Episodes
Ross Belfiore is a 20-year veteran Aircraft Maintenance Technician at Alaska Airlines. He tells us what it takes to earn the proper FAA credentials to enter the Aircraft Maintenance Field and how he was able to achieve early seniority at Alaska Airlines. Whenever I had a maintenance problem in San Francisco, Ross was often the Technician who responded to fix the problem. If Ross says that your jet is fixed and ready to fly, you know that one of the best people in the business has solved...
Published 03/05/22
Published 03/05/22
Captain Mike Swanigan tells us the story of the most memorable trip of his career.  In June of 1991, Alaska Airlines started service from Anchorage, Alaska to the former USSR (Russia) flying a specially-equipped Boeing 727-200.  Mike was selected to be on the crew of the inaugural flight, and he learned that flying in the former Soviet Union (Russia) presented some unique challenges.
Published 02/18/22
Chazmin "Chaz" Peters joins us on the podcast to tell about her transformation from a very shy little girl in elementary school to her present status as an experienced Airline Pilot. We recorded this interview just a couple of days before Chaz gave birth to her first child, a beautiful baby girl.  
Published 02/07/22
Captain David Glick is one of the most respected pilots at Alaska Airlines. David tells us about the mindset it took for him to earn an Engineering Degree and graduate from USAF Undergraduate Pilot Training (UPT) near the top of his class. Our listeners will enjoy the positivity that Captain Glick brings to work every day as he flies to the many destinations served by Alaska Airlines. He also flew for the Alaska Air National Guard, where he flew into the war zones of Iraq and Afghanistan
Published 12/29/21
Mike Swanigan interviews Captain Kisa Wiley. She is the Seattle Base Chief Pilot at Horizon Air, which is a subsidiary of the Alaska Air Group. Kisa is a 3rd generation pilot. Her Dad, Retired Captain Jim Wiley, had a long career with Alaska Airlines. Her Grandfather, the Late Colonel Jim Wiley, was a Tuskegee Airman who flew several combat missions in Europe during World War 2. Kisa fell in love with flying after her younger sister talked her into attending a pilot ground school course.
Published 09/02/21
Getting hired by a major or Regional Airline is often a difficult and drawn-out process. The most intimidating part is facing a Pilot Hiring Board (Sometimes called a Captains Board). Mike Swanigan asked Captains Michael Dibello, George Boslinski, and Michael Hendrix to join this episode to discuss the pilot hiring process. If you are aspiring to be a Major or Regional Airline Pilot, there is a lot of helpful information on this program.
Published 07/26/21
Captain Millison Fambles is from Longview, Texas and he was awarded a college scholarship from The Lady Bird Johnson foundation. Lady Bird was the wife of President Lyndon B. Johnson, and she served as the first lady of the United States from 1963 until January of 1969. 29 years ago, he joined Alaska Airlines as a pilot. He is now a senior captain, he has built a reputation as a great pilot, but he is better known for his success in starting a flight Camp for inner-city children.
Published 06/21/21
Captain David “D.R.” Smith is the second guest on our podcast named David Smith. There were two pilots named David Smith at Alaska Airlines, so we called this particular David Smith “D.R.” to minimize the confusion of which David Smith that we were referring to. David eventually became a pilot for Alaska Airlines, where he had a distinguished career as a pilot. He played a pivotal role in helping the Airline develop one of the best safety cultures in the Airline Industry.
Published 04/24/21
This is one of my favorite Talking Flight Episodes. It was originally released in 2013. Blake Gibson is one of the most respected pilots at Alaska Airlines. He is a Check Airman and an FAA Aircrew Program Designee. Blake tells us how he achieved his childhood dream of becoming an Airline Pilot. He shares some exciting stories of his "Freight Dog" days flying around thunderstorms in the southern US. He also talks about how he got himself out of trouble at the Chicago O'Hare Airport.
Published 04/08/21
Mike DiBello is a former Navy Squadron Commander, and he later served as the Boeing 737 Fleet Captain at Alaska Airlines. His first exposure to aviation came when his father took him to Boston's Logan International Airport to watch airplanes take off and land. High School and College did not come easy for him, but after some Navy ROTC advisors' counseling, he improved his study habits. He was accepted into US Navy Flight Training and went on the fly the A-7 attack jet.
Published 02/11/21
David J Smith was hired by Braniff Airlines in the late 1970s . At that time, more than 70 percent of the pilots hired by US Airlines had a Military background. A few years after David joined Braniff Airlines, the company fell into financial hardship and David's job went away. His second chance to land an Airline job came when someone told him that a small company named Alaska Airlines was hiring pilots. David prepared himself, and did well at the hiring interview, and the rest was history.
Published 12/03/20
Captain Michael Hendrix joins us on this edition of Talking Flight. He was our very first guest when we started the podcast. At the time, he was a First Officer at Alaska Airlines. He subsequently upgraded to Captain on the Boeing 737 and he retired in January of 2020. Michael tells us about the various training events that he went through during his career. When he upgraded to Captain at Alaska Airlines, he was shocked at how it differed from the world of being a First Officer.
Published 11/14/20
Our guest today is Air Wisconsin First Officer Hunter Bevis. Hunter is the son of one of our previous guests, Mr. Bob Bonjukian, who was a Director of Flight Control for Alaska Airlines. Even though he grew up in an Airline family, Hunter did not start flight training until he was 35 years old. Before he started flying, Hunter was an officer in the US Army, and he tells us about how his service as a Tank commander later helped him in his transition into the world of aviation.
Published 06/17/20
Stefan Holt is one of the News Anchors at WNBC Television in New York City. He is also a Private Pilot with an Instrument Rating. Stefan tells us about his lifelong interest in aviation, and how he worked as a busboy in New York City to earn money for his flying lessons. His experience as a pilot has helped him in his televisions news career to report on aviation stories with a higher level of insight and accuracy.
Published 04/16/20
Our guest on this show is my long time friend, Alaska Airlines Captain Elliot Wilson. I have known Elliot since he was a young child, and he has always had the goal of flying jets for Alaska Airlines. His father was a close friend of mine, and sadly, he passed away several years ago. Elliot tells us about growing up with his Dad and about his journey to becoming a successful Airline Captain.
Published 02/06/20
Mike sits down with his long time friend, Tom Clark, to talk about his passion for flying airplanes. Tom has had an amazing broadcast career and he is presently working as the Film Commissioner for the State of South Carolina. He has a Commercial Pilot Certificate and a Certified Flight Instructor License.  Tom does a lot of flying and he instructs pilots on how to fly vintage "Tail Dragger" airplanes.
Published 02/02/20
Mike Swanigan is his own guest on Talking Flight. His longtime friend, Tom Clark, interviews him on this podcast. Tom is a veteran broadcaster and he is the voice on the intro to Talking Flight. He is presently serving as the Commissioner of the South Carolina Film Commission. Mike tells us how his aviation dream was almost derailed when he was a 16-year-old High School Student, and how he overcame many obstacles in his quest to become an airline pilot.
Published 12/31/19
Captain Kevin Kay is the first former Fighter Pilot to join us on Talking Flight. Kevin took an unusual path to become a USAF pilot. He was accepted to Air Force Undergraduate Pilot Training (UPT) after applying through the Air National Guard.  Kevin tells us how he built a network of connections at Air National Guard units around the country to help him figure out what it took to be selected for the program. Kevin"s story is about what it takes to become an F-16 pilot.
Published 11/07/19
We sit down with Aviation Author Beth Ruggiero York and talk about her new book Flying Alone, a memoir. Her book takes us on a wild ride that shows the exhilaration of flying airplanes and the dangers of having to work for a few unscrupulous aviation companies. This is a thrilling story of how a young woman struggled and did all of the hard work that it took to be hired as a pilot for a major airline.
Published 09/30/19
Today's episode is an interview with Alaska Airlines Captain Ron Limes. He is one of the two Chief Pilots at the Seattle Pilot Base. Captain Lines shares his story about growing up in New York City, and how his 5th grade teacher got him interested in flying airplanes. It was his High School Guidance Counselor who told him how to get his aviation dreams off of the ground. Captain Limes also had a brilliant career in the USAF Reserves, ultimately commanding a C-17 squadron.
Published 08/29/19
Nigel Sargent is the Director/Flight Simulation at Alaska Airlines. He is considered to be one of the foremost experts in the field of Flight Simulation. Mr. Sargent grew up in England and worked on Simulators all over the world before joining Alaska Airlines. He started his career right after high school when he landed an intern position with the British company, Redifon. Nigel tells us about his career and the exciting changes happening in the world of Simulators.
Published 07/24/19
Captain Phil Pope joined Alaska Airlines in 1964. He started in Ground Operations and worked his way into becoming a Flight Engineer on the Lockheed Super Constellation. He later flew the Lockheed C-130, the Boeing 727 and the Boeing 737.  Phil tells us about his part in helping to build Alaska Airlines into the Major Carrier that it is today.
Published 06/10/19
Mike Swanigan talks about how he helped his Niece get through a stressful day. He would sometimes use the same strategy near the end of a long day of flying.
Published 04/18/19