Ep. #11 - Neil Capano on Alternate Career Paths, Taking Chances, and Showing Up

Neil Capano - YonderWest

“One person told me early in my career…the only person that cares you got fired is you. And they were absolutely right.” - Neil Capano

This episode’s guest is Neil Capano.  

Neil is the founder of YonderWest Aero, a company helping small flight departments with aircraft scheduling solutions, Executive Director of the Northern California Business Aviation Association, and Director of Aircraft Dispatch and Station Operations for Air Transport Business Development (ATBD).

He’s a licensed dispatcher and has worked for a number of companies in the past, including Surf Air, Gama Aviation, Delta Air Lines and more.  He’s also a wine enthusiast and is currently developing his own wine label.

In this episode we talk about Neil’s non-traditional career path, what he’s learned from his experience in many different types of companies, including helping aviation startups, and how he made the leap from employee to founder of YonderWest.


Where you can find Neil:

LinkedIn | Email | Instagram

Selected links from the episode:

Show notes:

  • Where Neil started his aviation career [1:42]

  • Neil’s second job in aviation at Delta Airlines [5:26]

  • Neil’s transition from commercial to private aviation [10:35]

  • Non-linear career paths & why Neil got his Dispatcher’s license [11:42]

  • How to make the most of setbacks in your career, like being let go [15:06]

  • How Neil became involved with Surf Air [17:49]

  • Neil’s move from Surf Air to ACI Jet [21:42]

  • What Neil did during his “aviation hiatus” [23:02]

  • Where Neil made his return to aviation [25:13]

  • Neil’s work at Gama Aviation on the Wheels Up account [27:46]

  • The challenges of setting and managing expectations for charter operators and brokers [33:37]

  • Neil’s current positions - YonderWest, ATBD & NCBAA [37:49]

  • When Neil realized he could start his own business [43:11]

  • Common errors of aviation startups [46:50]

  • YonderWest Aero in more detail [53:47]

  • The importance of involvement in regional organizations [1:05:28]

  • What Neil has learned from a non-traditional career path [1:09:26]

  • Some of Neil’s hobbies outside aviation [1:15:58]

  • Some of Neil’s wine recommendations [1:20:19]

  • Who Neil thinks of when he hears the word “successful” [1:22:55]

  • The worst advice Neil hears being dispensed in the business aviation world [1:24:56]