A little about you.
1. We certainly don’t want to dwell in the past, but sometimes it’s helps the drive forward to look in the rear view mirror. If you could go back and change one thing about the way you were raised, what would it be? If it’s nothing, tell us why?
One thing I’ve learned in my life/career is to not look back and regret the controllable and uncontrollable things that have steered my path. It’s either a learning experience, or moment in your life you’re out of comfort zone, which inevitably you will grow and become stronger as a result. Looking back at something I would change growing up, I have to acknowledge growing up in a conservative Baptist home brought its challenges, more so in my adult life as an gay man. It’s easy to wish to grow up in a family who accepts you out of the gate for who you are and who you love, but in some ways that experience and perspective I have has shaped me into the person I am today, one I don’t and can’t regret. I’m blessed to have a relationship with my parents and my husband.
2. If you could go back and tell your 10 year-old self, or tell an authority figure, one thing, which person would you choose and what would you say?
If I could go back and tell someone when I was a kid something, I would talk to Former President Bill Clinton. While his don’t ask don’t tell policy for military was to keep the LGBTQ community in the service, in some ways it slowed the progression of inclusion in our country for the community. Specifically, my only family in aviation was in the military, something I would have had a passion to do, but the thought as a kid to go into the military knowingly to hide who I was, drove me a different direction. Thankfully a path that allowed me to be successful as a pilot, but one that didn’t allow me to serve my country. I have a great deal of respect for those before me that put themselves aside and put country first. My conversation with President Clinton would have been not to muzzle our community, but to embrace and allow the community to serve openly. I believe that action would have set the stage much earlier for our community. On a lighter note, if I had to choose someone to meet, it would have been Betty White. I want to live as where people think I’m gone too soon at age 99.
3. When’s the last time you felt afraid and/or lonely? We’re not trying to be sad here but a little “me too” always feels good.
As a newer Texas resident, isn’t it fair to say the highways here are scary? Sometimes I think the drive to DFW airport is more dangerous than my job as a pilot. In all seriousness, I think amid the pandemic while I was flying for my airline in a layover in a city, when there were no restaurants open and your only access to food was by way of delivery, that was quite lonely. As an mostly extroverted person, being cooped in a hotel room with no social interaction and places to go didn’t feel like the job I signed up for. What helped me power through that was recalling on my past experiences in the industry and knowing we are a resilient industry, and pilots will fight to the end to do what they love, flying. Here we are, on the backside of the industry furloughing and hiring more ever in the history of aviation.
4. We all know magic is way more than a card trick. So, when was the last time you experienced magic? Or the only way to describe the experience was “magical”?
Recently, my husband and I rewatched our wedding, and while there’s nothing like the live moment of that special day for us, it certainly is magical to relive.
5. When is the last time you felt the most free? Any tips for how we can replicate it?
The most free? When the honey do chore list is complete? 😂 In and world of being attached to computers and phones, being accessible all the time, the most freeing times are when we get to put that phone into airplane mode before pushback and get to go do what we love most, fly.
6. Is there a way that aviation taps into the sacred/holy/spiritual/universe to you? If not - no, wait, there has to be right?
Flying is magical! Sure there is the science and physics behind how an airplane flies, but sometimes on that long flight when you just look out the window and down at earth, there is a sense of spiritual moment and awe of what flying has unleashed for us. It’s definitely freeing.
7. If you could guarantee 1 thing for yourself 10 years from now, what would it be? Or maybe it’s nothing because messing with the future is tricky
Dreaming is so important to me. It drives my ambition and motivation for my own future. Recently, in my professional career, I was asked about my 5/10 year plan. While the question is fair to ask, it’s unrealistic in that the last 10 years of my life aren’t what I planned. They’ve only been better. I feel like if you plan too much, and set expectations too high, you’ll loose sight of a better plan, or opportunity. Being flexible and open to new challenges and adventures truly shapes who we are.
8. What gives you hope that tomorrow will be better than today? And thus, gives us all a little hope?
I have to say, my heart breaks what is happening in Ukraine right now. Days like these are hard to look forward and have hope. Even looking back at the airline industry and the pandemic, we are resilient people that have overcome those challenges and barriers and I’m confident we will going forward.
For more about David you can check out his instagram feed.