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

PHD. MBA. MHS. Type rated on A350, A330, B777, B747-400, B747-200, 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. Fighting for Aviation Safety and Airline Employee Advocacy. Safety Culture and SMS change agent.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Daniel Sallee

Friday Fabulous Flyer 

Good things happen in threes, and this time it's the third generation of flyers. Daniel Sallee was born with the lineage of aviation in his blood. His grandfather, Jack Sallee, would be very proud of the man he's become. I know that his father, Andy Sallee, is too.

Danielle is just 21-years-old, but you would never guess by his experience. He's currently flying and Embraer 170 for Shuttle America... a Delta Connection and sometimes United Express.

He started flying for America Shuttle in early 2008, but ended up being furloughed for a year and a half. During that time he flew charters out of Port Angeles in a Cessna 206, and then Chieftains and a Beech 99 for Ameriflight until Shuttle America called him back about a year ago. 

He currently flies about 60 hours a month and teaches recurrent ground school and captain upgrade classes, too. He's also working on his 4-year degree with Embry Riddle in Aeronautical Science. Daniel has about 3000 hours of flight time. Did I mention he's only 21?

Daniel and Elisa

Daniel and his sister have been around planes their entire life. Elisa, now 16, loves planes and plans on taking flying lessons, but Daniel say's she's focused in sports. She's an aviation natural, so I'm sure she'll follow her big brother, dad, and grandfather's path one day. Focus appears to be a central theme in the Sallee family.

Elisa, Daniel's sister

I asked Daniel why he wanted to fly. He said...

"At no point in my life can I remember not wanting to fly. It started from day one, spending time with my dad and grandpa at Sequim Airport, around Coastal and everything. I have always taken any and every opportunity to fly anything. I absolutely love it! I remember watching my dad come home from a week long trip and thinking about how neat it was that he flew a 727 and how much I liked his schedule. One of the most memorable moments of my life was having the opportunity to ride on the one of my dad's flights at DHL right after I got hired here and just before DHL shutdown. Today when I go to fly a 4-day trip, it may seem a bit more routine, but I still absolutely enjoy it! And take any chance I get to fly something new."

Daniel and Dad, Andy
Daniel Dreaming and waiting till he can fly

Daniel's company, Shuttle America, has recently merged with Frontier Airlines which has unfortunately postponed his Captain upgrade, perhaps forever. But he won't let that stop him. He's building hours and keeping options open.

On the personal side of his life... Daniel is also a newlywed! He got married to Rachel last October.

Rachel and Daniel in Hong Kong

Rachel spent the second half of her childhood growing up in Sequim and they knew each other through friends, but not very well until after high school. She attended Washington State University for Mechanical Engineering and then transferred to IUPUI (Purdue's Indianapolis Campus) to complete her degree.

Her plans are to work for Boeing as an engineer. Daniel tells me that Rachel chose aeronautical engineering but changed to mechanical, because as a mechanical engineer you can also work as an aeronautical engineer, but not the other way around. Interesting... I didn't know that!

"My wife is a great positive influence in my life and pushes me to accomplish my goals and dreams."

At 21-years-old, Daniel has a very long career ahead of him, and many airlines to choose from. Timing is everything in this industry. Daniel's timing, combined with passion, effort, and talent, will open many doors for him.

Enjoy the journey!

~ Karlene


  1. Started flying for Shuttle America in he was 18?! Wow, I am jealous, that is awesome to be flying the E170 for an airline at that age...congrats to him on his accomplishments.
    (By the way karlene, if you wouldn't mind asking him how he is going to school and flying for an airline at the same time- online classes?)Thanks!

  2. An afterthought- to our members of Congress and their ATP rule- there is one of many examples of young pilots under 23 who have flown safely as First officers!

  3. I love a family saga that is so filled with determination and talent and hope. Congratulations to Daniel on his marriage (she sounds fabulous) and on his career. Wonderul! Thanks, Karlene, for sharing this story.

  4. Thank you for your comment Dan... and the great news for Daniel! I'm going to let him tell you how he is doing it all!

  5. Thanks for your comment and support Linda! He is a young man racing to the finish line. He'll make it quickly... and I'm sure he won't quit there.

  6. Everyone - Thanks for your great comments! I really appreciate it! :)

    Dan - Yes, I take online classes with Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. I typically take as many as I can afford and handle at once. As far as finding time to do them, that's usually not a problem. Even if I do fly, I often sit in hotels, or at home on reserve (on call) and have time to get them done. The Congress ATP rule... not sure what to think. But I'm glad that I managed to get in before that came about. I believe it is not effective until 2013. Please let me know if you have any more questions!

  7. What a remarkable young man. At but 21 and with 3000+ hours in his log book, lots of it serious commercial time, this fellow will top the mountain long before he ages out. Can you just imagine what he will be flying, forty years from now? I hope that Daniel enjoys a long, safe and productive career. Why do I think Grandpa and Dad helped him get an early start ? More power to him. Thanks for anothr great post, Karlene. -Craig

  8. Thank you for the wonderful blog on our son-in-law, Daniel, and his family. We are very proud of him and as well, of our daughter, Rachel, who shares the love of flying! They make a great team and we are sure the Sallee legacy will live on through them and their future generations! The sky holds no bounds for them!
    -Mr. & Mrs. Craig Haugland

  9. Wow!!! How nice this story is,Karlene san.Thank you.

    From writing,I can see how strong his passion of flying is:)
    I want to fly like him~.haha! Anyway I will achieve my dream little by little so that I can learn everything for sure.

    Congratulations Mr.Daniel and Ms.Rachel.
    thanks for sharing.


  10. Daniel, for everyone who doesn't have time to do it all... you've proven that you can if you want it badly enough. And you do. Keep flying... you're an inspiration to the new pilots coming our way!

  11. Hi Craig, yes... Grandpa and Dad got him an early start for sure. That Cessna 402 he's standing in front of and staring at... I'm thinking at two or three... was part of that inspiration. Airplanes were just part of his life. Yes... 40 years, can you imagine? Thanks for your comment Craig!

  12. Jun, you will make it! Little by little. Just never give up. Never stop learning. One day you'll be thinking about this moment from 37,000 feet flying across the ocean.

  13. Thank you for the great articles! I feel truly blessed to be a part of this remarkable family. They both inspire and encourage me to keep pressing towards both my flying and engineering goals :)

    Just to clarify, I'm not certain it would be impossible to be hired as a mechanical engineer when you have an aeronautical/aerospace degree, but it is my belief that it would be far less likely if you were to be pursuing a job in say, automotive applications. Either way, I hope to keep pushing for my Boeing dream, and finish my Private sometime in the not-so-distant future!

    Thanks for the congratulations all :) I am so very proud of my husband, and am looking forward to continuing to support him as his career advances!


  14. More comments from the Sallee family... posted on a different blog post. But should belong here. Or someplace this week.

    Elaine Wike said...

    I want to say THANK YOU for these blogs on the Sallee family. Jack was my Uncle, my mother's only brother, so Andy, Joe, Willy and Mike are my cousins. It is very interesting to read about them and their accomplishments. They are a good group of guys, and I know Uncle Jack would be immensly proud that all his hard work has paid off so well. Again, thank you.

    You are so welcome Elaine!

  15. And yet another family comment from another blog... belongs here too. Thank you!

    Anonymous said...

    What A Wonderful Post! As A Niece, Of Uncle Jack & Aunt Winnie,That is some wonderful info... that I can tuck away... & share with my children!!! Thank You!! Will Pay It Forward!!

  16. thanks for kind words.
    yeah,I won't give up becoming airline pilot and fly with passenger.

    Even if I have hard time,I feel really good by reading your blog,going to airport,boarding airplane,seeing photo etc.

    thanks again Karlene san.
    Have a wonderful weekend:)

  17. Daniel,
    When you get the chance I sent you an email with some questions.

  18. This is my first time reading a of course didn't know I could comment until now.I enjoyed reading about where you have been and where you are going. Karlene, how could I not love all that you have written about my family! I am very proud of my husband and son, and of course those that have come before them...Jack, Winnie and the rest of the family. Thanksfor your enjoyable writing!

  19. Congratulations on your first blog reading Jane! That's exciting. And you are so welcome... you have a lot to be proud of. And, despite those very strong aviator men in the family... I do know the women behind the scenes and all that you do.
    An amazing family. Thanks so much for the comment.

  20. Wow, just saw this post Karlene! I want the path he's taking!


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