The last two weeks have been probably the best thus far at the American Airlines Internship Program. I have learned, experienced and met so many people that I can now say I have a better understanding of how an airline is managed. From the last journal entry, I spent my 4th July weekend with my family and friend Justin who came to visit me in NYC. We explored the city, toured a bit and went on fun excursions that led us to meeting new and quite interesting people. We even met a representative from Singapore Airlines and the Manager of a NY Museum. We were fortunate enough to get VIP invitations to an art exhibition later that week.
Work commenced at the office with Lauretta, Dee, Lorraine, Melissa and the Chief Pilot, Scott Meade. I spent most of the week working on the APU Project, preparing spreadsheets, and charts. These charts would go to Jan Paladino, a 767 FO who works in the Flight Office. From there, the work that I have done goes to the Chief Pilot and then to the Vice-President of Flight, John Hale. I feel very privileged to have an input into such a massive project that makes an improvement in American Airlines. That Friday I worked closely with Jan going around the airport and shutting down Auxiliary Power Units (APUs) on aircraft that have a long ground time. I even stayed an hour after work to continue this, as it was so much fun and exciting. Now I can turn on and off the APUs on the 737, 757, 767 and 777. The pictures to the right and above are from that experience.
The next week proved to be one filled with great experiences and interactions. I spent 3 days in the Maintenance Hangar learning about their operations, and hanging out with the mechanics. The first day I got a tour of the facility from the On-Duty Manager Fernando Whitehead. He made sure that I had a great time there through the observation of their operations and mingling with the mechanics and airplanes. It is quite impressive as to how the maintenance personnel work so intimately with the airplanes to ensure they are back in service in the most time effective manner with superior work. These mechanics are a wealth of knowledge and gave me a plethora of advice. They even tried to convince me to become a Mechanic. Lenny, Frank, Brian and Marlene were very welcoming, accommodating and made my stay there quite enjoyable. The picture to the left is from the 757 engine undergoing some maintenance.
I got the opportunity to taxi a 777 from the hangar to the gate as it was being returned to service and later that day a 757 also. The picture to the right is what the centerline looks like from the FO’s seat as you are taxing. Saudi Arabia usually parks at our hanger along with British Airways during their prolonged ground time. I was fortunate enough to get to do a walk around of these airplanes and get up close and personal with them. The mechanics explained a lot of things about these aircraft that I had never known before, such as if the 777 were to lose an engine, it could still do a full Autoland. The pictures below are from that experience:
The second day at the hangar was even more exciting. I got myself all greased up and dirty working on a 737. The first part of the day I spent over at the terminal maintenance department, which was quite different from the hangar. The operation is at a faster pace as the aircraft that required maintenance at the gates needed to be worked on immediately and expeditiously so as to prevent delays. The hangar was of a slower rate as the aircraft there needed larger maintenance requirement and were out of service. It was quite enlightening to see the difference in operations and a great learning experience but at the same time fun. The mechanics were also going to do a manual start of the 737 CFM-56 engine, but unfortunately I could see that as it was too dangerous.
Later that day I observed the operations at the Engine Bay in the hangar. Here is where they host a few spare engines, APUs and work on engines that have issues. It was so much fun as it brought back a lot of memories and information that I have learned in Turbines class at ERAU. I was able to go around the engines and find all the major parts and understand their importance. ERAU has educated me so well that it was quite easy understanding the engines, especially when the mechanics explained parts and concepts to me. I even got to participate in the Anniversary Party of a few mechanics who were celebrating their 20-25 year milestones at AA. The pictures to the left and above are from my time there.
In the afternoon, I stayed an hour after work to help the mechanics get a 737 back into service. There was brake line that needed to be changed on the left main gear along with an engine test. I was quite excited to help them accomplish this task. After we changed the brake line, the manuals required that the gear be swung to ensure proper operation. This was here I came in to the rescue! I had to hoist the airplane up into the air so that the gear could be cycled. The picture to the right proved it.
Actually we just jacked the airplane up but it was a good photo opportunity. After that, we taxied the airplane out of the hangar and did an engine run up. That was really fun and REAL! Not like the simulator but an actual engine start. The next day I stayed almost 2 hours after work to help get a 757 back into service after a line check. Talk about putting in over time. These mechanics are so dedicated it is unbelievable. They are passionate about their jobs and so motivated. I also spent a few hours in the Maintenance Training Department. I got some training on the Computer Based Training Systems and it so happens that the manager of this department knows my parents. Small world huh! The pictures to the left and below are from the 737 gear well and cockpit:
The Maintenance Crew is an amazing group of people and I had a blast with them. The picture to the right is just a small group of the wonderful people who ensure that the airplanes are well kept, maintained and safe.
The next day I headed to Dallas to spend some time in Dispatcher Training. ERAU really prepares you for this. If you are in the Dispatch Program like I was then the classes at Riddle are very good and probably the best training. While I was going through Dispatch Training at American Airlines, it was more like a recap of classes at school. I was able to communicate quite easily with the dispatchers as all the knowledge came rushing back. ERAU’s training like I always say is the BEST!
When I returned to NY on Friday, AA was celebrating it One World Alliance Anniversary with JAL. I got to partake in the festivities. There was a cultural show, amazing food and giveaways. AA also had their 777 One World Series on display. Once again I saw a photo opportunity. I may be going to Japan in September now.
The pictures to the right and above are from the party. As you can tell the past two weeks have been quite packed, fun and exciting. I can’t wait to continue learning and experiencing. Next week I’ll be in Dallas for a few days for flight training, a luncheon and when I return to JFK I’ll be spending some time with the MOD of Flight Service hoping from aircraft to aircraft learning about their operations. This weekend I’ll be heading to New Jersey to spend some time with my good friend