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Navigating the Skies: A Pilot's Journey with Tom Tallerico

Updated: May 7

The Randal Osché Podcast: Season 1 | Episode 2


Commercial airline pilot

In this week's episode, we're taking off on a fascinating journey with Tom Tallerico, a commercial airline pilot whose story is as captivating as the skies he navigates. Tom isn't just any pilot; he's someone who found his calling amid the clouds from a very young age, inspired by his father's involvement in aerospace engineering. But Tom's path wasn't a straight flight; it was filled with its share of navigational challenges, from his initial dreams of soaring in military jets to adjusting his course toward commercial aviation.


Tom opens up about the realities of life as a pilot, from the grueling schedules to the moments of sheer awe that come with seeing the world from above. His insights go beyond the cockpit, shedding light on the personal and professional choices that have shaped his career. Whether discussing the impact of 9/11 on aviation, the evolution of pilot training, or sharing tales from different corners of the globe, Tom's experiences remind is a reminder of the perseverance and passion required to succeed in this demanding field.


So buckle up as we dive into a conversation that's sure to elevate your understanding of what it means to be a pilot and perhaps inspire you to chase your own horizons. Welcome to the show, Tom.


Listen to the episode on Apple PodcastsSpotifyOvercastPodcast Index, Podcasts AddictAmazon Music, or on your favorite podcast platform.

SHOW NOTES



5 Quotes from Randall

  1. "Perception is your reality."

  2. "Communicating your needs and understanding others' perspectives is key in any relationship."

  3. "Challenges or failures should be viewed as opportunities to learn and grow."

  4. "Appreciating the nuances of different cultures can significantly enrich one's experiences."

  5. "Success often requires navigating through uncertainty and adapting to changing circumstances."

5 Quotes from Tom

  1. "I've always been into flying since I was really young."

  2. "The aviation market is kind of cyclical... a lot of it depends on the timing."

  3. "Getting comfortable with being uncomfortable was sort of how it is."

  4. "The difference between a pilot and a captain is more of a managerial position... you're managing all the different personalities."

  5. "Failure is not such a bad thing; it's really just a part of the learning process."


What was your favorite quote or lesson from this episode? Please let me know in the comments!

And that's it for today's conversation here on the Randall Osché podcast. Thank you so much for joining us and we hope that you've enjoyed listening as much as we've enjoyed recording it.


Many many thanks to our guests today for sharing their knowledge, their experience and their life lessons. If you found today's conversation insightful, interesting, inspiring, please join our growing community by subscribing. Randall Osché podcast on your favorite podcast platform, and never ever miss another episode.


 We'd love to hear your feedback. So keep the community alive by sharing your takeaways from today's episode and use the hashtag Randall O'Shea podcast. Your feedback and interaction fuels our continued efforts to build a safe space for meaningful, long form conversations. So thank you so much for the support until next time, stay curious, stay inspired and keep the conversation going.


The Randall Osché Podcast

[00:00:00] Tom: Food too, like I'm not really a foodie, I guess by the definition of I look forward to, to food. but like, I did find that once I started going overseas, I always use the analogy of like my, my first time having coffee and fruit in South America and beer in Europe was like a, like the Wizard of Oz going from black and white to color.

[00:00:19] Tom: Like I never, I mean, you've traveled. 


[00:01:27] Randall: So this week's episode, we're having a conversation with Tom Tellarico commercial airline pilot. So Tom welcome to the podcast. How are you doing today? 

[00:01:37] Tom: Hey, good, good. Thanks for having me. 

[00:01:40] Randall: Well, thanks for making the time, buddy. So I met Tom I, I don't know, I'm getting old now, but who is it?

[00:01:47] Randall: Circa 2016, 18, somewhere in there, 

[00:01:53] Tom: it was 2018, 

[00:01:55] Randall: 2018 at a networking event that I used to run and Tom was a frequent attendee of the networking event and if not, One of the most popular in attendance because of his occupation and the stories that come with his occupation.

[00:02:14] Randall: My job is probably my most popular feature that people remember. It's probably the most remarkable thing about me. 

[00:02:19] Randall: Yeah. I mean you know, in the theme of the podcast for those listeners who are new what I'm trying to accomplish is finding interesting people that do interesting things like Tom and sort of deconstructing their journey to how they got to where they're at.

[00:02:37] Randall: And, you know, some of the lessons that they learned along the way that helped them get there. Right. And I've learned a lot from Tom over the years, just because I don't, I mean, he's a wise man, of course, but I also don't know a ton of commercial airline pilots. 

[00:02:51] Tom: Which is usually the case. I'm usually people's first pilot.

[00:02:56] Randall: So I bet you, that's not the first time you said that. Yeah. So with that said I guess we'll start with,Before we get into it, you know, this doesn't just have to be about your occupation. I really want it to be you know, talking about people, individuals journey. So like today, your show you know, the overall theme would be, How you got to where you're at in your journey and lessons learned along the way and your journey doesn't have to be just relevant to commercial airline pilot, you know, some of the life decisions you made personal or professional, otherwise, just you know, I'm hopeful that.

[00:03:36] Randall: if there's listeners out there that are interested in what you do or what I do, that they stumble upon the podcast and might learn a thing or two that they would have otherwise not have. So with that said, we can take this conversation wherever you want to go, following some parameters, of course, but we'll get started with when did you think you wanted to be a pilot and how did that come about?

[00:03:59] Tom: Well, probably since as my parents uh, usually talk about since I was about two. So my father was a research engineer for an aerospace company that doesn't really exist anymore called Grumman on Long Island, New York. And Grumman's claim to fame was they made the lunar module from the Apollo days.

[00:04:17] Tom: So they also made a lot of Navy fighter jets like the most popular one is probably the F 14 in pop culture, and they were the ones who built that. So, and then when I was young, my dad was helping design an experimental aircraft called the X 29. And it was a research platform for fly by wire flight controls and a couple of different aerodynamic designs for maneuverability testing and when he was doing that for a little while, we lived out at Edwards Air Force Base in California, which is where the space shuttle used to land during the early days of the shuttle program.

[00:04:53] Tom: So, you know, when I'm at that young impressionable age I just was always around airplanes and space stuff for my father. And that's what stuck in my brain. So there were like weird little periods of my adolescence when I wanted to like, either be an NHL hockey player or something, or I was into history and wanted it to be Indiana Jones, but like, those are kind of unattainable things.

[00:05:15] Tom: And I sort of always stuck with the pilot thing. My high school I actually had a flying class that I was able to take in my junior and senior year, half of the day was spent in flying, and I would take flight lessons after school, and I stuck with it, and then I went to a big aeronautical university called Embry Riddle, and I got a degree in it.

[00:05:37] Tom: And I always wanted to be like an astronaut or a fighter pilot, but at the time in the 90s, you couldn't fly in the military with corrected vision. So I I kind of went the civilian route and became a commercial pilot. And then funny thing after 9 11 happened, and they, we went through two wars, the military realized, hey, we need more pilots, so they kind of relaxed that requirement, but I never really, at that point, my school had one of the biggest Air Force ROTC detachments in the country. One thing I had learned was that I could, they could tell me I could, if I enlist with them, I could be a pilot and then once all said and done, they could say, well, we have enough pilots.

[00:06:18] Tom: We're going to reassign you to do something else. You can be a logistics officer in Nebraska or anywhere, really ideally what I wanted to do. I'm like, well, I guess I want to kind of be more. Master of my own fate. So I sort of stuck with what I was doing and that's about it. I so that's the, the big thing.

[00:06:37] Tom: It's just something I've always been into since I was really young. 

[00:06:41] Randall: So what high school did you go to, if I can ask? Cause like my high school, you had a flying program and like we barely had a home ec program. So like, yeah, so I went 

[00:06:50] Tom: to, it was just the New York public high school in Long Island.

[00:06:53] Tom: So it was one of the bigger high schools out there in the country. but You know, people complained about the taxes that New York has, especially on Long Island. But that's kind of like what you get for it. Like we have excellent public schools. So like the little bit of primary training I had just to get my basic pilot's license was all covered by like the taxpayer money.

[00:07:17] Tom: But consequently the schools were very good, but they were also very tough. So like when I went to college and I started meeting people from other parts of the country just because of my high school background, I was able to test out of a lot of basic math classes that other kids from other parts of the country had to take that never had in a high school before.

[00:07:34] Tom: So, and for me, it was just a requirement.

[00:07:36] Randall: That's an interesting thing that's come podcast before not necessarily actually a couple of times before not necessarily your version, say, of like high school and public education is the opposite of a few of the other guests that depending on when those episodes are released, you'll be able to make this connection, but do you, I think you would say you obviously benefited from that public education and where you grew up and the public school system in place.

[00:08:05] Randall: Is that fair to say? 

[00:08:07] Tom: Yeah, yeah, absolutely. 

[00:08:08] Randall: If so by like how much? 

[00:08:10] Tom: I mean, I didn't realize it at the time. But I mean, even just say like at a financial standpoint with college, I was able to probably test out of like four or six math classes that, that other people would have had to pay to take.

[00:08:23] Tom: You know, my high school didn't just have like a flying class. Like they had like carpentry class where I, like, I remember this vividly, but every year what they would do the kids in the carpentry program we called it. So we call these classes BOCES, which I think in some other places like here in Pennsylvania, they call it VOTEC.

[00:08:40] Tom: But we just sort of, yeah. You know and it, and there was no financial requirement for this. It's just that something, if you're interested in, you could take it. But like the carpentry one I remember pretty well because like at the beginning of the year, the students would start building like a house on the, on the high school campus grounds.

[00:08:58] Tom: And then at the end of the year, the house would be finished and they'd rip it down so the next year's kids can storm over again like it. I had classes on like electronics and like how to wire like outlets and things like that and make light bulbs and like it. It was interesting stuff.

[00:09:13] Tom: It was almost very like engineering in a way. 

[00:09:16] Randall: Yeah. I like that. I like that.And to you, like, it was normal, right? Like that's wherewe now like are at different stages in our lives. We have met people from around the world and we can look back and see how like fortunate or unfortunate or just maybe not even that, but just how different, right?

[00:09:34] Randall: Like difference matters. So it's very, very cool to take a look at that. You know, I suppose be able to acknowledge that, you had an opportunity that some other folks did, and I never even thought about it. You know, I wouldn't have thought about it, but even the cost wise, right, like, since you were well educated, it saved you money, you know, going to college, cause you tested out of those classes, which saved you some bucks.

[00:10:00] Randall: Good for you. Good for you. 

[00:10:01] Tom: And you know, and the funny thing is it even gave people the opportunity of like, hey, this is kind of cool and interesting, so a lot of kids would take these sort of classes and then find out like, well, this really isn't for me. But at least you were able to I don't know, get your feet wet and something like that and then not have any real financial commitment in the sense that like flying lessons are expensive.

[00:10:22] Tom: So, if you took the time to pay for these lessons and find you're not into this, it's sort of no harm, no foul.

[00:10:28] Randall: Yeah, nobody wants to, pay to go to pilot school. Right. And then have the sunk fallacy costs of like, Oh, I got to keep doing this. Cause I already paid for it, even though I hate it.

[00:10:37] Randall: Right. Right. So like you said, you were as an adolescent, like professional hockey player. I wanted to be a professional football player. That's like kind of normal. Right. But the pilot thing stayed with you. You've obviously had a successful career doing that so far. Is it what you expected? Um, Still?

[00:10:59] Tom: Well, I think that the part that I didn't expect was to get to the level where I was. It took me a lot longer than I had wanted or hoped mainly because of two big factors that happened, and that was the September 11th terrorist attacks, which then led to a number of pilot well, number of airline bankruptcies that caused a very poor job market for us when I graduated from college that the job that I wanted to get, which is now to be flying for a major airline.

[00:11:26] Tom: It took me 16 years to get whereas now due to a lot of baby boomer generation, people retiring. There's kids going right out of college straight to the job. That took me 16 years to get. And the big lesson that I had learned, and I knew this sort of all along is that the aviation market is kind of cyclical.

[00:11:44] Tom: And a lot of it depends on the timing and that, which is really, I had nothing, there's nothing I could have done, you know, I couldn't have been born 15 years later. I mean, I had no say in that. So, I had to grind more and that's something that I kind of struggle with as far as maybe being a little bitter.

[00:12:01] Tom: It's like, man, I could have been much further along in my career if these things were sort of easier. But at the same time, I had to work a lot harder, which I think probably made me a better, better pilot.

[00:12:11] Randall: Yeah. I always think of a couple of things there that I think are um, you know, I like to sort of consolidate.

[00:12:19] Randall: I have like a running list of lessons I've learned along the way of life. Yeah. And one of the things is whatever new thing that you're trying to do, start a podcast, get a job, if you think it's going to be hard, you're right, but however hard you think it's going to be, multiply that by 10, that's the level of hard it's going to be. Like there's things that I've started and he's having conversations like this, like things that you've done.

[00:12:43] Randall: They're like, it's harder than I had anticipated. And you didn't think it was going to be easy. You thought it was going to be hard, but it's just whatever, whatever hard level you think, multiply that by at least 10 and then like, you're might be in the same ballpark. I think is something for people to understand because if you want to accomplish something, or if you have an initiative or you want to pivot in your own life you know, things aren't going to be easy.

[00:13:07] Randall: It's going to be hard. And even when they start to get hard, it's going to get harder before it gets easier. 

[00:13:13] Tom: Yeah, but kind of what I was getting at though. So when I began my career, when I finished school there was probably something like 10 pilots for every job at the time. Yeah. Yeah.

[00:13:23] Tom: It was like really bad career stagflation, and then if you could get a job, like you were making near poverty wages, like, soI had a flight instructor for 3 years just to build experience to get a job in a jet. And I knew quite a few people who got their 1st airline jobs that were making at the time, like, 18, 000 a year, if they were actually able to qualify for food stamps and like you're an airline pilot. So, and you also at the time, we spent probably over 100, 000 just on the education and training that to this came with. So that was the thing that I was like, that I didn't anticipate happening. And it's only just now reversed itself, whereas now it seems like there's 10 jobs for every pilot. So I think a lot of that came to from just the fact that the job market was so poor. That people sort of stayed away. 

[00:14:10] Randall: I could see that in that. 

[00:14:12] Randall: So, in that 16 year period, what did I know you said you for 2 or 3 years, you were a flight instructor.

[00:14:20] Randall: So what did you do for the other 13 years? Like, how did, how did you, what did you fill your time with for that 16 years? And then I suppose an important part to touch on is. If it's, better to have been flying in that time period than sitting on the couch, applying for commercial pilot jobs.

[00:14:37] Randall: So do you think that that was an opportunity? Do you think that wasbeneficial? Where were you flying? You know, just tell us a little bit about that part of your journey. 

[00:14:45] Tom: So I eventually sort of stumbled my way into charter private jets. So I flew private jets for about 13 years.

[00:14:54] Tom: And the easiest way to describe it, it was just, it was all charter based. It was like on demand flying. So it's sort of like Uber with jets where. Somebody would call a brokerage and say, Hey, I need a jet to take me from you know, Boston to anywhere. So like Boston to Akron, Ohio, and I need it in two hours, you know, so then I would be called and I'm on call to get to the airport right away.

[00:15:16] Tom: You're flying, you got to go to Boston, pick up these people, take them to Ohio. There's a snowstorm going on and we don't know when you're going to be coming back. So that was sort of life I had uh, for, 13 years, pretty much all through my mid twenties to my late thirties. And I had a one hour, I was on call with a one hour call, 24 hours a day for a long time with basically four days off a month.

[00:15:37] Tom: I kind of related to like being like when you're a doctor, like your residency or if that's when you don't have the best quality of life, but you're kind of grinding, trying to get experience to a better job. And that's sort of how the industry was designed at the time to teach or to get people kind of built up in their career and get experience.

[00:15:57] Tom: So it was sort of like, it was baptism by fire because, you know,as I would get called out to work, and like, I'm, I'm say, a brand new captain, and they're just, I've got people relying on me, and you know, they're, like I said, like, it's the middle of the night, you gotta fly in the middle of a snowstorm, and you might not be comfortable with it, but you need to figure out what to do.

[00:16:13] Tom: I was just gonna say, I'd let you fly me through a snowstorm, Tom. 

[00:16:17] Tom: Yeah, well, I'm probably better at it than the average human. I mean, just given that the average person doesn't know how to fly through that snowstorm. 

[00:16:25] Randall: Yeah. So in that time I know from our conversations prior that, you know, you would fly internationally as well on those private jets.

[00:16:35] Randall: So during that time, did you go anywhere cool, seeing any cool parts of the world or any favorite stories about your destinations? 

[00:16:45] Tom: Yeah. So honestly, I always get often get asked, what's one of my favorite place I've ever been to? And it's sort of hard to answer. It's like saying what's your favorite sunset?

[00:16:52] Tom: Like every place is cool in their own way. Well, I've been pretty much through most of the continental U. S. and I've been to like 46 States all over North America, all through Canada, good parts of the Caribbean, a little bit of South America, and maybe like a third of Europe. I went to Poland more than anywhere in Europe and I really grew to like Poland and the cool thing about flying like the corporate jets is that you don't get to go to, well, you get to go wherever you're told to go to, but you don't just go to tourist places.

[00:17:22] Tom: Like, I'm not just going to England and France or like London and France or London and Paris, you know, I would go to Poland or Strava in the Czech Republic, or Aberdeen, Scotland. You go to these weird off the wall kind of places, andprobably my favorite story to tell is, I went to Zezhiv, Poland more than anywhere, so the client I used to fly for was a steel company that had a, they bought a steel plant in between Zezhiv and Krakow Poland.

[00:17:51] Tom: So we started flying there a lot, and I was there probably like six times a year for a good three years. I was there often enough that I actually tried to learn Polish, and that's quite a daunting language to learn. And I eventually figured out that it wasn't really worth the energy, because there's something probably like 40 million Polish speakers on the planet, and most of them know English anyway.

[00:18:14] Tom: So to spend the energy to learn a new language, there's probably more useful ones to pick, but so I'm going over there and I got, at the time, I really dove into learning new cultures and trying new things and meeting different people and I got into something, which I don't even know if it exists anymore as a website, but it was called couchsurfing and uh, 

[00:18:36] Randall: yeah, I think it does exist.

[00:18:39] Tom: Yeah, it's sort of like an Airbnb thing, but instead of like trying to rent a home, you know, as a bed and breakfast, you're basically looking it caters to the cliche European backpacker. It's like, you're basically just trying to find someone who will let you sleep on their couch for the night, and then you carry on your way.

[00:18:55] Tom: And I don't think there's any like monetary business sense to it. It was sort of a crowdsourced kind of grassroots thing. Anyway, so I get into this website and I just describe myself as, Hey, I'm a pilot from America. I don't need anywhere to stay. I just want to meet locals to have a beer with and like, learn about your culture kind of thing.

[00:19:14] Tom: So, I post that in the forum for this town in Poland, Little did I know that the town actually has a big university that caters to training. When I posted that out there, this like college age kid replied back to me and it's in his thick and I always say that read it in his thick Polish accent and and he goes, Tom.

[00:19:34] Tom: You pilots from America, I've studied to be pilots. I would like to learn more about your career. I take you out for beer. And I'm like, all right, whatever. So I fly over to Poland. I'm there for a couple of days and we wind up meeting up. The day before we were supposed to meet, he messages me and he goes, Hey, Tom, do you mind if some of my colleagues from college come to meet with you and I'm like, whatever, like, so it winds up being that like six of these guys all kind of come and I'm like the star attraction here, which I didn't really know what to do with.

[00:20:06] Tom: So we need that, like, this is like the early days too of microbreweries being, so we needed some kind of brewery in Poland and which I think is wild, like, I never would have thought in my life that, here I am in Poland, meeting with college kids, having beer we have a good time talking.

[00:20:22] Tom: I remain in touch with this person. His name is Igor. And as I flew back later on. As time went on, I would say, Hey, Igor, I'm coming back into town. You want to go get a beer? I'll be there like 36 hours. And he's like, Oh yeah, sure. Tom, I pick you up. So I'll fly over there, go to sleep, wake up kind of relaxed.

[00:20:39] Tom: And he'll pick me up and we would go to that same brewery. And I'm trying to learn Polish and I'm like stumbling my way through ordering a beer in Polish and the waitress is laughing at me, who's also wearing like a dirndl, you know, if you think of like the St. Polly's girl or Oktoberfest kind of thing, and then my buddy's laughing at me and then he finally goes, Tom.

[00:21:01] Tom: And I'm like jet lagged. I'm exhausted. And he goes, Tom, I cannot believe that you called me two days ago from America and said, Hey, I'm going to be in Poland tomorrow. Let's go get beer. And here you are ordering beer and it's no big deal to you. And I'm like, yeah, that's kind of what the, how the job becomes.

[00:21:16] Tom: It's pretty cool. There's not too many people that can do that. And it becomes your 

[00:21:22] Tom: normal. And then I would fly back to my little town in Pennsylvania that I lived in. And they're like, you know, the people in here are like, Tom, I haven't seen you in a few days.

[00:21:31] Tom: How's it going? I'm like, all right. They just got back from Poland. And then they're like, they would then say to me, like, Tom, you say that, like, you just came back fromlike Ohio. Like, I'm like, yeah, I don't know. You know, it just, it be kind of becomes my normal. So. 

[00:21:44] Randall: Yeah. Very cool. What is training to be a pilot the same everywhere? What did Igor, right? Igor was his name. Like, what was, what was the training for him, in Poland to become a pilot? 

[00:21:57] Tom: So, Europe,the rest of the world does this a little bit differently than America. In that for them, once he graduated from college, he had his basic licenses and then he got an airline to hire him where he became an apprentice almost, is the best way to describe it.

[00:22:15] Tom: So he was like an apprentice pilot for the airline and they would develop him, whereas in the United States, with a lot of things, it's more business. -oriented versus sort of people oriented. So in my case, I had to go on my own and kind of build this experience. And then the airline would then be like, okay, you've already got your experience. That's the biggest difference. So, whereas he was able to get on with an airline almost right out of college, it took me a good solid 3 years of working. To find someone who would hire me to then fly, you know, bigger aircraft and a lot of it was like, I had to go out and rent an airplane with whatever disposable money I had to sort of build my own experience.

[00:23:00] Tom: It's sort of a cliche if we want you to be experienced, but. We're only going to hire you with your experience, but in order to get the experience, you need to get a job. So like, 

[00:23:09] Randall: yeah, chicken and the egg. 

[00:23:11] Tom: Right. 

[00:23:12] Randall: So I think that there was obviously some positives and negatives to your experience and then comparing and contrasting that with like Igor's which model do you think might have been more advantageous or would you have preferred, or which one you think creates better pilots?

[00:23:28] Tom: You know, it's hard to say I guess in my perspective, it was like, when I was at that level, I would have preferred what Igor went through, but now I imagine that's, it's quite stressful for the captain who has to train this brown person. So, as a captain of a jet, I'd rather it be the way the United States is, that way you get the experience.

[00:23:48] Tom: Things like that, but yeah, I would say that, that what we do in America, in the U S gives you a more well rounded career that makes you better decision making and critical thinking because you, you kind of get forced into situations that like, how am I going to get out of this sort of scenario?

[00:24:07] Tom: How do I make this work? That proverbial again, I'm flying in a snowstorm in the middle of the night thing. 

[00:24:11] Randall: Yeah. How confident were you when you got into the plane in Boston, you had to fly into the snow storm to Ohio. Were you like, Oh, not very. I was, I, 

[00:24:20] Tom: I, yeah, I was a very nervous wreck.

[00:24:22] Tom: It took a long time for me to really just sort of get confident with that. But a lot of that I think comes and then once you start teaching it, that's when you really start building it up. 

[00:24:33] Randall: I was going to ask how did you go from being a nervous wreck in those scenarios?

[00:24:38] Randall: You obviously the plane's allowed to takeoff, so I imagine that they're deeming it safe enough, right? Somebody is deeming it safe enough for you to fly. Right. And then I deem it safe 

[00:24:48] Tom: enough for us to fly. 

[00:24:50] Randall: You know, but you've got to get comfortable with that, right? Cause they're not ideal conditions.

[00:24:55] Randall: If you're waiting for ideal conditions, I imagine you'd only be able to fly like,10%, 25 percent of the year. Right. What did you do to get more comfortable in those uncomfortable situations?

[00:25:06] Tom: I think in my case, it was like getting comfortable with being uncomfortable was sort of how it is and we train constantly over time, like, as you're doing this over and over.

[00:25:18] Tom: I mean, think about when you were a brand new driver, you were probably a nervous wreck driving somewhere, then sure enough, after doing this for years, it almost becomes muscle memory that you don't even think about, you know, it's sort of that same effect isn't theresome saying that, in order to master something, it takes you 10, 000 hours right?

[00:25:37] Tom: So it's just something you develop over time and 

[00:25:39] Tom: you get 

[00:25:40] Tom: comfortable with it. 

[00:25:41] Randall: I think the guy's name is like Eric Erickson who did the 10, 000 hour study and it's you in order to become a master at something, you got to at least invest 10, 000 hours into like that deliberate activity, right?

[00:25:55] Randall: Like, yeah. And I could tell you 

[00:25:57] Tom: exactly right now. So I have to keep track of all of my flight time. And since my very first flight in like probably what, 1998. I have exactly 7, 505 hours of flight experience, so. 

[00:26:12] Randall: Just like flying, flying time. Yeah. Yeah. Phenomenal. 

[00:26:16] AI: Let's take a quick break from today's episode.

[00:26:19] AI: If you're enjoying the conversation, please take a moment to look us up. You can find Randall on Instagram at Randall O'Shea, that's spelled O'Shea. At R A N D A L L O S C H E, and you can catch the show notes and other resources at randoloshay. com. And now back to the episode. 

[00:26:41] Randall: So when was the first time you were flying a plane within a structure, I guess, I suppose it would have been within a structure.

[00:26:47] Randall: When was the first time you had the controls in your hand? 

[00:26:50] Tom: Oh, it was your very first flight. Ah. 

[00:26:52] Randall: Yes. I mean, you were in high school, right? So where is that 16, 18 years old? 

[00:26:56] Tom: Yeah, I took a couple of lessons. I wouldn't even say there were lessons, butmy father had coworkers who happened to have a, basic pilot's license.

[00:27:04] Tom: And once I started developing this, they were like, Hey, go fly the plane with him and see what you think. And sure enough, I immediately got airsick. So that was another fun fact about me that actually had to get over getting airsick because when you're doing all maneuvers in a light aircraft, it's sort of like flying in a golf cart on a bumpy road.

[00:27:21] Tom: Yeah. But when I started taking actual flying lessons, I was. We're probably 16 or 17, so I was actually hadn't even learned to drive yet when I started and that's very common to a lot of us, sort of, they're taking the lessons before we learn how to drive. 

[00:27:35] Randall: Yeah. 

[00:27:35] Tom: And a fun fact that that is so an aircraft on the ground at least with light aircraft, we actually steer it with our feet.

[00:27:42] Tom: So you hit the left, there's rudder pedals, right? And you hit the left pedal. So it's going to be probably be mirrored, mirrored imaged on the screen. But if I go like that to go left and I go like that to go, right. So when I first started taking driving lessons, I hop in the car and I like just from the muscle memory, I threw my left foot on the brake and my right foot on the driver.

[00:28:02] Tom: Like I didn't hit anything and it's just the driving instructor looks at me and he's like, what are you doing? And I'm like, ah, and he's like, did you drive a stick or something before? And I was just like, I didn't want to get into that. So I was like, yeah, something like that. And then I quickly changed my foot position, but like, it just, you know, when I must, like I just jumped in the car and my feet instinctively just went to the pedals like that.

[00:28:21] Randall: I love it. What would you say? Since we're sort of focused on your career here I'll ask the question, two ways. What's the most pivotal moment in your professional pilots, piloting career, right? From private to commercial, what would you say, you know, put you in the direction where like you were happiest or had the most work satisfaction or had the best colleagues?

[00:28:47] Randall: Like what was the most pivotal moment? you could identify in your career thus far. 

[00:28:53] Tom: It was probably two. So when I first started flying, when I first got hired to fly jets it was probably the one. And that was when I when I got trained on how to fly a jet. In the simulator, and then I got my airline transport pilot license and those guys that I worked with basically trained me to one fly jet and then how to kind of be a captain.

[00:29:12] Tom: And then the other big pivotal moment, and the greatest group of people I work with now is at the airline. And coincidentally, those people from that 1st job that helped to train me on to fly a jet are now at the airline with me. So I get to see them again. . But it's probably at the airline is the biggest, probably the most professional environment when you meet it's the greatest group of people.

[00:29:32] Tom: You need all kinds of people. So I'm like. We have an airline, you say, we're all a number, like, we all have like a seniority number, and that's how I'm identified at the airline, because I'm one of 5, 000 plus pilots, so every week I'm flying with somebody new you meet so many new people between the flight attendants and gate agents and pilots, and as you get to know them, like, they're all from different parts of the country and have different backgrounds, and so you really get to grow, I think, as a human based on like all of these people I meet.

[00:30:01] Tom: So 

[00:30:02] Randall: very cool. I had a follow up question, but I think you said you had two things. So do you want to say the other thing or do you want me to ask the question? 

[00:30:10] Tom: I'll ask the question. 

[00:30:11] Randall: I should ask this earlier, but I'm just assuming that your pilot and I know what a pilot does.

[00:30:17] Randall: But I interviewed an executive chef before and I've cooked in restaurants, but like, I don't necessarily know what an executive chef does. So I asked him to kind of go through like his week and what that looks like. I'm just thinking you sitin a plane, a flight, but there's a lot more that goes into it than that.

[00:30:33] Randall: I'm just now starting to realize. So my question would be One, what does say a week in the life of a commercial airline pilot look like? And then the other thing I just thought of that I think you've made reference to it a few different times that I'm starting to understand that there's a difference between being a pilot and being a captain.

[00:30:52] Randall: So if you could just sort of talk about what a week as a commercial airline pilot looks like. And then maybe just distinguish for us, what do you mean by captain as opposed to like, maybe we just all think of a pilot, how does that work? 

[00:31:04] Tom: So we'll start with what my week looks like.

[00:31:06] Tom: So the 1st thing and I get a lot of grief from this from my girlfriend is that we don't have a normal nine to five kind of life at the airline, for instance, usually I have anywhere between 15 to 20 days off a month. So you kind of work half the month and you get the other half off, but you don't have to be that way.

[00:31:25] Tom: So you could, you could pick up overtime. You can work more if you want to. We get paid by the hour. I think, I think like an airline pilot is the highest paid hourly employee on the planet, but we only get paid during one specific time period. And that is from when the main cabin door shuts at the gate before we push back off the terminal to when we park and open the door again.

[00:31:48] Tom: So that's the only time we get paid. So as a result, our hourly pay is really high, but I don't technically work. A lot of hours. So usually I'm working somewhere between 80 and 100 hours a month, but that's sort of on the, on the book kind of work that are being paid. There's a lot of times where I'm doing other things that I have to maintain just to keep my qualifications and currency.

[00:32:09] Tom: And like, if we get delayed and say, we're sitting at the gate delayed with the door open. The main cabin door. I'm not getting paid. How my week sort of looks it sort of depends on what airplane you fly and what kind of routes you do. So like right now, I do a lot of regional flying along the east coast.

[00:32:25] Tom: So it's a lot of short flights. But my day consists of a lot of legs whereas if I flew one big long flight, that would be my whole day. Then you would lay over somewhere, then you do that big long flight back, like, let's say if I did mostly trans cons, I would fly all day from like New York to California, which would take the better part of almost 10 hours.

[00:32:45] Tom: Between pre flighting and prepping the plane and getting weather briefed and briefing the flight crew then you would spend a day there and then kind of fly back. So in my case, 'cause I'm doing regional flying for the airline, it's a lot of I do anywhere between two to four flights a day for six days in a row.

[00:33:04] Tom: Then I'll have a week off. So at the end of about a week, I probably did 27 flights. Give or take, 

[00:33:09] Randall: How do you feel after like, a week of working like that? Is it, oh, 

[00:33:14] Tom: completely overstimulated. I mean, I don't, yeah. 

[00:33:16] Randall: Overstimulated. I've 

[00:33:16] Tom: overstimulated and exhausted, you know? If you think about how the average person sort of feels after doing one flight in the chaos of an airport, imagine doing it.

[00:33:24] Tom: Yeah. To that extent, right? So by the time I'm done. I just sort of want to sit somewhere being silenced for a little while, but 

[00:33:33] Randall: yeah, I feel you. I mean, I don't fly planes for a career, but after a work week, that's about where I'm at. So I can only imagine flying and airports. So, getting back to like the hours thing, you said it that like you do it technically don't start getting paid, but that doesn't really mean where the work begins. I mean, you, if you think as a passenger getting to the airport, like that's an ordeal and then you got to go through security as well. And then you got to get to the gate and I'm sure you got to do pre flight stuff.

[00:34:00] Randall: And I mean, that's already hours of your day, right? 

[00:34:03] Tom: Right. Right. Not to mention there's a lot of continuing education I got to do at home. There's a lot of studies, a lot of like looking at the weather. I mean, I'm expected to just sort of know the manuals of this plane inside and out, and these manuals are, you know, like, like this thick, so you're constantly kind of looking things up.

[00:34:20] Tom: And when you go through training they basically, they don't teach you everything. They just sort of teach you enough to get by and how to navigate all of this information. And then you're kind of on your own to master it. Yeah, if you, you know, it's a lot of practice. Like if you think of like someone like learning a piano, right?

[00:34:36] Tom: Like how much time are you spent with an instructor versus how much time are you just on your own practicing? 

[00:34:41] Randall: Right. 

[00:34:41] Tom: Professional athletes too. I don't really get paid for it, but I'm expected to know. 

[00:34:45] Randall: Yeah. Like professional athletes. Do you think of you think of football players? They practice all week to play for what, three hours on the Sunday, 

[00:34:52] Tom: right?

[00:34:53] Tom: Right. 

[00:34:53] Randall: Yeah. 

[00:34:53] Tom: Or even think of like an Olympic athlete, right? Like how much of their time is spent to prepare to run a hundred meter dash once every four years in the Olympics. Yeah, 

[00:35:04] Randall: which is like under 11 seconds, right? 

[00:35:07] Tom: Yeah. Right. So getting back to your other question, that's a different, yeah, the 

[00:35:10] Randall: captain.

[00:35:11] Tom: So like once you become a captain versus a pilot, so as a pilot, you're just sort of expected to master flying said airplane, but a captain is more of a managerial position at this point where you're totally in charge of the airplane and you have to manage people. You're in charge of the flight attendance and you're in charge of the successful completion of the flight.

[00:35:31] Tom: You're the sole responsibility of everything. You're at that point, you're no longer just like, in the car sort of steering, you know, you're managerial almost. You're managing all the different personalities of people. If you have like a medical problem, you got to kind of know what to do with that.

[00:35:46] Tom: You're ultimately the decision maker of the flight. Whereas like right now I'm a first officer again. So I'm sort of the second in command of the flight, like an assistant manager. I can hold captain with my seniority, but I kind of don't want to, cause I just don't want to deal with that again.

[00:36:00] Tom: I sort of wanted to kind of decompress.

[00:36:03] Tom: So as a 1st officer, I'm more of just, I'm like, I just got to worry about flying the airplane and not to not dealing with personality conflicts of all the different flight attendants versus the passengers complaints and something the gate agent is trying to make me do. 

[00:36:15] Randall: Yeah, so the captain would be like a leadership role and you probably, I'm guessing that you don't necessarily do like the annual reviews of the flight attendants, but you are the person responsible for the flight and everything, all the decisions. That have to be made right? Yeah. 

[00:36:33] Tom: And so ultimately, like, let's say, if we had an irate customer or an irate passenger, something that's causing a disruption, and then the flight attendant doesn't really is had enough with it.

[00:36:43] Tom: They want the person kicked off. They then come to the captain and the captain has to decide, is this really worth kicking a person off or is this just like a flight attendant having a bad day and wants to just ill tempered and wants to take this out on somebody or, you know, and that ultimately has to make that decision and then answer for it.

[00:37:01] Tom: So, 

[00:37:01] Randall: Tom, I hope you have a good answer for me on my next question because I want to get some clickbait out of this. Hopefully it has ever happened. Have you ever had to kick somebody off a plane? If you can talk about it, 

[00:37:12] Tom: I've had it happen, but again, I wasn't in charge, so I've I wasn't really involved.

[00:37:19] Tom: That was usually when something like that happens. So as the first officer role, and when the captain has to start dealing with that, it's my job to just keep the airplane doing what it's got to do. So I just worry about flying and. He's now he or she is now dealing with that and I'm like, Hey, I'll worry about this.

[00:37:37] Tom: You go handle that. A lot of times too, I mean, they'll get removed before I even, you know, we even knew what what was going on. So it's usually just somebody's drunk. It's had too much to drink in the airport terminal waiting and you can't have, you know, you're not allowed to be drunk on a passenger flight.

[00:37:53] Randall: Yeah, so maybe in the future you're gonna have to, right? Mm hmm. 

[00:37:58] Randall: You had mentioned again, I'm not necessarily I'm concerned with everything right? So like when I think of you know, my life or Tom's, I suppose it's not very siloed, you know, I think of what I do for a profession is part of me, but there's a lot of other parts to me as well.

[00:38:17] Randall: And Tom was talking about his work schedule and then his relationship with his girlfriend. I would be curious to know if you're comfortable talking about it. Like how does, since it is sort of an untraditional work schedule, work week how do you two make the most of that and make it work for both of you?

[00:38:36] Randall: Like what sort of accommodations or compromises or conversations might you have had to figure it out? 

[00:38:42] Tom: Well usually the real big, probably the biggest key is just communication and trust. You know, you're not at home a lot and when I was dating, you know, I put it up front there and like, look, this is kind of what my life entails.

[00:38:53] Tom: I just, are you okay with that? You know? Yeah. Yeah. 1 of the big questions that always comes up is uh, with people was always like, pilots have girls in every port kind of thing that cliche, which is really not. So when my girlfriend first met me, she thought like all pilots were glamorous and there's big glamorous lifestyle, like staying at hotels.

[00:39:13] Tom: And it's like, I'm Leonardo DiCaprio with 6 flight attendants, like, on my arm. So when she started flying with me and realize, when. You know, we would travel together and I point out all the pilots. I'm like, so you look like most of them are kind of fat slobs, like barely can tuck their shirt in.

[00:39:28] Tom: It's not what you think. And then the hotels, we're not like in luxury hotels, you know, in places. So, and a lot of times, like my layovers are like, you know, Sometimes you can get good ones, but most of the time it's like I'm spending like 15 hours in somewhere like Syracuse in the winter when it's four degrees and it's snowing.

[00:39:46] Tom: You know, and what also helped a lot too is just being able to video chat and talk and text whenever. And, I imagine that that kind of lifestyle is much harder for people, like say before the internet and global communication is now. I

[00:40:01] Randall: think it certainly has made it easier. I think, you know, communication is key.

[00:40:04] Randall: I think with a lot of things in life that I think a lot of people professional or personally, or otherwise think that have this expectation that because I have this thought that somebody else has that same thought as well, but like, that's not how the world works, right? Your perception is your reality.

[00:40:22] Randall: My perception is my reality. And we have to know. That the other person that might not be thinking that. So 

[00:40:28] Tom: right. 

[00:40:28] Randall: And then 

[00:40:29] Tom: the other thing too, if you have the right mindset for this, the work lifestyle required for this is actually kind of. Beneficial to a relationship because it allows you to have time apart and kind of take a break from one another in a way.

[00:40:42] Tom: You're not always always around. So I 

[00:40:45] Randall: think 

[00:40:45] Tom: that's valuable. 

[00:40:47] Randall: Like, I don't know if I'm not a relationship or dating expert by any means. But I think that having time apart is healthy and like other people or other, I see other relationship. And I guess everybody's different too.

[00:41:01] Randall: Like perception is your reality is that might work for other people. I don't think that that works for me to be, with my girlfriend, with my partner. Like 24 seven, right? At the end of a long week in order for me to sort of decompress and recharge my batteries, just give me some, you know, a quiet place and a book and some sunshine and I'm a happy person, but I think that, and I guess maybe the other thing too, not the ramble is knowing what works best for you and knowing what works best for her and being able to communicate that, right?

[00:41:32] Tom: Right. I want to go back to flying internationally again. So I'm kind of working towards that.My fleet, they're retiring my aircraft. So I get to kind of pick what I want to do next. And I put my request in and I'm waiting to get that result back. So then I have to, if I get what I want, I've got to re qualify on a new airplane, which means I have to spend like 6 weeks in a simulator and

[00:41:53] Tom: do a bunch of other things. So that's sort of in the short term. I don't know about long term. I suppose I would like to ultimately, I guess, become an airline captain again.

[00:42:01] Tom: And then that's the other thing I'm sort of now, like, trying to figure out what to do with myself is that I spent my entire, like, young adulthood life trying to achieve this job. So I'm sort of like, well, now what do I do? And like, after, like you know, there. Yeah, so 

[00:42:16] Randall: good luck on the international.

[00:42:18] Randall: What's the number one thing when you get to travel fly international again? What's the number one thing that you're looking forward to again? 

[00:42:27] Tom: Oh the cultures of different cities, I love museums. I'm a big museum nerd. So. Getting to learn the history of all these different places again.

[00:42:35] Tom: I love that. I love that. Food, too. Like, I'm not really a foodie, I guess, by the definition of I look forward to food. But, like, once I started going overseas, I always use the analogy of, like, my first time having coffee and fruit in, South America and beer in Europe. Was like that wizard of Oz going from black and white to color.

[00:42:56] Tom: Like I never, I mean, you've traveled, so, you know, you know what I'm getting at, like how different food tastes. And then coming back to America was just not like everything just didn't taste right. 

[00:43:06] Randall: I don't want to leave you here, but I was going to ask, you said different, but do you mean better or do you mean different things taste better?

[00:43:13] Tom: Yeah. Yeah. Vibrant, you know, bright, I guess it's, 

[00:43:17] Randall: I had a strawberry in Madrid once and I was like, this is the best strawberry I've ever had in my life. And the person I was with, she was like, what do you mean? This is, I've had better strawberries than this. I was like, come to the States and have the strawberries there, then you'll know what I'm talking about.

[00:43:34] Randall: It looks like a strawberry, but it doesn't taste like a strawberry. The way this tastes right. And 

[00:43:38] Tom: that's exactly it. And like, I had like a chicken sandwich at some place and like the chicken, it was like, Oh my God, like this tastes like a Thanksgiving turkey. It's like, I went out and caught the bird myself, you know?

[00:43:48] Tom: And it was that fresh. I'd even had pizza hut in Poland that I'm like, all right. Then I was sort of like, ah, I guess I'm like, all right, Not a lot of options at the moment. I'll try this. And I'm like, wow, this is evenlike better, just have better food standards, you know?

[00:44:03] Tom: Well, 

[00:44:04] Randall: yeah, I've learned over the last year, cause I've made a couple, I've traveled more internationally the last 18 months or so than I had previously. But there's food ingredients in the States that is banned in the EU. Like there's an ingredient that we commonly use in red. In most other 

[00:44:21] Tom: places.

[00:44:21] Tom: Yeah. Yeah. 

[00:44:22] Randall: Yeah, 

[00:44:22] Tom: yeah, a lot of it's like I don't know if it's the fructose corn syrup thing But I know a lot of the preservatives that we do like they they're not allowed to have 

[00:44:31] Randall: is right Mexican coke like is real sugar and we use high fructose corn syrup.I don't drink soda or pop, I guess, however you want to say it.

[00:44:42] Randall: And I don't eat fast food, but only fast food because it makes me feel terrible because it's terrible food. But I just saw another, like to your story about dominoes or pizza hut, one of those chains and in Poland that the food is different. I just assumed it would be the same.

[00:44:56] Randall: Like, McDonald's here is McDonald's everywhere. But I saw a YouTube video, they were making, gourmet hamburgers in, McDonald's in Spain somewhere. And it was, like, prosciutto and eggs on it. I was like, what? What? So maybe I'll have to look into that my next trip abroad.

[00:45:14] Tom: Yeah, and honestly, McDonald's, specifically, they're different from different regions of the United States, so, I've been to McDonald's in Canada, and you can get poutine, you know, there, there's regional differences.I've seen the McLobster Roll in, in New England. Is another one Shamrock Shakes, we didn't have those in New York, so that was until I moved to Pennsylvania that I even heard of this.

[00:45:37] Tom: But now I think now they're nationwide, but there's a weird little things like that. 

[00:45:42] Randall: Yeah. Yeah. I'll have to expand my fast food intelligence. 

[00:45:46] Tom: I'm sort of similar in a sense. Like I'm going to drink soda for the longest time, but my job sadly is sort of reintroduced these sort of bad habits to me because sometimes at an airport, that's all you can get.

[00:45:56] Randall: So let me get your advice on this. Airport food is the worst. Typically, like every once in a while you can get some fresh food or some certain airports have like better restaurants than other airports. But in my experience, they're few and far between. Do you have any travel tricks or hacks?

[00:46:15] Randall: For getting good food, either tasty food or healthy food is what I mean by good food in an airport. Like, what's your go to sort of scenario look like? Are you just a take what you can get person, or?

[00:46:30] Tom: I mostly take what I can get, but if I have the opportunity, I think, well, So, I don't know if people realize, too, like, you can, you can bring your own food so if you can brown bag it, as long as it's not liquid, like, you can't bring liquids through security.

[00:46:43] Tom: I can, but the, food, if you can, you can bring apples or whatever. Fresh food from home is the first thing. Otherwise, if you're not like I, I try to go to a lot of like if some of those like new stands that cuts and that's a new, you can get bananas and things like, I try to as much of that as I can, like bags of pistachios or almonds that are salted.

[00:47:05] Tom: Yeah there is. One thing I'm starting to see more and more in airports, it's called Farm Fresh. I don't know if you ever heard of that or saw that. It's like a vending machine of salads that sort of, yeah, and like fresh food. It's actually 

[00:47:20] Randall: kind of counterintuitive when you say fresh food and vending machine, but I know what you're talking about.

[00:47:26] Tom: Yeah, I don't know how much it's replenished, but I mean, it looks like real food, so. 

[00:47:30] Randall: Yeah, I'm sure there's a lot of turnover with it in an airport just because there's so many people I also, I did start to, I'm a pretty snobbish as you, you might have gathered about the type of food I put in my body.

[00:47:43] Randall: But I have for years I take my own snacks, like on trips I'll take RX bars and nuts and, you know, chomp sticks and things like that with me. I've had my bag searched for it because it's like organic matter and they can't necessarily tell what it is. So like, I'd be like, Oh, it's here's Randall's giant bag of snacks for his trip for two weeks.

[00:48:04] Tom: Yeah, that, that, that could be more of a problem when you go overseas because of immigration. Yeah, well, 

[00:48:13] Randall: yeah, let's not tell them because that's, yeah, So question for you. I haven't heard this recent on my like first couple of trips to Europe. I remember like the pilot coming on and giving us like a piece of paper and saying like, I don't remember maybe like, what's your intention of staying here or like, are you bringing any food with you or whatever?

[00:48:36] Randall: And I never knew what that was. General 

[00:48:38] Tom: deck relation. Yeah. Gen deck. 

[00:48:40] Randall: What, what is that for? And on my recent flights, that hasn't been like brought to my attention. Is that something that they stopped doing or am I supposed to be doing it? No, they still do it. 

[00:48:51] Tom: So that's for customs.

[00:48:53] Tom: So you're filling out Gendex for for customs. So it's nothing to do with the pilots. We don't care. It's just we just hand you this form. And then you're supposed to bring it to customs when you enter a new country and say, this is what I'm doing here. I'm not smuggling in money or drugs. you're not bringing in say unpackaged meats or vegetables, which can have bugs that could cause you know, problems.

[00:49:16] Tom: Like there's a Simpsons episode of when Bart brought a bullfrog to Australia and like decimated all of the farms in Australia because of his bullfrog. I've seen a lot of times where the customs agents are just sort of waxing. They're just like, whatever. And they don't even bother to look.

[00:49:30] Tom: At this, at this form that you just filled out. 

[00:49:33] Randall: I haven't I don't remember. I mean, I've had maybe in the past year, a couple of different flights internationally, and I haven't had them come on and say it. So just curious, but Tom, I want to be respectful of your time. It's been a great conversation.

[00:49:49] Randall: I do want to get to these rapid fire questions. So what's been the most influential book you've ever read?

[00:49:55] Tom: I've read a lot of books. Oh uh, probably For my career wise, I would say I've read so many books. It's hard to pick one. It's like picking my favorite destination. Right? Yeah. North star over my shoulder was a fun one. It's a memoirs of an airline pilot. Probably like the right stuff for first man on the moon, which is the stories of the Apollo astronauts.

[00:50:16] Tom: Okay. 

[00:50:17] Randall: Yeah. Any book that you read prior to becoming a pilot that you were like, this is why I want to become a pilot? 

[00:50:24] Tom: Again, probably The Right Stuff, you know. 

[00:50:26] Randall: The Right Stuff? 

[00:50:27] Tom: Oh, 

[00:50:27] Randall: yeah. 

[00:50:28] Tom: Yeah. Which was made into a movie in the 80s. It's about the Mercury astronauts. So awesome, I 

[00:50:34] Randall: would 

[00:50:35] Tom: say less than a book. It was more of there was a movie, you know, Top Gun was very intellectual in my life.

[00:50:40] Tom: I probably have watched that that original Top Gun so many hundreds of times that, you know, before on demand TV and things I would just I had like, I taped it off of like,channel 11 the WB, with commercials and everything in it in the 80s, I would watch this over and over and over. So much so that I could start quoting it, like 

[00:50:58] Randall: My older siblingshad the the tape.

[00:51:01] Randall: Like the, yeah, the cassette, the VHS tape cassette. Yeah. Well, the cassette tape, the art, the soundtrack. So then the soundtrack, and I 

[00:51:09] Tom: listened to that constantly too. I thought it was, I thought it was so cool. I was very impressed with myself. 

[00:51:15] Randall: Did you watch the new Top Gun? 

[00:51:16] Tom: I did, yeah, several times.

[00:51:19] Tom: Are you a fan? Yeah, yeah, it's good. There's one scene, though, that I'm not a fan of, and it has nothing to do with flying, or the accuracy of flying. It's one of those movies, too, where you have to suspend disbelief a little bit, right? And the sequel was very much an homage to the original, and the one scene that makes no sense to me is when they're playing, like, touch football on the beach, and it's because they're, they're doing this in jeans.

[00:51:44] Tom: Like, nobody wants to be runnin around in wet, like, saltwater jeans with stains. Like, why were they in jeans? Yeah, sweaty wet jeans, like who, with like sand in them, like who, who, no one wants, like why did they have to be in jeans in this scene, like that makes no sense. 

[00:52:05] Randall: yeah, that's funny.

[00:52:07] Randall: Did you said homage I'm trying to think of the volleyball scene from the original one, was he playing in jeans? He played in 

[00:52:14] Tom: jeans, yeah. 

[00:52:15] Randall: I think it 

[00:52:17] Tom: was trying to trying to get back to that again like that, 

[00:52:20] Randall: but what do you think it's better or worse than the original? 

[00:52:24] Tom: Oh, just different. I think it's, it's not as it's just different.

[00:52:28] Tom: It's probably a little bit more grown up and adult. The original one that can be rewatch it now. It's almost like childish in a sense. it's cheesy as I guess what I'm getting at, whereas this isn't quite as cheesy as the second one. 

[00:52:43] Randall: I think that's what most like a lot of things like cinema has the quality of acting and everything like that.

[00:52:48] Tom: But I think the original is better in some respects of just there's no CGI. It was all like done. And the current one is a lot of Actual footage of jets and everything, but 

[00:53:00] Randall: I would say different to I'm not a pilot, but like, in my opinion, both good movies, but different, different between the first one. The second one. What's been your favorite investment that you've ever made? Big or small? 

[00:53:13] Tom: I guess in a whimsical way, I have a fancy pilot watch. Oh, okay. Yeah, it's a Rolex GMT master, which is I think you've known about this before. There was a weird, crazy, fun goal of mine.

[00:53:25] Tom: Yeah. A life goal of mine is to get a, a crazy pilot watch, which are completely irrelevant in these days and age. I mean, and given the fact most people don't really use watches anymore, but it goes back to a time when we had to navigate with paper charts and sextons in an airplane. And we needed to have accurate clocks to do navigation work with.

[00:53:43] Tom: So this watch was developed by Rolex. It was a joint venture with Pan Am. It was one of the first watches that could tell time in two time zones at once. It was at the beginnings of the jet age. So it has two hour hands on it, which is sort of fun.

[00:53:56] Randall: Yeah, it's it's and you have to be like mindful of it rapid fire questions. I promise we're going to get through this. We'll just, we'll get to this last one. Last two what's your favorite failure you've ever had? 

[00:54:09] Tom: I don't know how to answer that really. I guess

[00:54:11] Randall: I can tell you, I can tell you, I can tell you mine. Okay. So my favorite failure, I had invested a significant amount of time, energy and effort at a point in time in my career to get a job that I thought I really wanted. And then upon getting that job was a promotion of sorts and it paid me significantly more money.

[00:54:33] Randall: But once I got the job, I realized it wasn't what I had thought it would be. And then I ended up having to leave that position. And at the time I was thinking, well, like this kind of sucks, but forward looking a little bit and some time had gone by. That moment of time of getting that job, realizing it sucks, leaving that job.

[00:54:59] Randall: And then what had transpired afterwards has probably been the best part of my career thus far in the last 18 months or so. 

[00:55:08] Tom: So you, it's safe to say you've learned something, right? So I guess I could probably say, I know when I interview for airline jobs, I had to get coached on how to interview.

[00:55:18] Tom: For these sorts of types of interviews, they don't involve technical, like, how do you fly an airplane thing? So a lot of it's sort of based on your personality. And well, 1 of it is, I have to bring in all of my flight records and like, over the course of 20 plus years of my career, I've had so many flight tests and there's been times where I didn't do something right.

[00:55:37] Tom: And I, I failed the test and I had to retake it, which has become, you come to learn. It's not a big deal. Yeah. And one of the advantages of it is that you actually talk about them in your interviews, so you kind of, you have to, you spin this, and really, you don't really have to spin it because it actually is, it's like you learn, I'm like, hey, this is what I did, I screwed up, I learned this about myself this is a learning experience, and I know not to do that again, so, you know, I could probably say that, it's like when I was doing my commercial flight test, I got myself so anxious and nervous with nervous energy that I just, I couldn't land in the airplane properly, like in crosswinds.

[00:56:10] Tom: I just, I wasn't confident. And you know, then you retake it, it's like, if you fail your driving test, you know, you retake what you got wrong. And it gave me the opportunity, like, Hey, I need to focus on something. And you, you kind of learn. Like failure is not such a bad thing.

[00:56:25] Tom: It's really just a part of like the learning process. 

[00:56:28] Randall: Yeah. 

[00:56:28] Tom: I think 

[00:56:31] Randall: I've trained myself over the years and it sounds like you have too, that things don't go our way or the way that we expect it. Or if there is a failure, it's an opportunity to learn and grow from it. And I think if you approach it with that mindset.

[00:56:43] Randall: You know, you're doing yourself a favor and probably removing like a significant portion of stress and anxiety from your day. If you start looking at challenges or failures as opportunities. But last, last question, Tom. Looking back on your journey where you're at now? Life and career.

[00:57:01] Randall: What's the one piece of advice you wish you could have given to your younger self? 

[00:57:06] Tom: Oh, I would say perhaps study harder. You know, yeah, hit the books a bit harder in school and stop worrying about like the sort of like inconsequential things in life. And 

[00:57:19] Randall: yeah, I think that that makes a lot of sense.

[00:57:22] Randall: Yeah. Tom, I've learned a lot, as always, from our conversations today. I hope the listeners out there were able to extract a few pieces of you know, advice from you and apply them to their lives and to their journey. Again, great appreciation. Thank you for making the time to chat with us today.

[00:57:40] Randall: Any final thoughts for me or for the listeners? 

[00:57:44] Tom: Just Keep learning. 

[00:57:45] Randall: I love it. We're all learning and growing together. 




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