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Aviation Careers Podcast Episode 25 – Don’t Let Anyone Steal Your Dream – From Air Force Thunderbird Pilot To General Aviation Pilot With Dave Coffman

Many Air Force pilots transition to a career as an airline pilot.  Some have successful careers as a general aviation pilot. Dave Coffman is an accomplished pilot who has taken his experience as an Air Force fighter pilot flying for the Thunderbirds and has built a successful general aviation business.

Dave describes how he made the transition from flying fighters for the military to his current general aviation business. Dave is a contract pilot, flight instructor, and mentor pilot. Dave specializes in assisting pilots fly solo in complex aircraft by using his many years as a single seat fighter pilot.

Dave and I Discuss:

  • How he developed a passion for aviation.
  • His Air Force career.
  • Flying For The U.S. Air Force Demonstration Squadron Thunderbirds.
  • Why he chose general aviation over the airlines.
  • How he built a successful business as a contract pilot.
  • How being an F-16 and T-37 Instructor helped him with his current career.
  • Preparing for a job as a civilian after a military career.
  • Advice on seeking a job flying with the military.
  • How a military career prepares you for a job in the civilian world.
  • The challenges of transitioning from the military to the civilian career.

Daves Awards and Achievements Include:

  • Top Graduate, USAF Pilot Instructor Training
  • USAF Distinguished Flying Cross, Aerial Achievement
  • USAF Pilot of Distinction Award for safe recovery of an F-16 during an airshow after a catastrophic afterburner explosion.

Listener Mail:

Questions From Todd:

Todd has a few questions for Tom Wachowski but since both of us are on the road Tom recorded his responses to your questions Todd and I will play his response after reading your questions.

Questions For Tom:

  • What is the the most important quality that a corporate flight department looks for in a prospective pilot candidate?
  • How does he feel about paying for your first type rating when that becomes a limiting factor in getting hired?
  • I hear a lot of people frowning upon that but we all have to pay for our flight training to that point anyway, so why not a type rating?
  • Is it best to fly regionals before getting a corporate job?

Questions for Carl:

  • You mentioned you knew a pilot who also was a practicing dentist.How in the world did he have the time to do both?
  • Any way to have him on your show?
  • Could I potentially have the time to be a practicing veterinarian and be a regional airline pilot?

Questions From Swayne:

Swayne is a high school student considering aviation as a career

  • What should I think when I get responses from online forums or people who tell me to "run?"
  • After years of flying, do you still look forward to it like you did when you first began?
  • How did you get to where you are?
  • What do you think the future of the industry is looking like?
  • Do you see a brighter future compared to the last 11 years?

Links Mentioned In This Show:

Dave’s Interview on The Stuck Mic Avcast Episode 30

Higher Calling Aviation - Pilot, Instructor, Mentor

ACP023 – Ten Reasons You Should NOT Become An Airline Pilot. Career Questions Answered with Tom Wachowski.

ACP014 – What Is Business And Private Aviation?, Interview with Corporate Pilot Tom Wachowski

Cockpit Chronicles


Wisdom Meets Passion: When Generations Collide and Collaborate

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