Soaring to Success: Alicyn Williams, LIFT Academy’s First Cape Air Graduate

Alicyn Williams is making history as the first LIFT Academy alumna to graduate from Cape Air and move on to Republic Airways, a significant milestone in her journey as an airline pilot. LIFT Academy offers two pathways for aspiring aviators to begin their commercial airline careers: the first involves partnering with Cape Air to gain valuable pilot-in-command experience, while the second allows them to serve as Certified Flight Instructors (CFIs) at LIFT Academy. Soon, LIFT will offer a third pathway for students to accumulate hours and anticipates its launch in late 2024. Graduates like Alicyn build flight time and earn compensation as First Officers and then as Captains for Cape Air before advancing to Republic Airways. As Alicyn embarks on the next chapter of her career, she reflects on her remarkable journey.

Alicyn has had a fascination with planes since before she can remember. She can recall stealing her brother’s coveted matchbox planes that were frequently a point of contention in her house. “But I never thought of aviation as a possibility for myself. Being a pilot always seemed like one of those lofty, far-off careers that some lucky people got to do,” she told us. Alicyn was working as a 911 dispatcher after college when she met a neighbor building an airplane in his garage and was introduced to the world of aviation. “Suddenly I remembered those matchbox planes that I stole and how much I wanted to fly a real one.”

Alicyn charted a new course and began her pilot journey in 2019, researching various flight schools and discovering LIFT through a Facebook ad. “I quickly looked into the program and was excited by the prospect of newer aircraft, a flow through into the industry, and the ability to get a loan with some financial assistance along the way.” Her favorite part of the program was flying. “Experiencing the magic of flying felt so surreal every time I went up,” she shared. After graduating, Alicyn chose to move on to fly for Cape Air.

In 2021, Alicyn began her journey with Cape Air as a First Officer in Hyannis, MA. She fondly recalls her first Captain, “Hutch”, whose help and advocacy allowed her to quickly get the hours she needed to upgrade to pilot-in-command in 2022. When Alicyn upgraded to Captain in 2023, she selected a base in Provincetown, MA, which became one of her favorite experiences. Alicyn shared that her two favorite things about Cape Air was flying and the comradery amongst her peers. “[As Cape Air pilots], we get to fly in crazy beautiful, scenic areas of the world! The type of operation [Cape Air] does allows us to fly VFR and experience the true freedom of being a pilot. Also, the time spent in the various pilot rooms across the region allows for close bonds to form. Being a Cape Air pilot is a combination of a lot of fun and a lot of work.” For Alicyn, the journey was just as important as the destination.

Part of Alicyn’s advice to those considering a commercial aviation career is to have fun and enjoy the journey. Thinking back to when she herself wanted to become a pilot, she said, “Aviation is best done with purpose. If you are serious about aviation, research what career paths are available to you and make a plan accordingly…don’t wait for the perfect opportunity.”

As Alicyn takes flight as a Republic Airways First Officer, LIFT Academy celebrates her success and what is on the horizon. Her journey is a testament to LIFT’s commitment to providing students with the necessary skills to land careers. With many more graduates ready to follow in her footsteps, LIFT Academy looks forward to witnessing their achievements. The sky is limitless at LIFT Academy – apply today to begin your journey.