Tampa man wins chance to train in rare JetBlue, pilot training program

Posted at 5:45 PM, Feb 22, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-22 18:07:40-05

It’s a dream that has been 28 years in the making for Terence Harris.

“I remember running with my arms stretched out wide as a kid, as if I was an airplane,” says Terence Harris.  “I think that’s where my love for aviation was born.”

That love was cut shot in 2014 though. Terence lost his job and couldn’t afford flight lessons anymore. At that point, it didn’t look like becoming a commercial pilot would be in the cards for him.

He finally got a new job as an insurance adjuster, but money was still tight. Then, he heard about the chance to make his dream come true.

"I found out about it actually on Facebook!  Someone who is close to me knew that I wanted to be a pilot," says Harris.

He’s talking about the day he discovered the JetBlue Airways Gateway Select Program. It’s a first of it’s kind pilot training in the United States.

He and a handful of other hopefuls were chosen out of 3,000 applicants nationwide (he is the only one selected in Tampa Bay), but at $125,000 the program comes at a huge cost. Harris says it’s worth it considering he is almost sure he will have a job at the end of the 4-year program.

"I do have a conditional job offer as long as I do complete the program and flight instruct for two years," says Harris.

If he can raise the money he needs to complete the program through donations ; he wants to give back to the Tampa Bay community.

“That's why I have created a scholarship. It’s a $10,000 scholarship for a high school or college student who wants to earn their private pilot’s license."

He says he is hoping to show others, through his story, you can land exactly where your dreams take you.