The RADAR
kelly monson

Kelly Monson - UVU Alumnus

Training & Career Timeline
I attended UVU from August 1996 to December 2000. I finished my flight training in the summer 1998 and then I flight instructed for UVU until I graduated in 2000. I was hired at Continental Express (now Expressjet) in January 2001 where I flew the ATR-42 and EMB-145 both as a First Officer and a Captain. Then, I was hired at Continental (now United) in February 2007 where I have flown the B-737 and currently fly the B-787 as a First Officer.

How did you get involved in aviation and what made you select it as career?
I got lucky! I was hanging out at my house one summer day between my junior and senior year of High School when a good friend of the family, who was an airline pilot, kelly-787stopped by to see my parents. On his way out the door he asked me if I had thought about what I wanted to do with my life. “I hadn’t really thought about it” I told him, he responded “well, I happen to have the best job in the world and I want to pass it along to someone!” This began my journey in aviation and I am extremely grateful for his guidance and help.

What made you select UVU for your flight training & degree?
I liked UVU for several reasons. I enjoy the world class outdoor activities that Utah has to offer. The aircraft were very modern compared to what other programs had at the time. I also was able to get my degree alongside my flight training, which is a huge advantage when trying to get a job as quickly as possible due to the airlines’ seniority based advancement system.

How has your degree & training at UVU helped you in your career pursuit?
It’s very important to make contacts in the aviation world. UVU’s aviation department has been around for over 25 years and has a strong reputation and network of graduates with whom potential employers can inquire about. I took advantage of this when I went through the hiring process.

How has aviation changed you as a person?
I have been able to see so many parts of the world and experience many different cultures. Probably the best part of my job though is the amount of time I get to spend with my family and
friends. As a pilot, there are small sacrifices being gone for a few days at a time, however while the rest of the world is working M-F 9-5, I’m able to spend time doing things that would otherwise not be possible .

What advice would you give to those considering aviation as a career or those still in flight training?
This is a unique time to begin training as a pilot. The global airline industry is in the early stages of a massive hiring boom that will last for the foreseeable future. There was a similar hiring boom in the 70’s and 80’s and now those pilots are approaching retirement age. The US and other countries are growing their airlines at record levels ordering hundreds of airplanes but there is a global shortage of pilots to fly them. The pay and benefits have been on the rise to reflect that need. I cannot think of a better time to begin training as an airline pilot than right now!

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