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Hello, I was wondering how I could get in contact with a pilot specifically the ones in the tags, my school allows us to shadow people doing their job and learn on what to do when shadowing them, I am in the Memphis area and wondering how I can per say get in touch with a delta airline pilot or united for example. ?

Hello, I was wondering how I could get in contact with a pilot specifically the ones in the tags, my school allows us to shadow people doing their job and learn on what to do when shadowing them, I am in the Memphis area and wondering how I can per say get in touch with a delta airline pilot or united for example.

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Michelle’s Answer

Your aspirations of being a commercial pilot are wonderful and although I myself am not in aviation, I would like to give you some advice and things to think about.

It is my best advice to you to pursue this career. I will say that of all the shadowing opportunities, I think shadowing a commercial pilot would not be possible. The cockpit is off limits except for the pilot and co-pilot. There is a huge security risk and airlines carry enormous insurance policies because they carry and are responsible for the hundreds of passengers and the staff as well as repairs for the plane in case anything happens. It is a huge risk. So let's talk about two possible alternatives to this. Also, I am not sure why your school would discuss shadowing a commercial pilot and not give you documentation with full information as to how to go about this as this experience would be in the air with professionals who have hundreds of people's lives to keep safe.

First, although this may not be possible either, contact a manager at an airline and see if you can shadow operations on-ground at the airline. Airlines are busy places and they may be worried for your liability if any injury may happen to you during shadowing, like falling or if something falls on you, etc. Airline ground staff are required to be strictly alert, focused and observant at all times and to have someone shadowing may bring in a different element to their routine. You might be able to get an on-ground orientation but there's a chance they will explain that they do not do that. I do hope you can have that experience, though.

The second thought I had for you is that all may not be lost. I think that you need to start small with this and consider that you have not started your training or education as a pilot yet. It's just an idea, but I would try calling flight schools in your area. Tell them you'd like to shadow and see what they say. There's still that liability risk there, too. If they say they do not do that, ask if you can audit one of the classes or have an orientation of the plane, equipment and gear on-ground. It would be better than nothing and worth seeing what they say. I am not familiar with your area, however I will provide a list of flight schools for you in a link below. If there are any flight schools, small or private, closer to you call them also.

My next advice is to definitely follow through with your further education in aviation. Soon enough, you will be in flight and be in the air and experience the freedom of flying. Although you may not end up being able to shadow, going to school will bring your dream to a reality. In the meantime, keep reading up on aviation and never give up. I wish you all the best on an exciting education and fabulous career !

Michelle recommends the following next steps:

https://www.bestaviation.net/search/?s=Aviation+College+Memphis+Tennessee&z=37501 BEST AVIATION (WEBSITE) Flight Schools
Thank you comment icon Wow, thank you so much and I did read up that I couldn't shadow pilots but I'll see if I can shadow a ATP Instructor and see what the course is like because I am going to go through that course, but man I wasn't expecting this much, really means a lot!!! James
Thank you comment icon You are so very welcome, James ! Best wishes ! Michelle Marotta
Thank you comment icon Google FDX Mentor program. There should be an email address under the ALPA website Courtney Crain
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Courtney’s Answer

Michelle is absolutely correct. Unfortunately, post 9/11, the FAA does not allow non CASS members into the cockpit. Heading to a flight school, however, is a great idea. This is a rewarding field to enter that, although requires a lot of hard work and financial output, will pay itself back in droves. Since you are in Memphis, there should be many FedEx pilots who would speak with you as they are headquartered there. Google FedEx pilot union and hopefully some email addresses should pop up. You can compose an email asking for mentorship and explain who you are and what your goals are. Best of luck!
Thank you comment icon THANKS, I'll definitely try it out, have a blessed one James
Thank you comment icon Are you able to give me a link I couldn't find it? James
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Christina’s Answer

Hi James,

The best place to start would be to ask your guidance counselor and they should be able to point you in the right direction. The guidance counselor may have a connection with the airport or a specific airline willing to partner with the school. I hope this helps and that you get to meet a few pilots!
Thank you comment icon Thank you for the advice, Christina. James
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