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It’s been five years. Brad Fitzler and Rob Mitchell, pilots with the NOAA Corps, rejoin Oddball Pilot to catch up about their careers, flying with NOAA, and what it’s like to fly into a hurricane … on purpose.

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In part 2 of our conversation with Jim “JD” Dale, we hear more about his 30-year career flying, restoring, and maintaining warbirds. But wait … there’s more here than just warbirds! JD tells us how working with older civilian airplanes can be just as interesting (and beneficial) to oddball pilots.

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“Wanted: Pilot/Mechanic to restore and fly warbirds.” You just don’t see that in the want-ads. But can anyone be successful in a long-term career with warbirds? Yes, they can. Meet Jim Dale, and hear about his 30-year career flying, restoring, and maintaining warbirds.

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What happens when a C-130’s #3 propeller gearbox explodes at flight level 270? It ain’t pretty. Listen to the cockpit voice recording of the incident, and hear Evan Smith–who was in the left seat on that day in 1988–tell the tale.

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“Professional Air Race Pilot” is a rather unique job title. Thom Richard always knew he wanted it. In this conversation, you’ll hear how he worked his way up through flying and wrenching to eventually racing (and winning) at the Reno Air Races and the Air Race One World Cup.

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Northern Air Cargo pioneered delivery of oversized cargo to remote locations in Alaska back in 1956, and they’ve been hauling freight around the state ever since. These days they fly Boeing 737-200s and -300s throughout Alaska, and to locations in the lower 48 and in Mexico too. In this interview, NAC’s Chief Pilot Nate Martin talks about his career, the history of the company, what he looks for in pilots, what the job is like, and how it’s changed along with the fleet.

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Ravn Alaska Timetable

After a series of heavily publicized accidents, Alaska’s Hageland Aviation Services (doing business as Ravn Connect) completely overhauled their operational control process. Incorporating elements of a Part 121-style airline dispatch operation into a Part 135 air taxi company, a new state-wide operations center based in Palmer has changed the way Hageland’s pilots assess and manage risk as they fly in the Alaskan bush.

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Jeremy Ellison worked as a carpenter and a mountain guide for many years, until he decided to become a commercial helicopter pilot in his mid-thirties. He’s now flying scenic tours out of Las Vegas in a turbine AS350 AStar. Here’s how he did it.

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High pile of hardcover books

If you’re headed for a flying career, you need some education. Don’t spend your hard-earned money before you listen to this great conversation Aidan had with Karl Baldessari, the Director of the Aviation Program at Central Oregon Community College in Bend. He lays out all your options, along with the pros and cons of each path.

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Travis Tinsey

Travis Tinsey is an aircraft salesman for Africair, selling single-engine piston aircraft to customers in East Africa. Hear about the path that took him from flying bush planes and corporate jets to a sales position, and what aircraft sales really involves. If you’re looking for advice about finding adventure in an aviation career, you’ll love this interview.

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