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Sean Cooper
Name: Sean Cooper
Company: NetJets, Inc.
Position: Captain
Current Aircraft: CE560XL Citation Excel
Age N/A
Country USA

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

Mentor profile:
I remember wanting to be a pilot from as young as eight years old. My parents traveled around the world quite a bit while I was growing up, so that must have had a lot to do with it. I returned to the US when I was 17 and started taking flying lessons soon after. At 18, I earned my private pilot license and started searching for a university offering a flight training degree. I found a private college that I liked in Florida where I received my instrument and commercial ratings. After a year of that, I realized money was becoming a serious issue. I found a larger public university in Indiana that let me transfer in all of my ratings. I graduated from there in 1992. I was able to get all of my ratings up to MEI as well as a BS in Professional Pilot Technology. 1992 was a tough year for the aviation industry. When I got out of college, there were very few jobs available for pilots or flight instructors. I didn't have the financial resources that many of my friends did, so I wasn't sure what to do. I ended up joining the United States Air Force. Although I did not get a pilot slot, I was able to obtain an aircrew position. Joining the military turned out to be a great decision. While the aviation industry recovered, I was able to earn a modest income, flight instruct part time at the local FBO, and get my masters degree very inexpensively. I got out of the Air Force in 1997 and found a great non-flying job in the industry. At this point, I had build up about 700 hours or so. I worked at the job for two years and also flight instructed part time. FINALLY! I had enough hours to get a decent job flying! I found a position for an Assistant Chief Flight Instructor and moved once again. I only had to work at that job for nine months. The commuters were hiring like crazy, and I was fortunate to get hired by Skyway Airlines in Milwaukee at the end of 1999. As far as commuters go, Skyway was a nice place to work. It was a small company and a pilot there quickly made friends. I was hired in as a first officer on the Beechcraft 1900D. It was a fun job, but the low salary and limited advancement opportunities did not appeal to me. It was the beginning of 2001. I had just passed 2,500 hours in my logbook and faced a critical decision. Stay at Skyway and start applying to the majors, or apply to Executive Jet Aviation (now known as NetJets). I knew a few people at EJA and they absolutely loved working there. I decided to apply and was offered an April 2001 class date in the Citation Ultra. At that point, NetJets was hiring quite a bit, so I was able to bid Captain in the Ultra six months into my career there. Six months after that, I bid Captain on the Excel and got that. I'm currently a Captain on the Excel and have about 3,500 hours. I'm only 33, but I plan on retiring here at NetJets. It's a nice place to work and the type of flying we do is a lot of fun. If you have any questions that I can help out with, please let me know.

Favorite thing about flying:
I love so many things about flying. If I had to pick one, I would say cruising right at the cloud tops in a jet! It's hard to beat that. I also love visiting new places and meeting new people.
Disadvatages of being a pilot:
Time away from home gets to be tough. One of our schedules at Netjets is 7 days on/ 7 days off. While the 7 off is great, working a 12 hour day with six legs on day 6 is not fun!

What you would have done different:
I would have tried harder to find a way to flight instruct right out of college. I don't consider the choices I made bad ones, but it took a LONG time to get to this point in my career.
Advice to aspiring pilots:
Focus on your goals and try to make flying the priority
Problems encounterd along the way:
Money (or lack of) was the single biggest issue for me. Try to secure financial resources for flight training ahead of time. That way, you can focus on moving through the ratings.

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