LIFT Pilot Q&A – Jacob Keller

Jacob Keller knew that he wanted to travel the world, so a career as a pilot was a no brainer for him. During his time flight training and instructing at LIFT Academy, Jacob worked hard and made great friends. Throughout his time in training he was excited to get to his end goal: flying the Embraer jets at Republic, and he was confident his time at LIFT would prepare him well to do so. Jacob transitioned to Republic is December 2021 and has been loving every minute of his time flying the line!


Take-off checklist:

  • Favorite overnight city?NYC
  • Dream airport to fly into?SXM Saint Maarten
  • Favorite plane flown?E170
  • Dream plane to fly?Boeing 787 Dreamliner
  • Hardest rating to achieve?CFI
  • Favorite airport meal?Potbelly Sandwiches
  • Role model? My previous flight instructors


Question: What made you want to be a pilot /what drew you to aviation?

Jacob Keller: The ability to travel the world. It is incredible to go to work and end up in a city different then I started, having time to explore and experience something new.


Question: When were you a student at LIFT? Instructor?

Jacob: I started as a student in March of 2019, became a Certificated Flight Instructor (CFI) in December 2019 and was a CFI at LIFT until November of 2021.


Question: What was your experience like as a student? Instructor?

Jacob: My experience as a student was great. You have the opportunity to be around a group of likeminded people, flying as much as possible and creating new friendships! Becoming a CFI and having the chance to share my passion for flying as well as helping flight students throughout their training was truly a one-of-a-kind experience.


Question: What made you excited to go to Republic to fly?

Jacob: I was excited to fly for Republic because they operate Embraer 170s (and 175s). Republic was doing a lot of flying over where I grew up. Being able to fly one of the planes I used to look up and dream of flying having become my reality is surreal!


Question: What was training at Republic like? Did you feel prepared?

Jacob: My training at Republic was great. It was fast paced, but for me, it all made sense quickly. I think part of that was because I did my flight training at LIFT! Getting into the simulators for the first time is a feeling you’ll never forget. Each lesson builds upon the last and gets you ready to fly the line!


Question: How did your education at LIFT prepare you for flying the line at Republic?

Jacob: LIFT does a great job at creating Republic pilots. You become immersed in an airline sort of mindset from day one of your flight training. Having more resources at your fingertips and taking the extra steps to create flows, policies and manuals like Republic has really helped me know what to expect and look to when I needed answers.


Question: Did you feel like you had an advantage compared to others in your class because of your training at LIFT Academy?

Jacob: I felt like a had a bit of an advantage over my classmates, because I was familiar with how the documents looked and were set up. I knew what a flow was and how to learn one, and I had friends from LIFT who had already gone through the training that I could reach out to if I needed any help! They were always willing to talk with me and help me through any issue or question I had.


Question: What tools did you rely on the most during your training at Republic?

Jacob: I mostly relied on my classmates during my training at Republic. My simulator partner and I would spend the whole day together studying and preparing for whatever lesson was coming up. We developed a close friendship, and we are still in close contact today!


Question: What is it like to be a commercial airline pilot? What are your favorite parts?

Jacob: Being a commercial pilot is awesome. It’s always been a dream of mine. I can’t relate it to anything else. I enjoy it because of all the opportunities it gives me! Being able to spend overnights in new cities and explore it is my favorite part.


Question: What do you have to look forward to in your career as a pilot?

Jacob: I look forward to growing throughout my career in aviation. I want to get involved in the training department and help others who have the same passion as me. Eventually, I think I would really enjoy being a part of international trips so that I can continue exploring more of the world!