He Has Friends in High Places

On land, this Cleveland man is a software engineer. In the air, his pilot license scores flier points with his friends and family when they take trips together.

CLEVELAND – David Castley-Moses is not only counted on to protect PNC Bank’s software applications, but he is also counted on to transport people to various locations.

In his downtime, Castley-Moses enjoys flying airplanes so he can take his family, friends and even himself on vacations. He also pilots charter flights on occasion.

People have always told me that the sky is the limit, but for me the sky is home

The Cleveland resident became fascinated with flying – along with the image and prestige of pilots – as a child who traveled around the world on family vacations. He dreamed of becoming a pilot someday.

“Something that weighs 200 tons isn’t supposed to fly,” he said.

When it came time to choose a career, Castley-Moses was determined to achieve his dream of flying. However, he couldn’t afford flight school and decided to attend college and study computer science.

Using his technology degree, Castley-Moses found a job in 2009 that allowed him to work while saving enough money for flight school tuition. After earning his pilot license in 2011, he took a chance and applied for open pilot positions at a commercial airline and was offered a job.

The days were grueling and Castley-Moses found the realities of a job as a commercial airline pilot were not as glamorous, especially for an entry-level position. There were times he was scheduled for 4 a.m. flights, with hours of pre- and post-flight checks, yet only was logged for the time the plane was actually moving under its own power.

Realizing it could take years to move to a more lucrative, first-string captain position, he decided to explore other career opportunities.

David Castley-Moses has piloted various planes, ranging from a twin-engine jet with 150 passengers to a single-engine plane with four seats

Teamwork By Land or Air

Castley-Moses fell back on his technology degree and landed a job at PNC Bank, working as a software engineer for master data management. When new software development arrives, he protects the application of the master record for customers.

“For me, (the transition) wasn’t difficult,” Castley-Moses said. “It was challenging because I had to adapt flying skills into the tech sector. It was a mindset shift.”

One skill that he found common in both IT and piloting is teamwork since both jobs require collaboration among a variety of people and skills. Castley-Moses said that cooperation and communication are essential whether working with flight crews or different departments in the bank. This includes project management checklists he developed based on the skills he learned from flying.

For the Love of Flying

Grateful to be able to work for a stable company and feeling more financially secure, Castley-Moses found he missed flying. A friend who flies private charter flights recommended a part-time position to Castley-Moses, allowing the flexibility to fly on his schedule while not interfering with his day job.

While he now flies smaller planes instead of mid-size jets, he looks forward to flying friends, family and himself on vacations. Destinations have included the Lake Erie islands, Nashville, St. Louis and Niagara Falls, Ontario. Some family members, however, tease him about his steering skills.

"They are more afraid of the small planes than my (car) driving," Castley-Moses said with a laugh, adding that at least one cousin is happy to accept his offer of a flight to and from home on college breaks.

David Castley-Moses earned his computer science degree and then his commerical pilot license two years later

David Castley-Moses' favorite flights are in the cockpit, not first class

My most memorable flights were the ones where I flew my closest friends and family members for the first time after I got my pilot license. It meant the world to me to share the moment I achieved my dream with them.