Former Trans States First Officer Credits Training for Rewarding Aviation Career

Trans States’ incredible First Officer training program provides pilots with the experience and knowledge they need to launch lasting flying careers.  Former Trans States First Officer, Captain Elyse Swedberg is now the Denver-based Chief Pilot with Frontier Airlines. She credits our First Officer training footprint as a valuable foundation, setting the tone for her current role with Frontier. Read more below to learn why Captain Swedberg chose commercial aviation as her career path, what she loves about Trans States’ company culture, and the advice she gives to young aviators.

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Frontier Airlines Denver-based Chief Pilot, Captain Elyse Swedberg.

Tell us what prompted your initial desire to fly.

After my fiance was killed in a tragic accident, I decided to pursue a career I never imagined I could do. I embarked on a career in commercial airline aviation because it was different from other careers I worked in and I knew it would provide me with a rewarding career path.

How did you begin your flying career?

Before I started flying I got my Real Estate Brokers license at 18 and sold real estate for several years. After my life took an unexpected turn, I started flying as a Flight Attendant with two different regional airlines.

What made Trans States stand out to you as you were choosing a regional airline?

I went to a job fair in Las Vegas, and Trans States recruiters sold me! Of all the regional airlines there, they were the only ones who really seemed to care and give me the time of day. People make the airline, that is 100% true with Trans States.

Describe your training experience with Trans States Airlines.

Trans States has an amazing training program. The instructors are so knowledgeable and love to share that knowledge with their students! They are very supportive and encouraging, yet they also expect a lot out of you because they want the best for you. Instructors want to make sure that when you go on the line, you are not just going to succeed with Trans States, but throughout your entire career.

How do you feel the Trans States Airlines training has prepared you for your career with Frontier?

Trans States provided me with all of the tools that are needed to become a pilot in the 121 industry. They prepared me to operate a jet in the most safe and efficient manner possible. The training also showed me how to use the resources at my disposal to accomplish the task at hand.

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Captain Swedberg in front of the Frontier Airlines airplane.

What advice would you share with young pilots?

The advice I give to younger pilots is to chase after your dreams, because there’s no limit to what you can achieve. You start out as a First Officer and can eventually become a Chief Pilot, but it’s all dependent upon you working hard to get to that point. All of your hard work will pay off in the end!

 

 

Finding Love on the Line: Trans States Captain and Flight Attendant Take Engagement Photos in the Hangar

Captain Thomas Thai and Flight Attendant Emily Breeden met four years ago in the Trans States crew room, so it was only right to take their engagement photos with the Embraer 145 that brought them together.

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Trans States Flight Attendant Emily Breeden and her fiance, Captain Thomas Thai.

“I taught Emily how to bid on flights so that she could arrange the best possible schedule,” Captain Thai said. “I enjoyed teaching her how to bid and sharing information about the company, while getting to know her in the process.”

Emily appreciated Captain Thai’s effort and willingness to share his knowledge. While the couple was initially captivated by each other, they took their time to enjoy a working relationship. After many trips flying together, their chemistry grew.

“I thought he was handsome and very charming. He knew how to keep the conversation interesting, and he was a great teacher,” Emily said.

Captain Thai confessed his love and asked for Emily’s hand in marriage on Christmas Day last year in front of their family and friends.

“I immediately said yes when Thomas proposed,” Emily said. “Of course, I want to spend the rest of my life with him. He’s such a loving and very caring person. I couldn’t ask for a better soulmate.”

When asked about the working dynamic, the pair agreed that it was quite enjoyable to work and travel together.

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Trans States Captain Thomas Thai and Flight Attendant Emily Breeden take engagement photos in the hangar.

“It’s really nice to work together, because we don’t have to miss each other as much while we’re away. We enjoy the quality time together while working with a great company,” Captain Thai said.

The couple’s wedding is set for May 12, 2019 on Mother’s Day in Baltimore, Maryland.  Join us in congratulating Captain Thai and Emily Breeden and wishing them a joyous marriage.

Inspiring the Next Generation to Fly

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Trans States First Officer Shawn and his father Timothy Kinmartin.

This Father’s Day we’d like to highlight Trans States’ Senior Maintenance Training Instructor, Timothy Kinmartin, who keeps aviation all in the family. His wife AnneMarie works as Trans States’ Technical Records Clerk, and their son Shawn was inspired by his parents to become a First Officer with us. 

It all began in 1998 when Timothy accepted a maintenance position with Trans States. Now, having been with the company for nearly 20 years, Tim has served in a variety of capacities.

“Working as a line mechanic, hangar mechanic, designated inspector, and even a taxi evaluator throughout the years has kept aviation close to home. My son Shawn grew up around airplanes and naturally desired to become a pilot with the company that my family loves so much,” Timothy said.

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The Kinmartin Family

Collectively, the Kinmartins enjoy working for the same company because doing so has created both a unique and fun working environment.

“I love the fact that my son has the opportunity to live out his dreams flying as a commercial airline pilot for Trans States,” Timothy said. “I am also pleased to see my wife come home happy everyday from working at a company that she enjoys.”

Witnessing Shawn complete his check rides to become a pilot is what Timothy describes one of his most proud moments. 

“I was so excited to watch him complete his check rides, that I videotaped him coming in and out of the terminal,” Timothy said. “It was amazing to see him begin flying because I know how diligently Shawn worked to earn his wings.”

Happy Father’s Day to all of the Trans States family fathers! Thank you for inspiring your children to reach new heights.

Two Trans States Captains Transition to Frontier in New Pilot Flow Program

Trans States Airlines pilots now have a direct pathway to the Frontier Airlines flight deck.  The new Pilot Flow Program guarantees participating Trans States pilots a First Officer position with the Denver-based Airbus operator after as little as two years of service with Trans States.

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Captain Benjamin Church, a Trans States Pilot who will flow to Frontier this July.

Captain Benjamin Church and Captain Jeffrey Martin are two of the first Trans States pilots to join the flow program. Although these pilots have spent a combined total of 29 years with Trans States, they’re eager to flow to a major airline and appreciate the seamless process in doing so.

“My flow process was simple and hassle-free,” Captain Church said. “It will be interesting to transition from a regional Captain to a First Officer at a major airline, but I am most looking forward to flying an Airbus, learning new procedures and expanding my skill sets even more,” Captain Church said.

Captain Church has gained a plethora of experiences that will help him excel in his new journey with Frontier, but says the most valuable thing he can bring with him from his 17-year career with Trans States is a teamwork approach.

“I would say a great character strength that I developed at Trans States was teamwork. As a Captain you work together with a First Officer and a flight attendant to make sure that the job is done safely and accurately,” Captain Church said.

Captain Church thinks Trans States is an amazing company to work for with a fantastic company culture.

“It’s going to be difficult for me to walk away from this job because I really like and respect all of my colleagues,” Captain Church said.


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Captain Jeffrey Martin, a Trans States Pilot who will flow to Frontier this July.

Captain Martin was a flight instructor at Flight Safety Academy in Vero Beach, FL when he was introduced to commercial aviation. This was a path that Captain Martin hadn’t considered before, but he was so impressed by the recruiter’s genuine interest and presentation that he considered a pilot position with the company. Fast forward to today, and Captain Martin has spent 12 years flying on Trans States’ behalf.

When the Frontier Pilot Flow Program was introduced and Captain Martin learned that additional interviewing was not required for pilots accepted into the program, he jumped at the opportunity.

“A change in aircraft is what I’m most looking forward to in my transition to flying with Frontier. An Airbus is a very attractive, and larger aircraft. I’ve spent so many years flying in a 50-seater and look forward to seamlessly advancing my career.” Captain Martin said.

Admittedly, Trans States has a great group of pilots that Captain Martin will miss.

“At Trans States, we’re a close-knit group of pilots and are much like family here,” Captain Martin said. “I truly enjoy working with our crews, and I’m going to miss it.”

TSA_FrontierLogoGraphic_APR18_Blue&Green_FinalTo learn more about the Trans States to Frontier Flow Program, visit https://bit.ly/2k1Oe8B.

Three Trans States Military Pilots reflect on Memorial Day

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Trans States First Officer, Joshua Groth

Memorial Day is national holiday where American soldiers who have died are remembered for their active military service. Trans States is proud to share the reflections of military pilots Joshua Groth, Randall Zehnder, and Dennis Cruz this Memorial Day. Read more to learn why they serve(d) their country and how they applied military skills in commercial aviation careers with Trans States.

Seeing his father serve as a Crew Chief and fly helicopters in the army strongly inspired Josh to follow suit. Coming from a patriotic and military-centric family, the apple didn’t fall too far from the tree when Josh decided to join the army.

“I grew infatuated and fell in love with aviation, particularly helicopters, because I was always around them,” Josh said. “My father and my grandfathers all served in the military, and I’ve been in the army for nine years. When I was six years old Desert Storm took place and watching that helped me to understand that we have rights and freedoms that people defend. My responsibility to serve in the military was to ensure that we had the same freedoms as the ones who served before us.”

Currently, Josh serves as an Army National Guard Rotor Pilot as well as a First Officer with Trans States Airlines. He notes that there are remarkable similarities with each role.

“I initially joined Trans States because everybody genuinely enjoyed what they did, and it wasn’t just about punching in a ticket to get a paycheck,” Josh said. “I was really impressed by the camaraderie of the organization, much like my military family, and the opportunity to fly with other pilots who keep safety a top priority.”

This Memorial Day, Josh honored his fallen armed force colleagues by flying a helicopter during a memorial service at a local veteran’s cemetery.


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Captain Randall Zehnder at Tall Afar Air Force base.

Captain Randall Zehnder (Randy) served in the Air Force for five years and the Army National Guard for 25 years—retiring with 30 years of military service. Randy’s story is much like Josh’s in that his father also inspired him to explore aviation at a young age.

“My father showed me the importance of having a strong work ethic and obtained his private pilot license when I was ten years old,” Randy said. “When he took me flying I was hooked and decided that I wanted a pilot’s license as well. I was able to reach that goal while still in high school.”

When Randy initially enlisted, he began focusing on obtaining his commercial pilot’s license and instrument ratings. After leaving the Air Force, Randy joined the Army National Guard to take a rotary wing qualification course, and later became interested in transitioning from rotor to fixed wing flying.

“I began working with Trans States in June of 1984 and I’ve been here nearly 34 years,” Randy said. “When I started, the company’s name was Resort Air and had been flying two Metro II aircraft for about a year.”

Captain Randy’s career progressed, serving in management with Trans States for 20 years, and he has spent the last eight years training flight students and working as a System Chief Pilot.

“Trans States has been around for a long time,” Randy said. “From my early career days through today, I’ve learned that Trans States has some of the best crews to fly with the industry. We’ve also have had the ability to face challenges in the past, remain flexible, and always come out stronger than before in the ever-changing aviation industry.”

This Memorial Day, Randy spent his day relaxing with his wife and remembering those who died in the line of duty.


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First Officer, Dennis Cruz and family upon his homecoming from deployment in Winter 2014.

First Officer Dennis Cruz began his aviation career as a response to a need. 

“Aviation had not been a lifelong dream of mine,” Dennis said. “As a teenager, I was making poor choices, and dropped out of high school. Afterwards, I was encouraged to enter the military. I enlisted in the Marines and took the opportunity to fly. I fell in love with it and never looked back since then.”

Dennis served in the Marines for 20 years before joining Trans States. He was able to transfer skills such as flexibility, attention to detail, and his passion for safety to his new commercial aviation career.

“Trans States was the first airline I contacted! I had heard great things from a friend who was employed with the company.” Dennis said.

Success and advancement have trailed Dennis’ career. Dennis left Trans States in an attrition transition to American Airlines. Despite his current position at a coveted major airline, Dennis admits that he misses the dynamic he had with his Trans States colleagues.

“I genuinely miss the group of pilots I worked with at Trans States because they were all a great group of men and women to fly with.” Dennis said.

Dennis spent his Memorial Day in Dallas, while attending basic INDOC training.

To learn more about Trans States’ military pilot program, visit https://bit.ly/2scQUUX.