Despite growing up in an aviation family (his father is a pilot at Delta Air Lines), Troy Bell originally pursued a degree in computer science before he admitted to himself that he wanted to follow in his father’s footsteps and become an airline pilot. Wanting an efficient path to the airlines, Troy enrolled at LIFT, earned his flight ratings and transitioned to become a Certificated Flight Instructor (CFI) with LIFT all within a year. Learn more about how much Troy enjoyed flight instructing and how he is living out his dreams as a First Officer at Republic Airways.
What made you want to be a pilot/what drew you to aviation?
Troy Bell: I think I’ve always wanted to be a pilot, growing up in an aviation family. However, it took a while to sink in that I actually wanted to pursue it. After high school I went to college, pursuing a bachelor’s degree in computer science only to realize that sitting in an office wasn’t for me. I quickly made the pivot to aviation. I went on a discovery flight and have been hooked ever since!
When were you a student at LIFT Academy?
Troy: I was a student from March 2019 through February 2020 and then became a CFI-I.
What was your experience like as a student? What about as an instructor?
Troy: Student life was fast paced and rigorous. It was nice having a structured course; it really helped me get through the ratings (compared to Part 61 training). I also really loved being an instructor. It was fun! I never thought I would enjoy it as much as I did. Seeing your students progress through training and succeed is one of the greatest feelings you can have as an instructor.
What made you excited to go to Republic to fly?
Troy: Republic is one of the best regionals out there! They have a great safety record, and the fact they operate one of the most modern planes in the airline (Embraer 170/175) industry is awesome! I get to operate flights for the three biggest airlines in the United States on every trip. On top of that, Republic has many bases, which makes commuting easy.
What was training at Republic like?
Troy: Training was intense! It was a step up from instructing to say the least. Overall, it was well structured and quick paced.
How did your education at LIFT prepare you for the transition to Republic?
Troy: LIFT uses material that closely resembles Republic’s, and having similar documents helped quite a bit. Familiarity made for an easy transition.
Did you feel like you had an advantage compared to others in your class because of your training at LIFT Academy?
Troy: A few things like the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), Flight Operations Manual (FOM) and Quick Reference Handbook (QRH)/Quick Reference Checklist (QRC) were all very similar at LIFT. This made it easier to navigate most of the necessary documents. I also felt that procedures were a little easier to grasp because of LIFT’s focus on them throughout training.
What tools did you rely on the most during your training at Republic?
Troy: Definitely my iPad–it had all my documents needed to study and test my knowledge, along with all the appropriate apps for travel we use. Everything is electronic with Republic which makes things so much more efficient.
What is it like to be a commercial airline pilot?
Troy: It’s still hard to believe, honestly. It felt like I was waiting forever due to COVID-19. Now that I’m here I couldn’t be happier, flying the Embraer jet never gets old!
What do you have to look forward to in your career as a pilot?
Troy: It’s hard to say. The airline industry keeps changing. Hopefully flying for Delta Air Lines with my dad some day!