This past week I was thrilled to be joined on the latest episode of my Aviation Adventures television show by a couple that is doing great things independently and together in aviation! There are so many opportunities in aviation beyond simply being an airline pilot. Granted a little effort is required, but with a passion for flying and the ability to put in a little effort, aviation offers so many opportunities to comers of all ages!
Plus, you might even be able to find an opportunity that didn’t exist before you, and maybe your “pet project” will turn into something more! Whether the opportunity is employment, volunteering or just for fun there are so many facets of aviation and the local airport that are worth exploring!
The past week Mike D’Alessandro and Tara Keating joined me on the latest episode of Aviation Adventures. Mike and Tara are a great team that can show us all what is possible within the aviation world! Check out the episode on YouTube, HERE. To get a behind the camera look at what Mike & Tara are doing, check out the rest of this post that goes beyond the episode!
I first met Mike years ago while we were both students at Bridgewater State College (now University). Mike as a freshman showed a true passion for flying and dedication to aviation through his effort as a part of the collegiate flight team that I was captaining at the time. Over the years Mike and I have stayed in touch. As a result of the things that he and Tara have been up to recently, I reached out to them about joining me on Aviation Adventures.
Editor’s Note: The episode and this post are not intended to be an ad for their product (you’ll learn about soon) but I hope it helps expose their AWESOME product to a lot of dog-owner pilots who WILL purchase their product, you can see Bella’s (my dog) review of their treats later. Mike & Tara did not pay me and this wasn’t their idea, they simply accepted my invitation. Please remember this isn’t a paid promotion, as always the writing and opinions here are mine and I fully endorse anything that you read here! I was very happy when they both expressed excitement at the opportunity to share their story!
Both Mike and Tara have incorporated aviation into their education. Mike graduated from Bridgewater State University with a Bachelor’s degree in Aviation Management. Tara, also a BSU graduate (not aviation) just finished her second year at Suffolk Law. This summer Tara is incorporating her interests in the law and aviation with an internship with the FAA New England Region Legal Council. Mike is presently a commercial pilot for multiengine airplanes. He earned these certificates/ratings while training as a BSU student with KING Aviation-Mansfield early on and then he completed more advanced training at the Bridgewater State University Flight Center. Continuing his aviation studies, Mike has recently started studying to pursue a flight instructor certificate!
Mike got his working start in aviation at KING Aviation-Mansfield. Mike worked with us at the Mansfield Airport as a line representative/operations employee. During that time, as the Operations Manager, it was easy for me to see that he was a hardworking individual, supporting my positive opinions of Mike from years earlier.
Presently, Mike works as a flight support specialist with Magellan Jet in Boston, MA. In his present role Mike is responsible for many aspects of the charter flights for his customers. Ultimately, the entire experience from catering to ground transportation after the flight is Mike’s responsibility.
During the prerecording meeting Mike & Tara expressed their interest in wanting to have something of their own “so to say…” It was easy to see that they will be successful due to their positivity and the effort that they put into everything they do! Their “pet project” for a potential business has grown into much more than a project, but “pet project” is still a great way to describe it, here’s why…
Mike & Tara started a business, Pups With Altitude. Their products are aviation-themed dog treats! Talk about PET project, huh? They combine their passions for aviation, dogs and cooking and came up with a creative way to enjoy all of those things at once! Plus they now have that, “something of their own…”
Be sure to check out the Pups With Altitude website: www.pupswithaltitude.com
I can also say that their peanut butter treats received two paws up from my dog, Bella, as you can clearly see in this picture! Mike & Tara have also assured me that their already successful dog treat product offerings are in expansion mode and they will be introducing new products soon, so stay tuned to their website, Facebook and Instagram (All links right there to make it easy for you to see what they are up to!).
Volunteering is where Mike & Tara take their knowledge, skills, abilities and effort and go so far beyond what you might expect! They truly are inspirational, I’m sure you’ll soon agree with me, check this out…
Mike & Tara use general aviation to help the group that is the most deserving of the dream-come-true that is flying an airplane! They volunteer with an organization called, Above the Clouds. If you are looking for a good cause to donate to, check this group out, they are doing wonderful things for children that need or can really use the help!
Above the Clouds offers two programs, Dream Flyers & Cadet Flyers. Dream Flyers is designed to take children with disadvantaged living situations, terminal conditions or that have been hospitalized for an extended period, for a flight “above the clouds.” All of us that fly know how incredible it is to be soaring above everyone else and enjoy the incredible views.
For these children it is truly a dream-come-true and once-in-a-lifetime opportunity! Mike & Tara volunteer their time to help as ground support crew members, helping to make the experiences positive for the children as well as their families! In the future, Mike hopes to become an Above the Clouds pilot to continue and giveback to this truly great cause.
Similarly, the Cadet Flyers program offers underprivileged students the opportunity to gain a sense of responsibility and motivation through learning to fly! Definitely take a few minutes and check out Above the Clouds’ website: http://abovethecloudskids.org/
With this, Mike & Tara are doing things so far beyond awesome! By using general aviation to help others, they are showing everyone that there is more to small airports than a “yacht club” atmosphere where rich people keep their airplanes…
As you can see Mike & Tara really are doing great things in aviation! They both are great people, as anyone who knows them would tell you. Further, they are a great illustration of what is possible in aviation with a little bit of dedication and effort! Just think, what could you do to help others and advance the public perception of general aviation? Chances are there is a business opportunity, potential career or volunteering opportunity where you can excel somewhere in the aviation world. You just have to go find it and put in a little effort like Mike & Tara!
-Fly Safe, @MTElia1B9