Social Media Focus – Scott Bateman, Airline Pilot and More

Scott Bateman in front of an under construction Boeing 747.

(Welcome to Social Media Focus. In this new series for NYCAviation, we will spend time and focus on a regular aviation social media poster.  In this first installment, we meet and spend a little time with Scott Bateman. Scott is a current A350 and former 747 pilot for an airline based in the United Kingdom. Prior to that, he flew in the Royal Air Force (RAF). Scott also has a range of interests when not flying, all revealed in this article.  A huge thank you to Scottie for participating and spending time to help put this together.


NYCAviation: Where did your passion for flying originate?

Scott Bateman: My passion for flying started at a really young age. In fact, for as long as I can remember I was always fascinated with aviation. This was cemented deep though, when my dad took me on an adventure to my first military airshow at RAF Leuchars, in Scotland, back in the early 1980’s. I saw a Lightning scramble to intercept a “Russian intruder” as part of the show and remember as it pitched upwards in reheat that I thought that was the job for me. Later that day sitting the rather cramped cockpit, I felt at home and that started a love affair that has now lasted over 4 decades.


NYCA: How did you start flying? Was there a special mentor that guided your path to start with and was it self-driven?

SB: My dad was always my mentor, but he had no experience in flying, he just supported anything that I wanted to do. He spent a small fortune on books, posters, and models to keep my passion alive until at the age of 13 years I could join the Air Cadets. Being an air cadet did two things for me, it gave me structure in my life and fueled my passion for aviation in way that my dad couldn’t. So, although I had no specific mentor, you could say that the Air Cadets as an organisation mentored me into the person I am today, giving me the confidence and tools to follow my dream of being an aviator. This led to me eventual entry in the RAF as a young adult in the role of Air Loadmaster.


NYCA: You spent time flying in the RAF.  How did you end up joining the RAF and what were the highlights of that part of your career?

SB: I was privileged to be able to serve in the RAF for a period of just over 18-years and this allowed me the opportunity to grow as a person and as an aviator. I flew in the C130 as an Air Loadmaster for 7 years before being selected for commissioning in the pilot branch leading to a return to the C130 for a few tours before flying the BN2-T in a specialist role. I think the highlight of any pilot’s career is their first solo, that time when you are the captain of your own ship for the first time. It is both terrifying and wholly satisfying at the same time. That aside, I would say that being able to work, and socialise, with some of the most professional crewmembers I have ever met, will always be a highlight.


NYCA: Was a move to the commercial airlines a natural progression in your flying career after the RAF?

SB: I think that most military pilots realise that there is time when you need to move on from that career and seek out a new challenge. The well-trodden path to the airlines is the one that I chose and is still one that I do not regret. As an aviator we are always learning, and I think that the RAF taught me how to fly aircraft and the airline taught me how to operate them. Whilst many may argue that this is the same thing, it really isn’t. The basics of flying anything from a Cessna 172 to an Airbus A350 are the same, the complexities come in the management of the latter as vehicle to transport 331 people across the globe. Doing the latter is a complex logistical challenge that takes skills far beyond flying alone. I consider myself a much better pilot today than in my RAF career through the addition of those extra skills.


NYCA: You have an array of interests outside of flying: a production company as well as your successful podcast. Can you tell us more about what keeps you busy when you are not flying?

SB: I am very fortunate that my airline employer allows me to have a diverse array of outside interests away from my main role of flying for them. This includes my own television production company which works to bring great aviation and aerospace content to the small screen. I am also passionate about a podcast that I started with pilot friends during the recent pandemic. The Layover is on YouTube and is something that has taken a backseat as we returned to flying but is something we are planning on bringing back later this year in a different format. We have spent a lot of time working on this and we people will like it when it launches in the Autumn. I have very little time away from these things but really enjoy getting out in the fresh air and walking.


NYCA: You had a very successful and interesting documentary on the new Air Force One.  Can you tell us about any other exciting projects in the offing?

SB: I am glad you liked the Air Force One documentary as this is the platform that has allowed me to persuade broadcasters that aviation content is popular if it is done well. It was almost 3-years in the making and involved some unprecedented access to the aircraft and the crews that fly the President. For those who haven’t seen it, this is available on demand on Disney+ (Air Force One – The Flying Fortress).

I have been privileged to be asked to chronicle the first woman and person of colour embarking on their journey to the lunar surface as part of NASA’s Artemis project for the Smithsonian Channel. This 17-part series, the first episode of which came out late last year, will follow these inspiring individuals to their boots on the Moon in 2025.

I also have a documentary about The Last 747 which has been filmed in partnership with Boeing and the Smithsonian Institute and Channel. This will show us how this iconic aircraft has changed so many lived during its 54-year production run, as we follow the final aircraft down the assembly line. This is due for release in late Spring.

Although television is my focus, I have also been working on a book, Hercules – San Peur, which is an opportunity for me to stand on the shoulders of some giants and tell some amazing stories spanning 50-years, from the RAF Hercules Wing as they look to retire this type in 2023. This will come out in the Autumn, published by the team at Penguin and Rowland White. If people like the book and it appeals to their inner avgeek, then this may lead to me expanding the written series.


NYCA: I notice in your messages on social media, you focus a great deal on well-being.  How important is being able to detach and give a person a break from the rigors of everyday life?

SB: Like so many people, the pandemic was a tough time for me as an individual and it forced me to reevaluate my life. I have always been someone who lived to work and not worked to live and when I couldn’t work, I felt lost, without any identity, and this was difficult time. I sought help through that period and have come out the other end, stronger and better than I was previously and largely that is due to focusing on what is important and at last I have realized that this isn’t always work.

Taking time every day to slow down and enjoy what life has to offer is really important to me now and lifestyle has triumphed over work. I have found walking hugely cathartic and has made a huge difference to my life. It allows me to think and rationalise many things without the distractions of everyday life, I like to walk 7-10 kilometers a day but taking as little as 10 minutes each day to get out in the fresh air and walk is something that will have a positive impact on anyone, and I try to get that across on my channels. I have had a difficult time and if I can help others to avoid that, then I would feel even happier than I am now.


NYCA: Is there one particular memory in your flying career that especially stands out?

SB: I think the first time you climb the stairs of a 747 to the upper deck and make your way forward to the pilot’s seat in anticipation of your first flight is something I will never forget. Sitting there and looking out from 3-storeys up and panicking about taxiing it to the runway, never mind flying it, is something that I am proud to have done. It is the most iconic aircraft of all time and to think that I flew her for almost 12-years is an utter privilege. But you never forget that first landing, when the wheels touch down and you are still 115ft in the air, something that never leaves you.


NYCA: Rapid fire:

  • Favorite aircraft ever flown – Boeing 747
  • Favorite city to layover – San Diego
  • Favorite destination to fly to if different from layover – LA
  • Favorite food – Chicken Wings
  • Favorite drink – Chocolate Block (a red wine)
  • Favorite way to relax – walking
  • One aircraft you would love to fly – Westland Lysander SD (It was the first Airfix model I built with my dad).

About the Author

Mark Lawrence
Mark Lawrence is a NYCAviation staff member and a south Florida-based aviation fanatic. He has been around the industry since he was a small boy. Mark can be reached at [email protected]



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