Brad Lambert & Mike Suckow

Brad Lambert, Vice President Flight Operations, Frontier Airlines

After graduating from Purdue University with a Bachelor of Science Degree, Brad attended flight school at the Flight Safety Academy in Vero Beach, Florida. Brad started his airline journey with Mesaba Aviation based in Detroit, Michigan. From there, Brad worked for Airborne Express, US Airways, USA 3000 Airlines while simultaneously obtaining his Juris Doctor Degree from Widener University School of Law (Now the Delaware Law School). 

In 2006, Brad moved to the Bay Area with Virgin America where he assisted in some of the startup functions and became the SFO Chief Pilot. Following a couple of industry moves after Virgin America, and some time assisting Airbus Industries to build training centers in Mexico, Brad is now the Vice President of Flight Operations for Frontier Airlines based in Denver CO. He holds an ATP and is typed in the SA227, FK100, A320 and A330.


Mike Suckow, Professor of Practice, School of Aviation & Transportation Technology, Purdue University

Professor Suckow joined Purdue’s faculty in 2001 where his teaching responsibilities include advanced transport category operations and senior capstone course advising. His research activities focus on next-generation talent development for the airline industry by leveraging the convergence of regulatory standards, best practices and the space between certificate management and curriculum management, Professor Suckow’s team is working to optimize the match between competencies, technology, and pedagogy to deliver job ready candidates.

Prior to joining Purdue, Professor Suckow held several senior management positions in the regional airline sector. He holds a BS in Aeronautical Administration from Parks College of Aeronautical Technology and an MBA from St. Bonaventure University. Professor Suckow holds FAA Air Transport Pilot ratings for Saab 340, Fairchild Metro III, Embraer Phenom 100, and is a Certified Flight Instructor with Instrument & Multiengine privileges. He has accumulated over 8,000 hours as a pilot.

Job Capable to Job Ready: Working Together to Improve Quality

Purdue and Frontier, along with another professional training organization, are determined to develop a program which produces airline quality pilots upon graduation from collegiate aviation programs. As envisioned, pilots would graduate with their R-ATP, typed in the A320 family aircraft, and trained in airline specific areas that have been pre-determined to be most important attributes to succeed at Frontier and other airlines. While the first two years at Purdue emphasize the mechanics of flying, or technical skills, the real curriculum development is in the second half of the student’s academic career. In this way, Purdue and Frontier are partnering to understand, and develop, the training needed to “season” a pilot during the last two years of their academic training, their behavior competency. This curriculum is a combination of classroom and simulator training designed to place the student in situations they would normally encounter in the years of flying prior to being hired by a major carrier. 

Over the last year, Purdue and Frontier have studied the gaps in knowledge between those pilots with relatively low experience and those with much higher flight time. This analysis is helping us tailor a training program to address areas which may need attention. Continuing competency-based testing is being designed and modified to measure competencies throughout the university experience and continuing into the airline training experience to ensure successful candidates flow though airline training programs and into line flying.   

We believe pilots trained, tested, and evaluated through four years of higher education will enhance the quality, standardization, and safety of partner airlines through a better balance of technical skills and behavior skills, thus enhancing the quality of newly hired airline pilots.