We are thrilled to announce that our beloved CFI Gabriel has begun his career as an airline pilot. While we are sad to see him go, we couldn’t be happier for Gabe to realize a dream years in the making.

When Gabe began flying years ago, he had no intention of becoming a professional pilot. Originally from Montana where general aviation is almost a function of everyday life, he was gifted the opportunity to pursue his private pilot certificate by his parents. At this stage in his life his goal was to purchase a small plane and explore the backcountry of Montana on the weekends. His budding career in cybersecurity would hopefully enable that type of lifestyle in terms of time and income.

Unfortunately the work was leaving him drained, too drained to fly. When the opportunity to relocate to the east coast presented itself, Gabe took it as a chance to not only change his surroundings but also his career track. He began flying with Horizon, earning his Commercial and eventually his CFI.

Teaching student pilots how to fly was one of the most intense periods of learning he has yet to encounter. “You have to know your stuff, cold. If you don’t you lose your students trust. So, I kept studying after work. I would dedicate a little time each night to go back and study. I kept track of all the questions students asked me that were tough to answer and I’d go study those topics. Your ground knowledge gets tremendously better as a flight instructor.” His thoughtfulness did not go unnoticed. A recent student of Gabe’s added.

”Gabe was by far the most talented and passionate {CFI} that I flew with. Gabe is an outstanding pilot but what set him apart was his approach to training and student feedback. He always kept his cool but was never shy to give you feedback. He brought a high energy level to each and every lesson whether it was on the ground or in the air. Even if a lesson didn’t go especially well he always gave constructive feedback while also motivating you to work on your weak areas. Gabe is extremely passionate about his students being safe and competent pilots and doesn’t settle for “good enough”.

His experience as a CFI was the perfect primer to the airline environment, a fact reinforced by the airline interview process. “I found the interview to be relatively easy. They asked me things that I had to discuss with my students on a daily basis. There were other pilots that pursued other non-CFI flying jobs that were complaining about the questions being too difficult.”

Even so, there is one thing he would have done differently and recommends anyone do if they are focused on a future with the airline. “I wish I had my CFII. Looking ahead at the training I am about to go through, if I had been teaching instrument flying I would be as well versed in that type of flying as I am with everything else.”

It will be many months of hard work before Gabe takes to the air as a first officer. He feels well prepared for the amount of training and studying that awaits him, a further credit to his experience as a CFI. “Working for your CFI forces you to get good at studying. Then, working as a CFI, you should always be refining your knowledge so you can teach more effectively. I am taking everything I learned, not just as a pilot but as a student and applying it to the airline training. It is a lot but it is also exactly what I want to be doing.”

Horizon wishes the best of luck to Gabriel!