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!!

Aviation Vocab 101: Training

Training

Do you know what is consistently emphasized more than anything else in this industry, outside of safety? Through the title you might be able to guess – training. It serves as the foundation for your entire career. Every airline has their own new hire training program tailored to their aircraft types, culture and preference. Regardless of the airline you choose to fly for, you’ll need to know some basic terms related to training:

Recurrent: Once a year for four days pilots are required to undergo recurrent training to enhance their skills, learn any new or updated procedures, and refresh their knowledge on standards and requirements. It can include several different “lessons” including emergency procedures, learning new and/or revised procedures, and pilots can even request to review certain procedures based on their level of need.

Initial Operating Experience (IOE): We’re going to let you in on a secret – the first time you fly an actual CRJ or ERJ you’ll have real passengers in the back!  Your first flight in a CRJ or ERJ is in an operating aircraft with passengers on board – paying passengers who are expecting an experienced pilot to deliver them to their destination safely. This experience, called IOE, is a real-world test with an experienced instructor pilot intended to familiarize you with flying the line.

Full motion simulator: Also called a Level D Sim, the full motion simulator is an accurate replication of an aircraft flight deck and simulates the true movements, visuals and responses of the aircraft systems. It is used during flight training to simulate actual flight experiences that a pilot might encounter in a safe environment.

Line check pilot: This term is synonymous with line check airman. These individuals are senior captains with significant flight experience. It is a part 121 FAR requirement that pilots (both in training and out of training) must be observed by a line check pilot. While in the aircraft they are observing several different things including checklist usage, approach briefings, weather analysis and other operating procedures.

Type-Rating: Certification of a pilot to fly a certain aircraft type that requires additional training outside of the scope of initial pilot license and general training.

Airline Transport Pilot (ATP): Certification that qualifies pilots to fly commercial, passenger-carrying aircraft.  The ATP certification training program (ATP CTP) became a requirement on Aug.1 2014. The CTP, which must be taken before a new pilot can take the ATP written test and obtain ATP certification, is usually completed independently by an aspiring pilot and can cost around $5,000. ExpressJet was the first passenger-carrying airline to receive FAA approval on an in-house ATP CTP course, which we offer for free to new hire pilots as part of our paid training.

Graphic Flight-Desk Simulation (GFS): Computer-based device that offers real-time simulation for the flight deck controls of an aircraft. Simulators are able to display realistic flight conditions and malfunctions.

There is a lot to learn when beginning your commercial aviation career, but ExpressJet is here to help you every step of the way. Our industry-leading training will equip you with the confidence to know how fly our aircraft safely, and grow in your career. All of our instructors are ExpressJet pilots, so they know our equipment, our values and our high standards. We have a 92% success rate and we are committed to making sure you are successful. ExpressJet doesn’t just train regional pilots, we train future major pilots.

We want to help you make the smart choice for your future by providing you with the information you need to know. If you have any questions about our training, visit flysmartchoice.com. In the upcoming weeks, we will be bringing you more aviation vocab terms.

Check out the other articles in our Aviation Vocab 101 Series:

Aviation Vocab 101: Work Rules

Work Rules Breakdown

Frequently, in the recruiting conversation, the term “work rules” is repeated consistently. However, do you really know what these work rules are and how they benefit you? Do you really know how these work rules apply to your job as a future pilot? With more than a dozen work rules for each airline it can become overwhelming to remember it all. There’s a lot to think about when you’re making your decision on where to begin your commercial aviation career. We aim to help you make the smart choice for your future by giving you the information you need to make an informed decision. Below you can find some of our work rules, and information to help you make the right decision for you.

Per Diem: Term to describe the method used by flight crewmembers to account for their meals and incidental expenses paid by the company while they are on the road

At ExpressJet we offer a per diem rate of $1.85/hr. effective on the date we signed our new contract extension and an increase to $1.90/hr. effective 18 months after your date of signing. That currently adds up to $44.40 per 24 hour day away from home.

Pay Protection: Guaranteed pay

Crewmembers receive full pay protection for cancelled or reassigned flights at ExpressJet. If your flights/trip becomes cancelled, you are still paid at the same rate as if you were still flying a trip.

Deadhead Pay: From time to time the airline needs to reposition crewmembers to another city to fly their next flight. They fly as passengers in the back with the passengers, and here at ExpressJet our crewmembers are paid their full hourly rate to do so.

We provide 100% deadhead pay when crewmembers are repositioning for work.

Duty/Trip Rig Pay: Trip rig pay is based on time away from base. Duty rig pay is the amount of time based on the duration of time spent on duty.

At ExpressJet we offer duty/trip rig pay on top of pay for time in the air.

Our ERJ trip rigs are:
4 day trip = Minimum 15 hours of pay
3.75 hours of min day pay for an off day pick up
3 hours of min day pay for a calendar day layover on a trip
2 hours of min day pay for a flying day during a trip

Our CRJ duty rigs are:
Paid 1 minute for every 2 minutes of work up to 12 hours (1:2)
Paid 1 minute for every 1 minute of work after 12 hours (1:1)
3.87 hours of min day pay

Profit Sharing: A benefit where employees are able to receive a direct share of the profits made.

ExpressJet’s Scoreboard Rewards program rewards our people for company performance. All employees receive equal monetary rewards based on meeting our performance goals, paid out quarterly. In addition, we offer a profit-sharing program that shares our company’s profits with all team members. Our pilots will receive a minimum guaranteed profit-sharing payout for 2016 ($1,000) and 2017 ($1,500). Total value of profit sharing payments shall be equal to 6% of the net profit of ExpressJet Airlines, distributed equally among all eligible pilots, or the minimum guarantees, whichever is higher.

We want to help you make the smart choice for your future by providing you with the information you need to know. If you have any questions about our industry leading work rules, visit flysmartchoice.com or contact pilotrecruiting@expressjet.com.

Check out the other articles in our Aviation Vocab 101 Series:

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