After flying at Mokulele Airlines full time over the summer, I was offered the unique opportunity to continue my flying on a part-time basis, even as I finish my last year as a student at the University of North Dakota. Being part-time at the airline isn’t all that unusual, and there are a few pilots with other jobs that maintain currency, seniority, and benefits on a part-time basis. The one thing you lose when you go part-time is health insurance, which you must then cover yourself.

We’re extremely fortunate as a Part 135 Airline to have a wide range of jumpseat agreements with large airlines all over the United States. This allows Mokulele pilots to fly for free, per seat-available basis, when commuting. If a CASS agreement is authorized, we can sometimes sit in the cockpit jumpseat of other airlines when there aren’t seats in the back. The key to successful jumpseating is having a Plan B and C… You have to get to work one way or another!

The term “jumpseating” doesn’t always mean sitting in the cockpit. You are still technically a listed jumpseater  even when there’s a seat available in the back. This means you must follow all the same regulations as flight crew members, like those pertaining to drinking and medications.

From North Dakota, I can take a variety of routes to get to Hawaii, but the most efficient is to utilize Fedex overnight flights. My schedule normally looks something like this:

  • Class all day (Thursday)
  • Drive from Grand Forks to Fargo, ND at 6pm
  • Depart Fargo at 9pm
  • Arrive in Memphis, TN at 11:30pm
  • Depart Memphis at 4:30am (Friday)
  • Arrive in Honolulu, Hawaii at 7:30am (Friday)
  • Depart Honolulu at 9am
  • Arrive in Kona (Big Island) at 10am

Once I get to Kona on Friday morning, I spend the rest of the day catching up with friends relaxing (usually at the beach!), and getting plenty of sleep before I work the following Saturday morning. I would be lying if I told you the commute wasn’t hard.

It’s 40 hours of roundtrip travel for a weekend of work, but it allows me to maintain currency and a relationship with the company. In turn, during longer breaks from school like Thanksgiving or Christmas I can work for a much longer period of time and continue building valuable flight experience.

Next semester is my last here at the University of North Dakota, so I’m focusing on enjoying all of it!

Next semester is my last here at the University of North Dakota, so I’m focusing on enjoying all of it!

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.

11 Responses

  1. Hugh

    Swayne, It’s been a while since I’ve checked in . I must say you’ve come a long way. All the best, it’s been inspiring to watch you grow as a pilot and young man.
    Hugh, Pelzer, SC & the farm in Rogersville, TN

  2. George M. Allman

    In case no one has told you, it’s only been in recent times that most people had any kind of health insurance. Most of us did not have insurance until we were older and had good jobs, and the jobs paid for the benefits.

  3. Stephan Hess

    Do you have a crash pad in Hawaii? What do other pilots do that air commute?

  4. Elie

    Hey swayne, how have you been accepted at mokulele airline since you haven’t finish your university program? Please tell me more about the requirements and the process. Thank you.

  5. Anthony Oliva

    Im in the hiring process for Momulele Air. We’re you able to pick your domicile or was it assigned after training?

  6. Patrick Tammariello

    You should really do a video on turbulence. And how you feel when you experience them. Thanks, GEMINI JETS777


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