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First officer shares tips on how to advance to the airlinesFirst officer shares tips on how to advance to the airlines

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University graduate and Horizon Air first officer Anna Chrzanowski offers tips for college aviators transitioning to career pilots. Photo by David Tulis.

What does it take to transition from student pilot to a regional airline first officer? Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University graduate and Horizon Air first officer Anna Chrzanowski, based in Portland, Oregon, started her commercial career with the airline almost two years ago and offered a few tips to aspiring aviation professionals.

“Definitely go to an accredited university” so there’s no question about the facility while logging hours for a restricted ATP certificate, she said.

She explained that career-track pilots who have a solid foundation at an accredited institution can facilitate their entry into the regional airline business “a little bit sooner than everybody else.”

Chrzanowski said graduating pilots should pay it forward and spend time instructing the next crop of aviators while steadily building flight time. After graduating, Chrzanowski instructed and performed check airman duties at Embry-Riddle. The on-the-job experience led her to Horizon after she completed her instruction and “got the flight hours I needed.”

After landing a full-time position with an airline, Chrzanowski said career pilots should be prepared to fly frequently, regardless of personal commitments. Chrzanowski said she loves the Pacific Northwest where she is based, but she is out there “flying the line almost every day.”

When she’s not in the right seat at Horizon, Chrzanowski keeps current as a certificated flight instructor, “but for the most part I spend my time doing other things like hiking and just exploring the Pacific Northwest. It’s beautiful up there, with some great terrain.”

David Tulis

David Tulis

Associate Editor Web/ePilot
AOPA Associate Editor Web/ePilot David Tulis joined AOPA in 2015 and is a seaplane-rated private pilot who enjoys vintage aircraft, aerobatic flying, and photography.
Topics: Aviation Industry

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