Unfriendly Skies

Frank Nickman was the perfect pilot-in-training. But some thought he was just another terrorist.

He found a job as a night manager at a convenience store. Besides having drained his own savings, he had to borrow from family. He has loans to pay. If it ever happens, it will be years before he's back to the financial stability he gave up to attend the Mesa flight school.

"I don't know if I can do it," he says. "Before, I was running on this wholehearted belief in all that American dream stuff. It's an odd feeling when that disappears. It's as if someone close to you has died."

The problem for Mesa is that Nickman did more than dream. He worked his ass off and succeeded to the extent their denial of him can be traced to only one plausible, illegal motivation.

In the cockpit: Frank Nickman
In the cockpit: Frank Nickman
Frank Nickman was a stellar student, graduating with honors.
Frank Nickman was a stellar student, graduating with honors.

The solutions to this mess are clear.

Mesa Air Group should hire Frank Nickman. The company could market him to America's frequent fliers as proof it won't give in to terrorists or the blind racism they foster.

More likely, Mesa Air Group will have to pay Frank Nickman back for all the money he wasted believing the sales pitches.

E-mail robert.nelson@newtimes.com, or call 602-744-6549.

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