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Emery-Riddle Aeronautical University
B.S.,Technical Management
A.S., Aeronautics

Community College of The Air Force
A.S., Aircraft Maintenance Technology

Quick Bio

I am a current fixed-wing flight instructor and former airline captain with experience in both 121 and 135 air carrier operations with a proven operational safety record. During my career, I've developed fundamental leadership, interpersonal, and communication skills. I possess a strong customer-focused acumen, an open-minded creative entrepreneurial mindset, and excellent problem-solving abilities. I am an established author of published flight training textbooks and online courses designed for pilot certification.

Nicholas Schvabenitz FlightCog

My Story

My name is Nicholas Schvabenitz and I'm the founder of FlightCog. I started FlightCog in 2014 in Lakewood, Colorado with just a couple of dollars in my pocket. The company was fully bootstrapped with no investor support. What you see now is a culmination of my life's work as a professional aviator. I am very passionate about teaching and about sharing my love for flight.

I've been in professional aviation for over a decade. I grew up in a town that literally forged America and the rest of the world during the industrial revolution: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. I come from a family of steelworkers. I am the first person in my family to have entered the field of aviation. I know firsthand what hard work looks like. During my journey in life, I have been privileged to understand the true value of time and opportunity cost. I am truly and fully self-made.

I began my early aviation career in the United States Air Force working as a C-130 Aerospace Maintenance Technician (Crew Chief) at the 911th Airlift Wing in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Towards the end of my enlistment, I was promoted to a desk job at the 302nd Airlift Wing in Colorado Springs, Colorado. While many considered this to be a prestigious promotion, I viewed it as a more boring and less challenging way to end my commitment. I truly enjoyed the mechanical side of aircraft maintenance. I loved problem-solving. It was during my time in the Air Force that I began acquiring my pilot certificates. Upon my exit from the United States Air Force, I moved away from aircraft maintenance and became an aviation instructor.

I have worked at various flight training institutions both in Colorado and in Pennsylvania. During my time as a flight instructor, my aviation career goals were always centered around teaching. I never really had the desire to move on to an air carrier. But faced with changing regulations (implementation of FAR 117) I was at a crossroads. I was ready for a new challenge. I chose to move away from Colorado and from my position as a teacher to join the ranks at a small 135 charter operator out of Westchester, New York. It was during this time I learned what real flying was all about. I gained experience flying all over the Eastern U.S. and even to most of the islands in the Caribbean as far as the West Indies. After spending time learning everything that I could about the 135 scheduled and on-demand charter operations. I decided, it was time to keep climbing. I was bored and wanted a new challenge to conquer. I began working at the second-largest Regional 121 Air Carrier in North America operating the Embraer 170 jet.

I have flown all over the North American continent under the Delta Air Lines, American Airlines, and United Airlines, brands. As I gained experience flying the jet as a First Officer, opportunities for advancement and more responsibility presented themselves. So, I earned my fourth stripe as an airline captain, the Pilot-In-Command. Having reached what many would consider the pinnacle of my aviation career; flying a jet as an airline captain, and being paid moderately well for working very little. I started thinking about what truly made me happy as an aviator. I came to the conclusion that I was happiest when I had full control over my life, slept in my own bed, ate with health in mind, was able to have a normal sleep schedule, and most importantly: having the ability to spend time with my wife and our two Weimaraners.

While many of my peers tried to persuade me to advance my airline career as a check airman, and as a pilot instructor for the airline. I ultimately felt the airlines just simply couldn't afford to pay me what my talent was worth. In the fall of 2021, immediately following the global COVID-19 pandemic, an opportunity presented itself which allowed me to take an extended sabbatical from the airlines. So I took that opportunity, and I now work full-time at FlightCog doing what I love: teaching new pilots and flight instructors.

During the journey of life, we are always learning something new. What took me years to learn during my journey in professional aviation was the true value of time. Time is our most limited resource, it's something we can never get more of. No matter what you do for work, how much money you have, how successful you are. We all will eventually run out of time. Having this in mind enabled me to truly learn the difference between achievement and fulfillment. I believe that passing down my knowledge to new generations of pilots and flight instructors is truly the source of my fulfillment.

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