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Employee Spotlight on David Cohen: Time flies (literally) when you’re having fun!


August 15th, 2016

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ThunderCloud Subs’ David Cohen brings new meaning to the saying “Time flies when you’re having fun.” David, director of development for ThunderCloud, is also a hobbyist pilot and has spent the last year refurbishing a 1966 Mooney M20E airplane.

The Mooney, manufactured in Kerrville, is a real beauty and purrs like a kitten, but it took some old-fashioned hard work and elbow grease to get the old girl in shape. David and his friend Glenn Chiappe bought and refurbished the plane together, rescuing it from a hangar where it had been in storage for 16 years. It had a solid frame, but was in need of major TLC. David and Glenn completely rebuilt the plane’s undercarriage, stripped and rebuilt the interior, installed various engine component upgrades, and finally gave it a fresh coat of glossy paint.

The M20E has a cruise speed of 152 knots and is considered a complex, high performance airplane because it has flaps, retractable landing gear, an adjustable propeller, and a 200-plus horsepower engine.

David has lived in Austin since 1982, and owned a deli before he began working with ThunderCloud’s regional operations in 1994. He first realized his passion for flying 25 years ago when Glenn took David for his first non-commercial flight in an American Champion Super Decathlon, a fully aerobatic tail dragger. This particular flight was the spark that David needed to realize he could learn to fly. In 2006 David decided to get his pilot’s certificate, and took weekly flying lessons from instructor Barb MacLeod for a year.

David says the scariest part for him was learning to use the radio to communicate with air traffic control. (Not engine failure or plummeting to his death…. the radio!) A natural in the air. David has accumulated about 450 hours flying various airplanes, including a Cessna 152 Aerobat, Cessna 172s including one that he owned and partially refurbished with Glenn, and currently the Mooney.

He’s flown as far as Tuscaloosa, Alabama to visit his daughter at college; Durango, Colorado for a vacation; and most recently to Albuquerque, New Mexico to visit his sister and brother-in-law. His next aspirations are to earn his instrument rating and a tail wheel endorsement. He’d also like to fly to the Florida Keys and the Bahamas.

Your first flight in a small, single-engine aircraft can be pretty nerve-wracking, but David is great at making first-timers feel safe. He is cool, calm, and collected at all times, which is a big part of what makes him such a great pilot (and coworker). Before every flight, David goes over a safety checklist, maps out his flight plans, self-announces in uncontrolled airspace, and follows all regulations.

In addition to flying, David likes to play golf, fish, and spend time on the ocean and in the mountains, but flying is by far his favorite. With the hustle and bustle of daily life and traffic far below, sweeping panoramic views of the horizon and the sunset, it’s easy to see why he likes it so much.

For most people, the sky is the limit. For David, the sky is home. To see before and after photos of his plane and read about the restoration of the Mooney, check out his blog at http://n2690w.blogspot.com/.

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