Tag Archives: SkyWest

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.

SkyWest Flies Children to “North Pole”

Hanna Hansen

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Corporate Communications Coordinator

Pure joy and merriment filled the Colorado Springs, Colorado (COS) and Milwaukee, Wisconsin (MKE) airports this weekend as SkyWest crews flew more than 100 children to a special destination not found on any route map: the North Pole.

SkyWest Fantasy Flight – COS
At the 11th annual Fantasy Flight, SkyWest crews gave Rudolph the night off, welcoming 30 eager children onboard a CRJ200 for a 30-minuite flight to the “North Pole.” Partnering the Junior League of Colorado Springs and CPCD…giving children a head start, the night spread holiday cheer to children who live at or below poverty level.

IMG_3149“Fantasy Flight brings a magical atmosphere of wonder and cheer to the children in Colorado Springs,” said Lori Hunt, SkyWest’s vice president of People. “Every year, SkyWest people are delighted to play a part in creating this unforgettable event.”

These young passengers, many of whom would otherwise receive little to nothing on Christmas morning, were greeted by mascots, carolers as well as Santa and Mrs. Claus themselves as they enjoyed crafts, games, a festive meal and gifts from their wish lists in a Christmas wonderland created by volunteers. The goal of the event: to provide memories of happiness and cheer for each of the children involved.

“This is a special experience that not everyone gets to have, we feel so privileged,” said Rebecca Brown whose son Ryman participated in the event. “As soon as we found out he was invited, he started flying around pretending to be an airplane. The whole thing has been a great time and experience.”

The Flight to the North Pole – MKEMKE FF
The Flight to the North Pole helped brighten the season for 72 children from Milwaukee Children’s Hospital suffering from serious illness and their families as they boarded a SkyWest CRJ700 and took a 20-minute ride to the “North Pole” (a nearby hangar decked out in holiday style!). While it never left the ground, the festive ride provided much needed smiles and wonderment to the tiny passengers.

The event meant a little something more to the captain operating the special flight, Captain Tim Schuh, who’s newborn son spent several weeks at Milwaukee’s Children’s Hospital this past summer.

“We are so thankful for everything Children’s Hospital did for our family,” said Captain Schuh. “They did several life -saving operations and treatments and were always so good at keeping us informed and teaching us everything we had to know. I wanted to take part in this event because it is a small thing that I am able to do to help the kids and the families that are going through difficult times there. I know how they are feeling. Even though my son has obstacles to overcome in life, many of the families at Children’s are dealing with even more difficult news and prognosis.”IMG_3143

Both events, made possible through the hard work of SkyWest elves and countless volunteers from various other organizations, welcomed in the warmth of the holiday season providing a day full of Christmas magic to all in attendance! These events are another example of the many ways SkyWest people brighten the journey of passengers young and old.

Take a look at more photos from the events!

SkyWest Bands Together in Relief Efforts

Layne Watson

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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.

Love is in the Air: Why I Love Flying

McKall Morris
Corporate Communications Manager

As chocolate hearts and red roses fly off the shelves for Valentine’s Day, we’ve asked our SkyWest Pilots to share what they love most about flying.

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I love flying because I’ve truly been able to make a career out of a hobby. Every day I come to work I get excited to be at the controls of an airliner and experience what few people can. 

-Kyle Lucas – CRJ Captain, ORD

There’s something so special about floating miles above the earth for hours on end. That’s why I love to fly.

-Will Young – CRJ Captain, MSP

IMAG1273

I love to fly because of the perspective it brings me. Beyond that I love the personal human interaction it brings to so many including myself. Flying has allowed me to see the purest human emotions from so many people. The greatest emotion being the love that flying allows when it unites friends, family and cultures.

-Scott Weddell – ERJ First Officer, SFO

ILoveFlying2

I am so happy with my career choice. I would never trade it. I love flying even on the more challenging days that test my skills.

-Mary Conti – CRJ Captain, PSP

I love that when I sit down in the flight deck, it is assumed that the guy or girl next to me is already a friend whether I have met them before or not. That is the SkyWest culture.

-Matthew S. Schroeder – ERJ Captain, DEN

ILoveFlying3SkyWest has nearly 11,900 professionals who love what they do. Everyday they share that love of aviation to over 208 destinations with a fleet of 370 aircraft. If you’re ready to love what you do, come join our team!

 

 

SkyWest Provides CTP Course for Pilots

McKall Morris
Corporate Communications Manager

SkyWest pilots have more opportunity, exposure and access than any other regional pilot. With over a dozen domiciles, a fleet of over 360 airplanes, and flying agreements with four mainline partners – United, Delta, American and Alaska, SkyWest has excellent quality of life for every First Officer. And in addition, SkyWest has the best training in the industry.

SGU Dedication_0046-2From the moment an aspiring pilot completes an application and passes a pilot interview, they start to experience this unmatched training first hand; staring with the SkyWest Certification Training Program (CTP).

“CTP was both hard work and a lot of fun,” SkyWest First Officer Cory Schenker said. “It’s very easy for this wealth of new knowledge to become overwhelming but SkyWest utilizes just the right people with just the right enthusiasm to keep it fun, engaging and highly informative.”

PilotQuote1Once a pilot’s application and interview have been accepted, SkyWest will provide the means to complete a SkyWest approved CTP course, which introduces pilots to SkyWest’s rigorous training, while also preparing them to have a smooth transition into ground school.

“I thought [CTP] was great, especially for people like me coming straight from general aviation,” SkyWest First Officer Adam Crismon said. “It was nice to have an introduction into jet aviation and a basic understanding of what to expect before training. I really enjoyed the classroom information and how it directly related to SkyWest instead of a generic example.”

Part of what sets the SkyWest CTP course apart is that the instructors are all current SkyWest pilots.

“For me, the real benefit of CTP is that the same instructors teach both CTP and the new hire classes,” Cory said. “I didn’t realize just how much the instructors were preparing me to succeed.”

Another benefit of the SkyWest CTP course is that students will be training in the aircraft you will be flying as a pilot at SkyWest. The 10 hours of simulation time will also count toward your total hours.

“I really liked the fact that we were in the same type simulator as what we were going to be flying and training in,” Adam said. “I found that as a huge step up and boost in training efficiency.”

“The 10 hours you get in the sim during CTP is extremely valuable,” Cory said. “Becoming familiar with SkyWest procedures, callouts and the airplane itself takes time. When I began sim training I was able to hit the ground running as opposed just get familiar.”

PilotQuote2Travel and hotel accommodations, a 65 hour monthly training guarantee, and a CTP study partner are just a few of the other benefits pilots who go through SkyWest’s CTP have.

“Overall I was very happy with the CTP program and would highly recommend it to anyone entering the commercial airlines aviation industry,” Adam said.

From day one, SkyWest Airlines gives pilots industry leading training. It’s just one of the many reasons SkyWest pilots have more opportunities than any other regional pilot and are sought after by every major airline. Take Control of Your Career. Apply online today.