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PART ONE: A day in the life of an instructor pilot at NAS Meridian

Excellence-- It’s aimed to be achieved at the very start of the day.

“My helmet, you can see here, I’m an instructor pilot. So, I have my old fleet squadron—the ones that I flew with when I was operational in fleet,” said Lt. Jones as he discussed his aviation helmet. Each pilot has their nickname written on it, which usually pertains to some aspect of their personality or simply their name.

Here at Naval Air Station Meridian, Lieutenant Charles “No Fomo” Jones looks to chase the thrill.

“So, to put it simply, what is so thrilling and exciting about this career can be broken up into many, many different facets, but if I had to say one thing—it’d be that we’ve been given a very difficult task, a very difficult mission—and to be excellent at something that is difficult, is a thrill of its own,’ said Lt. Jones.

His days as an instructor pilot start out with being assigned an aircraft and checking the very machine his career revolves around. Maintenance checks the jets once a day, but the pilots must go around and check it one more time before takeoff. Lt. Jones has been here at NAS Meridian since August of 2017 and has another year left. He says his focus on mission and Faith is what keeps him focused and strong.

“If there’s one trial that I’ve overcome in my time in the Navy, it’s learning how to learn well, to excel at the job, and to do that with sometimes challenging constraints,” said Lt. Jones. “Whether they’re fiscal or material or time or personality conflicts—whatever it may be, we’re in a big team that has hard problems to solve.”

He knew by the age of twelve he wanted to be pilot, and, after flying F-18 Charley’s and Foxtrot Super Hornets, he’s now focusing on this next step in his aviation career.

“I do my mission because my nation has called me to do a mission. There’s pride in doing that mission with excellence. Whether I am going into combat or whether I am walking into a briefing space to teach a student how to land—they’re all the same thing, I’m going to do a good job at whatever it is I’ve been assigned.”

Tonight, part two will be airing, and it will be focusing on his teaching style and what he hopes to instill in his students.

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