What a busy past few weeks. ETOPS (Extended Twin Engine Operations) class, CRM (Crew Resource Management) class, and next week the NASA pressure chamber and the Continental maintenance tour. On top of all that, my flight I was jumpseating on from DC to Houston was diverted to other area airport due to weather.
This summer I have learned so much about major airline operations, but then again that is the whole point of internships.
The ETOPS class focused on transatlantic routes as well as polar and Pacific routes. All of those routes are over water for long periods of time and before the current reliability of jet engine, no one would ever think of flying over water for any long period of time with only two engines.
Key points discussed are divert fields in case something does happen, as well as international navigation and political considerations for such routes. For instance on a flight from Newark to India, the flight is anywhere from 16 o 18 hours flying over the North Pole as well as Russian, Chinese, and Afghani airspace. All of which is pretty hostile.
The CRM class focuses not so much on the technical side of flying but more one the human side. This day in age, most aviation incidents are caused by human error. We live in such an advanced time that the biggest safety concern we have is with ourselves. The best part about all of these classes is that they are with actual line pilots. These classes have pilots in them and we are lucky enough to be able to observe these classes first hand.
This summer really is a once in a life time opportunity!