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
The path to flying commercially can be daunting, especially for student pilots who are just starting to earn their hours. That’s why GoJet offers collegiate aviators a streamlined pathway to a First Officer position at GoJet. Our Wingman internship program identifies promising pilots while they’re still in flight school and gives them a behind the scenes look at what to expect when they land their first commercial airline job. Plus, our pilot mentors walk participants through the process of becoming a GoJet pilot upon completion of ATP minimums.
Other benefits include tuition reimbursement, referral bonuses, flight benefits, and advance training opportunities, including simulator time.
One of the student pilots currently benefiting from the program is Mario Otchere. The son of Ghanaian immigrants , Mario is currently a Certified Flight Instructor (CFI) and working on a Master’s Degree in Aviation Safety at Saint Louis University. Mario’s aviation aspirations began at a very early age, and his parents were very supportive of his goal to become a pilot. “My dad especially loved the idea,” he remarked. “He shared the same dream, but he never had the opportunity to fulfill it himself.”
Being the first pilot in his family, his parents had no airline or flight training connections to start him on the right path. “We basically just kind of shot in the dark,” Mario recalls. After training in Dubuque, Iowa, Mario and his family quickly learned how expensive it could be to become a pilot. Mario learned about the Wingman program when researching programs that offset the cost of flight training. “At the time,” he confessed, “all I knew about GoJet was that it was a small airline in St. Louis. It stood out because it wasn’t one of the major airlines that are often pushed onto students when they’re beginning to formulate their career goals.”
Since beginning the program in 2016, Mario has taken full advantage of everything it has to offer, including pass travel benefits and advance training opportunities. “I’ve had the opportunity to view and experience some of the same things as line pilots, and have even spent some time in the simulator.” Now that he’s had a behind the scenes look at what it’s like to be a GoJet pilot, he’s ready to become one.
“My goal is the be in the right seat of a GoJet CRJ in 12 to 20 months. I look forward to the pay, as well as the quick upgrade time. Both will really help me pay off my student loans.”
Mario is confident that his experience as a Wingman will pay off down the road in his aviation career. “The Wingman program has given me an in-depth feel as to how an airline operates,” he remarked. I already have a strong foot in the door with GoJet, and with everything I’ve learned, I’ll be fully prepared for training.”
If you’re an ambitious, career-minded student pilot looking to get a head start on your commercial aviation career, then this program is for you. Click here to get started.
With the summer drawing to a close, we’ll soon be saying goodbye to three talented young interns who have been contributing to the operation in big ways. Aviation students Morgan Hunlen, Jade Lubinski, and Alex Dupre all took full advantage of the opportunity to move their studies beyond the classroom, and will have an abundance of new knowledge when they leave.
Morgan, a recent Aeronautical Sciences graduate from Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro, says that she didn’t know what to expect going into the internship, but she found herself hard at work less than a week in. Over the course of the summer, she was immersed in a wide variety of projects, including auditing crew files and approach plates, preparing materials for new hire classes, and assisting with an ambitious project to completely revamp GoJet’s current PowerPoint-based training for new hire pilots into modern and interactive computer-based learning programs.
“I’ve learned a lot, and have done things that I wouldn’t have imagined I would be doing,” says Morgan. “Everything I do feels like a contribution to the company. Even if it’s filing documents, you know that it’s all valid work, and that everything has to be done.”
Morgan said that one of the things that stood out to her the most during her time at GoJet was the company’s commitment to diversity. “I’m looking for a diverse and accepting workplace where I can succeed while being myself,” she remarked, “and I get that feeling of community with GoJet.”
Jade, a sophomore at Embry Riddle Aeronautical University, decided to intern with GoJet because she liked the idea of working for a regional airline first, before jumping in with one of the major airlines. She describes her internship as “eye-opening,” and has been impressed by the exposure she’s had to different areas of the airline. “This internship has shown me how so many different departments operate, and I don’t think that I would have had such a well-rounded an experience with a different company,” she said.
Jade spent the majority of her summer with our Flight Operations team and provided major assistance to the Flight Ops Training Coordinator and the St. Louis Base Manager. Jade’s projects this summer included auditing the pilot seniority list, challenging delay codes, administering the Pilot Referral & Mentor programs, and planning a crew appreciation breakfast.
Alex, who is going into his senior year at Jacksonville University, spent his summer working in Records, and compared the atmosphere at GoJet to that of a family-type business. “With each project assigned to me, I learned a lot, and I feel like I’m contributing as much to GoJet as if I were a full-time employee,” he said.
One of Alex’s biggest project this summer was helping write a manual for new hires in Crew Records. He also helped with pilot audits, shadowed different departments, and sat in on Flight Ops meetings.
All three interns agree that the opportunity to be a part of an airline is an experience that just can’t be duplicated in a classroom.
“There are just some things that you can’t teach in a classroom; you have to actually be there. I get to be there with GoJet,” Jade remarked. She went on to say, “You don’t really get to see how an airline operates while you’re in school. Classes are great for the technical side of piloting, like maneuvers and planning, but as an intern, you get to see how the process actually works. This helps you understand what your life will be like.”
Alex found that there’s no substitute for the hands-on experience that a quality internship can provide. “I honestly feel that I’ve learned more in a few weeks as an intern than I have in some of my classes,” he admitted. Morgan agrees. “My classes were helpful,” she says, “but GoJet’s environment builds on what I’ve learned. I now know that I don’t just have a foot in the door, but a more well-rounded experience, that isn’t necessarily laser-focused.”
All three interns recommend this program for any aviation student looking for a meaningful professional experience to complement their education.
“Interning with GoJet will increase your knowledge of the airline industry,” says Jade. “Most larger company internships just focus on either pilots or Flight Ops. But here, you get to move around the whole company, all the while working alongside different people.”
“Interning for a regional airline is the way to go, in my opinion,” Alex added. “You’ll be able to do more things that you want to do, spend more time in different departments, do more hands-on work, build stronger relationships with co-workers, and most importantly, have fun.”
Morgan stressed that one of the biggest benefits of the internship is that it gives students the opportunity to make a real impact. “I am grateful that I’ve been able to participate in so many assignments that were not just busy work, but essential to the smooth operation of the airline as a whole,” she said. ” I definitely feel like I’ve been given a real and substantial opportunity at GoJet to not only broaden my horizons but live up to the standards expected of every great employee here, and it’s been nothing but an amazing experience.”
It’s never to early to start thinking about next year! If you’re an aviation student and would like to be considered for next year’s program, contact Steve Paduchak at Steven.Paduchak@gojetairlines.com.
Are you looking for an internship that provides extensive, behind-the-scenes exposure to all facets of an airline operation? Look no further than the GoJet Airlines internship program. This unique program exposes college students to all of the people and departments it takes to keep an airline flying. Data Training Analyst Steve Paduchak, himself a former GoJet intern, now coordinates the internship program, and works hard to ensure that each participant has a quality experience.
Steve participated in the GoJet internship program during the summer of 2014, when he was an Aviation Management student at Jacksonville University. Steve says that his desire to have a more well-rounded understanding of aviation is what led him to apply for the program. “Going into the internship, I had been previously exposed to airport operations, like runway inspections, and the management side of the industry,” he explained. “However, I wanted to also be exposed to other aspects of the aviation industry, including airline, and air traffic management.”
Steven says that one of his biggest takeaways from the experience was a new appreciation for the amount of departmental collaboration that goes into running an airline. “The internship really opened my eyes to what airline management entails, right down to just how many different people are involved in just one flight operation,” he remarked. “From pilots and flight attendants, to mechanics, schedulers and dispatchers, everyone has a role to play in the success of each flight.”
After he completed his degree, Steve was offered a full-time position as a Flight Operations Training Analyst. Shortly thereafter, he jumped at the opportunity to again be involved in the internship program, this time as the Program Coordinator. “I’m very passionate about both pursuing opportunities, and providing opportunities that could benefit others,” says Steve. “I had a great experience a few years ago, and taking over the internship program was the perfect opportunity for me to pay it forward.”
Steve stresses that the biggest advantage of the program is the varied exposure it provides, regardless of what aviation program a student may be studying. “Whether you’re a pilot, flight operations, dispatch, or management student, you’re going to see the entire operation as an intern.”
In addition to receiving travel benefits through United Airlines, GoJet interns also receive a weekly stipend of $100 to help with expenses. And as Steve’s experience shows, an internship at GoJet could very well lead to a full-time position after graduation.
Full motion simulator time and a provisional letter of employment before you even finish your flight training? It sounds too good to be true, but that’s exactly what the GoJet Airlines Wingman program offers. This semester-long internship identifies promising pilots while they’re still in flight school and gives them a behind the scenes look at what to expect when they land their first commercial airline job.
The Wingman internship includes a two-day visit to GoJet’s corporate headquarters in St. Louis, where participants have the opportunity to talk with new pilots who are actually in systems training, as well as sit in on a new hire class to get a feel for what their training will be like. Students are also exposed to the departments within our Ops Center that they’ll interact with when flying the line, including Dispatch, Crew Scheduling and Maintenance Control. Best of all, the Wingman interns have the opportunity to fly in a full-motion CRJ simulator.
Wingman interns are also eligible for limited jumpseat privileges on GoJet, giving them the rare opportunity to observe a commercial flight from the flight deck. “Definitely the most valuable experience that I’ve had as part of the Wingman Program has been jumpseating on a revenue flight from St. Louis to Chicago,” said Adam Bos, an aviation student at Southern Illinois University-Carbondale and a current Wingman intern. “Watching a professional crew operate was an impressive and rewarding experience.”
Even after finishing an aviation degree or flight school, most student pilots still must build a significant amount of flight time before they’re eligible to apply with a commercial airline. However, once they earn their hours, Wingman participants are spared the stress of looking for a job, as they receive a provisional offer of employment upon completion of their internship. They also receive early access to GoJet training materials, which means that can they start studying for our training program while they’re still earning their hours, increasing their chances of success.
If you’re an ambitious student pilot who wants to get a head start on your commercial aviation career, get in touch with one of our pilot recruiters. For contact information, complete program eligibility requirements and a current list of affiliate schools, please click here.
Please join us in welcoming Janet Crotty to GoJet Airlines! Janet will be interning with our Communications team over the summer, and you will no doubt see many articles written by her here on the blog. Janet is very excited to begin her senior year at Saint Louis University, where she is majoring in French and minoring in Communications.
Some fun facts to know about our summer intern:
She is a proud member of the Delta Delta chapter of Alpha Phi Omega, the national service fraternity.
Janet is a huge lover of books, and you can usually find her at the local library.
She considers the week she spent helping rebuild after Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, LA (as part of her fraternity’s spring break service trip in March of this year) the best experience of her life.
She is also a self-proclaimed coffee addict and almost cried when she came home for the weekend and remembered that her parents drink decaf.
One last fact about Janet (one that she is very proud of) is that she participated in the Polar Plunge for Special Olympics Missouri for four years straight (raising $400 her last year, a personal best). For those who are unfamiliar with this event, it is a fundraiser held in February every year, where participants “take the plunge” into Creve Coeur Lake.
Janet will be writing articles covering a variety of topics this summer, so if there’s something you’d like to see covered here on the blog, please let us know! Topic suggestions may be submitted via the tab at the top of the blog or sent to email@example.com.
If you happen to see Janet around the STC building this summer, be sure to say hello!