Episode 51. Failed checkrides and flying the B-1 bomber, with Tom Curran

Tom CurranFrom flight instructor to airport planner to B-1 pilot, Tom Curran has seen a lot in his aviation career. In this special Learn to Fly Month episode, he explains what he learned along the way and shares some advice for new pilots. As he says, “It’s worth it, but expect it to have some challenges.” Tom talks about failing checkrides (he's done it), flying both the F-15 and the B-1 in the Air Force (he's done that too), and managing engine failures (yup, he's also done that). In the Ready to Copy segment, Tom gives his nominee for the worst maneuver in the ACS, talks about planning an airport on the side of a cliff in Telluride, and compares fly fishing to being a pilot.


  • On flight training: “It’s worth it, but expect it to have some challenges... It’s unlikely that you’re going to get through a flight training program without some hiccups.”
  • On transitioning from fighters to bombers: “After pulling 9 Gs for so many years, my neck really started to bark at me.”
  • On flying the B-1: “I was not prepared for how complex the airplane is... It’s referred to as a big fighter. Well no, it really isn’t a big fighter. It’s more like a supersonic Cadillac.”
  • On engine failures: “Whenever something happens in my airplane, I still hear my very first instructor… 'fly the plane.'”

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