Q&A with a Republic Pilot: Seth Walters

Seth Walters was first introduced to aviation by his dad who was an air traffic controller and started his flight training at LIFT Academy in September 2019, choosing to attend LIFT because of the affordability of high-quality training. While at LIFT he earned all of his ratings from private pilot to instructor. Seth worked as a Certified Flight Instructor (CFI) at LIFT, also holding his CFII (Instrument Instructor) and MEI (Multi-engine Instructor), instructing and mentoring new students in the program.  

What made you want to be a pilot?

Seth Walters – There are probably two things that led me toward wanting to be a pilot. First, the pilots I knew had a great quality of life and made great money. Secondly, I previously worked as an A&P Mechanic, fixing aircraft, so I already knew I enjoyed technical aspect of flight. 

When were you a student at LIFT?

Seth – I was a student at LIFT from September 9, 2019, to June 5, 2020, and an instructor at LIFT from June 5, 2020, to May 8, 2021. In May 2021, I headed to Republic for orientation and indoctrination and to get my Airline Transport Pilot (ATP) certificate! 

What was your experience like as a student? What about as an instructor?

Seth – My experience as a student was enjoyable because I had great instructors and people like Jake Rose, one of LIFT’s student advisors, who conducted fantastic ground sessions in addition to the required course work. I enjoyed the very structured program offered by LIFT and attribute my current history of no checkride failures to the way LIFT prepared and trained me for each checkride. 

What made you excited to go fly for Republic?

Seth – It was the opportunity to go fly a jet, see the world and to continue learning and growing as an aviation professional that made me excited to fly as a Republic pilot. 

What was training at Republic like?

Seth – Training at Republic was not easy by any means, but you could tell the instructors and the Republic training department were willing to invest time and available resources toward preparing the pilot group to succeed and move forward. In my experience, every instructor was passionate about their work. 

How did your education at LIFT prepare you for the airline?  Did you feel like you had an advantage coming from LIFT?

Seth – Being a LIFT graduate definitely gives an applicant walking through the doors of Republic’s training center an upper hand in my opinion. Republic’s standard operating procedures (SOPs) are as similar as they can be considering the difference in aircraft being operated at LIFT and Republic. The use of similar checklist philosophy and callouts only aids in creating a smooth transition to flying at the airlines. None of the LIFT graduates in my Republic class failed a training event, their ATP checkride or type training event. I think part of our success can be attributed to how LIFT prepared us during our time flight training. I imagine that is above average compared to others. 

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

Seth – While training at Republic, I used a variety of tools that helped me be successful. I studied with others and really focused on using the resources and materials provided by the airline. The best advice I could give would be to find other motivated and disciplined individuals to study with. A lot of my time was spent with the other LIFT graduates in my class in the lobby of our hotel or a room in a library studying. I think that by working together we made each other better. Studying as a group definitely doesn’t relieve you from the hours of self-study still required, but it is effective and tends to make the process more enjoyable. 

What is it like to be a commercial airline pilot?

Seth – Being a commercial airline pilot is exciting, and I honestly can’t see myself doing anything else in the near future. I live in base, fly with awesome captains and travel to a lot of great places. I’m very blessed and fortunate to be a part of such a great airline. Recently, there has been a lot of flying available so it’s a great time to be a pilot! 

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

Seth – In the near future, I look forward to becoming a captain at Republic. As a pilot you have the opportunity and expectation to be a lifelong learner, and I intend to pursue that to wherever it might take me, both in my career and my hobbies.