Who’s Who – Employee Spotlight
The world of aviation brings together people from a variety of backgrounds and career experiences. Here at Ameriflight, our employees have unique and interesting stories to tell and we’re here to share them.
We’re featuring employees across our company, scroll down to see more! 👇
Meet Tala Taloa 👋👨🔧
Tala is a Maintenance Technician at our PHX base and has been with us for almost five years.
“I was born and raised in the Kingdom of Tonga and have been working as a A&P Mechanic for 19 years. My first job was with SkyWest Airlines, but I have worked at FBOs, flight schools, and private, corporate and regional airlines. In 2018, I was hired at Ameriflight. My friend Suhas told me about an opening and so I applied. Since working here, I have made a lot great of memories and have met some amazing coworkers and connections that will last a lifetime.
I just recently had a kidney transplant and am blessed to have a second chance at life. I’m grateful for all the support from my friends and family and for my donor and the sacrifice she went through to give me one of her kidneys. I’m doing well and looking forward to growing and expanding with Ameriflight. When I’m not working, you can find me spending time with my three wonderful children.”
Tala was nominated for this feature by coworker and friend, Suhas Kale. Suhas and Tala worked together in PHX before Suhas joined our Safety Department in DFW. Here’s what Suhas has to say about Tala:
“I met Tala at my previous job at a flight school in 2015. Our first interaction was defueling an aircraft together. I was working an overtime shift, and the supervisor on that shift tagged me with Tala for the defuel procedure. I thought that this guy was one of the most positive people around, and it was contagious. If you put Tala in a room with 10 pessimists, at least 7 of them are going to walk out feeling refreshed, grateful, energized, motivated and super positive! About 8 months into me working at Ameriflight, I told him there is an opening for a MX position here and he joined us then.
Tala gets along with literally EVERYONE (I’m not kidding). Everyone in PHX can attest to this and can vouch for the amazing energy that he brings to the workplace. He is a great mechanic. He has 15+ years of MX experience. He is quick with his hands, and on the floor, he is constantly asking guys if they need an extra set of hands for anything. He won’t stop until he gets it done.
Tala was the best man at my wedding, he’s been there for me in times of need, and is someone I can trust whole heartedly. I can write a book about Tala, he has some amazing and unique qualities!” – Suhas Kale
Meet Michael Takeda 👋👨✈️
Michael is an EMB120 First Officer in our ESCS (Charter) Department based in DFW. He’s always had a passion for aviation which is what led him to where he is today. Check out his aviation story!
“I grew up in Myrtle Beach, SC, but I have lived all over the country – Arizona, Georgia, Florida, and the New England area. I was the first person in my family to enter the world of aviation. I’ve always been fascinated by airplanes and how they work, and as a child I wanted to be an engineer who designed them but also fly for fun on the side. Somewhere along the way, I realized I could fly for a living and here I am!
Before really getting into flying, I worked for Delta Airlines as a Regional Security Manager in Atlanta, GA. I eventually began flying on the side and building my fight time as a Flight Instructor. It took me about a year of instructing and flying on the side to meet all the qualifications for a First Officer position at Ameriflight. Once I heard of an opening, I applied and was hired into the August 2022 InDoc class. I currently fly in the Expedited Supply Chain Solutions (ESCS) department based in DFW, which is what I wanted to do from the beginning.
Every day in the ESCS Department is a bit different. The first thing I do is check-in and determine if we have been assigned a trip. Most of the time we have a “go now trip” which means we must depart as soon as possible to pick up cargo/goods for delivery and transport. If we have been assigned a trip, I will first check-in with the captain. Then, I’ll go to the ramp to begin my preflight while my Captain does the paperwork and flight planning.
Once the preflight is done and the captain has all the trip details, we depart to pick up cargo and begin the trip. Crew members in ESCS are required to load and unload cargo. Cargo can range from car parts to medical goods, HAZMAT, and much more. Depending on the load and length of the duty day, we will either return to DFW or spend the night in the town the cargo was delivered to.
Every trip is different in ESCS and we go all over the U.S. and Mexico. I’ve been on trips to San Diego, CA, and Niagara Falls (one of my favorites), and I have also been as far south as Mexico City, Mexico. When I’m not working, you can find me traveling around to visit family and friends or hiking / paddleboarding wherever I can find a cool lake or pond.
I’ve enjoyed my time at Ameriflight so far, and look forward to more adventures.”
We’re proud to have you on our team, Michael! Keep up the good work 👍
Meet Khurram Hussain 👋
He’s a SA227 Captain and Pilot Supervisor based in ELP and part of our ESCS (Charter) Department. His passion and love for aviation has given him a unique career in aviation – check out his story!
“I grew up in London and am the eldest of five children. My father worked in Air Cargo and my mother worked part-time at our local elementary school. Out of five kids, three of us entered the airline/logistics world, but I’m the only pilot (something about an apple and a tree…)
Even though we lived in central London far from an airport, I had a passion for aviation. My teachers would complain to my parents that I would doodle airplanes all day long. When I was finishing junior high, we moved closer to Heathrow Airport where my father worked, and it was game over! I became an airplane junky; I worked around aviation as much as I could, from retail, to cargo, airline security and more. Then I finally landed my first airline job as a flight attendant with United Airlines based in London and Los Angeles, CA.
I spent a few decades as a flight attendant, and during that time, I wore many hats from purser (chief flight attendant), to trainer, and even new hire mentor. The best part was globetrotting to new and old places with my wife, who was and still is a flight attendant for United. We can’t wait to resume our travels! But despite all the fun adventure, my passion was still awaiting me on the other side of the cockpit door.
I was doing my time building and training whilst working as a flight attendant anywhere I could – London, Oklahoma, Florida and around Los Angeles. I was ready to transition just as 9/11 happened, so I settled down as flight attendant, got married, and 20 years later under the guidance of my mentor and the support of my wife I finished off my ratings. I was offered a buyout and at the same time applied to the United Aviate program and here I am. Some might say I was at the right place at the right time.
In May of 2021, I interviewed for the United Aviate program and soon after, I was offered a position with Ameriflight as a First Officer on the Metroliner, based in El Paso, TX. I started InDoc in August of 2021 and eight months later, I upgraded to Captain on the BE99 based in BUR. Later that year in September, I transitioned back to the SA227, but this time in the left seat. I’m based in ELP, which is one of our main ESCS (Charter) department bases. Earlier this year, I accepted the Pilot Supervisor position at the ELP base.
As an ESCS Captain, each flight is like a different project and no two days are the same. Each day requires a lot of planning (fuel, routes, etc.) to ensure the cargo gets to the customer on time. I’ve enjoyed flying into new places, spending time with fellow coworkers and making connections that will last a lifetime. There are so many memories made here!”