Our "Getting to The Right Seat" Q&A series offers you concise interviews with aspiring aviators charting their course through the Allegiant Altitude Pilot Pathway. We connect with a diverse group of cadets, delving into topics from their initial spark of interest in aviation to the rigors of training to their dreams of the future.
Today, we spotlight a conversation with Jaiden Batts, a dedicated participant in the Allegiant Altitude Pilot Pathway. From his early fascination with the skies to his experiences within the pathway, Jaiden shares insights into his journey toward the right seat and his aspirations in aviation.
How did you first become interested in aviation?
I've always had a "bug" for aviation since my earliest memories. Even as a toddler, I'd use sign language to say "airplane" when I saw one fly over while sitting in my stroller. Being a first-generation pilot, I'm always curious about what gravitated me toward this field since I was never directly exposed to it.
What inspired you to join McAir Aviation's Allegiant Altitude Pilot Pathway?
The biggest driver in my decision to join the Allegiant Altitude Pilot Pathway was the straightforward opportunity to go directly into the right seat of an A320. Many of my friends are stuck flying regional jets, often staying overnight in undesirable cities. In contrast, I was given the chance to pilot a larger aircraft to more attractive destinations, all while being able to be back home and sleep in my own bed at the end of each day.
Can you describe your journey from the beginning of your training to becoming an Allegiant first officer?
My training journey began when I took my first discovery flight at 13. I earned my private pilot's license in Colorado and then furthered my education at the University of North Dakota, where I received the rest of my ratings. After attending UND, I returned to Colorado and instructed at McAir Aviation. At McAir, I discovered the Allegiant Altitude Pilot Pathway and continued my journey through that opportunity.
What has been the most challenging aspect of your training?
The most difficult part of my training has been the external pressures. Many people have supported me on this journey, and there has always been a constant nagging feeling of having to do right by them.
How has the Allegiant Altitude Pilot Pathway prepared you for your role as a first officer?
One of the best resources has been the opportunity to have a direct line to Allegiant. Few airline programs give you the 1-on-1 treatment that Allegiant does.
Are there any memorable experiences or lessons from your training that stand out?
While I haven't yet had the opportunity to fly the Airbus, my current favorite memory was receiving my tail wheel endorsement. I have always tried to diversify my flying experience which led me to flying traditional aircraft. My final day of training, landing only on grass and gravel, was by far the most memorable day I've had. It was a really cool experience.
What's the best piece of advice you received during your training?
"Chunk your thinking." Many are fixated on distant goals. Concentrating on the immediate next step ensures more intentional actions and greater success.
What advice would you give to someone considering joining the Allegiant Altitude Pilot Pathway?
Relish your current phase. Whether you join early or later, everyone's at different career stages. Act with purpose and mindfulness relevant to your stage and cherish the journey.
What do you enjoy most about flying for Allegiant?
While I haven't flown the line yet, my favorite so far has been the people. Everyone is supportive, and 100% has your back. You can ask anyone any question, and if they don't know the answer, they will find someone who does.
What are the top three takeaways from your journey as an Allegiant Altitude Pilot Pathway Cadet to an Allegiant first officer?
What are you most excited about when you finish the pathway?
I am eager to explore destinations beyond Colorado's 3-hour radius. For me, aviation and travel have always been intertwined, and I'm excited to fly to new places with my passengers.
Interested in learning more about the Allegiant Altitude Pilot Pathway? Check out all the details here.
*McAir Aviation does not guarantee third-party certifications/ratings or employment.
**Assumes full time flying schedule.
***Additional flight hours and certification required to be eligible to apply for airline pilot positions.