Living our Values: Atlas Software Engineer Commits to Caring for his Community and is Recognized as Everyday Hero

James DeCarli Accepting Award (photo by Louisa Printz).

In 2007 at 42 years old, Atlas Senior Software Engineer James DeCarli began training in Taekwon-Do, a Korean martial art and combat sport. Just four years later he earned his first black belt. Today he is a fourth-degree black belt Taekwon-Do instructor and he is putting his skills to use to help people in his community stay safe.

Partnering with Safe Haven of Greater Waterbury and the Southbury, Connecticut Parks & Recreation Department, James regularly conducts self-defense seminars to empower individuals and to raise funds for Safe Haven.

Safe Haven is a nonprofit organization providing crisis and support services for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. All services are confidential, free, and available 24/7. The workshops James leads offer a way for women and men to learn self-defense strategies, which promote personal safety and build confidence.

James was recently honored for his community service by Safe Haven and was the recipient of the Henry ‘Mike’ & Diane Boylan Everyday Hero Award, which is presented each year to an individual or group who is “constantly giving back and making a difference in the community.”

James DeCarli with Diane Boylan.

Presenting the award was “Chaz” of the WPLR radio show “Chaz & AJ in the Morning,” who said “James is an example that it is never too late to learn or to help others. His dedication and passion for volunteering his time and skills for the betterment of others cannot be surpassed.”

Along with the award, James was presented with “Special Congressional Recognitions” from United States Representative Johana Hayes and United States Senator Richard Blumenthal.

The award and special recognitions were given to acknowledge James’ twenty years of public service as a volunteer with a number of non-profit organizations, including Safe Haven.

“Performing community service is a privilege and a moral responsibility,” said James. “Even small efforts of support can have a significant impact on others and the work done by Safe Haven is just too important not to support. They are helping to put a stop to child sex abuse, they are providing crisis services for those who have suffered domestic violence, sexual assault first responders, emergency safe houses, and many other critical support services. They save lives. Once I learned what they do, how could I not help?”

Click below for highlights from the award ceremony, including the presentation of James’ award:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pubjwP_N5wo

 

Ashley and Ken Kingsley.

Ashley Kingsley was a student at Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio, with plans to go to medical school when the Covid-19 pandemic changed everything.

“The pandemic hit and totally took my life off track,” said Ashley. “I finished my undergraduate studies with a degree in Biology, and while my intention was to go to medical school, I decided to take a break from school and try something different.”

In December 2021, Ashley packed up her life and moved to Las Vegas. She took an hourly job as a supervisor in a fitness facility but was having trouble making ends meet.

She needed a new job and wasn’t sure what that could be so she turned to a person she knew could help her… her father: Ken Kingsley, Senior Manager, Maintenance Control at Atlas.

Ken started with Atlas in 2016 in Maintenance Control. In his role, he oversees the maintenance of Atlas’ entire fleet, ensuring the safety and compliance of all aircraft. It’s a challenging role but one that is also rewarding to him.

“I think Atlas is the coolest airline in the world!” said Ken. “Ashley is a smart kid, and I knew she could do any job she set her mind to and have a fulfilling career with our company. Atlas was hiring for a variety of roles, and I recommended her.”

Ashley interviewed with Atlas and landed a job as a Loadmaster shortly after. Although she did not have a background in aviation, she knew about the industry from watching her dad over the years and was eager to learn. She spent the first nine months training in Puerto Rico during peak season.

“It was a phenomenal experience to get to train in Puerto Rico,” said Ashley. “It exposed me to a new culture and gave me hands-on experience right away. I have a lot of job satisfaction in this role. It’s a rewarding industry with so much responsibility. I have learned so much over my last few years with Atlas. This career was not one I planned but one I now know I was meant to have.”

Her father couldn’t be happier that she has joined him at Atlas.

“I’m so proud that Ashley is here. I have five other children, and I don’t know if the rest of them will go into aviation, but it’s great to know that Ashley has come on board and is enjoying her job.”

While Ashley and Ken don’t cross paths often on the job, their communication over the phone is better than ever.

“It’s helpful to know someone on the maintenance side,” Ashley said. “It makes me feel comfortable either providing or asking for information that I need to relay to the pilots.”

Ashley’s favorite job perk is traveling to places she never would have seen before.

“I’ve been to Hong Kong, South Korea, Germany, Japan, Alaska and Guam. I’m not sure if I ever would have ventured to any of those places on my own, so it was amazing to get to see them.”

For Ashley, the job not only gives her the opportunity to learn and travel to new places, but also allows her to spend more time with her family, who live outside of CVG.

“When I moved to Las Vegas, I was in a different time zone and far away from home, so I wasn’t seeing my family as much,” said Ashley. “Now, whenever I fly to CVG, I stop by my family’s home to see everyone. I also think working at the same company as my father has strengthened our relationship. We are closer now than ever.”

John Geary.

Growing up, I was always passionate about aviation and mechanics – the Navy offered me both! Joining the Navy also provided me with the opportunity to learn how to fix airplanes and then fly the planes I fixed.

What piece of advice would you offer to anyone interested in joining the military? And, how has it helped you with your career? 

The military is what you make of it. Your experience is completely dependent on your own mindset. Take advantage of every opportunity you’re afforded to better yourself.

What inspired you to get involved in aviation? 

I grew up with a passion for aviation. One of my earliest and fondest childhood memories is going to an airshow with my father. I was hooked from that moment on.

John during his time in the Navy.

How did you find Atlas?

When I was on active duty overseas, I used to fly on Atlas aircraft, and I fell in love with them. These were the planes taking us home after many months away and they were so comfortable compared to the typical military flights I had taken in the past. When I saw that Atlas was hiring for an area that my family was relocating to, it seemed like the opportunity was meant for me!

What has been your most memorable moment at Atlas? 

I have only been with Atlas a short time, but one standout memory is watching my first 747 take off from Houston.

Is there anything else you would like to share at this time? 

Thank you to all the fellow veterans at Atlas. Anyone considering enlisting in the service should talk to someone who has served first; their mentorship will be essential to having a successful transition.

Michael Steen and Hiroyuki Homma following agreement signing.

“We value our strategic, long-standing partnership with NCA,” said Michael Steen, Chief Executive Officer, Atlas Air Worldwide. “We are building on a strong, trusted relationship, established more than seven years ago, and are fully committed to continuing to contribute to the growing success.”

“I am delighted to announce the renewal of our strategic business partnership with Atlas,” said Hiroyuki Homma, President & Chief Executive Officer, NCA. “We look forward to further strengthening our collaboration and leveraging the distinctive features of the Boeing 747 freighter to provide high-quality services prioritizing safety, ensuring continued trust from our customers.”

For more information on the history of our partnership with Nippon Cargo Airlines (NCA), visit https://www.atlasairworldwide.com/2019/01/atlas-air-worldwide-announces-expanded-747-400f-service-for-nippon-cargo-airlines/.

In honor of Military Appreciation Month, we are profiling employees who have either served or are currently serving in the military. This week, we meet 767 First Officer Mark DiCarlo and Station Supervisor Jordan Noland who are also members of the Army National Guard in their respective states, Hawaii and Pennsylvania. Learn more about their commitment to service and to Atlas.

767 First Officer Mark DiCarlo

First Officer DiCarlo.

Tell us what prompted you to join the military? 

I serve in the military as a Pennsylvania Army National Guardsmen. For me, nothing is more patriotic than service to your country. I feel so fortunate that I can serve and at the same time enjoy an amazing career in aviation at a great company like Atlas.

What piece of advice would you offer to anyone interested in joining the military? How has it helped you with your career?

I truly believe anyone who is willing and able should serve their country. It instills discipline, self-respect and confidence, and offers a great opportunity to make a difference for the country and the people you love.

What inspired you to get involved in aviation?

My father was an Eastern Airlines pilot and my mother a ticket agent/ramp agent for Midway Airlines. They met at the Philadelphia International Airport. Growing up with parents in the industry, I fell in love with aviation at a very young age.

How did you find Atlas?

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Before Atlas, I was working as a pilot for a regional airline. I would often have Atlas pilots on my flights, particularly when flying to Atlas bases such as CVG and JFK, among others. They were always the best dressed (as far as professional uniform standards are concerned), the most friendly and humble, and the happiest. Many times, they would tell stories of the various places they were assigned to fly on their upcoming trips, or where they had just been. All the experiences these pilots shared sounded extremely rewarding and the type of flying seemed more challenging and interesting that what I was doing at my passenger airline. It seemed like a great next step in my career.

First Officer DiCarlo and his family.

What has been your most memorable moment at Atlas?

Starting at day one of my pilot indoctrination at the CVG Training Center, I realized how much of a family company Atlas is. All of the instructors, dispatchers, scheduling, chief pilots, etc., were all wonderful and enthusiastically welcomed the class. They showed us that they cared about their fellow employees, and we were not just the “new guys.”

Is there anything else you would like to share at this time?

The best advice I ever received was from my grandfather, a Korean War, U.S. Army Veteran who said “Whatever you do in life, do it right!” I’m blessed to be able to live this through Atlas and the U.S. Army.

 

Jordan Noland, Station Supervisor, Daniel K. Inouye International Airport (HNL)

Jordan Noland.

Tell us what prompted you to join the military?

I’m currently serving in the Hawaii Army National Guard. I wanted to join the military, not only to serve, but to better myself as an individual and to push myself to new limits.

What piece of advice would you offer to anyone interested in joining the military? How has it helped you with your career?

My advice is not to be scared and to just do it! Being in the military has helped me throughout my career because I have met a lot of amazing people and made lifelong friends and some great memories.

What inspired you to get involved in aviation?

When I was growing up, I thought working at the airport and around planes was the coolest thing in the world. It still is!

How did you find Atlas?

Prior to Atlas, I was working as a ramp manager at Daniel K. Inouye International Airport (HNL). An Atlas Station Rep reached out to me about an opening on the Atlas team and I jumped at the opportunity.

What has been your most memorable moment at Atlas?

Having the opportunity to travel to different stations and gain knowledge and experience on how other stations operate. While working at George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) I enjoyed getting a chance to work at a station that serves as a main hub for Atlas. There was something new to learn every day.

Is there anything else you would like to share at this time?

The sky’s the limit, you can accomplish anything you are willing to set your mind to.

Michael Chowdry.

Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month is a time to recognize the culture, history and contributions of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. Today we shine a spotlight on a very important Asian American entrepreneur: aviation industry leader and Atlas Air’s founder, the late Michael Chowdry.

Michael was born in Pakistan in 1954 and moved to the United States in 1976 to attend the University of Minnesota Crookston. In 1978 he completed his degree in agricultural aviation and was the proud owner of his first plane.

The payments on this plane were $2,800 a month, according to his wife Linda, from an interview with the Colorado Sun, which required that he keep the plane operating any way he could.

“He was always seeing and taking the next step forward,” said Linda. “He was fearless. He had some business failures and lost businesses. When this happened, he came out with just enough to take that next step forward. He also learned lessons that he never forgot along the way. He always had ideas about what he wanted to do next.”

Michael began his aviation career piloting crop dusters, selling Piper airplanes and giving flying lessons to farmers. He soon added selling and buying landing rights at several airports to his repertoire. And, in 1984, he launched the company Aeronautics Leasing, which leased passenger airplanes to major carriers such as British Airways, Pan American and Trans World Airlines.

The early 1990s were a challenging time for the aviation industry. Some airlines went bankrupt and Michael had to take back planes he had leased out through Aeronautics Leasing. He managed to absorb the losses and stay out of bankruptcy himself until Pan Am returned a 747 cargo plane. Instead of going under, he leased the plane to China Airlines, providing Aircraft, Crew, Maintenance and Insurance (ACMI).  In 1992, Michael founded Atlas with a single Boeing 747-200 converted freighter (registration number N505MC).

Atlas has come a long way in the 30+ years since Michael founded the company. We are now a leading global provider of outsourced aircraft and aviation operating services. Our companies operate the world’s largest fleet of 747 freighter aircraft and provide customers with the broadest array of Boeing 747, 777, 767 and 737 aircraft for domestic, regional, and international cargo and passenger operations.

Hear more about Michael, including his humble beginnings, his vision for breaking through in the aviation industry and his commitment to customers, from his wife Linda Chowdry in this video recorded during Atlas’s 30th Anniversary celebration in 2022.

In honor of Military Month, we are profiling employees who have either served or are currently serving in the military. This week, we meet Air Force veteran Richard Cline (known to many at Atlas as RC Cline). RC joined Atlas in June of 1998 as a First Officer and officially retired in 2015 after flying the 747 for his entire tenure. He continues to support Atlas today from behind the flight line, in Human Resources, where his work has a lasting impact, long after his final landing as a pilot.

Captain Cline in the flight deck of a 747.

What inspired you to get involved in aviation?

I have always been absolutely enthralled with airplanes. I grew up in a military family, and we went to every air show we could. I asked every pilot how they got to their position, and I asked thousands of questions about every single airplane I saw. I was especially fascinated by military aircraft and dreamed about flying one someday.

Tell us about your journey to become a pilot.

Following my high school graduation, I enlisted in the Air Force and went to technical school for computer programming. (This was back in the day when we used punch cards and dot-matrix printers!)

The Air Force only chose pilots who were commissioned officers, and that required a college degree. I heard of another pathway to the Air Force Academy for enlisted members, through the United States Air Force Academy (USAFA) Prep School. I applied, was accepted, and earned an appointment a year later. I graduated in 1974.

From that point on, my Air Force flying career took off. This included undergraduate Pilot Training in Texas and Lead in Fighter Training (LIFT) in the AT-38 in New Mexico. These trainings enabled my dream to become my reality — flying fighters.

Captain Cline during his days with the Air Force.

I started with F-4’s at Luke Air Force Base in Arizona, then F-5’s in Las Vegas and the Philippines, AT-38’s in New Mexico and finally F-15’s in Bitburg Germany and Alaska. I retired from the Air Force in 1993 and traveled to Bahrain as an F-5 instructor with the Bahrain Amiri Air Force.

How did you find Atlas?

My brother’s neighbor in Alaska worked at Atlas and shared his positive experience with me. I applied and interviewed with Grant Kaschiske (retired Captain Kasischke now works on the Support Flight Ops team in the Chief Pilot’s office). While I was waiting to hear back from Atlas, I was offered a 747 First Officer’s position with Polar. I went through Polar’s “Indoc” (indoctrination training) and started ground school and simulator training. Before long, Atlas called and offered me a First Officer position on the 747, so I jumped at the opportunity.

I was based in Alaska and spent my entire career on the B-747 fleet. At the time, the fleet was comprised of the B-747-200 and -300 (Classic) aircraft. After 10 years on the Classic, I transferred to the -400 and was fortunate enough to even fly the -8 before retiring in 2015.

I was a Ground School Instructor on the Classic, helped the Training Department develop the Atlas Winter Operations/De-Icing training program and developed an Atlas North Pacific Emergency Airport Chart. With a home base of Alaska, there was an abundance of weather conditions and expertise from the aviation community to draw upon.

What is your most memorable moment since becoming a pilot?

I have so many! My Atlas career spanned 17 years, taking me to exotic cities all over the world. I have many great memories of excellent crews, top-notch support people and fantastic cooperation from the entire Atlas family to get the job done in a variety of challenging conditions.

My most cherished memories of my times at Atlas were in the air: climbing through the clouds to break out and see towering thunderstorms in Southeast Asia, moving the U.S. military men, women and equipment all over the world, flying over 100 tons of chocolate from San Francisco to Hawaii and moving Picasso’s priceless “Night Fishing at Antibes” from Sydney back to the New York Metropolitan Museum.

What made you want to come back after retirement?

I retired from flying in 2015. Almost three years ago, I received a phone call from Grant, asking if I would be interested in conducting online Pilot interviews.

It has been a very rewarding three years meeting the great people in our HR department and seeing the passion of hundreds of Atlas applicants. I am very proud of the job our team has done — adding well over a thousand pilots to the Atlas family!

(L-R) Sunnye and Skye.

Just in time for Mother’s Day, a mother and daughter have joined the Atlas Air and Flight Services International family.

Sunnye Nowlin recently started training at the Miami Training Center with the FSI Flight Attendant team. She has spent the last 29 years in elementary education, 11 years as a teacher and the last 18 years as an Assistant Principal.

Her daughter, Skye Nowlin completed Atlas’ Pilot Pathway program in Arizona and and is also in Miami for 737 pilot training. Skye began her aviation career in 2020, graduating from Embry Riddle in April 2023.

“I’m so proud to see my daughter flying,” said Sunnye. “I would always tell her growing up that the ‘Skye’s the Limit’ and I knew she was destined to do amazing things.”

Sunnye with Skye at her graduation from Embry Riddle in April 2023.

Sunnye continued, “This is the best encore career ever. I get to serve others, travel to exciting destinations and also see all of Skye’s hard work and dreams of being a pilot come true. What a treat to be able to run into her daily in the halls of the Miami Training Center while we were both there for training.”

“My mother has always been my biggest fan,” said Skye. “She is a ray of sunshine, her name fits her quite well. When I realized that I wanted to be a pilot, she came with me to the airport to watch me go on my first discovery flight. She has been my number one supporter during flight training and throughout the last three years of my aviation journey.”

Sunnye and Skye with James Hock, Atlas Manager, Inflight Operations and Flight Attendant Fatigue Risk Management Program.

Skye continued, “My mom is one of the hardest working people I know. She is someone I continue to look up to when it comes to determination. Through every goal in my life my mom has been my cheerleader and this time we have been each other’s cheerleaders. I hope in the future to be able to fly with her one day too.”

Both Sunnye and Skye were referred by James Hock, Atlas Manager, Inflight Operations and Flight Attendant Fatigue Risk Management Program.

“With names like, Sunnye, and Skye, I would say they were destined to be a part of the aviation industry,” said James. “They’ll be great additions to our team, and we are glad to have them.”

If you’re interested in joining Team Atlas, check out our open career opportunities here.

In honor of Military Month, we are profiling employees who have either served or are currently serving in the military. This week, we meet Air Force Veteran and Retired Atlas Captain Todd Peckman. Todd has been part of the Atlas family for decades, first as a pilot for 19 years and now as an Atlas 747 Flight Instructor and Tech Panel Lead. As a 747 Flight Instructor, he trains pilots in the Sim in the Miami Training Center and as Tech Panel Lead, he helps the HR department develop technical interview questions for prospective pilots.

Captain Peckman with the Dreamlifter.

What inspired you to get involved in aviation?

Growing up, I was always building military airplane models, taking after my lifelong role model – my father. He had a highly successful career as a United Stated Air Force (USAF) pilot and flew a lot of what we consider “warbirds” today: the T-6, B-25, C-54, C-119, DC-6 and later, the C-130. Over the course of his career, he was hand-picked for some highly complicated missions, including one that was assigned directly by President John F. Kennedy. In October 1962, he received a call from Kennedy’s office asking him to fly a sensitive and dangerous C-130 mission during the Cuban Missile Crisis.

When did you know you wanted to be a pilot?

In 1974, when the energy crisis and associated recession hit, I was well on my way to becoming a professional college student at the University of Pittsburgh, but money was becoming scarce. My dad pointed out that the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Program was paying $100 per month, so I signed up. Despite massive military cutbacks in 1975 and 1976, due to the Vietnam drawdown, three fellow college classmates and I were awarded pilot slots.

I was surprised and had some doubts – would I succeed? But I decided to try. When I finally arrived at USAF Undergraduate Pilot Training (UPT) in 1978, I started to get an idea of the incredible opportunity I had received, but I was still undecided about a career as a pilot.  UPT was difficult but failure was not an option, so I hammered through with the goal of a C-130 assignment because my dad had enjoyed flying it.

I successfully completed UPT and found myself in the C-130 training school, learning low-altitude flying, short-field landings, airdrop of equipment and paratroopers and formation flying at high and low altitudes. But even then, to me, flying was just another job; it wasn’t fulfilling.

After C-130 school, my first assignment was to Elmendorf Air Force Base near Anchorage, and that’s where I really learned to fly. We flew to mountaintop sites in the middle of the Alaskan winter and landed on isolated, icy dirt and gravel runways. We had to fly in food and equipment every 4-5 days to resupply the personnel at those sites. It was then, experiencing the challenges and seeing the importance of those missions that I realized I loved flying and it’s what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.

What is your most memorable moment since becoming a pilot?

(L-R) Captain Peckman’s father pinning on his wings after graduation from Air Force Pilot Training.

There are many moments. I feel extremely blessed in aviation. First was the moment my dad, the retired Colonel, pinned my USAF Pilot Wings on my uniform at graduation from Air Force Pilot Training. His tears said it all.

There was also the time when I was selected with three other C-130 pilots from my squadron in West Germany to fly then-Vice President George H. W. Bush into remote hunger camps in Sudan. My call sign was, “Air Force Two!”

Much later, I was selected to the C-17 Initial Cadre at Charleston, SC. The C-17 was new then, and my memorable times in it included flying the brand-new C-17’s out of the McDonnell Douglas Factory where they were manufactured.

Another key memory was when I was teaching at the first C-17 Formal School. I trained new C-17 pilots at Altus Air Force Base in Oklahoma and commanded that unit, the 58th Airlift Squadron, as we grew to 8 C-17’s and 260 personnel. What a blessing to be a part of that history!

How did you find Atlas?

After I retired from the USAF in 1997, I sought out Atlas for my next flying career. Many of my retired military friends preceded me here. They reported so many good things about flying with Atlas.  I loved fleet of brand-new 747-400 jets and the high quality and quantity of international flying.

One of my favorite Atlas memories was my first flight on the line while training with Line Check Captain Ollie Weller. We took off in a snowstorm from Newark, New Jersey to land on a spring-like day in Paris, France. He was the quintessential international 747 Captain: tall, dapper, his full head of hair combed straight back with that touch of grey at the temples. I thought he was a Sky God!

In the years after, the 747 Fleet Captains I worked for were very supportive. I’ll always be grateful for the opportunities they gave me!

What is the most interesting cargo you have ever flown?

In 1994, while flying the C-17, I once landed at an airstrip in the Tonopah Test Range in Nevada as part of a congressionally mandated test of the aircraft. We immediately loaded, with our engines still running, a combat-ready, 60-ton M1 Abrams Battle Tank into the hold. Only 21 minutes after landing, we lifted off with the tank and 20 Army Troops on board. I had nine minutes of legal fuel remaining to spiral up to a KC-135 tanker, which was spiraling down to me, so we could link up and air-refuel with enough fuel to fly back to the East Coast. The C-17 is so incredible, it all went without a hitch.

At Atlas, it amazes me the variety of cargo we haul. I’ve flown fresh salmon from Santiago, car parts to Guadalajara, and fresh flowers from Bogota. The variety of cargo and destinations is mind-boggling! But, to me, the best “cargo” I ever flew was people, the men and women of the armed services and their families. What a privilege!

What was your favorite part about being an Atlas pilot?

Captain Peckman after his first flight on the 747-8 as part of the 747-8 Initial Cadre.

Traveling internationally to so many major cities was definitely a nice perk, but my favorite part about being an Atlas pilot has been the opportunity to train other pilots. I love it when a student has “The Aha!” moment. From developing 747-8 curriculum early on, to teaching new hires on the line and in simulators, Atlas helped me realize that teaching is my true passion.

Another memorable moment was being selected to the 747-8 Initial Cadre. I remember my first flight in a 747-8 like it was yesterday. It was the second flight of the Federal Aviation Administration’s Proving Runs for the aircraft certification at Atlas. We flew from Luxembourg to Huntsville, Alabama.

Finally, I relish the memory of being Atlas Initial Cadre on the Boeing Large Cargo Freighter, or LCF.  The first time I walked up to that jet, I wondered how a monster like that could fly. Well of course, it flies beautifully — even though it looks like a propane tank with wings!

What made you want to stay with Atlas after retirement? 

I was so grateful that the Flight Ops Team invited me to stay and continue teaching simulator sessions after retirement. My favorite part of my job is teaching in the Sim. Following my retirement, the Atlas Human Resources Team reached out to me through one of our Chief Pilots and allowed me to join their pilot hiring process as a technical interviewer. I am so proud of that association, especially being involved in the behind-the-scenes HR and Flight Ops interface, successfully hiring new pilots. My contribution to that process, developing fair and appropriately targeted flight-related technical question banks for pilot candidate interviews, has also been very satisfying.

Captain Peckman’s model trainsets on display.

What is something your coworkers would be surprised to know about you?

I think they would be surprised at one of the many ways I celebrate Christmas. I set up five HO scale (HO is a rail transport modelling scale using a 1:87 scale) electric train sets on the floor around our Christmas tree every year. Complete with towns, roads, vintage cars, mountains and even a complete small-town airport with HO scale airplanes. Three of the five sets are models of trains I have traveled on with my family: The Alaskan Railroad, complete with Vista-View cars, The Durango-Silverton Express (Colorado, the train of 1960’s “Butch Cassidy & Sundance Kid” fame) and the Atlanta Zoo People Mover.

Martin Drew at the 2024 Nordic Air Cargo Symposium.

On April 23, Martin Drew, Chief Strategy & Transformation Officer, took center stage to deliver the keynote address at this year’s Nordic Air Cargo Symposium in Stockholm, Sweden.

The Symposium connects shippers and major industry players to meet, learn and network. It is the only regional event focusing on the North European air cargo market, bringing together cargo operators, forwarders, integrators, shippers, airlines, airports, investors, entrepreneurs, suppliers and many more.

Martin’s keynote, titled “Global Market Outlook & The Importance of Freighters,” focused on supply and demand dynamics. Martin touched on how demand growth is expected to exceed capacity growth, leading to a significant supply and demand imbalance which will support a strong pricing environment over the long-term.

Martin went on to say, “The combination of production capacity coupled with the lowest level of freighter retirements in twenty years will lead to slow intercontinental freighter fleet growth.” Martin also stated that the eighteen-month-old market downturn is starting to show signs of improvement in line with historical cycles, before highlighting how Chinese e-commerce is taking over airfreight.

Other sessions during the symposium highlighted current air cargo market trends in the Nordic region and globally. Others discussed Norwegian seafood exports, sustainability and why air cargo matters for the local economies.

Attendees received critical market insights and developed new connections.

The aviation industry is poised for significant growth. According to a report published by Boeing, long-term demand for newly qualified aviation personnel is strong: 649,000 new pilots, 690,000 new maintenance technicians and 938,000 new cabin crew members will be needed to fly and maintain the global commercial aviation fleet over the next 20 years.

In response to this demand, Atlas’ Workforce Development team has built important partnerships and participated in a variety of events around the country with universities to recruit our future workforce.

“Spring and fall are the seasons for heavy recruiting,” said Leisa Spears Snyder, Director of Workforce Development. “In addition to looking for talent to fill our Pathway to Success program, we are also looking for candidates for our summer internship program.”

“As two of our core values, Safety and Innovation naturally play a large role in everything we do at Atlas.” Leisa noted, “We need to think innovatively about pathway development with an eye on safety and these schools boast strong aviation programs with a concentration of safety-related curriculum. We also work with the schools to provide experiential learning for students that engages them in real world industry experience.”

Here is a quick snapshot of the team’s recent itinerary:

Vaughn College Career Fair

On March 13, the Atlas team attended a career fair at Vaughn College in New York. Along with Lesia, Atlas Chief Pilot and 767 Captain Oscar Mendoza and Talent Acquisition Crew Specialist Karina Guevara were on hand to provide information about the Company and answer questions from students.

“We are fortunate to have hundreds of Vaughn graduates among our workforce,” said Leisa. “Vaughn College and Atlas also share a common commitment to diversity. Vaughn serves a diverse student body of about 1,300 students who are 80% minority, consisting mostly of first-generation Americans and first-generation college students.  The Vaughn College team does a phenomenal job of removing barriers for students and creating equitable access to education.”

In May 2023, Vaughn joined Atlas’ University Pipeline Program, where Atlas Air recruits, trains and hires qualified graduates of Vaughn College.

(L-R) Atlas Chief Pilot and 767 Captain Oscar Mendoza, Leisa Spears Snyder and Karina Guevara at the Atlas booth.

(L-R) Leisa Spears Snyder with Matthew Small, a Pathway to Success graduate and Vaughn alum, who stopped by to say hello.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Embry Riddle Spring Career Expo

The following week, the Atlas team headed to Florida for the Embry Riddle Spring Career Expo to meet and recruit future pilots.

747 Captain Robert Scheulen, 737 First Officer Wes Atteberry and 737 First Officer Cade Kennemer represented Atlas at a pilot networking event where they connected with students.

The pilots offered a unique perspective as Captain Scheulen and FO Atteberry are Embry Riddle alums. First Officers Atteberry and Kennemer are also both recent graduates of the Atlas Air University Pilot Pathway to Success program.

“It’s incredibly rewarding to get to talk with so many people who are enthusiastic about the aviation,” industry said Captain Scheulen. “We have grown so much since our early days of just one or two people standing at a small table representing Atlas. We have representatives from across the Company – including senior leaders – actively engaging with the Embry Riddle student body. This bolsters our recruiting efforts significantly. Atlas offers so many career paths within aviation and we are focused on communicating that to the students.”

In addition to the pilot event, Atlas hosted a table at the career expo, staffed by Travis Hall, Director, Tech Ops; Jeff Taylor, Talent Acquisition Specialist and Leisa Spears Snyder.

(L-R) Travis Hall, First Officer Kennemer, Captain Scheulen, First Officer Atteberry and Jeff Taylor.

(L-R) First Officer Cade Kennemer, Leisa Spears Snyder and First Officer Wes Atteberry.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Purdue Aviation Day

Atlas was a proud sponsor of Purdue Aviation Day (PAD), which took place on April 13. Organized exclusively by student leaders within Purdue University’s School of Aviation & Transportation Technology, PAD brings the industry and the community together in one big celebration of aviation.

The career expo, where Atlas was an exhibitor, provided students and local community members the chance to engage with industry professionals, gaining valuable insights into various career paths within aviation.

The event included numerous static aircraft displays, offering an up-close look at commercial, general aviation and military aircraft.

On site for Purdue Aviation Day were Atlas team members Brad Hubbard, Senior Structures Engineer; Chris Grable, Chief Pilot; Leisa Spears Snyder; First Officer and Purdue Alum Lauren Purnell; Sermo Barracks, Senior Manager of Reliability and Chris Jarvis, Talent Acquisition Specialist.

(L-R) The onsite team: Brad Hubbard, Chris Grable, Lesia Spears Snyder, Lauren Purcell, Sermo Barracks, and Chris Jarvis.

(L-R) Lauren Purnell, Captain Darrin McElroy – winner of the B747-8 model, and Chris Grable.

Multiple commercial aircraft on display for attendees to tour and explore.

Attendees were able to get an up-close look at an Indiana Army National Guard Sikorsky UH-60L Blackhawk.

As the largest provider of military passenger and cargo airlift globally to U.S. service members, our commitment to the military extends beyond the missions Atlas Air operates. We actively recruit and are a significant employer of former members of the military, including many of our pilots, logistics team, ground crew personnel and members of our management team.

The Company was recently recognized for this commitment and named a Patriot Employer by the Disabled American Veterans (DAV).

The DAV is dedicated to empowering veterans to lead high-quality lives with respect and dignity. Its Patriot Employer Program celebrates those employers who demonstrate by their employment policies, hiring practices and community outreach a “commitment to helping disabled veterans, military members and their families find meaningful employment opportunities.”

Certificate presented to Atlas Air.

Evaluation criteria includes the strength of the company’s veteran recruiting and hiring efforts, retention and career-building initiatives, and company policies toward disabled veteran employees. Patriot Employers receive a digital badge to signal to clients, employees and potential hires that they value America’s veterans and what they bring to the workplace.

Chris Jarvis, Talent Acquisition Specialist, nominated Atlas for consideration.

“The DAV is recognized widely throughout the military and veteran communities for the work they do and the services they provide,” said Chris. “I am confident that our selection as a Patriot Employer will further strengthen our reputation among service members, an important talent demographic.”

Exclusive Bloomberg Daybreak Asia Interview with Atlas Air Worldwide's Michael Steen to Discuss Outlook for Air Cargo

Michael Steen was a featured guest on Bloomberg Asia this week while in Hong Kong for the World Cargo Symposium, IATA’s largest event ever with 1,900 executives in attendance. Michael spoke with Bloomberg News reporters Annabelle Droulers and Haidi Stroud-Watts live from the Bloomberg studio for this robust interview about the recovery of air freight. See full interview here.

Michael provided expert commentary on macro environment topics ranging from air freight market growth, rise in cross-border eCommerce, and supply chain disruptions (Suez Canal). Throughout the interview, Michael delivered excellent message points about Atlas, including our robust customer mix, diversified business model, joint ventures with DHL (Polar) and Bain (Titan), fleet strategy and general growth plans.

Michael noted that “after a very turbulent 2023 when demand dropped significantly, the market has bounced back, and we’re basically year over year 20% better.”

Driving the demand, according to Michael, is the structural change in demand with e-commerce  – the shift from B2B to B2C. And particularly in China.

“China itself represents about 30% of global air freight, so that shows the importance that China has on the global economy.”

Michael also addressed questions on the impact of geopolitical tensions. He explained that with operations in around the world, there will always be some kind of disruptions to navigate yet Atlas has remained resilient and well-positioned due to diversification – both geographically and service-wise.

Michael also spoke with Bloomberg’s print editor Danny Lee, and that coverage can be found here(Bloomberg subscription needed to access article)

Michael also participated in the executive roundtable featured at the Symposium’s opening plenary. See here for coverage from Air Cargo News on that panel.

The World Cargo Symposium has provided the ideal platform to share our Atlas story and build our reputation as a leader in outsourced aviation logistics, with both the industry audience as well as the broader global audience.

For more information about Atlas Air Worldwide, visit www.atlasairworldwide.com.

Captain Bob Chisholm has worked with Atlas for over 30 years. After retiring from flying in 2014, he joined Atlas’ Miami Training Center as an instructor. Bob is now part of the HR team and interviews prospective new pilots.  

Atlas Air Captain Bob Chisholm standing next to a 747-200 “Classic”

Captain Chisholm in the early days with Atlas.

How long have you been with Atlas?

I started with Atlas in June of 1993 and was one of Atlas’ first pilots. I was hired to fly the first aircraft Atlas had at the time, the 747-200 “Classic,” along with retired Captain Grant Kasischke, who now works on the Support Flight Ops team in the Chief Pilot’s office.

What inspired you to get involved in aviation?

As a child, my father worked in the oil industry and spent a lot of time traveling abroad. At seven years old, I accompanied him on a business trip and flew on a Boeing 377 Stratocruiser for the first time. The plane had a spiral staircase that led to a lower bar and lounge. I snuck down and could see my dad singing songs with passengers as the blue of the Pacific Ocean showed through a window. This moment had a profound impact on me and I knew immediately I wanted to have a career in aviation.

My parents lived all over the world due to my father’s job – Japan, Pakistan and Sweden. My brother and I remained in the States to attend school, but traveled back and forth every Christmas vacation and during the summer. Flying was a luxury and I loved every moment of those flights.

Once I was older, I joined the Air Force Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC). I was in the Air Force for 22 years where I flew Boeing’s 707 out of Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland. I wasn’t sure I was ready to retire from the Air Force but a colleague of mine had gone to fly for Atlas and loved it. I decided to pursue the opportunity. I interviewed on a Thursday and began my career with Atlas the following Monday.

Captain Chisolm with initial cadre of B747-400 pilots and their families and other Atlas employees

Captain Chisolm (next to red arrow) joined the initial cadre of B747-400 pilots, along with their families and other Atlas employees, celebrate the first B474-400s that Atlas purchased.

When did you know you wanted to be a pilot?

From my grandmother’s front lawn in Long Island, New York, we could see beautiful Boeing 707s flying into Idlewild Airport (now John F. Kennedy International Airport). I was already passionate about aviation but watching those planes land reinforced my interest in becoming a pilot.

What is your most memorable moment since becoming a pilot?

I always loved flying our troops back home from various deployments from around the world. During those flights, as soon as we’d enter U.S. airspace, I’d make an announcement and welcome the troops back home to America. You could hear the cheers from the plane from the flight deck.

I’ve also gotten to see some great sights over the years. One in particular was during a flight from Belgium to Nigeria in Africa, which took us straight down the middle of the Sahara Desert. I recall seeing the incredible land of dust and sand, with nothing prominently visible in any direction for hundreds of miles. After a while, we could see ahead to the tops of thunderstorms just below the horizon in the rainforest of the Republic of the Congo. As we flew south, those tops rose higher and higher on the windscreen. It was truly an amazing sight to see massive thunderstorms over a tropical rainforest while flying over one of the driest regions on earth

What is the most interesting cargo you have ever flown?

I’ve flown Formula One race cars; fish from Chile; asparagus from Peru and flowers from Ecuador and Colombia. Flying for Atlas gives a person tremendous job satisfaction.

What is your favorite part about being an Atlas Pilot? What made you want to come back after retirement?

I retired from flying in 2014 and am now in my ninth year working with the Training Department and Human Resources teams. I work with many Atlas retired pilots, many of whom have been here since the early days.

I’ve absolutely enjoyed my time flying for Atlas. When I started with the Company, I was coming into the ground floor of a new venture. I helped write the Company’s Flight Ops manual 31 years ago. I knew our first CEO Michael Chowdry. He was outstanding in leading our Company. He took the time to meet and spend time with crew members from all around the world. Michael cared about his employees and in my opinion, laid the groundwork for today’s focus on the employee experience.

I consider the pilots at Atlas to be the best pilots in the world. We have the best ground staff too. I didn’t want to retire as a pilot but I love my job now with the hiring department and I plan to stay as long as I can.

What’s something your coworkers would be surprised to learn about you?

I’ve been playing chess for about 65 years and my goal is to someday beat my seven-year-old granddaughter.

Black History Month is an annual celebration that highlights the accomplishments of the Black and African American community and acknowledges their pivotal role in shaping U.S. history. Throughout February, as part of our observance of Black History Month, InsideAtlas will be featuring the stories of our Black colleagues throughout the Company. This week, we invite you to get to know First Officer Wryan Bailey.

First Officer Wryan.

Tell us about your journey to Atlas. How did you get here, how long have you been at the Company?

I started my aviation career as an OH-58D Kiowa Warrior Army Helicopter Pilot. When I got out of the Army, I transported workers to and from the oil platforms in the Gulf of Mexico. During that time, I bought my first airplane to facilitate my personal transportation to the Gulf – my work schedule was two weeks on, two weeks off. I then went from flying Bell 407s to a type-rated captain in the King 350, flying overseas; eventually upgrading to the DeHavilland-8 series aircraft flying in various parts of the world. After a stint in Afghanistan, I wanted a job which would allow me to be home more often. I always wanted to fly freight, and I had two dear friends already flying for Atlas. So, it was a natural step and has turned into a final landing spot for me. I have been flying for Atlas for going on 3 years.

What’s your favorite part about working in aviation? And what is your favorite part about your job?

My favorite part about working in aviation is the vastness of it. There are so many different styles of flying and careers in general in the aviation field. Seeing various parts of the world, meeting all kinds of people, and still having time for family and my hobbies are what I love about being an aviator; and particularly being in this job.

FO Wryan in the flight deck.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?

You will be judged by your steep turns from here on out.” A DPE gave me this advice while testing for my helicopter ATP. It has turned out to be true and critical in my career – it helped me get a job recommendation on the spot.

What advice would you give to someone who is just starting their career in aviation?

Take your time. Yes, the airlines are great, and you can be in the right seat at any carrier in two years. Go learn to fly. Get a job for a season in Alaska or fly floats in the Bahamas. Explore a little and learn in different environments. You might find a corporate gig being home every night is a better life than just chasing the title of Captain at some major line.

FO Wryan with his family.

What are some things you’re passionate about?

Hunting and conservation are not just passions, but obsessions. Deer, ducks, turkey, raccoon… you name it. I enjoy being President of the Nashville Sportsman Club to support my passion and the hunting community in Middle Tennessee.

What does Black History Month mean to you?

Being a Black American, every month and day has meaning to me. It is significant because I can trace my lineage back to slavery. The sacrifices my ancestors made back then I still carry with me today. My ancestors bought land after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed. My family still owns that land today. I proposed to my wife on that land. I hunt on that land. My children, the 6th generation, play and learn about conservation and how to farm on that land.

In Maya Angelou’s poem “Still I Rise,” “I am the dream and the hope of the slave.” Knowing what my ancestors went through, being a 747 First Officer and newly selected member of the training department of Atlas Air, I know I am a living presence of their wildest imaginations and dreams.

I hope I inspire others, especially youth, to think of the past as fuel to accomplish their dreams, to make their ancestors proud.

What do you love most about Atlas?

The trust – the ability to do my job freely.

The people – I have had some great conversations above FL330.

The care – from a simple sick call-out to a major home emergency while you are in Incheon.

Atlas will take care of you.  

Captain John Schumacher (far left) and FO Lauren Purnell (far right) with the students.

A team of seven Purdue University Aviation students recently spent two weeks in the Miami Training Center (MIATC) gaining real-world experience as part of their capstone project – defining problems and designing solutions.

The students worked on four projects within the MIATC: Pilot Hiring Data Analytics, Flight Operations Master Calendar, Jet Transition and Atlas Air Writing Style Guide. Each team had 20 minutes to present their findings to Flight Ops leadership.

A few students pose with FO Lauren Purnell (center).

“The capstone project, established as an integral component of Purdue’s Aviation Program, reinforces the significant contributions future talent can make on a well-established organization, such as Atlas,” said Leisa Spears-Snyder, Director of Workforce Development, Talent Acquisition. “Collaboration like this, between industry and education, is essential for the development of the industry pipeline.”

Atlas 777 First Officer Lauren Purnell and Captain John Schumacher are both Purdue Alumni and were instrumental in making this program happen.

“I’m so incredibly proud of what these students accomplished in just under two weeks,” said Lauren. “We gave them four challenging projects, with very lofty goals. Not only did they complete the projects, but they greatly exceeded our expectations with their deliverables. I hope this is the start of their professional journey with Atlas — we would be lucky to have any one of these students join the Company.”

“My experience at Atlas Air was a truly unique and unparalleled opportunity that left an unforgettable mark on my professional journey,” said Kyle Choi, one of the Purdue students who took part in the program. “The unique atmosphere and dynamic environment at Atlas Air provided me with insights and skills that have significantly contributed to my personal and career growth. I am so grateful for the opportunity to have been a part of such a remarkable experience. I am confident I will carry the lessons learned at Atlas Air with me throughout my future endeavors.”

Students during a tour of Miami International Airport (MIA).

Students in front of an Atlas aircraft at MIA.

Leslie Ann Reece.

Black History Month is an annual celebration that highlights the accomplishments of the Black and African Americans community and acknowledges their pivotal role in shaping U.S. history. Throughout February, as part of our observance of Black History Month, InsideAtlas will be featuring the stories of our Black colleagues throughout the Company. This week, we invite you to get to know Leslie Ann Reece. 

Tell us about your journey to Atlas/Polar. How did you get here and how long have you been at the Company?

I am from Trinidad and Tobago. I immigrated to the United States with the goal of becoming a pilot one day. I started out working for one of Atlas’ service vendors and eventually, I moved over to Atlas Ground Ops. I was hired as a station rep and then I was promoted to supervisor, then assistant manager. Shortly after, I was promoted to Station Manager for JFK for Polar.

What is your favorite part about working in aviation? And, what is your favorite part about your job?

Atlas is such a diverse company. You get to meet people from all over the world. We all put our ideas together and work as one. I always say, ‘There is no ‘I’ in team.’ We all pick up the slack.

As the station manager and as a woman, I love that I get to boss all the guys around. LOL.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?

As a female in this industry, the best advice I’ve received is to never undermine the power of what a woman can do. Always stay focused and do what you need to do. If there is something you want, stay focused and go for it!

So many people I have met in this industry have encouraged me, I have lots of support and connections, especially with women in the industry.

What advice would you give to someone who is just starting their career in aviation?

I would tell someone to stay curious and be committed to learning. The aviation industry is vast, and it continues to evolve. There are so many opportunities to learn.  Be your own cheerleader! Push yourself and use all the tools you have. There is a lot to learn, keep going. Work hard, play harder!

What are some things you’re passionate about?

It is just a thrill for me to see where I am now! I have so many role models like Bessie Coleman, the first Black woman to hold a pilot’s license. She is such an inspiration to me, as are the groundbreaking achievements of the Tuskegee Airmen, the African American military pilots who fought in World War II. I like to know that I can be a role model to someone coming up in the industry.

What does Black History Month mean to you?

Black History Month means a lot to me. It all goes back to the Black aviators I mentioned before who paved the way. This month shows us that no matter your color or race, you can put your mind to something and accomplish it. I hope this month represents that we are all the same, no matter our color. If we both have cuts, we both bleed.

What do you love most about working at Polar?

I have loved my job since my first day! When I was a little girl, my friends were playing with dolls, and I was playing with airplanes. I love that I have a job in aviation. Sometimes I get emotional that I am not the one flying the planes, but I think one day I will take flying lessons. I know I would be great at it!

The 767 being loaded with flowers for the first flight on Jan 17, 2024.

Each year, starting in January, air cargo volumes blossom with tonnes of flowers taking flight to be presented as bouquets. Valentine’s Day is one of the busiest holidays of the year for florists and the weeks leading up to this holiday are one of Atlas’ busiest peak seasons. In the United States, 80% of flowers imported are from Colombia.

This year, there’s more love in the air, when it comes to Atlas’ operation. On January 17, Atlas began operating a 767 filled with flowers out of José María Córdova International Airport (MDE) and into Miami International Airport (MIA).

“This was a logical next step for us,” said Arian Castellanos, Senior Manager Ground Ops Systems and Technical Solutions. “We’ve always had a strong presence flying flowers out of Bogotá, which is the largest market interms of volume. Expanding our Colombia operation into Medellín, the second largest flower market in Colombia, ensures we can meet the demand.”

Photo from inside the warehouse on Jan 17.

Frank Diaz, Senior Director Sales and Marketing added, “Bogotá produces mostly roses, but Medellín is a warmer climate, which provide different kinds of flowers like carnations and peonies. We used to take flowers from Medellín, pack them on a truck and ship them to Bogotá to fly to Miami but with the addition of this route, we can fly them out of Medellín, which saves time and allows them to arrive fresher.”

The 767 is also a new fleet type for our South America Operation and came at good time to serve Atlas’ flower peak.

“With our flower flights from Bogotá, we fly a 747,” said Frank. “Since Medellín is a smaller market, with less volume, we are able to leverage our 767. It’s exciting to bring in a new fleet type into the region as well serve a new market.”

In addition to creating a new market, the route has also grown the import business into Miami.

The aircraft prepares for departure out of MDE on Jan 17.

“Previously, we were importing flowers from Quito and Bogotá to Miami,” said Arian. “The expansion into Medellín increases our flights into the station and we now operate five flights a week on this route.”

“We are committed to this market,” said Frank. “Mother’s Day (in May) is our next peak and although the volume will drop after that, we will continue to fly flowers from Medellín. We are committed to meet the demand of the Colombian market and maintain our presence year-round.”

Key participants who made this route possible include Jorge Rosales, Senior Director of Security PAX, Latin America, Santiago Char, Atlas Air Station Manager in Bogotá and our local sales staff in Colombia.

Black History Month is an annual celebration that highlights the accomplishments of the Black and African Americans community and acknowledges their pivotal role in shaping U.S. history. Throughout February, as part of our observance of Black History Month, Tailwinds will be featuring the stories of our Black colleagues throughout the Company. This week, we invite you to get to meet O’Neil Hyatt.

O’Neil Hyatt, Atlas Air Loadmaster

Tell us about your journey to Atlas. How did you get here and how long have you been at the Company?

My journey to Atlas started in 2007, when I was working on 747 freighters for Evergreen Eagle and an industry colleague suggested that I apply to be a Flying Loadmaster with Southern Air. I was hired and over the next seven years with Southern Air, I learned how to overcome all kinds of challenges that can arise through loading and offloading 777 and 747 freighters. When Atlas bought Southern Air, I had an opportunity to return home to my family, so here I am today, working as a Loadmaster for the best and greatest freighter company in the United States – Atlas Air.

What is your favorite part about working in aviation? And, what is your favorite part about your job?

My favorite part of working in aviation is that no two days are the same. And it’s never boring – there are a myriad of challenges on a daily basis – from oversize freight, floating Unit Load Devices (ULD) and much more. When it comes to my job, I love the challenge of figuring out how to position the ULDs to balance out the aircraft.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given? When in doubt, always ask questions. And when it comes to inspecting the aircraft, be thorough and keep safety top of mind. What advice would you give to someone who is just starting their career in aviation? Learn everything that is related to your job, and then learn all you can about the aircraft and the people that service the aircraft. What are some things you’re passionate about? Being able to share my knowledge with loadmasters and ground staff that are just starting out with Atlas. What does Black History Month mean to you? Black History Month is every month to me, I am always promoting self-respect and respect for all. What do you love most about working at Atlas?

The collegial atmosphere that JFK management has cultivated for me, and my colleagues is fantastic. Management is always promoting teamwork. The work we do is stressful and knowing that I can count on my team for support is very reassuring. At JFK, I know and believe, it takes a team.

(L-R) Atlas Air 747 Fleet Captain Thomas Vize, Rob Hunt and Atlas Air 747 Captain Joe Masone.

Atlas Air, official sponsor and travel charter partner to the Miami Dolphins, recently invited Dolphins offensive lineman Robert Hunt to take his skills off the field and into the flight deck to experience what it takes to be a pilot. Fans can watch Hunt as he swaps his cleats for wings in a special behind-the-scene feature, released today.

Hunt joined Atlas Air 747 Fleet Captain Thomas Vize and 747 Captain Joe Masone, in one of Atlas’ 747 flight simulators to learn flying fundamentals, from takeoff to landing. The experience blended the worlds of aviation and sport, two professions that both require an immense amount of training, focus and execution.

“It’s always our great pleasure to fly Rob and his teammates as our passengers, and now we had the amazing experience to fly alongside Rob in our 747 training simulator,” said Captain Vize. “It was incredible to see how much our crew has in common with professional football players. Rob works with his team in one of the most challenging environments, running play after play with a high level of success and safety. Same here at Atlas, where our core value is Safety and we fly over 60,000 flights a year to deliver for our customers. It takes a team to win, both on the field and in the skies.”

Atlas is proud to fly the Miami Dolphins throughout the football season around the US and internationally, transporting more than 150 players, coaches and support staff along with their luggage, equipment and cargo in Atlas’ custom VIP Boeing 747-400.

Watch the full video here.