Last week, David Barnes visited to talk to our living learning community (Flight Deck) about his job, and aviation in general. David is a first officer for Delta Airlines, and has previously worked for Air Wisconsin and the University of North Dakota. I really enjoyed his talk for a couple of reasons. First, he was very relatable. So often in aviation, I hear jargon, pitches to join this association and that, or cautionary tales of aircraft crashes.
Dave isn’t like that. He’s extremely positive, and has gone through everything I am about to experience in the coming years. At the beginning, he asked what we would want to know, and he worked it into the presentation. He gave a lot of cool insider information that less-experienced pilots usually don’t get to hear: crash pad specifics, informal airline operations, insider foreign airline details. For instance, did you know that Emirates has more aircraft than all the mainline airlines in the United States? I was intrigued the whole time, and learned a lot.
I also enjoyed his inspirational outlook on the future. I’ve heard from a lot of sources that the future is bright for pilots my age. The shortage is increasing, and older pilots are facing retirement. However, he showed us actual figures of this, and brought up the explosion of foreign airlines as well. He showed the amount of pilots each airline projects to hire soon and the figures are astounding. He mentioned our ride through the lower tiers of the business should be rapid, and at some point the majors have to bring us up. Just like Teri Donner from UPS, this talk helps light my fires again. It’s awesome to see what lies ahead every once and a while, to make all the hard work worth it. Dave was a great speaker, and I look forward to seeing him again.