Dave DowneyDavid Downey graduated from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University – Worldwide campus. David is currently President of Downey Aviation located in Southlake, Texas.

Discuss your career path since graduating from ERAU.

I graduated from the WW campus while on active with the US Army as a helicopter instructor pilot. While in the Army I was qualified in airplanes and then graduated from the US Navy Test Pilot School. The next three assignments were in experimental flight test including an assignment with UK as an exchange test pilot. Upon retirement I went to the FAA as a test pilot. Subsequent assignments included Assistant Manager of the FAA’s Engine and Propellers Directorate where we had oversight of policy for engines, APUs and propellers. My next assignment was as the Manager of the Rotorcraft Directorate where we had policy oversight of rotorcraft and powered lift/tiltrotors. Next it was on to industry as a VP at Bell Helicopter; my responsibilities included flight operations, civil certification, flight safety, accident investigation and engineering operations. I own a small business and currently consult with companies on regulatory and civil certification matters as well as teaching regulatory compliance.

What has been your greatest professional accomplishment?

I have been in leadership positions in four different experimental flight organizations and never suffered an accident or injury. Insuring that your workforce goes home at the end of the day is very rewarding.

What has been the secret to your success?

Solve problems and challenge issues when your gut tells you that something is amiss.

What advice do you have for current students to be successful in the job market?

Don’t be afraid to try something new or apply for a program. I was selected for Test Pilot School on my third try. Learn and master your craft and don’t walk on other people’s success. Be grateful for what you have and make the most of the opportunities you are presented with.