Tag Archives: SkyWest Pilots

Celebrating Women’s History Month

There are countless women at SkyWest Airlines who help to make us the best airline in the industry and who are helping to inspire future generations of female aviation professionals. In honor of Women’s History Month, we asked team members to share their thoughts about what the month means to them and their experience at SkyWest.

Ann Marie Nicholas – CRJ First Officer, MSP

Growing up, CRJ First Officer Ann Marie Nicholas was fascinated with planes and loved watching them fly overhead. During those moments, she hoped that someday she would have the opportunity to work in the aviation industry.

“I always thought about being a flight attendant and working in the back of the plane because I didn’t realize that women could be pilots and that it was something that I could do,” she said. “I flew with my family every year growing up, however, I never saw any female pilots on my flights.”

Eventually, she decided to chase her dreams and pursued a career as a pilot. During her first introductory flight in small, single-engine aircraft, Ann Marie wasn’t sure if they would even make it off the ground.

“I remember asking my flight instructor if this thing was going to be able to stay in the air,” she said jokingly. “But it was fun and I haven’t stopped flying since.”

From that moment on, she was hooked and Ann Marie hasn’t looked back.

“The aviation bug hit me pretty hard,” Ann Marie said. “After flying a bunch, I noticed that I would start to get restless when I wasn’t flying.”

Now, the veteran airline pilot is busy taking care of her family as well as flying across the SkyWest system that consists of nearly 2,000 daily flights to 236 cities across North America.

“I love working at SkyWest and my experience has been awesome,” Ann Marie said. “The saying ‘if you do what you love, you never work a day in your life’ is exactly how I feel about my job. I have great coworkers and the schedule and flexibility is great. With so many trips available, there’s really something for everyone.”

Knowing she works in a male-dominated industry, the Minneapolis native does all she can to give back and help inspire future female aviators. Whether it’s instructing or just giving tips and encouragement, the first officer is determined to change the narrative and misconceptions that only men are pilots.

“When I was doing an observation flight early in my career, I went to the gate agent so I could check-in and sit in the jump seat. And despite being fully dressed in my pilot uniform, the gate agent asked if I was a flight attendant. It was crazy and I couldn’t believe it,” Ann Marie recalled. “Fortunately, public perception is changing and I continue to see more female pilots every day.”

For those looking to enter the aviation industry as a pilot, Ann Marie had these words of advice:

“If you have a desire, go for it. Schedule an introductory flight and try it out. If you like it, don’t stop and don’t let anything get in your way. I took that step and it changed my life. I tell everyone that on the eve of my retirement, I want to say that I still love my job. And I know I can say that working at SkyWest.”

Lindsey Scott – ERJ First Officer, PDX

As a third-generation female pilot, SkyWest First Officer Lindsey Scott was born to fly.

As a child, Lindsey loved going to airshows and aviation events and frequently tagged along with her grandma, Mary Jean Barnes Sturdevant, who was often invited to speak at aviation events. It wasn’t until she was a little older that Lindsey understood why her grandma received so much attention for her flying.

Click here to read more about Lindsey and her inspiring grandma.

Nicole Crosby – Seattle Mechanic III 

Nicole Crosby joined SkyWest in 2017 as an A&P mechanic and loves working on all kinds of aircraft to ensure every plane is in top condition for every flight. She enjoys the teamwork environment of SkyWest, including working with another female mechanic, while also being able to put her own stamp on her work.

Nicole Crosby A&P Mechanic

“I was always the only woman mechanic at any one station at other companies, but now I have the privilege of working with another lady here in SEA,” said Nicole. “I think you’d be surprised by the number of female A&P’s that have been certified, worked on aircraft, but now use their skill sets in other positions here at SkyWest.”

Along with being an aircraft mechanic for over 20 years, Crosby has worked in Noise Abatement, as an FAA aviation safety counselor, as an airline and composites training facility maintenance Instructor, dispatcher, and homebuilt aircraft builder, among other positions. She’s repaired aircraft in general aviation and business aviation, from regionals to Boeing 767 aircraft.

Click here to read more about Nichole and her experiences.

Debby Thompson – Flight Attendant, MSP

It was a moment that Minneapolis (MSP) Flight Attendant Debby Thompson won’t soon forget.

After making her way to the gate to check-in, and then boarding the CRJ900 aircraft to work the last flight of the night, the nine-year veteran got a lovely surprise when she met her crewmembers working the flight from Minneapolis to Cedar Rapids, Iowa last month. Despite having worked thousands of flights in her career, that Saturday night flight was the first time that she can remember working with an all-female crew.

“It was fun and a proud moment for me,” said Debby. “I didn’t know beforehand it was going to be an all-female crew. Everyone was excited and it showed just how far women have come in the airline industry and that women can do anything they put their mind to.”

Click here to read more about Debby’s experience.

Celebrating Black History Month

African Americans have, and continue to make, significant contributions to the aviation industry. This includes people like Perry Young Jr., who was the first African American to fly a commercial aircraft. He also trained many of the Tuskegee Airmen who played a pivotal role in World War II. There is also Bessie Coleman, who broke barriers as the first African American woman to earn a pilot’s license and inspiring many future aviators in the process.

At SkyWest, many of our Black employees continue to inspire others today. In honor of Black History Month, we asked team members across the system to share their stories about how their heritage has influenced them and what Black History Month means to them. Here’s what they had to say:

Analise McDonald – Decatur Cross Utilized Supervisor

For Analise McDonald, Black History Month holds a special place in her heart. It is a time to rejoice, celebrate, and honor African American heroes who have made a difference in our nation’s history and made the world a better place.

From Bessie Coleman to Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King Jr., Analise is grateful for the examples and the opportunity Black History Month provides to reflect on the accomplishments and contributions that African Americans have made.

“I think it’s important that we learn from the past, but also celebrate the present and look forward to the future,” she said. “History shows us what great people and leaders can do, and it inspires me to go out and make the world a better and more inclusive place.”

And if you talk to any of her coworkers, Analise does just that.

“Analise is my right-hand ma’am,” said Decatur Station General Manager Joey Confer. “She’s dedicated, tough as nails and is always willing to go above and beyond anytime she’s asked.”

The Decatur-based cross-utilized supervisor credits much of her work ethic, attitude and success to her family heritage.

“My parents and aunt are my role models. They have always encouraged me and have always been involved,” said Analise “They helped me to see my worth and helped me realize that I could do anything that I put my mind to. They also taught me that it doesn’t matter what the color of someone’s skin is. It’s about what is inside your heart and to let nothing hold you back.”

With that mindset, Analise jumped at the opportunity to switch careers and join the aviation industry when she was hired as a cross-utilized agent at SkyWest in 2017.

Analise is the first in her family to be part of the aviation industry and is grateful for the opportunity she’s had to see different places and work with several SkyWest teams throughout the system.

“I’ve worked at four stations in three years,” she said. “It’s been a little crazy, but I’ve also really enjoyed it. I’ve had great coworkers and everyone has been supportive and made me feel included and valued everywhere I’ve been.”

One of the ways that Analise has connected with her SkyWest family is by sharing her culture through food. These types of opportunities to connect with her coworkers are important and she sees it as a strength to the company.

“Everyone has different talents, experiences and backgrounds, and it’s important that we learn from each other,” she said.

Reggie Teague – Houston Maintenance Supervisor

For the past 20 years, IAH Maintenance Supervisor Reggie Teague has worked across the country and throughout the SkyWest system working on advanced aircraft systems, troubleshooting and doing inspections to help keep SkyWest’s fleet running smoothly.

Reggie has called SkyWest his “home away from home” and the company’s family-like environment has helped him feel included and supported from the moment he started. That camaraderie was on full display three years ago when Reggie broke both of his legs and was away from work for several months. The challenging time was quickly filled with love and support as current and former SkyWest employees kept checking on him.

As we celebrate Black History Month, the veteran A&P mechanic says he’s grateful for the opportunity it provides to recognize and reflect on the contributions of those – both past and present – who have made difference.

“I’m proud of my heritage and appreciate those who fought for equality and who helped pave the way before me,” he said.” My parents are my role models. They didn’t have it easy and they worked hard to make sure I had what I needed to succeed in life. If it wasn’t for them I wouldn’t be the man that I am today.”

Click here to read more.

Crewmembers Joseph Ngabo, Jessie Newton, and Diwan Williams Reflect on What Black History Month Means to Them

First Officer Joseph Ngabo, and Flight Attendants Jessie Newton and Diwan Williams, who have each had a chance to fly as part of an all-Black crew in the past, shared their thoughts about what Black History Month means to them and how their culture and background shape their experience at SkyWest.

“Black History Month means acknowledging and remembering the work and place African Americans have had in the United States,” said Ngabo. “It’s to bring awareness of how far we’ve come as a people from the beginnings of slavery to us getting our civil rights, to today.”

“Black History Month is a chance to reflect on what others have been through, and a time to learn something you did not know,” said Williams. “It brings awareness and is a time for people to learn more about Black history and culture. Black History Month is for everyone.”

Click here to read more.

Experience Pays: First Officer Balances Career and Family with SkyWest 121 Program

Lucy Czupryn, a SkyWest Airlines E175 first officer based in Chicago, started her career as a pilot flying for a different 121 operator. She spent five years gaining valuable flight experience and building her seniority. Then, she shifted her focus to starting a family and left aviation.

“When I started my family, I wasn’t sure that I’d be able to come back to aviation,” said Czupryn. “SkyWest made it possible for me to come back to what I love doing. We have several programs to foster and encourage women to return to the workforce.”

When Czupryn returned to the workforce, she decided to take advantage of the SkyWest Industry Experience Credit program. This program offers pilots a pay credit match for their years of FAR 121 experience, up to 10 years. The match also applies credit for 401(k) matching, profit sharing, and leave time accrual.Lucy Czupryn“Prior to that program, there wasn’t anywhere to go to make a lateral move,” said Czupryn. “The 121 program made it an easy choice to pick SkyWest because with my experience prior to my leave, I was able to start at SkyWest with a higher hourly wage. This program made it affordable for me to return to the workforce.”

Czupryn also leaned on the SkyWest Family Support Committee as she balanced raising a family and returning to the skies. The committee, formed in conjunction with the SkyWest Airlines Pilot Association, is a group of SkyWest peers dedicated to supporting women and men through welcoming a new child into an aviation family. This committee provides support through the leave of absence processes, fitness for duty while pregnant and during postpartum, maternity uniform exchanges, pumping, or weaning in preparation to return to work, financial planning for parenthood and one-on-one mentoring.

Through this program, SkyWest provided Czupryn a stable and supportive place to resume her professional pilot career.

“With my flexible schedule, I get to fly and still spend quality time with my family helping at the school, watching their games and practices, or just cuddling and watching movies together.”

Czupryn lives in Northwest Indiana with her husband and four children and loves taking her family on adventures. She enjoys seeing new places and expects her career to one day take her to the stars.

“When I was little, I always wanted to be an astronaut,” said Czupryn, who is still striving for space. “I love flying. I love being above the clouds and looking out at the world.”

With her parents’ support, Czupryn grew up attending science camps and classes at local college campuses. She learned to assemble computers and studied successful women, including her own mom. Czupryn’s mother graduated from Purdue University in the first class of computer science majors and set an example for her daughter of being a woman in a male-dominated field.

In high school, Czupryn set her sights on becoming a professional pilot. She followed her mother’s footsteps to Purdue, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in professional flight and a master’s degree in aviation technology while flight instructing to gain flight hours.

“I love the technical challenge of operating aircraft. It’s exhilarating to take off and land such a large vessel and bring people safely from point A to point B,” said Czupryn. “Connecting people to important events in their lives brings me enjoyment as well.”

Czupryn is one of several SkyWest employees who attended the 2020 Women in Aviation International conference. She encourages prospective aviators to keep studying and work hard. “Don’t give up. Find other professionals in the field to talk to about their journey,” Czupryn advises. “And make sure to check out ‘SkyBest’!”

To learn more about the opportunities available at SkyWest and how you can receive industry experience credit, click here.

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.

Learning From the Best: A Family of Flyers

Many pilots have a pivotal experience or memory that first aligned them with a desire to take to the skies. Detroit-based SkyWest CRJ Captain Alexander Hilsen encountered many of those moments from an early age. With both parents and an older sister as pilots, Alexander grew up in an aviation-focused household that took his career aspirations to new heights.

Here he shares his experiences and the part his family played in his aviation journey.


Growing up with two pilots for parents was interesting and unique, with everyone wondering the same thing:

“What was it like having both of your parents gone all the time?”

Well, it wasn’t like that. That was just normal to me. I got to spend some time with Dad, then I got to spend time with Mom, and then my sister and I got the house to ourselves for a few days. Something I began to understand in my adolescence was that I actually saw my parents more often than my friends did. They never had to take their work home with them. During their days off they could enjoy their hobbies of horse riding, hunting and flying little airplanes.

Although some birthdays were missed, and they sometimes had to work on Christmas or Thanksgiving, Amelia and I both understood that it came with the territory. My sister and I loved flying when we were little. My dad got exhausted from taking us weightless over and over.

My first memories of flying were when I was four years old. We had to take the cushions off of the couch so that we could see over the cowling of the 172. My dad would then tell me to pretend I was flying an F-16 and to shoot down imaginary enemies. There was no question that we had achieved air superiority over Enumclaw, Washington.

Having airline pilots as parents came with other benefits. When I was 13, my dad was able to secure a simulator slot for me in the 747. It didn’t take long before I was putting out triple engine fires and flying inverted under the Golden Gate Bridge.

I’ve had the privilege of riding in the back of both my parents’ airplanes. When I was 14, my dad flew my sister and me to Narita, and when I was 16, my mom flew us to London. In 2017, I used my jumpseat privileges to sit in the jumpseat next to my mom for a trip to Honolulu. It was awesome to see my mother at the helm of a 777-200, hand-flying a “slam-dunk” arrival, just as I’d done in a SkyWest CRJ a hundred times before.

Training and instructing together with my sister Amelia has also brought us closer as siblings. Learning the skill and getting to fly old and exotic airplanes is something that we have shared and bonded over. I feel really lucky to have the opportunities that I’ve been given.


SkyWest pilots can truly Take Control of Their Pilot Careers, with more opportunity, exposure and access than any other regional pilots. Twenty domiciles and a fleet of nearly 500 aircraft allow career advancement and opportunity throughout the country. Learn more and apply here.

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.

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.

My SkyWest Journey: SAN and BOI Pilots Return Home with New Bases


Today, two new SkyWest domiciles opened: San Diego (SAN) and Boise, Idaho (BOI). With the addition of SAN and BOI, SkyWest now has 17 domiciles in operation across the country. To hear about how having more domicile options improved their quality of life, we reached out to two captains who are returning to their hometowns. Read below to hear how their SkyWest Journey has brought them home!


BOI-SAN-1024x684whiteCaptain Mark Valentine was born and raised in Boise, Idaho. When SkyWest announced it would be opening a Boise domicile (BOI), Captain Valentine was among the first to apply for a transfer. While he didn’t expect to hold the base right away, he was thrilled when it got awarded.

“I can now drive 10 minutes to work!” Captain Valentine said. “It is so much more convenient than the two-hour commute I had before.”

Boise is where Captain Valentine was first introduced to his love of flight. When he accompanied his father on a trip to a business meeting, 6-year-old Mark stayed awake for the entire flight while his father fell asleep. The family friend who was flying the aircraft noticed the young boy attentively awake and offered to have him come into the cockpit.

“What 6-year-old is going to turn down an offer to fly a plane?” Captain Valentine said. “I remember sitting in the cockpit for probably half an hour, amazed that I was flying the plane.”

That was all it took for Captain Valentine to establish his new dream.

After serving in the military for a few years, Captain Valentine returned home to Idaho and enrolled in a flight school to pursue his childhood dream.

In June of 2012, Captain Valentine upgraded from a smaller airplane to SkyWest. He says that once he was hired, he has never looked back!

“The people at SkyWest are what make this place so unique,” Captain Valentine said. “The culture here is much more like a family than anything else.”


IMG_0286Captain Rick Salvador has been living in San Diego since being hired at SkyWest over 16 years ago, though until today he’s been commuting to his LAX base. When he heard he was awarded the new San Diego (SAN) domicile, he responded like a true Californian:

“There’s no more traffic and driving up the 405 to get to LAX. The quality of life just got so much better!”

Captain Salvador started his career as a SkyWest pilot in 2001. When SkyWest retired the Brasilia in 2014, he took the next available CRJ class and spent two years based out of SkyWest’s Denver (DEN) hub before transferring to LAX.

Captain Salvador looks forward to being based back in his hometown after three years of commuting. He is excited for the opportunities the base presents, and the chance to mentor new pilots.

“I really enjoy the camaraderie with the people at SkyWest, especially at the smaller domiciles,” said Captain Salvador. “It truly makes for a pleasant place to work.”


SkyWest flies in partnership with four major airlines including United Airlines, Delta Air Lines, American Airlines and Alaska Airlines. These partnerships give our pilots more opportunity and exposure than any other regional airline pilot. Check out our pilot career guide for more information, and Take Control of your Career with SkyWest.