Ryan Iwasaki

Airline Pilot

Class of 1991





By: Keone Adolph       



Ryan Iwasaki is an airline pilot for Aloha Airlines based out of the Honolulu International Airport. He is also a pilot for the U.S Air Force assigned to the Hawaii Air National Guard at Hickam Air Force Base.

        Ryan has been working for Aloha Airlines since 1995. He is responsible for safely transporting passengers and cargo between the five major airports that Aloha Airlines services: Lihue, Kahului, Honolulu, Keahole-Kona, and Hilo. Flying has always intrigued him. “How in the world could a huge metal plane slip its surly bounds?” he asked.  Ryan attended the Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Prescott, Arizona, and received a B.S in aeronautical science. He began flying during college at the age of 19 and graduated with a commercial license with multi-engine and instrument ratings. It took him 200+ flying hours to get this license, but it was nowhere near the minimum of 1500 hours required to obtain a commercial flying job. To build flight time, he applied and was selected to undergo U.S Air Force pilot training in 2001. Ryan was commissioned as a second lieutenant and graduated from Columbus Air Force Base in Mississippi. His military travels have taken him to every state in the union and all over the world including Japan, Thailand, Korea, Vietnam, Germany, France, Spain, Italy, and even Iceland. He has participated in various campaigns that are the result of the events of  September 11, 2001.  His rank is now Captain and he has 3000+ flying hours and approximately 100 hours of combat support flying.

Ryan must pass a Federal Aviation physical every year, which includes a general physical with additional tests for vision and hearing. He must pass this physical in order to continue flying for the airlines and the military. Every year, he also takes part in an airline flight simulator recurrent training, which involves going over emergency procedures that may result from engine failures, smoke in the cockpit or rapid depressurization in the flight cabin.

        Although being an airline pilot is a lucrative occupation, it takes a thousand dollars to obtain a pilot license and several more to build flight time.  On the downside, the airline industry is very cyclical with its ups and downs and the military can deploy you to the war front with very little notice. 

Return to Table of Contents