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Training aviators as a Direct Entry Captain

Captain Marie Davis saw the quality of Piedmont’s flight training in the pilots she trained in the simulator at American Airlines. When American’s Flight Training department was forecasted to relocate from Charlotte, North Carolina to Dallas, Texas, Marie joined Piedmont as a Direct Entry Captain and E145 simulator instructor. “While training pilots at American, the Piedmont pilots seemed to come from a great work environment and culture,” says Marie. “They took their training seriously, came prepared and weren’t afraid. Combined with Piedmont having a Charlotte pilot base and being a smaller sized airline, this made my choice to join Piedmont easy.”

Marie had been a Captain before but says learning the hubs and ramp operations in addition to Piedmont procedures was a steep learning curve at first. “Thankfully all of my instructors during my initial training were fantastic,” exclaims Marie. “There is a wealth of knowledge and experience in Piedmont’s Flight Training department. From the top of the department down, the instructors really care and want pilots to grow and succeed.”

As the daughter of a flight attendant, Marie grew up fascinated with airplanes and aviation. Originally from San Diego, California, she obtained her bachelor’s degree in Liberal Studies with a math concentration at Long Beach State University pursuing a career as a pilot. She began taking flight lessons at San Diego Flight Training International where she obtained her ratings and became an Assistant Chief Flight Instructor.

She later flew scheduled cargo for Flight Express and flew sky watch with a reporter out of Orlando, Florida to build her flight time. In 1999, she joined Mesaba Airlines (Northwest Airlink) where she upgraded to Captain and later flew three different jets for Netjets until she decided to leave flying to start a family.

Marie stayed home for five years to raise her sons.  She taught high school science and became a Vice Principal before returning to aviation. In 2018, she joined American Airlines in Charlotte as a Simulator Pilot Instructor for the E190 and A320. When American announced they were moving their flight training department to Dallas, the cost of living difference wasn’t enough for a single mom of three teenage sons to make the move. She applied to Piedmont as a Direct Entry Captain and joined in 2021. After being approached about her simulator training background, she joined the Flight Training department as an instructor. In addition to training the next generation of aviators, she enjoys flying one trip a month.

As an instructor, Marie knows pilots tend to have high standards and want to do the job well with no mistakes. “We are human so perfect isn’t possible,” shares Marie. “I encourage pilots if they are going to make mistakes to make them in the simulator and not to beat themselves up. The simulator is the place to learn from your mistakes, debrief, discuss a better way, and then go to the line with more “tools” in your tool kit.”

“I’m grateful to have the opportunity with Piedmont to utilize my flying and teaching background to benefit our pilots,” shares Marie. “There’s a family-like atmosphere here and I work best in places where I can get to know the people I work with.”

Does working in a pilot group in a family-like atmosphere sound like somewhere you can see yourself growing in your aviation career? Piedmont is hiring pilots High Time First Officers (HTFO) and Direct Entry Captains (DECs) and offering up to $187,000 in bonuses and longevity credits for those with Part 121 experience. To learn more about what Piedmont has to offer, click here.