Les Abend is currently a 777 captain, has logged almost 18,000 hours and has been with his favorite airline for 23 years. He began writing his Jumpseat column for Flying in January 2003.
Les soloed before he was able to legally drive and subsequently earned his private pilot license at age 17. He was a line boy at the local airport, pumping gas, towing airplanes out of hangars, washing and waxing, and supervising the office cash register while saving his pennies for flight training. He attended the Purdue University School of Aviation Technology, instructing and flying charters to help pay for his education. Shortly after graduation, Les was hired by an Allegheny Commuter in Jamestown, New York. After being furloughed, he was hired by another Allegheny Commuter operating Twin Otters. Les went from the left seat of the Twin Otter to the right seat of a 727, flying night freight for a contract carrier operating UPS airplanes. After a brief employment and furlough as a 727 flight engineer for Wien Air Alaska, Les was hired by his current airline.
Writing for Flying has been a lifelong dream for Les. His Jumpseat column provides a candid and sometimes humorous view into the life of an airline pilot.
When Les is not in the Flight Levels, he can be found flying gilders with his club in upstate New York. He can also be seen in the cockpit of the towplane. He is also an active member of the Flagship Detroit Foundation, flying a DC-3 in a display of airline heritage. Les and his wife love boating, diving, skiing and entertaining. Les is fortunate to make his home in both Connecticut and the Florida Keys.