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James McMahon
Name: James McMahon
Company: MI Home Products
Position: Captain
Current Aircraft: CE-650
Age N/A
Country USA

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

Mentor profile:
I was working as a Plumber/ HVAC mechanic near a small (grass runway)airport, one day at lunch I went down to inquire about learning to fly. The owner offered to teach me in exchange for mowing the runway and washing airplanes. I was immediately hooked, and knew it was just a matter of time till I changed careers. At about the same time I joined the Army National Guard as a helicopter mechanic, with the aspirations of going to flight school and flying helicopters. I spent 3 years as a mechanic then got the chance to go to flight school as a Warrant Officer. I flew the UH-1 and AH-1 Cobra Attack Helicopter for about 4 years while I continued working in the HVAC field, During this time I added Commercial ASEL and AMEL ratings and my CFI, CFII and CFIMEL tickets. I then quit the HVAC job for a job as a CFI. I did this for about a year then got the chance to fly a King Air 200 (C-12) for the Army Guard, they hired me full time after I finished school. I flew the C-12 for 5 years on Active Duty with the Guard becoming qualified as the Unit Instructor Pilot and Instrument Flight Examiner. I then left the Full time position to accept a corporate job as a Captain on a CE-550 and a BH-222UT. I enjoyed the mix of flying the jet, helicopter and the turbo prop. I was then offered a job at my current employer as a Captain on the CE-650. I still fly the C-12 as a traditional Guardsman as the Unit Standardization Instructor Pilot and Instrument Flight Examiner.

Favorite thing about flying:
The autonomy (other crew member included) of making decisions. The variety of locations that I fly to. The challenges of changing weather and itineraries. Hand flying an ILS to 200 & 1/2. FL430 on a clear day/night. Meeting people.
Disadvatages of being a pilot:
The biggest disadvantage is that the current job market is saturated and the available pilot pool is deep with experienced pilots. On the Military side deployments.

What you would have done different:
I would have stayed in college and finished my degree. With the degree I would have gone into the Air National Guard and flown something bigger and faster than the C-12.
Advice to aspiring pilots:
Get a 4 year degree, preferably not in aviation. Get to know someone locally who can mentor them in their chosen path, ie: Corporate, Airline, Military. Get counsel from many.
Problems encounterd along the way:
TRAINING Don't get caught in the trap of buying a new car, your money will go to it rather than the career. Also be careful about relationships while you are young and pursuing a career in aviation, they both demand a lot of attention and you may have to choose the one over the other. I was lucky in that my wife supported me when I choose to change careers. I was very lucky, very lucky, did I mention that I was lucky. It made a dramatic impact on our finances, but in the long run it has more than paid off.

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