Jordan Lascomb was drawn to airplanes not by being around them, but by jumping out of them. She completed her first tandem skydive on her 21st birthday, and instantly fell in love with the sky. "I was back the next weekend to take the course, and 200 jumps later, I decided to move to the front of the airplane and begin my flight training," she says.
Today, the 28-year-old is a first officer for SkyWest Airlines, flying the Embraer 175. "To be totally honest, I didn't know a single person in the field of aviation growing up, and didn't think it was a reality that I could ever attain," she says. "I thought it was for people who had a ton of money. We were lower middle class growing up, so I never really thought about it."
Lascomb considers herself to be a rather adventurous person, and has never let anything stand in her way. In high school, she was the kicker on an otherwise all-boys football team, and she studied abroad for a semester in college. In 2012, after graduating with honors from the University of Florida with a dual major in criminology and anthropology, she took an office job for a few months and hated it. "That's when it really hit me," she says. "I missed the sky so much."
The next step was to enroll in a flight-training program, but paying for a four-year college degree and the requisite 1,500 hours of flight time to qualify for an airline pilot job can be difficult for many aspiring pilots and their families. Lascomb says she earned several scholarships to help pay for college, and since she was a Florida resident, in-state tuition was affordable and she graduated with little debt. In 2013, she enrolled in ATP's career pilot training program, and was hired by SkyWest exactly two years later.
"I am a firm believer in fast-paced, intensive courses," she says. "I completed my training in just over five months, passing all my check rides on the first attempt."
Like many new airline pilots, Lascomb earned most of her flight time by flight instructing. While being a flight instructor is a demanding job that doesn't suit everyone, Lascomb says she really enjoyed it.
"For me, the worst part of being an instructor was when a student would stagnate and I had trouble finding a way to get them out of the rut, but you just have to get creative. I worked six to seven days a week, and it was definitely draining at certain times, but there were so many moments that made it worth it: first solos, check-ride passes or even the small victories of conquering a topic or maneuver that a student had been struggling with. I lived vicariously through my students' excitement, and I think that is a part of why I love being a recruiter/mentor here at my airline. I get to interact with so many people and feel their excitement to move on to the next phase of their career. I will definitely always be an instructor at heart."
Lascomb says she loves her airline job because she's always learning new things and expanding her skill set. "No two days are the same. It has allowed my adventurous spirit to indulge in world travels. I have built relationships with people from all over the globe, and this job has allowed me access to every part of it. It also doesn't hurt that my office has the absolute best views in the world."
In addition to her regular flying duties, Lascomb serves as a pilot recruiter, test pilot and delivery pilot for her airline. She has made eight trips to Brazil, putting brand-new Embraer regional jets through their paces - including stalls and emergency descents - before flying them back to the United States to join her airline's fleet.
"The best advice that I can give someone who is motivated to pursue this career is to take everything one step at a time," she says. "When you look at the big picture of all of the steps you will accomplish to become an airline pilot, it can be daunting. If you focus on what is in front of you, one check ride at a time, one flight at a time, you will eventually be looking back on a career of accomplishments and be amazed at where you stand! This career is worth every moment of stress along the way!"