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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, February 20, 2015

Mike Trahan

Friday's Fabulous Flyer 

Mike Trahan

Mike Trahan grew up on the Louisiana border in the small town of West Orange, Texas, just twenty-four miles from the Gulf of Mexico. As far back as Mike can remember he was enamored with flying. He started building model airplanes at the age of ten, and took his first airplane ride at the age of fifteen. Mike said, "the airplane had barely cleared the ground I knew, without a doubt that this was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. "  Seven days later he took his first flying lesson.

Mike continued flying throughout high school and attained his commercial pilot and multi-engine ratings, and graduated with a Bachelor of Business Administration in Management. After graduation from the University of Texas, and receiving his officer commission through the Air Force ROTC program, he went to undergraduate pilot training (UPT) at Webb AFB in Big Spring, Texas.

Following graduation from UPT, he flew the C-141 “Starlifter” jet transport, with the 76th Military Airlift Squadron out of Charleston AFB, South Carolina. After two years he was reassigned to the 4th Special Operations Squadron in Vietnam, where he flew the AC-47 “Spooky” Gunship. He flew the AC-47 for eight months and when the Air Force turned that mission over to the Vietnam Air Force, he was reassigned to the EC-47 “Electronic Countermeasures” aircraft. He was assigned to the 362nd Electronic Warfare Squadron in Pleiku, Vietnam. 


Mike separated from the Air Force in April 1970, and was hired by Delta Air Lines in July of that same year. He flew for Delta for thirty-two years. He began his career as a Flight Engineer (Second Officer), Copilot (First Officer) and eventually upgraded to Captain. He also served as a Flight Engineer and Pilot Instructor in Delta’s Flight Training Department.

With Delta, Mike flew (in chronological order) - the Convair 880, Boeing B727, Douglas DC-9, Convair 880 (again), Boeing B737, Boeing B727 (again), and finally the Boeing B757 and B767. He served seven and a half years as Engineer on the 880 and the 727, and eight years as Copilot on the DC-9, 880, and B727. He flew as Captain on the B737, B727, and the 757/767 aircraft for his last sixteen years with Delta. He retired, at the mandatory retirement age of sixty, in 2002.


Apparently retirement gave Mike some time on his hands and he began writing his memoirs in 2013. To date has published three books in his autobiographical series The Gift. The fourth, and final, book of the series is in progress. He has also published several short stories. 

The Gift – The Beginning "This book covers my life from birth, until I graduated college, and left home for Air Force Undergraduate Pilot Training. The main focus is my advancement as a pilot, and my quest to qualify for a slot in UPT, and contains an intimate picture of growing up in East Texas, playing sports, serving as an altar boy, dating girls, and flying airplanes. I also spent two years playing football at The University of Mississippi."

The Gift Part Two – The Air Force Years  "Covers my four and a half years as a United States Air Force Pilot. It contains detailed descriptions of my flights in Pilot Training, flying around the world in the C-141, and my year in the AC and EC-47 aircraft in combat in Vietnam."


The Gift Part Three – The Delta Years 1970 – 1986  "is about my time as a Flight Engineer, Copilot, and Engineer Instructor / Check Airman at Delta"


The Gift Part Four – Delta 1986 – 2002 (In Progress) "chronicles my adventures as a Captain and Pilot Instructor / Check Airman during my last sixteen years with Delta."
Mike’s books can be found on Amazon

In addition to “The Gift” series, several of Mike’s short stories are also available on Amazon. All the books a may be purchased in Paperback and Kindle format. The short stories are only available in Kindle.

This is the ultimate ... a life and career of a young man who fell in love with the sky, learned to fly, and soared through life following his dreams with a passion. This is what stories are made of, and what makes life worth living.  Congratulations Mike, on a life served well! 

You, too, are writing the story called life... 
make is spectacular! 

Enjoy the Journey!
XO Karlene 


  1. After a career like that, you would think retirement would be welcomed.But with time on your hands, the mind starts to think, hmm, what now?Then, a whole new career opens up,
    Great stuff.

    1. Thanks for your comment John. And this is a great way to leave your legacy behind for the family too! Such inspiration for new pilots too.

  2. Vietnam flying... like test pilot flying - pushing the envelope!

    1. Yes! And those who make it out, have many stories to tell. Thanks for your comment!


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