Jean-Luc Pous has an interesting, and impressive, résumé, beginning at the beginning: Born in French-occupied Algeria just before the start of an eight-year war, he fled the country at age 10 while under fire. He later earned a mechanical engineering degree in France, but wanted to become a military pilot—a childhood visit to a military base with his father had ignited a passion to fly.
However, lacking the required eyesight, he used the expertise he had gained as a parachute instructor and competitor in college to join the French military as a paratrooper and platoon commander. “It was the proper thing to do to repay them—the French paratroopers—for their support in the war,” Pous says. “They were the only ones who protected us.”
After completing his military service in 1979 at age 27, he went to work for Schlumberger, then the largest oil services company in the world, and was sent to Kuwait to learn how to be a logging field engineer. The job involved lowering geological sondes (electronic probes) in the boreholes of wells to acquire data using complex logging equipment. “It was a tough job with a high dropout rate,” Pous says. “A plane is simple to run versus those complex sondes going to 12,000 feet.” Pous spent a dozen years as a logging engineer and manager in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Syria, and Egypt.
“I loved the Middle East,” he says, and the pay was good. At the end of his Middle Eastern stint Pous took a big first step towards fulfilling his childhood dream and preparing for an eventual second career—he began primary flight training in France, earning the equivalent of a U.S. Private pilot certificate. He added a multiengine rating, and took up another aviation passion—aerobatics.
Then it was back to Schlumberger, this time at its U.S. headquarters in Houston, where he served in increasingly responsible management positions, rising to vice president, and in 2003, corporate director. Eventually he was managing much of the company’s manufacturing operation—16 centers with 2,500 employees.
Beginning in 2000, Pous began flying after work and studying at night to add to his piloting credentials. He earned his Instrument rating in 2003, and in 2005 added CFI, CFII, and MEI. “Compared to France, the FAA was nice,” Pous says. “In France, everything is ‘No.’ To become an ATP in France, you go to school for a year. Who has time for that?”
His U.S. flight training experience further confirmed his earlier decision to become a U.S. citizen. “You don’t realize how much America has to offer unless you come from someplace else,” he says.
In 2008 Pous retired from a successful 29-year career at Schlumberger to fully pursue his goal of flying professionally. His contract piloting experience now includes the King Air C90 and BE200; Cessna twins from the 340 to the 425; the Piper Cheyenne PA31T; Eclipse 500 very light jet; and Twin Commanders.
He also bought the airplane he had been renting for personal use—a Shrike Commander. “It was a bit old and I was spending my life fixing the beast,” he says. But the airplane made him “a real multiengine pilot,” and taught him a lot about aircraft maintenance. Three years later he and a partner upgraded to a 690B Turbo Commander that he used for charter flights. The partner eventually left to fly for the airlines. Pous kept the airplane, which he now uses exclusively for his own use.
The panel has been upgraded with a Garmin G600, Garmin 750, and Garmin radar system; and ADS-B In and Out. The airplane also has winglets and Hartzell Wide-Chord Q-tip props.
I enjoy executive flying with my wife and two cats,” Pous says. “Typically, I go to the Bahamas, Santa Fe, Colorado—anywhere I desire to visit.”
Pous’s résumé is loaded with educational, engineering, and management training, skills, and experience. He’s also had a full life outside of work, especially in aviation. He has earned four type ratings, three of which are for warbirds. He flies a variety of aircraft professionally, and in addition to the 690B owns a Jet Provost with partners. He is an active primary and advanced flight instructor, including Commander initial and recurrent for Aviation Training Management. He also teaches aviation “and other character-defining components” to youths at the Civil Air Patrol and the Marine Military Academy.
Pous speaks English, Spanish, French, and some Arabic. He is a long-time scuba enthusiast and instructor, having received the Platinum 1000 award from Scuba School International in 1997. In 2010 he was named Director of Education. On his résumé, he lists his competencies as “strong leadership skills, action oriented, human motivated, process inspired,” and this: “Professional aviator passionate about flying, learning, and teaching in complex, beautiful machines.”
His next goal, which seems a cinch considering all that he has accomplished: Crossing the Atlantic in his Commander.