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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: Category: Aviation
Feb 27, 2017

Mark Berent received his pilot’s wings in September 1953, then flew the F-86 SabreJet and the F-100 Super Sabre in Germany, France, and the U.S. He even caught a ride in the "missile with a man in it", the F-104. In the early ‘60s, the USAF sent him to Arizona State University to get an engineering degree. While there, the Vietnam War became more intense, and he volunteered for duty in Vietnam

In mid-December 1965 he arrived at Bien Hoa Air Base in South Vietnam as a pilot in the 531st Tactical Fighter Squadron (TFS) in the 3rd Tactical Fighter Wing (TFW). He flew over 250 missions and was reassigned back in the States to a desk job at the Space and Missile Systems Organization (SAMSO) in El Segundo, California. Though he was able to fly the T-39 Sabreliner, he was not happy. The war tempo had increased. He made contact with Air Force Personnel and soon found himself at George Air Force Base, Victorville, California, upgrading into the F-4 Phantom.

On the 1st of November, 1968, he signed in to the 497th TFS at Ubon Royal Thai Air Force Base in upcountry Thailand. There he flew over 240 missions both as a Night Owl and as a Wolf Forward Air Controller (FAC).

He wrote the Wings of War series, a five-part series that follows pilot Court Bannister, pilot Toby Parker, and Special Forces officer Wolf Lochert through their successive combat tours in Vietnam. Along the way, we see real events like Johnson and McNamara micro-managing the war, the outrageous abuse of American Pilots held at the Hoa Lo prison, and the claim of an attack on the Russian ship Turkmenestan.

Feb 23, 2017

Carl Minter got his start in aviation as a teenager in the Negro Airmen International program, and later attended Parks College and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. After a stint working as an engineer for Sikorsky, he joined the Air Force and flew C-141's and then was selected to fly Presidential Support missions in the Gulfstream aircraft. After leaving the military and joining a legacy airline, Karl continued his service in the Air Force reserves.

In this podcast, Karl describes the Organization of Black Aerospace Professionals and explains their many programs, including job fairs, mentoring and scholarship opportunities.

Feb 20, 2017

Chuck’s aviation career is the result of a life-long interest in aviation, which was made stronger as his father - an Air Force pilot in three wars - took him to countless air shows where he watched the Thunderbirds and Blue Angels perform.  This led to enrollment in USAF ROTC at the Citadel and a subsequent pilot slot.  He brought the discipline he learned at the Citadel into his Air Force flight training and graduated near the top of his class. 

As a result of his performance in Undergraduate Pilot Training, he was selected by the Air Training Command as an Air Force instructor pilot.  He excelled in this role and was offered a position as a career trainer, which he gladly accepted.  Chuck spent the next 24 years educating and training pilots, serving in various capacities including Standardization/Evaluation Chief Spin Pilot, Squadron Commander, Air Operations Inspector and Director of Operations/Training for the Civil Air Patrol.  Throughout his career, he helped Air Force pilots improve their skills.  Chuck retired from the Air Force in 2000 with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.

After military retirement, he turned his attention to general aviation (GA) where he found a huge discrepancy between the training and proficiency the Air Force offered and what was present in GA. This began his quest to bring GA training closer to the level offered by the military and the airlines through improved standardization and proficiency training.  Since 2000, he has maintained this focus on providing quality GA flight instruction.

Chuck has influence well beyond the borders of the United States.  As a Platinum Cirrus Instructor Pilot, he helps with ground and flight training internationally through the Cirrus Owners and Pilots Association Foundation’s Cirrus Pilot Proficiency Program.  As a result of these efforts, owners and renters enhance their knowledge, proficiency, and safety in technologically advanced aircraft, making them more professional pilots.

As co-founder and Chief Instructor of Independence Aviation (IA), Chuck helped craft a unique and effective environment that emphasizes high-quality training in technologically advance aircraft and which fosters proficiency, safety, and fun in aviation.  Since 2007, he helped grow the business from three instructors and two airplanes to more than 18 instructors and 13 aircraft with a strong base of loyal clientele. Chuck was named Chief Instructor Emeritus in acknowledgement of his many outstanding accomplishments as Chief Instructor at IA.

Feb 13, 2017

Carl Valeri started his career in the computer business, preparing clients for the effects of the dreaded Y2K Disaster. But he always had a desire to fly, and finally found his passion when he got an airline job. When he was furloughed, he found his other passion: helping furloughed pilots find aviation employment.

He now helps countless pilots in the pursuit of their passions through his aviation counseling, his blog, and his podcasts. He publishes  an Aerospace Scholarship Guide, which he updates annually, and also guides young pilots as a Flight Team coach. In addition, Carl is a television on-air aviation expert. AND, in his spare time, he flies for an airline!

Feb 6, 2017

During WW II Bud Anderson served two combat tours escorting heavy bomber over Europe in the P-51 Mustang, Nov 1943 through Jan 1945. He flew 116 combat mission (480 hrs) and destroyed 16 and 1/4 enemy aircraft in aerial combat and another one on the ground.

He has an extensive flight testing background spanning a 25 year period. At Wright-Patterson AFB OH he was a fighter test pilot and later became Chief of Fighter Operations. He flew many models of the early jet fighters and was involved in two very unusual flight test programs. He made the first flights on a bizarre experimental program to couple jet fighters to the wingtips of a large bomber aircraft for range extension.

Later he also conducted the initial development flights on the F-84 Parasite fighter modified to be launched and retrieved from the very large B-36 bomber. At The Air Force Flight Test Center at Edwards AFB Col Anderson was assigned as the Chief Of Flight Test Operations and later Deputy Director of Flight Test. While there he flew the Century series fighters and all the other types of aircraft in the Air Force inventory. He has flown over 130 different types of aircraft and has logged over 7500 flying hours.

Other assignment in his 30 years of continuous military service include duty as: Commander of an F86 Squadron in post war Korea, Commander of an F-105 Wing on Okinawa, and two assignments to the Pentagon  as an advanced R & D staff planner and as Director of Operational Requirements. Further, he served in Southeast Asia where he was Commander of the 355th Tactical Fighter Wing. Col Anderson flew bombing strikes against enemy supply lines and later was in charge of closing the first large air base when his combat wing was deactivated. Col Anderson was decorated 25 times. His awards include 2 Legion of Merits, 5 Distinguished Flying Crosses, the Bronze Star, 16 Air Medals, the French Legion of Honor and the French Croix de Guerre, as well as many campaign and service ribbons.

Jan 30, 2017

Christophe Simon wanted to fly from an earlier age, but his initial efforts were nipped in the bud when he could not pass the French medical exam because he had bad eyes. So he attended a university to become qualified for non-flying aviation employment.

After graduation, he discovered he couldn't find employment because he had not attended a prestige (Ivy League) university. He relocated to England and quickly found meaningful employment in his chosen career. After 7 years, he was hired by Airbus Industrie back in France!

During a trip to Canada, he discovered that vision correcting glasses was not a problem for obtaining a medical certificate to fly, so he began his flying career. He is now a rated pilot, specializing in aerobatics.

Jan 23, 2017

Motivational keynote speaker Waldo Waldman – The Wingman – is the author of the New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller Never Fly Solo. He teaches tactics on how to build trusting, revenue producing relationships with employees, partners, and customers while sharing his experiences as a decorated fighter pilot and sales expert. A graduate of the Air Force Academy, he holds an MBA with a focus on Organizational Behavior and is a former top producing sales manager. He successfully led national sales efforts for several cutting edge technology and consulting firms before becoming a motivational speaker and leadership expert.

Waldo overcame massive claustrophobia and a fear of heights to become a fighter pilot with 65 combat missions and 2,650 flight hours. He’s deployed worldwide and flew missions in Iraq, SE Asia, and Kosovo during Operation Allied Force. Waldo has been awarded 5 Air Medals, 2 Aerial Achievement Medals, 4 Commendation Medals, and 2 Meritorious Service Medals.

Jan 16, 2017

Katie leads AOPA’s Communications division and is responsible for its You Can Fly programs. Under the You Can Fly umbrella, Katie and her team are building programs designed to get lapsed pilots back in the air, provide more affordable access to aviation through flying clubs, support best practices in flight training, and introduce high school students to aviation.

Katie earned a degree from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and flew the Canadair Regional Jet with Atlantic Coast Airlines/Independence Air before serving as the director of communications for the General Aviation Manufacturers Association.

Katie is also a CFI and rated seaplane pilot. Her idea of the perfect weekend involves flying her Cessna 180 Skywagon. Katie's narrative is the cover story of the January 2017 issue of AOPA Pilot magazine.

Jan 9, 2017

Jeff Nielsen, the host of the Airline Pilot Guy podcast, started his aviation career in the U.S. Air Force, flying C-141s worldwide, then instructing in the T-37. He then left the Air Force to pursue a career in airline operations, hiring on with the airline he calls "Acme Air".

His Airline Pilot Guy podcast, to show what happens "on our side of the cockpit door", is immensely popular, and just passed the 250-episode milestone.

Jan 2, 2017

Larry Salganek has been instructing pilots for 25 years. Most of his instructing has been in warbirds, both piston and jets, including the T-34, T-33, T-28, YAK 18, YAK 52, CJ-6 Provost T-5, Mig 15/17, L-29, L-39 and Siai Marchetti and Fouga Jets. Larry has probably spent more hours instructing civilians in military piston and jet aircraft than anyone else in the United States. Larry currently holds low altitude airshow waivers in the T-34, YAK 52, Marchetti 260, L-29, L-39, Mig 15, T-33 and Fouga Jets. He is a CFI, CFII, and MEI and is an FAA Designated Examiner in our jet warbirds.

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 www.captainjerryyellin.com. 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 Salon.com 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 www.aviationphotoservices.com.

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.

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