The Faces of PSA – Meet Dave Mitchell

veterans faces of PSAName: David (Dave) Mitchell

Title: First Officer

How long have you worked for PSA? 1 year

How long have you been in the airline industry? I had a 31-year career in the Navy.

What did you do in the Navy? I served in the Navy for 31 years, about 15 of those were on active duty and the rest on reserve duty. I entered through Aviation Officer Candidate School in Pensacola, FL, and trained to be a Naval Flight Officer. I did not have the required uncorrected vision to be a Naval Aviator, but as a Naval Flight Officer, I flew 3,000 hours primarily in P-3 Orion’s performing long-range navigation and tactical operations throughout the world. Later in my career, I held a number of leadership/command positions serving in joint and multinational positions. I deployed overseas multiple times anywhere from a few weeks to a year. When I was not serving with the Navy, I managed accounting, audit and finance functions for the Department of Defense as a civilian employee.

Give us a brief overview of what you do: I am a new-hire First Officer finished with training and qualification in July.

What do you love about flying? Flying has always been a part of my life from a young age. I love flying and being a pilot. It has never gotten old for me, even after over 40 years. I earned my advanced and instructor ratings over the years and have instructed primarily as a volunteer with the Civil Air Patrol working with young people and adults. After retiring from the Navy, I continued to work as a civilian until retiring from that. I decided to fly professionally first flying passengers throughout the mid-south in Cessna Caravans. After listening to my younger first officers talk about starting their careers with regional airlines, I decided to see if that was a possibility for me. Since my primary goal was to fly, I wanted to join a team where I could reasonably expect to do that in the time I had left before turning 65 and the possibility of upgrading to Captain was also on my mind. After reviewing the different opportunities, I felt PSA would offer me those opportunities. While it means commuting, I felt that would be worth the benefits. After joining PSA, I immediately realized there was much more in terms of a family atmosphere and camaraderie of the team members. At my age, I value those things.

Where’s your favorite place you have traveled? In my Navy career, I have traveled all over, to some great spots like Japan, Germany, Italy and some not so great like Afghanistan, but I enjoyed aspects of them all. It is really hard to name a favorite but my wife, daughter and I have always enjoyed anywhere with a beach.

Where is your favorite destination to fly to? This question is hard because I am not sure I have made that trip yet. One of the things I want to do is take my wife and daughter to some of the beautiful places I have been to during my Navy service. The coast of Croatia is one such place. There is an airport in Split and nearby the village of Trogir. I am hoping to use our great travel benefits with American to go there again. I have fond memories of visiting there when I was peacekeeping in Bosnia and Kosovo.

What are some of your hobbies? Flying my Piper Cub, volunteering with the Civil Air Patrol, soaring, swimming and outdoor activities.

What do you love about working for PSA?  The great family atmosphere and opportunity to work with fellow professionals.

Why would you recommend PSA? The opportunity to fly immediately after training and not sit on reserve for months/years.

Tell us something about your role that most people don’t know: First Officers must be Airline Transport Pilots with a Pilot in Command Type rating which was not the case a couple years ago.

What has been the most rewarding part of your job? Learning to operate the great CRJs of PSA as part of a team of professionals that all work together to deliver safe, timely and efficient travel to our customers.

Tell us something no one knows about you: The summer I was 15, I worked at Columbus Southwest Airport, a crop-dusting strip in Ohio for $1.25 an hour, which I used for flight lessons.