Jessalyn attributes her early professional aspirations to a community pilot association at a small airport in Muskoka, Ontario. After attending the University of Waterloo, where she studied geography, she completed flight training and began working as a first officer at Sunwing Airlines.
Favorite aircraft: Boeing 737
Window or Aisle? Window
Favorite social network: Instagram
Passport stamp you wish you had: New Zealand
Why did you decide to become a pilot?
There are a few reasons. First, it was my experience at the age of eight when I had the privilege of going on a Young Eagles free flight for kids out of Gravenhurst Airport, in Muskoka, Ontario. I felt sheer joy along with amazement when the wheels lifted off the ground.
After that, it was thanks to members of a community pilots association who shared their passion and love for flying. It made me want to be a part of it. I loved the idea of helping others get from Point A to Point B and doing it by way of a mode of transportation that makes our world so much smaller and more accessible.
I was also encouraged by women who spoke of the shortage of women in the industry and cheered me on in my pursuit. It was inspiring to see female pilots, and I strived to join them, and in turn encourage other young girls in their pursuit and set fire to their passion. In 2017, I was honored to be recognized by the Northern Lights Aero Foundation for women in aviation as the Rising Star in Canada for my passion and accomplishments thus far in my career.
How can the industry encourage more young people to take up the profession?
One of the best ways is by giving them a taste of it. I caught the travel bug at a small airport offering free flights for kids. The training itself comes at a price, so to be able to experience flight without the added price tag would be a great opportunity for young people.
“I loved the idea of helping others get from Point A to Point B and doing it by way of a mode of transportation that makes our world so much smaller and more accessible.”
Did you choose the airline industry or did it choose you?
The airline industry chose me, but I would have chosen it eventually! I am very fortunate and grateful for the opportunity that Sunwing Airlines gave me after graduating from the University
of Waterloo. Previously in the industry, it would take pilots many years to work their way up to the airlines. Due to the pilot shortage that Canada is facing, airlines are beginning to find alternative ways to recruit pilots. Sunwing has developed a cadet program, partnering with flight schools across Canada. I was selected as one of the cadets in 2017 and underwent six months of intensive training, completing my Boeing 737-800 type rating, and now work as a first officer at Sunwing.
What’s something memorable that you’ve observed while flying?
One of my favorite things to observe in flight is my beautiful “office” view. From seeing the northern lights on a flight to Calgary, to a red-eye flight where I chase the sun westward and then see it rise in the east just a few short hours later, it never ceases to amaze me.
Best spot for planespotting?
On a sunny day, I grab some snacks and head to a rooftop that overlooks Toronto’s Billy Bishop Airport. It’s picturesque.
“APEX in Profile: Jessalyn Teed” was originally published in the 8.5 December/January issue of APEX Experience magazine.