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Miguel Estremera
Name: Miguel Estremera
Company: Express Jet (Continental Express)
Position: First Officer
Current Aircraft: EMB-135/145
Age N/A
Country USA

Airline experience: yes
Corporate or fractional experience: no
Cargo experience: no
Military, government, or law enforcement experience: no

Mentor profile:
My name is Miguel Estremera. I am currently a first officer on the EMB-135/45 for Continental Express, based in Newark, NJ. I grew up in Puerto Rico until I was 5 years old when I moved to Amherst, Massachusetts. I attended K-12, in the Amherst Public Schools. From the time I was 2 years old all I could think about was flying. I used take trips every chance I had to visit family in Puerto Rico. This gave me a chance to become more and more addicted to aviation. I could not sleep the night before or during the trip, thinking I would miss some key piece of knowledge! As I got older I got worst. I would check out every book on aviation in the local library 8 or 9 times. At first I just looked at the pictures. Then as I learned to read, I read and almost memorized every book. I spent time day dreaming about being an airline pilot. I used to get in trouble for taking different household items to make an airport. Tape for the runways, boxes for terminals, and straws for jet-ways. my love for aviation was seen by all, including teachers, who would write home "Miguel is a good student, but he could do better if he focused more on school and less on planes". I knew however, that school was essential for my career to take flight. As I started Middle School I joined the Civil Air Patrol. This organization gave me the direction and drive to continue on the right path. It afforded me opportunities to view airplanes and even fly in a C-5A during an in-flight refueling. This was all I needed. I was military bound. Then it was discovered that I had asthma, thus ending my military ambitions. But this did not stop me! Towards the end of my Jr. year in high school. I put together some money from various jobs and flew down to Florida. Where I went to visit Florida Institute of Technology. As a part of my orientation I was taken flying in a Piper Warrior. I applied and was accepted to the flight program. It was expensive, but with loans and some grants and scholarships I was able to get through. Even so it was touch and go a few times. During college I made it a mission to network with those in the industry. Thus gaining knowledge and valuable allies in my journey. I also did three internships. These included USAirways Express/Piedmont Airlines, Grantley Adams International Airport in Barbados, and Melbourne International Airport. These internships provided valuable real world experience while enhancing my aviation qualifications. In 1998, I graduated with BS in Aviation Management (always good to have a backup). I also had my Commercial Multi Engine Instrument ratings. I left FIT in 1998 to embark on my aviation career. However, as a result of financial issues, I had not secured an Instructor Rating. No one would hire a 250 hour pilot. I had to take a job as a middle school science teacher while I decided what to do. In 1999 a FIT contact told me to apply to USAirways as a flight attendant. At first I was skeptical, but my dream of flight won out. I applied and was hired. I worked at USAirways for almost 2 years. I used the time to travel and learn all I could from my flight deck crews (I got pretty got at working the FMS). In 2000 I was told about a charter position at Charlotte Airport. I was short on time but high on desire. I put on my best and only suit and went to apply in person. I was laughed out of the office. Then I looked next door and saw some old looking DC-3's I went in the hangar and asked to see the chief pilot. He asked me how much time I had? I said 250, he said hmmmm. He asked when I could start? I said yesterday. He told me to come back the next day, I did. Nine months and 400 DC-3 hours later. I applied to 10 commuter airlines, no response. I finally asked an Alumni of FIT for some help at Continental Express. I received it in the form of a call from the recruitment staff telling me to come for an interview. I went and was hired into the EMB-145 thus beginning my dream. September 11 2001. I was a brand new First Officer just having completed training. On Sept. 12 I received first notice that I would be furloughed. I went back to my teaching job (always have a backup). Until a friend told me about a small airline in Chicago called Chicago Express. He helped me get hired there. I flew the SAAB 340B for about 1000 hrs. In Oct. of 2003 I received notice that I was being recalled from furlough at Continental Express. On Nov 17th I was in class once again on the EMB-145. As I write this, I am awaiting I.O.E. (Initial Operating Experience) or my first passenger flight in the EMB-145 in over 27 months. Thus embarking on a new exciting chapter in my life as an airline pilot. Maybe someday, sooner than you all think, you may walk into a flight deck and see me as your Capt. It is my hope and desire that all of you would be airline pilots achieve each and everyone of your goals. The sky is the limit it's up to you to reach it!

Favorite thing about flying:
The view from 37,000 feet is incredible. You feel as if you are a bird and that airplane a projection of you. No day is the same in the cockpit. Everyday brings a new sight or experience. I don't have to go to work! I get to go to work!
Disadvatages of being a pilot:
Money! I have spent a lot to make a little. Moving! You are at the mercy of the company at least initially. The airline industry! It is as uncertain as is the stock market. The schedule! not the best sometimes. But hey! your flying airplanes and they pay you to do it!!

What you would have done different:
Nothing! But always have a back up plan!!! Just as in the cockpit, never leave yourself with no options! Diversify! Find some skill that will feed you in case aviation does not!
Advice to aspiring pilots:
Never Ever! Give up!!!!! No matter what people tell you. Or what obstacles come your way. Don't let anyone or anything stand between you and your dream!
Problems encounterd along the way:
Finances will get you every time. Be money smart! Save now for a rainy day (the monsoon season comes without warning). Get good grades. So you can get scholarships to offset the cost of flight training!! The money out there! You have to work hard and go get it!

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