Mokulele Airlines runs itself in a very similar fashion to much larger Part 121 Airlines. After training, First Officers or Captains are assigned a training pilot to complete a few days of IOE, or “initial operating experience.” It’s the first time you fly the line as a new pilot at the airline and really begin to learn how day to day operations work. Here’s an overview of my experience…

Our route took us from Waimea, to Maui, to Molokai, to Honolulu, and then back the same direction. Starting IOE as a first time airline pilot can feel a bit like drinking from a firehose at first. People like to say that everything you learn during training is thrown out the window once you get on the line. While that’s not entirely accurate, there’s a hint of truth to it. On time operations, quick turns, and passenger relations become your focus.

At Mokulele, SICs (Second in Command pilots) – that’s me – are usually the ones to file flight plans. We’re required to file IFR plans for each leg, although we’re not required to fly IFR unless certain criteria are met. Flight service has a series of these pre-filed plans ready to go, so when I call to file, it only take a few minutes to rattle off 6 or 8 legs for my daily schedule.

Captains, even in Part 135 airlines, have specific criteria to meet during their IOE. They have hour requirements and landing requirements. If you don’t perform satisfactorily, the airline has the option of bumping you back down to a First Officer.  While IOE is not requires for First Officers, Mokulele pairs new pilots with training captains to make sure they have good, knowledgable ‘teachers’ for their first few legs. I was paired with Rod. You guys have seen me fly with Rod and Haley for years, so it was incredible to finally start working with him. I couldn’t have asked for a better friend to be my IOE Captain.

Now that I’m on the line and flying as a First Officer at Mokulele, things have gotten busy – FAST! I’ve built over 50 hours in just over half a month. And yes, I do get asked how old I am by passengers on nearly every flight….

Stay tuned for more to come soon!

About The Author

If you want to become a pilot, I want to make your journey just a little easier. I'm a First Officer for Envoy Air, one of the largest regional airlines in the world, and have partnered with industry leaders like the U.S. Air Force to teach about various aviation careers. For a full bio, click the "About" tab above. Use the "Contact" tab to shoot me a message.

13 Responses

  1. Jackie Jackson

    Congrats Swayne. That looked awesome. Beautiful scenery too. X

  2. Sebastian

    Congrats on your 1st day, Swayne! I want to come fly for Mokulele!

  3. Jose Rojas Jr

    Congratulations Swayne! You have inspired me to go for my Instrument/commercial ratings! Good luck…

  4. David Wong

    This is so awesome. I’ve been closely following your adventures as I’m starting my journey in aviation to becoming a commercial pilot.

    Swayne, you posted that Mokulele is hiring FOs with as few as 300 hours. Their website says 350 minimum. What were your hours at hiring?

  5. Lynn

    How exciting! Congratulations on your first day 🙂 Really enjoying your blog, keep up the great work!

  6. Patrick Fennemore

    Awesome pictures there Swayne! I see you have the Bose A20’s, I’m currently trying to decide between those and the Lightspeed Zulu 3’s. Any particular reason you chose Bose over Lightspeed?

  7. Bryan Kelley

    Totally awesome! On average, how many hours do you fly with Mokulele a day and what would an average week look like for you as a pilot?

  8. Lowell Adams

    I have watched all your videos. The one’s I like best are with you, Rod Kellog and Haley Howard. Your are three old souls who get together from time to time to share flying and other adventures. I wish you success in all your adventures.

  9. Captain Carlos Emir Bentancor

    You remaid me of my beginning on my carrer as an irline pilot, trust yourself and give credits to your pilots instructor pay attention to all the things that they want to transmit to you, obviously you improve your own criteria in flight operations that can be different of them ! I wish you the best in this facinated profession.

  10. Jonathan

    Hi Swayne,
    Enjoy your flying in Hawaii it is some of the best flying you will ever do as you a down low and get to enjoy the view.
    I was with Mokulele years ago when they first started out flying Chieftains and really had a great time in my life.


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