Who are you and how did you get into Aviation?
My name is Alec Purcell. I am 26 years old and I was a student and an instructor at Inflight Pilot Training for a total of 7 years. My passion for aviation was sparked when I took a class in high school regarding the basics of aviation. This led me to speak with my neighbor who was a part of a flying club at Flying Cloud Airport. He suggested I check it out and so I went on a discovery flight one beautiful afternoon and that’s all it took, my spark for aviation was ignited! Instead of going straight to a four year college or even participating in a Part 141 college aviation program, I decided to pursue a classic flight program where I could learn on my own schedule as fast or slow as I wanted.
What did you like about Inflight?
I was lined up with a primary instructor at Inflight Pilot Training that unfortunately happened to be leaving for a job in Texas, so I was transferred over to Trever Rossini. He let me solo not long after he took me under his wing. From there I earned my Private Pilot’s License and continued on my journey. Sadly, during my instrument training I ran out of time and money to keep my flying dream alive. I took what I consider to be the best detour of my life. I was working as a volunteer firefighter during this time and decided to go back to college and earn my Paramedic certification and best of all, met my wonderful wife Laura. We went through all the ups and downs that come with the pilot life and earning those many, various certifications. She has been the best navigator throughout all of this. Getting my paramedic certification allowed me to have enough money to fly again, attend online college for my Bachelors of Science in Aviation, and fly on my off days, all while working as a full time paramedic. This pattern became my life for about three years. I could have rushed through my certificates and finished them, but by taking a little extra time, it really allowed me to learn and experience a lot.
Once I earned my certified flight instructor (CFI) certificate I finally had my license to learn! I began instructing at the very school that I had performed the majority of my training at. Being a full time flight instructor was an absolute blast! I enjoyed early morning flights, late night flights, ferry flights across the country in Cessnas, and all the flights in between. It was a pleasure to see young kids experience aviation just as I had. I always gave my students the best instruction possible and made sure that safety was always #1. Watching my first student solo was one of the most nerve wracking and rewarding experiences a flight instructor can have. The smile that taxis in to the parking spot after that first solo flight wipes away any of those previously talked about nerves.
Where are you at now?
After about a year and a half of flight instructing I was finally off to the airlines which was an absolutely huge personal accomplishment that was only made possible by my years of hard work and constant effort. It was SO worth it. I was offered a position as a First Officer at SkyWest Airlines flying the CRJ 200/700/900. This sure was a change from flight instructing but in the best possible ways. Nowadays they tailor the program well for those of us coming from piston single engine aircraft. If there was one bit of advice that I could give…if there are any CFI’s going to airlines that are on the fence about getting their instrument instructor, go do it right now. Instrument instruction was invaluable and I learned an incredible amount during my CFI-I lessons. The best way to learn something is to teach it.
Anyways, I spent five months at SkyWest before I was fortunate enough to get an offer from Sun Country Airlines. I have been at Sun Country flying the Boeing 737 for almost a year now and it’s been awesome. I have been lucky enough to fly long trips to Hawaii, Alaska, and many other popular destinations. Everyday I am always learning something new about flying, or about the aircraft that I fly, the airports that I fly in and out of, and more. However, I will always remember where I started and what sacrifices had to be made along the way. I really would like to come back to flight instructing some day and general aviation at some point.
I owe so much to and would like to thank the Inflight Family for helping propel me to where I am today and to where I strive to be. They truly are the cornerstone of my aviation journey and made a huge impact on my career as a whole. I truly would not be where I am today without them, so from the bottom of my heart, thank you Inflight. You helped a simple guy from a simple place achieve some big huge dreams and that’s a real big deal. Anything is possible if you have the motivation to achieve it and Inflight is a great place to start. Best of luck to all of you aspiring pilots, hope to see you all in the skies someday!