Mike Arcadi, a veteran charter and airline pilot, has returned to Elite Air as a Lear 31 captain after six years pursuing other interests.
Arcadi, who flew 31s and Lear 60s for Elite Air in the early to mid-2000s, left aviation in 2008 to pursue financial planning, a job that kept him close to his family over the course of five critical years. With all his experience in aviation, Arcadi said his son, “the proudest accomplishment of [his] life,” is what brought about the career shift.
“The main thing was my son came along, and I didn’t want to be gone all the time. That got me out of aviation,” Arcadi said. “But for most pilots, it’s in our DNA, and now that my son is older, I wanted to come back.”
Elite Air CEO Gray Gibbs said he was very happy to have enticed Arcadi back to the company.
“Mike is an intelligent guy with the gift of gab,” Gibbs said. “He’s very strong-willed, so it didn’t surprise me when he decided to take a break from aviation. But we welcomed him with open arms when he was ready.”
During his five years in financial planning, Arcadi dabbled in Part 91 gigs, which has helped him keep his skills in the cockpit sharp.
“I was brought up with the Lears, and I have flown a lot of them,” he said. “The 31 is a great plane to fly.”
Arcadi said he’d be happy to move into different aircraft as time passes, but he’s not at a point in his career where he has to prove himself or build time. He said he knows what he is getting into by rejoining the Part 135 world, and he appreciates the fact that his now longtime employer Gibbs “knows both sides of the fence” as both a pilot and company owner.
“It is sort of like being back home in a way,” Arcadi said. “Gray recruited me when I was flying air ambulance, and I got my type ratings with Elite Air. It’s like a family.”