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Matt Udkow
Name: Matt Udkow
Company: U.S. Navy
Position: Aircraft Commander
Current Aircraft: SH-60F/H, UH-3H
Age N/A
Country USA

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

Mentor profile:
While I was in High School, I decided I wanted to become a pilot. I thought the best way to do this would be to attend one of the service academies. The Naval Academy was the first to accept me, and that is how my journey in the Navy began. I left the Naval Academy during the first year, and enrolled in the University of Arizona. After the first semester, I received a Naval ROTC scholarship, and continued working toward my goal to become a Naval Aviator. After 4 and 1/2 years, I received my commission as a Naval Officer, and a slot to flight school in Pensacola, FL. At first I wanted to fly jets, as many folks do that join the military. Upon assignment, I got a slot flying helicopters in San Diego, CA. I was not sure what I thought about that at the time (except for the fact I was excited to be going to CA). Now, after 7 years of flying, I hope to fly helicopters for the rest of my career. I received my initial helo training in what the Navy calls the TH-57, which is the equivalent to the Bell 202 Jet Ranger in the civilian world. I then flew the SH-60 F and H model Sea Hawk for about 4 years in the fleet, and now currently fly the UH-3H Sea King in a Search and Rescue squadron in Florida. I also fly Pipers and Cessna’s for fun, having received my pilot's license while I was in High School. I would definitely recommend flying helos to anyone, as it has been and promises to continue being great fun for me in the future. It is both professionally and personally rewarding to fly helos for the Navy.

Favorite thing about flying:
The personal satisfaction I get as my proficiency grows with experience. The fact that the military trusts me with a 20 million dollar piece of machinery is fantastic. And flying helos is a perspective like none other. We routinely travel about 150 above the ground, which makes for exciting flying
Disadvatages of being a pilot:
Going out to sea on deployment, although exciting and rewarding, can be a tough and lonely way to spend 6 months.

What you would have done different:
Not too much... things fell in place nicely.
Advice to aspiring pilots:
Study, keep an open mind, and don't get too discouraged. Always try to see the big picture in life. This not only applies to when you are in the cockpit, but also as you progress toward you career goals. And remember, this is FUN!!! Enjoy the quest...
Problems encounterd along the way:
Flight training was a difficult and trying time for me. I used to get nervous when the instructor would yell at me. And, unlike the civilian world, you can not just "get another instructor" if you are uncomfortable. After flight school, things just got better...

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