Gino LeDonne grew up in Port Orange, FL and began flying at the age of 14. He was given free lessons from a retired Army pilot who owned a Cessna 172. In exchange for yard maintenance and basic mechanics on the C-172, Gino was given free lessons up to his private pilot certificate. He then began working on his degree at ERAU while taking flying lessons at the Comair Aviation Academy, beginning with his Instrument Rating all the way to Certified Flight Instructor.
Gino began flight instructing and attending the Embry-Riddle Worldwide campus in Orlando at the age of 19. Shortly after he turned 21, Gino was offered a position as First Officer with the now defunct Comair Airlines. He flew as a First Officer on both the Embraer 120 and Canadair Regional Jet. After obtaining the several thousand hours of jet time, Gino upgraded to Captain on the CRJ at the age of 24.
He began to realize that the schedule that came with full-time line flying, in addition to a commute to New York, was not agreeing with his desired quality of life. After much deliberation and finishing his degree in Professional Aeronautics, he decided to focus on a major job search. This search eventually led to his current position as an Airbus A320 Instructor Pilot with JetBlue Airways in Orlando, FL. He has worked for JetBlue since 2010 and currently resides in Daytona Beach, FL.
How did you land your position as an Airbus A320 Instructor Pilot with JetBlue Airways?
I landed my position with JetBlue Airways by creating a profile on the company website and an account with LinkedIn. Approximately 3 months after creating a LinkedIn account, I was contacted by a JetBlue Airways recruiter and invited to apply for the position of Airbus A320 Instructor Pilot. I applied for the job and asked for a few recommendation letters; with a bit of luck I was interviewed within three weeks. A week later, I was offered the job via phone contact and email.
What does your role as a Airbus A320 Instructor Pilot entail?
My role of A320 Instructor Pilot entails training new and recurrent pilots to the standards of the company/FAA. We are required to teach ground school classes, as well as simulator events. A full time instructor may also fly line trips 2 days per month, so it is really the best of both worlds.
What three traits or skills have made you most successful in your career?
Three skills that have made me successful in my career would be: attention to detail, a humble attitude, and persistence. These three traits have allowed me to prevail, regardless of any setback that may have occurred along the way.
Do you have any advice for pilots looking to make a career change?
My advice to pilots looking for a career change would be to branch out and use every available resource. I received wonderful guidance via ERAU Career Services. I also was determined to get outside of my “comfort zone” to gain experience with such things as resume building, interviewing, and communicating with non-aviation employers. Ultimately, I was lucky enough to stay within my career field and obtain employment more conducive to my desired lifestyle.