Phil Griffith Retiring

Phil has served as Domokur Aviation's full-time pilot for the past 5 years. With over 40 years of flying experience that includes almost 9000 hours of flying time, Phil brought a high level of knowledge to our team. He has flown as a corporate pilot for private companies since 2002, was certified as a flight instructor in 1972, and has been instructing on a contract basis at Skypark Airport in Wadsworth, OH since 1997. We truly enjoyed flying with him and wish him a happy retirement.

What do you enjoy most about being a pilot?
Free food! Okay, maybe that's second (a very close second) to what I enjoy most, which is flying to places I haven't been to before. That's always an adventure.

Do you have a favorite or memorable flight while at Domokur?
Most memorable was the trip to Athens in May 2014. We left from Asheville, NC and cleared Customs in Quebec City, Canada. We then overnighted to Kuujjuaq, Canada. (As if the language barriers during this trip weren't going to be difficult enough, I had to deal with names like Kuujjuaq!) In the morning, we flew to Ilulissat, Greenland, and spent the day there. At midnight, it looked like it was only dusk. The next day we left for Ireland, but that required a fuel stop in Reykjavik, Iceland. (Funny how Greenland had a lot of snow and icebergs, and Iceland was all green.) After that we headed for Sardinia. As we were on approach to land, the controller said the airport workers were on strike and asked if I wanted to hold until it was over!!! He said it would be an hour, but with his thick Italian accent, I didn't think I was understanding him correctly. How could he predict the strike would be over in an hour? So, I opted to land in Corsica rather than fly in circles for who knows how long. The worker at the airport gave us a couple bottles of wine. (Love free stuff!) Sure enough, an hour later the strike was over, so we took off for Sardinia, where we stayed a couple days for a TBM airplane convention. Then it was on to the final destination of Athens, Greece, for a few days. On the way home we stopped in Tarbes, France, to tour the Socata factory where the TBM airplanes are built. Got a free hat and polo shirt. (Great! More free stuff!) After the tour, we flew to our overnight destination of Prestwick, Scotland. The next day we had fuel stops in Reykjavik again and Kangerlussuaq, Greenland, before stopping overnight in Goose Bay, Canada. Once we reached Goose Bay, we heard “normal-speaking” controllers again! It was such a relief not having to decipher foreign accents anymore!! We headed for Bangor, Maine, for a Customs stop, and then to Asheville for a few days before finally heading home. I flew a total of 43.6 hours in 15 legs over eight days, and covered 11,800 nautical miles.

Where is your favorite destination to fly to? Or to fly over?
Fly to: Las Vegas. I used to go there a lot when I was flying jets with Flight Options. I never tired of seeing such beautiful mountains going into and out of McCarran International Airport. Plus, the weather was never an issue; it was always clear with no wind gusts when I was there.
Fly over: I used to fly freight at night from Akron to Hamilton, Ontario. While I didn't fly directly over Niagara Falls, I was near enough. The lights they have on the Falls light up the mist, and on a clear night it was really something to see at 10,000 ft.

Can you offer any advice to other young pilots?
Many young pilots think working for the airlines would be the ultimate. But some of them don't realize it takes a lo-o-ong time to build up enough hours and seniority to get great routes and decent pay, and even to fly left seat (that's like the driver's side in a car). In the end, they don't enjoy what they're doing as much as they would if they weren't so focused on just building time. I would advise a young pilot to consider corporate flying. You get to go to interesting places the airlines don't serve, and every flight is different. And typically, right from the start, you and the other pilot trade off every other leg to fly left seat.

What was your favorite part about flying Domokur Employees?
In the past, I have flown some “stuffed shirts” and some clients who treat you like you're nothing but a glorified cab driver. But Mike Domokur and the Domokur employees were not at all like that. They all have been fun and easy going. They asked intelligent questions about the plane and about flying. It was great interacting with them and a pleasure to fly!

What can we find you doing while enjoying retirement?
I’m heading to Florida for three months. I'm not one to sit still, so I'm hoping to do some flight instructing while I'm there. I'll be thinking about all of you in NE Ohio, out in the snow, as I'm flying over the palm trees.