We love our pilots! To celebrate all the hours and hard work they put in to both our medical and charter flights, we’re sitting them down for a question-and-answer session. For this week’s pilot Q&A, meet our Vice President of Flight Operations, Curt Carlson!
CSI Aviation: Why did you choose to fly for CSI, and how long have you been with us?
Curt Carlson: I came to CSI after retiring from Delta Airlines. I had worked with [our President and Chief Operating Officer’s] brother, and he told me that CSI needed a Chief Pilot. They could not find someone that met the FAA requirements. Initially, it was thought to be a low stress not much time required job. Boy was he wrong. Shortly after arriving the Director of Operations left and the company asked me to take on both jobs. I did that until Brice Middleton was hired as D.O. After he left, they asked me again to take the VP of Flight Operations position.
I started in October 2017.
CSI: Tell us a little about your aviation career.
CC: I have had an amazing flying career. Lots of great stories. I spent most of my airline career flying 747’s for Northwest Airlines and, after the merger, with Delta. I was a check airman on a number of types of aircraft and was authorized to give Type Ratings on 747’s. I’ve flown all over the world and enjoyed every minute of it.
CSI: What’s your favorite story to tell about your flying experience?
CC: I flew for the Sands Corporation part-time. They have quite a fleet, including two 747SP’s. My very first flight with them happened right after going through their training program in Miami. I flew back home to LAX. While in the parking lot, I get a call asking if I can go to Tel Aviv that night. I figure this is a test and say yes, but I have to be home in 3 days for my day job at Northwest. They say no problem and that a Gulfstream 4 is at Atlantic Aviation to fly you to Vegas.
In Vegas, I board the 747. The owner, his wife, a secretary, and a security person are the only 4 passengers. We have a crew that consists of 3 pilots, two Flight Engineers, two Mechanics, a Flight Attendant, and a cook. We fly at .88 Mach nonstop from Las Vegas to Tel Aviv so the owner can go to an important person’s funeral. We were on the ground for 17 hours and flew back to the states. Must be nice to be one of the richest men on Earth.
CSI: What’s your favorite type of aircraft?
CC: Airplanes, as the old saying goes, are like woman and friends. All good, just some better than others. But the 747 and Lear Jets are probably my favorite.
CSI: Out of all of CSI’s airplanes, which is your favorite to fly?
CC: At CSI, all the King Airs are enjoyable aircraft to fly. Nicely maintained and all are nicely equipped with Garmin Electronics. I really enjoy flying our operation out of Palm Beach, Florida to Fresh Creek in the Bahamas in our Beech 1900’s.
CSI: Any fun facts about yourself you would like to share?
CC: A fun fact is that I grew up in a flying family. I was flying airplanes before I was driving cars.