Q&A with a Cape Air Pilot: Josh Palacios

Josh Palacios started got the aviation bug after taking a discovery flight in 2015. He didn’t make the transition to LIFT until 2019 after changing careers. Since then, Josh worked hard to pass each of his checkrides and decided to build experience at Cape Air instead of becoming an instructor at LIFT Academy. Josh saw Cape Air as an opportunity to get himself in the airline mentality early, really being able to experience what it’s like to be on the line!


  • Favorite overnight city? Chicago
  • Dream airport to fly into? Visual 19 into DC
  • Favorite plane flown? Cessna 402 – it’s a relic and sporty
  • Dream plane to fly? 767
  • Hardest rating to achieve? Private – it was like learning information out of a firehose!
  • Favorite airport meal? French toast and orange juice in the morning
  • Role model? My dad – he retired from FexEx as top A&P Manager!

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

Josh Palacios: When I was in middle school, a Frontier first officer invited me in the cockpit while on the ground preflighting the plane. He let me punch in the data for the plane. It was a great way to introduce aviation to me!

I also did a discovery flight in 2015 when I was getting my undergraduate degree in economics. The flight was actually gifted to me for my birthday. Since that discovery flight, aviation was always in the back of mind.

When were you a student at lift? 

Josh: I was a student from September 2019 to November 2021, before I transitioned over to Cape Air!


What was your experience like as a student?

Josh: Just like any career field, there were good days and there will be bad days. To get through the bad days, I made sure to surround myself with motivated people to keep me focused and sane.


What made you excited to go to Cape Air to fly? 

Josh: I’ve been excited to start transitioning my mind into an airline mentality. Also the travel privileges don’t hurt.


What was training at Cape Air like? 

Josh: The instructors at Cape Air are there to see and help you succeed. They are quick to notice your faults and they immediately take the time to focus on correcting those tendencies to standards.


How did your education at LIFT prepare you for the airlines? 

Josh: LIFT was intense at the beginning but the experience flying out of a Class C Charlie airspace, learning the importance of flows and checklists, as well as working in a crew environment (during time building), was second to none. LIFT made sure I was ready to move on.


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

Josh: My class at Cape Air included individuals training to become first officers and captains. One was an airbus captain with over 6000TT and the other was an officer in the military who flew helicopters. They were a helpful resource!


What tools did you rely on the most during your training at Cape Air? 

Josh: During initial training, Cape Air provides a binder of just about everything you need to know for your checkride. If you study it well, and really learn it from front to back, you won’t have any issues with the checkride or flying the line.


What is it like to be a commercial airline pilot? 

Josh: It’s honestly kind of weird. Most of the time, when I’m flying, I forget passengers are behind me! So many people think it’s so cool, and I totally agree. But I think that with the right training, becoming a pilot is an attainable goal for anyone.


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

Josh: I look forward to retiring and having my daughter marshall me in on my last flight. I’ve seen videos of other pilots doing that and would love to have my own personal experience in the future.