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The quote from Theodore Roosevelt, “Nothing worth having comes easy” is the perfect way to describe my last week and a half of flight school. I have been very, very busy these last few days. I completed and passed my takeoff and landing evaluation, completed my first cross country flight and I passed my private pilot written exam!!!!

I was very fortunate to be able to complete my takeoff and landing evaluation last Saturday with my CFI, Mike Roubik. It was a pretty big day for the both of us, as it was my evaluation flight over my takeoffs and landings and his last flight as an instructor before heading off to his first career as a pilot. Chicago’s crazy crosswinds were putting up a challenge, but I am very proud of myself for being able to land the plane up to standards and was able to pass the evaluation! It is a great feeling knowing I am one step closer to my first solo flight and also earning my private pilot license.

I now have a new flight instructor and we have been very busy! I completed my first cross country flight this past weekend, and it was a blast! Each cross country flight is about three hours long. My instructor and I have reviewed how to use ground reference points (railroad tracks, cities, rivers) to guide me to my destinations. We also use the ForeFlight program on our iPads and the navigation systems in the airplane to direct us where to go. The downside to this stage of flying is the weather has to be perfect. As a VFR pilot, there are cloud and visibility requirements I have to follow, and Chicago’s weather has been very uncooperative the last few days. I am hoping to be able to complete my next cross country flight later this week when the weather gets better.

My former CFI, Mike Roubik, and me
My former CFI, Mike Roubik, and me

While waiting for the weather to clear, my instructor took me and a few other students up to the air traffic control tower at our airport (KDPA). It was pretty awesome, and made me a lot more comfortable being able to put a voice and face together for when communicating with ATC. Being able to see everything they do in the tower and understanding how pilots and ATC works together was very cool and an awesome learning experience!

This past week I have also completed and PASSED my private pilot written exam!!! I am extremely proud of myself, and this is a huge weight off my shoulders. I am now preparing for my private pilot oral exam and check ride, which will be coming up very quickly! I am hoping the weather will clear, and I will be able to finish my cross country and night flight this week. If everything continues to go as planned, I will be a private pilot in no time!

Thank you again to everyone who has been following my blog. I greatly appreciate all of your positive feedback! I have had flight attendants reach out to me about attending flight school and it makes me even more motivated to keep working hard and following my dream to be a commercial pilot! These next few days are going to be pretty busy so stay tuned, and I can not wait to share more of my adventures with you!!

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Last week, ExpressJet Airlines and Falcon Aviation Academy celebrated the launch of our new pilot training partnership, the Cleared Career Pathway Program.

Cleared is a 22-24 month fast-track path that will allow pilots to go from zero flight time to an ExpressJet First Officer in training, while also gaining exposure to real airline training and operations before they’re ready to apply.

We had a great turnout at Falcon’s Newnan, Georgia location for a fun-filled event with snow cones, rides in a Diamond DA-20 basic training aircraft, and a chance to speak with real ExpressJet Airlines pilots aboard a Bombardier CRJ200 aircraft, which was flown in by ExpressJet Atlanta Chief Pilots Jack Imperiale and Chris Polizzi.

Several ExpressJet pilots and recruiters were also on hand to answer questions about Cleared, as well as talk about what it’s like to be an airline pilot, work in the regional industry and live the flight crew life.

Not only did we speak with many career changers looking to make the jump into the flight deck, but several others showed interest in Falcon Aviation’s Aircraft Dispatcher program, of which ExpressJet has hired many graduates.

Thanks to all who attended Cleared’s launch event! Through our new partnership, both ExpressJet and Falcon remain dedicated to educating people on the many possibilities of an airline career, while also providing a clear path on how to get started as aviation professionals.

Learn more about Cleared at www.expressjet.com/cleared or at faa-air.com.

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What. A. Week! Thank everyone for all of your support of my first blog entry! I am so excited to go through this journey with all of you!

I am just finishing week four. Time is going by so fast, and a lot has happened the last few days. I can officially land a plane, complete my maneuvers almost to standards and am starting navigation logs so I can begin cross-country flying! I am also very busy studying for my written test and have started reviewing material for my oral. On average, I am spending about eleven hours a day at the training center studying. This is A LOT of work!

Ground school has taught me a lot about myself. I started flight school knowing there was more to flying a plane than landing and taking off, but I was not expecting to take at least four hours to complete a navigation log for a flight that may take only thirty minutes. There is so much involved in flight planning, and I still have a lot to learn. I have also learned to be more patient with myself, as math is not one of my strengths and flying airplanes requires a lot of it. I have been spending a lot of time practicing problems such as finding airspeeds, flying distances and density altitudes on the E6B Flight Computer. I now understand why some pilots call it the “Whiz Wheel” as for a while, I was whizzing past all of the correct answers! Repetition, asking questions and knowing my goal of being a commercial pilot have been keeping me focused on working hard and continuing to do well. I am very proud of how far I have come with my training and can not wait to see how much I will improve these next coming weeks!

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My flying has greatly improved. I have been told by my CFI I am flying like a pilot. My instructor is also using the words “Linnea” and “solo” in the same sentence…I am getting closer and closer to my first solo flight! I will be evaluated on my takeoffs and landings this weekend. My landings are no longer making my CFI shorter, and I am getting a better idea of how to land and take off in Chicago’s crazy crosswinds! Maneuvers have been a blast, and I am becoming a lot more comfortable with flying and also understanding how important it is to think ahead of the plane.

While this past week was a busy one, I am so proud of myself for how hard I am working and how far I have come. I am right on track with my flying, I am understanding “flying math” more and I am living my dream of becoming a commercial pilot. Thank you again for reading and following along! Maybe next week I will be able to tell you all about my first solo flight!

In our new series, “From Cabin to Cockpit: My Adventures in Flight Training,” we follow flight attendant Linnea Couture in her journey to becoming a commercial pilot. Read on for Linnea’s first entry, and be on the lookout for regular updates on her progress!


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My name is Linnea Couture. I am currently a flight attendant for ExpressJet and also a student pilot through the ATP Flight School. I have been working with XJT for about ten months. Three weeks ago I began my journey from being a flight attendant to a commercial pilot, and I cannot wait to share my adventure with all of you!

I have always wanted to become a pilot. When I was a child, my father took me to O’Hare and we would watch the planes inside the terminals and listen to ATC on his scanner all day long. I even dressed up as a pilot for Halloween (of course I went to the airport in my costume) and have always dreamed of someday working as a pilot out of O’Hare. My younger brother is currently a student at the University of North Dakota studying commercial aviation so I would say I definitely have that “flying bug.”

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My dream partially came true when I began working as a flight attendant with ExpressJet. I loved my job, but always felt like I was missing a piece to a puzzle. I was constantly asking the pilots during trips how they got their ratings and where they went to school. My crews recommended going through the ATP Flight School and guided me each step of the way; on trips, my crews even quizzed me over the information I would have to learn as a private pilot!

I have now been enrolled at ATP Flight School in DuPage, IL for about three weeks. I can not believe how much I have learned in this short time! I have just about twenty flight hours and over thirty landings logged in my book (I wish I could tell you all of those landings were smooth)! I am talking to ATC, and am trying to make more call-outs during the flights. There is a lot going on, and a lot to remember to do in that little plane! I am currently finishing my first phase of takeoffs, landings and flight maneuvers; stalls, steep turns and slow flight. I will be soloing before I know it at the pace I am going!

I have amazing support from my family, a great flight instructor and classmates, and even still have ExpressJet crews I have flown with checking up on me! I am very excited for this journey to the front seat, and hope you all are in for a great ride!!

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Each year, we host an Open House where we invite future pilots, students and aviation enthusiasts to our Atlanta and Houston facilities to provide them with an inside look into life at ExpressJet. During this event, attendees have the opportunity to go on a behind-the-scenes tour, talk with pilot recruiters, learn about financial aid opportunities, interact with local flight schools, attend workshops and listen to testimonials from former ExpressJet pilots who have transitioned to the majors.

Though this is an annual event, this year was extra special as we held our first ever “Flight Experience” at our Atlanta Open House where we took attendees on a quick flight on our branded CRJ200 aircraft. We also raffled off the jumpseat for both takeoff and landing, in addition to raffling off four $25 gift cards. As participants boarded and de-boarded the plane, we gave them a VIP “red carpet treatment” to complement the superstars they are!

Overall, both Open House events were total successes. Attendees and organizers alike had a great time and also assisted in making this year one for the books.

Well folks, that’s all for 2017. See you all next year!

Check out a few photos below. Also head over to our Facebook page for a complete photo album of our Atlanta and Houston events.

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