Boeing Pilot, Instructor, Examiner& Aviation College Director Presents
Invited Talk at ACRID
Captain Douglas Smith has flown airplanes for 52 years, including 29 years with Delta Air Lines, 2 years with Basler Airlines, 4 months with Eos Airlines, and almost 3 years with Air India. He started his training with his father in a Piper Cub at age 8, where he was allowed to talk on the radio to the control tower, and he flew Piper TriPacers regularly with his dad, even though his feet could not reach the rudder pedals. At age 16 in high school, he worked as a weekend line boy -- gassing, fueling, moving, cleaning airplanes. For every day worked he received one hour of flight training; before graduating from high school, he earned his Commercial Pilot Certificate. At Purdue University he enrolled in engineering but soon asked the Dean for admission to their brand new aviation program. He was denied because they said he was “tainted” and they only accepted applicants that had never flown. He changed majors to Psychology and Spanish, then completed an MS in Clinical Psychology at the University of Wisconsin, while building flight time as a new flight instructor, flying DC-3s and Beech-18s. His next job as Chief Flight Instructor at Auburn University School of Aviation lasted only 7 months because he was hired as a B-727 Second Officer with Delta Airlines in 1977. After a long and rewarding airline career, he retired as a senior B-777 Check Captain. He then decided to take on the challenge of forming Vermont’s first flight school to be partnered with Vermont Technical College for the state’s first aviation program. The 4-year BS Degree has graduated two classes, with 100% pilot employment for graduates. He manages 16 adjunct aviation professors (all pilots) who are specialists in their subjects, and works with an experienced full-time aviation professor, to train aviators in one of the prettiest and most-challenging aviation environments in North America.