Ready For Takeoff - Turn Your Aviation Passion Into A Career

The Ready For Takeoff podcast will help you transform your aviation passion into an aviation career. Every week we bring you instruction and interviews with top aviators in their field who reveal their flight path to an exciting career in the skies.
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Ready For Takeoff - Turn Your Aviation Passion Into A Career




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Now displaying: 2016
Dec 26, 2016

Kathi Durst attended the United States Air Force Academy the second year women were allowed to enroll, and went to Undergraduate Pilot Training the second year women were allowed to become Air Force pilots. Although she performed well enough to qualify for a fighter assignment, at that time women were not permitted to fly combat aircraft, so she was assigned as an Instructor Pilot (IP) in the supersonic T-38 Talon aircraft.

After seven years, she left the Air Force and hired on with American Airlines, where she rose to the position of Chief Pilot at the largest airline domicile in the world.

Dec 19, 2016

Justin started flying at age 14, and received his pilot’s license at 17. In 1999, he graduated from the University of North Dakota with a B.S. in Aeronautical Studies, a Multi-Engine Commercial Pilot Certificate, and a Flight Instructor Certificate.

He built experience as a flight instructor for several years until he left for Navy Officer Candidate School. After receiving his commission, Justin married his high school sweetheart, Sarah Clark Lewis, to whom he attributes much of his accomplishments.

Upon completion of Navy flight school, Justin was recognized as the top graduating tactical jet aviator in 2001. He was assigned the F-14D Tomcat and in 2004, he transitioned to the E-6B Mercury (a Boeing 707 variant). In 2007, he was assigned to train the next generation of Navy fighter and aircraft carrier pilots in the T-45 Goshawk.

After nearly 11 years of years of Active Duty, Justin continued to teach in the T-45 as a Naval Reservist until joining the Arkansas Air National Guard in 2011.

Today, Justin’s a certified Airline Transport Pilot and currently flying the A-10C as a “Traditional Guardsman.”

Dec 12, 2016

Laura Einsetler is a commercial airline pilot with over 30 years of flying experience in various aircraft around the world. She is also the author of two books, “Remove Before Flight” and “Lost and Found”. As an aviation and health enthusiast, she is passionate about sharing her knowledge and insight to help create better quality of life by reducing any fear of flying while educating and empowering the passenger.

Dec 5, 2016

Don Sebastian started his aviation career flying airplanes at an army aero club in the morning and then jumping out of airplanes in the afternoon. After finishing his military service, which included combat in the Caribbean, he completed his aeronautical ratings, and has been flight instructing for five decades. He now combines his pilot skills with his A&P certificate to conduct pre-buy inspections for airplane purchasers throughout the world.

Nov 28, 2016

In addition to being a B737 Captain for a Canadian airline, Laval was the first Canadian to summit Mount Everest without the aid of oxygen in May 2010, the first person to ski down Iraq’s highest peak and has to date climbed 6 of the 7 Summits (highest peak on all 7 continents), and in the summer of 2016 made the fastest solo ocean row crossing of the North Atlantic ocean from mainland Canada to mainland Europe.

Nov 21, 2016

A pilot for more than 45 years and a retired Northwest Airlines Captain, Julie Clark has logged more than almost 33,000 accident-free hours in the air and is rated in 66 different aircraft types. Marking her 36th year as a solo aerobatic air show pilot, Julie has earned the admiration of fans everywhere and garnered many awards and honors.

Nov 14, 2016

Lawrence "Cheese" Colby is one of the few pilots to attend both Naval Aviator Pilot Training and Air Force Undergraduate Pilot Training. He started flying in college, and became a Marine helicopter gunship pilot.
After attaining the rank of Major, he initiated an inter-service transfer and became an Air Force C-130 pilot. He still serves in the Air Force Reserves.
In addition to his flying, he has written a novel, due for release in December 2016, and has invented a protocol to reduce surgical errors in hospitals.

Nov 7, 2016

John Mollison is a pilot, historian, film-maker, aviation artist. and award-winning speaker. His passion is telling the stories of famous pilots in his art and films, and including the pilots in his projects.
All of his paintings are signed by the actual pilots themselves, including a painting signed by two Vietnam War opponents, pilots Hong My and John Stiles.

Oct 31, 2016

Captain Jerry Yellin enlisted in the Army Air Corps on his 18th birthday, two months after the Pearl Harbor attack. He became a fighter pilot, flying P-40s, P-47s and P-51s. He flew 19 ultra-long P-51 missions from Iwo Jima to Japan on bomber escort and interdiction missions, and was the last pilot in WWII to engage in aerial combat.

Following the war, he suffered from undiagnosed PTSD for 30 years, until ultimately finding a cure through Transcendental Meditation.

In 1982, he reluctantly went to Japan on a business trip and fell in love with the country and people he had hated for 40 years. In his book Of Wars and Weddings he recounts his transformation and the marriage of his son to the daughter of a Japanese fighter pilot, and how the two enemies became family.

He has now authored four books, with one translated into Japanese. His website is At 92 years of age, he now travels around the world, speaking about his journey.

Oct 24, 2016

Patrick Smith is an active airline pilot, air travel blogger and author. His Ask the Pilot column, ran regularly in the online magazine from 2002 until 2012.

He has appeared on over 200 radio and television outlets, including PBS, Discovery Channel, CNN, the BBC and National Public Radio. His work is regularly cited in print publications worldwide. He was voted one of the “25 Best Bloggers of 2013” by TIME magazine.

Patrick took his first flying lesson at age fourteen. His first job with an airline came in 1990, when he was hired as a copilot on 15-passenger turboprops earning $850 a month. He has since flown cargo and passenger jets on both domestic and intercontinental routes.

His book Cockpit Confidential is a wry, thoughtful, and at times provocative look into the confounding world of commercial air travel, with a behind-the-scenes look at the strange and misunderstood business of commercial aviation. More than just a book about flying, its subject is everything and everything about the grand theater of air travel, from airport architecture to terrorism to the colors and cultures of the world’s airlines.

Patrick travels extensively in his spare time and has visited more than seventy countries. He lives near Boston.

Oct 17, 2016

The Guinness Foundation has declared 98-year old Ernie Smith as the oldest living active pilot in the world, and you would never guess his age by talking to him. In this podcast, we had a short, but very interesting, conversation with Ernie about how he got his start in flying, his current flying schedule, and why he prefers to fly right at dawn.

Oct 10, 2016

A chance offer of an assignment to photograph an airplane propelled Brandy Forstie into the aviation photography business. She now photographs interiors and exteriors of business aircraft, and also provides other image services to corporate clients, including portraits and facility photographs.
Brandy is based in Atlanta, but travels frequently to serve clients at their locations.
Her stunning images are available for viewing on her website at

Oct 3, 2016

Donna Miller learned to fly in South Korea while working as a civilian for the Air Force. She flew general aviation in Europe while working for Jeppesen in the Frankfurt office, then transferred to Jeppesen in Denver and helped Elrey Jeppesen catalog his memorabilia.  He gave her a piece of fabric from the original Wright Flyer, and she had it made into a necklace that Eileen Collins took to space when they docked with MIR.

She had the honor of flying Neil Armstrong to Kitty Hawk for the centennial of flight celebration in 2003. She gave the necklace to one of the pilots who did the recreation flight, so it went from Kitty Hawk to space and back to Kitty Hawk 100 years later.

She also had the honor of knowing Louie Zamperini very well for the last 8 years of his life and traveled with him on several occasions to speaking engagements.

In addition to her job as an airline pilot, she also flies  WWII bombers (B-17, B-24, B-25) for the Collings Foundation.

Sep 26, 2016

Dick Jonas served four years as an infantryman in the Georgia Army National Guard while attending Valdosta State College. He graduated in 1965 with a BS degree in Physics and Math. He entered the Air Force and received his commission through Officer Training School. In 22 years service he flew 3,000 jet fighter hours in the F-4 and the F-16. During 125 missions in Vietnam he earned the Distinguished Flying Cross with two oak leaf clusters and the Air Medal with 12 clusters.
He recorded his first albums of military ballads in 1969, after returning from Vietnam.
He retired from the Air Force in 1986 as a Lieutenant Colonel, and became an Aerospace Science Instructor in the Air Force Junior ROTC program.

Sep 19, 2016

Nick Anderson, perhaps better known as the Old.Pilot is the oldest of the Airline Pilot Guy Podcast crew and not too far from retirement after a flying career that started in the ‘60s.  Brought up in England and from an aviation family, he began flying in the wood and canvas, open cockpit gliders of the Air Training Corps. He started his professional career in the military, the Royal Air Force. He completed jet training on the Jet Provost, Folland Gnat and the Hawker Hunter before getting into the awesome McDonnell Douglas F4 Phantom, eventually becoming a Qualified Weapons Instructor. His military career moved around a bit and he spent a while as a fast jet QFI on the BAe Hawk before taking up a post with the Royal Australian Air Force on the F18 Hornet. Back with the RAF he completed his time on the BAe Tornado F3.

Captain Nick is now an international Captain on the A-340 with a UK airline referred to as "Acme Red". Hi is also an accomplished photographer.

Sep 12, 2016

Dick is a protégé of the famed Tuskegee Airmen and was mentored, trained, and commissioned under their tutelage. He is a graduate of the USAF Fighter Weapons School at Nellis AFB, NV and completed two tours in Southeast Asia with 446 combat missions. He also held key roles in advanced research, development, and testing of tactical fighter aircraft. Later he directed the testing and evaluation of other weapon systems for the Department of Defense and allied military programs. Dick held key staff positions and commanded a number of units in several major commands of the Air Force. His duty assignments included bases throughout the United States, Southeast Asia, Europe, North Africa, and the Persian Gulf. He is a Command Pilot with 4,000 flying hours in the F-4, F-15, F-16, OT-37, O-2, T-33, and several civilian aircraft. His military decorations include the Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross, Meritorious Service Medal with two Oak Leaf Clusters, and the Air Medal with 27 Oak Leaf Clusters. Dick retired from the United States Air Force March 1, 1989 after 26 years of distinguished service.

Sep 5, 2016

John and Martha King have trained more than half of all pilots seeking pilot certificates over the past 40 years, with over 98 percent passing their written exams on the first attempt. They have won numerous awards and possess every FAA airman certificate available to civilian pilots.
In this podcast, they discuss their aviation journey , which includes an around-the-world flight in their Falcon 10 aircraft, and their piloting of the Fuji Film airship. Throughout the podcast their passion for aviation shines through. They are strong supporters of aviation education and risk mitigation.

Aug 29, 2016

Worldwide, there have been 13 airline emergency evacuations so far this year. Although it's unlikely you will need to evacuate from an airliner you're traveling on, it is prudent to always be prepared for an event that could be catastrophic if not performed correctly.
In this podcast we discuss airline evacuation procedures and steps you can take to prepare yourself for the unlikely event.

Aug 22, 2016

Lee Ellis was on his first Air Force assignment, flying an F-4C aircraft out of Danang, South Vietnam, when he was forced to eject over Dong Hoi and captured. He endured 5 1/2 years as a Prisoner of War (POW) in the infamous Hoa Loa prison, nicknamed the Hanoi Hilton.
It was during that incarceration, in the crucible of leadership, that he learned the lessons that guided him through the rest of his career and his life.
After repatriation, he returned to flying, serving as a T-38 Instructor Pilot (IP), Stan-Eval Flight Examiner (SEFE), and Squadron Commander. His final assignment in the Air Force was Commander of the Air Force ROTC Program at the University of Georgia.
He now travels and lectures extensively on Leadership, and has written four books.

Aug 15, 2016

Wally Funk started flying at age 16, obtained her Private Pilot certificate while at Stephens College, and obtained all her other ratings while a student at Oklahoma State University. After graduating, she taught primary flight students for the U.S. Army at Fort Sill.
Then she heard about an astronaut screening program and was selected to participate. Along with twelve other women, they became known as the "Mercury 13". Political pressures forced the termination of the women's astronaut program. She became the first female FAA inspector, and the first female NTSB investigator, serving on over 400 accident boards.
Wally was listed in Outstanding Young Women of America in 1965, Won the Pacific Air Race in 1975, and was inducted into the Aviation Womens Hall of Fame in 1995. She holds an honorary Doctorate from the University of Wisconsin, and has had awards, trophies, and even a song named after her.
Wally still flight instructs, and has a reservation to fly into space next year with Virgin Galactic.

Aug 8, 2016

Fred Tecce started flying when he was 21, and eventually earned all of his ratings. He had to take a brief hiatus while attending Law School full time, but quickly made up for the lost time by buying a Piper Arrow, which he owned until 1994, and then a Beech Duke, which he still owns.
Fred specializes in Aviation Law and, more recently, Intellectual Property Law, and has frequently used his airplane for business.
His public appearance career began with a local television show in Philadelphia, and grew into national appearances on all the major networks as an expert on legal and aviation issues.

Aug 1, 2016

Nick Hinch started his Aviation career as an Air Force navigator on the B-52, flying over Hanoi during Operation Linebacker II. He then went to pilot training and rose to B-52 Squadron Commander and Wing Assistant Director Of Operations. Following a 20-year Air Force career, he became an airline pilot with United Airlines, then went overseas to fly B777s for Air India.

Jul 25, 2016

Chuck Nash spent 25 years as a Naval Aviator, rising to the rank of Captain. He has landed on 9 different aircraft carriers, amassing 965 carrier landings. He now serves as a Military Analyst.

Jul 18, 2016

Karlene Petitt knew she wanted to be a pilot when she was a pre-teen, even though everyone told her "girls can't be pilots". She started flying when she was 16, and now, with eight airline uniforms in her closet, she's an international Captain with a major legacy carrier. She's also an author of five books, and working on her PhD.

Jul 11, 2016

Many of the equipment items and procedures used on air carrier aircraft today are the result of accident board recommendations from hull loss accidents. In this podcast we discuss some of these.

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