AMA with Nancy Bradshaw

August, 10, 2020 by

We will be having an AMA “Ask Me Anything” with Nancy Bradshaw, where the members in our Slack community got a chance to ask her questions, live.

Nancy is an airline pilot, commercial ASEL and Helicopter pilot, CFI, CFII, and AGI for airplanes.

She has a Masters in Aerospace Engineering and was a Flight Test Engineer for nine years working on the F16 and F35 platforms.

She’s runs an incredible educational YouTube channel geared towards pilots and those wanting to become pilots, subscribe here. We’d also highly encourage you to check out her website, Fly Good Aviation.

How was your life through flight school?
I had a lot of fun but with a full time job as well it was quite stressful at times.

What’s the hardest part of flight school?
Learning to speak to ATC accurately and confidently.

Do you have any tips for people who wants to go through flight school?
Two best tips I have are stay consistent with your studying and flying and also be persistent.

What weather do you like the most when you’re flying?
Clear blue skies so you can see everything.

For people trying to become a pilot. How should they start?
If you want to become a pilot start with a discovery flight and see if you would flight training.

How were you selected to work on programs involving the F16/F35?
I was a flight test engineer working on F16 at the time and it was basically the logical progression from my job at the time. Honestly, the airforce asked and I didn’t have much of a choice.

What was the most rewarding part of your work on the F16/F35?
To see the aircraft progress to being a platform the pilots can actually work with, from more or less a concept.

What is your favorite part of being an airline pilot?
The places I go and the jet.

What is your favorite place to have a layover?
Favorite place for an overnight? Fav overnight thus far has been Brownesville because of the super nice hotel people

What inspired you to create your YouTube channel?
I wanted to create a YouTube channel to help people get started and see the reality of it cause I felt at the time there was a lot of glamour out there and not much real information.

What’s been your experience with gender discrimination in the airline industry? Any glaring areas that are worse than others?
I have found that gender discrimination is getting worse the further I get in my aviation journey. I didn’t feel much of it during training but I have in my professional setting and now that I am putting myself out there on the interwebs, of course there’s more hate. But in large, the aviation community is a great one and I am proud and happy to be part of it.

How hard is it to become a pilot nowadays, is it too risky and is it still the same as it used to be back in the 2010s?
I think as far as flight safety, it has increased vs when I was flight training. I feel flight schools are more aware of safety than when I started.

Is it true that if you do your gliders license teaches you flying in the best way?
I don’t know how much that is true but I did have some glider hours before I started powered flight and it did help some. I wouldn’t say it’s a prerequisite.

In 3 sentences, how can you encourage me to start learning about the ”helicopter” side of things?
Because it’s awesome! It is expensive so I would say you need to have a drive to do it and the funds and be realistic about the cost aspect. I stink that flying helicopters made me a better fixed wing pilot as well.

Where should I start with Helicopters?
Start by reading the helicopter handbook (free on the FAA website) and a discovery flight.

What’s your favorite things about helicopters?
The fact that it really is a piece of technology that came to life by thinking completely out of the box. The aerodynamics involved with keeping a helicopter in the air are just super cool.

What was the F16/F35 like?
Both absolutely brilliant aircraft. Two completely different platforms. I think I have a soft spot for the F16 since that’s what I started my career working on but I love that I was part of the development of the F35 so early in it’s life.

Who/what has been your biggest inspiration to pursue aviation and now help others do the same?
I am part of a women in aviation group where I met lady Florabelle Reese, who is no longer with us. She was a WASP and was awesome and wanted to help people to realize their dreams. She helped me and I want to do the same for others.

What has been your largest challenge in chasing your dreams?
Daring to think outside of the box and to be uncomfortable. It would’ve been much easier to stay an engineer and not fly for a living. But that would’ve also been a lot less fun to me.

Top three items on your bucket list?
1. Fly a widebody and say “heavy” at the end of my call sign, for real and not for fun. If that makes sense.
2. Have a second job with which I fly [medical evacutations] in helicopters
3. Own my own helicopter.
Yup, ambitious but I hope to get at least a few ticked off.

If I’m not mistaken, you are an airline pilot, helicopter pilot, commercial ASEL, AGI, CFII, and CFI. I read that you have a Masters in Aerospace Engineering. You were a Flight Test Engineer for nine years working with two incredibly fighters. Could you give us a timeline of this? You’ve accomplished so much and are now giving back, but what did the commitment look like?
2000-2007 university to get the masters 2007-2016 engineer, in which I got all the ratings 2016-2017 CFI and got the CFII and AGI 2017-2018 got a corporate job and continued instructing and got the helicopter add-on and 2018 helicopter mosquito spray job and 2019 airlines.

What is one thing you would have done differently in your earlier years? Biggest regret?
Biggest regret is not being consistent with flight training from the start.

I just finished flight trainings, but do CFIs get nervous with new pilots?
Absolutely! I did. Especially the ones that try to spin the plane. But you will get over that super quick you will get more confident with every flight you instruct.

How has YouTube connected you in the aviation community? Why do you do YouTube?
I do YouTube because I wanted to share the reality of starting as a professional pilot and not the glamour that I saw on a few channels. And to help people get started.

How did you get into aviation?
When I was small my grandparents lived in Curacao and we lived in the Netherlands. My first experience on a plane was a KLM wide body to go see them and I though, I need to connect every kid to their family through flying.

What came first, your YouTube channel or
The YouTube channel came first, then the website. I kept getting the same questions and I wanted a place where I can group the answers. And I liked the idea of blogging but I am not very good at the SEO part of things so it hasn’t really taken off just yet. Everything that you see in my little corner of the internet is done by me alone so I learn a lot which is great but I also have a day job so it’s hard to keep up at times.

What’s the biggest challenge you’ve had to face as an airline pilot?
Actually the biggest challenge is happening right now with the pandemic. It was very hard in the beginning when there were near empty airports and we were literally the only people in the hotel. I have never been faced with a situation where my job was threatened by forces outside of my control and that is incredibly challenging for me at the moment. The great thing is though, many pilots have gone through this before and I have a few people I can talk to that are really helping me find my way through furlough and so on. I think having a good mentor is crucial in aviation.

What’s your favorite cookie flavor?
Cookies are awesome and I eat A LOT of them. Oreos, the original, my fav on the road. Otherwise, white chocolate macadamia cookies. You can wake me up for those any time at night!

Check out her YouTube channel geared towards pilots and those wanting to become pilots, subscribe here. We’d also highly encourage you to check out her website, Fly Good Aviation.

If you’d like to join in discussions such as this with like-minded people like yourself and experts in the field, to learn and improve, I’d encourage you to join our Slack community.

Kai Malcom is a writer for the IFATC Education Group. Kai is an IFATC Specialist, student pilot, web developer and third-party developer.