Off Duty With Pilot Jack Ryan
Introducing Pilot Brand Ambassador, Jack Ryan
One of the greater pleasures about producing military garments is that these designs are rooted in history. Each piece tells a unique story about the idivudal who wears it. Our creative team recently connected with Pilot Jack Ryan to delve into his adventures on becoming a Commercial Pilot and the heritage that led him to his career up in the skies. In his words please read his story below…
I was lucky enough to be raised in an environment where I was surrounded by pilots. My Dad flies 787’s internationally for American Airlines and was a helicopter pilot in the Marines. My grandfather was a two-star General in the Marines and a pilot himself. He flew pretty much every aircraft imaginable. He received a purple heart for being shot down in the military, breaking his leg, and making it back with his crew alive. Two of my uncles were fighter pilots and became Top Gun instructors. One of them would go on to be a Blue Angel pilot as well. I have an aunt who is a corporate pilot and she flies private jets out of the class delta airport in my hometown. So it is pretty clear to see where my inspiration came from.
I grew up attending airshows regularly and hearing all sorts of stories. I thought this was normal and that every kid had this experience. I remember as a young kid watching my uncle perform amazing maneuvers with the Blue Angels where he was treated as a superstar. It was fascinating to be surrounded by this during my childhood, and as a kid I often took it for granted. I thought flying was amazing, but never really considered it as a career until I was much older.
Fast forward to college, I was planning on becoming a dentist. I always inspected people's smiles and I thought that this interest could lead to a career. That was until I started at university with biology and chemistry classes. I then calculated how many years of school I would need to complete to fulfill my dreams of becoming a dentist. While taking time off from school to reevaluate my future plans, I looked to my father and it clicked... he gets paid to travel the world while being home most of the month! I quickly switched majors and decided after I finished my degree that I would enroll in flight school. After graduation, I worked with my dad on finding a competent flight school in my area. I knew that I was not ready to leave San Diego just yet and wanted to do my flight training at home. I enrolled at ATP Flight School because of the speed of their program. Since, I have finished my private pilot license, Instrument add-on, Commercial license, and recently became a certified flight instructor.
Cockpit USA and I first crossed paths while I was scrolling through pages that featured aviation content. I discovered that they have been supplying the US government since 1980. I wondered if any of my family members had worn their products while they served. They also produce their jackets in the United States which is important to me. Their jackets remind me of spending time with family seeing my grandfather in his old leather jacket or my Uncle returning from Kuwait wearing his bomber jacket. Wearing Cockpit USA’s jackets bring me a sense of patriotism and confidence due to their background and attention to detail.
I wear the suede trucker and love it for everyday use. You can dress it up or down and the color goes well with everything. This jacket caught my eye from the start, it’s a type of style of jacket that can be worn in a multitude of ways. The suede is also the softest material that you will ever feel and is beyond comfortable to wear around town, flying, or just hanging out.
Last but certainly not least, the A-2 Anniversary jacket really reminds me of my grandfather's leather jacket that he would wear around the house when I was a young boy. Every time I put it on, I remember how lucky we are to live in this country and how grateful I am for all the men and women who have served our country. You can't beat the look of it either. The A-2 leather jacket to me, is the classic pilot’s jacket. Perfect for those colder morning flights or even worn inside an open cockpit aircraft.
While I still have a few more ratings to finish up before becoming an instructor full-time, I’m glad I took a step back to evaluate what I really wanted to pursue as a career. I could not be happier with the choice that I made and I look forward to what the future holds. I’ll be seeing you in the skies.