From Cabin to Cockpit – My Adventures in Flight Training #7

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Hello everyone!! I am currently ONE WEEK away from my instrument checkride!!! Time is flying by, and I have been keeping myself busy! The last month has included a lot of flying, ground school, and passing my instrument and instructor instrument exams! I do not even know where to begin with this update!

After completing my private pilot checkride, I moved straight into instrument flying. I almost feel as if I am learning how to fly again. Instrument flying is so different from VFR flight rules. I now have to wear “foggles” to make sure I can only look at my flight instruments when I fly….so that means no more looking outside! I also am able to fly in the child’s, which has been a blast. I had to complete twenty hours of instrument time build before starting my instrument training. The time build was a lot of fun! I flew from DuPage to Oshkosh, WI which was somewhere I have always wanted to fly; now I just have to fly in for the air show! I also flew over part of Lake Michigan when I went from DuPage to Lansing, MI for another cross country flight. In my time build I learned how to pick up IFR clearances, how to fly solely on the flight instruments, and how to land using various instrument approaches. It is A LOT to think about while still flying an airplane.

 

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Once I was finished with my time build, I then completed numerous flight simulator lessons. These consisted of flying different approaches, departure and arrival procedures, holding patterns, DME ARCS, and more unusual attitude flying. After completing the simulator time, I then went out for my flights where I practiced everything I learned in the simulator now in the airplane. Instrument flying is a lot of fun, but it sure is different. There is so much more to think about, and everything happens so fast! I am becoming a lot more comfortable with multitasking, and am getting better with reading approach plates while communicating with air traffic control while still trying to fly the plane.

 

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Somewhere between all of my flying and ground school I also passed my instrument and flight instructor written exams! These two tests were extremely difficult because of the amount of questions there were to study. The exam is only sixty questions, but then there are over 1,200 questions to study from. It is a huge relief to have these exams finished! Next week will continue to be extremely busy as I prepare for my checkride. I am continuing to work hard, and am over a month ahead in my program. I am looking forward to telling you all about my instrument checkride, and what will be up next in my ATP program!!

From Cabin to Cockpit – My Adventures in Flight Training #6

I AM OFFICIALLY A PRIVATE PILOT!!!!  After days and hours of studying, I earned my private pilot license on August 15th!

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I was extremely busy between my solo flight and my private pilot check ride.  After completing my solo flight, I went on to complete solo cross country flights.  I flew from DuPage, IL to Janesville, WI to Whiteside, IL and then back to DuPage.  I flew this route two times for my cross country solos.  Because the DuPage airport is located so close to O’Hare, I was flying underneath the jets that were going in to land at ORD.  The solo cross country flights were a blast, and I even was able to hear ExpressJet on the radio frequencies!  Once I completed these flights, I then moved onto my check ride preparations.  I worked on flying fundamentals such as steep turns, slow flight, stalls, emergency procedures, There were quite a few days I would arrive at the training center early in the morning and stay as late as ten o’clock at night to make sure I knew everything there was to know about the airplane’s systems, the types of airspace, weather, and anything else I could have been asked on my test.

 

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To say I was nervous for my check ride was a huge understatement.  My check ride was completed in Gary, Indiana.  I arrived to DuPage early in the morning to prepare a few last minute things such as getting the weather for my flight, and asking other students many last minute questions before CFI Paul Zapotoczny and I flew out for my check ride to Gary.  Once we arrived, we met my examiner (DPE) and began with the oral portion of the exam.  I thought I was prepared, but I did not realize just how much information I knew!  It was such a great feeling to know I was so well prepared for this big day. After passing the oral, I then went for the flying portion of the exam, and completed a cross country flight, stalls, steep turns, emergency procedures, and then finished with a few landings at Gary.  It was probably by far the most nervous I have ever been flying, and my legs would not stop shaking the entire flight, but I passed, and did very well!  The flight back to DuPage was much more relaxing and enjoyable as I was not nearly as nervous and much more excited!  The great day ended with a big celebration with my family.  It will be a day I remember forever!

Since earning my pilot’s license, I have been checked out to rent a plane.  My mother was the first person other than an instructor to fly with me!  I took my mom flying to Rochelle, IL for her birthday, where we had dinner and watched skydivers for the evening.  It was a lot of fun to show my mom just how much I have learned in such a short amount of time!  I can not wait to be able to take the rest of my family flying in the near future!

 

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I still can not believe how quickly I am completing the ATP program.  I earned my private pilot’s license in two months and about a week!  I have a lot more great news to share with all of you in my upcoming blogs.  Thank you again to everyone that has been following along, and especially my family and instructors at ATP for all of your support!

My training does not stop at my private, it is now time to learn how to fly in the clouds!!

From Cabin to Cockpit – My Adventures in Flight Training #5

Eight weeks and fifty three flight hours later, I DID IT!!! I completed my first solo flight! I am so excited to share my first solo experience with all of you!

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I completed my solo evaluation flight Monday, and was able to fly my first solo flight the following day.  I woke up around three in the morning for my first solo.  The winds had to be perfect; no more than ten knots of wind and no more than a five knot crosswind.

Before sending me off, my instructor Maks Surowka, and I performed three take offs and landings in the traffic pattern to make sure I was ready.  I then dropped him off, and went on my way as a student pilot first solo flight in the traffic pattern!  I do not think I have ever had more emotions going through my mind until I was lined up on the runway by myself.  I was ready to go, excited, nervous, and knew there was no going back once I took off!  Once airborne, I was not as nervous until it came time to land.  I knew I was ready for my solo flight, and was very confident in myself.  My landings were probably the best I have ever done, mainly because I knew my CFI would not be there to save them!

 

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I was soloing in the traffic pattern for about one hour.  Once I was finished,  returned back to our parking and we were all ready to celebrate!  Later in the day, Maks cut the back of my shirt. For those unfamiliar with the ritual, the instructor cuts the back of the pilot’s shirt into a rectangle and the pilot writes their solo dates and plane number on the back.  It means you’re “free” from your instructor and on your own!  It was a very memorable day, and I am extremely proud of myself!

 

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My week did not end there, I finished my required four hours of solo flights in the traffic pattern, and completed another cross country flight.  I now am preparing for my two solo cross country flights which I am hoping to finish in the next week.  My private pilot check ride is also quickly approaching, so I have been very busy studying and having a lot of ground school to prepare me for the big day! I am hoping to be a private pilot by mid August!

Once again, thank you to everyone for all of your positive feedback and support! I am continuing to work hard, and am rapidly making my way through my ATP program.  I am hoping my next blog entry will include my first solo cross country flight!

Stay tuned for my next adventures!!

AP3 Summer Camp Recap

 

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The ExpressJet Recruiting Team hosted eleven flight students enrolled in our AP3 program for our August AP3 Camp this week in Atlanta. The camp provides select students in our AP3 program the opportunity to get a behind-the-scenes look at a live airline operation. Over the course of three days they learn about professionalism and career planning, pilot training and, in some cases, even complete an interview for a First Officer position.

The event kicked off Monday, July 31 with a welcome celebration (which included doughnuts!) at our A-Tech facility near Hartsfield Jackson International Airport. Students were then able to meet with our Crew Resource Management teams and learned all about emergency procedures training in our CRJ cockpit trainer. A tour of the maintenance, dispatch, and operational support facilities followed, which gave students a firsthand look at the 24/7/365 operation and all that it takes to launch an airplane. After a catered lunch students dove into learning more about career pilot lifestyle, such as seniority-based career progression and met with dispatchers and crew scheduling. The evening wrapped up with another critical pilot skill – golfing! The group ventured out on the town to Top Golf in Midtown Atlanta for dinner, arcade games and a friendly golf competition.

After an early breakfast at the A-Tech, the second day of adventures began with a tour of the ATL crew room facilities in Concourse C of the airport where students got to check out the Chief Pilot and Chief Flight Attendant offices and even flight crew rest areas. Captain Darrin Greubel, ExpressJet Director of Flight Operations, spoke to our AP3 students about the state of the regional industry, some career planning considerations and all about the life of a pilot ExpressJet.

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Later that day, the students were able to fly a full motion CRJ simulator with an instructor pilot from our training department. As all the students rotated in and out of the simulator, those who met our qualifications for the AP3 early interview process were given the opportunity to complete their AP3 testing onsite. We’re very excited to announce seven of the Camp attendees were successful and went home with a conditional job offer here at ExpressJet. Once they finish school and gain some flight experience, they’ll be on their way to the front end of one of our jets! Celebrations followed at Atlanta’s new SunTrust Park for an Atlanta Braves baseball game.

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On the third and final day, the group spent the morning touring the Atlanta Terminal Radar Approach Control (TRACON) air traffic control facility, located south of the airport in Peachtree City. They got an in-depth look at one of the busiest radar approach control facilities in the country. In addition to funneling all air traffic in and out of ATL, the Atlanta TRACON also covers the numerous satellite airports in the entire metro Atlanta area.

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After a farewell lunch with recruiters, the students headed home with new memories, knowledge, and connections that we hope they will carry with them throughout their flying careers.

From Cabin to Cockpit: My Adventures in Flight Training – #4

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Sometimes it is good to take a break from studying and relax! Last weekend, I had the opportunity to fly with my brother at Cushing Airfield. It was a blast being able to fly with my brother, Logan, before he goes back to UND in August. I also flew with one of the ATP instructors and my brother to the Chicago skyline! It was very cool to experience takeoffs and landings at a soft field airport and also to see the city!

 
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This past week I have been busy studying for my private pilot oral exam and also busy preparing for my solo flight. I finished two cross country flights, flew at night for the first time, completed my solo preparation flights, and now am waiting for my solo evaluation flight.

Cross country flying has been a blast! I am still getting the hang of when to call different ATC frequencies, and figuring out how to talk on the radio for un-controlled airports. It definitely feels weird to fly outside of the traffic pattern, as this was what I have been primarily flying the last few weeks. I also completed my first night flight. I flew up to Janesville, Wisconsin and then back to DuPage for my night cross country flight. It was a lot of fun being able to see the city lights, and very neat to be able to land at the airport at night!

I am currently preparing for my first solo flight. I am scheduled for my solo evaluation early this coming week, and am hoping to complete my solo by the end of the week. I have fifty flight hours, and am very close to the end of my private pilot stage of the ATP program. Everything is going by so fast, and I am continuing to work hard. This coming week is going to be very exciting, I can not wait to share my first solo with you all in my future blog!

 

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