Encouraging a New Generation of Pilots
Steve Linthwaite keeps a pretty close eye on his smartphone. As the Vice President of Flight Operations at Jazz Aviation, he is responsible for 127 aircraft and approximately 800 daily flights. Not only that, his son is currently backpacking in Africa, and the two are using Facebook to stay in touch.
“He posts updates every two or three days,” says Steve. “So I am always hovering around the phone.”
As a child, Steve made model airplanes and was interested in books about flying. Not knowing anyone in the business, he set his sights on becoming an engineer until he came across Seneca’s Aviation and Flight Technology program in a course guide.
“It was the only aviation program that I applied to, and Seneca was close to my home,” says Steve. “It was a very competitive program back then. However, we didn’t have to wear a shirt and tie like the students do today.”
Since graduating in 1985, Steve has served as a volunteer for the Bachelor of Aviation Technology program advisory committee. Recently, he helped build a unique cadet program between Seneca and Jazz.
Through this initiative, Seneca graduates who achieve the necessary academic, flight and testing requirements, directly enter the Jazz’s hiring pool. News of the Jazz/Seneca cadet program has travelled south of the border, and Steve has recently been contacted by several colleges in the United States that want to duplicate it.
“I’m very open about what we’re doing in the cadet program in the interest of promoting aviation,” says Steve. “Often, people from my generation got in to flying because we knew someone who flew airplanes, perhaps even in World War II. There was a feeling of awe surrounding that. Then, 9/11 drove a lot of people out of aviation. The purpose of the cadet program is to raise the profile and get people interested in flying again.”
Steve has been a pilot for Jazz, under its various brands, since 1986. Today, there are 5,000 employees, including 1,300 pilots and 800 flight attendants. While Steve doesn’t currently get to fly as much as he’d like, given his many responsibilities, he and his wife recently purchased a cottage that is five minutes away from the Parry Sound Airport.
“It’d be perfect for a floatplane,” he says. “But I think I would have a hard time convincing my wife.”
Learn more about the Jazz/Seneca cadet program.