AT COMMUTEAIR, WE HAVE GREAT PEOPLE WITH GREAT STORIES TO SHARE.
How did your family get into the aviation industry?
The family had an interest in aviation for many years before I joined the industry. My father wasn’t a pilot but he was a big aviation enthusiast and traveled a lot during his career as a passenger. He was a big supporter of Philip’s pilot journey and his interest in flying. He always had Microsoft Flight Simulator on the computer with the joystick and everything and that helped foster Philip’s desire to fly for his career.
During 2021 I was laid off during the slowdown, so I was looking for a new start in a new career. At the time, my son Philip was preparing for his interview and going through the process of applying to be a First Officer at CommuteAir. Once Philip started flying, he reached out to me and said, “Hey mom, you know that CommuteAir has a maintenance base in Albany with an open position for a base administrator – You should try and apply for that!” So I did and the rest is history – it went pretty quick between the two of us getting into CommuteAir!
It turned out to be the perfect thing for me! I grew up in California and moved to New York state in 1983, and a few of my first friends out here were private pilots. I developed a love for the little planes and flying, but never had the support or courage to get my own license. When Philip was three, my husband gave me an intro flight for our anniversary. When I left for my flight, Philip wanted to go with me. I said, “I’m sorry, it’s only two seats in the plane.” And they turned around and said, “Well…We can change that to a 4-seater!” So, we stuck his little car seat into the back and that was his first flight.
What’s been your experience being an aviation family?
It definitely helps to have somebody in my family in the industry, even though I’m not flying the planes or directly working with them, I understand the lingo and how things work. So when little things happen in the operation, it’s great to have somebody to talk to that shares your experiences and that understands what’s going on. It feels especially nice to have somebody in your family that you can do that with.
It’s also been fun – when our daily airline performance numbers come out we can say things to each other like, “Well that snowstorm didn’t help us today!” Working at the same carrier with my son was a really neat experience because it makes the family a little bit tighter…and a little bit bigger too! CommuteAir has treated both of us very well and it’s great to be a part of the CommuteAir family in that way. When my mother passed away in December a Lot of support came in from around the company so it’s been a special treat.
Philip taking his grandfather for a ride
What are some of your dreams for the future?
I love working in aviation – it’s great to be in Albany in my own backyard and I’m looking forward to where this journey can take me. Philip came to CommuteAir through the Aviate program at United, and just recently met his requirements and transitioned to United as a First Officer! It’s a double-edged sword because I’m so happy for him to be flying at mainline but I’m sad he’s gone!
What advice would you pass on to the future generation of aviators?
I’ve always liked trying new things and even though this change came at a tough time, it was big because the interest in aviation was there for me. I re-discovered a passion in aviation that I never really explored. It’s been fascinating to me – Especially when I first started – we could see the runway and watch the different planes come in from our office windows. Don’t be afraid to follow your dreams and lean into the support from the people that know you and care about you the most!