Dave English

Aviation nerd bon vivant


I’m a husband, father and flyer. My profession is piloting airliners. Done a few other things, but sure do enjoying flying. Get asked about my name and my accent all the time, so let’s start with the answers: Yes, I grew up in England. And yes, my real name is English.

Also get asked is it Dave or David? Well, David most of the time. But in print it’s always been Dave. There’s a prolific technology writer named David English, so by me publishing as Dave there is no confusion about who wrote what.

Clearly a super cute kid. Grew up in Kent, UK, attending Gillingham Technical High School in the late seventies/early eighties. So what happened?

Read physics at the University of Warwick, England. Spent most of my time as a member and sometime manager of the Students’ Union Technical Services Group, providing lighting, audio and general technical stage support for all university concerts, balls and discos. We worked several hundred bands, from Gary Glitter and Divine to Mötorhead and The Damned. Eighties classics like REM and a Simply Red album launch. Also moonlighted as a nightclub disc jockey — DJ Dave Dynamite!

A week after graduating, I came to the States. After a range of jobs — including exciting stints as a supermarket shelf stocker, music store assistant manager, and car salesman — I learnt to fly at the FlightSafety Academy, Florida.

My first flying job was as number two reserve pilot for the rock'n'roll air traffic patrol in Raleigh, North Carolina. I rose to chief pilot there, and then moved on to become chief flight instructor at Spitfire Aviation, where I instructed military and foreign students in various light aircraft.

After that I flew the BAe-3101 for ten months, then moved up to American Eagle, where I flew the Shorts 360, SAAB 340, ATR-42/-72 and the Embraer EMB-135 series. In 2003 I was fortunate enough to be hired at a (then) fast-growing (and now major) airline, where I fly the A320/321 as a captain. Member of our Accident Investigation Go Team. It pays my bills at the glider club.

In the past I have held various union LEC, MEC & ALPA National safety posts, and consulted for ICAO as a member of a study group revising instrument flying international standards and recommended practices. But now I’m more interested in people than procedures. That led me to a masters degree in applied psychology at ASU. Some of my later research has been published in scientific journals, including Safety Science and the International Journal of Aviation, Aeronautics, and Aerospace.

Editor of a funny little book Slipping the Surly Bonds: Great Quotations on Flight, first published by McGraw-Hill in 1998, and The Air Up There: More Great Quotations on Flight, in 2003. Also wrote a chapter of the book Silverbird: The American Airlines Story.

Slipped articles into magazines like Air Facts, Air Line Pilot, Airliners, Airways, Aviation Consumer, Flight Training, IFR, Professional Pilot, and Sky & Telescope. Worked on script development and narration writing for the 2015 documentary movie Living in the Age of Airplanes. Monthly columnist now for Plane & Pilot magazine.

For a long time was a member of the Association for Aviation Psychology, the American Psychological Association, and a founder member of the International Positive Psychology Association.

Forced into word salad of interests I spew hiking, soaring, swimming, laughing, reading, learning, sitting, loving, sharing, caring, doing, being.

After wonderful times in Wisconsin and Arizona, I now live in the woods west of Boston, Massachusetts. Married to the love of my life, Nancy, a beautiful Colombian. We have two sons, Alex and Sam. I am indeed a lucky man.

Dave English

I can sometimes be found playing on the Interwebs at:

Amazon.com (as an author)
Amazon.com (as a reader)
Google Scholar

Above the clouds, I’ll see you in the sky …