#30 Meet a Pilot: Ryan Hagins

Ryan Hagins is the Aquarium's newest pilot and has been flying the Central EWS surveys since 2009. Ryan was born and raised near Fernandina Beach, Florida. After graduating from ATP (Airline Transport Professionals) Flight School in Jacksonville, Florida in 2008, he has been employed with Environmental Aviation and Eagle Cap Aviation. He has been flying for 3.5 years.

In addition to flying for NEAq, he has had some interesting opportunities over the past few years. Beginning in 2008, he has flown jump planes in air shows for skydivers throughout the states of Florida and Georgia.

Additionally, in 2008, he had the opportunity to fly ship shock trials for the U.S. Navy off the coast of Florida. Ship shock trials are when Navy ships (either new types or ones with significant modifications) are subjected to a series of tests that determine whether it can withstand sea combat. The shock trials involve the detonation of explosive charges near the ship, along with an analysis of the effects on the ship. In order to prevent detrimental effects of these tests on marine mammals and turtles (learn about different types of sea turtles here, here and here) in the surrounding area, aerial surveys are carried out. Ryan piloted these aerial surveys to be sure the area was clear of marine animals.

While he enjoys all aerial work, he is particularly proud of the conservation-based projects he has been involved with, especially his work with NEAq. As with all of our pilots, Ryan's involvement in the Central EWS surveys is an integral part of protecting right whales off the coast of Florida.

- Karen and Ryan


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