Celebrating Women’s History Month: Q&A with Jules Hurley, LIFT Alumni and PIT-Based Republic Airways First Officer

LIFT Academy is dedicated to empowering the next generation of women in aviation. We are proud to have alumni like Jules Hurley to serve as role models for our female students at LIFT Academy. Jules completed her training in October 2022 and is now a First Officer at Republic Airways. As we celebrate Women’s History Month, we are thrilled to showcase exceptional women like Jules Hurley, who generously shares her advice for aspiring aviators. 


Question: Hi, Jules! Thank you so much for joining us today to share your experience at LIFT and talk to us about what Women’s History Month means to you. To take right off, tell me a little bit about yourself! 

Jules: My name is Jules, and I’m a PHL-based First Officer at Republic. February 2020 marked the beginning of my aviation journey. I became an instructor in September 2021 and went on to fly for Republic in October 2022. 


Question: It sounds like you had quite the journey to get to where you are today! What about LIFT Academy stood out to you when choosing where to begin your aviation career? 

Jules: I didn’t know anyone who was a pilot or in aviation, so I was looking for a program that provided more guidance on how to get to the end goal of the airlines. I liked that LIFT was owned by Republic and had a direct flow to becoming a First Officer. The all-inclusive pricing for all my ratings took out any uncertainty I had after looking at other flight schools that gave wide ranges for how much it would cost to finish each rating. 


Question: I am glad to hear that LIFT was the right choice to help you launch your career! With that said, what was your favorite part of the program? 

Jules: I liked that I was always moving forward and had a goal for the next stage. Even if you finished your ground school ahead of schedule, there was always the need to dedicate time to studying for an upcoming stage check or oral examination. When I was there, there were about 200 students in the program, so there were plenty of students working towards the same goal. I always appreciated hearing about the difficulties encountered by those who were ahead of me because it provided valuable insights for the next stage. 


Question: It sounds like you had a great support system during your time in the program! I’m sure that you made a lot of memories, but do you have a favorite memory that comes to mind? 

Jules: My first solo in the traffic pattern at Crawfordsville is still my favorite memory. Prior to that, I had the most doubts about whether I would actually succeed in becoming a pilot but getting to go solo meant that my instructor trusted that I could fly independently. 


Question: That sounds like a very special moment in your aviation career. Thank you for sharing that with us! What are you most proud of in your career so far? 

Jules: I am most proud of no failed check rides! I had plenty of lessons I had to redo at LIFT, but I never felt like I was being forced to go for something I wasn’t ready for and felt like my CFIs did a good job at identifying what I needed to work at more.   

Question: Wow! Congratulations, that is a huge accomplishment! I am sure your career will be full of many more milestones like this one. What are you looking forward to in your career? 

Jules: I am looking forward to flying more. There’s so much more to learn every trip from going to new airports to hopefully upgrading to Captain soon. 


Question: It’s always good to love what you do! What advice do you have for people considering a career in aviation? 

Jules: Read and learn as much as you can. The airplane shouldn’t be your only classroom, so spend at least double the amount of time learning on the ground. There is so much free information out there on becoming a pilot. The FAA publishes free PDFs of the PHAK and AFH, that you can read on your own and then ask questions to a CFI once you start lessons. Don’t wait until you’ve started at a flight school to begin learning, there’s so much background knowledge that you can learn from watching YouTube videos or Air Disasters, that can become useful as you progress through ground school and flying.   


Question: That is great advice for anyone starting out in their career. As you know, March is Women’s History Month and I would love to know if there is a female figure in your life, aviation or otherwise, that inspires you? 

Jules: My mom went to night school to become a teacher when I was in high school so remembering her making that jump at an older age helped me realize that it was ok to switch careers when I was 27 and make the move across the country to go to flight school. 


Question: Both you and your mom are a testament to anyone looking to change careers that you never know high you can fly if you don’t take the leap! What would you say to a young woman considering a career in aviation? 

Jules: Go for it! There is such a wide variety of roles associated with aviation that there’s something for everyone! Just because you haven’t always dreamed of being a pilot or a mechanic since you were a kid doesn’t mean you can’t learn the skills to succeed in a career you’ll love! 


If you’re ready to take the first step in embarking on your career journey, apply today to fly with LIFT!