At LIFT, our mission is to train pilots for success as airline pilots 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.
Zach Boggs, Republic Airways First Officer, started at LIFT Academy as a Certificated Flight Instructor (CFI), excited for the opportunity to instruct at a flight school owned and operated by Republic. Zach had always been interested in and excited by planes–at least he was for as long as he can remember. He caught the aviation bug when he was young. Since leaving LIFT for Republic, Zach has had the time of his life flying E175 jets.
What made you want to be a pilot?
Zach Boggs – Like many others in aviation, I was drawn to being a pilot at a very young age. Attending air shows with my family and feeling the roar of the jet engines as they zoomed overhead gave me an adrenaline rush every time. I knew that I wanted to be a pilot, and once I graduated high school, I pursued my dream and never looked back.
What was your experience like as a flight instructor?
Zach – I was an instructor at LIFT starting in November 2018 until I left for Republic Airways about a year later. LIFT was a brand-new flight school when I started, so there was a learning curve. I had to grow as an instructor while helping the program grow out of its infancy. It was challenging at times but very rewarding.
What made you excited to fly at Republic?
Zach – I got most excited during my first week of indoctrination (INDOC) training. That’s when it really and truly set in. I was on my way to flying one of the best regional jets (the E175) in the regional airline market.
What was training at Republic like?
Zach – Republic’s training is laid out as an extremely structured plan for all new hires. The training footprint laid out a map of how long each section would take and the expectations of knowledge and validation for each module of training. It was stressful, but with the right amount of effort, work and due diligence, I passed training and acquired my ATP certificate. Overall, my experience in training was a positive one, and I truly believe that’s what sets Republic’s training apart from others.
How did your training and education at LIFT prepare you for the airlines?
Zach – One of the biggest benefits at LIFT is their QRH (Quick Reference Handbook), QRC (Quick Reference Card), checklists and flows. The printed material is an exact copy of what you will find at Republic on the Embraer 170/175, although these materials at LIFT are DA40/42 specific. They are created by the Republic Tech Publications team. This truly helped me prepare for Republic. The flows you learn and teach at LIFT help prepare you for larger flows at Republic. I was amazed at how beneficial this truly was to me when I transitioned to Republic.
Did you feel like you had an advantage compared to others in your class because of your instructing at LIFT Academy?
Zach – Definitely! The familiarization in materials and flows I learned at LIFT gave me an advantage to most in my class. LIFT’s flight training program is very unique in this aspect.
What tools did you rely on the most during your training at Republic?
Zach – Republic has many different tools at your disposal for training. I would say the one I used the most was ETHOS. It’s a training program provided on Company iPads that helps you understand flows, aircraft limitations, aircraft systems and a plethora of other information from Republic’s SOP (Standard Operating Procedures).
What is it like to be a commercial airline pilot?
Zach – It’s the coolest job in the world! Did you ever have a teacher who told you nobody will ever pay you stare out a window? Well…look at me now! Seeing different parts of the United States, Canada, Mexico and Caribbean make this job so worth it. I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world! There is nothing like seeing NYC lit up at night as you’re flying a departure out of LaGuardia or Newark.
What do you have to look forward to in your career as a pilot?
Zach – Upgrading to Captain is on the horizon for me, so that’s a huge leap in my career. But honestly, I plan on being a lifer at Republic. They offer a great balance of work life and home life, great pay, benefits, etc. I look forward to growing with Republic until the day I retire!
What advice do you have for people who are interested in becoming a commercial airline pilot?
Zach – One of the things I like to tell anyone who is interested in becoming a commercial airline pilot is to never give up! It will be tough and challenging at times, but don’t give up. No matter how long it takes you, never give up. Study hard, fly straight and give it your all! If I can do it, so can you!