The past two weeks have been quite hectic but at the same time very interesting and proved to be quite a great learning experience. My fourth week at American Airlines commenced with the preparation for the Annual LGA Safety Fair, which I had to assist the Flight Department with. I was in charge of doing research and creating posters for the American Airlines Flight Department booth. My knowledge from Flight Physiology came in quite handy as I was able to create posters emphasizing the importance of good hydration in flight as it may lead to kidney stones, stress and stress management, vision and hearing for pilots, as well as emphasizing the importance of the advanced avionics which includes the Electronic Flight Bag. The EFB would reduce the large, heavy kit bags thereby reducing the lifting aspects for pilots, maintenance personal and flight attendants. .
The rest of the week was spent learning about the operations of American Airlines and managing the Flight Office. I was able to accompany the Chief Pilots on some meetings and it is quite extraordinary how much work they have to do and still fly the line. This experience has enlightened me on what I want to pursue in the future…. Maybe Chief Pilot of AA!
Within that week also I was given two projects to work on. The first was to create a presentation about EMAS- Engineered Material Arresting System for the Chief Pilot so that he may present to the Vice-President at a meeting in Manhattan. Hopefully I shall be attending this meeting. The presentation was made in order to convince the city of New York of the importance of EMAS and thus lead to its implementation at LGA.
The second project is the larger of the two and I will be heading this up over the summer. AA is looking at the APU usage of their aircraft on the ground and monitoring its inappropriate use. We are trying to reduce the ground operation of the APU, thus allowing a savings of almost 10 million dollars annually on fuel. My job is to input and analyze the data, determine trends and come up with solutions/recommendations for the problem. It is quite a tedious project but proves to be very beneficial and a great learning experience. I also have the opportunity to turn off the APUs on some 757, 767 and 777 aircraft. I couldn’t be happier!
The weekend led me to Los Angeles. It is a beautiful city with a bustling metropolis. I toured a bit, walking down Hollywood Boulevard and Sunset Boulevard, visiting Madame Tussauds Wax Museum, and meeting up with friends. The picture to the left was form that excursion.
The next week commenced with me attending the daily debrief meeting at JFK. This is a meeting where all the heads of departments meet up in the morning to go over problems that arose the day prior. Discussions involved delays, AA Operations and reducing passenger inconveniences. We even discussed CAT I accuracy of some of the aircraft. I was able to learn so much about the operations of AA. This meeting also allowed me the opportunity to meet Miss Universe 1970, 1993, 2001 and 2006, all from Puerto Rico. American Airlines invited them to attend the Puerto Rican Day Parade in NYC.
The next couple of days I found myself in Dallas at Headquarters doing ground school. It was the international ground school and it lasted for 2 days. I was in a class with two captains and two other interns. This proved to be very informative and a great learning experience. ERAU classes are so in-depth that the classes taught at AA were just a refresher for me. Topics that we covered included Mach Technique, Strategic Lateral Offset Procedures, Weather Deviation, International Altimeter Reset Procedures, Fuel Planning, Volcanic Activity, Cold Temperature Operations, ETOPS Training, Foreign Airport Operations, Mountain Terrain Clearance Program, and Depressurization Planning. The picture to the right is from class. There was a lot of information that we covered. This class covered the topics that we would have studied in Flight Technique Analysis and Airline Operations.
The classes even dealt with Regional Differences between the Atlantic, Far East, Central Pacific, Latin America and India. Focus was on weather, terrain and operations. This proved quite interesting as I had previous knowledge of the topic from Weather for Aircrew class at ERAU. That class at ERAU was very in depth and detailed so the information presented in International Ground School became quite easy and more so of a refreshers. Once again, our education at ERAU is above average and this is why we are the best Aviation School in the world.
In class we also went through plotting Atlantic, Pacific, Polar and Latin American routes, with emphasis on North Atlantic and Latin America. Seems like International and Domestic Navigation came in handy.
While I was in Dallas, I also went to System and Operational Control (SOC), which hosts all the dispatchers and crew scheduling persons. There I chatted with some dispatcher to further understand their jobs as I had completed dispatcher training at Riddle also. It was so amazing to see how the training goes into practice. The pictures below are from SOC. The first one is an overview of the department and the second one is with the north Atlantic dispatchers and myself.
The picture to the right is from the JFK Ramp Control Tower. The view is amazing, especially when you have 747s and A380s passing by. Operations here are quite different from that at LGA. As such, I will be given the opportunity to work the night shifts at the Ramp Control Tower so as to learn about these differences, especially with working with bigger airplanes such as the 777, 767 and A330 for Air Berlin and Finnair. The wonderful thing about the JFK American Terminal is that there is no need for Air Marshals. The gates are all equipped with DGS- Digital Guidance System, which allows the pilots to follow a guidance system into the gate. You may even send messages to the pilots via this system. I was able to see it in full action as a 767 came into the gate and I sent the pilot a message reminding him to turn off the APU after the GPU was connected. Amazing huh!
This weekend I’m heading off the Charlotte to see a friend. Here is hope for it being a great weekend. I’ll be back on Monday for work with more exciting experiences. Never underestimate the wealth of knowledge you gain at Riddle. You are getting the best education possible.
Seems like we are one our final descent into Charlotte. Do stay tuned for my next update! Maybe I’ll be writing it on my flight into a city near you…