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Uwe Goehl
Name: Uwe Goehl
Company: Gulf Air
Position: First Officer
Current Aircraft: Airbus A320
Age 46 years old
Country Kingdom of Bahrain

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

Mentor profile:
After a Transatlantic flight on a Boeing 747, I knew I wanted to be an airline pilot. I was 9 years old when I made my decision. I soloed an airplane and a glider when I was 16 years old and went to Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University after graduating from high school. My first flying job was as a Glider Flight Instructor in Central Florida. Six months later I moved back to Canada to accept a position as co-pilot on a Piper Navajo and pilot of a Cessna 172. Unfortunately, this job came to an abrupt end two months later. I guess I could say I felt insecure when I saw fewer passengers in the cabin than in the cockpit. The result was a long winter working at a gas station (in Canada there are fewer flying jobs in the winter) and waited for the spring when the charter companies traditionally begin hiring. In March I loaded my belongings into my Toyota Tercel and headed north, stopping at practically every airport along the way. I found my new flying job in Haines Junction, Yukon Territory. I would primarily fly tourists over the glaciers in a Cessna 205. I had between 800 and 900 hours at that time. Like many charter flying positions in Canada, this one was only seasonal also and by mid-September there were no more tourists coming through the doors. This resulted in my second "road trip." In was in the end of November that a company, which I had been sending updates to every few months since before I had graduated from Embry-Riddle, gave me my "big break." With 1210 hours Total Time and 150 hours multi-engine, I was hired as a King Air 90 Captain for their operations in Central America. Opportunities like these simply do not happen in Canada. I spent two fantastic years flying though out Central America, Mexico and Jamaica. In December 2000, just a few days before Christmas while I was vacationing in Nicaragua, I received a job offer for a Montreal-based DHC-8 First Officer with Air Nova (one of the companies which merged to become Air Canada Jazz). Unfortunately, the first 5 years of the new millenium have been some of the most challenging years in the history of the aviation industry. Air Canada, and it's subsiduary companies (including Air Canada Jazz) were not left unscathed. After two years with the company, the airline entered bankruptcy protection and my position was on a furlough list. I was fortunate. I found a fairly lucrative position in Saudi Arabia, flying the same type of aircraft that I did for Air Canada Jazz (the Dash 8) at Saudi Aramco, the state-owned petroleum company. After two years with them as a Dash 8 First Officer, I transitioned to the left seat of the Cessna Citation II-- one of the most enjoyable little airplanes I've ever flown. In the late spring of 2005 I received a final recall from Air Canada Jazz (their financial house now in order). After a very short stint as a Bombardier RJ First Officer, I moved back across "the pond" to accept an Airbus A-320 First Officer postion with Gulf Air in the Kingdom of Bahrain-- a mere 80km from my previous employer in Saudi Arabia. I now fly their colorful Airbus A320's to various destinations throughout Southern Europe, East Africa, the Middle East and the Indian Sub-Continent. I enjoy my new job intensely.

Favorite thing about flying:
I've heard the explanation that aviation is living the lifestyle of the rich and famous, while you are actually poor. I enjoy travelling to different locations. The most enjoyable thing about all the aviation jobs I've had is the people you work with, whether it be fellow pilots, cabin crew, ground staff, dispatchers, mechanics, cabbies, hotel staff, passengers-- you name it! So many wonderful opportunities to meet wonderful people from all over the world!
Disadvatages of being a pilot:
One of the biggest disadvantages is the economic uncertainty both personally and in the airline industry. As a pilot you will probably never become financially independent and during your first few years you may well be living from paycheck to paycheck and finding "resourceful" ways to stretch your budget. The airline industry in Canada has seen a major shakedown during the last couple of years and employees count themselves amongst the victims. There have been a number of carriers, which have ceased operations or have merged and no company's future is certain. As many pilots experienced last year when Canada 3000 (which only a few months earlier acquired Royal Airlines and Canjet) suddenly went bankrupt, a pilot with many years of seniority flying a state of the art, wide body jet on transoceanic routes can suddenly find himself unable to even find a position at the bottom of the seniority list of a regional airline. Some of these jet pilots have had to settle for jobs as truck drivers, hardware store employees or gone on to other career paths. There are also the unusual work schedules-- holidays, birthdays, 1:30 a.m. departure times, etc. Can be hard on anybody.

What you would have done different:
I resisted becoming a Flight Instructor, however, if I were starting over again I definitely would have gotten my Instructor Rating. The Instructor Rating allows a low-time pilot to build his first few hours and affords a more experienced pilot a possible flying position to fall back if laid-off. Also would have gotten a degree in a different field, to allow for "alternatives".
Advice to aspiring pilots:
If you want the career, you must stay in the industry despite the hardships. If you leave the "game" for a few years, it is unlikely that you'll be able to come back. If you want it, go after it, and with time and persistence you will arrive at your destination.
Problems encounterd along the way:
Aviation may be an exciting career, however, it is only that. It is not more important that your family. Make sure you do a "reality check" of what a flying career is like HERE IN CANADA (I cannot stress this enough) and what you need to do to build your career. If you have "big jet envy", you may become discouraged by the relatively slow upward progress and competition-- few 1000 hour pilots are hired into the right seats of Regional Jets in Canada, unlike in other countries, and you may spend months "lurking", or waiting patiently, for an air operator just to give you a job loading bags or working on the dock of some northern floatplane base. When you do make it to the "big time", realize that unless you are fortunate enough to be offered a position with Air Canada (once again, very competitive), a Transport Category jet Captain may only make $60,000 to $100,000 Canadian and enjoy 10 days off per month.

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