January 31, 2024

Leading Edge Aviation Academy Celebrates their First Captain: Captain Jessica De Melo

It has been 3 years since Captain Jessica De Melo graduated from Leading Edge Aviation with flying colours and ever since landing her dream job at Isle Fly, her Pilot career has been going from strength to strength. In December 2023, Jess announced that she had been promoted to Captain at Isle Fly, a private air charter based in Jersey. This makes her Leading Edge Aviation’s first Captain!

Enthusiastic Aviator: The start of Captain Jess’s inspirational story.

Jess says she always knew she wanted to become a pilot from a young age. She grew up surrounded by aviation enthusiasts, with her Father and Grandfather both being Avionics Engineers, helping to fuel her passion for flying. As a result, prior to joining us at Leading Edge, she pursued multiple careers in aviation, including spending time in engineering and as a Cabin Crew member for various major airlines. This solidified her keen interest in becoming a pilot and gave her the financial independence to self-fund her pilot training.

Back to where it all started: Jess’s time at Leading Edge Aviation.

Jess first joined us at Leading Edge Aviation as a Modular Student in August 2020 and last week, we had the pleasure of welcoming her back to our Oxford Campus, where her flight training journey started.

Although a lot has changed at Leading Edge since Jess’s departure, some things have stayed the same. Jess was able to sit in one of the first aircraft that she had ever flown and catch up with a lot of the training team who had guided her throughout her flight training.

“Jess is such a determined individual, as soon as she sets her mind to something you just know that she will do everything in her power to make it happen” Katie Broadhurst, Chief Talent Officer at Leading Edge Aviation stated. “We just knew that she was going to do well.”

Although at times Jess found her flight training challenging, she looks back on her time at Leading Edge fondly. “I made so many amazing memories at Leading Edge and I loved my time there.” “I had a lot of fun doing my CPL, IR, and my UPRT but the APS MCC was my favourite” said Jess, when asked about her time at Leading Edge. “I just loved the way the course was run.”

Becoming a Captain: Jess’s flying career.

Jess completed her flight training at the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic, a time where airline recruitment was at an all-time low, however she still managed to land her dream job as a First Officer at Isle Fly at the end of 2021. “I love absolutely everything about my job, from the company I work for who have such a strong family feel to operating brand-new King Airs.”

Since being promoted to Captain, Jess feels as though she has taken on a lot more responsibility, however one of the biggest changes have been within herself. “I have become a lot more confident in myself and in my technical abilities” she added.

Becoming a Captain: Jess’s expert advice.

Having gained Captain status in record time, Jess is more than qualified to give her advice to others looking to follow in her footsteps. We summarised some of the key points she raised when asked what advice she would give to others:

  • Strive to take on leadership roles whenever possible.
  • Make sure that you know your aircraft inside and out.
  • Be a valuable member of every team you work in.
  • Be on top of all the legalities and compliance requirements.
  • Work hard and always be professional.
  • Always show determination.
  • Enjoy yourself!
Watch our interview with Jess:


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