PROVO , Utah President Dieter F. Uchtdorf , Second Counselor in the First Presidency of the Church, recently addressed a group of Utah Valley University aviation students assembled in an airplane hangar at the Provo Municipal Airport in Provo , Utah . He counseled them to use their careers in aviation as a way to build bridges with people of different cultures around the world. In his address, President Uchtdorf also spoke of how lessons learned from his aviation career are useful in everyday life.

President Uchtdorf in a flight simulator

Afterward, President Uchtdorf toured the airport’s facilities and piloted the school’s flight simulator.

President Uchtdorf prepares to pilot and airplane.

Then he found his way to a real cockpit and took an airplane for a short flight — his first since retiring as a commercial airline pilot more than 12 years ago.

President Uchtdorf prepares to fly with instructor Ryan Lefler.

In 1965, President Uchtdorf joined Lufthansa German Airlines as a pilot. He worked as an airline captain from 1970 to 1996, flying multiple types of airplanes and completing his career flying the B747. He held several executive positions, including head of the airline pilot school, director of in-flight services, and head of cockpit crews.

President Uchtdorf prepares for takeoff

At the time of his call as a General Authority, he was the senior vice president of flight operations and chief pilot of Lufthansa German Airlines. He was also chairman of the Flight Operations Committee of the International Air Transport Association.

President Uchtdorf smiles after successful flight

President Dieter F. Uchtdorf was named as Second Counselor in the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on February 4, 2008. He was sustained as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on October 2, 2004.