Pam Freese, ATP, CFII
MD88 / 90 Captain, Delta Airlines
BPT Instructor; 20,000+ hours
BPT: Tell us about your career in aviation. What types of airplanes have you flown?
Pam: I started off learning to fly in Tomahawks, so I got lots of single-engine, small Piper time. Tomahawks, Arrows, Archers, Warriors, stuff like that. I flew Bonanzas, Barons, Navajos, Senecas, and King Airs, while I was building my time. I have some light-twin time in Cessnas: 310s, 340s, and 414s.
Also, I got some Beechcraft 1900 time at the commuter – and a lot of 727 time, both in the right seat and as the engineer. I have time in 757s, DC-9s, MD-88s, MD-90s. I spent a couple of years on the Airbus 320 – and I have lots of float time in 185s, Super Cubs on straight floats, and amphibs. I even got some time in the Albatross twin-engine floatplane. I actually got a second-in-command in that.
Basically, I fly anything people will let me fly!
BPT: So, what initially sparked your flying career?
Pam: I saw an ad in the Minnesota Daily, for an introductory flight lesson in 1987. I went for that introductory flight lesson, and I loved it! It was my last quarter in college, and they contacted my friends from high school, and brought me to a private pilot ground school as a graduation gift. I thought, “I would really do better at this if I took some flying lessons too”.
I didn’t have much money, but I spent everything I had. I got a job at the dental school doing dental research, and I spent all of my money on flying lessons until I got my flight instructor’s license. It took me three years from the time I started.
When I got my flight instructor’s license, I quit my real job and started flight instructing. I did some volunteer flying for the Ramsey County Sheriff’s Air Patrol and I flew for the University of Minnesota to build my time.
BPT: How did you get involved with BPT?
Pam: I got involved with BPT because a friend of mine who had been teaching for a long time, Waldo Anderson, had made a comment saying, “Hey, I’m in this Beechcraft training program, and I think you’d really enjoy it. I think you’d be good at it.” He brought me to a clinic, and I really loved it. Waldo was sending me lots of students that had Bonanzas and Barons, and I flew the Baron for the University of Minnesota.
BPT: What are some of the benefits for BPT Pilots?
Pam: Honestly, I think one of the biggest benefits for pilots is meeting other pilots, instructors, and mechanics that specialize in Beechcraft – and hearing their stories. You learn something new every time you have an engine failure, or a gear not coming down or a problem in IMC. You don’t have to learn it all the hard way. You can learn it from others’ stories; other people that have been there and done that. I think it’s great for pilots to learn from other pilots and mechanics.
We can all fly our airplanes very well when everything’s going right, but we also have the opportunity to practice abnormal situations like engine failures, systems not working, etc.
The ground school gives you systems knowledge to troubleshoot only some of that, so it’s good to have annual training to see things that you don’t normally see. Learning from other people instead of learning everything the hard way is a great benefit. You hope normal flying is always trouble-free, but you can’t practice without the abnormal.
BPT: What experiences do you enjoy most about being a part of BPT?
Pam: I love teaching different customers, flying different airplanes, and talking to everybody. That camaraderie is outstanding! It’s great to meet other people that have similar interests and knowledge. We share ideas and stories and have a good time! I wish I could think of a better word, but that’s what it is, it’s all fun!
BPT: Where are you now with your flying career?
Pam: My current job is as a captain for Delta Airlines. I fly MD88s and MD90s out of Minneapolis. Mostly domestic now. Before I became a captain, I was a co-pilot on 767 and really enjoyed the international flights. But being a captain is a lot of fun too.
BPT: Do you have any advice for those who may not know about BPT?
Pam: No, I just think that BPT is a great organization, and it gives you great value for your money!