Perspectives: Javier Medina, American Eagle
Written by Javier Medina   
My career in aviation started in 1984 right after high school by joining the Navy.

I was a Petty Officer aboard the USS Enterprise directing F-14, A-7,S-3 and other aircraft on the flight and hangar decks. My most memorable time was when Hollywood came to film “Top Gun” so I had the chance to meet the actors who played “Mav” (Tom Cruise) and “Iceman” (Val Kilmer).

>I started flying at Oakland International Airport and logged a few hours. I stopped training because I was being discharged from the Navy, so I waited until I returned home to Chicago, Illinois.

In Chicago, I was hired by American Airlines as a ramp agent. My duties included loading and pushing-back airplanes for eight years.

I also enrolled in college. The best part was that the US government paid for all my schooling and paid me to got to college, $75.00 a class. I used some of that money to pay for my private pilot license and after that, they paid the rest of my licenses.

GREAT deal hey!

After a few years I had all my licenses and my degree and it was time to get out and find a job.

My first job was flying for an aerial photographer in a Cessna 172. Because of him, I was able to find a job as a Part-135 charter operator flying first officer on an Mitsubishi MU-2, my first turboprop.

With some turbine time, I was hired by a steel company to fly a Super King Air, where I eventually accumulated 2,000hrs and used my connections at American Airlines to get an interview at American Eagle.

I was hired right away flying to fly ATRs in San Juan, Puerto Rico, flying to the most beautiful islands in the world.

When I could, I transitioned to the ERJ-145 to fly jets.

A few years later I upgraded to captain on the ATR in San Juan and Dallas. The fallout from the “9/11 Terrorist Attacks” affected all of us at the airline. I had to take a downgrade to first officer on the ERJ-145 in Chicago and now have about 3,000hrs of jet time.

I’m once again upgrading to either the ERJ or the CRJ-700, which I’m very excited about. I’m also networking very hard to get to a major airline so I’m always busy.

My advice to anyone who wants to become an airline pilot would to be very dedicated, don’t complicate your life as you’re moving up, as it can be distracting. Stay focused at the goal and work hard.


Javier Medina
American Eagle Airlines