Sonja Wosnitzer: When did you join the Jersey Aero Club?
Lucas Skallenberg: It was early this year, around February.
Why did you want to join the JAC?
L.S. It was like the second or third club that I kind of found. I just moved from the Detroit area and I wanted a club. I had already done my primary training with a flight school and felt like I wanted something with a bit more of a community feel and a little bit cheaper. Just a different vibe generally. We moved to Philly and I looked at clubs closer to me, but I didn't really find a good match, so I just expanded the range a little bit and found the JAC.
S.W. It says a lot that you commute all the way from Philadelphia when you want to fly.
L.S. Almost every time I drive out I'm like, I can't keep doing this, this is too much. But every time I'd drive back, I'm really happy I did. So I keep doing it.
S.W. So congratulations, I heard you are a fresh Instrument rated pilot.
L.S. Yes, thanks!
S.W. Are you jumping into your commercial right away?
L.S. Yeah, I am. I'm going to try to continue on to become a professional pilot.
S.W. What was your background professionally before flight training? What brought you to aviation?
L.S. I am a carpenter, I work in construction, I've been doing that for ten years, but I just always was interested in flying. So it was kind of like a dream until I decided to make it a reality. I started to fly last year. I took a discovery flight a few years ago out in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and then flew at the same place three or four times, took some lessons with with that instructor, but then just kind of put it on the shelf until we moved to Detroit.
S.W. What planes do you fly out of JAC?
L.S. Lately it's been mostly the Skyhawk, obviously, but a few of the other planes I'd like to get checked out in soon.
S.W. What's your favorite "$100 hamburger?"
L.S. I don't really have one at this point, it's training flights for procedures rather than for the destination. I got to get better at that. I recently went to Andover. Have you been there?
S.W. I have not been there.
L.S. It was a really cool short runway with water on both sides. Just beautiful and kind of tricky. So that would be one of the coolest ones. And obviously New York is pretty cool. S.W. What's your favorite time of year to fly? L.S. All four seasons. But, I think with the instrument ticket, I would say not the winter. S.W. That's a good answer. So, where are you from?
L.S. I grew up in Sweden. My wife and I moved to Detroit. First, we were in New Mexico for a few months, but that was like three years ago. Since then, we've been just trying to find out where we want to settle and are in Philadelpia now. While I grew up in Sweden, I have family on my mom's side in Virginia. So we'd go over every other year and that was obviously back in the day when the airlines had the cockpit door open. And I got to go on the jumbo jet a couple of times. And I still remember just absolutely loving every minute of it. I always had that fascination. I would look up in the sky and, you know, all that typical stuff. But I put it on the shelf like it was a dream. It was actually my wife who pushed me. She was like, don't you dare not follow your dreams. And that triggered me. So it was a couple of days after that I signed up for flight lessons and never stopped since.
S.W. Was anyone else in your family a pilot?
L.S. No, but however, I recently learned I am related to Alexander Lippisch. (German aeronautical engineer, a pioneer of aerodynamics who made important contributions to the understanding of tailless aircraft, delta wings and the ground effect.)
S.W. That seems to explain a lot, then.
L.S. Yeah, yeah. (laughing). Exactly.