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Mike Daigle
Name: Mike Daigle
Company: America West / US Airways
Position: First Officer
Current Aircraft: Airbus 319 /320
Age 48 years old
Country USA

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

Mentor profile:
This whole aviation thing started for me my senior year of high school. We each had to have a meeting with our advisor about college, career fields, etc. Then she asked me a question straight out of an old Twisted Sister video. "What do you want to do with your life!" So I blurted out I want to be an airline pilot! I mean they're all rich, only work about 5 days a month, live in big houses and drive exotic sports cars. Right??......... A couple weeks later my advisor hands me some information about a professional pilot program that Utah State University is starting in the fall (1989). I earned my private pilot certificate during freshman year at USU. I was still young and liked to party too much so I decided that maybe this whole college thing wasn't for me. I was now hooked on the idea of wanting to be a pilot but wanted it all handed to me in a neat little wrapper without having to go through all the hard work that lie ahead. So I took a year off school got a meaningless job at a lumberyard, rented a plane every now and then, and had fun. After a year of that I decided that this was definitely not the direction I wanted to go with my life and got serious about flying again. Part of me was still looking for the easy way out so instead of going back to school I enrolled at Comair Aviation Academy (1992). The master plan was to get hired as an instructor there and then on to the airlines without ever having to go to college. So anyway, ten months and tens of thousands of dollars later I had all my ratings and no job offer from the academy (1993). Time to go back to school. After moving back home to Utah I saved some money, applied for student loans, and re-enrolled at USU winter quarter of 1994. Worked my but off and finally graduated with a B.S. in flight technology in 1997. I shotguned resumes all over the country and ended up getting a job with a small flight school in Fort Collins Colorado who also ran a charter business. It took a while to build up a student base where I was actually making enough to live on. Lots of days just sitting at the airport hoping someone would walk through the door that wanted to learn to fly. I had to do a paper route in the mornings just to make ends meet. After I attained the magical thousand hour mark the owner gave me my 135 check ride and I was allowed to start flying some charter on a limited basis. This is where I built up the golden multi-engine time and before long I felt I was finally ready to apply to the regional airlines (1998). I again used the shotgun method and sent résumé’s to just about every regional airline I could find on the Internet. Several interviews and a few job offers later, I decided that Mesaba was the place for me. It was one of the few decent airlines at the time that didn't require you to pay thousands of dollars for training and they paid you while you were in training. Since I was dirt poor this really appealed to me. I received a class date of November 2, 1998 for the Saab 340 and I've been here ever since. (Update: Now with AWA / US Airways flying the airbus) So there you have it, my round-about road to the airlines. And now I'm a rich pilot driving an exotic sports car, only working 5 days a month, and living in a really big house..........RIGHT!!

Favorite thing about flying:
The schedule.
Disadvatages of being a pilot:
Being gone from family for 3 - 4 days at a time. Especially when you have kids.

What you would have done different:
Nothing. It's easy to say if I would have done this or that differently then I'd be here with 3 more years of seniority or on with a major, etc. Truth is, life is so dynamic there's no telling where I'd be had I done things differently. Besides, I really enjoyed all the experiences I had during my journey.
Advice to aspiring pilots:
Develop a good work ethic. Patience like you've never known before. And a persistence that never lets you give up.
Problems encounterd along the way:
Now there's a loaded question. Too numerous to list. Will answer on a one on one basis.

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