Interview with Andrew da Costa

Today we continue our series of pilot interviews and asked Andrew da Costa - aka @Pilot.Drew - a number of questions. This is the third part of our "influencer" interviews, the first two were: Eva-Marie Marseille (aka Fly with Eva) Maria Fagerström (aka Maria the Pilot)

Andrew da Costa
Hi Drew, thanks for your time. Has it always been a dream to become a pilot?

Yes! Flying has been something that my father was always very interested in. So growing up around that passion for flying got me interested in it as well. As a kid, I would regularly draw pictures of airplanes, spot them in the sky, and build models.

What does your pilot career look like so far?

In 2010 at the age of 19, I started studying to become a pilot. However, it wasn't until 2016, unhappy with my life as a civil engineer that I considered flying a career choice. After finishing flight school I spent some time giving aerial tours around the Northern Marianas Islands. I also spent some time flying in Texas, US. Overflying oil fields looking for leaks and irregularities. I began working for the airlines in June of 2018, and it's been a dream ever since!

What are your plans of moving to the left seat in the cockpit?

Currently, our airline is upgrading pilots to captain once they hit the experience necessary. That experience being 1,000 hours of jet time. I'm currently sitting at around 750 hours in the Embraer 145. So I'm hoping to begin the captain upgrade process sometime this upcoming summer!

You are currently working for a regional carrier. Are you dreaming of flying larger aircrafts and longer distances?

Absolutely! Growing up, the Boeing 777 was my favorite airplane. To fly "widebodies" (Boeing 777/787/767, Airbus A330/3340/350/380) is one of my biggest career goals.

Do you think you have a different connection to the rest of the crew and the passengers due to the size of the plane you are flying?

The airline I work for is relatively small. This is nice because we usually know the crews that we are flying with. In terms of connecting with passengers, there isn't often much pilot interaction. Since many of our flights are quick turns, that does not leave much time for pilots to interact with passengers besides the typical announcements. However, there will be times when people want to come up and take pictures and ask questions. In that case, we're always there to greet them with a smile.

Do you still fly in your free time as well?

I would like to start doing some general aviation flying again. There's a freedom to flying that you don't quite get flying commercially. I'm hoping to get back to flying in my free time, but at this moment I am not.

What is it that got you started to open your Insta account and write a blog?

I opened my Instagram account because I wanted to share my aviation journey with family and friends. I could have never expected it would have gotten to this point. I created a blog because I would get asked a lot of the same questions. Instead of responding to everyone, I decided it would be easier to create a site where I could refer people to a lot of those answers.

You just recently hit the 100k followers – how does that feel?

It's surreal, really! It's hard to fathom knowing so many people see what I post on a regular basis. It hasn't really hit me until recently when someone recognized me at the airport. Before getting into aviation, I looked up to many pilots on Instagram like Mentour_Pilot, PilotMaria, and FlywithEva just to name a few. And I think it's really cool knowing that I can be that inspiration for other future aviators and enthusiasts alike!

What are your hopes and expectations for 2020?

My hopes and expectations have changed pretty rapidly with the spread of the COVID19 virus. While many pilots were in contract negations for higher pay and better quality of life, the attitude has since changed to being thankful to have a job. For me specifically, I had the expectation to upgrade to captain as soon as I met the qualifications. Now, I’m thankful for every day I get to fly, taking passengers safely and comfortably to their final destinations. I don’t know what the future holds, but I hope by the end of 2020 we can get somewhat “back to normal”. It breaks my heart seeing 1,000s of airplanes parked, people losing their jobs, and flight crew being furloughed. It’s hard to set an expectation during these troubling times. For now, I expect to continue flying as a first officer for the foreseeable future. Every day we get flying for a living is truly a blessing.

Thanks for your time, Andrew - stay safe!

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