Tag Archives: SkyWest

The Love Language of Flight!

A passion for the miracle of flight is one of the most common motivators for people joining the airline industry. And finding others who share that passion can lead to great relationships and, in some cases, even the love of their lives. This Valentine’s Day, we asked a few SkyWest couples to share how SkyWest helped them find each other.

Kelli Golden, air transportation supervisor, and Gage Wuthrich, dispatch supervisor, are preparing for their upcoming wedding next month. They initially met when they were assigned to the same shift and became friends. From there, the relationship quickly blossomed. 

“Gage was my dispatch trainer,” said Kelli. “So it was very natural for me to come up and talk with him and ask questions.” After being friends for a while they decided to start dating and of course, the rest is history.

Still, they kept their work and personal life separate for a while.

“Some of our co-workers didn’t know we were dating until they got our wedding invitation,” Gage said.

Kelli added that it’s great to share the same schedule, so they can sleep by 8 p.m. on the weekend — since they’re at work before the sun comes up. Of course, while they enjoy the camaraderie, sometimes they have to give each other space since they work just a few feet away from each other. At the same time, the couple noted that their shared understanding and passion for aviation has brought them closer together.

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Dontay Riley, manager of flight attendant performance, met his fiancée Matt Frisbie when visiting Salt Lake City during a work trip. The two met during flight attendant training and the rest has been history. 

“We met when I was in Salt Lake City training SkyWest flight attendants. We really hit it off,” says Dontay.

Because he was traveling from Chicago to Salt Lake City often, Dontay and Matt were able to see each other regularly and their relationship grew. After dating for six years, the couple was engaged last March when Dontay proposed in Puerto Vallarta. The couple is excited to marry in the same city in late October!

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CRJ Captain Timothy Grunden and Flight Attendant Phiola Grunden first met when they were assigned as crewmembers on the same flight. It was Phiola’s initial training day and Timothy was in the process of upgrading from first officer to captain. For dinner one night, Timothy told the rest of the crew he wanted to go out but no one else wanted to go. Timothy recalls, “Phiola must have felt sorry for me.”

They continued their separate journeys from there, but the two reconnected later after Phiola learned that Timothy had finished his upgrade via a mutual friend on Facebook. She reached out to congratulate him on the promotion, and a few Facebook messages later the couple was dating. Phiola and Timothy got married in July last year, after dating for two years and moving between domiciles to be closer together. They have since welcomed home a baby boy, whom the couple says is destined to work in the aviation industry.

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Dispatcher Bryan Button, and Vanessa Button, crew scheduler, originally met in San Diego, but said working in the same building at SkyWest has brought them closer. When Bryan moved to St. George, Utah, he planned on flying back to San Diego to visit Vanessa every few weeks. But the distance was no match for this couple. Vanessa surprised him and, despite being away from each other for five months, the couple only went one weekend without seeing each other! After Vanessa finished her degree in San Diego, she moved to St. George to be closer to Bryan and joined the SkyWest family as a crew scheduler in 2018. The couple was married in October last year and have enjoyed the unlikely aviation pairing of a dispatcher and crew scheduler.

Bryan and Vanessa say their relationship helps them understand and learn more about what the different teams do and how they work together to make the airline work.

“It’s fun because I am asked dispatch questions from my team, and dispatch will come over to my desk and ask me scheduling questions,” said Vanessa.

The couple also mentioned that understanding the very specific “airline speak” makes it easy for them to talk about what happened at work and the other being able to immediately understand what their spouse means.

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David Furlong and Randy Villanueva are both flight attendants in Chicago. They meet in 2005 in Sacramento, and after David told Randy about being a flight attendant, Randy quickly joined the SkyWest family. The couple was married in 2014 after being joined in a civil union since 2012. Randy said working with his partner is great because they know what each other needs.

“We had a medical emergency a few months ago and I just had to look at Randy and he knew exactly what I needed.” The couple said most of the time other crewmembers don’t know they are married, but love to work with them because they are such a great team.

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Each couple had insight and advice to share for dating and marrying in the airline industry.

Bryan and Vanessa said the airline attracts a certain type of person who makes great friends and partners.

“We have the same friends, so even when Bryan is not at work, we go out with the same people,” Vanessa said.

David and Randy both agreed having boundaries is important to their relationship since the couple often finds themselves working on the same flight. “It’s great to work a plane with two galleys because it gives us that extra space,” the couple said jokingly.

Timothy and Phiola said communication is key. Whenever Timothy is traveling, he makes sure he texts Phiola as soon as he can after he lands.

“Skype and Facetime are great because for four days we have a long-distance relationship,” Timothy said.

Dontay said that they started to be more mindful of taking trips together. “We both take work trips often, so when we have the opportunity and our schedule allows we like to join each other on work trips,” she said.

Kelli and Gage, noted the importance of respecting each other’s space and enjoy having someone the can “talk shop” with. But their number one piece of advice was to be friends before you start to date. “You don’t need to rush into it,” said Gage.

All five couples said working together and speaking each other’s work-language has helped each couple grow closer together. Each couple also mentioned how supportive their coworkers are to their relationships and how SkyWest really is part of their extended family.

To the more than 14,000 SkyWest employees and many more who share a love for all things aviation: Happy Valentine’s Day!

Bringing Military Experience to SkyWest

This Veterans Day, we salute all the men and women who have and continue to bravely serve our country in the armed forces. SkyWest Airlines is home to more than 1,600 veterans. Their experience and expertise help us deliver high-quality, reliable service on our more than 2,300 daily flights.

Maintenance Crew Lead Bryann Smith while in the United States Navy.

Bryann Smith, a maintenance crew lead working in Nashville, Tennessee (BNA), started at SkyWest after serving 15 years in the United States Navy as an aircraft structures mechanic and combat engineer. Choosing SkyWest was an easy decision for Bryann, who was looking for a company who cared about its employees and those they served.

“What brought me to SkyWest was a career with a company that honestly cares about its employees,” Bryann said. “We care about the safety of our aircraft and passengers more than anything else.”

Brandon Miller, a maintenance supervisor in Minneapolis, Minnesota (MSP), was also drawn to SkyWest due to the airline’s reputation for taking care of its employees.

“I came to SkyWest because it was the most successful regional airline that respects and appreciates its employees,” said Brandon. “I wanted to be part of this great family atmosphere that SkyWest created!”

Maintenance Supervisor Brandon Miller in the cockpit of a KC-10A while in the United States Air Force.

Brandon served in the United States Air Force for four years as a maintenance hydraulic specialist. That experience taught him about decision making, integrity, reliability and being accountable for his actions – valuable qualities that help him in his daily responsibilities at SkyWest.

Augie Briseno, a maintenance trainer working in Palm Springs, California (PSP), also credits the training he received in the United States Navy for helping him to be successful during his 18 ½ years at SkyWest.

“I gained a lot of experience from the military as a collateral duty inspector, quality assurance representative and on-the-job training instructor,” added Augie. “These areas definitely played a huge role in my path and growth at SkyWest.”

“The military instilled leadership skills in me that I honestly don’t think I could have received anywhere else,” Bryann added. “I now help run a SkyWest hangar as a maintenance crew lead. The military taught me to prioritize and how to be ready for any situation that may arise.”

Maintenance Trainer Augie Briseno (far left) while serving in United States Navy.

SkyWest is proud of the service that employees like Bryann, Brandon, Augie and many more have provided during their time in the military and is glad they are a part of the team.

“I am tremendously blessed to have been with the SkyWest family for this length of time!” said Augie.

Learn more about all of the opportunities SkyWest has available for veterans transitioning to civilian careers and apply today on our Careers Page.

Watertown Veteran Honor Flight

SkyWest Teams Serving Those Who Have Served

SkyWest teams provide impeccable service to hundreds of thousands of passengers every month, including veterans and active members of the military. This has provided a variety of opportunities to recognize them for their service and has sparked some unforgettable friendships. Here are just a few recent examples.

Navy SEAL Reunion

The following is from Marianne Seibert who was traveling with her husband on SkyWest-operated flights from Kansas City, Missouri (MCI) to San Diego, California (SAN).

We were traveling to San Diego for my husband’s Navy SEAL reunion. Once on board, we couldn’t believe how friendly and helpful the flight attendants, Grace Pakiser and Sandra Robb, were. They never sat down and were constantly checking on the needs of the passengers and having conversations with them. When it came our turn to tell the flight attendant about our travel plans, we told her about my husband being a Navy SEAL, how he graduated from SEAL Training in 1969 in SAN and that we were traveling back for his 50-year reunion. We weren’t sure if we would make it to the reunion because of my husband’s health problems, so we were very excited.

Later, we were exiting the plane and I thought my husband was right behind me. I turned around to see he was still in the aircraft talking to the pilot. The flight attendant had told the captain, Zack Brown, about our trip and he told my husband he lived near the reunion celebration. My husband invited him to attend but I thought there was no way he really would.

Zack came to the reunion! He was so engaging, likable and wonderful. He stayed with us for three hours and by the time he left, we invited him to our ranch this fall to help gather cattle. We made a real friend in Zack. I asked if he would be our pilot on the way back and he said he wasn’t sure, but he’d make sure we were taken care of.

We were the first to board the plane on our way home Monday. When we got on, the flight attendants, Stacy Gobert and Erin Galbraith, were expecting us. Zack had emailed them and told them to take good care of us. As the plane was taxiing, Stacy made an announcement that we were onboard, honoring us and congratulating John for his service and his 50th year SEAL team graduation celebration. After the clapping was over, and as we took off, a military band rendition of Anchors Away was played over the intercom. My husband and I looked at each other with tears in our eyes.

I wasn’t surprised about the great service we had on the flight back because of how excellent it was on the way there. Whenever I have a chance, I’m going to fly SkyWest.

Pilot with Navy SEAL

Honor Flight

In late September, SkyWest had the opportunity to welcome 35 Vietnam veterans and their family members onboard a new flight from Watertown, South Dakota (ATY) to Chicago (ORD) as they were making their way to Washington, D.C. Teams on the ground and in the flight deck did a great job making it a memorable trip, including red carpet treatment from the ATY airport operations agents and special announcements made by the flight crew.

The veterans were heading to the capitol in honor of their service and to visit monuments in the area. The special group consisted of veterans from South Dakota and Minnesota and, for many of them, it was their first flight since returning from the war.

Watertown Honor Flight

Utah Patriot Partner

SkyWest has been recognized by Utah Governor Gary Herbert as a Patriot Partner. The recognition is thanks to the work being done to extend priority considerations and enhanced hiring opportunities for the men and women of the armed forces. SkyWest is a proud military employer and is home to more than 1,600 men and women who have or are currently serving in the military.

Utah Patriot Partner

SkyWest team members do a great job every day to provide exceptional service and to recognize the men and women of our armed forces. Click here to learn more about how you can get started with our incredible team.

SkyWest pilot Ralf Socher on Denali

SkyWest First Officer Reaches 20,000 Feet, Without a Plane

When he’s not climbing to 35,000 feet as a pilot, SkyWest CRJ First Officer Ralf Socher is climbing mountains nearly as high!

This past year, Socher had the chance to traverse and summit Denali. At 20,310 feet, Denali is the highest peak in North America. This height and it’s location near the Arctic Circle make the mountain prone to extreme weather. Reaching the summit requires discipline, strength and focus; skills that Socher has developed through practice and his experience as a pilot.

SkyWest pilot Ralf Socher on Denali

“Mountaineering, particularly on high, remote peaks like Denali, can be compared to flying in regards to the need for situational awareness and planning,” said Socher. “As with flying, always having an alternate plan in mind in case something changes or goes wrong is critical.”

Socher’s first experience with mountain climbing took place in the Alps when he was 16, but it wasn’t until he was a new hire with SkyWest, based out of Fresno, California (FAT), that mountain climbing became a regular activity.

“As a pilot at SkyWest I appreciate the schedule flexibility that allows me time to go climbing and train for big expeditions like Denali…and with Fresno’s close proximity to Yosemite, I took the opportunity to expand my technical skills often.”

Scaling Denali took Socher and his group 14 days. Along the way he encountered numbingly cold conditions and an exhaustion he had never experienced before. Relying on his training, he was able to overcome the challenges to reach the top.

“In the thin atmosphere, where the sky overhead became midnight blue, I hardly noticed my deep rhythmic breathing. I was focused and feeling light afoot. Excitement hit me as we negotiated a stretch of deep snow along a precarious narrow ridge before joyously striding to the top of North America!”

SkyWest is proud to have so many incredible team members like Ralf Socher who provide exceptional service to millions of passengers each year, while still pursuing their dreams. At SkyWest, there’s no telling just how high you can climb!

Learn more about SkyWest and career opportunities available to you here.

Father’s Day: Following in Dad’s Footsteps

Brayden and Lynn Bell

For many pilots, having the opportunity to be at the controls of an aircraft with their dad is a far-fetched dream.

At SkyWest Airlines, those dreams are a reality for generations of family pilots who work at the company and at times, even fly together.

“It has been the highlight of my career to be able to work next to my son,” said SkyWest CRJ Captain Michael Jense. “Chris and I have been blessed to fly numerous trips together and it has been great to be able to hang out on the overnight trips too.”

Whether it was spending time working at his grandfather’s aircraft maintenance shop, taking family trips thanks to the travel benefits, or seeing the joy on his dad’s face because he was doing what he loved, Chris fell in love with aviation and is thankful for his dad’s help and guidance as he began taking flying lessons when he was 16 years old.

Michael Jense (CA, CRJ) and Chris Jense (CA, CRJ)

“My dad has helped me out so much and I’ve enjoyed being able to fly different trips with him,” said SkyWest CRJ Captain Chris Jense. “Coming to SkyWest was an easy decision for me because of the company’s exceptional reputation and the opportunities it gives its employees.”

For Chris, flying was in his blood as a fourth-generation pilot.

Dave Bechtold (CA, CRJ) and Dylan Bechtold (CA, CRJ)

“The poor kid never had a chance,” Michael laughs. “But honestly it’s great to see him doing what he loves.”

That passion, combined with SkyWest’s values, continues to drive the airline’s close-knit family culture even as it has grown to become the world’s largest regional airline with nearly 14,000 aviation professionals operating more than 2,500 daily flights.

Captain Dylan Bechtold got an early start at SkyWest thanks to his father, CRJ Captain Dave Bechtold, who has more than three decades of experience at SkyWest.

“I grew up in the SkyWest training department and know most of the senior pilots,” said Dylan. “Because of that, I knew firsthand the culture and commitment the company has in its employees, and with my parents and my aunt working at SkyWest, it was an easy choice for me to join the team.”

Together they have taken a number of trips in what Dave calls “an unforgettable experience.”

“To be in the cockpit and flying together was a proud moment,” said Dave.

For ERJ Captain Marshall Rub and his son Captain Jeffrey Rub, the opportunity to work alongside each other is one of the reasons why they don’t want to go anywhere else.

Marshall Rub (CA, ERJ) and Jeffrey Rub (CA, ERJ)

“I was Jeff’s instructor when he first started to fly and the rest has been history,” said Marshall.

For CRJ Captain Garry Poulton, working at SkyWest quickly became his goal as he began working as a flight instructor in Reno, Nevada.

“I had heard a lot of good things about SkyWest and it’s been more than I could have ever imagined,” said Captain Poulton. “The camaraderie among crewmembers, the family culture, the opportunities, including flying with my son (Denton Poulton), have all been so great.”

So far, the father and son pilots have flown twice together.

“When I got into aviation I never thought much about my children wanting to follow in my footsteps,” said Captain Garry Poulton. “I have seen, in the past, other pilots who had flown with their children and seen the smile on their faces. I know what those feelings of pride and accomplishment are like now.”

For Denton, being a pilot was always his dream as he watched his father leave for work in his uniform.

“My dad was my ultimate role model,” he said. “Where kids wanted to grow up to be professional athletes, Hollywood stars or the next President of the United States, I wanted to grow up to be like my Dad.”

Garry Poulton (CA, CRJ) and Denton Poulton (FO, CRJ)

A similarly unforgettable experience occurred last year for Brent Wilson, a SkyWest pilot and manager of aircraft operations, along with his son Michael, a first officer. They had the chance to operate their first flight together as they 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.”

These examples and experiences are just a few of the many pilots, flight attendants, maintenance professionals, customer service agents and more who have had the unique opportunity of working together with their family at SkyWest.

Happy Father’s Day to all our SkyWest Fathers teaching their children to soar! To learn more about becoming a part of the SkyWest family, go to skywest.com.

SkyWest’s First Mother-Daughter Pilots Take to the Skies

SkyWest CRJ Captain Suzy Garrett has much to celebrate this Mother’s Day. Reaching 30 years of SkyWest service May 1, Captain Garrett is one of SkyWest’s longest-tenured pilots and was the eleventh female pilot hired at SkyWest. Her husband Doug flies at American Airlines after a decade with SkyWest, their son Mark is currently building his flight hours and their daughter Donna began SkyWest flight training this month.

“We absolutely love our jobs. You don’t see that too much in other occupations,” Captain Garrett explained. “None of our kids were thinking about becoming pilots, but when you start looking at other careers that are out there, sitting in an office, and then see how happy we are — it opened their eyes.”

Now, as Donna completes SkyWest’s CRJ pilot training, she and Captain Garrett are SkyWest’s first mother-daughter pilot pair. “I was exposed to aviation my whole life,” said Donna. “I decided to fly because of my parents’ passion and love for flying. They made it so much fun.”

“I got to do a lot of traveling growing up,” she continued. “I was exposed to the world, which was a big inspiration. Experiencing my mom and dad’s lifestyle was wonderful. It exposed me to the possibilities the industry offered.”

Captain Garrett agrees that aviation has opened many doors throughout her 30-year career.

“I am super grateful for this job,” she said. “For women, the work schedule flexibility is a plus; the ability to have a family. What better career is out there where you can make this kind of money and not have to have high stress by taking your work home with you? Scheduling is a big reason why I’ve stayed with SkyWest. It was great when the kids were growing up. I could volunteer for field trips, parties at school and be that mom, while also having this wonderful career!”

Captain Garrett also talks about how their family enjoys traveling together.

“We’ve taken the family everywhere,” she said. “We’ve been able to get away from normal life and the house and escape on these vacations to have good, quality time together. It didn’t matter whether it was Germany, China, Costa Rica or Africa: You’re making memories of a lifetime. My middle child became very savvy and could soon piece together routings for our trips better than I could.”

And now she has the joy of knowing her daughter Donna has joined the SkyWest family.

“I love it! I really love it. It’s neat having your kid experience what you’ve gotten to experience. She’s part of the SkyWest family. I think it’s going to be a great career for her. She likes having variety and excitement in her life.”

Captain Garrett is a trailblazer in many ways. Starting with just a few other female pilots in the industry 30 years ago, she describes how things have changed throughout her career.

“[Back then] I wouldn’t draw attention to myself at the airport,” she said. “Believe it or not, I used to hide. The climate has changed; the reaction from the passengers has changed. Today I feel like I can be a role model for young girls who come on board and show them what’s possible. The doors are open: You can be anything!”

Donna continued, “Don’t ever disqualify yourself or think that there is anything limiting you just because you are a woman. There are so many opportunities to be successful in this industry. Find mentors: other people who are doing what you’re doing and what you’re aspiring towards. Meet other people who are doing the same thing. Finding friends and peers who are going through the same thing you’re going through is extremely helpful. I’m so grateful I have my mom as a resource.”

Donna understands that her mother is in many ways a pioneer.

“Mom being a commercial pilot normalized it for me. Being exposed to the rest of the world, where things hadn’t caught up yet, opened my eyes. Seeing the world shifting is cool. It’s cool seeing more and more women getting into the industry.”

Captain Garrett and Donna look forward to their first flight together and are thrilled to be SkyWest’s first mother-daughter pilot pair.

“It’s exciting and something I’m proud of,” Donna said smiling. “I had no idea how rare it was! It’s a cool moment for my mom and me and for women in aviation in general.”

Thank you, Captain Garrett. To mothers everywhere, SkyWest wishes you a happy Mother’s Day!

Proudly employing over 13,000 aviation professionals, SkyWest operates nearly 2,400 daily flights. Together, these individuals connect millions of passengers each month to 258 destinations across North America. Learn more about SkyWest, and career opportunities available to you, here.

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.

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.

 

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.