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Keith Ozawa
Name: Keith Ozawa
Company: Northwest Airlines
Position: Captain
Current Aircraft: B-747-400
Age N/A
Country USA


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


Mentor profile:
I first got interested in aviation as a very young child (3or 4 years of age). My grandfather was with the CAA, the forerunner of the FAA. He would take my brother, cousins, and myself flying with him on the weekends. I started flying at 14 and got my license at 17. I started flying lessons "behind" my parent's backs while I was away at military school in Virginia. In retrospect, I certainly would not recommend that to anyone interested in aviation as a career. Not one of my smartest moves. After graduation from the military school, I attended college for one quarter and then dropped out to enlist in the Marine Corps. After boot camp and ITR (Infantry training Regiment) I was accepted for flight school as a MARCAD (Marine Aviation Cadet). I flew the F-8 Crusader and had a tour in Viet Nam. Upon separating from the service, I flew as a copilot on a Lear 23. I was "taken under the wing" by a family friend who was a TWA Captain and told: "Go get an airline job". I applied to all of the U.S. carriers and a few foreign ones. I was hired at all of them with the glaring exception of one U.S. carrier. Which as it turns out was a good thing. When it came time to make-up my mind as to which airline to go with, my mentor asked me: "Which one is it going to be?" I said: "TWA". He said: "No". I then proceeded to name off all of the carriers that flew into and out of LAX where I was living at the time. He said "no" to each one of them. I finally asked him: "O.K., which one is it?". He then said: "Northwest. They're going to grow and you'll be a part of it". No truer words have ever been spoken to me. I started with the company on 1 August 1966, and I retire on 15 December 2003. During my career I have flown: Second Officer on the B-727,707, and 747; First Officer on the B-727,707, DC-10, 747; and Captain on the B-727,757, 747-200, and 747-400. It has been a career that has taken me to some wonderful places and some not so wonderful places. The years have really "flown" by! One of my accomplishments that I am proud of is that I finally got my undergraduate degree after 38 years of schooling...a class here and a class there. In addition to mentoring aspiring people in the aviation field, I am going to be going to law school after I retire. I will be buying an airplane for my wife and myself to use. I can't say which or what type yet, as I have been researching them all. My wife will be starting her flying lessons this coming January. I hope that I will be able to contribute to the Pilot Mentoring Network, so that those who have the drive and aspirations may someday enjoy the blessings and fruits that I have been so fortunate to receive.



Favorite thing about flying:
Flying the biggest and best airplane in the world
Disadvatages of being a pilot:
Flying all night across the Pacific or Atlantic. Watching the sun go down and the watching the sun come up. The economic uncertainty of so many airlines these days. After 9-11 the ordeal it is just to get to my airplane. I'm trusted with a 200 million dollar airplane, but I'm not trusted with the combination to the jet way door to get to that airplane.



What you would have done different:
I certainly would not start flying "behind" my parent's backs.
Advice to aspiring pilots:
I would tell him or her to NEVER give up on that dream. Everything happens for a reason.
Problems encounterd along the way:
The biggest and most prevalent problem is the strain that flying puts on one's personal life.






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