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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, June 6, 2014

Al Waterloo

Friday's Fabulous Flyer

Al Waterloo

There is greatness walking the earth and they usually have wings of some sort, with an Avgeek label on their back. They are called pilots, and Al Waterloo is one of those special people. The other half of Simple Flight Radio, I had the great opportunity meeting Al at Aviation Universe during a live broadcast. 

Between he and Marc, they kept us in stitches. Al's humor and passion were awesome, as were his parents sitting in the audience. A family of aviators sharing a love. But the most amazing thing about Al is his attitude and love of aviation, despite where the wind blew him. 

He has learned two things in his career and sharing them with us today. I am ever grateful for yet another life lesson or two. Please meet Al


"Hey #avgeeks! I’m Al Waterloo and I’m nuts about aviation! For me, like so many others, it all started at Meigs Field. At least in the electronic sense. As many of you may recall, Microsoft Flight Simulator always started at Meig’s and I was addicted to the program. Who knew back then that my first days as a CFI started as I tried to teach baby sitters how to land an airplane on the computer. The reality of is that I was obsessed with airplanes and everything that had to do with them.

All the dreaming paid off in high school, as I was very fortunate to earn my private pilot’s license in Mtn. Home, Arkansas during the summer of 2002. That set me up nicely to be accepted (by a long shot) into the University of Illinois Aviation Program. Good fortune followed me as 2007 rolled around and a hiring boom at the airlines. 
I jumped in with both feet and rode the wave until 2011. Despite the negativity usually associated with the regionals, I thought it was a great job. It’s a great way to build flight time, enjoy real world flying, and shape yourself as a pilot in command (even though you spend a good deal of time as a first officer). While at the airlines, I learned two things that I live by in my own aviation career. I hope you find them of value and implement them into your aviation lifestyle.

First, aviation always gets what it wants out of you; make sure you get exactly what you want out of it! This was a lesson learned while sharing a crash pad as a young first officer. The aviation industry is ALWAYS changing. For example, the airline I worked for ended up furloughing a handful of junior pilots (I barely made the cut off by a few seniority numbers). There was doom and gloom projected by the airline. 
A few mornings later I woke up to the news that my employer had purchased another airline. It made for a big day. In a deja vous moment, the next morning, it happened again. We bought another airline!!! I could not believe my ears! It was really crazy. The point is that there are many peaks and valleys in aviation. I’ve learned that creates opportunity. While some pass it off as luck, I believe luck is at the intersection of hard work and opportunity...
A pilot that works hard, puts themselves in a position to take advantage of the opportunity. 
Said another way, aviation is constantly changing and impacting those that call it home. It is therefore appropriate for pilots to make changes throughout their career. You’ll find that you are handsomely rewarded with a great aviation career, which starts with a smile on your face that comes from a fun job that your love. That leads to the second thing I learned while at the airlines. 
Never apologize for a decision you make in aviation. 
You are pilot in command. You are in control, confident, and accountable for your decisions. Carry that mentality with you, whether you are on the ground, in the air, or on an aviation sabbatical.

An example of how I get exactly what I want out of aviation is by having a great time hosting Simple Flight Radio ( I’ve learned the industry is not just about pilots flying airplanes. There are so many outstanding people doing so many amazing things, it’s opened my eyes to the incredible potential of the industry. 
The people we have as guests on our show and our listeners are really my aviation heroes. It’s amazing to hear how each is adding value to aviation and making it better every day. 
They are celebrities that make me proud to be a part of the industry. My two years as co-host of the show has provided another aviation learning moment. Aviation is in great hands and it has such an awesome future! I hope you can participate and enjoy some of the fun we have on the radio show at" Al Waterloo.

Al, Thank you for sharing your amazing story and I'm excited to see what the future will bring on this incredible journey called life. With a great attitude and passion, there is nothing you cannot do.

XO Karlene


  1. Nice blog piece from Al. Great to read of his experiences and wishing him more success in aviation in the years to come.

    1. Thank you Capt. Anup! He is an official Avgeek and shares his passion.

    2. Just call me Anup Karlene :) you know me already!

  2. Pleasure to meet Al! I always enjoy to read about people with real PASSION for a thing, because that makes it all! ��
    As Steve Jobs said, "If you don't really love it, you gonna quit."

    1. I love that quote!!! And that's the truth. You gotta love it for all the good and challenges... which makes it all fun. Thanks for the comment.

  3. This is very special...

    His story? A light in the horizon.
    And his name? Awesome. Al Waterloo!

    Karlene, is this radio located in Seattle?

    As Captain Anup Murthy said, I wish him success and may the future continue to be bright for him!

    1. Alex, he is in Chicago! That's where I was for the Aviation Universe party. Check that link and find them! You could be interviewed next. :)

    2. Oh! Would be awesome! Imagine a live broadcast directly from Brazil! :)

  4. Great post! And what a litany of great advice he has...

    "...Aviation always gets what it wants out of you; make sure you get exactly what you want out of it...
    ...Never apologize for a decision you make in aviation...
    And perhaps my favorite:
    ..You are pilot in command. You are in control, confident, and accountable for your decisions. Carry that mentality with you, whether you are on the ground, in the air, or on an aviation sabbatical..."

    You don't know how many miserable pilots I've met over the years who blame their airline, the industry, or others, for THEIR decisions. Sadly, we've been in court for years fighting just such a group of miserables who blame their merger with us--WHO SAVED THEIR JOBS--for their misery--and want US to pay for their career decisions!

    The very nature of this business forces us to put ALL our eggs in 1 basket. MAN UP AND TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR YOUR OWN DECISIONS!!

    Great post, Karlene and Cap'n Waterloo! Sharing it with my blog readers!

    1. Thanks for the great comment Eric! His inspiration flowed over, in so many ways. I too have met those grumblings and what are you going to do. The best think about being the Captain is you can set the tone. But... a bit more challenging when you're an FO. Skills I never knew I needed at times.
      You'll have fun on the interview!

  5. thanks for featuring my favorite pilot! i enjoyed reading this.

    1. Kathleen, I completely understand that favorite pilot thing! You are so welcome and should be very proud.


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