Christian Sarna, originally from Coal City, IL, has been an airline pilot for the last thirteen years. He attended ERAU’s Daytona Beach campus and graduated in 1994 with a degree in Aeronautical Science; he then spent several years afterwards as a flight instructor there as well. He has flown for Trans States Airlines, Comair, and JetBlue Airways, where he is currently a First Officer. Christian and his wife, Karen Magnussen-Sarna (DB, 1997/2004), met on ERAU’s yearbook staff and are both previous recipients of the ERAU President’s Safety Award.
How did you get where you are today?
Starting out as a full-time flight instructor and making $12,000 a year (at the time) requires a great deal of sacrifice. I only reached my goal of a job with a major airline due to the support of my wife and family.
How has your Embry-Riddle degree helped you in the course of your career?
Any degree is nice to have, but a Bachelor of Science in Aeronautical Science from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University stands out on a resume. Brand recognition goes a long way in the aviation industry.
What advice would you provide to a pilot who is getting ready to graduate and looking for work?
Network! I cannot stress enough the fact that aviation really is a small community and everyone knows each other…or at least, knows your friend, your former roommate, your former supervisor, former student, etc. You will be asking your teachers, co-workers and flight students for letters of recommendation for various jobs, so stay positive and take names.
What are your plans for the future?
I can’t wait to take may wife on a vacation to Middle Earth on Air New Zealand.