CHIEF PILOT PROFILE: Justin Burrell
Justin Burrell knows airplanes. For over 26 years he’s flown them, fueled them, fixed them and fallen for them. He’s served as a flight attendant, taken off just ahead of Hurricane Katrina and heads the controls of an Airbus A320 as a First Officer for Frontier Airlines. Now with nearly 10,000 flight hours under his belt, he’s adding Chief Pilot for KinectAir to his long list of laurels. “There’s a quote ‘growth never comes from comfort zones,’” Justin explained. “I embrace the journey and continue to grow and improve myself by reading and learning from people that are smarter than me,” he said. “I want to share what I’ve learned with others. That’s what life is about – It’s about growing and giving.”
As KinectAir’s Chief Pilot, Justin is taking his nearly three decades of diverse aviation experience and expertise as a safety advocate with SMS training to help set the gold standard for KinectAir. He joins an executive team of military veterans and leaders in aviation to design our operations going forward that not only meet, but exceed standards of excellence in management, safety and training. “I love being part of something and watching it grow,” said Justin. “I’ve worked for a few startups but nothing like this. Nothing with the organization and dynamism of talented individuals with a track record in success. This is a diverse group, with a lot of experience and knowledge to implement a safe and joyful aviation experience.”
"I've worked for startups, but nothing like this."
ACED Underwater egress training...
...Took some friends fishing
Growing up 20 minutes from a naval air base near New Orleans and watching fighter jets zoom in and out, Justin was hooked early on. Going to airshows was a family ritual and the aviators he met there became his instant heroes. Even though he claimed to ‘not be much of a book guy,’ he devoured any printed work he could get his hands on – as long as it was about aviation.
After high school graduation he began taking flight lessons. He didn’t stop there. Wanting to familiarize himself with every aspect of soaring through the air, he became a flight attendant, and later a mechanic. From there Justin went on to fly everything from seaplanes in the Gulf of Mexico to corporate charters, barely slowing down to earn his Bachelor of Science in Aviation Technology from Everglades University in 2010. Then, 23 years after first climbing into the cockpit, he achieved his dream of flying commercial and became a First Officer A-320 for Frontier Airlines.Now devoting part of his time to KinectAir, he is excited to work again with the Pilatus PC-12 and Cirrus SR22T.
“I’ve always been attracted to the Pilatus. It’s a multi-role aircraft, it can take care of the long haul stuff and the short haul,” he said. “It’s great at performing all airport landings. It has an integrated design that not only supports all the airports that are in the network, but airstrips that the FAA doesn’t necessarily know about.”
Most importantly the Pilatus has one of the best safety records out there. Time and time again, statistical data puts the PC-12, and the precision of its Swiss-made aircraft, at the top of its category, even outperforming twin-engine turboprops. That, combined with the Cirrus SR22T’s modern carbon fiber design and airframe parachute system, has Justin very excited to work with KinectAir’s fleet. “I’ve flown a lot of different aircraft in my nearly three decade career and the Cirrus gained my respect for its capabilities,” he said. “When I saw the multitude of roles that that aircraft can fulfill, it was man-and-machine euphoria. You know us pilots; we love our toys.”
Still, Justin understands that not everyone is as enthusiastic about taking to the skies. Those fears, he explained, come from uncertainty. He’s happy to talk with his passengers and answer their questions. He wants them to find comfort in the fact that he’s a devoted husband who has devoted his quarter-century career to safety.
"EMPATHY FORMS THE CORE OF
OUR CULTURAL VALUES AT KINECTAIR."
“I’ve been there, and seen and done it all. I’ve spent over half of my life in the air. Every flight I’ve learned something. If you approach it that way and keep your mind open you eliminate that fear,” he said. “Empathy forms the core of our cultural values at KinectAir. It is seeing things through that scared person’s eyes and communicating with them.”
His goal is to remove all fears and replace them with joy. Now in a leadership role at KinectAir, that’s exactly what he’s setting out to do by designing an operation that only hires seasoned, career captains who are Airline Transport Certified and who are uniquely suited to focus on our most precious cargo: you.
“It’s about connecting passengers to the wow factor of flight,” he said. “We are going to make it a memorable experience for the customer by moving them in more ways than just logistically.”