Scott Filline received his instrument rating in 1972 at American Flyers DuPage.
Pilot’s Digest: What got you interested in aviation?
Scott Filline: I was surrounded by pilots. My father was a private pilot and owned a Cessna 172 with 2 men that he worked with at Sears. My best friend was working on his pilot license at the local airport and had a job fueling airplanes there after school. So the aviation influence was heavy in my younger years. I rode along with my friend on the fuel trucks at the airport learning much about airplanes and meeting many people who later became influential in my quest for a career in flight. I highly recommend finding a job at your local airport.
PD: How did you go about choosing a flight school?
SF: American Flyers, known as ‘ATE’ when I completed my instrument rating in 1972, was based at my local airport (DuPage in West Chicago) and seemed like the perfect choice for me. They have a curriculum that is designed to get you through your training and prepare you for your check-ride at a pace designed specifically for you. The staff of instructors is all aviation professionals, not just kids trying to build their hours. Since my father was only paying a portion of my flight training, I worked the rest off by painting the inside of ATE’s facility. This allowed me to really get to know the instructors and employees. The training that I received equipped me well for my check ride. To this day, I remember a lot of little tidbits I received there for calculating maneuvers as well as other things that helped me remember certain regulations that I have used throughout my career.
PD: What is your most memorable flight?
SF: As a corporate pilot you get the opportunity to see the country in a unique way, and depending on the airplane you are flying, that can include the world. People in your immediate circle love to comment on an upcoming flight schedule, that you are, “leaving for another vacation.” It’s ok when friends and neighbors say that but not so ok when you hear that from your spouse. But the truth is that they are correct in noticing the vacation aspect of most of our flight assignments. I’m not so sure about the airline industry, but as a corporate pilot, you really are being paid for doing what most people pay money to do. To this day my two most memorable trips or vacations if you prefer, were a weekend in Nantucket and one in the Turks and Caicos. Lots of stuff to do and most beautiful weather. A lot of times it is the crew you are paired with and mutual life interests that make a trip memorable.
PD: What’s your favorite place you have ever flown?
SF: My favorite airplane is the Gulfstream III that I flew for one year. The second favorite would be the Falcon 2000. The Gulfstream was very cool and quite comfortable. It was also overpowered and would reach the mid 40’s with ease, even when it was full of gas. The Falcon, on the other hand, was a dream to fly and is referred to as a “true pilots’ airplane.” It literally took two fingers to fly. The Gulfstream however took, in some instances, two hands. But when you arrive in a Gulfstream, people take notice.
PD: What are you doing now?
SF: I am now 66 years old and still working. In my wildest imagination never thought I would be flying after the age of 60. With the pilot shortage that began 5 years ago, and only temporarily ended this year, I was able to stay busy. I still receive calls from someone looking for a pilot with my experience. The current company I am employed by will not look at a pilot unless he is experienced and at least 60 years old. The pilot shortage is real, and it will likely continue with a vengeance for many years. Pilot retirements and airline expansions, in combination with the growing globalization of the world, will assure that.
PD: What’s next for you?
SF: Retirement isn’t really much of a thought for me at this time since my schedule is so light. Maybe in a couple of years, I will revisit the idea. But as long as I can pass a medical exam, I will probably continue to fly as a contract pilot. Corporate aviation has been good to me. It has allowed me to earn a living doing what most people would consider a hobby. Flying has given me lots of time with my family. I was able to watch my two sons grow up and now I’m spending time with my grandkids. I highly recommend a career in aviation and I also recommend American Flyers for your flight training.