Learning Self-Reliance While Learning to Fly

Adam in the cockpit with his father, Atif Fareed, a Southwest Airlines captain flying the 737.

Adam Fareed knew he wanted a career in aviation as a young child. “I was inspired to seek a career in aviation by my father, Atif Fareed, who is also a pilot. He mentored me and pushed me as I began my flying journey straight out of high school.” The Fareed family traveled to visit his grandparents on summer vacations—and the benefits of being a pilot came naturally to him as a result.

But how to launch on that journey, when so many options lay in front of him? Fortunately for this self-funded student, the clear choice sat practically in his backyard. Fareed found the L3Harris Airline Academy, in Sanford, Florida. “I knew that I was not as self-motivated throughout high school as I should have been,” says Fareed. “So, I was seeking out a program with a solid structure that would guide and coach me to success. All I needed was the right outline to follow, and L3Harris provided that! Proximity was also a factor, as I grew up in Winter Springs, Florida, a mere 15 minutes from the school.”

Adam’s last day working at Trans States Airlines as a captain.

Fareed entered the Professional Pilot Program at L3Harris just as soon as the ink dried on his high school graduation certificate in 2013—and he started immediately into the mix of ground school and flight training (in aircraft and flight training devices) that hallmarks the course. When Fareed began his training, the Professional Pilot Program, with its vow to “get you from zero to hero, in the quickest, most cost-efficient way”—in his words—appealed to him. Fareed credits having a flight school that offered proven pipelines to the airlines made his transition from training to an airline job that much faster.

The training program itself offered a new environment for Fareed. “At L3Harris, I joined unknowing the entire scope of how the program was set up, how ground school, ground briefs, flight lessons, and stage checks were even done. I was very unused to the type of one-on-one learning environment I got with my first instructor, and the amount of responsibility and self-accountability it took to show up and perform every day.”

Those lessons in self-reliance formed for Fareed the most lasting portion of the training—far beyond simply learning maneuvers and the “rules of the sky.” “The most important skills you will learn when becoming a pilot are self-accountability and study habits,” says Fareed. “My first instructor, Lorenzo, told me something that always stuck with me: ‘When you are learning to fly, you aren’t just seeing what kind of pilot you are, but what type of [person] you are.’ Flying reveals your character. It requires dedication and sacrifice, but it is the most rewarding thing you will ever feel when you reach that level of success!”

Fareed found benefits beyond training in other ways as well—which helped him achieve his goal of joining an airline within a 3-year time horizon. He completed the 15-month Professional Pilot Program, and became an instructor for L3Harris following an interview. “There are multiple things I loved about L3Harris: the family atmosphere, the rigorous and straight-line training that got me to the airlines within 3 years, the effective methods by which they instill confidence in new students and gradually help them progress—but most importantly the lifelong connections and friends I’ve made through the school.” Fareed joined Trans States Airlines in 2016, and he’s currently in training with Spirit Airlines to become a first officer.

He hopes to continue the same progress in the future. “In 5 years, I hope to see myself settled into my airline, comfortably flying [a good] schedule while being home-based right here in Orlando. Within 10 years, I hope for the same career-wise, but to also be sharing a home with a wife and kids.” With an excellent grounding in the fundamental strength of self-reliance, there’s a good chance he’ll achieve just that.

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