Thu, 7 November 2019
Captain Kevin Kay is the first former Fighter Pilot to join us on Talking Flight.
Kevin took an unusual path to become a USAF pilot. He was accepted to Air Force Undergraduate Pilot Training (UPT) after applying through the Air National Guard.
Kevin tells us about how he built a network of connections at Air National Guard units around the country to help him figure out what it took to be selected for the program.
This is a great story about how hard work and perseverance helped Kevin to Achieve his dream job of flying the F-16.
Mon, 30 September 2019
We sit down with writer Beth Ruggiero York and talk about her new book Flying Alone, a memoir.
Beth's aviation journey begins in the mid-1980s when she started taking flying lessons and started a job as a line person at the local airport.
Her book takes us on a wild ride that shows the exhilaration of flying airplanes and the dangers of having to work for a few unscrupulous aviation companies.
Beth shares her story with a striking level of honesty. She was not afraid to write about some of the flying mistakes that she made that could have taken her life.
The underlying theme of this book is how a young woman did all of the hard work that it took to be hired as a pilot for a major airline.
Thu, 29 August 2019
Today's episode is an interview with Alaska Airlines Captain Ron Limes. He is one of the two Chief Pilots at the Seattle Pilot Base.
Captain Lines shares his story about growing up in New York City, and how his 5th grade teacher got him interested in flying airplanes.
It was his High School Guidance Counselor who told him how to get his aviation dreams off of the ground.
Captain Limes also had a brilliant career in the USAF Reserves, ultimately commanding a C-17 squadron.
Wed, 24 July 2019
Mr. Nigel Sargent is the Director/Flight Simulation at Alaska Airlines. He is considered to be one of the foremost experts in the field of Flight Simulation.
Mr. Sargent grew up in England and worked on Simulators all over the world before joining Alaska Airlines. He started his career right after high school when he landed an intern position with the British company, Redifon. The company later changed its name to Rediffusion Flight Simulators.
Nigel tells us about his career and the exciting changes happening in the world of Simulators.
Mon, 10 June 2019
Captain Phil Pope joined Alaska Airlines in 1964. He started in Ground Operations and worked his way into becoming a Flight Engineer on the Lockheed Super Constellation. He later flew the Lockheed C-130, the Boeing 727 and the Boeing 737.
Phil tells us about his part in helping to build Alaska Airlines into the Major Carrier that it is today.
Fri, 5 April 2019
We sit down for a long-form conversation with Mr. Brad Tilden, CEO of Alaska Airlines.
Brad tells us about his life journey that eventually lead to him to become the Chief Executive Officer at Alaska Airlines.
We learn about how Brad approaches leadership, and how his late Father still has a profound influence on how he solves problems that come up at the airline.
Brad shares some excellent advice on how to be successful in business and life.
Fri, 22 February 2019
This is this first in a series of short Voice Blogs from Mike Swanigan. Don't worry, we will still feature our usual long-form interviews. This is an added feature to our Talking Flight Podcasts.
A lot of people gave me some great advice during my career. I am trying to pay it forward by recording these Voice Blogs. If it helps just one person, it will be well worth the effort.
If you find any of this to be helpful, please pass it on.
Be Excellent to Each other
Tue, 8 January 2019
One of the most complex pieces of running an airline is making sure that that qualified and rested pilots are available to fly the airplanes.
We rarely hear about the men and women who are behind the scenes working to make sure that your flight is flown by a crew of qualified and rested pilots.
On this episode, we sit down with Ms. Trish Barney. She is the Duty Manager Pilot Scheduling for Alaska Airlines.
Trish tells us the background story of how she got into the pilot scheduling world and she gives an inside look at how her Pilot Scheduling Team works their magic.
Mon, 15 October 2018
Our Guest today is Alaska Airlines Captain JP Wilson. He flies the Boeing 737 out of Alaska's Portland Oregon pilot crew base.
In addition to his Captain duties at Alaska Airlines, JP is now the Manager of Pilot Development at Alaska's sister airline, Horizon Air. He works with Colleges and Flight Schools on developing the next generation of airline pilots for Alaska and Horizon.
JP tells us the story of how followed his dream to become a pilot for a major airline. He also shares a few suggestions for aspiring pilots to improve their chances of being hired by an airline.
Sat, 18 August 2018
Captain Tom Crank tells us about his life as a Military and Commercial Aviator.
Tom tells us about his struggles at the USAF Academy, and how he unexpectedly became an Air Force Pilot.
Captain Crank began his airline career at Eastern Airlines, and he flew the Boeing 727 until the airline started to fail as a result of financial difficulties.
After Eastern Airlines, Tom headed west and went to work for Alaska Airlines.
Tom also tells us how he handled some leadership challenges that he had as a Captain.
Tom's motto is "It's not the mistake, it is the recovery."
Wed, 1 August 2018
One of the most feared aspects of being a pilot is the requirement to pass an FAA Physical exam to keep your license active.
Doc Greenblatt is a Senior FAA Aeromedical Examiner, and he has conducted thousands of medical exams on pilots. He has a successful Family and Sports Medicine practice in Bellevue Washington.
A family tragedy changed his life forever, and his path to becoming a Physician was not always easy. But he never gave up, and he has been a vital source of support for his patients.
We discuss the FAA medical examination process, and we talk about some of the issues that can affect the status of a pilot's application for a medical certificate.
Dr. Greenblatt gives us some strategies for staying healthy, and he tells us why it is vital for a pilot to deal with potential health problems early.
Mon, 30 July 2018
Alaska Airlines Flight Attendant Mary Kesselring joins Captain Mike Swanigan to tell our audience about her 34-year career with the Airline.
Mary grew up in an Airline family. Her dad was a Veteran Captain and Check Airman for United Airlines. He Mom was a former "Stewardess" (that is what they were called at the time) for United.
When she was in College, the realization came that she was about to reach the age where she would lose the travel benefits from her Dad's employment at United Airlines. Mary decided to solve that problem by entering the airline career field and began applying for Flight Attendant positions at United Airlines and Alaska Airlines.
Alaska hired her, and the rest was history.
This interview is a wide-ranging discussion about Mary's journey and the rewards and difficulties of being in the Flight Attendant field.
Mon, 19 February 2018
Captain Rick Jones is the first Corporate Pilot to appear on Talking Flight.
I first met Rick when I was working as a Flight Engineer Instructor for Alaska Airlines. We were in Vancouver, British Columbia, and we were using the B727 Flight simulator at Canadian Pacific Airlines. My good friend, Captain Dick Jones was the Captain Instructor, and he brought his 12 year old son, Rick, along to watch us at work training flight crews. We became very good friends, and I began to mentor Rick towards a career as a professional pilot.
Rick tells us about his remarkable journey into aviation, and the lessons that he learned along the way. I know that you will enjoy his sense of humor as he tells us about his interesting adventures.
Fri, 2 February 2018
Our Guest today is Retired American Airlines Captain Greg Jones. He is the first pilot from American Airlines to join us on Talking Flight.
Greg's interest in aviation began when he flew with his family on a Martin 404 from Ohio to New Jersey when he was just 5 years old. His fascination with airplanes continued when he began building and flying model airplanes as a teenager. When he was in High School, he joined the Civil Air Patrol Cadet Program, and learned more about airplanes, navigation, and aviation weather.
After graduating from The Ohio State University, Greg served in the USAF as a pilot. He later made the decision to leave the active Air Force to pursue his ultimate dream of becoming a Commercial Airline Pilot. But he ran into several setbacks, including a gear up landing incident that almost derailed his efforts to be hired by a commercial airline. But Greg relied on his religious faith to keep him motivated, never gave up, and he ultimately achieved his goal.
Captain Jones tell us about his adventures flying the T-37 (Tweetie Bird), the T-38 Talon, the C-141 Starlifter, the Boeing 737, and The Boeing 757.
Fri, 7 April 2017
Our guest today is Retired Alaska Airlines Captain David Crawley, MD.
David folllowed his mother's advice and spent years in school preparing to be a Doctor. He finished school and started his working career as a Medical Doctor, practicing Emergency Medicine and Aeromedical Medicine.
But a childhood adventure had a profound effect on David. A visit to his Grandmother's house planted a dream that would not go away. Grandma's neighbor, Braniff Airlines Captain Warren Larsen invited David to join him when he went out to the airport to clean the plane that he had flown the night before.
Captain Larsen put little David in the Captain's seat and told him that he could play with the controls, with the exception of a few buttons and levers. That day was the start of a journey that would lead him to Medical School and ultimately to the Flight Deck of an Alaska Airlines MD80.
David's adventure is chronicled in his latest book "Steep Turn: A Physician's Journey from Clinic to Cockpit". You can find his book on Amazon or wherever books are sold.
Sun, 5 February 2017
One of the best kept secrets in the Airline Industry is the Aircraft Dispatcher career field. These are the men and women who do the preliminary work of planning your next airline flight. They go to work hours before flight time analyzing the factors that will lead to a safe and comfortable flight.
The FAA requires that the Dispatcher and the Captain agree that a flight can be operated safely and conform to Federal Air Regulations. Both the Captain and the Dispatcher must certify that they are in agreement with the plan before the flight can depart.
Mr. Tom Lynch has been a Aircraft Dispatcher for Alaska Airlines for 30 years. He is also a FAA Designated Dispatch Examiner, and he administers the FAA practical checks to graduates of training programs in the Seattle area.
Tom started in the airline business as an airplane cleaner for Huges Airwest. His work ethic and positive attitude helped him to move up and ultimately rise to the level of Aircraft Dispatcher.
Please join us as we sit down and have a great conversation with Mr. Tom Lynch.
For more infrmation on the Airline Dispatcher career field, check out the following link:
Mon, 30 January 2017
John Steinnes almost flunked out of The University of Washington. His Dad was very worried. He encouraged John to enroll in the Air Force ROTC program that was offered by the University. He was hoping that the ROTC program would motivate John to do better in his studies. It turns out that Father knows best, and John turned his performance around and began to excel.
After graduation from college, John entered the USAF and went to Air Force Pilot Training at Randolph AFB near San Antonio, Texas. He worked his way up the ranks, and later became the commander of the 1st Military Airlift Squadron. That is the squadron that is the home of Air Force 1. The Presidential Aircraft.
After retiring from the Air Force, John went to work as a Pilot for Alaska Airlines. He had a rapid rise to Captain, and he later was qualified as a Instructor/Check Airman. He was forced into retirement from Alaska by the FAA's age 60 rule.
John then went on to work for the Boeing Commercial Aircraft Company as a simulator instructor. He is now the 737 Flight Training Manager for the Boeing Company.
This podcast has a lot of great stories about the Air Force, Alaska Airlines, and The Boeing Company. We hope that you enjoy it!
Wed, 11 January 2017
We visit with Retired American Airlines Vice President/Corporate Communications John McDonald. His fascination with airplanes started when he was a boy spending summers with his family in Cape Cod. He hung around the airport watching airplanes come and go, while waiting for this father to return from business trips.
John started his airline career as a Flight Attendant with TWA. After a few years on the line, he became a Flight Attendant Supervisor and ultimately worked his way into the TWA Corporate Communications Department.
John served as as the TWA Corporate Spokesman during some of the most difficult times for this legendary airline. He tells us what it was like dealing with the aftermath of the crash of TWA 800. That crash resulted in some major operational changes to the entire airline industry that are still in effect today.
Mr. McDonald also held corporate communications positions with General Motors and United Airlines before moving to America West Airlines, which later merged with American Airlines. He shares his experiences and lessons learned from all of these great companies.
Wed, 14 December 2016
Captain Mike Swanigan sits down with Captain Carlos Zendejas to talk about his life and his career.
Carlos moved to the Untied States from Mexico with his family when he was a 5th grader. Spanish was his first language,but he found out by accident that he could speak and read english. Their new home was in the traffic pattern of Laughlin AFB Texas, and he was amazed by the T-37 jets flying over him. He decided then and there that he was going to figure out a way to fly them.
In this podcast, Carlos tells us about the hard work that it took for him to get through USAF Pilot Training, and what it was like to be the Aircraft Commander on KC-10 refueling mission.
Carlos inherited his parents amazing work ethic and applied it to all areas of his life.
Carlos is now one of the Seattle Base Chief Pilots for Alaska Airlines. He serves the 1000 Alaska Airlines pilots based in Seattle Washington. We get an inside look at what it takes to keep an airline operation running smoothly and safely.
I came away from this interview inspired and amazed by this amazing person.
Tue, 22 November 2016
It is just Captain Mike Swanigan on today's episode. He offers some training tips to help the beginning pilot.
This Podcast is a close cousin to Ace Your Next Check Ride. That program was designed to help the advanced aviator get through military or airline training. This Podcast is designed to help newer pilots ease the learning process, and to advance through their beginning flight lessons at a faster rate. Mike's theory is that you can learn some of the hardest parts on the ground while "chair flying".
We hope that our brnad new pilots will find this podcast to be helpful
Thu, 8 October 2015
Captain Mike Swanigan visits with his boss, Alaska Airlines Chief Pilot, Captain John Hornibrook.
They have a great conversation about John's aviation journey, and what it takes to become a pilot for Alaska Airlines.
John shares his adventures as a young pilot flying for Great Lakes Aviation in the upper midwest of the USA. We learn about the people who mentored John, and we talk about the importance of relationships in aviation.
Tue, 10 March 2015
We visit with Empire Airlines Captain Mark Holden. Mark is one of our regular listeners, and he reached out to us at email@example.com.
Mark graciously agreed to appear on this episode of Talking Flight and he is the very first Regional Pilot to appear on our program.
Mark talks about his early days flying as a Student Pilot at the Redmond Roberts Field in Redmond Oregon. He met the Airport Manager, Carrie Novick, and she encouraged him to persue his dream of becoming a Professional Aviator.
After getting his Private Certificate as a High School kid, Mark went on to Embry Riddle University to obtain his advanced certificates and his College Degree.
Mark tells us about his varied flying background, including his time as a Freight Pilot, and later progressing into the Medical Airlift Business.
Mark is currently a Captain for Empire Airlines, and he is flying ATR42-500 in the Hawaiian Islands. The Airlines serves as a feeder for Hawaiian Airlines under the brand name of "Ohana by Hawaiian".
When I asked Mark what advice that he had for beginning pilots, he said "Don't be shy, ask a lot of questions".
Mon, 23 February 2015
Captain James "Zip" Trower visits us at Talking Flight. Zip is a Retired Naval Officer and a Retired Alaska Airlines Captain.
My friendship with Zip goes back more than 30 years. He is an amazing leader with a wicked sense of humor!
In this Podcast, we talk to Zip about his Naval career. We learn about the rigorous training, and what it is like to land a jet on an Aircraft Carrier. Zip also tells us about his duties as a Landing Signal Officer (LSO), and what happens when you have a fake Admiral on your plane.
After leaving the Active Duty Navy, Zip went to Alaska Airlines to begin his civilian career. He had to learn the differences and nuances between Military flying and flying a Commercial Airliner with 140 passengers on board. Captain Don Fox took him under his wing, and showed him the real way that an airliner should be flown.
Zip was part of the Check Airman team that indroduced the MD-83 Aircraft to Alaska Airlines. He later became the Fleet Captain on that jet. We discuss the challenges that they faced in bringing a group of hard core stick and rudder pilots into the digital flight guidance age.
Alaska Airlines spent several years flying into the Russian Far East, and Zip shares some of the challenges of flying into that part of the world.
Zip says "Put your ego aside, and learn and practice, learn and practice."
I hope that you will enjoy our time with Zip as much as I did. Pure Magic!
Contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Sat, 22 November 2014
Alaska Airlines Captain George Bozlinski joins us on this episode of Talking Flight. We have a great conversation about George's journey into a flying career and his adventures at Alaska Airlines.
Here are some of the things that we covered in this episode:
This is a great conversation that we know everyone will enjoy. George says "Don't Give up!....Believe in yourself!"
Sun, 9 February 2014
Captain Mike Swanigan interviews Alaska Airlines Flight Simulator Engineer DeMarco Best about his journey into the world of Flight Simulation. It all began on a 6th grade field trip to the JFK airport in New York.
Demarco tells us what he had to do to overcome his initial difficulties in getting through the challenging USAF training environment.
Later, they talk about the upcoming shortage of Simulator Engineers and Simulator Technicians.
"In Technology, you have to keep learning, or you will be left behind." DeMarco Best.
Sun, 11 August 2013
Mike Swanigan gives some helpful advice on how to improve your performance on flight checks. Remember to Bug It, Brief It, Scan It, and Check It!
Contact us at email@example.com
Sun, 21 April 2013
Mike goes up to Canada to spend time with John Lovelace. John has produced and hosted several aviation themed television programs, including "Wings over Canada", "The Aviators", and "West Coast Escapes TV". John is also the President of the Century Flight Club. Mike talks to John about his adventures as an aviator, and about the aviation television shows that he has created.
You can find more information about John at JohnLovelace.com and CrossCanadaflight.com
Contact us at TalkingFlight@gmail.com
Recorded April 18th 2013
Sat, 19 January 2013
Alaska Airlines Captain Mike Swanigan interviews First Officer Latisha "Tish" Shupert. Tish shares the story of her journey from a college basketball court to the flight deck of an Alaska Airlines 737. Her motto is "Wish it, Dream it, Do it". Special thanks to Alaska Airlines Captain Phil Parrish for the opening theme. Note: This is a re-release with audio correction.
Mon, 22 October 2012
Mike Swanigan interviews Alaska Airlines First Officer Michael Hendrix on how he succeeded in starting his quest to be an airline pilot at age 38.
Mon, 22 October 2012
Alaska Airlines Captain Mike Swanigan introduces his new aviation interview podcast: Talking Flight