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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.
- 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
- Piper PA-28-161 Warrior
- Piper PA-31 Navajo
- Piper PA-44 Seminole – the closest to her heart are Piper planes because it was comfortable and where she learned how to fly.
- Mooney M20
- Grumman American AA-5
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.”
- 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.
Freight: Dog food!
- 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
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)