Flying an aircraft like the Lear 31A requires quick and expert handling—especially during take-offs. Two pilots, who are well-equipped to handle the requirements are captain, Tom Eastman and first officer, Peter Knecht.
We had the opportunity to talk with both pilots about what motivated them to become pilots and what life is like flying jet charters for Business Air. Their comments are below:
Business Air – How long have you been pilots and what motivated you to pursue this career path?
Tom (Tom Eastman) – I’ve been a pilot since 1981 and flying for Business Air for 10 years. I always knew I had the flying gene. As a kid, I was always looking up and watching birds and airplanes. Early in my career, I was a flight instructor—which you either love or don’t. I happened to love it.
Peter (Peter Knecht) – I’ve been a pilot since 2000, and also knew as a young child that I wanted to fly. My path began with training in California, CFI (Certified Flight Instructor) work in Iowa then I moved on to Texas. I’ve been with Business Air since 2010.
Business Air — What do you enjoy most about your job and flying as a two-person crew?
Tom – One of the most fulfilling parts of our job is doing the organ donor runs. They usually require an all-nighter, like the most recent trip to St. Louis, where we flew doctors and nurses (as part of a harvesting effort) to pick up a heart for a patient. It is pretty cool knowing someone will get a better shot at life thanks to the job we are doing.
Peter and I work well together because flying is a team effort, no matter who is in the flying seat. Having two in the cockpit also helps during nighttime flying and layovers.
Peter – I like the fact that we can go to new places, meet new people and help passengers get to where they need to be. Flying with Tom, who’s an awesome pilot and a great storyteller, also makes the job enjoyable. He must know a million stories, and I like hearing them. I’m also learning a lot from him.
Business Air – Being a storyteller, Tom, can you share a couple of recent stories?
Tom – On flights, we encounter some interesting things. A fuel stop in Utah had us maneuvering around parachuters—which is something you don’t normally see. And at an Open House in Waco, I got the chance to share the flying experience with a banker’s 16-year-old son. Who had the spark in his eye; who was well read about the aviation industry; and who, no doubt would become a pilot one day.
Business Air – Do you have a favorite time to fly?
Peter – Anytime. First thing in the morning is great when the sun is rising; nighttime flying is also great. Basically, Tom and I love to fly, so there’s a lot of smiles in the cockpit.
Business Air – Is there anything else you would like to add?
Tom– The pilot community is small, and inevitably you speak with other pilots and within 10-minutes, you find a commonality. Once, I was talking with a pilot, who formerly flew helicopters for the Army in Afghanistan. It turns out his flying partner was my brother-in-law.