After working a few years as a family therapist, Jennifer Billock realized her true passion was in travel. This new aspiration inspired her to pursue a career as a flight attendant. As she started flying the line as a flight attendant and became more acquainted with aviation, she learned that becoming a pilot was her true calling. Jennifer is currently a Certified Flight Instructor and part of Trans States’ Aviators program, which provides participants with a clear and defined pathway to the Trans States flight deck upon completion of ATP minimums. Learn more about Jennifer’s journey below:
What sparked your desire to fly?
I’ve always loved to travel. My love for travel led me to volunteer with the Peace Corps in Azerbaijan after receiving my undergraduate degree. I ended up going back to school for a master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy. From there I began working as an in-home family therapist. My career in mental health didn’t allow me the time or means to travel as much as I wanted to, so I made the choice to apply for a flight attendant position.
Tell us about your Flight Attendant experience. Why’d you choose Trans States?
I chose Trans States because I could pick my base location before I started working. I knew I would not be a career flight attendant, but that I wanted to use the time to discover new cities and find my passion. I found it very quickly.
How has the transition from Flight Attendant to Aviator been for you?
During flight attendant training I found myself wandering into the cabin trainer cockpit and asking the new-hire pilots questions.
Flying the line made me fall in love with the lifestyle and the fast pace of the avition industry. I quickly downloaded the Pilot’s Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge and asked my crews question after question. Captain Larkin taught me how to use dual VORs to find my location on an aeronautical chart. Another pilot taught me about roll, yaw, pitch and the list goes on and on. I quickly started flight training on my days off.
Eventually, pilots began showing me the release and by the end of my time at Trans States, I was doing the debrief. I learned so much from my fellow crew member family.
What are your career goals?
My goal is to eventually fly the Boeing 787 with United. For now, I will just work on building my flight hours and flying the Embraer-145 aircraft with that amazing Waterski call sign.
Why did you choose Trans States Airlines to jump start your pilot career?
I realized this passion was not going away and that I needed to pursue it full-time. I left Trans States as a flight attendant mid-April 2017 with literal tears in my eyes knowing that I was starting a full-time aviation training journey just to get back to Trans States as quickly as possible. I am still close to the family I created for myself at Trans States to this day. I am now a flight instructor, teaching others how to do what I could only watch my flight crews do only a short time ago. I was very happy to join the Aviator program.
What would you tell other flight attendants who are looking to transition into flight operations positions?
I would absolutely encourage other flight attendants to use their resources and use overnights with their crews to be curious. They are in the absolute best place to learn about the aviation industry. I’d also encourage them to study. Most pilots out there are still current CFIs and appreciate remembering the material they used to teach.
For more information about the Aviators Program, click here: http://www.transstates.net/careers/pilot_careers/Pages/Aviators-Program.aspx.