To celebrate World Pilots’ Day on April 26th, we recently hosted a panel conversation on Clubhouse with an extraordinary lineup of pilots. App in the Air’s very own CMO and Co-Founder, Nikita Kosholkin, led the discussion, during which we talked about everything from each of their unique career paths to their favorite airport landings.
Meet the Panel
Christian A. Pasalic
Christian previously worked for a major Canadian carrier called Jazz Aviation. Similar to what many in the aviation industry have experienced, Christian was furloughed when the pandemic hit, and is patiently awaiting the call to return as the travel industry slowly begins to recover. As an App in the Air user, he referenced his flight statistics and shared that he has flown roughly 86,000 miles to date!
I remember vividly when I was about 5 or 6 years old, it was the first time I got onto an airplane. I will always remember that feeling upon rotation — when the airplane just takes off and pushes you into the seat, there was something so magical about that feeling. And that moment stuck with me all these years.
Donnell shared that he is a first generation Jamaican-American, and recalled that as a very young child, he would often fly back-and-forth between Jamaica and the United States, spending much of his childhood on planes. It was ever since then that he knew he wanted to become a pilot someday. Initially, he pursued a career in aviation by joining the Civil Air Patrol (an auxiliary of the United States Air Force), but eventually ended up pivoting to a 141 flight program at Middle Georgia State University, and also spending time at ATP Flight School. Today, Donnell has been flying for five years, spending the past two as a pilot for PSA Airlines (a subsidiary of American Airlines). He flies the Bombardier CRJ700 and CRJ900 aircrafts.
Gratefully, things have turned around a little bit in the (United) States and we were recalled… I’m here today, and it’s getting better. The world’s starting to grow and overcome the scope of things. So, you know, we just have to take it one day at a time.
Kendall also shared how his passion for aviation was born at a young age. His uncle was a pilot for Northwest Airlines, and showed him the behind-the-scenes action in the flight deck. He recalled the curiosity and excitement he felt at the sight of all the buttons. Eventually, it was his mother who gave him the encouragement he needed to pursue a career as a pilot. She supported his dream from the very beginning, buying him a flight simulator, and taking him on college tours at schools with aviation programs. Kendall is now a Boeing-737 pilot with United Airlines.
I remember United had this thing called Channel 9, where you could plug your headphones in, and you could actually listen to the air traffic controller talk to the flight deck… and so now I’m probably no more than 10 years old and listened to all this and at that time, I really put the passion in.
When Nikita asked the pilot panel about their favorite airport landings, they unananimously agreed that DCA in Washington D.C. is a great one. Christian shared, “It is very interesting actually because of the way the approach is built, and you’re over the Potomac River. It’s a challenging one to come into. It’s very scenic and it takes a lot of work. It’s a very high density aerospace that’s very, very busy — a lot of things are happening really fast, but it’s a very, very nice place to land in.”
Donnell alternatively offered PWM in Portland, Maine. It’s called the Harbor Visual. “It’s a nice scenic approach, kind of similar to what D.C. is, except it’s like a nice sweeping turn around these islands that are right off the edge of Maine. It is a beautiful approach.”
The panel also had advice to offer those looking to pursue a pilot career, or for those just getting started.
Christian: “Do it now. It sounds very counterintuitive at the moment because the whole world is upside down. Some countries are starting to recover, and some are still years away from it, but I would say if you want to do it, do it. As soon as things get back to normal, you will have all the chances in the world to have a spot in this field. The demand for pilots worldwide is still there. As soon as this thing is over and you have your pilot’s license in your pocket, you’re going to be ready for the recovering markets. So, go for it!”
Kendall: “(A barrier) is finances—it takes $30,000 to get into this. It takes money to make money. It’s a huge investment in yourself that you will receive returns tenfold. Move past the financial side because it is an investment in yourself.”
The panel event went on for well over the scheduled hour, and certainly could have continued with all of the great anecdotes, tips, and insights these pilots had to share. You can join us for more conversations like this one by following the App in the Air Community club on Clubhouse. Send us a message at [email protected] if you’re looking for an exclusive invitation to join the audio chat platform.