Mentoring Creates Flight Plan: Lewis University Graduate to Corporate Pilot
As the pool of qualified pilots dries up, effective mentoring for business aviation candidates may shift to investing and training an induvial that in the recent past would not even be on your radar. As the pilot market changes, we as department heads and managers need to be aware that making the proper investment and training into younger pilots and giving them appropriate opportunities will enhance our departments, attract better candidates and keep highly skilled pilots in Corporate Aviation. I have seen this approach not only help my previous department, but I am bringing this approach in my current position as Base Manager and Lead Captain for Axis Jet out of KPWK.
For example, Former Lewis University Student, Steve Kowalski, approached me a few years back wanting to fly right seat for me in our CJ. With low time but eager to work and learn, I went to my boss, who was hesitant due to Steve’s lack of experience. My response was simple, “At least we will know the quality of his experience because we will get it for him.” Our approach was to not just have a warm body to make the passengers happy, but to get Steve the experience he needed to achieve and grow his career.
This took commitment from various department members to mentor Steve on the ‘why’s and how’s” we did things. Over the years Steve proved himself not only a great pilot, but a great investment and asset to our department. With his hard work, he now is a Captain (at 1000 hours) with a large parts manufacture flying a Hawker. At the time, we had no positions for him to move up into, but we feel we created a great Corporate pilot that will add great value to any operation.
The CABAA Annual Professional Aviation Mentorship Day takes place on Friday, September 22 from 11AM-2:00PM at Lewis University.
Joe Park is the Base Manager and Lead Captain on a CJ2for Axis Jet out of PWK. He has over 6000 hours of flying experience in domestic and International Operations, he also has years of Part 91 department management experience.