Finding Foxtrot Alpha Mike is a story about aviation archaeology and family. Fittingly, its writer, Jonathan Rotondo, is my older brother and life-long inspiration. From childhood co-conspiracies to more ripened grown-up pursuits, he remains my sidekick, constantly supporting the counterpart to his sibling tribe.
For that same reason, I wanted to support him in his life-long pursuit of flying and highlight his incredible journey and talent for storytelling.
This story begins as a way for a son to honour the memory of his father by tracking down a single-seat biplane – a symbol of their mutual love of flight. Following the old adage of “it’s not about the destination but the journey”, the blog soars into a tale of aerial adventures and life experiences, each post told with vivid flash-backs and flash-forwards alike, that span decades, continents and generations.
One post will fly you from a small town off the Adriatic coast of Italy, to the hovering acacia-tree landscapes of East Africa and west-ward towards the Great Lakes and Canadian Shield. Now, with a new biplane and its second-generation pilot at the helm, Jonathan embarks on a new chapter every time his wheels lift off the ground, paying tribute to the legacy of westward-gone aviation, his love of flight and the zest to seek new adventures over distant horizons.
The blog was launched in early 2012 and soon came to the attention of the Canadian Owners and Pilots Association (COPA). It was reworked and published into a three-part series in the nationally-distributed COPA newspaper in February, March and April of 2013 and subsequently went on to win the acclaimed 2014 COPA Literary Award for its outstanding record of support for personal aviation and promotion, growth and prosperity of aviation in Canada.
The story caught the eye of local news back in the summer of 2014 and was translated from page to small screen with the production of a mini documentary that captured Jonathan in action behind the controls.
On any given clear day, when the ceiling knows no cap and the rising sun beams towards endless eastern horizons, you can find Jonathan spending his free time instructing pilots in aerobatic maneuvers, tracing chandelles, hammerheads and Cuban eights in sky, instilling the love of flight in others, the same way it was so beautifully instilled in him.
This blog is regularly updated and brilliantly reflected, sure to warm both your heart and senses while awakening everyone’s inner aviator! You can read it at findingffam.blogspot.ca, and follow Jonathan’s adventures on Youtube and Twitter @FindingFAM.
Vanessa Rotondo is an Ottawa-based freelance writer, national spoken word artist and youth outreach coordinator/arts educator. You can follow her on Twitter.