Love is in the Air: SkyWest Crew Members Marry; Continue Family Tradition

Justin Giles
Corporate Communications Coordinator

The saying “it runs in the family” certainly holds true for the Lucas household.

With both parents working in the aviation industry, SkyWest Captain Mitch Lucas II quickly grew a love for flying as he followed in his parents’ footsteps when he was hired at SkyWest in 2014.

“My dad was a pilot at SkyWest for over 30 years and my mom was part of SkyWest’s first flight attendant training class,” said Mitch. “You could say that SkyWest is in our blood.”

His parents both worked at SkyWest and, as fate would have it, SkyWest also connected Mitch with his future wife.

This Friday – overlooking the ocean in Hawaii to commemorate where they flew for their first date – the CRJ Captain will tie the knot with his bride-to-be: SkyWest Flight Attendant Maddie Dougherty.

“It makes sense that it had to be like this,” Mitch said jokingly as he continues on the family tradition of marrying a flight attendant. “Like father, like son.”

As for Maddie, never in her wildest dreams did she think she would marry a pilot.

On my first day of flight attendant training I was told to “stay away from pilots, because they are bad news” she said jokingly. “I broke the ‘cardinal rule’ on the first day when I came across his profile while searching SkyWest on social media. But it was worth it.”

Both joined SkyWest in the summer of 2014 and were based in Chicago where they “officially” met while working a flight together. Afterwards the two started talking about some of the favorite places they have visited along with where they wanted to travel with their flight benefits.

“I found out that Maddie had never been to Hawaii before, so I told her that we should all get a group of friends together and go sometime,” Mitch recalled.

After organizing the trip, both agreed to meet up at the gate. And that’s when it all began.

“My friends ended up not being able to make it, but I still wanted to make a good impression and didn’t want to stand him up. Then when I saw that his friends didn’t make it either, I was so relieved” Maddie said smiling.

With the trip already planned, the two decided to take the flight anyway, and the rest was history.

“We love our friends, but we are so glad that they didn’t show up,” Mitch said.

“We owe them big time, “Maddie added.

The couple has been together for four years now and has been based at a few of SkyWest’s 20 domiciles – Chicago, Detroit and Atlanta.

Since 2015, the duo have flown over 1,000 flights together on the CRJ200 and love the company culture and team atmosphere that SkyWest represents.

“SkyWest is the best,” said Maddie. “It’s such a great company and we love it here!”

“The company cares about you and gives you all the resources you need to succeed,” added Mitch. “I’m proud of the work we do as a company and it’s awesome to be able to work with Maddie when our schedules allow. We make a great team and we love SkyWest.”

And it shows. Both employees often receive rave reviews from customers and colleagues alike for their commitment to safety, exceptional quality and professionalism. It’s a commitment that more than 14,000 of their colleagues share and a testament to what sets SkyWest apart.

Learn more about joining the SkyWest team here.

Looking Back at SkyWest’s 2018 Philanthropic Events

To make the world a better place, it takes consistent acts of kindness and positive contributions, and that is exactly what SkyWest employees do on a daily basis! Whether they are volunteering their time to fly toys to children’s hospitals, or working at the local food bank – SkyWest employees are making magic happen.

To recap the great year we had in our communities, we made a video highlighting some of the events we participated in! Including Wings for Autism, Fantasy Flight, Aviation Day, Bring our Kids to Work Day, Mini Indy and a Habitat for Humanity home build.

Here’s to another year of giving from the SkyWest team in 2019! Read more stories about SkyWest people making a difference.

Interested in joining the SkyWest team? Apply today!

The Life of a SkyWest Mechanic

So, you’ve caught the aviation bug! We don’t blame you. We love airplanes too. So we invited Tom Himka, Colorado Springs Maintenance Manager to give us an overview of what it’s like to be a SkyWest Mechanic.


Starting a new career can be a bit overwhelming, and you probably have plenty of questions. For instance, what is it like being a SkyWest mechanic? We can tell you, there isn’t anything more exciting than working nose to tail on state-of-the-art aircraft. And that’s exactly what every A&P mechanic at SkyWest does. With safety at the forefront of every task, every mechanic is responsible for the miracle of flight. Our maintenance team of industry leading professionals uses the best technology to keep a fleet of over 450 aircraft safe in the skies.

I’ll share an overview your first night, week and year as a SkyWest mechanic. We look forward to seeing you at work on the hangar floor.

Your first night at the maintenance hangar starts by attending a pre-shift meeting with all mechanics. Here, you’re assigned a Crew Lead, team and the aircraft you will be working on. Maintenance Crew Leads oversee 3-4 aircraft, plus one heavier inspection aircraft. All work must be wrapped up and the aircraft positioned to head back to the gates by 4:30 a.m.

SkyWest’s approach to teaching about the different aircraft is a mixture of hands-on and classroom experience. You can expect to spend 3-4 weeks on the hangar floor with the aircraft and an on-the-job trainer. You will also attend familiarization classes for each fleet type.

To help with the steep learning curve of your first week, you will meet with a Designated Trainer. A Designated Trainer is a Level III mechanic who works with Inspection and Production, and will specifically train you on SkyWest’s policies, procedures, and SkyTrack computer maintenance documentation. The Designated Trainer acts as your mentor and coach as you work through assignments and sign-off tasks.

Your first month, you’ll be hands on the aircraft with walk arounds, learning component locations, and inspection trainings.  For the first 30 days, FAA regulations require all work to be signed off by a trainer.

Within your first year you’ll reach Level II mechanic status, working on Level III tasks with the intent to attain Level III at 18 months. You’ll continue class training for each aircraft type and module classes for specific systems like hydraulics, fuel or air conditioning.

Our Accelerated Training Program is designed to get every mechanic from Level I to Level III in 18 months, allowing the flexibility to work independently as well as lead or assist new mechanics. Keep in mind that each level upgrade is accompanied with a pay increase.

Already have your A&P? Apply here!

SkyWest Mechanics Enjoy

  • Shift Trade Flexibility
  • Tool Allowance
  • Moving Expense Reimbursement
  • Flight Benefits with Four Major Airlines
  • Operational and Financial Bonuses
  • 13 Maintenance Bases and 9 Line Stations
  • Advanced Technology and Procedures (SkyWest is the first airline maintenance group in the world to go completely paperless)

SkyWest Flying

  • 450+ Regional jets, including the E175 and the CRJ200, CRJ700 & CRJ900
  • 33% of all aircraft overnight at a maintenance base or line location
  • Partnerships with Delta, American, United and Alaska Airlines

SkyWest Maintenance Career

There are three levels of mechanics at SkyWest:

  • LI– most common entry level from A&P school
  • LII – prior military or avionics experience, level 1 task list completed, ability to work independently
  • LIII – can lead a shift and train tasks to L1 or L2 mechanics, with the added responsibility of module classes and troubleshooting all systems.

Now Boarding to the North Pole – SkyWest Fantasy Flight in COS

“I don’t think there’s another place in the world tonight with more magic than right here, right now.”

Few things bring as much awe and wonder to children as flying in an airplane. Throw in a flight to the “North Pole” and you have a night of magic and fantasy.

For the 12th straight year, the SkyWest team helped bring the true spirit of the holiday season to children in Colorado Springs with the annual Fantasy Flight to the North Pole. The event provides the magic of Christmas to underprivileged children and their families.

Together with the Junior League of Colorado Springs (JLCS) and CPCD…giving children a head start, SkyWest welcomed more than 30 children and their families to the Colorado Springs Airport to enjoy a day full of joy and laughter.

Those in attendance were able to participate in a number of activities, including ornament making, face painting, corn hole, dinner, playing with the Go Team Therapy Crisis Airport Dogs, visiting with local Olympians and of course, flying on a CRJ700 to the North Pole.

“This was a crazy-awesome experience,” said one parent. “I was so excited for my daughter.”

While in the air, SkyWest flight attendants Linda Kracht, Nayomie Burns and Charlene Theobald joined in games and carols with the kids, singing their way across the night sky.

Upon arrival at the North Pole, the children were greeted by Santa and Mrs. Claus and together made their way up the jet bridge to the fully decorated terminal of the Colorado Springs Airport, courtesy of the SkyWest team in COS.

There, the children told the jolly old elf himself what they wanted for Christmas and were surprised with gifts picked out specifically for them!

“It makes me feel very fortunate and happy that I’m here at SkyWest and that SkyWest is participating in something that gives back to the community so much,” said COS CRJ Captain Curt Young.

Many thanks to SkyWest General Manager Jamie Young and her team as well as all of those at SkyWest who helped make the event possible through countless hours of coordination and expertise.

Read more about SkyWest people making a difference here.

 

SkyWest Pilots Make Special Landing at St. Luke’s Children Hospital

SkyWest pilots made a special landing at St. Luke’s Children Hospital in Boise, Idaho last week to help spread some holiday cheer. The pilots turned their pilot hats in for some Santa caps as they visited with patients throughout the day.

SkyWest Captain P.M. Schneidau as well as First Officers Luc Levasseur and Zeb Baney, along with several pilots from other airlines, arrived at the pediatric unit with their sack of toys. Some of the gifts included stuffed animals, LEGO sets and gift cards.

“We saw lots of smiles and eyes light up today,” said Captain Schneidau. “Many of the kids were so thankful and it was great to visit with them. We hope a new stuffed animal or toy will make these kids’ stay in the hospital a little easier and leave them with a positive memory.”

The event hits close to home for the Schneidau family who have experienced what families at St. Luke’s Children Hospital are going through right now.

“My wife and I have had two very preemie babies at this same hospital, with our youngest boy spending several nights in the Pediatric ICU,” said Captain Schneidau, who is currently a volunteer on the NICU Family Advisory Council. “So when this event came up, Vanessa and I were thrilled to have the opportunity to participate in such a thoughtful and wonderful event.”

For many families, the holidays are a time of stress and added anxiety as they support and care for sick loved ones. Pilots for Kids is a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting hospitalized children and their families by using volunteer pilots to fly in toys and other needed supplies, with the goal of bringing smiles to families and children in need. This Pilots For Kids event was the first-ever in Boise. The event was so rewarding, that each of the pilots are already planning next year’s event.

“We look forward to participating again next year,” said Captain Schneidau. “We hope to make it even bigger too.”

Throughout the year, SkyWest employees have made it a point to give back to their communities through a variety of service projects. And with the holiday season in full swing, our crews and teams are once again finding ways to help make a difference. Read more about SkyWest people making a difference here.

Aviation Students Tour BOI Hangar

SkyWest teams across the country are doing their part to encourage the next generation of aviators! From fulfilling a job-shadowing request, to providing sight-seeing tours – SkyWest people are continually inspiring those with an interest in aviation.

Recently, SkyWest Airlines hosted a group of aviation students from Treasure Valley Community College at the Boise, Idaho (BOI) maintenance hangar! Not only were they greeted by eight SkyWest pilots, but they also had the unique opportunity to tour one of SkyWest’s new E175 aircraft – straight from the manufacturer in Brazil!

Jeff Norris, an aviation adjunct instructor from Treasure Valley Community College said, “I am still on a high after Saturday’s field trip to the SkyWest Hangar in Boise… It was a better than I could have imagined.”

Treasure Valley Community College and SkyWest Airlines have recently partnered to offer students a direct career path to commercial aviation through the Pilot Pathway Program. Students who are in the SkyWest Pilot Pathway Program receive advantages like enhanced Company seniority, mentorship by a SkyWest pilot and a guaranteed final interview.

To learn more about your career as a SkyWest pilot, click here!

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SkyWest People Give Back

SkyWest people are continually finding ways to give back to their communities. The Spirit of SkyWest: Our People in Action program supports dozens of charitable 501(c)(3) causes employees are passionate about. Through this program, SkyWest and its people have donated to over 40 organizations nationwide — and that’s just one of the many positive ways SkyWest people are contributing in the areas where they live and work.

This year SkyWest people improved their communities in so many ways including: donating time at local food banks; bringing the miracle of flight with Wings for Autism events in Boise, Idaho; Jacksonville, North Carolina and Fresno, California; volunteering with Civil Air Patrol and giving back to young aviatorsraising money for The Special Olympics by pulling an aircraft weighing nearly 180,000 pounds; Supporting the fight against Breast Cancer; Participating in local Big Brothers and Big Sisters programs; and Supporting Habitat for Humanity builds in multiple locations.

The year of giving doesn’t stop there. Through our largest charity event, the Mini Indy, SkyWest people raised over $70,000 for United Way and provided SkyWest Scholarship funds to over 100 outstanding students. They also banded together in relief efforts to help SkyWest’s own who have been impacted by fires and other unforeseen tragedies. And in the upcoming month, SkyWest will be hosting their annual flight to the North Pole for children in need and holding their annual fundraiser for the Utah Food Bank! While together our teams provide an impeccable travel experience in the air, SkyWest people are contributing far beyond their jobs every day in their communities.

Read more stories about SkyWest People Making a Difference. Learn about joining the SkyWest team.

SkyWest’s Lewiston Team Gives Back

The SkyWest customer service team in Lewiston, Idaho (LWS) is giving back to the community this season by donating their time at the Idaho Food Bank.

The team of 11 leveraged their teamwork to categorize and assemble food, sorting over 2,300 pounds of food during their first visit. While they’re generally working together to provide exceptional service, load bags and marshal aircraft, this group of agents put their teamwork skills together in a different way: helping to feed over 1,695 people across Idaho.

“This was our first time volunteering together as a team,” said LWS Customer Service Supervisor Angie Stegner. “We enjoyed it so much that we will definitely be looking for other opportunities in our community to serve.”

The team has already scheduled their return to the food bank in November, December and January and are looking to find more opportunities to serve in the coming months.

“This time of year is hard enough as it is, and the idea that we were helping to feed people and provide a basic human need was incredibly gratifying,” said Angie. “I think we all get so wrapped up in our own blessings that we forget that a box of canned food can mean everything to someone. It was a humbling experience.”

“We have a great chemistry here in LWS,” continued Angie, “but sharing that with our community made us feel more like a family.” 

Great job team LWS! If you are interested in joining a team like the one in LWS, click here.

SkyWest Crew Surprises High School Senior with Memorable Tour at PDX

High school student MaKenna Albert has always had a love for flying. She reached out to SkyWest Pilot Denise Langholz, asking about the possibility of taking an aircraft tour for her senior project.

What MaKenna didn’t realize, however, was that she was in for a treat, as Captain Langholz and the entire SkyWest team rolled out the red carpet to give her a behind-the-scenes tour at Portland International Airport (PDX).

“When MaKenna contacted me, I wanted to show her that her dream of being an airline pilot could be a reality,” said Captain Langholz. “When I was in high school and dreamed of being a pilot, I was mistakenly told that ‘girls don’t become pilots.’ It took some time before I realized that it was simply not true. I love helping people realize their dreams and it was a joy to be able to show MaKenna around and have her meet some of the SkyWest team.”

The day started off with a tour of the airport before they stopped to talk with several SkyWest employees, including Teresa Nelson, PDX First Officer.

“Teresa told me all about all about the operations, training and the Pilot Pathway Program that SkyWest offers,” MaKenna said. “It was very insightful and it was so fun to be able to see so much of the operation.”

As exciting as everything was, it was just the beginning for MaKenna.

After watching the ground crew welcome an inbound flight, PDX Captain Tracy Leland took the opportunity to walk MaKenna through each of the steps to prepare the aircraft for flight. Afterward, Makenna was able to take a tour of the maintenance hangar, meet more of the SkyWest family and sit inside the flight deck of a SkyWest jet, where she envisioned herself taking the controls as an airline pilot.

MaKenna also got to visit the crew lounge where she enjoyed talking with crew members about their experiences and why they chose SkyWest.

“It was awesome,” MaKenna said about the tour. “All of the pilots were so nice and took the time to answer all of my questions.”

Bob Venturella, SkyWest’s PDX Chief Pilot, added to MaKenna’s special day as he surprised her with a ride in his Piper Cub aircraft. Venturella took time to teach her about flying the aircraft and answered any other questions MaKenna had.

It was an awesome day for MaKenna.

“She hasn’t stopped smiling,” added Shannon Albert, MaKenna’s mother. “She has found her passion and is now focused on her goal to become an airline pilot.”

For Langholz, the tour was a great reminder why she chose SkyWest and why she still loves coming to work every day: “The people. Everyone at SkyWest makes it amazing,” said Langholz. “When Bob surprised MaKenna by taking her flying, it went above and beyond what was already a perfect day. So many others also took time out of their busy schedules to make it all possible.”

The kindness and teamwork did not go unnoticed as MaKenna repeatedly asked Captain Langholz throughout the day if “everyone at SkyWest was always this nice.”

“I felt so proud to be able to tell her yes,” said Langholz. “The people at SkyWest are truly remarkable, generous and kindhearted. It was a privilege to share the Spirit of SkyWest with MaKenna and show her that we are here to help her accomplish her dream of becoming an airline pilot.”