from flying F-4 Phantoms during the Cold War in the Far East and aeronautical engineering.

Sun Tzu’s first chapter in The Art of War opens with the line “The art of war is of vital importance to the State.” You may not have an interest in geopolitics but geopolitics will always have an interest in you. Coma explains how geopolitics changed his Air Force career goal and directly influenced real-world missions flying F-4E Phantom IIs fighters at Osan Air Base Korea and Clark Air Base The Philippines.

 Once your passion for aviation is discovered, you will do whatever it takes to overcome the walls and obstacles placed in front of you. Coma shows how he pushed through the walls of geopolitics and a demanding aeronautical engineering senior project to get into Air Force Navigator Training.

All of us were placed here to do great things. Sometimes bad and horrible things happen going through life. Coma’s mother taught him the “art of moving along”, not letting your past be a roadblock to your future after she survived the Japanese bombing and occupation of Manila during World War II.

The two F-4E Phantom II fighter jets Mike Reed flew can be purchased through our sponsor Wall Pilot, custom aviation art for the walls of your home, office, and hanger at https://wallpilot.com/product/3rd-tfs-f-4e-euro-ii-scheme/

or on my website https://markhasara.com

To learn more about the NASA HIMAT project go here:


To learn more about aerodynamic wings called canards go here:


Thanks for joining us for this episode of the Lessons from the Cockpit show.

Coma’s Phantoms for the walls of your home or office:

Osan Air Base Korea and the 36th TFS Flying Fiends F-4E

Clark Air Base The Philippines and 3rd TFS Peugeots F-4E

005 Mike “COMA” Reed and Engineering the F-22 Raptor

Welcome to this episode of the Lessons from the Cockpit show!

Our conversation with Mike “Coma” Reed continues this week, telling us his story of integrating all the systems in the Lockheed F-22 Raptor, arguably the most lethal fighter jet in the world. Mike explains why the F-22 program and development performed so well and the F-35 program continues to have challenges.

Age and treachery will always overcome youth and exuberance as Mike relates an event with a Russian TU-95 Bear Bomber off the coast of South Korea.

Then-Vice President George H. W. Bush visited South Korea and F-4E Phantom IIs from Mike’s 36th Tactical Fighter Squadron, The Flying Fiends, escorted the VP’s plane into Osan Air Base Korea. Today the Flying Fiends continue to defend the Korean Peninsula from aggression from North Korea and China as a Cold War atmosphere increases in the Far East.

Prints of Mike’s two F-4E Phantoms for the walls of your home or office can be purchased from our sponsor Wall Pilot at the following links:



To learn more about the Russian TU-95 Bear bomber:


Enjoy the second hour of my interview with my boyhood buddy Mike Reed!

Coma’s 36th TFS Flying Fiends F-4E from Wall Pilot

Coma’s 3rd TFS Peugeots F-4E Phantom II from Wall Pilot

006 Am I Enough?

Welcome to this episode of Lessons from the Cockpit!

There is one training event during my Air Force career  I can truly say was transformational. And it started with a 3M sticky note on my desk written by the #3 Commander on Kadena Air Base, Okinawa Japan.

Fearing I wasn’t up to this task, that Commander let me and my counterpart use our imagination and initiative to create one of the most complex and dynamic training exercises in 18th Wing history.

This exercise trained the largest combined Air Force Wing of seven flying squadrons and three other flying units on how to plan and operate in any conflict across the Far East region. We did it with a Navy Carrier Battlegroup as our simulated adversary over an imaginary battlefield. 

The education and expertise I gained from this exercise were invaluable while deployed to the Middle East, planning and executing the air campaigns over Afghanistan and Iraq from 2002 through 2003.

F-15C Eagle images can be purchased from our sponsor Wall Pilot, custom aviation art for the walls of your home or office at the following links:




007 Two Ears and One Mouth

On this episode of Lessons from the Cockpit:

The good Lord gave us all two ears and one mouth for a reason. Important information is often given up because we spend too much time talking when we should be listening. One day my Boss set up two TOPGUN wannabes to be humiliated and it cost them $30 each!

On a trip to San Diego, Jim and I visited the USS Midway Museum (https://www.midway.org/). Sitting in the F-4 dogfight simulator in Midway’s Hanger Deck, my two adversaries’ competitiveness and egos gave me a VERY important piece of information about themselves.

I’m much more observant about my surroundings after flying for over 24 years. Spending a few moments with Colonel John Boyd’s Observation – Orientation – Decision – Action or OODA Loop concept when I died during one dogfight gave me valuable knowledge to kill these would-be air aces over and over again.

Special thanks to Wall Pilot (www.wallpilot.com) for sponsoring this episode of the Lessons from the Cockpit show.

During the Vietnam war, the USS Midway’s F-4 Phantom squadron VF-161 shot down five North Vietnamese Air Force MiG-17 fighters during the LINEBACKER II campaign. VF-161’s F-4B Phantom II ROCK RIVER 100 downed two MiG-17 Frescos in one air battle on 23 May 1972. The graphic of Rock River 100 can be purchased for the walls of your home or office at https://wallpilot.com/product/f-4b-161-vietnam/

Please share this episode with your friends, loved ones, and colleagues. Thanks once again for listening to Lessons from the Cockpit! 

008 The More Thou Sweatest in Training

On this the eighth episode of Lessons From the Cockpit:

The US Air Force has its version of TOPGUN, training the best of the best from 18 different weapons, intelligence, command and control, Special Operations, rescue, and intercontinental ballistic missile forces. It’s called the US Air Force Weapons School, based at Nellis Air Force Base in North Las Vegas.

During one large force night training event, things did NOT go well for the students. One mistake snowballed into the loss of numerous aircraft. If this had been the opening night of a real Shock and Awe campaign, eleven airmen would not be coming home.

The students who flunked this training event took ownership of their mistakes, learned from them, and were better prepared when they crushed their simulated adversaries the following night.

To experience a night mass launch out of Nellis AFB:



Special thanks to Wall Pilot for sponsoring this episode of Lessons from the Cockpit, custom aviation art for the walls of your home, office, or hanger. Three 64th Aggressor Squadron aircraft, stars of this episode, can be purchased at:




Wall Pilot F-15 prints can be purchased at:



Thanks again for listening and please share this episode with family or friends and subscribe to the show.

009 The Power to Fly

On this episode of Lessons from the Cockpit;

Airplane designers analyze three elements for creating an airplane: Range, Payload, and Endurance. All three of these elements are affected by the aircraft engine.

Two world-famous engines almost didn’t make it into their iconic airframes. There were numerous obstacles business and engineering leaders overcame. One engine was within two weeks of cancellation. But companies took the high-risk road and it paid off in billions of dollars. Both of these engines changed the way the two planes operated, stretching the range, increasing the payload, and lengthening the endurance of these two famous planes. 

Special thanks to the book Tanker Pilot and Wall Pilot for sponsoring this episode of Lessons from the Cockpit.

P-51 and Spitfire graphics for the walls of your home or office can be purchased at www.wallpilot.com.  



All episodes of Lesson from the Cockpit can be found on my website, https://markhasara.com/

Thanks for listening and please share with family and friends.

010 Reputation and Trust

Welcome to the Lessons from the Cockpit podcast!

Into whose hands would you place trust and risk your life? Military service members deal with this question every day. There is one community of US Air Force aircraft aircrew members all over the world trust with their lives to. Why? Crews flying these two jets have the reputation of ALWAYS being at the right place and right time, but more importantly where they need to go when things go bad. They have saved countless lives and millions of dollars of equipment during wartime. On two occasions fighter pilots accepted a greater amount of risk during complex missions because they trusted the reputation of a community flying a 60-year-old jet and its crews. The same is true for this old jet’s younger Big Sister.

This episode is sponsored by the book Tanker Pilot: Lessons from the Cockpit found on Amazon in all four formats.

You can have the two fighter jets spoken of for the walls of your home. office, or hanger in four, six, and eight-foot-long graphics which can be peeled off and stuck to a wall or framed. Wall Pilot’s graphics a printed on vinyl with a sticky backing. The 17th Tac Fighter Squadron “Hooters” F-16C can be found at:


Print of VFA-87 War Party F-18C from Operation Enduring Freedom: