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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: August, 2020
Aug 31, 2020

Brig. Gen. Novotny was commissioned in 1992 upon graduating from the U.S. Air Force Academy and earned his wings at Laughlin AFB, Texas. He completed six operational F-15 assignments with extensive test and combat experience, in addition to serving as an action officer at a major command, a fighter squadron commander, and a test and evaluation group commander. He was a Distinguished Graduate from Undergraduate Pilot Training, the U.S. Air Force Weapons School and the Naval Command & Staff College. He has also attended the School of Advanced Air & Space Studies and the National War College.

Brig. Gen. Novotny is a command pilot with more than 2,800 flight hours in 12 different aircraft, primarily in the F-15C/D/E and more than 540 combat hours. Prior to his current assignment, he served as the Deputy Director, Plans, Programs, Requirements, Headquarters Air Combat Command, Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia.

Aug 27, 2020
In case you got the impression from Episode RFT 423 that I was hired for every job when I was interviewed, I want to set the record straight.

When I was a Standards Captain on the B727 at United, the current Fleet Captain – they guy I worked for – was leaving the Training Center and returning to line flying, and his job was going to be open. I applied for the position of B727 Fleet Captain, and had an interview with the head of the narrow-body fleets (the Fleet Captain’s boss) and a lady from the Personnel department. I was wearing my best interview suit, cufflinks and all, and I felt like a had a great interview.

But I didn’t get the job. Someone else got it, and I ended up back as a Standards Captain, working for the person who got the job. So I obviously hadn’t done well enough in the interview.

THEN, new Assistant Fleet Captain positions (2) were added. I interviewed for one of these positions. I didn’t get it.

About six months before my scheduled retirement from United, I was on a layover at Narita, Japan. I met some American pilots who worked for a major Japanese auto company, flying their Gulfstream V. They told me about working for this company, flying out of California. I applied and was interviewed. I didn’t get the job.

Several years ago I had lunch with a retired United pilot who was now working for a major aerospace company in Denver. He said they were looking for some people with my qualifications. I sent him my resume, and was never called for an interview.

Two years ago I applied for a management position with United, in a non-flying role. I was a finalist, and they wanted me to submit a video in which I answered several interview questions. I didn’t get the job.

Finally, I applied for various positions at the Air Force Academy, seven times in total. My resume demonstrated that I am HIGHLY qualified for each of the positions. I was never even interviewed.

So, failure and being turned down is something everyone will at one time or another experience.

Aug 24, 2020

Alan Worthy was a midshipman at George Washington University, and at the time had no interest in aviation. A friend talked him into going to an aviation physical, and was an opportunity for him to be excused from Physics class, so he went. And that started his journey into aviation.

While in flight school, he fell in love with flying. After training in Pensacola, he attended H-46 helicopter training, his first choice. The primary mission for the H-46 was logistics service for the fleet.

Among his numerous deployments, he was Officer In Charge (OIC) of a naval unit in Iraq.

He had four back-to-back cockpit tours, then became the Aide-de-Camp to the Chief of Naval Operations.

Alan had numerous staff tours, including being in Ukraine during the time of the Russian invasion of Crimea.

He currently Director, Aviation Safety at Commander, Naval Air Force, Pacific. He has two Master's Degrees: Military Studies and Global Leadership.

Aug 20, 2020

If you are in the job market (and you definitely will some day be in the job market!) you will discover that sending out resumes and using the "shotgun approach" will probably not work very well.

Virtually every job I've ever had, other than the Air Force, was obtained through networking:

Networking with Bill Arnott got me my interview with Clay Lacy Aviation

Networking with Bill Arnott got me my interview with United

Networking with Gordie Cohen got me my interview with Lockheed

I got my job teaching at Metro by walking in to the Aviation Department and chatting with the Department Head. No networking. But I got my job (at the same time) teaching for Embry-Riddle through networking with Jim Savard, who had used my B727 training videos and recommended me.

I got my job interview at FlightSafety International by networking with my friend Harv LaFollett.

I suspect someone recommended me for my job at Jet Airways.

I got my job interview as an IOSA auditor with ARGUS Pros through networking with former Denver Chief Pilot Joe Swenson.

I got my interview at Boeing through a former Jet Airways pilot who hand-carried in my resume.

I got my telephone interview at Omni Air International through the recommendation of another Boeing instructor.

I got my interview with United (this time) through networking with former RFT guest Nick Hinch, who works at United.

 

 

Aug 17, 2020

Custodio earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Puerto Rico and worked for various industries before landing a job in the accounting department of Prinair (Puerto Rico International Airlines). There she met Edwin Custodio, with whom she would eventually have two children. She later worked for the US Department of Defense (DoD) in Panama. With the support of her husband, she presented herself before Headquarters, Air Force Military Personnel Center (AFMPC) to apply for the United States Air Force Officer Training School. Upon admission, Custodio was accepted as a pilot candidate to become a United States Air Force pilot.

She entered the Flight Screening Pilot Officer Training School in January 1980. After successful completion of Flight Screening she entered Officer Training School and was commissioned a Second Lieutenant. She qualified for Undergraduate Pilot Training (UPT) at Laughlin Air Force Base in Texas and graduated the following year, thus becoming the first Latina to complete the U.S. Air Force military pilot training.

Her first military assignment was that of instructor pilot at Laughlin AFB. She was the first female to become a Northrop T-38 Talon (T-38) UPT flight instructor at that base. The T-38 Talon is the Air Force’s two-seat, supersonic jet trainer. On one occasion a bird struck the engine of her plane in bad weather while she was in flight. She was able to overcome the emergency and safely land her plane. Because of this she was recognized by the Air Force, and awarded the HQ AETC Aviation Safety Award for superior airmanship.

Custodio was later assigned to Randolph Air Force Base where she was also the first female T-38 Instructor Pilot. During her career she also served as Pilot Instructor Training; T-41 Flight Screening – Operations Officer and Check Pilot.

Custodio retired from the Air Force with the rank of lieutenant colonel in October 2003, after serving in the military for 23 years and 10 months. Her last assignment as an Air Force Reserve officer was that of accountability and readiness the Directorate of Personnel, HQ USAF.

In June 1988, while she was serving in the US Air Force Reserve, she was hired by American Airlines as a commercial pilot. Custodio became one of the first Latina commercial airline captains. During her years with American, she flew various types of aircraft. She piloted the Boeing 727Fokker 100Boeing 757 and Boeing 767 to various countries in Europe, the CaribbeanCentral America and South America. She also flew to MexicoCanada and to various cities in the United States. Custodio retired from American Airlines in February 2008, with over 11,000 flight hours.

Custodio retired from the military after 24 years of service and lives in San Antonio, Texas, with her husband. There she founded “Dragonfly Productions LLC,” a production company that creates personal film documentaries. In 1992, she founded the Ballet Folklorico Borikèn, the Puerto Rican folk ballet.

Custodio is a Trustee of the Order of Daedalians Foundation, a Board Member and Treasurer for the Women in Aviation Alamo City Chapter and Board Member for the Dee Howard Foundation. Custodio also serves as vice president of the Hispanic Association of Aviation and Aerospace Professionals (HAAAP). These organizations inspire young students in the San Antonio and surrounding areas to seek civilian and military aviation careers. They hosts students to tour various airplanes and control towers and also speak to students in all grades to present career opportunities in aviation and aerospace.

Aug 13, 2020

From Associated Press , August 14, 1986:


ATLANTA (AP) _ Relatives of an American who was freed from a Vietnamese prison after an attempt to smuggle out two Vietnamese women said Thursday they feared he had been killed by China Sea pirates.

Robert Schwab Jr. of Atlanta said his son called Thursday from Bangkok, Thailand, after a 16-month disappearance.

Robert Schwab III, 43, was taken to Thailand after being released by Vietnamese officials, said White House spokesman Larry Speakes.

″It seemed like a dream. I had been so convinced I would never see him again,″ the elder Schwab said at his home in an affluent Atlanta neighborhood.

″We had a rather brief conversation,″ he said as his eyes filled with tears. ″He said ‘How are you?’ and I said ‘Great, but how are you?’ He said he was going to be perfectly OK.″

Another White House spokesman, Dan Howard, said Schwab left Vietnam without the two women. It was not known when he would return to the U.S.

The younger Schwab, called Robbie, also is the son of Mrs. Robert Davis of Atlanta.

The elder Schwab said Richard Childress, director of Asian affairs for the National Security Council, had telephoned Wednesday with the news that his son had been released.

Schwab and his sister, Nan Pendergrast, said he had sailed for Vietnam in an 18-foot boat from the Philippines on April 19, 1985, in an attempt to smuggle out a Vietnamese woman named Mai and another family member.

Investigators discovered that Schwab had left for Vietnam by himself, and the trail disappeared in the China Sea.

″It’s a 1,000-mile journey across the China Sea to Vietnam, and he’s a lousy sailor,″ Mrs. Pendergrast said. ″We checked and found there were no typhoons in that period, but the China Sea is full of pirates. We thought a lone man on a sailboat might be easy prey.″

Schwab became friends with the women’s family while living in the Southeast Asian nation during the Vietnam War and later working for the U.S. Embassy. There was no romantic involvement between the two, Schwab’s father said.

However, the younger Schwab’s friends identified the women he sought as his fiancee and a child he believe was his. The friends also identified the woman as Trai.

″He had been one of the last Americans to be airlifted from the embassy when Saigon fell,″ Schwab said of his son. ″He had thought about taking the girl out then, but decided she should stay with her family. I think it had bothered him ever since, especially when refugees told him they knew the girl was very unhappy.″

The elder Schwab said his son had no contact with the Vietnamese family during his incarceration, and that Vietnamese police had questioned the girl about Schwab.

″I’m sure they thought he was a spy,″ the elder Schwab said. ″As to why he did such an outlandish thing, he hoped that such an open attempt to come to Vietnam, with the assumption he would be taken into custody, would lead the Vietnamese government to make a grand gesture.″

Ms. Pendergrast said her nephew had written her shortly before he disappeared and told her he was going hiking in the mountains and probably would be out of touch for several months.

But family members began to worry after three months passed with no word.

Schwab said he contacted friends at nearby Fort McPherson, who asked the commander of Clark Air Force Base in the Philippines to search for Schwab. Navy intelligence officers joined the search, along with a private investigator hired by Schwab’s mother, he said.

Aug 10, 2020

Lt Col (ret.) Wendy Emminger is an Arizona native who is a 2003 graduate of the United States Air Force Academy, receiving a Bachelor of Science Degree in Biology. She was a 4-year member of the USAFA Women’s Soccer team, team captain, MVP and 4-time member of the Mountain West Conference All-Academic team. She was even on the ballot for Academic All-American. She had the opportunity to continue her soccer career after the Academy by being a 6-time member of the All Armed Forces Women’s soccer team and even got to fly her team to the Military World Games in Brazil.

Wendy attended Pilot training in Columbus, MS and received her first choice to fly the KC-10 at Travis AFB, CA. She attained the highest academic average in her class, missing only 2 out of 517 questions, earning her the Academic Achievement Award. She was also awarded the prestigious Air Force Association Award.

During her time in the KC-10 she was an Instructor, Evaluator, Formal Training Unit (FTU) Instructor and Functional Check Flight (FCF) Pilot. She was Distinguished Graduate of both her Aircraft Commander and Instructor Pilot upgrade as well as Squadron Officer School.  She was named Group and Squadron Instructor Pilot of the year, Squadron Aircrew of the Year and commanded the Operation’s Group Team of the Year. She deployed 7 times in support of Operation Iraqi and Enduring Freedom flying over 170 combat missions and was named as the Expeditionary Operations Group Team of the Month three times.

She was then selected for a special assignment to E-3A NATO AWACS Component in Geilenkirchen, Germany where she served as the Executive Officer to the Component Commander, a 2-star General, and led a multinational staff responsible for administration of an International Headquarter of 1900+ military and civilian personnel from 16 nations. It was in Geilenkirchen that she was selected as Field Grade Officer of the year and also found out about her selection to attend the German Joint Staff College in Hamburg, Germany as well as her early promotion to Lt Col (2 BPZ), putting her among the top 1% of her peers. 

After attending a year of language training in Monterey, CA, Wendy moved to Hamburg to represent the US Air Force to 89 elite officers from 15 NATO/EU states. During her first year at the Academy she found out she was selected for Command of the KC-46 Formal Training Unit in Altus, OK. Unfortunately, she was never able to take command because she was blindsided by a case of severe depression that ultimately led to her being medically retired from the military.

Wendy is currently studying to become a Parayoga Instructor and will be attending the prestigious Thunderbird University in Arizona to attain an Executive Master in Global Management this summer with the hopes of opening the Emminger Leadership and Wellness Institute in the future. Her goal is host corporate retreats and fuse the lessons of leadership and resiliency she’s learned through 30 years of participating in team sports, operating as a military aviator as well as suffering through a severe mental illness with the principles of Yoga to improve corporate culture, create sustainable, diverse teams and build more empathetic and resilient leaders.

Aug 6, 2020

From GlobalNews:

WASHINGTON — The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on Friday issued an emergency airworthiness directive for 2,000 U.S.-registered Boeing 737 NG and Classic aircraft that have been in storage, warning they could have corrosion that could lead to a dual-engine failure.

The directive covers planes not operated for seven or more consecutive days. The FAA issued the directive after inspectors found compromised air check valves when bringing aircraft out of storage.

From CNET.com:

Craig Barton may have the most difficult parking valet job in history.

As airlines around the world have grounded substantial numbers of their planes after the coronavirus pandemic decimated travel, the head of technical operations for American Airlines has spent the past two months trying to figure out where to park hundreds of planes. We’re talking aircraft like the $375 million Boeing 777-300ER, a wide-body that’s 242 feet long, with a wingspan of 212 feet.

“It’s not the same as just putting your car in your garage and walking away for a month,” Barton said. “There’s not one place in the world where we could stick a few hundred airplanes.”

Since January, as COVID-19 has spread across the globe and governments have ordered stay-at-home lockdowns, people have stopped flying and bookings have vanished. By the second week in May, the Federal Aviation Administration was reporting that the number of commercial flights operating in the US, both domestic and international, had dropped 71% from the same period last year. Airlines, many of which had been on years-long aircraft buying sprees, suddenly found themselves with more planes than they needed. That left them with only one option: Keep the extra planes grounded until demand for air travel returns.

According to Cirium, a data and analytics firm that focuses on the travel industry, about 17,000 jets are now parked worldwide, representing about two-thirds of all commercial airliners.

It’s not just a terrible financial prospect for an airline — an airplane not carrying paying passengers is a depreciating asset — it’s also billions of dollars of highly sophisticated aircraft, all needing parking spots. And it’s about more than just finding a place to wait out the pandemic, says Barton, who’s responsible for overseeing American’s fleet of 950 planes. Every airliner also needs constant attention so it’s ready to return to the sky. “We have almost daily tasks that we have to do on each one,” he said.

 

LOOKING FOR A PARKING SPACE

What does a parking lot of planes look like? I went out to Oakland International Airport, across the bay from San Francisco, to see for myself.

Out in the distant reaches of the airport, far from the terminals where they might receive fresh loads of passengers, about a dozen Alaska Airlines Boeing 737s sat silently in the spot where they’ve been parked since March. Lit by a setting sun that gave their shiny white fuselages a warm glow, the planes rested close together near a disused hangar, the Eskimo face on every tail smiling over a chain-link fence into an empty employee car park. Further out, near the bay’s shore, a dozen more 737s in the bright blue, red and yellow livery of Southwest Airlines also shimmered in the fading light.

It was clear none of these airliners were going to be taking off anytime soon. The wheels on the landing gear were secured with bright yellow chocks, and the engine intakes were covered by what looked like plastic wrap. Overhead, where normally a plane would be taking off every few minutes, the sky was eerily quiet. If the fur-hooded man whose face is the logo for the 88-year-old Alaska really knew what was going on, his broad smile surely would’ve faded.

 

The scene at Oakland is just a small slice of the new reality being played out around the world because of COVID-19. At major hubs like Dallas-Fort Worth and Hong Kong and at sprawling airports in the deserts of the southwest specifically designed for storing aircraft, commercial planes crowd aprons and taxiways, sometimes even spilling onto runways that’ve been closed to fit them. In some places, they’re lined in neat rows. In others, they’re packed in formations so tight they look like they’d need an army to untangle.

American, the largest airline in the world, is parking aircraft not just at its DFW home base, but also at airports in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and Pittsburgh, where it operates large maintenance bases, and at facilities in Mobile, Alabama; San Antonio; and Greensboro, North Carolina. Other airlines are also parking their planes in multiple locations, but with carriers everywhere the goal is to use whatever space is available. Teruel, Spain, is a popular choice for many European airlines, and faced with little room in the city-state of Singapore, the country’s flagship carrier has flown its giant Airbus A380s to remote Alice Springs, Australia.

The engine inlets of the parked aircraft are covered to, among other things, prevent birds from nesting inside.Kent German/CNET

Though American had monitored possible effects from the coronavirus since the first reports of the pathogen began to surface, the plane-parking efforts didn’t begin in earnest until the second week of March.

“It became clear that our flying operation was going to be much smaller than the number of aircraft that we have,” Barton told me in a Zoom interview from American’s headquarters in Fort Worth, Texas. “Everything has been changing so dynamically, even within a week.”

Using its network operations team, American reduced its schedule from more than 3,300 flights per day at the end of February to less than 1,000 by May. The airline has now parked 460 aircraft, which represents almost half its fleet. And for some of the planes still in service, they might be “lazy flying,” which means they make one or two trips a day, instead of a normal schedule of four or five.

This level of storing airplanes is unprecedented, said Barton, who recalls when American had to park some aircraft after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks (when US airspace was closed for two days) and during the subsequent air travel slowdown. But the airline’s effort over the last year to park its fleet of 24 Boeing 737 Max aircraft, which are still grounded worldwide following two crashes that killed 346 people, gave it a place to start.

“We had some experience over the past year in what it takes to keep aircraft down for extended periods of time,” he said. “And that’s honestly helped us.”

 

READY TO FLY

Most of American’s parked aircraft are in an “active parked state,” which means the airline can call them back into service at any time. Barton explains: “We know we’re not gonna fly for a few days, but we still have to look after it.”

These are typically newer aircraft, like American’s Boeing 777s and 737s and its Airbus A319s, A320s and A321s (American is the largest operator of the narrow-body A321, which costs about $118 million). No matter how long an active parked state lasts, from a few days to several months, the process starts when a flight crew ferries the aircraft to its parking location. For two to three days after it arrives, mechanics walk around it to check the interior, pull off any catering, drain the water and seal up the engines, pitot tubes (small tubes near an aircraft’s nose that measure airspeed) and any other access points to prevent animals and anything else from getting inside.

After that prep work is completed, the plane enters a short-term storage program where maintenance workers must perform set tasks every 10 days. The list includes running the engines (with the coverings off, of course), rotating the tires, running the Auxiliary Power Unit (these power an aircraft’s electrical system when the engines aren’t running), turning on the air conditioner, running the flaps systems to exercise the hydraulics, and either keeping the batteries charged or unhooking them completely. (Extra care is necessary on a Boeing 787 to keep its batteries from draining — an expensive repair.)

And during this time, the plane’s existing maintenance calendar doesn’t stop, even when it’s sitting on the ground. Much like a tune-up for your car, these routine checks keep an airplane in service for decades.

Every 30 days, an aircraft gets a little more care, but the schedule mostly repeats on the 10-day cycle. It’s a lot of work, but Barton said the goal is to protect American’s multimillion-dollar investment by making sure the aircraft still function. “Touching an aircraft every 10 days — you have to put about eight hours of work into it every 10 days,” he said. “So it’s more or less a person a day per airplane we park to try to manage the storage program.”

Reactivating a plane for service, which takes about three days, basically reverses the storage intake process. Mechanics take off the coverings; restore and purify the water systems; check the fuel tanks and lines to clear any algae; and finish any maintenance checks still on the aircraft’s calendar.

“If you’ve stored it properly, you’ve validated throughout the whole process that the aircraft systems still work,” Barton said. “So it’s not like you’re going out and hoping that the airplane will start back up.”

 

INTO RETIREMENT

If they expect that an airplane will be parked for a year or so, airlines prefer to store it in a desert location where drier air results in less corrosion. Barton says keeping an aircraft’s cabin free of humidity is key. “[That way] it won’t start to smell. That’s what we worry about the most.”

Long-term storage locations in the US include Pinal Airpark in Marana, Arizona; Southern California Logistics Airport in Victorville, California; and Roswell International Air Center in New Mexico. These are also aviation “boneyards,” where airplanes long out of service waste away under the hot sun. All have arid climates and plenty of room to fit hundreds of aircraft (Roswell is more than 4,000 acres), from Boeing 747s to small regional jets.

Mark Bleth, the manager and deputy director in Roswell, said demand for space from airlines ramped up quickly in March. “We could see it was inevitable planes would be coming here, ” he said. “We didn’t know the scale of it, no one did.”

By the first week of May, Roswell had taken about 300 aircraft, on top of 160 that were already there. The airport has room for about 300 more, but if new planes continue to arrive at their current pace of about five per day, Roswell will run out of room by the end of June.

And at Pittsburgh, a long line of Embrarer regional jets look like they’re waiting for takeoff.American Airlines

The daily parking fee — between $10 and $14, depending on the aircraft’s size — is cheaper than parking in downtown San Francisco. Much higher costs come from the necessary maintenance, which involves onsite MROs, or maintenance, repair and overhaul providers. Bleth estimates it takes about 200 hours to get an aircraft into long-term storage, plus the time needed to handle any regular checks after that. The tasks here are similar to those for a plane in active storage but include installing window coverings to protect cockpits and passenger cabins from the sun and paying extra attention to the engines so they don’t corrode.

I talked to Bleth via Zoom as he stood on the edge of a taxiway under a bright blue sky. Behind him, a line of United Airlines Boeing 757s stretched far into the distance. It looks like the airport could span all the way to Texas, but Bleth said they still had to close a runway temporarily to store new arrivals and move aircraft already there to remote areas. “There was quite a bit of restructuring just to start intaking the planes,” he said. “Now we’re reshuffling again to optimize everything they have.”

Most of the planes arriving at facilities like Roswell are those that airlines don’t plan to use again. For American, that includes its Boeing 767s and 757s and the Embraer E190s and Airbus A330s it inherited from its 2014 acquisition of USAirways. Those aircraft were already on the books to be retired over the next couple of years, but the travel slowdown accelerated that schedule. (Roswell is also storing American’s 737 Max fleet until the planes can be recertified by the FAA to carry passengers again).

Aircraft set for retirement face a variety of futures. They can be sold to other airlines, converted to freighters, an especially busy market right now, Bleth said. Or they may be scrapped completely for parts. American’s McDonnell Douglas MD-80s, which retired to Roswell last year, will most likely meet the latter fate. But with air travel nowhere close to rebounding, Bleth expects a full house in New Mexico for a long time. “We’re thinking this inventory will be here for a while, whether it’s resold or it’s still part of the airline.”

 

BACK TO THE SKIES

Barton doesn’t know when air travel might return to “normal” — the TSA is screening about 95% fewer passengers in May than the same month last year — though he hopes July could show some improvement. When and if that point comes, American, like most other airlines, will have a leaner fleet, but the goal is to keep all parked aircraft feeling as if they’ve never stopped flying. As he put it, “the whole process is designed around ensuring that when the aircraft comes back into the operation it’s as safe and reliable as it was when it entered into that storage program.”

Barton said American is putting together what it believes to be the safest way to run an operation in the postcoronavirus world. Like all major US airlines, it’s reducing onboard service, regularly “fogging” cabins with disinfectant between flights, limiting the number of seats sold and requiring the cabin crew and passengers to wear masks.

Like all other airlines, its aircraft also use High-Efficiency Particulate Air filters that completely change the cabin air every two minutes while filtering out 99% of viruses and bacteria.

The biggest question, of course, isn’t just when passengers will feel safe traveling again. Rather, with large-scale events like conferences, festivals and sport tournaments canceled for the rest of the year, will there be anything to travel for? Ryan Ewing, an aviation journalist and founder of AirlineGeeks.com, said the industry’s return will depend on when those business and leisure opportunities open up again.

“It’s very bizarre and it’s very bleak for the outlook in the long term,” he said. “But it’s hard to predict this kinda stuff, because you never know when people might want to fly again. … People may be so tired of being in their houses, that they’ll wanna get out and travel.”

Aug 3, 2020

Mathieu started out as a fighter pilot in the French Air Force. He started flying General Aviation airplanes and was accepted into the French Air Force at age 18.

During his flight training, he was selected into the fighter pilot track. He trained in the Alpha Jet, and then was initially assigned to fly the Mirage 2000. He flew only air-to-air missions, flying between 12-24 flights per month.

As an under-contract officer, Mathieu concentrated on flying, not having administrative duties. There was no expectation to serve in headquarters assignments.

In his 14 years of active duty, Mathieu flew fighters for 8 years, spending most of his time as an Instructor Pilot (IP).

While in the Air Force, he bought a powered ultralight aircraft, taking his first flight solo.

After leaving the Air Force, Mathieu earned his civilian pilot ratings and pursued an airline career. He was hired by a major airline after a demanding interview and simulator check. He is based in Hong Kong, and now flies the Airbus A-330 in international service.

Mathieu flies with pilots from a variety of countries and backgrounds, and all operations are conducted in Aviation English. He is currently at the bottom of his company’s seniority list, but he maintains a positive outlook about the airline career.

He hosts the 9G podcast, and we hope all of the Ready For Takeoff Podcast listeners will tune in, especially this episode!

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