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.”

SkyWest Bases Host Family Fly-ins

On top of providing crews with some of the best flying opportunities in all the industry, SkyWest Airlines is proud of the culture of teamwork that extends across the 13,000 aviation professionals at the airline. And that team spirit was on display as SkyWest people at hubs across the country organized fly-in picnics for employees and their families.

Crewmembers in Seattle, Portland, Minneapolis and Detroit hosted events where those in attendance were able to fly the open skies as pilots brought in their personal aircraft and gave sightseeing rides. Additionally, everyone shared excellent food and great company.

During the events, SkyWest leadership joined in the fun with COO Mike Thompson, Flight Ops VP Tracy Gallo, InFlight VP Sonya Wolford and more leaders attending the fly-ins.

“I love SkyWest,” said PDX flight attendant Elaine Hergert. “Who has a company picnic and gives airplane rides to kids? So awesome! I love my job.”

These fly-in events are just one of the many examples of how SkyWest people create a culture of teamwork and success for employees and their families.

To learn more about becoming a part of our team, click here.

Father And Son Co-Pilot First Flight Together – Delivery of a New E175

“Roger that Dad, … I mean Captain.”

Brent Wilson, a SkyWest pilot and manager of aircraft operations, along with his son Michael, a newly-minted first officer, recently saw their dreams come true when they operated their first flight together.

It was a special moment for both SkyWest employees as the father-son duo took delivery of one of the company’s newest E175 aircraft at the Embraer factory in Sao Jose dos Campos, Brazil.

“It was an amazing experience and such a great moment for me and our family,” said Michael. “It’s something we’ll never forget.”

“It was a blast and really proud moment for me,” added Brent. “I wasn’t sure we would ever get to fly together. We always talked about it and wanted to, but when Michael first started flight school our schedules never worked out. Then he had some health issues come up and had to take a break. Then with my position without a regular flight schedule we didn’t think we would ever get this opportunity. So to be able to do something like this is truly amazing.”

The day before they left – with the aircraft getting its final checks at the factory – Brent and Michael got to spend some quality father and son time together and experience some of the Brazilian culture.

“We didn’t have a lot of time, but we were able to go to the beach and also try some new food,” said Michael. “It was a great cultural experience and lot of fun.”

The morning of the aircraft delivery, Brent surprised Michael with a gift. As they pulled up to the factory, Brent handed Michael a hat that read, “Bring Your Dad To Work Day.” He then showed him the other hat that read, “Bring Your Son To Work Day” to which they both wore proudly.

“We went all out,” Brent said, jokingly. “It was just something fun to do and everyone loved it and thought it was the coolest thing ever.”

For Brent, the delivery marked a major milestone for him as it was his 50th E175 pickup in Brazil.

“When I got home I looked at my passport and all the stamps I’ve gotten over the years and told everyone ‘I’m going to need a new passport soon,’” he said, laughing. “But it’s been fun seeing all the new aircraft SkyWest has taken lately and we keep getting more.”

With a fleet of 453 aircraft and counting SkyWest continues its dominance as the leading regional airline with more new aircraft and domiciles than any other regional carrier.

“It’s the place to be,” said, Michael. “Not only does SkyWest have a great reputation, but the quality of life along with its new aircraft and domiciles just makes sense. The training is world class and is structured really well. I have friends in other programs who aren’t even out on the line yet. I keep reminding them that they should have come to SkyWest.”

For Michael, his love of flying first started when his dad invited him on a quick trip to drop off a plane to that needed repainting and to pick up the newly-painted jet from the facility in Roswell, New Mexico.

“It definitely sparked my interest for sure,” Michael recalled. “I got to ride in the jump seat and see the whole operation. I just fell in love with it.”

“Michael decided that night that all we (pilots) do is push buttons and so he wanted to have an easy job like that when he grew up,” Brent said joking. “So he decided to join the team and I couldn’t be happier.”

The two made the 6,000 mile journey back from Brazil, joking along the way.
The long journey required a few stops; after taking off from Embraer’s factory in Sao Jose dos Campos, the two flew to Manaus, Brazil; San Juan, Puerto Rico and finally to the United States, landing in Fayetteville, Arkansas before arriving at SkyWest’s hangar in Boise, Idaho to complete the delivery. Both Brent and Michael alternated flying each leg and held a friendly competition between the two.

“We were laughing and joking about who had the better landing,” said Michael. But just to set the record straight, I had the better landing,” he concluded with a smile.

 

SkyWest Pilots Give Back To Aviation Community

Whether its search and rescue missions to finding missing hikers, or coming to the rescue when natural disasters strike (Tornadoes, Hurricanes, etc.), the Civil Air Patrol (CAP), with its 60,000 members, continues to support communities across the country by donating their time and aviation expertise to provide essential services for those in need.

Photo by Robert Bowden

SkyWest pilots Kyle Curtiss and Matt Creed are among the many volunteers that donate their time to help with the different programs that CAP has to offer. From providing emergency services both on the ground and in the air, to its award-winning aerospace education and cadet programs, CAP – an auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force – is providing paths for youth to become aviation leaders.

“I just love watching their eyes light up,” said SkyWest pilot and Flight Operations Supervisor, Kyle Curtiss.

“It’s an experience unlike any other” added SkyWest Assistant Chief Pilot, Matt Creed.

When they are not in the air flying one of SkyWest’s 2200+ daily departures across North America, you can find Kyle and Matt helping out their local CAP units which they help oversee.

“I got started in 2013 and I just love it,” said Curtiss who is now the Central Michigan Group Commander in the CAP program. “I love my job, I love flying and I just wanted to give back and get involved in the aviation community.”

Photo by Robert Bowden

For Matt, who has been involved with CAP for more than two decades and is now the Great Lakes Region Commander, it was love at first flight.

“I got involved with CAP when I was 10 years old. I later became a cadet and I’ll never forget my first lesson. I had great CAP instructors and to be able to pass that on to the younger generation is something that I really enjoy and love to do. They are our future leaders and their excitement is contagious.”

Photo by Robert Bowden

Together, the SkyWest pilots give tours of the facilities and different aircraft. The tours have quickly caught on with units doing so across the state.

“It’s great to show the kids how the operation is run and all the different aspects that go into flying,” said Curtiss. “Their eyes light up when we’ve taken them to the airport to see air traffic control tower. How many people can say they have been able to do that?!”

“We love giving tours and giving the kids that opportunity to experience sitting in the front seat of an airplane and seeing the control tower,” added Creed. “Most kids don’t get to see the operation up close like that, but CAP has allowed us to give them those experiences. It’s awesome!”

Many thanks to Matt and Kyle, as well as all the SkyWest people who volunteer countless hours across the country to make a difference in the lives of others! You are excellent representatives of SkyWest and we thank you for all that you do and for sharing your love of flying.

For those interested in joining SkyWest, you can learn more here.

Photo by Robert Bowden

SkyWest Cadets Enjoy Night at the Ballpark

SkyWest cadets in the Phoenix area were treated to a night at the ballpark last week, as more than 40 joined SkyWest Airlines to watch the Diamondbacks win on a walk-off home run over the Dodgers at Chase Field. The event was sponsored by SkyWest and gave cadets the chance to interact with pilot recruiters and Tracy Gallo, SkyWest’s VP of Flight Operations, while also enjoying dinner, and a great baseball game!

“It’s a great opportunity for SkyWest cadets to gather, network and learn from pilot recruiters, and in this special case, from the VP of Flight Operations at SkyWest,” said Deanna Konopka, a SkyWest Recruitment Specialist who attended the event. “It was such a fun night to be able to gather CFIs from several surrounding schools and start showing them what the SkyWest culture is all about.”

SkyWest’s evening at the ballpark is just one of several cadet-focused events that have taken place throughout the year. Barbeques, meet and greets, golf tournaments and more complement the opportunities for regular connection with SkyWest mentors SkyWest cadets receive throughout their aviation journey.

The Pilot Pathway Program provides a defined path for those desiring to take control of their aviation careers. Company seniority activates upon becoming a cadet, and pilots earn increased seniority within SkyWest’s ground class. Upon completion of the program, cadets have a guaranteed final interview for a SkyWest first officer position and may become one of SkyWest’s more than 4,000 pilots. Learn more about the Pilot Pathway Program.

 

SkyWest ORD Team Puts Their Strength to the Test for a Good Cause

On Saturday, Sept. 22, SkyWest Airlines participated in the 10th Annual Special Olympics Plane Pull hosted by United Airlines and UPS in Chicago. The Plane Pull event is the ultimate tug-of-war competition as teams of 20 battle to pull a UPS Airbus A300 or United Airlines 737, weighing more than 180,000 lbs over 12 feet as fast as they can.

The event took place on the cargo ramp at Chicago O’Hare where SkyWest Airlines fielded two teams which included over 40 employees! SkyWest believes in supporting the causes our people are passionate about through the Spirit of SkyWest: Our People in Action program, which is set up to allow SkyWest to contribute fundraising dollars for any SkyWest team member participating in an eligible charitable cause. All proceeds collected from the Plane Pull benefit over 22,000 adult athletes and over 20,000 young athletes (ages 2-7) whom compete in the Illinois Special Olympics.This year the event raised nearly $190,000 to provide life-changing opportunities for thousands of Special Olympics athletes.

Beyond this event raising funds for a good cause and participating in some friendly competition, the SkyWest teams and their friends and family enjoyed entertainment, music and food at the event. It’s just another example of SkyWest people giving back and having a great time while doing so! Learn more about SkyWest’s people making a difference. 

SkyWest Crews Volunteer for Wings for Autism Event in Boise

The airport is fast-paced, loud and can be overwhelming for almost anyone. For those with intellectual and other developmental disabilities, it can be unfamiliar and even scary. It is easy to understand why families who have children with such disabilities shy away from the airport.

That’s why SkyWest Airlines teamed up with Boise Airport, The Arc of Boise, TSA and Delta Air Lines, to offer Wings for Autism for some very special passengers.

According to The Arc, “Wings for Autism is designed to alleviate some of the stress that is experienced when traveling by air, the program provides families and individuals the opportunity to practice entering the airport, obtaining boarding passes, going through security and boarding a plane.”

SkyWest has participated in several events helping families with children who have special needs understand and get familiar with airport and aircraft procedures. Time and time again SkyWest crews have gone above and beyond to volunteer their time and resources to help these families.

This past weekend in Boise, Idaho (BOI), that same story rang true as volunteer after volunteer poured into BOI to help The Arc of Boise with their Wings for Autism event.

Whether it was Savanna Son, BOI InFlight Supervisor, talking to each family individually and making them feel welcomed and comfortable as they awaited their flight or ERJ Captain Patrick Persson hosting each child in the cockpit and taking several minutes with each of them to show them the insides and outs of the plane, our SkyWest crew made this a special day for all involved.

The children boarded a SkyWest E175, complete with a special sendoff from crews lined up on each side of the jetbridge. After a full safety demonstration from the flight attendants, they “taxied” around the airport while enjoying snacks and beverages. They were welcomed back to the gate with high fives and plenty of smiles.

Read more about SkyWest’s partnership with Wings for Autism events.

Many thanks to the SkyWest people who volunteered countless hours of coordination and expertise to share their love of flying and provide these families with memories that will last a lifetime! Interested in joining the SkyWest team? Learn more.

SkyWest Celebrates OKC Hangar Opening

SkyWest was pleased to host a ribbon cutting ceremony and recruiting event at our new Oklahoma City Airport (OKC) hangar on Thursday, marking the latest addition to our impressive maintenance footprint! The ceremony was attended by local dignitaries including Oklahoma City Mayor David Holt and Greater Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce Chair Rhonda Hooper.

This new SkyWest maintenance base will support SkyWest’s flying for every partner and every aircraft type in our fleet. At 135,000 square feet, the new space will be able to accommodate up to nine overnight aircraft and will eventually be the workplace for 100 Maintenance team members.

The OKC base will be a pivotal piece to maintaining SkyWest’s unmatched reliability as its geographical location supports the entire SkyWest route system and will also support future growth.

This new hangar required much planning and execution from a number of SkyWest team members. Thank you to everyone on the SkyWest team who put in tireless work to prepare this beautiful new facility for operation. And, thank you to our OKC team (and a warm welcome to our newest SkyWest team members) for your daily commitment to safety and reliability as you work on the SkyWest fleet.

Interested in joining the SkyWest team? Click here for open positions in OKC and throughout the SkyWest system.

A True Blue SkyWest Appreciation Week

Appreciation Week 2018 is officially in the books and it was a week to remember! From pancake breakfasts to BBQs to photo booths and shoe shining, teams across the system went all out to show appreciation for each other.

It is that appreciation and respect for one another that continues to make SkyWest the Partner, Employer and Investment of Choice. Together, we are more than 13,000 strong and it takes every last one of us to make SkyWest Airlines the best in the industry!

Check out photos from celebrations across the system!

Learn more about joining the SkyWest team.