Son of pilot killed on 9/11 among new slew of AA aviators - FOX 35 News Orlando

Son of pilot killed on 9/11 among new slew of AA aviators

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For the first time since 9/11, American Airlines will begin hiring new pilots – 1,500 of them over the next five years.

The company will hire those who are new to the airline and those who have previously logged time in the uniform.

One pilot-in-training's desire to fly American jets is born from a special set of circumstances.

For Tom McGuinness, being a pilot was at the top of his list growing up -- it was already in his blood.

"I've been part of the American Airlines family for my whole life," said Tom.

His father proudly wore the AA uniform until the morning of Sept.11. Tom, then 14, got the news from his mom.

"…When she came to my school, the only thing she could tell us was that Jesus called daddy home," he said.

His father, Thomas McGuinness, was the co-pilot of American Airlines Flight 11 -- the first hijacked plane to hit the World Trade Center.

"From that point forward, I decided that I wanted to follow in his footsteps and wanted to be an American pilot," said Tom.

American Airlines' hiring blitz comes on the heels of the U.S. Airways merger.

Fort Worth-based American must fill the gaps created from new routes, a large number of upcoming pilot retirements and a vast expansion of its fleet.

American offered nearly 3,000 of its furloughed pilots recall notices, or a chance to come back to the airline.

Roughly half of them accepted.

Of the 1,500 new hires, many will come up from American Eagle, and the rest are fresh recruits from other airlines, or those with military backgrounds.

Tom can't wait to get behind the controls, knowing is father would approve.

The flight academy Tom is at goes for about seven weeks. Half of the training in done in the classroom, and the other half is done in simulators.

American says about 10,000 applicants have come in so far, and they're looking for the best of the best.

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