Whether you’re just learning how to fly or are an experienced pilot, it’s often a challenge to find new and interesting work. The conventional wisdom is that the best aviation career path begins with building time as a flight instructor, and ends in the left seat of an airliner. There are alternatives.
OddballPilot.com will give you an idea of the large variety of non-conventional flying jobs out there. Through interviews, videos, and articles, we’ll give you a sense of just what these jobs are actually like, the lifestyles they entail, and how to go about applying for them. Getting hired is up to you.
About Aidan Loehr (Co-founder and Editor-at-Large)
Since he started flying professionally in 1993, Aidan has logged more than 17,000 hours flying people and cargo in airplanes of all sizes. He’s flown skydivers in Washington State, worked for air taxi companies all over Alaska, hauled fuel to remote Alaskan villages, flown for a relief organization in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and ferried small aircraft from the U.S. to new owners in Europe, Africa, and South America.
Aidan is also a professional climbing guide. He’s been to the summit of Denali (20,320′) many times, as well as to the top of other peaks in Alaska, the Pacific Northwest, and the Sierras. He’s also led clients on expeditions to the summit of Aconcagua (22,841′) in Argentina, and up remote mountains in China.
Listen to an interview with Aidan discussing his lifestyle on No Map. No Guide. No Limits.
About Mike Singer (Co-founder and Publisher)
Mike started flying in 1987, and is an instrument-rated private pilot. These days, he spends far more time immersed in the world of virtual aviation than flying for real, using Microsoft Flight Simulator to keep his skills sharp and to vicariously experience the thrills of being an oddball pilot … with the convenience of an ergonomic chair, predictable income, and eight hours of sleep a night.
Mike worked at Microsoft for more than a decade writing manuals, help systems, audio scripts, and web sites for multiple versions of Flight Simulator, Combat Flight Simulator, and Train Simulator. He designed missions and product features, and he helped evangelize Flight Simulator as a platform for both entertainment and real-world flight training. These days he’s a freelance technical writer and marketing copywriter specializing in aviation.
About Marty Blaker (Director of Content Development)
Marty has been a pilot since 1979 and holds Commercial and Instructor licenses as well as Instrument, Multi-Engine, and Seaplane ratings. He owns what some consider an antique—a 1965 Cherokee 180, which he flies around much of the West Coast.
Marty worked with Mike at Microsoft on Flight Simulator and other products, leading the content development teams that produced video lessons, flying lessons, the in-product website, and all the other things you hear, see, and read in those products. He’s also been the Vice-President of Avionics Course Development at King Schools, and has worked as a Senior Content Developer with Pegasus Interactive.
At Oddball Pilot, Marty’s leading the team’s content development efforts on the website and other projects.
About Bryan Osborne (Airline Guy and Podcaster)
Bryan comes to Oddball Pilot by way of what might be considered a more traditional career track. He grew up in an airline family (his father was an experienced bush pilot who flew for Alaska Airlines for 26 years). He learned to fly in 1979, attended Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU), and joined the U.S. Air Force immediately after graduation.
In the Air Force, Bryan flew EC-130’s on active duty and C-141’s in the Reserves, and flew 160 hours of combat and combat support in the first Gulf War. He was hired by a major airline in 1992, and has flown as Flight Engineer, First Officer, and Captain on various Boeing airliners. He’s amassed approximately 20 thousand hours in about 10 aircraft types.
Over the years, Bryan’s had his share of oddball aviation jobs: he’s taught a fear of flying course, was an adjunct professor for ERAU teaching Aviation Safety and Accident Investigation, and volunteered for the Airline Pilots Association in safety and education. These days, in addition to being a Captain on the 737 for a major airline, he volunteers as a docent at the Museum of Flight at Boeing Field in Seattle.
Bryan’s bringing the airline perspective to Oddball Pilot. After more than 30 years in a cockpit, he still loves the challenge of aviation and looks forward to learning about other opportunities in the aviation world!
Why we started this site
Between jobs, Aidan often found himself sleeping on Mike’s couch. Leveraging Mike’s research skills, we spent many late nights in front of the computer hunting down information about non-conventional flying jobs.
During one particular caffeine-infused research session last Spring, we realized there was no single source on the web that focused on what we had started to refer to as “oddball flying.” Right then and there we decided to put our skills, knowledge, and experience together to create such a resource.
What you’ll find
Hopefully this site will give you some idea of the large variety of non-conventional flying jobs out there. Through interviews, videos, and articles, we’ll try to give you a sense of just what these jobs are actually like, the lifestyle they entail, and how to go about applying for them. Getting hired is up to you.
If you find this information useful, be sure to sign up for our email list. We’ll keep you updated on our progress!