20: Colleen Mondor – Private Pilot, Alaska Aviation Writer & Author

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What does it take to become a pilot?  Join us as Colleen Mondor gives us insight into her inspiring pilot journey.

Colleen Mondor is a freelance writer and the author of “Map of My Dead Pilots: The Dangerous Game of Flying In Alaska“. She contributes regularly to Alaska dispatch news, writing about Alaskan aviation, and owns an aircraft leasing company with her husband.

Starting Out

  • Growing up in Space Coast, Florida (an area within close proximity to NASA), Colleen was surrounded by people who worked in aviation. One of which was her stepfather, a retired Air Force Lieutenant Colonel who went into civilian aviation and academia to become a flight instructor and to teach aviation in local colleges.
  • Her stepfather wished Colleen to become a pilot and even offered to pay for her flying lessons.
  • Colleen majored in Aviation Management and managed to acquire her PPL successfully.

Initial Training Challenges

  • Flying was never easy for Colleen but she was determined to learn eitherway because she wanted to work in aviation.

The Aircraft Types

Best Flying Advice

  • Always have a way out, always have a backdoor, always be able to turn around. Don’t ever be trapped in a situation.”

The Journey

  • Took Aviation Management in Florida so she can continue her career in the airline or airport management; anything in the aviation field.
  • She worked at Palm Beach County Dept. of Airports handling aircraft noise complaints.
  • After much thought (and a bad experience), she decided to move to Alaska where she worked for the Alaskan Airport Security for a year. (pre-9/11)
  • Got a job for a “bush commuter”, a small airline that flies a scheduled service out into the bush, locations that are off the road system, to carry passengers, freight, and mail. She worked as a dispatcher where she got the inspiration for her book.

Colleen Mondor Episode 20 Inspired Pilot Podcast

Freight: Dog food!

Current Flying

  • In the process of writing a book about the history of Alaska and how it influences its modern day aviation industry.
  • Planning aviation transport safety with the NTSB (National Transportation Safety Board)

Proudest Flying Moment

  • Her writings about aviation and her master’s degree which focused into the importance of safety in Alaskan aviation. Its main catalyst was the accidental and aviation-related death of a college friend.

Future Plans & Aspirations

  • Working on their aircraft-buying and leasing business and writing more material about aviation.

Best Aviation Book

The Flying North by Jean Potter is one of the best bush pilot books bar none, about flying in Alaska’s early days when a handful of pilots and mechanics set the stage for the transition from dog teams to aircraft and Alaska’s early development. A book that should be on the shelf of all those interested in aviation history (review by Cascade)

Interview Links

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