By American Flyers
American Flyers recently caught up with recently caught up with Adam Steel, a former intern, who now works for American Airlines.
American Flyers: Tell us where your passion for flying came from.
Adam Steel: My grandfather was in the Royal Air Force during World War 2 and he’d show me photos of different planes that flew in his squadron. I grew up relatively close to London Heathrow Airport, and would watch (and hear) Concorde fly overhead every week. Lastly, my uncle was a 747 captain for Virgin Atlantic, his path into aviation inspired me as he started washing planes to pay for flying lessons.
AF: What made you want a career in aviation?
Adam: My passion for flying started at a young age when my father took me on a discovery flight as a young lad. I graduated from a university in England and was recruited by a bank in their graduate marketing department. Almost immediately I learned that a 9-5 business job wasn’t for me and getting into aviation was my only priority.
AF: When you look back on your time training or working with American Flyers, what are a few things you still think of today when flying?
Adam: American Flyers taught me how to be a leader and adapt my ways in this very dynamic industry. I worked with different personalities and cultures of all ages from many backgrounds. Learning how to adapt to different people so that we could achieve a successful outcome helped me become a leader.
AF: How did being an intern and then a CFI with American Flyers help make you the pilot you are today?
Adam: Working as an intern helped me understand the value of hard work. With hard work, you can achieve any goal no matter how large. Being a CFI at American Flyers taught me the importance of safety and standardization. Understanding how an airplane flies through the air is equally as important as conducting a low visibility approach. American Flyers’ standardization helped us promote the highest level of safety on all of our flights and that same mentality has traveled with me throughout my career.
AF: How did being a CFI help the advancement of your career?
Adam: Being a CFI helped me learn how to be a leader and how to manage people. I worked with all kinds of personalities, all of which had different strengths and weaknesses. I learned how to lead by managing people’s strengths to help their weaknesses so that they could achieve their aviation goals. That same passion for helping people be successful has traveled with me throughout my career in the airlines. When I became a line check airman instructing new first officers and transitioning captains, I used the leadership skills that I had learned from my CFI days to help fellow airline pilots be successful. Being a CFI is one of the most gratifying leadership jobs in aviation.
AF: Looking back, what advice would you give someone who is starting a career in aviation?
Adam: Concentrate on the quality of your training, not the price. Don’t rush or cut corners as it’ll catch up to you later down the road. Your journey may take longer than you’d hoped (there will be ups and downs), but don’t give up. Invest in yourself, it’ll be worth it when you get here.
AF: Tell us about your pathway to the airlines and how you got where you are today?
Adam: Born and raised in Hampshire, England, I joined American Flyers in 2009 as an administrative intern. I worked my way up to being a weekend manager at the North Texas schools and interim manager at our Houston school, working 4 days a week while studying for my respective license 2 days a week. I became a flight instructor in 2010 and instructed at multiple American Flyers facilities before I joined American Eagle in 2013, flying the CRJ700. In 2015, I upgraded to captain on the Embraer 175 and within months became a line check airman based in DFW. In October 2021, I joined mainline American Airlines on the A320 fleet and am currently a first officer based in DFW.
AF: What is one thing that stands out working for the airlines that American Flyers prepared you for?
Adam: Standardized procedures. Absolutely everything at the airlines is standardized procedures. They have a certain way that everything must be done, and that is the only way we are allowed to do it. The reason they do this is to make sure that everything is being done in the safest manner. American Flyers emphasizes a very similar standardization for all of its employees. That helped tremendously when I transitioned from American Flyers to American Eagle.