Captain Larry Balocca has served in many capacities and has made many friends during his tenure with GoJet. After joining the first cadre class on May 12, 2005, being one of the few who opened our ORD base, Captain Balocca is retiring and planning to help train new pilots.
Officially retiring from flying this month, Captain Balocca was thrown a party to highlight his accomplishments over the years and to celebrate his transition into his new role as a flight instructor.
When asked what he plans to share with young pilots, Captain Balocca said:
“I would tell younger pilots considering making GoJet their home that we have a great training ground. You receive a tremendous amount of experience, so you can upgrade quickly, and advance your career.”
Captain Balocca also enjoys how close he and his airline colleagues have grown to become.
“It’s fun to get to know your colleagues on a personal level,” Captain Larry said. “Working with GoJet has given me one big extended family.”
While he’ll miss flying with GoJet, Captain Larry is proud to continue his passion to train new pilots.
In honor of Mother’s Day, we’re proud to highlight Flight Attendant, Debbi Miller and Captain Ky Miller: a mother and son duo who fly for GoJet together. Read more to find out how this mom impacted her son’s career, and why they both choose GoJet.
After flying together nearly eight times, both Debbi and Ky agree that while it’s uncommon to see a mother and son working the same flight, they thoroughly enjoy it.
“Ky and I have always had a wonderful relationship! When working together our relationship is that of a colleague, but I’m so very proud of him and that’s when it’s evident that I’m his mom,” Debbi said.
Before finding her passion as a flight attendant, Debbi held positions working as a picture framing worker and a substitute teacher. It was in 2005 when Debbi discovered the newly launched GoJet Airlines and decided to apply for a flight attendant position.
“I didn’t know much about GoJet,” Debbi said. “I saw that they were hiring and wanted to follow my passions and find job security. Mainlines weren’t hiring as much after 9/11, so I wanted to work within a regional airline.”
Now, Debbi has just celebrated her 12-year anniversary, and credits GoJet’s company culture as one of the reasons why she’s maintained her longevity.
“GoJet has a friendly and inviting atmosphere. That’s one of the things that I really like about the company; as it grew over a period of time, it remained a small, warm and welcoming place to work,” Debbi said.
Debbi’s son Ky began taking flight lessons in high school, which solidified his desire to pursue aviation. Seeing his mother’s longevity with GoJet inspired him to work for the same airline.
“Watching my mom work as a flight attendant with GoJet for more than 12 years, launched my curiosity and interest in flying,” Ky said. I started to investigate everything from crew bases to policies and decided that GoJet was where I wanted to be.”
Ky has worked for GoJet for three years and he currently serves as a Captain. Debbi is very proud of her son’s career choice and feels good to know that she was able to positively impact and guide him.
“The thing I most enjoy about being a mother, is seeing my kids succeed and accomplish their goals,” Debbi said. “I think that parenting is one of those things that fuels our children’s drive and desire for success.”
Ky and Debbi don’t get to see each other much during the holiday because of their equally busy schedules. However, Ky recalls his favorite gifts he likes to give his mom on Mother’s Day.
“My mom really enjoys Bath and Body Works gifts! Spa and massage gift cards never fail to make her smile either.” Ky said.
Happy Mother’s Day to all GoJet moms! For more information about GoJet Flight Attendant and Pilot careers, visit https://bit.ly/2FqBphJ.
Dakota Heflin was only seven-years-old when he discovered his passion to work in the aviation industry. Now, a student pilot in GoJet’s Wingman Program, Heflin is experiencing an inside look into the commercial airline world.
“As a child, I was fortunate enough to have a pilot mentor who took me on my first plane ride at only seven-years-old to help me to overcome my fear of flying. This was the genesis of my never-ending passion to fly,” Heflin said. “Today, with GoJet’s Wingman Program, I have access to an experienced pilot mentor who guides me through my internship.”
GoJet’s Wingman Pilpeline Program provides promising pilots currently enrolled in a professional airline training program an internship at GoJet while they build flight time. Program participants become GoJet First Officers upon completion of ATP minimums, and may receive several benefits including tuition reimbursement, referral bonuses, limited flight benefits, and more.
Heflin admits that many new pilot’s struggle to find the correct pathway in the 121-airline industry.
“With so many options, choosing the right path can be a challenge, Heflin said. “Networking, knowing the right people, and simply being determined to achieve your dream are all great ways to get your foot in the door. I’ve learned that Airline Cadet Internship programs like this one have the best opportunities. This is a great jumpstart to my career.”
Students interested in becoming a GoJet Wingman undergo a short interview process. Once accepted into the program, GoJet will fly participants to the St. Louis-based headquarters to tour the facility.
“I loved having the chance to tour of Lambert’s air traffic control tower and GoJet’s maintenance hangar where we had a private viewing of the CRJ 700 and 900 airplanes,” Heflin said. “The full-motion simulator time at flight safety was an invaluable experience, and I also appreciate the opportunity observe my future colleagues in the jump seat on part 91 flights.”
To be deemed eligible for the Wingman Pipeline Program, participants must be currently enrolled and in good standing at an approved flight school or university. They must also carry a Private Pilot’s license & instrument rating, they must hold a FAA First Class Medical Certificate, must be eligible to work in the US and must have a valid passport.
For more information about GoJet Airlines’ Wingman Pipeline Program, visit gojetairlines.com
First Officer Joshua Schilling agrees that there’s no better place to launch your civilian flying career than GoJet. The regional airline’s Rotor Transition Program offers competitive compensation paired with one of the fastest upgrade times in the industry—making GoJet a top choice among military pilots. By providing $26,000 toward training, GoJet’s Rotor Transition Program helps helicopter pilots obtain the fixed-wing training they need to meet R-ATAP minimums. Military pilot, Joshua Schilling, utilized the program as a pathway to start flying commercially and explains below why GoJet was the best fit for his desired career path.
How did you begin your journey to a career in aviation?
I obtained my Private Pilot License from Kansas State University where I took Professional Aviation courses for one year. I then transferred to Louisiana Tech University continuing in Professional Aviation to complete my bachelor’s degree with Commercial, Instrument, and Multi-Engine licenses in 2003. When I completed my degrees, I enlisted in the Army and joined the Warrant Officer Program. After receiving my commission, I attended Army Rotary Wing Flight School where my passion for flying expanded. For the last 12 years, I have flown UH-60 Blackhawks for the Army and now the Colorado National Guard.
What made GoJet your regional airline of choice?
The recruiting team at GoJet went out of their way to get funding sent to my school of choice—The Air Force Flying Club in Colorado Springs—so that I could complete the time building I needed. The interactions I’ve experienced with the GoJet recruiting team have been beyond exceptional. GoJet staff is diligent, so I didn’t have to wait around for anyone. As soon as I decided to move forward with the program, they sent me my hotel, reservations, and the course materials that I needed. Also, having the ability to do my time-building while living at home and staying with my family made a huge difference in deciding which airline to go with. Most of us military folks have spent a considerable amount of time away from our families, so every little bit helps.
With GoJet, you’re able to quickly earn Pilot in Command time, and become attractive to a major airline carrier.Was this a factor in your choosing GoJet?
The transparency with the company has been great! They know and realize that they are a stepping stone to one of the major airlines. Having the opportunity to fly a larger regional aircraft was also more attractive to me than the smaller options that some of the other regionals are flying. The Denver base was an even larger factor in accepting my job offer with GoJet, because I live near the Denver area.
What advice would you give to a rotor pilot who wants to transition to an airline like GoJet?
I would recommend that pilots obtain their licenses prior to transitioning out of the military. This was incredibly helpful for me because I was able to start immediately with the airline that best fit my lifestyle and career goals.
GoJet Flight Attendant, Jeannie Andersen, was visiting her daughter’s school when she learned that the bone marrow she’d decided to donate was indeed going to save a young girls life.
After flying mainline and doing charter flights for several years, Jeannie was able to connect with many families from the Make-A-Wish Foundation where she served children who were terminally ill inflight. While engaging with each family, Jeannie was made aware of the dire need for bone marrow donors with varying blood types.
“Many of us come home to healthy children each day, but at work, I would see these beautiful children with Sickle Cell, Leukemia, and other diseases. Some children were waiting for bone marrow donors and I decided that I had to do more!” Jeannie said.
Jeannie contacted Laurie’s Children’s Hospital in Chicago and went to be tested to determine if she could become a bone marrow donor.
“My doctor was a little bit concerned because I’m small in stature, but I knew that this was something bigger than myself, and something that I needed to do,” Jeannie said.
One month later Jeannie learned that she was a match and started the procedure for a five-year-old little girl named Madeline. While the testing was a simple swab of the cheek, the marrow extraction process was a bit more complicated. Jeannie went through a great deal of recovery, but kept her spirits high and her focus on the young girl in need.
“Madeline was in a very critical stage, so it was this or nothing else because all of her options had been exhausted,” Jeannie said. “After the procedure, I really never knew how it had gone for her—I just prayed and hoped. But after several weeks, my caseworker called and said that the little girl was doing very well and the mother had requested to meet me!”
Jeannie scheduled a time to meet with Madeline’s family at the hospital. When Jeannie walked into the room she was speechless! Madeline’s mother shared that Madeline had drawn a picture of a woman who looked just like Jeannie with red hair and had named it her big star. Each night the family would wish on a star for Madeline to become well.
“It was such a huge opportunity to meet Madeline, and that day was so emotional for me,” Jeannie said.“Her mother asked me how she could thank me for saving her daughter’s life. I said that I only did what I would hope someone else would do if this was my child. I also replied that I wanted Madeline to enjoy every sunset, embrace life and to have fantastic adventures. That, in itself, would be thanks enough.”
Madeline’s health continues to improve, and she is now in full remission. She went on to Kindergarten and also plays softball. Madeline’s mother decided to purchase a star in honor of Jeannie’s contribution and presented Jeannie with a plaque sharing the location and name of the star in the sky.
“I like to think of all of us making wishes and giving back with nothing expected in return,” Jeannie said.
Our collegiate Ambassador Program connects current GoJet pilots with student pilots from their former universities or flight schools. There’s a big difference between student flying and commercial flying, and our Ambassadors work with student pilots to prepare them for the transition to the commercial flight deck.
In the first of our “Meet the Ambassador” series, we’d like to introduce Captain Jason Duvernay. Jason is a is a passionate pilot and University of North Dakota alumnus, who lends his time to aviation students from his former school. In our discussion with Jason, he shares his excitement for flying, why he chose GoJet, and his advice for future aviation professionals. Read more below:
Why did you choose to fly with GoJet?
I chose to fly with GoJet for three specific reasons. The first being the company’s internal culture. GoJet is very aware of why I want to work for them. They know my goal is to move on quickly to a major airline and they support me in that goal. Secondly, they have insanely fast progression times — you’re able to move up the seniority list quickly. Third, you’re able to explore your passions. Some pilots enjoy exploring training and management roles. I’ve joined our recruiting efforts and serve as an ambassador for my university.
What made you pursue flying?
I have always loved to travel. When I was a child I was privileged to travel largely because my mother was a travel agent. I also did some foreign student ambassador programs. I knew that I wanted a career which would allow me to travel easily and to experience cultures across this nation and around the world.
What types of things do you share with your Ambassador Program students at UND?
GoJet offers an excellent opportunity to gain flying experience in two very different environments. We do a lot of Rocky Mountain flying for our United operation, while our Delta operation is heavily concentrated on the busy East Coast.
We also have have travel benefits on both airlines, which makes commuting to work and traveling much easier. Additionally, GoJet offers great career advancement opportunities. As an experienced pilot, I was fortunate to be hired as a Direct Entry Captain. GoJet is the only regional airline with this program. If you come to GoJet and adequately prepare yourself for the responsibility, you will be able to upgrade to Captain quickly!
What advice would you give to young pilots?
Keep your logbook organized and accurate! If you maintain a detailed history of where you have lived, jobs you’ve had and other pertinent information, it could help you obtain a position. I’d also recommend that students jump at any chance to gain new experiences such as internships. Also, show respect and ask questions from those who are more experienced, and maintain contact with your friends in the industry.
Everyone dreams of making it in show business. But GoJet Crew Scheduler Dylan Smith is well on his way to doing just that.
A musician since the age of 8, Dylan started out playing drums, and later learned to play bass and keyboards. Like young many musicians, he dreamed of playing in a rock band. “I guess that’s every musician’s dream at some point,” he admits, “but I did play in a progressive rock band for a time, so I can say that I achieved that goal!”
Dylan eventually left the band when be became bored with writing short, individual songs. “I wanted to write these long, narrative story arcs through music, but it just didn’t work for my band at the time,” he recalls. This desire to tell longer stories through music eventually led Dylan to begin composing film scores, where he could write music to enhance the narrative taking place on the screen.
Dylan’s ultimate career goal is to compose music for television and film full-time. Recently, Dylan collaborated with Los Angeles-based writer and director Braden Barton on his film Unconditional. Barton recruited Dylan, as well as Dylan’s friend and fellow composer Alex Whalen, to help complete the film score for a film he was working on, a drama called Unconditional. “We were asked to write thematic material and apply it to an orchestral ensemble,” Dylan explained. “Our contributions were added to the original compositions, and we were all very happy with the resulting score.” Preliminary screenings of Unconditional have generated positive feedback, and the film has received favorable reviews in the Los Angeles press.
Dylan is currently working on other film projects, while also composing music for Telepictures Productions, a television subsidiary of Warner Bros. So far, Telepictures Productions has featured Dylan’s work during episodes of Crime Watch andTeen Titans Go!. Dylan is currently exploring the possibility of working on an upcoming Scooby Doo project.