Hometown: Loves Park, IL
Hometown Airport: KRFD
Occupation: Pilot/Flight Instructor
Education: Bachelors of Science
Pilot Certificates: ATP, CFI, CFII, MEI, AGI
Airplanes Flying/Flown: Currently flying the Eclipse 500, Embraer Phenom 100, Citation Mustang, and the Citation CJ
Education Specialty: Aviation Management
Q & A
What drew you to aviation? My father was a United Airlines pilot that has always been active in general aviation. I was fortunate enough to begin flying at a very early age, and I always new I wanted to be a pilot.
How long have you been involved in aviation education? 15 years
What’s your favorite part of what you do in aviation education? Instructing in Very Light Jets exposes you to a unique type of student. Our students are typically successful business owners that have never before flown a jet. They are amazed that they actually get to fly a jet, but also are very overwhelmed at first. My favorite part of the training process is when the student recognizes that becoming a jet captain is attainable, and begins to make sound, safe, and conservative decisions with the aircraft.
What’s your least favorite part of what you do in aviation education? Our industry has not yet mandated post type-rating training (Mentoring) for people new to jets. When a Captain at an airline completes his or her type rating, they are required to complete 25 hours of training, in the actual aircraft, with a training captain. This type of training is essential in the VLJ’s, because the new jet pilot is exposed to a real life operational environment. Often times, a pilot comes from simulator training and does not recognize that completing mentoring with a qualified mentor pilot is essential.
Do you have a memorable aviation experience you’d like to share? I have been fortunate enough to train and complete my type rating with my father, Dominick Ruscitti, on the Embraer Phenom 100 and the Citation Mustang. He taught my how to fly when I was a teenager, and to be able to train with him has been an incredible experience.
Why did you join SAFE? Aviation is an amazing industry that is constantly evolving. The promotion of effective training and safety is essential. SAFE is an excellent organization that promotes these goals.
What would you like to see change in aviation? I would like the training requirements for VLJ’s to be increased. I believe that the type-rating process needs to be viewed as having two parts: the actual type rating, and mentoring. Mentor pilots must not be just pilots with type ratings. They need to be instructors with jet experience.
Any suggestions on how the above might be accomplished? Mentoring could be applied to all aircraft, not just VLJ’s. We, as a collective group, could encourage all students to train even after they complete their license or rating.
Who are your role models in aviation? Dominick Ruscitti (Father), J. Robert Moss (National Flight Instructor of the Year)