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"We are the protagonists of our stories called life, and there is no limit to how high we can fly."

Type rated on A330, B747-400, B747, B757, B767, B737, B727. International Airline Pilot / Author / Speaker. Dedicated to giving the gift of wings to anyone following their dreams. Supporting Aviation Safety through training, writing, and inspiration.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Ryan Lock: Fridays Fabulos Flyer

The final week of my ‘adopt a pilot,’ and I find myself returning full circle to Ryan Lock. Ryan is the young man who inspired this blog. He is a dynamic individual, a lover of aviation, and can be found at the Delta Connection Academy owned by Delta Airlines. 

Did you know that per the Department of Homeland Security/Department of State, a professional pilot is not a person with ‘extraordinary abilities’ or an ‘individual with a profession’… Obviously they haven't met Ryan.

Ryan’s challenge… a work Visa.
Ryan’s dream… to remain in the U.S. and fly. 
When I asked Ryan…

"What would help you more than anything in your career right now?”
Assuming I answered this question in approximately 8 months from now, at which time I will be a Certified Flight Instructor -the "thing" that would help me more than anything in my career would be to FLY. Simple as that.

I am currently an appropriately rated pilot... soon to have a certified flight instructor (CFI, CFII & MEI) rating. However, it's finding ‘hours’ that is crucial to a new pilot after graduation. I am a firm believer that a pilot gains his/her ultimate goal through experience of teaching/flying with others.

My destiny is to become a commercial airline pilot, and we all know that airlines look for those pilots with the four digit figures in their log books. Currently I have approximately 160 hours, not a lot, however, my current certificates enable me to be hired instantly by a Regional carrier here in the US (if they were hiring), except for one thing is blocking my way… a work visa.

Yes, in this current economical crisis it isn't healthy to hire nationals from outside of ones own Country; however, professional pilots in my situation are crying out to be hired here in the US, agreeing to pay the required taxes and contribute accordingly. Not short of $80,000 to become hiring applicable at a Regional airline in the US, yet a professional pilot isn't deemed a person with "extraordinary abilities" or an "individual with a profession", as per US Department of Homeland Security/Department of State work visa applications. I am from the UK, we have a great relationship with the US, but contrary to this, we British citizens are one of the least likely foreign candidates to gain legal work status here in the US.

So, I will work for Delta Connection Academy upon graduating as a flight instructor until my current F-1 Visa runs out in March 2013, at which time my options are wide open -do I go back to Europe and convert to JAA, or do I try find legal status here in the US to remain in the industry?

My first option would be to stay here in the US, but without a ‘sponsorship,’ despite how I will be above qualified as a professional pilot and the proud graduate of  a join honors degree in Aviation Technology & Management, then back to the UK/Europe I will be sent. Don't get me wrong, pilots are paid better in Europe and fly newer and bigger aircraft when starting out; however, I feel loyal to this country and the company at which I have trained and feel it's only best to remain here and progress further.

I don't have a preference, I don't have demands -I have dignity, commitment and dedication to provide to the best of my abilities the profession at which I have ALWAYS been enthusiastic about since early childhood.
Are you willing to re-locate for a job?
Of course, relocating has ZERO impact on my life; I would just be grateful for any opportunity even if it's at the other side of the world/country.
What would be your ideal position?
 Goal wise: A long-haul commercial airline pilot.
Right now: Hour building -Flight Instructing. 
What specifically do you need keep you in the US to continue to pursue your dreams?
Specifically a ‘sponsor.’ This could be an individual or a company/business that are willing to submit paperwork -with my help, to the US government to enable me to legally work under the skillful profession at which I have been trained. 

If anyone is willing to sponsor this outstanding pilot and an incredible young man, Ryan Lock at mail@ryanlock.comand visit him on his personal blog:
Read more about Ryan on Friday Flyer:


  1. Joan Church / AustraliaJune 25, 2010 at 5:31 PM

    Brilliant !
    Good luck Ryan ! I know you will make a success of anything and everything you undertake.

  2. I admire your tenacity, Ryan. Piloting isn't for the faint of heart for anyone in this country - the obstacles to prosperity and tall and jagged. I can't imagine having to actually add an immigration battle to it.

    I'll bite my tongue about my views on legal vs. illegal immigrants. Hopefully that covers it.

    Best of luck to you - if I can think of anything, I'll let you know. My alma mater, the University of Central Missouri, didn't used to have any qualms about hiring CFIs from "outside" the program, but it's been 20 years. OMG...I didn't need to hear that.

  3. Thank you, everyone. If you want to also catch me on twitter, you can do @RyanLock

  4. Joan and Nate, Thank you for your comments, I know Ryan appreciates them. And Ryan ... something will come your way. Have faith!


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