Compass First Officer Defies the Odds

Becoming a commercial airline pilot requires a tremendous amount of hard work and dedication.  No one knows that better than First Officer Marlon Dayes, whose journey to the Compass flight deck was fraught with challenges.  “Whenever I tell other pilots about how I got here, a lot of them get emotional and express how proud they are of me,” Marlon says.

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Compass Airlines First Officer Marlon Dayes

Marlon was born in Jamaica, where he was raised by a single mother.  “We didn’t have much, but my mother always told me to believe, because we would find a way.”  When Marlon was five, he took his first airplane ride to the United States.  The pilots showed him the cockpit, and he was hooked.  He was going to be a pilot.  He would find a way.

Six years ago, Marlon moved to the United States, where he hoped to find a better life and study aviation.  Eventually, all of the pieces fell into place, and he was given the opportunity to study aviation at Florida Institute of Technology.

“At first, I struggled to find the finances for school, but many miracles and blessings fell upon me, allowing me to receive world class aviation training.”

After finishing his degree in Aviation Management with an airline pilot focus, Marlon reached ATP minimums by working as a flight instructor at FIT Aviation, LLC, a flight school affiliated with his alma mater.

When the time came to apply for a commercial airline job, Marlon knew that he wanted to fly the Embraer 175, which made his decision to interview with Compass an easy one.  Now he’s a Los Angeles-based First Officer, flying the Embraer 175 in some of the world’s busiest air space.  As a new commercial pilot, one of his biggest challenges was learning to follow Air Traffic Control’s speed assignments, then slowing down quickly and configuring for landing.  “Flying commercially has taught me to plan way ahead, as well as to think and react faster,” he remarked.

One of the things about Compass that impresses Marlon the most is its commitment to safety.”It’s in my DNA now to always make safety my number one priority.  The safety culture at Compass is amazing.”

While Marlon admits that it was challenging to adjust to the Embraer 175 after flight instructing in a light twin engine aircraft, his fellow pilots have mentored him every step of the way and are committed to his success.

I’ve had very good mentors. Compass is my first real crew environment, and I’ve been blessed to fly with good Captains that value teamwork, as well as my input.  Starting my flying career here at Compass has been nothing short of a dream come true.”