First group of LIFT Academy flight students transition to airline pilots in just two and a half years

INDIANAPOLIS–(BUSINESS WIRE)–#flywithlift–In September of 2018, Leadership In Flight Training (LIFT) Academy opened its hangar doors at Indianapolis International Airport to train individuals from zero flight experience (ab initio) through all the certifications necessary for the airlines. Just two and a half years later, its first group of students are ready to make the move they’ve dreamt about for so long—taking off as a commercial airline pilot with Republic Airways.

Next month, beginning June 1, eight LIFT Academy pilots will begin their careers with Republic Airways. Republic, a regional airline with its headquarters in Indianapolis and crew and maintenance bases in ten other cities across the Midwest and east coast, operates daily flights for American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and United Airlines.

Evan Millan, a LIFT Academy student and flight instructor who previously worked at Republic as a flight dispatcher, has dreamed of becoming an airline pilot for years. “I didn’t know if that dream would ever come true, so I became a licensed dispatcher to get as close as I thought would be possible to becoming a pilot. When Republic opened LIFT Academy, the cost, Republic’s sponsorship and the defined pathway to having a job reserved as a pilot with Republic were what made becoming a pilot attainable for me. And now my dream is becoming a reality.”

Millan was a recipient of Republic’s employee sponsorship program, which provides a 50 percent tuition sponsorship paid by Republic for its employees and employees’ dependents. The sponsorship offers front-line aviation professionals and their dependents an opportunity to advance their careers to the flight deck with financial support, omitting a barrier that would otherwise prohibit them from pursuing a career as a pilot.

Republic’s LIFT Academy is the first U.S. airline-owned and operated flight training program in the new generation of flight training. When it launched in 2018, it began its mission to make flight and maintenance training attainable and accessible to anyone with the passion and aptitude for a career in the airlines. Less than three years later, it has quickly become one of the largest flight schools in the nation. Nearly 300 students from all over the United States train in Indianapolis with LIFT and its curriculum designated for airline training.

“Students from across the U.S. have been attracted to our program for countless reasons, but two factors distinguish us as an aviation training academy,” Dana Donati, General Manager of LIFT Academy, stated. “We are training pilots specifically for the airlines with proprietary, customized training curriculum with airline procedures being taught from day one, and we’ve led the way in breaking barriers to entry for anyone to realize their potential in an airline career.”

With LIFT’s three flight program options (pilot career pathway, individual certifications or a collegiate pathway in partnership with Vincennes University), students have a defined path to pursue a pilot position with Republic Airways to begin their career in the airline industry. Students who pursue the career pathway program receive a sponsorship of $15,000 from Republic Airways toward their tuition and have a position reserved at the airline upon successful completion of the program. Additional information on the programs, sponsorship and flow to Republic Airways can be found at

“There are a lot of people like me who think becoming a pilot is unattainable. There have been a lot of barriers that keep people from pursuing [a career as a pilot], but LIFT has made it possible for me, and its mission is to do the same for others,” Millan shared.

About LIFT Academy: Leadership In Flight Training (LIFT) Academy is a U.S.-based commercial aviation pilot training school owned and operated by Republic Airways. Headquartered in Indianapolis, Indiana, LIFT revolutionizes commercial aviation training, utilizing state-of-the-art, eco-friendly training technologies and systems to educate future aviators. Students receive instruction from experienced pilots, under FAA and industry standards, with the most advanced equipment and curriculum that combines flight, flight simulator, online and in-classroom training. LIFT Academy students train on a fleet of advanced new aircraft and flight simulators produced by Diamond Aircraft Industries, including the DA40 single-engine and the DA42 twin-engine aircraft, as well as Diamond Flight Simulator Training Devices (FSTD) built to achieve the most realistic cockpit simulation environment. LIFT offers its graduates a defined pathway to a pilot career at Republic Airways.


Lauren Gaudion

Republic Airways Director of Communications

(317) 471-2478