My name is Chet Machamer and I am a Gerstell Academy Class of 2012 Alumnus. My favorite classes at Gerstell were physics and math, and following Gerstell, I studied Mechanical Engineering at the University of New Hampshire. I earned my B.S. in 2016, and although my degree is in engineering, my true passion has always been aviation. While attending Gerstell, I earned my Private Pilots’ License and I continued working towards a pilot career while at UNH, eventually working as a flight instructor during the summer before my senior year. While working as a flight instructor, I starting networking and looking into options of potential pilot career paths. I eventually applied to and was hired into a part-time position as a C-130J pilot in the Rhode Island Air National Guard. At around the same timeframe, I was also hired as a CRJ-900 First Officer at Endeavor Air, which is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Delta Air Lines. After graduating from UNH in 2016, I initially went through training at Endeavor and worked full-time there for about 6 months.
After my short time at Endeavor, I took a military leave of absence for about two and a half years while I attended several training courses with the military. These courses included Officer Training School, Undergraduate Pilot Training, Survival and Resistance Training, and finally C-130J Initial and Mission Qualification Training. Though these were some of the most difficult and intensive times of my life, I wouldn’t trade those experiences for anything else in the world and the friendships I made will last a lifetime. Following my C-130J course, I volunteered for a two-month deployment to Kuwait where I flew in 15 combat missions to Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and other parts of the Middle East. Post-deployment, I have returned to work full-time at Endeavor, but I continue to fly frequently with the Air National Guard. My next goal is to upgrade to a captain at Endeavor and hopefully get hired at a major airline like Delta or American as soon as I can.
The biggest thing I learned from my experiences post Gerstell is to always approach tasks with a positive attitude and a smile on your face. There will be days when all the odds seem stacked against you and everyone around you is also having bad days. While it might be easy to stay in a rut with everyone else, if you have a good outlook and tackle things one piece at a time, not only will can accomplish some pretty amazing things, but everyone else around you will too. Networking has also proven to be extremely important for me, so please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have similar interests to mine and I will help anyway I can."