I was very skeptical as to what the American Airlines Internship would have planned for me but to my surprise and excitement, I would be having the time of my life. I was unable to attend the orientation process on the 13th and 14th of May as I was graduating but I was able to make the second class on May 16th and 17th. The picture to the left was taken at the AA Flight Academy in Dallas just before Orientation commenced. There are so many people that make an Airline run efficiently and at American it is quite evident. The people are great and friendly and they work together to ensure the airline is at its best.
During orientation, I was given a tour of the Flight Academy and Headquarters. At the Flight Academy I saw the dispatchers’ room aka ‘Mission Control’. This is where they host all the dispatchers who control the flights that are in the skies and about to enter the skies. I had the privilege of chatting with 3 dispatchers who were in charge of the trans-Atlantic and trans-Pacific flights.
This experience brought back so much knowledge and training that I have done in International and Domestic Navigation, Airline Operations and Dispatch Training. I could have spent the entire day with them just chatting and learning about their jobs and dispatching. My tour guide practically had to beg me to leave so that we could continue the tour. I guess when you learn so much in classes and then actually see it in the practical sense is quite fascinating and exciting.
The Dispatcher, Stephen, also taught me how they choose certain routes, their planned NAR’s, NAT Tracks and European Routes. We chatted about ETOPS, reporting points such as Shemya in Alaska and the fact that AA can get a 757 from ORD to LHR. I learned so much from just an hour with them. This just shows how superior ERAU’s course work and training is!
I stayed at the Park Inn while in Dallas and it was quite comfortable. Breakfast was even free with my AA ID Badge. Later the following day I flew down to LGA, my base for the next 3 months. My flight was delayed into LGA due to weather but I eventually made it and I started work on the 19th May.
On my first day at LGA little did I know that I would be having the best first day ever! Melanie Rodriguez, one of the friendliest AA employees, greeted me at LGA. She took me to my office where I met my supervisor, Ellen Barbaro. Melanie oriented me around the facilities and gave me access codes and keys to different departments and rooms.
There wasn’t a lot for me to do on the first day so she took me for a tour of the AA Operations Tower. The picture on the right is from the Tower. There I met some really nice people who, without them, flights would not be possible. They ensure aircraft are parked at their gates, they clear aircraft in and out of gates, approve delays and turn-around times, and even change aircraft if need be. This brought to light the importance of CRM and I value our training at Riddle so much more now. I will be getting training in this in a few weeks and will be able to execute all their duties. Yay!! I will also be getting to see the FAA towers at LGA and JFK.
After I returned from the Tower, I ran into a 757 Crew who gave me a tour of the pilot operation. They taught about their flight release, how to read it and what to pay special attention to. I had previous knowledge from classes, so it was quite easy for me to read it. They were impressed by how much I knew and complemented ERAU’s training. The FO was a Riddle grad also. They then took me on the preflight of the 757and that was the highlight of my first day. Not only did I learn about how to preflight a 757 but I also got to program the FMS. Riddle has prepared me very well for this. After taking AS435, programming the FMS came with ease. It was so much fun to actually put what I learned in class to practical use. The pictures below are from the preflight.
The second day was filled with chatting with pilots and crewmembers. I met Chief Pilot, Mark Cronin, and it so happens that we share the same birthday. He’s a really nice and friendly guy. The second day was as eventful as the first. I leaned so much about the company and pilot procedures. I received my 737 checklists and calculations/limitations information.
Next week should be also quite fun, as I will be starting work at JFK and also doing my SIDA training. Travels begin next week also, and I maybe headed to MIA or SFO. If you are there, hit me up. Stay tuned for more updates and until then, fly safe!