From roses to runways, the twenty-fourth season of ABC’s The Bachelor is putting the spotlight on aviation with Delta Air Lines pilot Peter Weber at the controls.
Dubbed “Pilot Pete” by the show's dedicated fans, the 28-year-old California native earned his pilot certificate in 2011 after graduating from high school. He began his career as a commercial pilot at age 25 working for regional carrier Compass Airlines before landing his current gig as a first officer for Delta.
The hit reality series revolves around a pool of contestants competing for a shot at love with an eminently eligible bachelor. And while the franchise has never shied away from filming romantic helicopter flights, hangar dates, or adventurous activities like skydiving, this season contestants are getting a taste of the pilot life with Weber as the lead.
The premiere episode featured aerobatics and a sunset flight in Weber’s 1954 Piper Apache after a group date visit to the Commemorative Air Force’s Southern California Wing Museum, headquartered at Camarillo Airport.
Guest star and U.S. Marine Corps Capt. Katie Higgins Cook, the first female Blue Angels pilot, put the contestants through the wringer with an intensive aviation introduction. Though she has previous experience with national media, Cook admitted filming The Bachelor was a little nerve-wracking. “Being in the cockpit will always be more comfortable than being in front of the camera, no matter how many times you do it,” she told AOPA.
Though he’s turned into quite the sensation since becoming the Bachelor, Weber told USA Today that flying is his first love and he plans on being a professional pilot until he hits the FAA-mandated retirement age of 65.
He has since returned to work, and said he’s received a lot of support from passengers, flight attendants, and pilots. And it seems like his stint on The Bachelor is boosting Delta’s business, with hundreds of fans tweeting their allegiance to fly the airline in hopes of getting a glimpse of Pilot Pete in the cockpit.
Fans can catch Weber’s journey to find love Monday nights on ABC.