Michael Charlie, First Officer for Ravn Air, gets ready for a flight from Anchorage to Bethel. photo by Greg Lincoln

by K.J. Lincoln

Michael Charlie of Bethel can be found in the cockpit of the Ravn Dash 8, as First Officer, and he is enjoying the experience. He has always loved flying, he’s been a pilot since June 1999. He is one of the Yukon Kuskokwim region’s homegrown pilots with roots in the villages of Tununak and Marshall.

How did he become a First Officer? Charlie first began flying for Hageland Aviation based in Bethel. He was offered the opportunity to transfer to Ravn last July, which he readily accepted. After attending ground school, Charlie took on several weeks of intense simulator training covering different scenarios and emergencies. All the preparation paid off when he passed his check ride.

By mid-October Charlie flew his first flight with Ravn from Kenai to Anchorage in the cockpit. It was not more difficult than flying a smaller plane, it was easier, Charlie said.

“The bigger airplane you fly, the easier it gets,” he said. “It is really stress free.”

Charlie encourages more local pilots to pursue their dreams and continue on to flying larger aircraft if that is what they would like to do. He credits his parents Mark and Anna for their steadfast encouragement, guidance, and loving wisdom throughout his pilot’s journey.

“I should have done this a long time ago,” he said while resting at home over the weekend. You may have him soon as your pilot on a Ravn flight.