I grew up in Coeur d’Alene Idaho and spent the first 22 years of my life there. Boy Scouts, high school, flying lessons, and I bought a car on the internet before it was cool. In one way or another I knew I wanted to be a pilot since forever and the only thing stopping me was a serious kick in the butt. My parents provided said kick in 2005 and I packed up two duffel bags and my computer and moved to Florida to start flight school.
In Coeur d’Alene I had taken some lessons at the local airport and had even flown my first solo but as time carried on my flying became more sporadic and less useful. I was spending time each lesson relearning what I had previously learned and forgotten. Attending a school full time was going to give me a consistent flying schedule and a more structured environment to keep me in line, which at 22 I desperately needed.
FlightSafety Academy was a part 141 school that had that structure. Ground school was like going back to school. We had lectures and assignments and instead of being focused on colonial America or algebraic formulas, it was about flying and physics and subjects I cared about and was interested in.
From September of 2005 until March of 2007 I worked towards gaining my pilot licenses and flight instructor ratings. In April I started work for the school as an instructor myself and thus began my career as a professional pilot. I started with brand new students taking their first lessons and it was my job to make sure they didn’t kill themselves (or me) and send them out on their first solos, a feat I had only just completed in the summer of 2003.
Many boring and fewer exciting things happened while I was an instructor but in early 2010 I interviewed at American Eagle (now Envoy Air). I had about 2,200 hours of flight experience and I was hired to fly the Embraer 145 Regional Jet based in Dallas/Ft. Worth. Dad flew to Orlando and for a few days we drove from Florida to Arizona where I parked my car full of my belongings. This was the second time in 5 years I moved across country with very little more than clothes and a computer.
During my time at Eagle several events unfolded that shaped what would become of my career. I volunteered for the Union shortly after I was off probation. Even shorter after that we found ourselves in bankruptcy and instead of helping I was running the committee I was recruited to join. For two years I worked almost full time doing union work and flew just enough to maintain my currency.
Towards the end of my union work I decided I should start going to college. As a high school dropout and a regional FO with no degree, my competitiveness for moving onwards and upwards was low. I started taking classes online in the summer of 2012 and by the summer of 2013 I was taking a full-time schedule. At the end of 2013 we exited bankruptcy, I exited my union committee, and decided to switch airplanes during finals. Full-time student, taking my math final at the library in the morning, and doing simulator sessions for a new airplane in the evening. Smart.
After passing my type rating on the CRJ-700, I flew as an FO for a few years and spent my layovers working on homework. In December of 2015 I graduated with my bachelor’s degree and a new outlook on moving up and out. I started attending job fairs in January of 2016 with the motivation to continue attending job fairs until I had a job offer from a major airline.
I told myself that 2016 would be the year I would make it all happen. I graduated college (walked across the stage) in 2016. I asked my girlfriend to be my wife (she said yes). I upgraded to Captain (started class in November). I interviewed and was hired by my first choice major airline (December, barely made it) with just shy of 6,000 hours and zero hours of jet PIC. I did get 80 hours of jet PIC in 2017 while awaiting a class date.
I am currently based in Chicago and I fly the Airbus A320 for a major airline.