BSNC shareholder and Bering Straits Foundation scholarship recipient Tom Piscoya is a Boeing 737 Captain for Alaska Airlines and has been flying professionally for more than 35 years.
Captain Piscoya spent most of his childhood in Nome, where he remembers walking to grade school in his mukluks, and a great fascination for airplanes. As a young child, he could draw a Piper Super Cub down to the very last detail. He would look up at every airplane as it made its way across the skies to the Nome Airport.
Captain Piscoya graduated from Nome-Beltz High School in 1981. Shortly after graduating, he received his private pilot’s license from Bering Air. He was hired in 1983 at Ryan Air by Eva and Boyuk Ryan. He then flew for Bering Air and attended the University of Alaska Anchorage where he earned his degree in professional piloting and business administration. He began flying Boeing 737s for Mark Air and in 1995, he achieved his ultimate goal of flying Boeing 737s for Alaska Airlines. He recounted telling his interviewer, “You have an Eskimo on the tail of your jets. Now it’s time to put one in the cockpit.”
Captain Piscoya has flown 737s to many locations in the continental U.S., Canada, Mexico and Hawaii, but says the most challenging, fun and rewarding flying is when he is flying family and friends across the State of Alaska. Once in a while, he’ll fly an Elder to Nome, Kotzebue or Utqiagvik where there is often a smile, handshake and a little hint of pride in their eyes for being flown by an Alaska Native.
Captain Piscoya is eternally grateful to Boyuk and Eva Ryan for taking a chance on him when he was so young in years and experience. He would like to encourage any young students who are interested in flying to keep working toward their goal, and his success proves that captaining a jet for one of the largest airline companies in the U.S. is possible.