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Taking the left seat at the office in the sky

After flying cargo in the right seat of a 747 aircraft, Captain Golnaz “Goldie” Jalilvand was ready to move to the left seat while scaling back to a smaller aircraft. An immigrant from Iran and now United States citizen, Goldie persevered through many challenges to successfully join Piedmont as a Direct Entry Captain.

Within an hour of updating her application on AirlineApps, Goldie received a call from a Piedmont recruiter advising of an open Direct Entry Captain position. “I had never flown an E-145 and even though I had many flight hours, I did not have any experience as a captain,” shares Goldie. She had done her research and heard good things about the high standards of Piedmont’s Flight Training. “In addition to hearing about the quality of flight training, I also heard about the good work culture.” Goldie joined Piedmont in December 2021 and began flying the line in September 2022.

Originally from Iran, Goldie moved to Canada at age 12. She loved airplanes and the fact that something so complicated and large could take flight. “I thought it would be cool to have an office in the sky,” she said proudly. She attended flight training at Went Seneca College of Aviation in Toronto while working at Porter Airlines as a gate agent. Due to the challenges of flying in Canadian weather, Goldie decided to complete her training elsewhere. “The weather in Canada is always changing and it was a struggle to build hours,” shares Goldie.

Goldie moved to Miami, Florida where she completed her flight training and became a certified flight instructor. After reaching 1,500 hours, she joined SkyLease Cargo as a first officer where she flew 747’s internationally between Los Angeles, Alaska and China. “747s are one of the largest airplanes in the world,” she exclaims. “With cargo, the aircraft weighed over 600,000 pounds. Flying internationally provided for a challenging flight schedule that wasn’t sustainable for me.”

Goldie says flight training at Piedmont was a whole new experience. “I worked countless hours with my training partner and sought guidance and support from my fellow female Piedmont pilots. I was fortunate to have many great instructors. One instructor, Captain Rob Middleton instilled values in me to be my best, do what it takes to operate safely and keep a good attitude. I recalled those values on my first flight after OE and they have stayed with me.”

As a female pilot, Goldie knows she is a rarity and has experienced being mistaken as a flight attendant. She reflects back on what it was like being a gate agent and understands the importance of having open communication with the agents. “We are all on the same team with the same goal, a safe and on-time departure,” exclaims Goldie.

She is a proud member of The Ninety-Nine’s, an international organization of women pilots and volunteers with Pilots n’ Paws.

To those considering becoming a pilot, Goldie encourages them to pursue it and not give up. “What you perceive a job to be like is not always the same when you are doing it,” she shares. “You are the only person who understands your abilities. Don’t listen to others who tell you that you cannot do something. If I listened to those people, I wouldn’t be here today.”

Interested in learning more about a pilot career with Piedmont? Piedmont is hiring experienced pilots including High Time First Officers (HTFO) and Direct Entry Captains (DECs).   With Piedmont’s top tier pay for pilots, captain salaries start at $146 per hour, with an increase for every year of experience up to $213 per hour. New Direct Entry Captains and High Time First Officers are eligible to take advantage of the new $100,000 up front experience bonus by applying by the end of the year.