Q&A with a Republic Pilot: Matt Sinibaldi

At LIFT, our mission is to train aviators for success as airline professionals at Republic Airways, and for us, there’s nothing better than seeing that mission in action. We love catching up with our LIFT alumni to hear from them how their time at LIFT best prepared them for their airline career at Republic.

Matt Sinibaldi, Republic IND-based First Officer, started as a student at LIFT Academy after working as a Certified Public Accountant (CPA). Growing up, Matt was always around aviation – his father was a Navy pilot – and just like his father, Matt also fell in love with aviation. After getting a degree in the finance field, Matt decided he wanted to pursue aviation as a career, which led him to LIFT Academy! Matt is now living the life he always dreamed of, doing what he loves for a living rather than settle in a career just to earn a paycheck.

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

Matt Sinibaldi – My dad was a Navy pilot, and I grew up immersed in aviation. I flew my first plane with my dad when I was 9 years old, and I was immediately in love! I lost sight of that dream when I was in my early 20s and earned a college degree in a completely different field. I worked in accounting for a while but was called back to aviation – it is my true calling! I switched careers after four years as an accountant and have never looked back!

When were you a student at LIFT Academy? When did you instruct there?

Matt – I was a student at LIFT from May 2019 until March 2020. I was an instructor at LIFT from March 2020 until June 2021 when I completed my time building and started training at Republic to fly the E-Jets (Embraer 175)!

What was your experience like as a student? Instructor?

Matt – I tell everyone who will listen that LIFT is the kind of place that you get what you put into it. I worked as hard as I could, flew as often as I could and focused on nothing else while I was a student. It was this dedication that I believe propelled me through the program. I had a fantastic experience at LIFT. As a student, I learned from very dedicated instructors who set the bar high and encouraged me to be as professional and detail oriented as possible. It was my instructors who shaped me and led me to be a good instructor myself. As an instructor, LIFT was great. I flew almost every day and was given the opportunity to work more and build hours quickly. These two things made getting my time for the airlines both easy and rewarding.

What made you excited to go to Republic to fly?

Matt – Getting to Republic was always the goal for me. The workplace environment of Republic is the envy of the regional industry. The people I work with and the equipment we operate are amazing. I truly love going to work at such a great place each day.

What was training at Republic like?

Matt – Training at Republic was challenging. It took a lot of dedication and immersion that I wasn’t exactly expecting. Even though I was local and lived in Indy during training, I was so immersed in work and training that it felt like I was out of town the whole time! The training department does unbelievable work in preparing all of the new recruits and getting us ready for flying the line. Training was extremely rewarding, the instructors were excellent and the syllabus was fun, challenging and kept us active the whole time.

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

Matt – LIFT prepared me for training at Republic very well. We use the same checklist philosophy, flows and callouts in flight training and at the airline.

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

Matt – Honestly, it almost felt like an unfair advantage! I was familiar with all the terms, flows, callouts and checklists, as well as things like the Flight Operations Manual(FOM) which include policies, guidelines and expectations and Standard Operating Procedures(SOP) which include information about flying the plane.

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

Matt – Studying with my simulator partner and friends in class was a huge asset while in training. We spent countless hours studying, quizzing each other and running through approach profiles and callouts. I believe it was my fellow classmates that contributed the most to my success.

What is it like to be a commercial airline pilot?

Matt – It’s amazing! I love the variety of scheduling, exploring new places and working with people who are as motivated and excited about flying as I am.

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

Matt – I’m looking forward to years of flying, traveling and loving what I do. I can’t imagine doing anything else!


At LIFT, this is what it’s all about—seeing our students transition their hard work in flight training to success at Republic Airways!


Are you interested in following in Matt’s footsteps and flying at LIFT on your way to Republic? Apply now.