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Brad Jackson
Name: Brad Jackson
Company: NetJets International, Inc.
Position: Captain
Current Aircraft: Gulfstream G-IVSP
Age 48 years old
Country USA

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

Mentor profile:
Flying completely captivated me early in life. I'm not sure how it started, but I can recall from my earliest memories that I always somehow knew I would be a pilot (or involved in aviation in some capacity if that didn't work out). Fortunately, it did. With no family or friends involved or even interested in aviation, I had a lot to figure out on my own. My involvement here is to hopefully pass along some of what I've learned. The light bulb came on in high school. I had this life long interest in aviation but really hadn't done much about it other than dream. With a fresh new drivers license in hand, I started driving to the local airport and hanging out at the FBO. I also started taking some lessons with the money I was making from a summer job. Next thing I know I've got myself a job at the FBO doing all the stuff nobody else wants to do. I loved it! They also gave me a nice break on aircraft rentals and lessons. I was on my way. I continued to work for this little company at the local airport as I went to college. I also continued to work on getting the ratings I needed to get in a situation where I could actually make some money flying instead of paying to fly. During the course of my time working at the airport, I did about every job there was to do. The majority of my initial flight time building was done by flight instructing. I also did some banner towing and anything else I could find to put some time in the logbook. Once I had enough time, I began getting involved in flying charter. Pretty typical initial experience for a civilian. Then I got a break. My first GOOD job was flying King Airs for a furniture company. This got me in a situation where I could make some decent money, fly nice reliable aircraft, and build some quality time. The job also gave me the opportunity to get my first jet experience. I went on to get ratings in Citations and Falcons with this company. It was a great experience but turned out to be someplace where you would not want to spend a career. The next job was with what is now one of the largest aircraft management companies in the United States. I started there as a line captain flying Citations. The company was growing rapidly and always in need of people wanting to get involved. I got into doing some training for the companies Part 135 operation. This worked into several things that eventually led to a position overseeing the training program. With around 300 pilots, 120 flight attendants, and 23 airframe types this was a position that allowed me to learn a lot and work with some fantastic people. While at this company I also served as a base manager, Part 135 Instructor, Standards Captain, and assisted in a myriad of other activities involved in the day to day operation and growth of the business. This was a great job! A lot of work but lots of fun!!! However, there is always a down side. I worked all time. I was traveling all over the country in support of the company, flying very little, and seeing my family even less. I didn't want to burn out so I decided to make a change. I came to work for NetJets International in March of 2001. I had several friends who were working here already, so I knew exactly what I was getting into. It's quite a change from the total involvement in all aspects of the business I experienced at my last job and it took some getting used to. However, that's what I was looking for. I'm flying Gulfstream IV aircraft all over the world. I have a schedule that gives me ample time at home with my family and the company allows me to live wherever I want (within the 48 states and no more than an hour to an airport with airline service). The pay and benefits are very good and the flying is challenging and always different. When I get home, my mind is free from the stresses I've had before. I can really enjoy my time off. I think I've found the place I'm going to stay. When I'm at home, I mostly just enjoy spending time with my wife and two children. I play a little golf, work around the house, and play with the kids. It's a life that works for me and my family. I wish you the best in pursuit of the life that you dream of.

Favorite thing about flying:
All of the normal answers, of course. The freedom. The view. The control. Etc., etc., etc... The thing that probably makes flying so appealing to the professional types attracted to it is that it is finite. There is a clearly defined beginning and end to each day. You go do something with a beginning and an end. When it's over, it's over. There is a satisfaction there that you can really get your head around. If you get down deep, that's probably the big draw for me as well.
Disadvatages of being a pilot:
If you're going to fly airplanes, you're gonna be away from home. This can be challenging, especially if you have a family. It seems like everything bad happens when you're on the road. Your wife is sick, has a fender bender, a kid breaks an arm, etc. Life happens, good and bad, while you're gone. You miss a lot. The consolation is that when you're at home, you're off. You can kick back and do some real catching up.

What you would have done different:
I probably would have tried harder to get myself into a military flight program. The training is second to none and the experience is an exciting way to prepare for a life in the civilian world.
Advice to aspiring pilots:
Get flight time! A fancy education from a big dollar school is great, but if you don't have flight experience you're not going to get a flying job.
Problems encounterd along the way:
This is hard for me to answer. I was always looking ahead to the next step. Stay focused on where you want to go and what you need to get there. I did a semester at an aviation university. I was spending a premium for flight training and was relegated to there program progression schedule. I dropped out and went back home to a local college and went back to my local airport for flight instruction. I paid a lot less for both my flight training and my college education. When the dust settles, all that matters is that you have the ratings and a degree. My personal experience is that it matters none where you received either one. So, get yourself in a situation ASAP where someone is paying you to build flight time then work on finishing that degree.

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