A Unique Opportunity Seized…

Regular ReviewBeforeFlight readers will remember Billy Smith, an occasional contributor to the website, his last piece was about the lessons learned from a time-building cross country flight

Billy Smith

Our own Billy Smith…


Recently, Billy a student at Bridgewater State University, received some very exciting news; he has been accepted into the JetBlue/CapeAir/Bridgewater State University Gateway Program. I wanted to use this post to extend my sincerest congratulations to a gentleman that has certainly worked hard, and that hard work has been rewarded with this incredible opportunity.

Back in September, Bridgewater State University became the latest addition to the JetBlue Gateway Program. The announcement made all the sense in the world. Bridgewater had recently received AABI accreditation and is the only collegiate aviation program located close to the JetBlue focus city, Boston, MA. Moreover, the program includes spending time flying with Cape Air, which serves that home airport of the Bridgewater State University (BSU) aviation program, the New Bedford Regional Airport.

BSU students meeting high standards, armed with multiple recommendations apply for inclusion in the program and the best are selected. Essentially the program is a guaranteed pipeline of pilots for the partners. Part of the program allows the participating students to intern with Cape Air to gain knowledge and experience that will allow them to be successful in the future interviews and work with the carriers (Cape Air & JetBlue).

A student in the program graduates from BSU with a Bachelor’s degree in aviation and a flight instructor certificate. The new alumni will instruct for Bridgewater for a specific amount of hours, before moving on to fly for Cape Air to build valuable flight time and experience. Following the minimum two years at Cape Air, the program participants are guaranteed an interview with JetBlue. Of course, the participants must fly safe, work hard and interview well, but the idea is that they are given the opportunity to seize for themselves.

This program makes sense for everyone involves:

Students – Puts them in the driver’s seat with a pre-planned path into the industry

BSU – Guarantees graduates will flight instruct for them for some time (considering the flight instructor shortage, this is a huge benefit to BSU). Moreover, the existence of the program motivates students to work hard to maintain a high academic standing (3.0 GPA at least) to be a part of the program…

Cape Air – Guarantees pilots will stay with them for two years in a time where the pilot shortage is pulling pilots up from regional operations at a rapid rate!

JetBlue – Guarantees a pipeline of high-quality applicants that have completed a program they designed, as a result they are developing their talent just as a professional sports organization would through using the “farm system.”

Our own Billy Smith is the newest addition to the program, where I’m sure he will be successful! Congratulations Billy, we hope that you will continue to share your experiences here with the ReviewBeforeFlight community on your way through the program!

-Fly Safe, @MTElia1B9


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