It wasn’t all that long ago that Jordan Sepsey was planning his escape from a food-distribution job. That was December 2016, to be precise. With Christmas approaching, his wife, Julie, suggested he finally go look at flight schools. Sepsey quickly decided to enroll in ATP’s Airline Career Pilot Program at New York’s MacArthur Airport (ISP) on Long Island. He has never once questioned that decision, despite his earlier college time studying music at North Greenville University in South Carolina. He left college after a couple of years. Looking back on it, Sepsey says his flying career really seemed to fit into a plan he hadn’t even realized he’d created, one that actually began when he took his first airplane ride at age 11 with his dad. Then there were those years the two later spent building model airplanes.
Sepsey remembers his flight training days as busy ones, at least six to eight hours each day. He would show up at the ISP classrooms a few hours before his flying lesson to study or ask questions, and remain a few hours after landing, reviewing what he’d learned, studying, asking more questions, and immersing himself in the wide variety of study options the school offered. No pun intended, but Sepsey says the time flew by, and just nine months later, he’d earned his flight instructor certificate, with his near-term goal of a first officer position at Envoy Air always on his mind.
After completing CFI standardization training in Jacksonville, Florida, Sepsey began teaching in the very same classrooms and airplanes where, not all that long ago, he had been a student himself. He says one benefit of such a quick learning curve, in addition to moving him closer to his dream of flying for a Part 121 carrier, was all the knowledge he’d gained over the past year was still fresh in his mind.
Flight instructing also turned out to be a fast-paced environment. “I often flew six to eight hours a day because I knew my goal was to get to Envoy,” Sepsey says. “But training at ATP prepared me well for this kind of life.” He often flew seven days a week when he could. He signed up for Envoy’s Cadet Program as soon as it was offered, and found the transition to the airline to be essentially seamless.
When asked what appealed most to him about the Envoy Cadet Program, Sepsey didn’t think long for the answers. “For starters, I knew Envoy had the bases I wanted including Chicago and New York. Also, as an instructor I saw the health care and travel privileges as a great asset.” Finally, he said something no one else has mentioned. “I thought having to potentially only interview one more time for the cadet position before I started training with Envoy was great. I realized it could potentially be the last interview I ever have before the next step of joining American Airlines as a first officer.”
Some CFIs supplement their regular pay with a $5 an hour bonus that comes as an Envoy cadet, but Sepsey decided to wait and collect the bonus in a lump sum after he began Envoy training in Dallas in September 2018. “That worked out to be about $21,000 before taxes,” he says.
The math for Sepsey’s career advancement is worthy of a quick review. He signed up for his first flying lessons in December 2016, and by the summer of 2018, he’d logged enough flight time to be eligible for an ATP certificate, which he eventually earned upon completing Envoy Air’s training program in late November 2018. That training included adding an Embraer 145 type rating to that fresh ATP certificate—all in less than two years. Following training, Sepsey headed to Chicago, where he sat reserve for about six months before holding his first regular airline schedule in June 2019.