Two nights ago around 10pm in the skies between Denver and Memphis I reached the quiet but important milestone of 1500 hours of total time operating airplanes. The flight itself is just another line in my logbook but the number is significant because it satisfies the final requisite of the only type of pilot certificate I have yet to earn; the Airline Transport Pilot certificate, or ATP. Currently an ATP is required to act in command of a commercial aircraft (i.e., sit in the left seat as captain). Recently Congress passed a law requiring an ATP of all first officers as well by August 2013. I won’t actually take my ATP checkride until my next recurrent training in a couple of months, and while the upgrade to captain is a function of seniority more than anything, meaning mine is still years away, it’s still an important milestone to me personally.
The trip I just finished was a bit more challenging than average and consequently a great learning experience. It along with this milestone got me to thinking about all of the invaluable lessons I’ve learned over the last 1500 hours. If anything, the more I learn the more I realize how much I have yet to learn. As my career progresses I find that the best pilots I work with are the ones who realize that this job means you never stop learning. Every leg, every day, every trip, both good and bad, brings something new and worthwhile to add to the bank of experience stored in your brain.
Anyway, I compiled this Google map of every single airport I’ve personally operated an aircraft into or out of over the last 8 years and 1500+ hours of flying, from my first lesson as a student, through my years as an instructor, to my most recent trips in the jet. Feel free to click through and explore. I thought it was pretty interesting and perhaps you might as well.