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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, November 30, 2012

Andy Schwaderer

Friday Fabulous Flyer

 Andy Schwaderer

Major Andrew Schwaderer—Andy—is a C-17 pilot who is just finishing his Active Duty pilot commitment, and will start with the Reserves this winter.  One of his dreams is to fly as a captain at a major airline and I have no doubt he will make that dream come true. He is a leader in every sense of the word.


Andy entered the service in 2001 as a graduate of ROTC from the University of St Thomas, St Paul MN.  He holds degrees in the Russian Language and Political Science.  He has over 3400 hours in 6+ aircraft to include the C-17A, RQ-4A/B, T-1A, T-37—A the majority of which was on the C-17A.  He has flown combat missions over Iraq, the Horn of Africa and Afghanistan.

 

Awards he has earned: Meritorious Service Medal. Air Medal with two oak leaf clusters. Aerial Achievement Medal with one oak leaf cluster. Air Force Commendation Medal with oak leaf cluster. Air Force Achievement Medal. 

 
 I had asked Andy where his aviation dream started, and this is what he said…

“I grew up in the north woods of Minnesota, about an hour and a half west of Duluth.  There was a reconnaissance F-4 unit stationed there at that time, and they would do training missions over our lake--basically drop down below tree line and practice taking photos of a floating dock that was at one end. 

When I was 4, I remember watching one come in low across the lake, seemingly powered by black smudge, and then scream overhead.  The noise was on the scale of a NASA rocket launch, seeing this blur jet overhead was such a powerful experience.  I was hooked—from that point on I spent my free time building jet models, reading about aviation, and pondering what a life in the clouds would be like.”

Andy at 6-years-old

Andy also told me he is a writer of short stories. His words paint pictures and I could feel myself standing with that little 4-year-old boy watching the jet fly overhead. That moment in his life, had changed his life. It pointed him down a path that took him into the sky filled with much success.

But with success, there are failures. With struggles we reap rewards. With each day come new challenges. I love to know what drives a person, and how they deal with life. Our attitude is all we have control over, and Andy has the attitude thing figured out.  A good trait for a pilot.

 

“The greatest rewards for me are working with amazing professionals—the people make this business extraordinary.  The challenges are part of the appeal—you just do not know what will happen, quickly, at any point.  It forces you to be on your best game at all times.  Makes you realize you're part of something far, far larger than yourself.  The travel is also a great part of the reward!  

 


 An amazing feeling to be larger than yourself—it puts the ego in check, and makes you human. Flying in Iraq and Afghanistan made for some interesting missions for Andy. He calls them ‘tense flights’ I call them a huge dose of reality. I can only imagine that experience, as I write from the comfort of my home.

“Some of the more tense flights are carrying wounded out of the combat zone. We try to make the flights as comfortable and efficient as possible of course, and the more serious trauma and burn victims will have dedicated attendees during the course of the flight. Those are always tense because there are few divert options in the event the patient's condition worsens. Not being able to help while someone slowly succumbs is among the worst memories of my career.” 

 

“The other tense times are trying to get into a strange airport, like a dirt field in northern Afghanistan, or one that is extremely busy, like Frankfurt International in Germany. Every 30-seconds they have a plane departing or landing, and there is zero room for error when they give you instructions. Combine that with the German air controllers' strange sense of humor and you get instructions to state remaining fuel onboard, so they know how long they can force you to hold in the penalty box. I've heard other planes get sent to the penalty box (what we simply call having to hold position by doing endless circles) because they didn't respond to their call sign, or for falsely responding when the controller was calling someone else.”

 
When Andy is not on the road he enjoys writing, and we already know he can through his words on this page. Add Musing and Amusing to your aviation blog list. Such a fun read.

Please join me in welcoming Andy on his re-entry into the civilian world, and his continued success on all his missions in life. Andy, I also want to thank you for serving our country and keeping the laughter alive on your blog. You just keep giving, and remind me that we can all find something to smile about. Today I am smiling at the good fortune to have met you.

Enjoy the Journey!
XO Karlene

10 comments:

  1. Karlene- It's such a pleasure to be spotlighted here, and if your readers have any questions about flying for the Air Force I'm eager to help answer--my email contact is on my blog.

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    1. Thank you so much Andy. That's great. I will let everyone know.

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  2. PS- For those of your followers who enjoyed the movie "Flight," I wrote a similarly-themed story a few years ago... I call it "The Steppes of Rehab."

    http://majormusings.blogspot.com/2010/07/steppes-of-rehab.html

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    1. I'm thinking you could have been the inspiration behind the movie! Thank you so much for the link.

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  3. Hey Andy! Flying in the military seems like a great thing, but we on the "civil" side welcome you over when you're done serving your country! I look forward to follow your blog!

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    1. Thanks Cecilie! I think we'll all welcome him to the civilian side for sure. I'm looking forward to all his writing.

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  4. I love his outlook. Our attitude is ours to control indeed. I have a good feeling that Andy will make all of his dreams come true. I'm off to check out Musing and Amusing right now!

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    1. Thank you so much for your comment Heather. I know he will make his dreams come true. We have another writer amongst us for sure. A very talented man.

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  5. Karlene, this is such a great interview of a great person who I am looking forward to following. The line "But with success, there are failures. With struggles we reap rewards" is so true.

    Andy, even though the military is a great service to our country not only do I look forward to you coming over to civil, commercial aviation, but also looking forward to flying with you on the FedEx 777200LRF someday.

    Jeremy

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    1. Jeremy, What an amazing comment. Because one day you will be flying together, on the 777 with a FedEx paint job. The world is small and filled with twists and turns and those in aviation learn this more often than most.
      Thanks for your comment!

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