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Continuing the family legacy: Making their own imprints

Growing up in the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, Pennsylvania area, First Officer Molly Van Scoy and her younger brother, First Officer John Van Scoy always knew they wanted to make a career of flying. They had grown up around airports and pilots from day one. Their mother, Bridget Van Scoy, a 35-year captain at American Airlines and other family members, including their uncle Michael Scrobola, former Vice President of Piedmont Flight Operations, mentored them along the way.

“My parents, grandparents and uncles all learned to fly at Wilkes-Barre Wyoming Valley Airport where we grew up,” says Molly proudly. “My family has leased the airport since 2006 and operates and manages Valley Aviation Flight School there. My grandmother purchased the first plane for the flight school, which has now grown to include seven planes and the school has 67 students. A passion for aviation runs deep in our family!”

Siblings Molly and John both say that flying was always part of their lives and they recall being at the airport almost every day because it was where the family spent time together. In kindergarten, John made a drawing that said he wanted to be a pilot when he grew up and his mother had it framed for him.

Both Molly and John soloed on their 16th birthdays, obtained their private pilot’s licenses on their 17th birthdays and at age 18, obtained their single and multi-engine instrument ratings and commercial licenses. Their mother has a successful career as a commercial pilot and they loved hearing about her adventures. “We look up to our Mom,” says John proudly. “We loved hearing about the places she visited and we all realized early on that we didn’t want a typical 9-5 job.”

John obtained his bachelor’s degree in Business Administration in three years from Kings College. While at school, he became a Certified Flight Instructor (CFI) and began flight instructing.

While completing her undergraduate degree at Purdue University, Molly was selected to be a pilot in the college’s Beechjet First Officer Program. The program offers flight students the ability to transport the college president, trustees, sports recruiters and staff on a corporate jet while building valuable flight experience. “The Beechjet program is where I learned to fly jets,” says Molly. She obtained both a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in Aviation and Aerospace Management from Purdue. Growing up around her uncle Michael and around the Piedmont hangar in Salisbury, Maryland, she saw that he enjoyed airline management and that was something she wanted to pursue.

John joined Piedmont as a First Officer in July 2018. Piedmont was the ideal choice because the Philadelphia crew base was close to home, had the right company culture for him, and offered a direct path to one day work for American Airlines. He also knows many Piedmont pilots who are instructors at the family’s flight school. John was recently awarded a captain slot and looks forward to flying at the next level.

Through the Piedmont Pilot referral program, John referred Molly and she joined the Piedmont family as a First Officer a year after John. “I joined Piedmont because of the smaller pilot group and direct pilot flow to American,” said Molly. “Being around US Airways and American my whole life, my Mom encouraged my decision. Now that I’ve been here a little while, I really enjoy my co-workers and am glad I made the choice to fly for Piedmont.” Although Molly has flown with her brother several times before, she is looking forward to the opportunity to fly next to him in the left seat on an Embraer 145.

In college, Molly served as president and was active in the school’s chapter of Women in Aviation International (WAI). After graduation, she returned home to Pennsylvania and started her own WAI chapter in the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton area. “I saw a need for a chapter in my hometown,” says Molly. “There is a lack of female pilots at my family’s flight school and in aviation in general. I want to promote aviation careers while girls are young to let them know it is an option for them. I’m determined to help educate and inspire the next generation of female aviators.”

One day at work she received an encouraging note from a deplaning passenger that reminded her why her focus to support women in aviation was so important. “I am an industry rarity but I don’t have to be. Receiving that note solidified for me that I am doing the right thing by encouraging and supporting other women.”

“I am very pleased that Molly and John are following in my footsteps but even prouder to see them making their own imprints as they grow into true professionals,” says their mother Bridget. “I am hoping to fly with them at American Airlines before I retire.”

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