High Altitude Insights: Navigating Conflict Zones

In this podcast episode, Alexander Mitchell and co-pilot Jared discuss their experiences flying in and out of conflict zones. Jared shares his background as a helicopter pilot in the Air Force and his work training foreign crews in Indonesia, the Philippines, Afghanistan, and Iraq. They discuss the different postures and levels of risk assessment in civilian airlines, State Department contracts, and military operations. They also talk about the challenges of communication and training in foreign languages and cultures, as well as the importance of preparation, situational awareness, and communication for passengers traveling to conflict zones.


  • Flying in and out of conflict zones requires different postures and levels of risk assessment depending on the type of operation and the host nation.
  • Communication is crucial in conflict zones, both in terms of language barriers and establishing relationships with local handlers and authorities.
  • Preparation and situational awareness are key for pilots and passengers traveling to conflict zones, including having reliable communication, access to finances, and knowledge of embassy or consulate contacts.
  • Training in conflict zones can be challenging due to cultural differences and language barriers, but establishing trust and finding effective ways to communicate are essential.
    GPS jamming and spoofing can be a significant issue in conflict zones, requiring pilots to rely on alternative navigation methods.


00:00 Introduction and Background
02:37 Operating in Conflict Zones: Airlines and Posture
09:13 First Experience in a Conflict Zone: Training in Afghanistan
14:14 Communication and Training Challenges in Conflict Zones
24:53 Navigating Airspace Boundaries and GPS Jamming