Sunday, May 11, 2014

Tell Me About It: An interview with Jim Duval

1. How did you get interested in flying a plane?

I had two incidents that really sparked an interest in me to fly. I had friends from Detroit who flew down. That peaked my interest, to go from point A to B and save time. I was working with an individual from Ford. He took me up for a plane ride. I was hooked. I was 28 years old at the time.

2. How long have you been flying?

I started my training in October 1979. I got my private license in February of 1980 and I’ve had my license since 1980.

3. What was the process of getting a license to fly and do you have to do anything to keep it?

It’s really up to the individual. I picked mine up in six months. Most people take anywhere from 6 months to 2 years. You have to do flying time — half of that is with the instructor and half is on your own. In order to keep your license intact, you have to stay healthy, maintain a medical, and every 2 years go up with an instructor. Flight review is to make sure you are still competent and safe. Every time you get a new rating, it resets the clock because you are taken on a check ride.

4. Where did you get your license and what kind do you have?

I got my private license here in Lima. I picked up my commercial instrument, flight instructor, and instrument flight instructor in Bluffton. I got the instrument in 1983, the commercial and instructor licenses in 1985. I got my instrument and instrument instructor license in 1986, and I got my multi-engine license in 1987. I got my multi-engine instructor license in 2003.

5. What kind of planes do you fly?

I’ve never counted the numbers, but I’ve probably flown 35 different types of planes. TAS Aviation in Defiance, Ohio — they are a twin Cessna maintenance facility. I fly virtually all piston test flights and pick-ups and deliveries. Once they come out of maintenance, I typically do the test flight.

6. How many hours a week do you fly?

It varies from none to 15 or 20. It also varies if you have a long trip or not. It’s kind of feast or famine.

7. What’s the most challenging thing about flying?

Probably trying to meet customers; deadlines with weather. Dealing with the weather has to be the most challenging, and this winter was very challenging. It was the most challenging winter I can remember.

8. What’s your favorite part about flying?

What I love the most is morning flights to work. It’s usually early and calm and quiet.

9. Have you ever had any close calls?

I have had a few moments over 30 years of flying where I was less than happy. I have never been fearful of my life but have been unhappy with the flight. A few were memorable, like electrical failures. You do things the way you were trained. You use your backup equipment. I never had a concern for my safety. There were times I wanted to get the plane on the ground for mechanical reasons, but really it’s probably much safer than driving to work.

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