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Andrew Chu
Name: Andrew Chu
Company: North American
Position: First Officer
Current Aircraft: Boeing 757/767
Age N/A
Country USA

Airline experience: yes
Corporate or fractional experience: no
Cargo experience: no
Military, government, or law enforcement experience: no

Mentor profile:
My grandfather loved airplanes. He was so fascinated by them that he would take my brother and I to the airport instead of the park. I have a picture of myself when I first saw an airplane and decided to become a pilot. I was three years old. When it was time to go to college, I chose to pursue aviation major. Although it's not necessary in this industry (to have an aviation degree), it was pretty cool to be going to school to study something that I loved. It's the whole killing two birds with one stone thing. While going to college, I pumped gas at the local airport, which led to ferrying planes for my boss, which led to doing sky rides, then flight instructing. My plan was to instruct for a year or two and then move on to a regional airline. Five years later...I finally got a job with Mesa Airlines flying a Beech 1900. I thought I was going to sunny Phoenix but instead was assigned to snowy, overcast Ogdensburg, New York, then snowy, overcast Jamestown, NY. I still remember shoveling my car out of the driveway everyday to go to work, flying, shoveling my car out of the parking lot, shoveling the driveway again so that I could get my car out of the street, and then starting over again the next day. All this to gross $9,000 a year! It was really a lot of fun though. Everyone had to work together as a team to get the flights out. After a year with Mesa, I moved on to fly for American Eagle as I discovered that paying for rent is really a necessary thing. I started out in the ATR out of Chicago and transferred to JFK several years later. I would have done it earlier, but this was before the Eagles merged. I spent four years as an FO, and then upgraded into the Saab. All in all, I had a great time and met a lot of great people at Eagle. I left after spending over seven years there. I now fly the 757/767 as a FO for North American Airlines. Although it took me a while to get here, I've had so much fun working all my jobs that I wonder where all the time went. I remember so many of my peers who became discouraged and left aviation. It's hard not to feel sorry for them on all the great things that they will miss out on...

Favorite thing about flying:
I still can't believe that I'm getting paid to see the world. There are so many things that can be on this list... The perfect landings, the many interesting people I meet, the perfect check ride, the diversity, etc.
Disadvatages of being a pilot:
disadvantage It's tough sometimes if you have a family, especially if you have little ones.

What you would have done different:
If I had taken a different path, I might be on furlough today.
Advice to aspiring pilots:
Never give up if this is what you want to do. Everyone I know who stuck it out has reached their goals, even thought for some, it took seven years or more.
Problems encounterd along the way:
You really can't come into this career if you are only interested in money or time off. If aviation isn't in your blood, this industry can be very frustrating. A lot of people that I've met believe that they are going to work 8 days a month making over 200 grand... Although it is possible, the people who actually have that lifestyle have put in many, many years to get there. It took me seven years of flying professionally to break the $20,000 mark.

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