Newly upgraded Captain Octavious “OG” Gibbons loves to laugh and make others laugh, too. “We need more of that in this profession,” he said. “Smiles can change someone’s day!” Despite his light-hearted nature, he has a commanding presence — one that makes you sit up and pay attention— leftover from his military days.
He was recently accepted into United’s Aviate program, and is building his time as a member of the CommutAir (C5) Family in preparation for going mainline. He’s been with C5 for 22 months and has accumulated nearly 1,000 hours here. We caught him between flights for a quick Q&A.
Where were you before CommutAir?
Prior to CommutAir, I spent 27 years active-duty for the Army. I flew helicopters and airplanes. I also spent time at other Part 121 carriers. I learned a lot.
What has been the most surprising thing about CommutAir?
The people. The “C5 Family” is real. It’s great to come to work and fly, but even more fun with like-minded folks.
Where are you based? Where do you live? If you commute, what is that like?
I’m based in Newark and I live in North Carolina, commuting from Raleigh (RDU). Commuting can be a challenge at times, but it’s just a small part of this awesome job.
How did you get started in aviation?
Living near Fort Bragg (NC), I saw helicopters flying often from the time I was a small boy. I was hooked from day one! Now I’m #LivingtheDream!
What attracted you to CommutAir?
I came because of the small, family-oriented environment. The options for a quick Captain upgrade was a plus, too. Positive feedback from other pilots made me say “yes!”
Do you have any advice for someone applying/ interviewing?
Take it seriously. But be yourself and enjoy the process.
[Editor’s Note: In addition to flying, OG works with the recruiting department, interviewing new pilots.]
It was a new jet for me so studying was like drinking water fast. (Helicopter training was a little different!)
However, my classmates made it fun learning in a group.
CommutAir is known for fostering a family-like culture. How has that been your experience?
Family, friends, and fun make the tough days better, indeed.
What is life like on the line?
It’s exciting! I learn a lot and QUICKLY. I wouldn’t change it for the world.
What advice do you have for pilots considering switching from another regional?
It’s a family decision. Once the family is on board, life is good. Communication is key both at home and at work.
Words of wisdom?
Go for it. Whatever “it” is for you, give THAT your all!
This profession has its ups and downs (Aviation jokes!). Seriously though, lean on each other, in the best and worst of times. My day one briefing with my crew is always:
- We will go from A to B safely.
- We’re going to be on-time if we can do it safely. Safety first and SAFETY ALWAYS.
- If we are not having fun, we are doing it WRONG.
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