Finance Professional Cameron Chien has always had a passion for adventure - whether it be learning about different kind of airplanes and how they work, rooting for Superman and Batman in the movies or watching aviation themed flicks. He always dreamed of being a fighter pilot.
It wasn’t until this past year, when COVID began to sweep through the world that Cameron decided to take a leap of faith and pursue his lifetime passion.
With a decline in travel for work due to COVID and the rise of virtual interactions, Cameron felt something was missing from his professional life. It was then he decided to pursue his license as a private pilot and work toward getting a commercial license.
In a recent interview, Cameron sheds light on some of the challenges he faces as a new pilot, his fears about being in the air and lessons learned from the finance industry that can be applied to the world of aviation. He also shares advice for those who decide to pursue their passion while working a traditional career.
Why do you want a commercial pilot license and what do you wish to do with it ultimately?
I’ve always wanted to fly and while its still a bit early to say what I will do once I have my commercial license, I do hope to make that a full-time career and take my dreams of being in the air all the way to the airlines.
What are some of the challenges you face as a new pilot?
The aviation industry is currently in one of the biggest slumps the world has ever seen. Commercial jobs that might have been readily available to me will likely be filled with furloughed pilots, therefore it will be pretty challenging to find a solid operation to down my aviation roots and build hours over the next couple of years.
What have been some of the most exciting trips you’ve taken since you learned to fly?
My favorite flight was the first time I flew to the Grand Canyon. I was a bit intimidated because it is a Special Flight Rules Area (SFRA) , but a fellow pilot and I decided to make the trip and we accomplished. Visiting The Canyon from the ground is one thing, experiencing it from the air is whole new ballgame. It was breathtaking and being able to successfully navigate the SFRA only made It feel more empowering.
As a new pilot, what are your biggest fears about flying?
The craziest thing is that I am deathly afraid of heights! However, something about being in an airplane does not trigger that fear (even as a passenger on a commercial plane). I feel extremely safe in the air. The two things I am most cautious about when flying are 1) the weather and 2) engine failure. I always check the weather before a flight to make sure the winds aren’t too strong or if there is risk of a storm/icing. Additionally, every time I get on a plane, I make an emergency landing plan in case the engine suddenly goes out.
My favorite quote about aviation safety is from a Captain A. G. Lamplugh of the British Aviation Insurance Group who said:
“Aviation itself is not inherently dangerous, but to an even greater degree than the sea, it is terribly unforgiving of any carelessness, incapacity or neglect.”
Are there any skills that you have from business/financial background applicable to flying?
I certainly am very meticulous about tracking my training expenses and logged hours. An integral part of my finance career is providing customer service and connecting with individuals of all backgrounds. The “people skills” I’ve gained are certainly important for a pilot to have, especially a commercial pilot.
What advice would you want to impart to someone else wishing to pursue a career in aviation despite having a traditional career?
Follow your passion! Make sure to do the research first, but there is nothing more fulfilling and rewarding than doing something you truly love.
What are the top 5-6 essential accessories you like to have in the cockpit?
1. A comfortable noise-reducing headset
2. Digital carbon monoxide detector
3. My kneeboard
4. A pair of non-polarized sunglasses
5. Copper insulated water bottle
6. My Torgoen watch – having a legible timepiece with a 24 hour hand and night vision is a must for me