View Full Version : No Risk/No Reward - LIVING IT! B)

Air Pirate
06-08-2013, 02:15 PM
Wasn't sure if this should go in under Bon Vivant, but definitely fits here. I just took a job with a new start-up airline here in the PDRK, leaving a stable FedEx contractor. One or two years ago I would have said this was crazy, as I realize that I have always tended to be probably over-cautious. But I did the research and was thoroughly impressed. As many here probably know, aviation is similar to the firearms and training industry in that the overwhelming mantra is that anything perceived as "new" or "different" is not merely rejected by the powers that be, but attacked and derided out of ignorance or fear of becoming irrelevant or obsolete. It's the classic case of the "naysayers" that Gabe and others refer to.
Just as Gabe and a few others have revolutionized their industry, Surf Air is poised to revolutionize an industry that has long been as stagnant and appetizing as a West Nile filled drainage pond. But the mosquitos and their larvae who say "It will never work" are more than welcome to wallow in the comfortable warmth of their mediocrity. I've seen the numbers, met the exec's, and in the past have flown with types of people who I know will be our members. I find it interesting that an industry that was started by people who were told "It will never work" and "Man isn't meant to fly" yet still persisted in the face of opposition, is so resistant to change. I'm not surprised however, as I know people are still people.
In the spirit of our community here at WT though, I decided that I was sick of mediocrity. I'm tired of settling for the "needs" mentality. I WANT to be part of something revolutionary. I WANT to be able to reach my potential. I WANT to work with and for people who feel the same way. I WANT to be on the ground level of something that has great potential. So here I am!
Is it risky to be part of a business model that has never truly been tried to this extent? Yes. Is it risky to work for a company who's CEO & COO don't have direct experience in this industry? Yes. Is it risky to do it in the doom-n-gloom/sky-is-falling political and economic climate of today? Yes. But is there the possibility of great return and reward? YES!!!
General Jimmy Doolittle spoke often of the difference between calculated risk vs. gambling. And this is anything BUT a gamble. So all that to say that while I'm not the actual entrepreneur in this situation, I proudly get to be part of an operation with an entrepreneurial culture of excellence that will has every chance for success and proving the naysayers wrong once again, just like those who told Orville & Wilbur, "It will never work."

-On a side note, I'm in the free country of TX at DFW training for the week if there are any WT brothers who would be game to meet up for dinner! Just shoot me a PM.

06-09-2013, 05:36 AM
Great to hear! Wishing you every success.

06-09-2013, 05:40 AM
You are a living, breathing, bad ass. Well done!

06-09-2013, 10:19 AM
Congrats for pulling the trigger and going for it!

You won't be kicking yourself for not following your instinct to ask a certain person (now a billionaire) for a job, like I did.

06-09-2013, 10:33 AM
Congratulations! I looked you guys up, it seems to be a very cool idea! I wish you great success, and hope you expand up to the Pacific NW area ASAP.

That said, I'll take issue with one of your thoughts:

So all that to say that while I'm not the actual entrepreneur in this situation, ...

You are *indeed* one of the actual entrepreneurs here, and don't think otherwise. You are risking valuable years of your life and career, and going to be investing your sweat and energy into the enterprise. Your efforts will contribute to the success of this risky venture, and if you've cut your deal right, you stand to profit handsomely from it.

There's more to being an entrepreneur than simply investing $$$. There's just as much need for people who invest brainpower, time, opportunity, blood, sweat, and tears.

After my first bad startup experience, I ever after only worked at ventures that valued *everyone* as part of the startup team, and only hired people who viewed themselves as partners in the mission, and rewarded them accordingly.

Go crush your foes!

06-09-2013, 11:15 AM
This looks like a terrific idea and uses my dream personal aircraft, the Pilatus PC12. Excellent choice! It looks like a very good business plan. I only wish I had a use for the service but good luck to you and Surf Air!


06-09-2013, 05:59 PM
They told Herb Kelleher "it wouldn't work".

As a 14 year pro pilot, I wish you much success. I know it takes a lot of courage to give up a stable flying gig for something like this but like you said, no risk, no reward.

I think this kind of business model has a lot of potential and I have seen it more and more in different parts of the country, including my AO. A company with a small fleet of efficient aircraft that can serve a local market with specific needs. There are plenty of business and local government types that need to get from A to B quickly, without having to deal with the hub and spoke system of the airlines, certainly without having to put up with piss-poor service from the same, and without being fondled by TSA.

Enjoy the PC12.

Air Pirate
06-10-2013, 07:24 PM
Thanks everyone! I totally appreciate the input! I definitely feel like I made the right decision, and even more so now.

@BAE thank you for your perspective. I was already excited to be a part of the initial team, but I honestly hadn't thought of myself as being an entrepreneur as well. I know you're right though, and it definitely makes me pause and see things in a different light. Oh and I've seen seen the plan for future routes, and your neighborhood is definitely included. =)

Air Pirate
06-13-2013, 10:59 AM
Launch day was a success yesterday! I've got one more day of training today and checkride tomorrow. Can't wait to get back and join the team! There's a Surf Air YouTube channel with yesterday's preflight interview with our CEO by CNBC if anyone is interested.

First flight:

First return flight:

06-13-2013, 11:03 AM
Very cool. Way to kill it and drag it home, sir.

Air Pirate
07-29-2013, 04:57 PM
Thought I'd check in with a quick update!
Its definitely been a busy two months, but both the company and I are doing great! Our membership is currently sold out and has a waiting list of about 6,000! We've already added Santa Barbara to our destinations, and it looks like we'll be adding Hawthorne and San Diego next month. Additionally, we should have our interstate approval in the next couple months, which will open up even more opportunities. On a personal note, I am the first First Officer to upgrade to Captain! Definitely stoked! We've got our growing pains, and my commute is killer, but overall Surf Air is rockin' it! Even gave my surfboard a new paint job. Haha, maybe the Glock should be next? Hmmm...
Pictures to come...

Air Pirate
07-29-2013, 05:07 PM

Air Pirate
07-29-2013, 05:12 PM

Red Ryder
07-29-2013, 05:12 PM
Well done, sir!
I recently saw the movie "The Way, Way Back" and the advice to the introverted 14 year old is still appropriate :"Don't die wondering".

I quit a job I hated to start my own company when I was 25, still here and pushing 50 now. Fortune favors the bold. Keep flying high.

Air Pirate
07-29-2013, 05:17 PM
Well done, sir!
I recently saw the movie "The Way, Way Back" and the advice to the introverted 14 year old is still appropriate :"Don't die wondering".

I quit a job I hated to start my own company when I was 25, still here and pushing 50 now. Fortune favors the bold. Keep flying high.

Thanks Red Ryder! Great quote! Movie worth seeing? I've heard of it, but don't know anyone who's seen it.

Red Ryder
07-29-2013, 05:22 PM
Great movie...took my wife and daughter after seeing it with a friend a few days before.
Fun to see Steve Carell as a d-bag. Great supporting cast, well written. It was a breath of fresh air after all the "blockbusters".
Anyone who has ever been a teenager can appreciate it (great coming-of-age tale).

Air Pirate
07-29-2013, 05:25 PM
Haha thanks! Think I just might go see it then! I'm off tomorrow, so a movie night might just be in order!

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