When asked what drew him to teaching he said: “teaching is rewarding and I love it!”
Flight Training International is dedicated to making sure that you are being instructed by individuals with a proven background and experience to set you up for your success. For that reason, we are excited to start this column and show you, our clients, that we really are putting you with those instructors. We can’t think of many other instructors who exemplify that more than Patrick “Pat” Fletcher.
Pat knew he wanted to fly all the way from the age of 9 while he was walking to the baseball fields at his school, and he watched a B-47 flying on an Air Force Low Level Route. He said it flew so low that he could see the pilot’s oxygen mask from the hill that he was on, and like many pilots before him and pilots after he said, “I want to do that.”
From that point on, his goal was to fly for the Navy, however he did have other opportunities present themselves. The summer before his senior year of high school, Pat attended a Yankees tryout and made it to the final round and received an offer to go pitch for the Yankees Double A team before they even realized he hadn’t yet finished High School. He was told to come back the next year and if he pitched the same as he did he would have a position.
That year, Pat’s older brother was happy to learn he had been accepted into the Naval Academy. At the time, there was a Civil Service Placement Test that would determine who received the Governor’s appointment to the academy. Pat placed third. The first candidate couldn’t pass the physical, but the second took the appointment and that left Pat with his second choice… Cornell University. Later in the school year he received a call from the Naval Academy Athletics Board with a request for him to come pitch for the Naval Academy letting him know that because of his SAT scores and pitching record, he would be admitted. He finally got the spot, but the day that he needed to report to classes was the day before the Yankees wanted him to return for a tryout, which meant he had to decide between flying or pitching for the Yankees.
Obviously, he chose the Naval Academy and graduated to move on and fly the P-3 Patrol aircraft. He flew the P-3 for 17 of his 20 years of service. The three remaining years was on exchange duty in the Royal Air Force flying the RAF – Nimrod. His military highlights also include serving as Squadron Commander of the VP-30 squadron (V denoting Fixed Wing and P Denoting Patrol) in Jacksonville Florida for 15 months.
The P-3 was where Pat discovered his love for teaching, and during his final year in the Navy he was the squadron instructor – flying three days per week and teaching the remaining days. At the same time he applied for four major air carriers and interviewed at FedEx, American, Delta, and United. He chose to take a position as a B727 Flight Engineer at United Airlines after FedEx halted hiring. There he picked up his love for teaching after only eight months of being an employee.
He then type rated on the B727 after a lucky string of events left a seat open on a type rating course. He then moved on to fly as a First Officer, all the while continuing to teach in some form or another. Throughout his career, he flew the B727, B737 (17 years) and A320 (5 years) and taught on all three aircraft. Pat now teaches the B737 and A320 for Flight Training International.
Pats major highlights with United included being both a Standards Captain, and a Line Check Airman on the 737, as well as a Subject Matter Expert for research and development on United’s CRM Training Program. When asked what drew him to teaching he said that “teaching is rewarding” and that he loves it.
Fletch has had an amazing career and FTI is lucky to have him. The office employees know him as the nicest person you will ever meet in your life and you can’t help but feel the same after spending any amount of time with him. When you talk to him you would never guess that he is the same guy who had the choice between the Navel Academy, an Ivy League University, or pitching for the Yankees, but that’s who Pat is. He’s an extremely gifted instructor who has been there and seen it all, and he is ready to share his experience and knowledge to help you achieve the next chapter in your career.
What would you like students to know before they get to FTI for training?
“I would like them to be of the mind that FTI is staffed with people who have 40 years of experience flying airplanes and not only do they possess that experience, but they have the teaching ability to transfer what they learned in 40+ years, to you in a two-week course. If you come in the right frame of mind.”
What do you want students to get out of training with you?
“I would like them to realize how important CRM is to a safe operation.”