Professional Pilot Career Guide Debuts

By Robert Mark on June 15th, 2007

Most of the time I find myself constantly juggling a series of stories trying to decide which is the most important to write about here on Today though, the decision was easy.

About 10 this morning the DHL folks dropped off a box filled with my new book, a Professional Pilot Career Guide published by McGraw Hill.

It’s the second edition of the volume and a vastly expanded version of the text that speaks as a resource to anyone who has ever considered flying for a living.

Opening this kind of package around the office invoked a pretty special feeling for me. Sure my ego soared because there was a four-color cover with my name on it inside, but I think it was also about realizing that the hundreds and hundreds of hours of work it took to build this book were worth it. 

I Didn’t Write this Alone

Dozens of people helped make the book a reality, in addition to Steve Chapman at McGraw Hill and Patty Wallenburg, the lady who took piles of text and photos from me and made it all look astounding. And I can’t forget the proof readers, Marcia Baker and Paul Tyler.

Many of these people were photographers from around the world who provided some of the shots. Others were aviation professionals who gave of their time during what might have seemed like endless questions on my part about why they made aviation their career.

If you know anyone who has thought about a career as a pilot, I hope you’ll point them toward Amazon’s site where they are already taking orders.

But most important to me are the people who I acknowledged in the book. They are very much worthy of having their names repeated here. And what’s the Internet shorthand for “Round of Applause,” anyway? It certainly should follow here.

Give These Folks a Big Hand

My thanks to Bill Traub, Louis Smith, Judy Tarver, David Ball, Victor Veltze, Emmett Johnson, Vic Lipsey, Randy Johnson, Greg Brown, Mike Collins, Steve Phillips, Rich Morris, Dick Skovgaard, Bree Cox, Bob Stangarone, Mark Fairchild, Pedro Ferraz, Randy Padfield, Nigel Moll, Sean Reilly, Scott Spangler, Jan Barden, Ruth Elliott, Peter Moll, Paul Berliner, Allan Greene, Liz Clark, Andrew Ponzoni, Mark Phelps, Annmarie Yannaco, Robert Baugniet, Mike Overly, Scott Randell, David Jones, Nancy Molitor, Derek Martin, David Manning, Sark Boyajian, John Basuerman, Craig Washka, Diane Powell, Jim North, Neal Schwartz, Pete Beckmeyer, Steve Mayer, Greg Watts, Joe Siok, Warren Cleveland and Sandy Anderson.

A special thanks to the astounding photographers from the United States, Europe, Asia and Australia who provided some of the shots in this volume. They include, Nik French, Dale Boeru, Daniel Havlik, Ian Schofield, Peter Egglestone, Dean Heald, Tim Wagenknecht, Kevin Wachter, Seth Jaworski, Dan Valentine, Pan Jun, Stephen Toernblom, Curt Jans and Chris Starnes

Corporations that provided photographs and information include Cessna Aircraft Company, Gulfstream Aerospace, Embraer, FlightSafety International, Delta Connection Academy,,, Auburn University, the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association,, The U.S. Air Force, Frasca International Inc., The Boeing Company, Dassault Falcon, Sino Swearingen Corp. and Northwestern University.

Thanks to Bossard Publications/Flying Careers magazine for granting permission to reprint some of the many articles I wrote for them over the years, as well as Aviation International News for agreeing to share a few of the stories I wrote for that magazine. Thanks to Scott Spangler for his editorial on the CFI shortage reprinted by permission, (Flight Training, 1998).

Certainly this book would never have been finished without the infinite patience of my wife Nancy and daughter Abigail who tolerated my crankiness during the seemingly endless writing and editing process.

And finally, a big thanks to Amy Odwarka’s seventh-grade writing class at Haven Middle School in Evanston, Illinois for their editing expertise, with a special thanks to Molly, Sarah and Lucy.

Rob Mark

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5 Responses to “Professional Pilot Career Guide Debuts”

  1. Sean "Crash" Reilly Says:

    Captain Mark,

    Thanks for mentioning “virtual” airlines in your book. Rumor has it that the “virtual pay” isn’t so good but you can move up through the ranks very quickly, there are no union problems, your “virtual job” is secure in good and bad economic times and there is no (forced) mandatory retirement age. :-)

  2. Dave Koch Says:

    Congrats on the new book! You must be experiencing a high level of accomplishment not to mention the sense of relief that the project is finally completed.

    Now, more than ever, your book is sorely needed by anyone pursuing a career as a professional pilot. As we know, less that 1 out of every 100 people who start down the road to becoming a professional pilot makes it to that coveted left seat. They need guidance from a seasoned professional pilot like you. Thanks for helping them out.

  3. GeraldZ Says:

    I haven’t seen the book but I hope that you offer a realistic view of what a reader may be getting into: low pay ($17,000 your first year with slow increases), long hours and many, many days and nights away from home (better check with your wife first!). Oh, not to mention that your airline may cancel your vacation, wipe out your retirement in bankruptcy and then reward themselves with hefty bonuses! Ah, what a life!

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