December 11, 2023

Interview with an Aviator: Mia Loxley

For those called to take flight, the skies teem with possibility. For Mia Loxley, aviation captured her imagination thanks to a childhood spent under the flight paths of Chicago O’Hare. Now a pilot for Jet Linx, her journey has been defined by daring, drive, and a bit of wanderlust. 

In this month’s Interview with an Aviator, we chart the path of a woman who shifts seamlessly from the concierge desk to the flight deck. From her days in ROTC to checking off flight ratings and exploring a myriad of aviation careers, Loxley’s path reveals how each experience shaped her evolution as an aviator. Join us as Loxley recounts her key influences, favorite destinations, proudest in-flight moments, and more.

Loxley’s first flight at Jet Linx in a Citation XLS, flying from Jet Linx Scottsdale to Aspen, Colorado.

Tell us about your background.

I was born in San Antonio, Texas, at Lackland Air Force Base where my dad was stationed until I was about six months old. My dad was an infantry captain in the Army but was not involved in aviation. We then moved to the Chicago suburbs when I was very young, settling in Elk Grove Village, Illinois – a small suburb about ten minutes from Chicago O’Hare International Airport.

When did your interest in aviation begin? Why did you want to become a pilot?

Growing up near O’Hare I spent a lot of time listening (or trying not to listen) to planes flying overhead. As a kid, I did a lot of traveling with my grandparents and knew I wanted to do something that would allow me to keep moving and exploring different places. I also went to the Chicago Air and Water Show a few times, but nothing really clicked with me until I started with the ROTC in college.

For my undergraduate education, I first attended the University of Oregon for two years as a business major and spent most of my time there in ROTC trying to commission as a 2nd Lieutenant in the United States Army – where I hoped to branch aviation and become an army pilot. Unfortunately, that route did not work out for me, but I found another way to make my dreams and career goals come true. I decided to transfer to the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks to begin my future as a pilot. I graduated from UND in 2021 with a Bachelor of Science in Aviation Management and a specialization in Business Aviation. While in North Dakota, I completed my private pilot, instrument, commercial single-engine, and commercial multi-engine ratings.

Are any of your relatives involved in aviation?

I have no relatives who are pilots or in the field of aviation, so I am beyond proud to be the first. It has been so rewarding to show my parents and family everything I’ve learned over the last four years and teach them about the aviation community along the way.

Loxley preparing for takeoff in a Yak-52 enroute from San Diego to Mesa, Arizona. With only one hour of fuel, it took many stops to reach the destination.

Describe your career path before coming to Jet Linx.

I was about a year into school at North Dakota and had been working at my job at the country club. That’s when I realized that I wanted to learn more about the different sectors of the aviation industry. I didn’t have a good mentor or much knowledge about the types of jobs I could pursue outside of going to the airlines. So, I wanted to try to gain exposure to every kind of aviation environment that I could.

While I was still in school getting my ratings and degree, I was a part-time flight operations intern for General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc. where I trained in unmanned aircraft systems on the MQ-9 Reaper drone. In this role, I assisted with operational oversight between aircraft, ensuring aviation safety as an electronic and visual observer, and maintained flight records and logbooks for the pilots.

After I graduated, I moved to Arizona to complete my flight instructor ratings and build up my flight time. I worked full-time as an airport data analyst for Aero Data by Garmin. This position specialized in short-term airport changes and how they affect engine failure procedures for many different aircraft around the world.

Eventually, I became a full-time flight instructor for Sierra Charlie Aviation in Scottdale. Throughout my time there, I developed a deeper understanding and appreciation for aviation. Sending students on their first solo and shaking their hand after they had passed a check ride have been one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve had in aviation so far.

While flight instructing, I began working part time for Jet Linx at their Scottsdale location as a Junior Personal Flight Concierge. I wanted to learn more about the charter side of aviation and if that was a path I would be interested in eventually taking. Interacting with Jet Card Members, Aircraft Owners, crew members, and the Base team really opened my eyes to the possibilities this industry holds. Learning everything that goes on behind the scenes and the teamwork involved solidified my decision that corporate aviation would be my goal.

How has your time as a Personal Flight Concierge (PFC) helped you perform better on the flight deck, or vice versa?

Being a PFC prior to becoming a crew member has helped me tremendously, not only as a concierge but as a pilot in the corporate environment. Learning the ropes from the local Scottsdale team helped build many skills such as hospitality, trip planning and the team collaboration necessary to quote, book, and plan trips. Even as a pilot, I still find myself making sure that guests have everything they need including their preferred snacks and beverages.

When a Member or Aircraft Owner steps on the aircraft, we already know who they are and any preferences they have. Being able to anticipate and cater to our clients’ needs is a crucial skill I learned from my time as a PFC. I can communicate with clients on a more personal level and troubleshoot when issues might arise.

Loxley posing with her type rating certificate, allowing her to fly for Jet Linx.

What are your thoughts on the safety culture at Jet Linx?

I believe that the safety culture at Jet Linx is unlike any other private aviation operator. The emphasis placed on safety is reflected with the annual Safety Summit. Our safety reporting program and quarterly seminars also help improve awareness on what is trending in the industry. I feel supported and prepared by my fellow crew members and all the professionals at the National Operations Center.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

The simple answer is flying, but the real answer is the people. Flying was inevitable in my career path, coming across lifelong friends and mentors is never a given. During my year as a PFC and now as a pilot, I’ve had the opportunity to meet many Jet Linx team members in Omaha, Scottsdale, and other Bases nationwide. Everyone is so welcoming, caring, and compassionate. I always look forward to being with my team, both in and out of the office.

Do you have a favorite flight route or favorite destinations?

So far, my favorite place I’ve flown to is Aspen, Colorado, it was my first trip as a Jet Linx pilot. I am looking forward to many more destinations soon. I am crossing my fingers for a trip to Chicago so my family can watch me takeoff or land and see how far I’ve come in my journey as a pilot.

Did you have a mentor that helped you along your journey to becoming a pilot?

My mom helped me throughout my journey of becoming a pilot and achieving my ratings. Even though she isn’t a pilot, she is the one who taught me that if you have a dream and work hard, you’ll achieve your goals. She was always there for me, even though we were often on opposite sides of the country. Before every check ride, we would Face Time so she could calm my nerves. Then, after every check ride, we’d Face Time again and celebrate another milestone together.

A sunset formation flight with Loxley piloting the Yak-52 with friends piloting the Laser 200.

What aircraft are you typed on and how many flight hours do you have?

I am currently typed on the Citation XLS and have just over 825 total flight hours.

Do you have a favorite aircraft to fly? Or have you ever flown any unique models?

My favorite aircraft I’ve ever flown is a Yak-52. They were originally built in the 1970s as a Soviet trainer aircraft and are unique because of the nine-cylinder radial motor that has a distinct sound, a pneumatic-powered system instead of hydraulic, and are sporty with agile handling characteristics.

What is your best aviation story?

I was flying my mom to breakfast for Mother’s Day this year. It was our first time flying together and it was so special to treat her to a fun day and show her what I get to do for a living. She and my family mean absolutely everything to me, so knowing how proud they are was the best feeling I’ve ever had flying an airplane.

While not piloting for Jet Linx, Loxley often flies recreationally with her boyfriend or other friends, traveling to other destinations near Scottsdale or flying unique aircraft.

What is something that people may not know about you? Or do you have any hobbies you’d like to share?

I love watching sports, Chicago teams specifically, and attending games with my friends and family. I love to play golf and spent many years working at a golf course and playing in tournaments and matches. 

What advice would you share with a younger pilot or someone interested in pursuing a career in aviation?

The best advice I could give to any aspiring aviator is to follow your dreams and goals. Be sponge and learn as much as you can along the way, whether it is through friends, organizations, aviation-related jobs, or just being at the airport. Take every opportunity you can to fly and do it safely. Study hard because it all pays off in the long run.

Are you involved in any aviation organizations?

I volunteer flight instruct for Aviation Explorers out of Falcon Field in Mesa, Arizona in my free time. They are an organization paired with the Boy Scouts of America which helps young aviators begin their journey to become a private pilot and gain more expertise in the industry. I began my journey with them recently as a way to give back to the aviation community, share my knowledge and all I’ve learned about this passion to young aspiring pilots. 

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