The Ready For Takeoff podcast will help you transform your aviation passion into an aviation career. Every week we bring you instruction and inspiring interviews with top aviators in their field who reveal their flight path to an exciting career in the skies.
RFT 493: Fighter Pilot/Author Mandy Hickson
Mandy was the only female pilot on her Front-Line Tornado Squadron, flying multimillion-pound fast jets for the Royal Air Force. She has operated in hostile environments, including patrolling the ‘No Fly’ zone over Iraq.
Drawing on her experience of calculated risk-taking, decision-making under pressure and the critical role of the human in the system, she transfers vivid lessons from the cockpit to other management and leadership contexts.
Mandy is a highly demanded keynote speaker and has been invited to share her insights with some of the most successful organisations across the world where she describes the Strategies, Tactics & Behaviours that she adopted when the stakes were at their highest. She talks with humour and great passion to inspire those around her.
Author of best-selling book An Officer, not a Gentleman an inspirational journey of a pioneering female fighter pilot. You can also buy her book from her website.
RFT 492: Michelle and Dave Pryor
Interesting facts about Dave and Michelle Pryor and our aviation careers:
Michelle and Dave met at the United States Air Force Academy during basic training, where they were SCUBA partners and later went on to become SCUBA instructors while at the Academy. They were also partners as survival instructors during the summer between their sophomore and junior years at the Academy.
Michelle earned her jump (parachute) wings while at the Academy. They were married 30 days after graduating from the Academy, and as a wedding present, Dave’s family got them each a chance to go tandem skydiving! They sat next to each other in the same Undergraduate Pilot Training class and were assigned the same instructor for T-37 training. They had the chance to fly formation against each other in the T-37.
Dave went on to fly T-38s and Michelle went on to fly T-1s. Post training, they both returned to Laughlin AFB as First Assignment Instructor Pilots (FAIPs), Dave in the T-38 and Michelle in the T-37. They once again had the opportunity to fly formation against each other in the T-38 (4-ship) with 3 mil-to-mil couples (no one flying together with their spouse) and a solo student in jet #4! Dave also had a complex emergency in the T-38 where he experienced a dual compressor stall.
They spent the next 7 years overseas (Japan, Korea, England). Michelle had a 2 day MedEvac mission in the KC-135 that turned into almost 4 weeks away from home! During those 4 weeks, she had the chance to refuel Dave in the F-15 for the first time over the skies of Nevada during Red Flag.
Michelle also had an interesting KC-135 mission to Africa while stationed in England. After flying all the way to their destination in Africa, the three KC-135 tanker crews were unable to remain at that destination and had to divert to another location, making for an almost 20 hour day!
Dave’s aircraft flown include: T-37, T-38, F-15C, and E-11A
Michelle’s aircraft flown include: T-37, T-1, KC-135, and C-12
They were in the Air Force for 21 years, all of those years as pilots although they spent some time out of the cockpit for staff jobs and professional development. They managed to be stationed together for the majority of the time. We spent about 4 years apart at different assignments over the 21 years.
Their son was born as we both neared 17 years of service in the Air Force. Dave was deployed to Afghanistan flying the E-11 when our son was born and first met him when he was almost 3 months old.
Michelle deployed to Al Udeid AB where she was the Operations Officer for the KC-135 Expeditionary Refueling Squadron. On the day she re-deployed, she had the opportunity to give a tour of the KC-135 to four NFL football players who were visiting the base as part of a morale boosting tour for the troops. Go Browns!
They’ve also owned 2 personal airplanes – a C-182 and an RV-8; Dave flew the C-182 from Alabama to Cozumel, Mexico to compete in an Ironman triathlon. Michelle was also competing in the Ironman triathlon, but chose to fly commercial to the race (from Oklahoma)!
Michelle commanded a T-1 squadron (training) at Vance AFB, OK and later returned to Laughlin AFB, TX to finish her career as the Vice Wing Commander. She learned she had been the first female Vice Wing Commander at Laughlin a year after retiring from the Air Force when she was featured in a “Laughlin’s Firsts” article in the Del Rio Grande magazine.
Dave made the difficult decision to separate from the Air Force after 19 years. He joined the Air Force Reserve and flew T-38s at Laughlin AFB, TX in order to allow our family to be stationed together for their final assignment.
They flew their fini-flights for the Air Force on the same day. Dave led a T-38 formation and Michelle led a T-1 formation. They both came down final approach one formation after the other
RFT 491: Tinnitis
After coming down with a mild case of Covid-19 in November, W. Kent Taylor found himself tormented by tinnitus, a ringing in the ears. It persisted and grew so distracting that the founder and chief executive of the restaurant chain Texas Roadhouse Inc. had trouble reading or concentrating.
Mr. Taylor told one friend he hadn’t been able to sleep more than two hours a night for months.
In early March, he met friends at his home in Naples, Fla., and led them on a yacht cruise in the Bahamas. Some of those friends thought he was finally getting better. Then his tinnitus “came screaming back in his head” last week, said Steve Ortiz, a longtime friend and former colleague.
On Thursday, March 18, Mr. Taylor died by suicide in his hometown of Louisville, Ky. He was 65 years old and had overcome early flops to build a successful chain of more than 600 casual-dining restaurants, most of which evoke traditional roadside eateries with steaks, music and free peanuts.
Friends said that as far as they knew, Mr. Taylor had no history of depression. “Quite the opposite,” said Mark J. Fischer, a friend since childhood. “He was so used to being positive and feeling good.”
From Mayo Clinic:
Tinnitus is when you experience ringing or other noises in one or both of your ears. The noise you hear when you have tinnitus isn't caused by an external sound, and other people usually can't hear it. Tinnitus is a common problem. It affects about 15% to 20% of people, and is especially common in older adults.
Tinnitus is usually caused by an underlying condition, such as age-related hearing loss, an ear injury or a problem with the circulatory system. For many people, tinnitus improves with treatment of the underlying cause or with other treatments that reduce or mask the noise, making tinnitus less noticeable.
Tinnitus is most often described as a ringing in the ears, even though no external sound is present. However, tinnitus can also cause other types of phantom noises in your ears, including:
Buzzing Roaring Clicking Hissing Humming Most people who have tinnitus have subjective tinnitus, or tinnitus that only you can hear. The noises of tinnitus may vary in pitch from a low roar to a high squeal, and you may hear it in one or both ears. In some cases, the sound can be so loud it interferes with your ability to concentrate or hear external sound. Tinnitus may be present all the time, or it may come and go.
In rare cases, tinnitus can occur as a rhythmic pulsing or whooshing sound, often in time with your heartbeat. This is called pulsatile tinnitus. If you have pulsatile tinnitus, your doctor may be able to hear your tinnitus when he or she does an examination (objective tinnitus).
When to see a doctor
Some people aren't very bothered by tinnitus. For other people, tinnitus disrupts their daily lives. If you have tinnitus that bothers you, see your doctor.
Make an appointment to see your doctor if:
You develop tinnitus after an upper respiratory infection, such as a cold, and your tinnitus doesn't improve within a week. See your doctor as soon as possible if:
You have hearing loss or dizziness with the tinnitus. You are experiencing anxiety or depression as a result of your tinnitus.
RFT 490: Lynsey Howell
My personal philosophy is to be authentic, of service, and always courageous.
I love inspiring pilots and helping them build the footwork necessary to achieve their dream flying job. I work with pilots 1:1 and in group coaching sessions on all the important facets of success outside the cockpit. I also develop online courses to support pilots. My courses are on interviewing, perfecting scholarship packets, and also my signature course, The 5 Step Plan to the Flight Deck.
I earned a Bachelor of Science Degree from Kansas State University-Salina in Airway Management, Professional Pilot. I have since spent 20 years in the aviation industry in various roles but mostly as a corporate pilot.
ATP, CFI, CFII, MEI, IGI, AGI.
Corporate pilot Part 91/135 in a C210, C525, Bonanza, Baron, Hawker 800, King Air 200, Learjet 45, Phenom 100, and a Citation X.
121 Seaplane pilot on the Twin Otter for Seaborne Airlines in the Caribbean.
First Officer and Captain Part 135 in the Phenom 100 jet for JetSuite, “Red Stripe”.
Raised $8k on Kickstarter to self-publish “Finding Amelia” a children’s book I wrote to inspire girls about aviation.
Flight School Manager at Aerodynamic Aviation in Monterey CA, Part 61.
Operations Manager and Interview Consultant at Cage Marshall Consulting.
PreFlight Aviation Camp Volunteer Coordinator.
NBAA Small Flight Department Committee Member.
Student Body President for the College of Technology and Aviation at Kansas State University.
Awarded the Kansas State University at Salina award for Dedication and Determination.
RFT 489: Cleared Out Of The Pattern!
On May 24, 1963 I was cleared for a one-hour flight out of the traffic pattern. I had been accepted to start at the United States Air Force Academy in another month, and this would be my last flight at Lovett Field. I was really looking forward to this flight after finishing my afternoon classes at the University of Delaware.
I mean, I was REALLY looking forward to this flight. You see, it was a very warm spring day, and the word at the university was that the coeds would sunbathe au naturale on the roof of the Student Union building (the stairs to the roof had a sign that read "Women Only"). I wanted to see for myself if this was true!
Waldo probably figured I had an ulterior motive when I told him I wanted to check out the route from the university to the airfield. Before I took off he said, "Be sure to stay high enough that no one can read the airplane numbers".
So I flew at about 4000 feet over the University of Delaware, looked down at the Student Union building, and discovered that from 4000 feet you can't tell the difference between a lawn chair and a sunbathing coed. So I headed west to practice some airwork.
I did a few stalls, practiced some chandelles, and got the feel for the airplane in a variety of maneuvers. And then it occurred to me that I had no earthly idea where I was! My airplane had no electrical system, no radio, no aeronautical charts, and I was totally lost.
I made another discovery on that flight. I learned that even though I was still bathed in sunlight, at dusk the ground below is very dark and hard to distinguish landmarks.
Fortunately, Waldo had been cutting the grass on the sod runways, and the distinctive runway pattern clearly stood out in the distance, and I was able to make my way back, albeit a bit later than anticipated.
RFT 488: Pilots Together Trustee Katy Lee
PilotsTogether is a charity established by current pilots and their supporters. Our goal is to ensure that pilots made redundant from a large UK-based airline remain a part of our community, retain the skills they already have and to help them gain new ones, and ultimately find new jobs. We also aim to ensure that no former colleagues face significant financial hardship. We are a new charity, established in summer 2020 in response to the impact of Covid-19 on our community.
I am a professional pilot working with a major UK airline on the 737. With a Masters in Human Factors in Aviation, well-being and pilot mental health are my real passions.
Having previously flown the Q400 for Flybe, and seen many of my friends deal with redundancy as a result, I know it’s purely luck that I’m not in the same situation. Being able to contribute a little to help those individuals struggling in the current climate seems the least I can do.
One key aspect of well-being is making sure that those pilots not currently flying still feel part of the aviation family, and supported by us, and that is key to what I want to help achieve.
If you want to help furloughed pilots, you can donate here.