Today marks the end of the pay period and the conclusion of my career with The National Wild Turkey Federation. After 9.5 years with NWTF tomorrow will be the beginning of a new pay period with the US Fish and Wildlife Service. In my new position I will work as a Pilot-Biologist in the division of migratory bird management. You can learn more about the aviation program here - https://www.fws.gov/birds/surveys-and-data/aviation.php
Changing jobs... or I should say "change" in general is never easy but it helps when you have worked many years towards a goal. I first learned about the pilot-biologist job as a young wildlife biologist back in my first stint with the USFWS (early 2000's). As soon as I knew there was such a thing I wanted to be one! At first I thought it was out of reach as flying planes was for rich folks, but I soon learned I could take it an hour of flight time at a time and eventually earn my ratings. You know... it's how you eat an elephant... a bite at a time. Going from zero time to commercial multi-engine instrument rated pilot is not easy, cheap or quick... at least not for me! I was not born a pilot but I was born determined!
Even with all the training I have completed my first year coming up will still be mostly more training. But at least I won't be paying for all of it and it will make me a better, safer pilot. I will get to add some great additional ratings to my commercial certificate and I am really looking forward to the training. Along with the pilot training I will undoubtedly ride right seat on the upcoming waterfowl surveys and start to learn/refine those techniques.
For those of you who follow my blog or are interested I will do my best to share all my experiences here as time and bandwidth permit. I will certainly be in some remote areas at times so can't commit to a good blogging schedule. But I will do my best to post here. I also have started a new Instagram page where I will post pics of my adventures so make sure to follow @biologistpilot.