Dan “His Air-Worthiness” Nodal has been involved in aviation for almost 50 years, 28 with American Flyers. A Vietnam Veteran, Dan joined the United States Air Force in 1970, where he proudly served for six years. I asked Dan, “what do you remember most about your time in the service?” He said, “being served monkey head for dinner on the island of Luzon in the Philippines.” Through it all, even during his time in Vietnam, Dan has never lost his sense of humor.
After leaving the Air Force, Dan earned his Aircraft and Power Plant certificates and went on to work for Ed King, of Bendix King, until 1990. If you asked Dan, he will tell you that his experience working for King prepared him for his time with American Flyers. At King, he learned radios and avionics. He also learned how to troubleshoot various maintenance challenges. Dan is responsible for annual inspections, 100-hour inspections, training new mechanics, and anything else you can think of related to maintenance.
If you ask Dan what he loves most about his job, he will tell you, “everything,” and he sincerely means it. Dan is the guy who lives life intentionally, making each day memorable for him and everyone around him. Dan loves people, talking to them, coaching them and most of all, encouraging them. If someone ever says, “I’m having a terrible day,” Dan will say, “Let me tell you about a good day.” During his time in Vietnam, Dan was a C-130 crew chief. One night he and his crew were illuminating the battlefield so our troops could see the enemy. This involved flying low and slow, giving the enemy ample opportunity to shoot at the C-130. During the mission, Dan and his crew took on a massive amount of enemy fire. They made it out of the action and eventually landed back in the Philippines. During the post-flight walk around inspection, Dan noticed a rocket sticking out of the wing, right next to the fuel tank. Luckily for Dan and the crew, it did not detonate. And that is Dan’s definition of a GOOD day. In fact, one of Dan’s sayings is, “every day is a GOOD day”.
Dan is a vital part of American Flyers, and we appreciate everything he does to keep our airplanes flying and our students safe. He thinks outside the box, outworks everyone, has a passion for aviation and loves the people around him. When he’s not working, he’s spending time with this wife and two boys, playing the piano (he’s a concert pianist), or spending time at his church. One thing is for sure; wherever Dan is, he leaves a lasting and positive impression.