21: Andrew Underwood – Blogger, Douglas DC3 & Commercial Pilot

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What does it take to become a pilot?  Join us as Andrew Underwood gives us insight into his inspiring pilot journey.Andrew Underwood Selfie Douglas DC-3 Inspired Pilot Podcast episode 21

Andrew Underwood was born in the UK but has called New Zealand his home for the past thirteen years, learning to fly at Ardmore airfield in Auckland.

Since gaining his commercial licence, he’s been employed as a skydive drop pilot, international aerial survey pilot, before more recently, moving into scheduled passenger operations.

Starting Out

  • Andrew’s fondness for airplanes started in school in the UK, on trips visiting World War Two museums and Air Force bases. His interest eventually grew and even asked his parents to take him to airshows later on.
  • His first introductory flight was at Shoreham Airport in Sussex where he found out that he absolutely loved the feeling of being up in the air.
  • During his teenage years, he was a flight sim fanatic, and hung about the airfield long enough to meet up with real pilots who invited him to fly in different airplanes.

Initial Training Challenges

  • While in flight school, he trained with eight different instructors which caused a lack of consistency with his training.

The Aircraft Types

Best Flying Advice

  • “Be respectful of your airplane, of the sky environment, and of other pilots and your seniors. There is no place for arrogance in aviation. If you’re respectful, it’ll get you a long way.”

The Journey

  • After getting his PPL and CPL, his first job was a skydive drop pilot which lasted for two years. Eventually the work became repetitive for Andrew so he decided to look for another challenge.
  • He got accepted as an aerial survey pilot and got to fly around New Zealand with an expensive multi-million dollar camera mounted onboard the aircraft. His main job was to fly over certain areas while the camera collected terrain data. He enjoyed the work very much and kept his skills up to par.
  • Andrew has recently started a new a job in scheduled passenger operations.
  • Andrew has been blogging since 2011. His blog ardmorepilot.com is sort of journal of most of his training & significant flying experiences.

Current Flying

  • He is loving the work roster at his current job, only working on Mondays to Fridays, at six until eleven in the morning. He gets to enjoy the rest of the day and weekends for himself.

Proudest Flying MomentAndrew Underwood Lord Howe Island Approach Inspired Pilot Podcast episode 21

  • In one of his journeys (Auckland to Brisbane), a glitch in the Australian customs system caused them a delay
    and had to Fly for three hours in pitch black darkness, 10,000 ft. above the Tasman Sea. He was able to successfully and safely land in Brisbane.

Future Plans & Aspirations

  • As long as he’s getting paid to be in the sky, he’s happy. His long term goal is to be happy and flying.

Flying Internet Resource

  • Third Level New Zealand:  A blog which started off focusing on New Zealand’s smaller, 3rd level airlines, past and present. It now tries to present some record of New Zealand’s domestic airline operations and some of the larger charter operators, as well as interesting New Zealand international airliner movements and photos.
  • MRC Aviation: Another blog featuring photos and videos of the New Zealand aviation scene.

Best Aviation Book

Most people who survived an almost unsurviveable plane crash would be tempted to sit back, take a good hard look at life, and take things a little bit easier. Mike Allsop is not most people.

Favourite Cockpit Gadget

Interview Links

Andrew’s Blog:  ardmorepilot.com: Stories from the Sky

Andew Underwood Douglas DC-3 takeoff Inspired Pilot Podcast episode 21

  • Who says life is short? Andrew achievements have made it large. So many achievements by one person. This possible only if a person loves his job and is very much concentrated on what he is doing.