The love of aviation and the desire to become a pilot, can come early in life or later in life. As is the case with Pilot-in-Command, Erik Sweet (right), and Co-Pilot, Brian Quarles (left). Both decided to become pilots while in college, and both enjoy flying Business Air private jet charter customers in the fast and versatile Lear 31A based in Seattle.
Erik says he likes the spontaneity of his job best and never having the same flight twice. Brian says he feels a great satisfaction when a flight plan comes together knowing all the behind-the-scenes planning required. Our full interview follows:
Business Air – How long have you been pilots and when did you decide to pursue this career?
Erik (Erik Sweet) – I have been flying for 17 years. I didn’t consider it as a career possibility until I was in college and trying to decide on the right major. After coming up with blanks, flying as a career came to mind because of the chance to meet new people and travel to new places. After graduating from the University of Washington, I went to flight school and have been flying ever since.
Brian (Brian Quarles) – I was finishing up my undergrad and a friend, who was going through the aerospace program at the time gave me a tour. After that experience, I decided to become a pilot and have been flying since 2005.
Business Air– How is it to fly the Lear 31A?
Erik – It is a pilot favorite. Flies like a rocket ship—very fast, very responsive and can easily fly into smaller airports off the beaten path, which clients appreciate.
Brian – Agree. It is a nice aircraft to fly. Passengers also like the fact that they can get where they want to go quickly.
Business Air – Tell us what you like most about your job?
Brian – Flying is the best part. However, there’s also the satisfaction that comes from pre-planning and flight readiness. We look at the airport info, weather (which is the most dynamic variable), airspace restrictions, and the passenger manifest (so we can address any specific needs of the passengers).
Erik – For me, I like all aspects of the job and its spontaneity. Having the phone ring and hearing that a trip is planned. It never is the same flight twice. Always different like our trip yesterday from Seattle to Sunriver, OR then to Long Beach, CA then back to Sunriver (and getting diverted to Redmond, OR).
Business Air – Can you share another highlight from a recent trip?
Brian – Last week, we flew for a heart transplant mission that was rewarding. So much coordination goes into its planning with multiple flight crews and multiple members of the medical team all coming together. Amazing.
Erik – Brian is the type of co-pilot you want. He is a competent pilot, who knows what he is doing and who is safety conscious. And we’re on the same page as to what we need to do and how to get the job done.
Brian – Erik is a wonderful mentor. We get along well in and out of the plane and travel well together.
Business Air – What’s the best time of day to fly?
Brain – Having to get out of bed for a 5:00 a.m. departure is not fun. But once you’re en route and airborne, it’s one of the best times of day to be flying.
Business Air – What’s it like to work for Business Air and help grow our presence in the Seattle market?
Erik – We are making inroads. Mainly because Business Air knows how to deliver first-class service. Our service impresses charter customers, who have flown with other providers. They like how we anticipate the needs of the passengers and have all details covered so that they can have a stress-free, comfortable and convenient flight. I’m happy to be a part of this experience.