The regional airlines started hiring again as the continued fallout from 9/11 perversely spurred their growth, and in April 2004, I was hired by Horizon Air, my airline of choice. I was assigned the fast, burly Q400 turboprop out of Portland, Oregon, flying up and down the West Coast and as far east as Billings, Montana. I loved the airplane, the people and the routes. But the industry forces that grew some airlines would destroy others, and Horizon’s excellent infrastructure, investment in technology and experienced workforce were all severe handicaps in a business where costs trump quality. Horizon has shrunk significantly since 2004. Had I stayed, I would still be a junior first officer.