Hello everyone, my name is Dodd Bailey Allen Jr. I was born and raised in Dallas, Texas. Currently, I am a senior at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in the Aeronautical Science program with a minor in Aviation Weather. I began flying at the age of 17, and obtained my Private Pilot Certificate during my senior year in High School. Since then, I have obtained my Commercial Pilot (Single/Multi), Instrument rating, Certificated Flight Instructor rating, and Certificated Flight Instructor Instrument rating. Last August, I was given the opportunity to work at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University as a part-time flight instructor. This is where my dream of flying has finally begun. Not only do I get to fly everyday, but I get the pleasure of enlightening students on the wonderful world of flying. I typically go to class from 9 am to 1 pm, then flight instruct from 5 pm to 9 pm. I could not be happier with how my flying career has jumpstarted, and it’s about to become even more exciting. This summer, I was granted the opportunity to participate in an internship with Continental Airlines. This journal will note my experiences this summer with this fantastic opportunity.
I began my Journey to Houston, Texas on May 9th, where I moved in to the place I will be living in for the summer. A previous Continental intern, and Express Jet captain is providing me and two other interns housing for the summer. He provides us with a place to stay in a convenient location for an affordable price. After getting settled in to a wonderful townhouse in Downtown Houston, I prepared for orientation on Friday, May 9th.
Bright and early on Friday,the 7 other internsand I proceeded to the Continental building. We were all super excited about this opportunity and could not wait to get started. The day began with an orientationPowerpoint explaining the duties, benefits, and responsibilities of each intern. I will be working in the Safety Department with my partner Matthew Casile, who is also a student at Embry-Riddle Daytona Beach campus. As an intern with Continental we receive many benefits, including a tour of the Houston tower and approach control, the Continental Maintenance facility, and the fire protection department at Houston Bush Intercontinental Airport. One of the most beneficial aspects of the Continental internship is the privilege to sit in on several classes at the training center, and receive 20 hrs of 737 Level D simulator training. Finally, we are allowed to travel anywhere Continental flies as long as there is room on the flight. Continental wants the interns to receive the full airline experience. They also promote international travel so the interns can experience cultures from all over the world. After the orientation, we proceeded to the Bush Intercontinental Airport to receive our badges. The airport badges give us permission to pass through security without a boarding pass and allow us to perform preflight inspections with the pilots. The day ended with lunch at the airport. We proceeded home and relaxed for the weekend. Houston is a very friendly city with a lot of fun places to eat and hang out.
On Monday, May 12, it began. I woke up at 7am, got dressed, and began the first of many walks to the Continental Headquarters. My boss met me and Matt downstairs to explain to us the first task we will perform everyday. Continental has a very proactive stance on safety. Every airplane is equipped with a device that records the flight parameters of every flight. It records such inputs as taxi speed, airspeed, pitch attitude, bank angle, etc. Every morning, it is our responsibility to receive these disks and input the data into one of many supercomputers. Once imputed, the supercomputer organizes the data and points out any hazardous flight behavior. The analysts then proceed to investigate these situations, and if necessary, contact the flight crew to discuss ways to prevent unsafe situations. After we input the data, we proceed over to our desks. Here, we analyze and input Captain Safety reports into the Continental safety database. These reports can include anything from a passenger smoking in the lavatory, to a hydraulic malfunction. This provides future pilots ways to prevent safety issues in the future. After these entries are made, we proceed to lunch. When we come back, we are provided with a safety related task for the day. Each of these tasks represents a different part of the safety department. This allows us to get the full experience of what it is like to keep the flight operations safe everyday. The day concludes at 4 pm where we proceed home to relax.
This first week was a true learning experience to say the least. Matt and I perfected our skills at each task, and by Friday, we were able to run the show without incident. Now, that was a taste of our first work week. Every week, our tasks will become more complicated and I look forward to the challenge. But now it is time to explain to you just how fun and exiting an internship can be. Remember the flight benefits? Well, the interns and I decided to try them out this weekend and all I have to say is WOW. Friday at 5 pm, we proceeded to the Houston Airport to catch a plane to San Jose, Costa Rica. This was my first time traveling outside of the Country and I was super excited. We arrived at San Jose at 9 pm, where we proceeded to our hotel. We dropped our stuff off at the hotel and proceeded to dinner. We ate at a wonderful Costa Rica restaurant and experienced their friendly atmosphere. The food is amazing, and consists mostly of chicken, beef, and rice. It is similar to the typical Mexican food you eat here in the states, just more authentic. We then proceeded to experience the true art of salsa dancing. I have to say, that was the most fun I have ever had dancing. The cultural experience was truly priceless. After dancing, we proceeded back to the hotel for a good night’s sleep. The next morning, we got up, ate breakfast, and took a taxi for our tour for the day. We drove through the mountains on the outskirts of San Jose, andto the rainforest. Yes, the actual rainforest in Central America!!!! We arrived and experienced something that I never thought would be possible. We rode on a railway above the treetops and saw the rainforest from above. I will have pictures of this amazing adventure up soon. It was an hour long ride that allowed us to experience just how fascinating Mother Nature can be. After the tour we proceeded back to San Jose for dinner. We relaxed and socialized with locals that night and flew home at 7 am the next morning. We were in Costa Rica for a total of 36 hours, and I have to say, those were the most exciting 36 hours of my life!
As I am writing this article to you tonight, I still can’t believe I was in the rainforest 24 hours ago! I am getting ready for bed and to start week number two. I wish all of you a wonderful week ahead. I look forward to sharing with you my experiences this summer. Time for bed.