Wendy Paver

Aeronautical Science, Aviation Technology '89

Pilot, Fortune 50 Company

Q. What are you doing now?

“I fly the Fokker 70 as a captain. It’s basically the same airplane as the F100, just 15 feet shorter.  It's the junior airplane of the fleet, and since I recently upgraded, that's the one that they start new captains out in. The airplane is used as sort of a company airline. We have two, and they're flying frequently on scheduled runs to cities where our vehicles are manufactured.  I also fly the G-V as a first officer.  The company has two of them, and they're used for executive travel. The Gulfstreams are capable of worldwide travel; however, we do more domestic than international flying with them. The company also has two Falcon 2000s.”

Q. What do you like best about your career?

“I love being a pilot, and this particular job allows me to fly well-maintained, newer model airplanes. Corporate aviation was never my goal — I'd always dreamed of being an airline pilot. However, God knows better than me as to what would be best! Belonging to a close-knit flight department (25 line pilots) is a wonderful experience. Many of our passengers know us by name, and I enjoy that personal interaction. Also, our flight schedules permit us lots of down time....a real plus to me, since I consider my “real job,” my important job, as that of mom to Alex, Shelby and Mike.”

Q. How did LeTourneau University prepare you?

“I had an awesome experience at LeTourneau, one I'll always be thankful for. As expected, the flight training was top-notch. The hardest part of my degree was learning the aviation maintenance. I did not choose a career in that arena, but I wanted to learn everything I could about airplanes. That schooling was invaluable, and I recognized this several years later when I started flying ‘big airplanes.’

“My first real ground school was in the Convair 640, and it was three weeks of aircraft systems. Many people in my class were overwhelmed, but with my previous training at LeTourneau, I had an advantage. I was able to explain the very complicated propeller system on the oral exam. What a confidence booster!”

Q. What are some special memories of your time here at LeTourneau University?

“I don't even know where to begin with that...so many great times with some of the best friends I've met. I do remember coming in as a freshman to NWW (Northwest wing, in the old WRH) and being one of only eight girls. I still keep in touch each of them to this day, as we recall many fun times with our plastic pink flamingos!

“I also had the privilege of being an RA for SWW my senior year. I don't remember who got into more mischief, them or me! They were such a FUN floor; we were always laughing!  I can remember the poor guys from LAS and KZX would be the recipients of our “shirt borrowing” scavenger hunts...sorry guys! There are many more fun times.....but I don't want to incriminate myself or my other friends.”

Q. What advice do you have for students in the aeronautical science program?

“I suppose I should qualify my last statement...yes, have fun at LeTourneau. Be sure too, that there's a good amount of time devoted to learning and study. Keep up with the work, or it can be hard to get back in the game again — ask me how I know!  Stay focused on education, and ask the professors to help whenever there's a roadblock. They truly love their mission and want students to enjoy success with their studies. No question is too ‘dumb,’ because if you're having a query, chances are somebody else may have the same one too. 

“To any students considering a career as a pilot in any capacity, I would highly recommend they get the maintenance background along with their flight training. Even if someone's not going to make a career as an A&P, that technical knowledge has proven to me to be a great investment. Pilots not only have to be good at flying airplanes, but it's crucial to have a strong technical base, and thankfully, that's an option for students at LeTourneau.”