Adapt and Overcome

I’m nearly 7 weeks into my internship and the most valuable skill I’ve learned thus far is the ability to adapt. Not only is Space Tango a start-up, but the companies we work with expect reasonable turnover times. I myself am the current point of contact for all press and media information in-going and outgoing. I have to have all the information ready for public release and company distribution.

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Although delayed a day at the last minute, Space Tango successfully launched experiments on SpaceX CRS-10, pictured above.

However, working with launches can be unpredictable. Just as quickly as a launch date changes from week to week, I have to be able to update the press kits and all news information. Most recently, CRS-10 launch date and time was changed a week before launch. Space Tango was informed as soon as possible, and most conveniently, the day we were all to begin our travels to Cape Canaveral. The team got a chance to sleep in a little, but as soon as they arrived to the office to reevaluate their mission timeline it was calm chaos.

It sounds like a contradiction, but it was one of those “you have to be there to understand it” situations. Flights couldn’t be changed and all the equipment was packed. Some experiments that we carried had to be kept cold. Despite the finite details that all had to be kept in mind while planning around the launch change, everyone was so calm. They adapted to the situation.

In the end, things don’t always work as we may hope. We do, however, have to be ready to accommodate to changes. More so, you can’t fight the facts. Accept change as it comes and work accordingly.

Ditch the Yellow Brick Road

Interning at Space Tango has certainly put project management into perspective. Throughout my last four years at Riddle nothing was more challenging to me than staying on task. Assignments sometimes require so much more than we expect.

So what happens when you give a communication major MATLAB for a math gen ed? What happens when you give an engineer a business plan? Or a paper to write? Or a lab to test for safety and health issues? At Space Tango, the CEO is more than just a businessman. Twyman Clements is not only an engineer, but sometimes he’s a marketing specialist, a technical report writer, and a human factors psychologist all in one day. Staying on task means taking on extra responsibility.
On the International Space Station, astronauts have a VERY strict schedule. Their days are planned out by the second. Astronauts don’t get to float back and watch an episode of Bob’s Burgers. They have to follow the red line. On their schedule, known as the Onboard Short Term Plan Viewer (OSTPV), a dotted red line runs across the screen at the pace they should be working. Astronauts use this to figure out if they are on task, or behind.

An old OSTPV that astronauts use. The dotted red line indicates where on their schedule astronauts should be.

An old OSTPV that astronauts use. The dotted red line indicates where on their schedule astronauts should be.

As we know, each astronaut is extensively skilled. They’re more than just astronauts. They’re physicists, biomedical engineers, researchers, and many of which are parents, too. “Astronaut” is a pretty broad title, and even with all their responsibility they manage to follow the red line.

We often overlook the humanities courses that we take, but I’m witnessing first-hand how it all fits together. We aren’t astronauts (not yet at least if that’s what you’re in to), but we are taught to recognize how interdependent our classes really are. The minors you take will only expand the depth of your knowledge.
I’m studying communication, but I don’t just focus on the complexities of grammar and speech. As a communication major I have to understand body language and the art of persuasion all while maintaining background knowledge in the subjects I address. I have to target an audience based on their interests and needs.

All of this sometimes, and more often than not, means I need to understand sociology, psychology, engineering, commercial space laws, international relations, marketing, physics, astronomy, organizational behavior – the list goes on. These are only a few of the subjects I’ve researched for papers, speeches, and interviews. It’s a lot, but by understanding everything, not only am I more valuable to a company, but I can depend on myself to get everything done on time.
I’m not an astronaut, but how could I ever say I’m just a communication major? I’m so much more than a writer and you are so much more than your major. We’re all just following the red line.

⋆ Dani

Spring Industry/Career Expo Calendar Unveiled

Last week, Career Services published its calendar of activities and events to prepare students for the Spring 2017 Industry/Career Expo. The event, which brings more than 100 companies to campus, will take place on March 1, 2017.

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*All rooms are subject to change

You should take advantage of what Embry-Riddle has to offer to successfully prepare its students for the event. As you can see, most of the events will happen in February. At the beginning of February, there will be a few RefreshER presentations that will go over resumes, expo tips, interviewing and elevator speech and engaging employers. On Fridays, a few Career Services advisors will be available in the Student Center during lunch for quick questions and for resume reviews. There are other workshops that will only take place once during the month, such as the Portfolio Workshop and the LinkedIn Workshop.

Do you want to know the steps on how to be well prepared for the Industry/Career Expo? Check my Preparing for the Industry/Career Expo blog!

As we get closer to March 1, 2017, Career Services will publish the Company Info Sessions schedule. The sessions are usually held the two days preceding the Industry/Career Expo.

If you have misplaced your pass (from the Fall semester) to access the Expo or if you are a new student to the university, then you can get your pass starting on February 2 between 8:00 and 17:00 in the Career Services office.

Good luck on all your work preparation!

Nicolas

Interviews Galore

Hello again, readers!

SO a LOT has happened recently; the hurricane, canceling the career expo, lots of academic calendar changes, etc.

But for me, it’s about career updates. Within the next 2 weeks, I’m flying out to two different states for 2 different companies in the aviation industry. The first one is with Southwest Airlines for a spring internship. This one is particularly exciting for me, because I’ve never been formally introduced to the airline industry and how human factors fits into Part 121 flight operations. Plus the flight benefits wouldn’t be so bad either.

The second interview is with Garmin in a combined aviation systems, human factors, and pilot internship. My interview is incredibly extensive, about 6 hours or so, because of how involved it is within the companies. Lots of different departments to speak with and sights to see. I think a sim may even be on the interview! This is REALLY exciting because it combines absolutely everything I love about what I do, fly and human factors work. This is also great because Garmin is so specific in aviation, dealing with avionics systems, but also other groups. I think it even has a Golfing section! It’ll be interesting to see what Missouri is like on the ground; I’ve only ever flown through it!

Both companies have such fantastic cultures that are so open towards furthering your education within your specialty and being exposed to others. They have been very receptive to my limited expertise and encouraged me to continue with my education and pursue whatever I love most, regardless of which company it may be with.

I’m very excited but a little nervous about these interviews. I’ve never done a formal job/internship position interview in person before, only on the phone. I am looking forward to it though; it’s especially such an honor to be FLOWN out to these companies. They must think very highly of me! I’ve got a lot of interview practice to do…..

Of course, I’ll post more as we go along, but I wanted to update everyone on these exciting events!

Until next time, blue skies!

~ Emmy

Let Fall 2016 Begin

Hello there!Jack-IMG_6641

I spent the summer working on the Schedule Integrity team in the Network Planning department at Delta’s headquarters in Atlanta, GA. I was part of the team that was responsible for working on the flight schedule about three months before it was flown; the Schedule Integrity team (SI) is the last team in Network Planning that works on the schedule before it gets turned over to crew scheduling, Delta’s regional airline partners, and the airports Delta serves. Then, it is turned over to the folks in the Operations and Customer Center (OCC) to dispatch and deal with any issues that arise on the day of departure.

Each of the SI members manage a hub, several out stations, a few aircraft types (to ensure maintenance is built into the schedule and for crew scheduling), and works with a regional airline or two (to ensure that they can execute their part of the schedule). My primary focus was on the Cincinnati and Salt Lake City hubs, a regional airline, and helping other team members as needed. Even though everybody has their own beat, we still ended up working together as a team quite a bit when changes to the flight schedule need to be made; for example, a flight might start the day in Salt Lake City then fly several flights and end the night at New York JFK, but if we change the departure time out of Salt Lake City, the days’ flights and ultimately the arrival into JFK might change and impact slots or even ground time for planned maintenance.

Although I was an intern, I am very thankful that the team treated me like a full-time employee which was a great way to get hands-on experience and for me to know that this is what I want to do after graduating college.

Now, it is the first day of classes, and it’s time to get back into my school routine. I do miss working at Delta, but it is nice to return to campus and continue working towards completing my degree.

Until next time,

Jack

 

Quick Update

This past week has been quite busy juggling between work and my online summer class. I am working currently working with the 2017 summer schedule. My online class is almost coming to an end with less than two weeks remaining. Students must always request permission to take courses online, but it’s a good way to keep moving towards graduation during the summer months.

Last week, we had to turn in a rough draft of a research paper on leadership, which is due in a week. I only have a few assignments left before finishing the class. Since I work 40 hours a week, I have to study and do homework during the evenings after work and on weekends. This week, I will review and edit my essay and turn in my final submission. We also have a final exam in two week. It consists of five short essay questions.

In less than two weeks, my internship at Air Canada will end. I am taking the time to enjoy my last few days as an intern. I hope to come back next spring as a full-time employee.

Until next time!

Nicolas


Contact the author at berniern@my.erau.edu

Internship Update

Hey everyone!

I realize it’s been a month since I’ve last written, but it’s been a busy month! I started my internship with Alaska Airlines on May 31st, and have been working full time ever since. I am officially halfway done with the internship, and I can’t believe it’s gone by so fast! I have been loving every minute of it.

Most of the things I am working on are day-to-day type work, which I cannot say much about. However, I also worked on a benchmarking project, and have been helping my manager out with some of his projects.

One of my favorite things I have done so far is taken a Capacity Planning class. It was a full day class, which was an overview of airline capacity planning. It included network planning, scheduling, and strategy. One of the reasons I liked it so much was because any employee from Alaska Airlines could sign up to attend. I was able to meet flight attendants, gate agents, mechanics, and other corporate employees. The class started off with a surprise tour of the Boeing Renton Factory, which is not open to the public. This location is where Boeing manufactures all of their 737s. It just so happened that Alaska Airlines had an airplane that was being manufactured while we were on the tour! After the tour, we went back to Alaska Airlines headquarters to get back to class. One of the activities involved getting into groups and creating a new market for Alaska Airlines to fly, theoretically. It was interesting to see the data behind why (or why not) the market we came up with would be profitable.

Boeing Renton Factory

Boeing Renton Factory

Another one of my favorite events has been the maintenance tour. As interns, we all got to go for a tour of the Alaska Maintenance Hangar at Sea-Tac. There was a brand new 737-900ER delivery in the hangar that day, so we got to take pictures of it, as well as go on board. I always love the new airplane smell! We were able to see where they store all of the parts for the planes, as well as how they do engine maintenance. But my favorite part of the tour was getting to go on board the 737-400 Combi. This is an aircraft that is very unique. It holds 4 huge cargo boxes in the front of the aircraft, just behind the cockpit, and 76 passengers in the rear. It is used to fly up to Alaska, where it delivers a lot of food to the towns. They will soon be retiring, so it was awesome to get to go inside of one before they disappear.

Some of the AS interns with the new delivery in the hangar

Some of the AS interns with the new delivery in the hangar

Standing in front of the 737-900ER engine

Standing in front of the 737-900ER engine

Inside the 737-400 Combi cargo area

Inside the 737-400 Combi cargo area

At the halfway point of my internship, I can honestly say Alaska Airlines is a great place to work. The company is doing well and adding new and exciting markets to their network. They also have some of the best employees in the business. I am so grateful to have this opportunity to work at such an awesome company, and learn from some of the best.

Until next time,

Lindsey

Life in Network Planning

In my last blog, I talked about my summer internship in Network Planning. In this post, I will describe important terms that we use in our department. These terms are  also commonly used in the world of aviation!

Boeing 787-9 (Photo Credits: Air Canada)

Boeing 787-9 (Photo Credits: Air Canada)

Maintenance
Each of the 380 aircraft if our fleet has to undergo different types of maintenance that needs to be performed in order to be airworthy. It can range from simple line maintenance to complex heavy maintenance where the airplane is almost taken completely apart. Air Canada does the overnight maintenance in-house but the other larger maintenance checks are outsourced in other countries around the world. In Network Planning, we have to make sure that we pull out the necessary number of aircraft out of the fleet so it can go to maintenance.

Turnaround Times
Turnaround time is the period of time from when an aircraft arrives at the gate of a station (airport) to the time the aircraft is ready to depart from the gate for another flight. The turnaround time usually depends on the type of aircraft that is being handled on the ground. Fueling, catering, baggage and passengers loading/unloading is done during this time. Our smallest aircraft, the Beechcraft 1900D needs 20 minutes to turnaround. On the other side, our Boeing 777-300ER needs more than 120 minutes of minimum ground time. For airlines, it is important for their aircraft to be on the ground for the shortest amount of time possible. The more the aircraft is the air, the more they can generate revenue.

Connectivity
Most airlines have one or more hubs where they operate most of their flights. Air Canada’s largest hub is Toronto-Pearson. Our job in Network Planning is to ensure that most passenger will be able to go to the destination of their choice in our route network. For example, if you are flying out of Daytona Beach International Airport, your only options is to either fly to Atlanta, Charlotte, or New York-JFK. At these airports, the flights are timed to allow passengers to connect to another flight to eventually bring them to their final destination.

Departure Times
Some of our flights have an optimal departure time for local traffic while other flights are timed for connectivity. Air Canada flies between Montreal and Toronto at every hour during weekdays and even at every 30 minutes during peak hours. When we operate more than one daily flight per day to a city, we usually spread the flights throughout the day. Business travelers usually enjoy taking a flight early in the morning and return at the end of the day after their meetings.

Aircraft Types
Aircraft limitations are taken into account when we assign a plane to a route. For example a 70-seater regional jet cannot fly from North America to Europe because it simply does not have the range to do such missions. We fly the Airbus A319 to Mexico City (7,300 ft. of elevation) because this aircraft performs well at high temperatures and high altitudes.

Passenger Load Factor
The passenger load factor (PLF) can be described as “how full is the plane in terms of seats occupied.” The load factor can be calculated by dividing the RPMs by the ASMs on a particular route or for the whole network. You can also calculate the PLF by dividing the number of revenue passengers onboard by the number of available seats on the aircraft.

You are now an aviation expert! If you are interested in Network Planning, you should definitely take the Airline Management (BA 315) class on campus. This course is very interesting if you are an aviation passionate like me.

If you have any questions or comments regarding my internship, you can reach me at the email address listed below. I will be happy and glad to answer your questions!

Until next time!

Nicolas


Contact the author at berniern@my.erau.edu

Summer Plans: Alaska Airlines

Summer is upon us, although it doesn’t feel like it in Seattle. I have been home in Seattle for about two weeks and I still have not gotten used to the chilly weather! So far, my summer has consisted of watching a lot of Netflix and reading. It’s been nice to have a few weeks off from the hustle and bustle of school. However, I’m ready to get started with my summer internship (and not-so-ready to start my online, ERAU Worldwide International Business class)!

As I have mentioned before, I will be the Schedule Planning Intern at Alaska Airlines this summer. Being from Seattle, I have flown on Alaska all my life, since Seattle is their main hub. I have always loved the customer service that Alaska provides, as well as their company culture (and the signature cheese platters they offer in-flight)! Needless to say, I feel very blessed to be able to work as an intern for my hometown airline for the summer.

Alaska Airlines 737 at Sea-Tac Intl. Airport last summer

Of course, people have asked me what I am doing over the summer. When I told them I will be a Schedule Planning Intern for an airline, I discovered that many people who are unfamiliar with airlines’ corporate operations are not quite sure what schedule planning is…

A basic overview: schedule planning consists of creating the schedule that the airline will operate each day, over a few month’s time. For example, this summer the schedule planning group may be working on creating the schedule for the winter months. When creating the schedule, many different aspects of the operation are taken into consideration. Crew, maintenance, aircraft turnaround times, passenger loads, gate space, and optimal departure/arrival times are just some of the pieces that are factored into a schedule. Another major component of the schedule is which aircraft will be flying each route. Alaska Airlines’ mainline fleet is comprised of Boeing 737s. However, Horizon Air, the regional/sister airline for Alaska, operates Q400s. SkyWest also operates E175s for Alaska Airlines. The interesting part about schedule planning is that it is one big puzzle. In order to operate a profitable flight schedule, all of these factors need to be carefully considered.

What is especially exciting about working at Alaska Airlines this summer, is the recent news about Alaska Airlines and Virgin America coming together. I am excited to see how the two west coast airlines will begin to merge, and create the dominant airline of the west coast.

Alaska Airlines refreshed livery-last summer at Boeing Field before the delivery flight of this aircraft

Of course, an awesome feature of being an intern for an airline is the flight benefits. Alaska Airlines, like many other airlines, provides flight benefits to interns. I have not received the details yet, but I am excited to be able to start using those benefits once I start working. I have already looked at the destinations I am hoping to travel to this summer, so let’s hope some of them work out!

As you can tell, I am stoked to get started with this internship! I’ll be starting on May 31st, and will be sure to update you on how my first day goes.

Until next time,

Lindsey

Pre-Delivery and Test Flight of a B777

MUKILTEO, WA – On Tuesday of this week, our Aircraft Programs team did a customer walk on the B777-300ER (C-FKAU, FIN 749) Air Canada is receiving next week. Our team consists of various managers, mechanics, and engineers. The customer walk is an important step because it is basically a final inspection of the aircraft before delivery.

Air Canada and Boeing inspected the aircraft for the day and looked for snags and other issues on the airplane. We had to put a piece of red tape when we snagged something on the plane. We tested the mechanical characteristics of the seats, such as recline, headrest, armrest, and tray table. The team also tested the flight attendant call button and reading light from every seats. Over 400 seats were inspected during the day!

(Photo Credits: Jen Schuld)

Our Boeing 777-300ER landing at Paine Field after a successful test flight on May 18. (Photo Credits: Jennifer Schuld)

Test Flight (C1)

The next morning, I was aboard the customer test flight (C1) of the aircraft. It is the second test flight of the plane since it was built. The flight lasted around 2h45 with a touch-and-go and a go-around at Moses Lake (KMWH). The aircraft headed West of the state of Washington after takeoff from Paine Field. The Boeing 777 then followed the shoreline to the South before taking a left turn towards the East. At our cruising altitude of 39,000 feet, the pilots performed several tests on the aircraft.

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Flight path of the  aircraft via FlightRadar24.

Go-around at Moses Lake.

Go-around at Moses Lake.

Some of the tests included the extension of the flaps and the slats close to cruising altitude. The spoilers (speed brakes) were also deployed for a short period of time.

Extension of the flaps.

Extension of the flaps.

Extension of the spoilers.

Extension of the spoilers.

The landing gear was also extended during the flight. The cabin started to shake when the gear was deployed because the aircraft was flying in cruise phase at a higher speed than usual when the aircraft is about to normally land at a lower speed. The gear is the part of the aircraft that creates the most drag.

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Flying over the mountains in the beautiful state of Washington.

The flight crew decompressed the cabin at an altitude of 39,000 feet with a feeling for the passengers that the cabin was pressured at 11,000, 12,000, and 13,000 feet. The cabin is usually pressurized at 8,000 feet for the comfort of the passengers. At lower cabin pressure altitudes, passengers will feel better and rested after a long flight. The Boeing 787 is pressurized at 6,000 feet, which is an improvement from the current generation of aircraft.

Blue skies!

Blue skies ahead!

Flight deck of the Boeing 777-300ER (77W).

Flight deck of the Boeing 777-300ER during flight.

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Flight line of Boeing 787s at Boeing Everett Factory.

I am now heading back home to Eastern Canada for the long weekend (Victoria Day). I am not working on Monday since our office is closed for the Holiday! Next Tuesday, I am leaving the Aircraft Programs team and I will be joining the Network Planning group for the rest of the summer. During my trip, I had the opportunity to tour one-on-one the Boeing Everett Factory! Stay tuned for an overview of the factory tour as well as my first few days in the Network Planning department.

Nicolas


Contact the author at berniern@my.erau.edu