Evan Wielding grew up around aviation, after all, his dad worked on planes for the U.S. Air Force. Evan was always drawn to aviation but didn’t initially pursue it, instead working in technology and cryptocurrency. When he heard about Republic opening LIFT Academy in Indiana where he lived, Evan knew it was a sign to switch careers and pursue his passion for aviation. Evan enjoyed his time at LIFT, feeling challenged and seeing his own growth as a student and instructor, and is loving his time at Republic, working for the best regional in the country!
TAKEOFF CHECKLIST –
Favorite overnight city? YYZ (Toronto)
Dream airport to fly into? EYW (Key West International)
Favorite plane flown? Embraer 175
Dream plane to fly? Boeing 777 or Airbus A350
Hardest rating to achieve? Private, because it’s all new information
Favorite airport meal? Shake Shack in LGA
Role model? My Grandpa!
Q: What made you want to be a pilot/what drew you to aviation?
Evan Wielding: I’ve always been interested in aviation. As a kid, I attended air shows. And it didn’t hurt that my dad was in the U.S. Air Force working on the KC-135. I was working in technology and cryptocurrency for about two years after leaving college earlier than intended. I was thinking about switching up my job when LIFT was announced, and it turned out to be a great time and great choice for a job change.
Q: When were you a student at LIFT?
Evan: I started as a student in the inaugural class of September 2018, started instructing July 2020 and worked as an instructor until October 2021, before heading over to Republic.
Q: What was your experience like as a student and an instructor?
Evan: LIFT was a great program; it was challenging but it provided me with the support I needed while giving me enough space to learn independently from my successes as well as my mistakes, both as a student and an instructor. As an instructor, I was provided multiple opportunities for career advancement as well as plenty of chances to learn and grow with my students.
Q: What made you excited to go to Republic to fly?
Evan: Republic is one of the best regionals in the country. They provide a great work/life balance and the opportunity to be based in my home state of Indiana is great!
Q: What was training at Republic like?
Evan:Training at Republic was great, bar none, I believe Republic has one of the best training departments of any regional airline in the country. They do a fantastic job taking new hires from various backgrounds and training them to fly the Embraer Jets in the difficult environments we operate in. I felt as prepared as I reasonably could be, transitioning from a 4,000 lb light twin to an 80,000 lb jet is a big change! Going into that transition with the mindset of total focus on the goal and knowing that all my training up until that point had prepared me for the Republic ATP training course helped keep me focused and confident in my preparation.
Q: How did your education at LIFT prepare you for the airlines?
Evan:All the training at LIFT builds on itself and that structure is very much how the ATP training course at Republic goes as well. Also, most of the study at Republic is conducted independently which is how LIFT operates as well, so I was prepared for that. That said you always have support to lean on if you need extra help, just like LIFT!
Q: Did you feel like you had an advantage compared to others in your class because of your training at LIFT Academy?
Evan: Absolutely, the checklist philosophy that LIFT employs during training is very much the same. It was also a big help to have manuals and documents to study that are formatted exactly the same at the airline as I was used to at LIFT.
Q: What tools did you rely on the most during your training at Republic?
Evan: My peers above all else. Getting together for group study after a long day of training takes a lot of dedication but is crucial to your success. As is having people to talk to about mistakes made in your simulator sessions. Having people to talk through training with helps you learn from not only your own mistakes, but the mistakes others have made as well.
Q: What is it like to be a commercial airline pilot?
Evan:It’s an incredible way to earn a living. At first it felt weird to walk through an airport, knowing that in a few hours you’d be halfway across the country and it’s your responsibility to make sure that getting there happens safely. It takes some getting used to, but after a few months on the line you feel confident in your ability to conduct every flight with the highest level of safety and competence thanks to your training and continual commitment to learning. My favorite parts of my job are helping customers by going the extra mile, the job satisfaction from executing a hard day’s work to the best of my ability and my average of 18+ days off a month to enjoy the rewards of all the hard work I’ve put in to get to this point in my career.
Q: What do you have to look forward to in your career as a pilot?
Evan: Career advancement, either within Republic or elsewhere within the airline industry. At Republic I was able to join the recruiting team and conduct new hire interviews and recruiting events before I had even finished training. At Republic, I have the ability to upgrade to Captain as soon as I have the requisite hours of time in the E-Jet, eventually become a check airman or work in the training department. There are also tons of opportunities for volunteer work within the company or the union!