Tag Archives: SkyWest Family

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 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 Scholarship Program Awards Over 100 Outstanding Students

Congratulations to this year’s SkyWest Airlines Scholarship recipients! SkyWest is home to the best and brightest in the industry and that fact was emphasized by the caliber of employees and dependents vying for this year’s scholarships.

Scholarship Recipient Andrew York

We received more than 150 applications from students across the SkyWest system, all with pursuits of higher education. In the end, a total of 105 scholarships were awarded for $115,000, the highest in the history of the program. The scholarship funds are raised through generous donations from SkyWest employees as well as through donations by partners and vendors during events surrounding SkyWest’s annual Mini Indy charity event.

The recipients had a diverse range of academic ambitions to enhance their lives and those around them. The two winners of SkyWest Presidential Scholarship are current SkyWest team members who are pursuing their aviation goals. Denver First Officer Andrew York is pursuing a master’s degree in Aviation from the University of Central Missouri, while Salt Lake City Customer Service Agent Connyr Bennett is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Aviation Science from Utah Valley University with the hopes of reaching his goal to become a professional commercial pilot.

Scholarship Recipient Connyr Bennett

Recipients are selected by a SkyWest Scholarship Committee, made up of representatives from each of the SkyWest employee groups, who volunteer countless hours to evaluate applications. Each application was scored on a variety of criteria, including GPA, ACT/SAT scores, career interests, future goals extracurricular activities and unique challenges. With so many bright and goal-driven applicants, the committee was charged with the difficult task of identifying the cream of the crop!

From graduate students to college freshmen, each of the recipients exemplifies what sets SkyWest apart: dedication and hard work to achieve big dreams. Congratulations to each of this year’s SkyWest Scholarship recipients! We look forward to watching you soar in your academic and professional pursuits!

The SkyWest Scholarship Program is just another example of how SkyWest continues to set itself apart as the Partner, Employer and Investor of Choice! To find out more about joining our team, click here.

My SkyWest Journey: Father and Son Take To The Skies

Doug and Alec Wheeler’s shared love of flight led them to follow their dreams to become pilots. Their SkyWest journeys were each different, but this father and son duo pushed their way to become CRJ first officers for SkyWest Airlines and fulfill their goal to become pilots.

When the market crashed in 2008, Doug Wheeler’s RV repair business in Salem, Oregon took a devastating hit.

He had a decision to make; and after seeing his eldest son, Alec Wheeler, enroll in flight school, he decided to continue what he started 30 years prior and pursue his pilot’s license.

“I was first introduced to flight by a family friend at age 13 in his C172,” said Doug. “When we first took off, I was amazed by all of the trees and buildings…I was hooked on flight. Three years later, at age 16 I started flight lessons.”

Doug accrued a total of 23 flight hours before ultimately ending his pursuit of becoming a pilot. He opened his RV repair business in 1994 but flying still remained on his mind.

“Flying was always in the back of my mind. I couldn’t shake it,” explained Doug. “When I had time, I would take the family to air shows in the local area. Alec was my only kid that seemed to be as interested in them as me.”

Doug arranged for Alec to take a flight in a C172, just as he did as a young boy, and Alec too was hooked.

It was this shared love of flight that ultimately led to the pair enrolling in flight school together many years later.

Doug and Alec completed their flight training and together were hired by SkyWest Airlines.

“We chose SkyWest because it’s the best regional airline,” said Alec.

Today, Doug is a CRJ first officer based out of Seattle and Alec is a CRJ first officer based out of Minneapolis. Their hope is to one day fly a trip together.

“Flying side-by-side with my dad would be the culmination of more than a decade of hard work between the two of us and it would be a very cool way to commemorate how well we work together,” added Alec.

“I’m not sure our paths are going to cross, but if they do, it would be so awesome,” said Doug. “We started this adventure together in 2010, and it would be quite the exclamation point to that adventure. We would be sharing our passion flying high and fast.”

Find out what makes SkyWest Airlines the “best regional airline”! Visit www.skywest.com/careers.

Learning from the Best: Thanks, Dad!

For some, aviation runs in the family! We reached out to Chicago based First Officer Tristan Mazzu to share how her father – also a pilot – encouraged her aviation career.


To say I grew up around aviation was an understatement. An American Airlines pilot for a father and Delta Air Lines flight attendant for a mother made the aviation world an inevitable part of life.

Sometimes on Sundays, Dad would wake me up early in the morning and buckle me into the right seat of our Cessna 120 taildragger. It was important that it was a Sunday, because the FBO a few towns over had donuts on Sunday mornings. Some of my oldest memories are flying in that little Cessna to get Sunday donuts. The best flight of my whole life is in that taildragger with my dad.

When I was younger, I had a burning desire to go to a hot air balloon festival. As the day approached, I was told we couldn’t go. Naturally, I threw a tantrum and locked myself in my room. Dad came upstairs and informed me that he needed to gas up the airplane. Despite arguments that it wasn’t Sunday and that I was mad at him, I ended up buckled in the right seat of the Cessna. After a flight of silence, I saw something unusual outside of my window — a hot air balloon. The sky turned a million colors as the sun set and hundreds of balloons took flight below us. I gave the biggest smile to my dad as I realized nobody else would experience this moment in the same way. I think that was when I realized I preferred the air over the ground.

When I turned 18, I finally got enough sense to take a flight lesson. Having never pushed flying on me, Dad was ecstatic that it was something I chose to do. The hereditary aviation gene, plus a bite from the flying bug, made becoming a pilot my new dream and passion. Shortly after this epiphany, Dad swapped his trips around, and we spent a whole weekend visiting aviation colleges all across the country. I transferred to Utah Valley University within the next school year to become a full-time aviation student, and the rest is history.

There was not a single moment in pursuit of my dream without my Dad being a part of it. Every time I moved back and forth across the country for aviation, he was the one who helped me stuff my car full and drive wherever I was headed next. I was struggling with landings? Dad was there to encourage me and talk me through each step. I needed help studying for my checkride? Dad spent hours quizzing me about everything under the moon, from Airspace to Zulu time.

I’m skeptical that Dad may love his Cessna 120 more than me, so I’m quite honored to be the only one he’s allowed to solo it! Before I started my first job as a flight instructor, my dad and I took a big trip together in ‘Planey’ (original name, I know). It was my 21st birthday present to pack up the little taildragger and fly it on an epic cross-country trip to Oshkosh. We started in Texas, stopped by my first flight school, drifted up the Appalachian Mountains toward Maine, hopped over the border into Canada for the night, crossed back through the Great Lakes and then spent three nights in a tent under the wings at AirVenture.

One day at work, I received a text from my dad to look out the window. We had just parked at our gate, and I looked up to see this dorky guy in a pilot’s uniform waving at me. Dad had walked all the way from the L-gates on his sit, and picked up my favorite food on the way so we could hang out during my turn. He even took me to sit in the 787 flight deck. I don’t care how long you’ve been flying, that will always be cool.

It’s so cool to be working in the airline industry together! A jumpseat meet up has yet to be arranged, but I assure you, it will be happening soon. My goal is to fly a jet with my dad someday before he retires. If my little brother could join in on that flight, that’d be even cooler.

My dad inspires me, ‘plane’ and simple (sorry for the bad pun). He’s the kind of pilot I want next to me in an emergency, and who can grease a 787 on the runway like nobody’s business. If you met him or flew with him, I’d bet you’d agree with me. Not only does he inspire me as a pilot, but also as a person. I admire his pursuit of passion and his tenacious work ethic. He taught me how important hard work is and to never give up on my dreams. He has never failed to encourage me in whatever I pursue and is my biggest advocate. I know I would not be the person I am today without his endless motivational speeches, constant love and undying support. I am so proud and blessed to be his daughter and to be following in his footsteps.

Happy Father’s Day to all the amazing Dads out there, and especially to you Padre! I love you!


Happy Father’s Day to our SkyWest people helping to inspire the next generation of aviation professionals! We’re grateful to fathers like Tristan’s for inspiring her to join the SkyWest family of aviators.

SkyWest Offers Flight Rehearsal with Wings for Autism

Freddy Lemmo
Corporate Communications Coordinator

For many, the task of going to the airport, boarding a plane and reaching their final destination is pretty simple. Most travelers have learned that lines and big crowds in the airport are a typical part of the travel process. But for others, especially those on the autism spectrum, and their families, the task of going to the airport can be new and stressful. That’s why SkyWest Airlines once again teamed up with Fresno Yosemite International Airport, The Arc of Fresno, TSA, Delta Global Service and Hewlett Packard, to offer Wings for Autism in Fresno for some very special passengers.

Wings for Autism offers airport “rehearsals” specifically designed to alleviate the stress that children with autism or intellectual/developmental disabilities, and their families, experience when flying.

“Going through security for the first time was a little intimidating,” said SFO First Officer Antonio Puentes, who volunteered at the event. The event was even more meaningful for First Officer Puentes because his son, Mateo, is autistic. “Coming through and you’ve got these machines, and you’ve got people standing around. You’ve got the big conveyor belts. That can be very stressful. And so getting through that with an extra help was a tremendous benefit for them.”

As part of the event, 50 children and their families got a first-hand look at what to expect at the airport and on an aircraft. After checking in at the ticket counter, they were greeted by members of the TSA, who explained what to expect in the screening process. They then gathered at the gate, where SkyWest crewmembers greeted them and talked to each child individually.

The children then boarded a SkyWest CRJ200, complete with a special sendoff from crews lined up on each side of the aircraft. 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.

“It’s such a great experience, being able to fly and go new places, and they get to experience that by going through this process first,” said Melissa Perry of the Fresno Yosemite Airport. “They are getting a social story to help them through exactly what they did today, and then they can take that with them when they get ready to go on their [next] trip.”

Thank you 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! Learn more about joining the SkyWest team.

 

SkyWest Family Shows Up During Time Of Need

Caitlin Miller
People Programs Coordinator

“If you ask why I choose SkyWest, I’ll tell you it’s the culture!”

Those were words written by Kirksey Hagan, a new SkyWest CRJ first officer in training. She joined the SkyWest team last month and had an immediate introduction to the SkyWest family going above and beyond after she experienced a medical emergency.

When Kirksey woke up in serious pain a couple of weeks ago, she reached out to a friend she had made in training class, Brent Blackmore. It was a very early morning wake-up call after several rigorous days of training, but Brent stopped at a pharmacy to pick up some medicine before driving Kirksey to urgent care. She was advised to go straight to the emergency room, and Brent drove her there and waited with her until she was diagnosed. Training Admin Manager Jen Baron left work immediately to meet them there.

Kirksey and Jen

Kirksey needed an emergency appendectomy, and her family was not be able to make it to the hospital in time. Jen stayed at the hospital through the surgery, working with the SkyWest Travel Center to coordinate travel to Salt Lake City for Kirksey’s family. She also contacted the training and housing teams to fill them in on Kirksey’s situation. She even offered for Kirksey to stay with her family to help her recover over the Easter weekend. After surgery, another classmate also drove to the hospital to bring an overnight essentials bag and check in on her.

“In a time where I felt my lowest, I had my SkyWest family taking care of me,” she said. “They truly honor and stick to their Guiding Principles, and I’m so glad I was given the opportunity to, and made the decision to, come to SkyWest Airlines.”

Kirksey’s story is just one example of the more than 13,000 SkyWest employees who continually make it a priority to take care of each other. Learn more about the SkyWest team: http://ow.ly/3TU450hdoBQ 

 

SkyWest Bands Together in Relief Efforts

Layne Watson
Corporate Communications Manager

In recent weeks, Mother Nature has made her presence known across the states, with Hurricane Harvey making landfall and devastating parts of Texas and Louisiana, then Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria following in Florida and Puero Rico respectively. In true SkyWest fashion, people stepped forward immediately asking how they could help their team members in need.

SkyWest HomeThankfully, all SkyWest people are safe. However, several have experienced tremendous property loss due to the historic flooding. SkyWest is offering a myriad of resources to support our people, from personal outreach from leaders to SOS: Crisis Fund resources for those in Harvey’s path. Additionally, SOS: Family Assistance is available to those on an approved personal leave of absence to take time to rebuild and recuperate from the flooding. Family Assistance allows SkyWest team members to donate their user and vacation hours to those on an approved leave.

SkyWest Crisis Fund Recipients Rebuilding

SkyWest Crisis Fund Recipients Rebuilding

Since the hurricane, SkyWest people have donated $15,000 to the SOS: Crisis Fund, with those funds going directly to SkyWest employees who’ve experienced loss from Harvey’s path. SkyWest has already granted more than $50,000 to our people and we continue to receive and fund applications as the harsh realities of the storm’s effects settle in.

In addition to directly helping our people, we’ve worked with the Red Cross and donated $10,000 to help provide aide and an American Red Cross Emergency Vehicle in flood areas. We continue to work with the Red Cross and other relief organizations to coordinate efforts on support and relief.

No matter the challenge, SkyWest people are a family and rise to support each other in times of need. And that is the Spirit of SkyWest.

SkyWest Scholarship Program Awards 45 Outstanding Students

Caitlin Miller
People Programs Coordinator

Congratulations to this year’s SkyWest Scholarship recipients! SkyWest is home to the best and brightest in the industry and that fact was emphasized by the caliber of employees and dependents vying for a shot at this year’s awards. More than 150 driven students with lofty goals and aspirations applied for a chance to receive one of three different scholarships to assist them in their pursuits of higher education.

Captain Morgan Simmons, E175 Fleet Training Manager

Captain Morgan Simmons, E175 Fleet Training Manager

Coincidently, as SkyWest celebrates 45 years of flying in 2017, this year’s evaluations resulted in awards for 45 remarkable students! The recipients had a diverse range of academic ambitions to enhance their lives and those around them. In fact, Presidential Scholarship recipient Captain Morgan Simmons, E175 Fleet Training Manager recently celebrated the 20th anniversary of his first solo flight. He continues to fulfill his childhood aviation dreams by helping to lead SkyWest’s exceptional pilot training program for its fleet of over 100 E175 aircraft. He is pursuing a Master’s Degree in Human Factors to find ways to continue enhancing aviation safety and training. And Chicago ERJ First Officer Simon Biaggini who also received a Presidential award, is now studying to receive a Master’s Degree in Aviation and Transportation Science after serving in the Israeli Air Force and bringing his dream of flying to America as he plans to advance his career in aviation

ERJ First Officer Simon Biaggini

The SkyWest Scholarship Committee, made up of representatives from each of the SkyWest employee groups, volunteered countless hours to evaluate more than 150 applications. Each application was scored on a variety of criteria, including GPA, career interests, future goals extracurricular activities and unique challenges. With so many bright and goal-driven applicants, the committee was charged with the difficult task of identifying the cream of the crop!

From graduate students to college freshmen, each of the recipients exemplifies what sets SkyWest apart: dedication and hard work to achieve big dreams. Congratulations to each of this year’s SkyWest Scholarship recipients! We look forward to watching you soar in your academic and professional pursuits!