Alan

About Alan

Senior

Aeronautical Science

Minors: Business Administration and Air Traffic Control
Hometown: Greater New York City Area, NY
Career Goals: To fly airplanes and prepare myself for an airline career.
Why I chose Embry-Riddle: The amount of opportunities available to students and the quality of instruction provided.
Activities: Phi Gamma Delta Fraternity, Omicron Delta Kappa Honor Society, Orientation Team, Student Alumni Association, Flight Professional Conduct Board, Airline Career Education Club, The Avion Newspaper

July 20, 2012

After flying for a few weeks, it is time for me to rotate flying with the other intern. So for the next few weeks I will be ‘flying a desk’ and my last week will be spent back in the skies. I’m working in the Flight Department offices regarding pilot training, records, manuals, regulatory compliance, and recruiting. It’s great to see the behind-the-scenes work that goes into running an airline that most pilots don’t get a chance to see.

Ameriflight operates as an ‘on demand air carrier’ regulated by Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations part 135 (14 CFR Part 135). The FAA is the enforcing agent for these regulations and since they control an airline’s ability to operate, it is important as a company to follow all their guidelines. In regards to training, this includes properly training and checking all company pilots to ensure compliance, standardization, and safe practices. Confidential records are kept on each pilot as proof that this is all true.

As an intern I assist in developing and producing training materials for our pilots via manuals, supplements, and computer-based modules. I also perform audits on our records as part of regulatory compliance.

You may have read about the projected pilot shortage in news headlines. To add to that, our company is hiring, which is good news for many young aviators like myself. For reasons like the projected shortage, now is a great time to get started on your career!

Our offices are adjacent to the hangar, which allows me to see our mechanics in action. Attached below are some photos of Pratt & Whitney PT6A turbine engines in the box and Lycoming TIO-540 piston engines on mounts. In addition to powerplants we do much of our maintenance work in-house. The last photo is a line-up of ARFF (Airport Rescue and Fire Fighting) vehicles that came by for a visit.

Over and Out.

July 10, 2012

Flying in Southern California is a nice change from the norm of Central Florida.

It’s different because of the weather factors; high terrain, and air traffic saturation, amongst others. SoCal has generally more stable and favorable weather; there’s fog typically in the mornings, not so much rain, and it’s definitely not as humid. Although I can say that learning to fly at ERAU Daytona Beach has prepared me well, as Florida is the thunderstorm/lightning capital of the world. If you ever looked at an atlas, it’s a no-brainer that California has mountains and valleys, as opposed to being flat and swampy. We learn about mountainous operations in ground school, but to actually experience it first-hand is invaluable. I highly recommend that all pilots experience it, although Prescott campus pilots can obviously fulfill that, since they live at 5,000 ft MSL. The air traffic infrastructure in Los Angeles is Class B (the highest class of saturation in the US), and having flown through the Class B of Orlando, Miami, Tampa and New York, I feel I’ve been able to adapt pretty well.

Flying the Beech 1900 is just like flying a big King Air, in fact Beechcraft even refers to the aircraft as a grown-up King Air in the manuals. It was originally developed to be a business aircraft but the airlines loved it so much that it became one of the most popular turboprops of its time. In a passenger configuration it seats 19 people, and in a cargo configuration we can typically carry 5,500 lbs.

As the regional-jet market expanded, many carriers got rid of their 1900s to adapt to their changing mission. Despite this, it is a very capable aircraft and valuable to cargo airlines for its bulk capability, climb performance, cruise speed, and versatility.

Speaking of cargo, which is carried on passenger aircraft too, cargo-only aircraft have the ability to carry more hazardous materials legally. Hazardous materials include items like dry ice, batteries, medical specimens, and low-TI radioactive material. All pilots receive training to comply with the federal regulations on transporting these items in their first few weeks of ground school training. Fines for mishandling these goods are pretty hefty and it is important to maintain the level of safety needed each and every day.

Over and Out.

June, 2012

I’ve officially been in California for over a week now; I arrived last Thursday evening safely.

 The past week has been quiet the learning experience for me. I just completed my first week as an intern, which consisted of Basic Indoctrination/General Subjects ground school at Ameriflight’s Burbank training campus. Topics discussed were: company history, general aeronautical information, instrument flight rules and procedures, carrying Hazardous Materials (HazMat), GPS training, emergency procedures, company policy/expectations and regulations, to name a few. During the week, the new-hire class got to meet the President, Director of Operations, Chief Pilot, Director of Training, and the Flight Department administration team. Indoc concluded on Friday with a test and receiving our ID badges.

After completing Basic Indoc, I began work in the Flight Department and Flight Training offices. I will remain there for this week as aircraft specific ground school begins the following week.

As an intern at Ameriflight, not only do I get paid, but I will also be receiving ground, simulator, and aircraft training to fly the Beechcraft 1900C Airliner as a First Officer (SIC – Second in Command) on daily cargo runs. This is an intense process that will really put my Embry-Riddle education and past flight training to the test. I have already received my training materials (cockpit flow diagram, aircraft manuals, standard operating procedures, etc.) and have begun studying aircraft systems and procedures, as required.

Contrary to public belief, there is a lot of prep-work and studying that goes into being a pilot. As you progress through a career (typically by flying different aircraft), your prior experiences prepare you for the next job, but even the most experienced pilots need to study, as it is a continuous learning process.

I will keep you informed on how my training goes.

Over and Out.

June 20, 2012

Last week I completed Beech 1900 ground school covering airplane systems and operation. We spent two days doing classroom discussions and procedures training and another two days in the 1900 FTD (Flight Training Device) covering real-life scenarios (normal, abnormal and emergency). The reason flight training devices or simulators are used in airline training is because they’re cheaper to operate than the actual airplane (which are more costly to fly than a Cessna 172). Simulators also allow for the practice of emergencies that we physically cannot recreate in the aircraft for safety and/or practicality reasons.

This week was spent in the actual airplane flying the line with a training captain, practicing maneuvers and approaches to nearby airports. This allowed me to get a more realistic feel for the airplane and also put my simulator-learned skills to the test. After flying for three days, I was signed off to take my checkride along with a company check-airmen. I took my SIC-First Officer checkride the next day with one of our Beech 1900 check-airmen and passed. Upon completing the flight, I was presented with company wings and first officer epaulets (sometimes know as shoulder bars/strips). Receiving this was such a rewarding feeling, knowing all those hours of study and years of training paid off.

Now that I’m certified to fly the line as a First Officer on the Beech 1900, I have the ability to fly cargo runs anywhere our Beech 1900s fly in the country, but primarily I do in the LA area. Freight-forwarding is a major part of Ameriflight’s business. How UPS and FedEx load their cargo freighters (such as Boeing 767s and Airbus A300s) is via feeder service from smaller cities. Much like how people connect at hubs when flying from one city to another, boxes have to connect as well.

 

I will be flying and working in the office routinely throughout the summer, and I will continue writing to share my experiences with you all.

Over and Out

May, 2012

Hello to all my readers out there on the World Wide Web. You might have seen my journals from freshman year or last summer as a Flight Operations Intern at Continental Airlines (now known as United Airlines). Well this summer I will be writing to you about my experiences as Flight Department Intern at Ameriflight, LLC.

With the conclusion of the spring semester here in Daytona Beach, I have completed three years of undergraduate study in the Aeronautical Science degree program. I have just completed the certification process for the title of Airplane Single-Engine Flight Instructor. I also obtained my highest GPA yet, thus earning the merit of Dean’s List for the semester.

I’m currently on the road to California to begin my summer internship in Burbank (KBUR). I’m making the trip across the country with my Dad, who took the week off of work to share the driving workload with me. We’ve left behind the following states already: Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, New Mexico, and part of Arizona.

For night one we stopped in Biloxi, Mississippi for some delicious gulf seafood and rest of course. Our second night was spend in Houston, Texas where I got to stay with family and say hello to my former colleagues at the Continental Airlines Pilot Training Center at Houston-George Bush Intercontinental Airport (KIAH). Night three was spent in Fort Stockton, Texas (with a slight detour in San Antonio to see the Alamo), as it is a massive state to try to drive through in one day. Night four was spent in Tucson, Arizona where we enjoyed slow cooked barbeque and the grand desert landscape. Leaving Tucson, there was a nearby aircraft bone-yard I got to see from the highway, which was pretty cool. We are almost to the California state boarder and will arrive in Los Angeles this evening.

I will return to tell you all about my first few weeks at Ameriflight. I’m told my first week will consist of Basic Indoctrination class with other new-hire pilots. I’m very excited and looking forward to expanding my horizons into the Part 135 cargo world.

Over and out.

August 31, 2011

Right now, it’s been two weeks since my last day working at Continental Airlines. The company extends travel privileges for the flight ops interns for 30 days, which is quite nice!

Recently I visited my roommate in Paris, France and spent all day and night in the city. I even went to the top of the Eiffel Tower! I flew there on a 757-200 and returned on a 767-400ER and got to sit in BusinessFirst both times!

Also, my parents and I flew to Norway and Sweden to learn about our heritage and family history. The 757 fleet flies all flights to Scandinavia. In fact, it is one of the longest routes flown by that aircraft. They are pretty nicely equipped for narrow-body aircraft. I’m hoping to take a few more trips despite being at school.

I’m in the process of moving yet again, just like many of us going away to school. I’m now living off-campus and find it to be everything I thought it would be! Moving in and furnishing an apartment has taken a lot of time and money, but I know it will pay off soon. It’s all coming together one piece at a time.

This is currently my second year as an Orientation Ambassador and what a thrill this past week has been! I hope all the new students enjoyed their orientation as much as we did on the orientation team!

The time has come for school to begin and I feel as though the summer flew by so fast. They say time flies when your having fun, so I must’ve had a lot!

If there’s one thing I wished I had more of, it would be time. This summer I worked full-time and in addition travelled on the weekends. Meaning I left myself with very little down/spare time. I’ve learned many important lessons this summer on time management. When I say that, I’m not talking about being tardy, but about workload management and setting priorities.

I’m very appreciative to have been offered such an opportunity and writing about it to the world makes it even sweeter! I had such a great time and left with so much knowledge! I truly feel that United/Continental is an excellent company to work for, so much that I hope to one-day work for them again.

Best of luck to all you fellow aviators out there, and to those who have been following my journal these past weeks! It’s been a blast!

Over and Out.

July 31, 2011

I recently visited the Boeing Everett Factory in Everett, Washington on behalf of Continental Airlines. It was so amazing to see the new aircraft being built and the showroom facility. There are so many options available to airlines and new technologies being released on the new Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner. It is, by far, changing the future of flight as we know it! I left New York early in the morning and arrived by mid-morning in Seattle. I later returned home on the red-eye flight, luckily I got the last seat out! This tour was different from the public tour in that it was a customer factory tour, so we got to see some of the ‘behind the scenes’ work.

I was also able to hop on a Continental Connection flight to Toronto, Canada with my dad this weekend. Canada was a lot of fun! I liked how the culture seemed to be a mix of both North American and European. It was a very short flight and I flew there on the Bombardier Dash-8 (Q400). I even got to see Niagara Falls!

I’m now enroute to Denver, CO to begin work at the United Airlines Flight Training Center. I will be out there for two weeks working on a special assignment. This is a very neat opportunity and it is also the first time that Continental interns will work with our sister operation.

As you may already know these two operations are working very hard to obtain a Single Operating Certificate (SOC), meaning one operation. It has been very exciting learning about the progress of this merger, behind the scenes, each step of the way.

Everyone I speak to says that Colorado is most beautiful during the summer and I’ve heard nothing but good things about the culture. I have good feeling that I’m going to enjoy my time there.

That’s all for now. Over and Out.

July 17, 2011

I left off saying that I just began intern pilot training at Continental Airlines. Now three weeks later, I’m writing to say that I’ve successfully completed that course. I learned a lot during training and enjoyed it as well. It was certainly an experience that I will never forget.

My first week, as I mentioned earlier, consisted of ground school classes and procedures training in FTDs. Starting there, I was able to learn some skills necessary to operate safely in a multi-crewmember environment.

When learning to fly small aircraft, students are taught to fly the airplane by themselves, as many require only one pilot. However, many large transport aircraft require more than one crewmember, in most cases only two. There are many factors as to why more than one crewmember is necessary, but mainly it is to assist with the high workload. There is much more happening in the cockpit of Boeing 737 than in a Cessna 172, as you can imagine.

Duties such as Pilot Flying (PF) and Pilot Monitoring (PM) were discussed and practiced during each activity. Many times the monitoring pilot will contact Air Traffic Control (ATC) and retract the gear and flaps on command by the pilot flying, regardless of who is the Captain or First Officer. However, when the monitoring pilot is diagnosing a problem, troubleshooting, or briefing an approach, the pilot flying will take on the extra duties such as ATC.

Many of our procedures, or how we operate, come from accident/incident studies and statistics. So before we learn an action, such as how to dialing in the altimeter setting, we study accidents and incidents where pilots failed to properly set it. By learning from the mistakes of those aviators before us, we can better prepare ourselves to not make those same ones. This proves that studying history is very important, even if its aviation history!

The remaining last two weeks I spent in a Boeing 737-800 Level D Full-Flight Simulator (FFS). I kept the same partner as I had during the FTD training and similar to that, we rotated Captain and First Officer roles. Each unit, of which there were seven, consisted of a four-hour flight session, with a two-hour briefing before, and a fifteen-minute debrief after. During each ‘sim’, we would each spend two hours in both Captain and First Officer seats. All of our flying, for the most part, took place in the right seat, which I didn’t think was all too different. Which means in most of our scenarios, the pilot flying (PF) was the First Officer and pilot monitoring (PM) was Captain. According to our instructor, it takes about 30 seconds to get used to flying in either seat; however it could take years to be upgraded from First Officer to Captain.

Tasks we learned and demonstrated in the simulator included (but were not limited to) Low Visibility Takeoffs and Landings, Stalls, Steep Turns, Unusual Attitudes, Engine Failures/Fires, Engine Failures/Fires at V1, Rejected Takeoffs, Go Arounds, Windshear Recovery, Hydraulic Failures, Precision & Non-Precision Approaches, Circling Approaches, Single Engine (Instrument and Visual) Approaches & Go Arounds, CFIT Training, as well as normal procedures and various scenario-based training. I felt that my partner and I made good use of our time together in the simulator, as we were able to experience many aspects that were not covered in the syllabus, courtesy of our instructor.

Now I’m currently headed back for a week at the Chief Pilot Office. I will be visiting The Boeing Company in Seattle next week and also will be relocating to Denver, CO for an upcoming company project. Such exciting opportunities! I will write about these in the next entry.

Over and Out.

June 20, 2011

I had the opportunity to travel with an assistant chief pilot on a B737-800 flight to Boston, MA and back. What was especially neat was that the First Officer was a former Newark intern. They both taught me a thing or two and gave me advice, which has helped me thus far in training.

Just before I left Newark to come to Houston some changes took place. United began operating internationally from the Continental’s Terminal C. In return, Continental began flying international routes from United cities. With these aircraft swaps also came additional routes; Continental now flies from Newark to Stuttgart, Germany. The inaugural flight took place a day before I left and I got the opportunity to attend the pre-flight celebration.

Since I last wrote I’ve temporarily relocated to Houston, TX for Boeing 737 training at the Continental Airlines Pilot Training Center. I’ve been staying at a hotel at the airport, courtesy of the airline. The experience so far has been very parallel to new-hire training.

So far I’ve taken two classes on the 737 Flight Management Computer (FMC). The FMC, also known as “the box”, is an interface found on all modern airliners and therefore a highly valuable system to learn.

I’ve also completed two Flight Training Device (FTD) activities that consisted of learning normal & non-normal procedures. For all activities I am paired up with another intern. In the simulators each day we switch roles [Captain & First Officer] to make sure we have equal amount of time in each seat. The first FTD activity was a simulated flight from Atlanta to Cleveland, with a diversion back to Atlanta. The second was a flight from Cleveland to Houston. Both flights demonstrated use of the FMC, autopilot, navigation displays and various other systems and components. The use of checklists and flows were practiced during these units.

The upcoming week will consist mostly of ground school classes. Crew Resource Management (CRM) and Extended Operations (ETOPS) will be the topics.

In other news, I travelled this weekend to Los Angeles, CA to visit my cousins. While there I got a chance to visit Hollywood! I saw the Kodak Theatre, Guinness World of Records, Capitol Records, Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, the Hollywood sign, and ate at the famous In-N-Out Burger.

With each week being such a thrill, I look forward to the next even more!
Over and Out.

June 6, 2011

Since I last wrote I’ve visited two foreign cities: Amsterdam, Netherlands and Stockholm, Sweden. I’ve been taking advantage of my travel privileges on the weekends (leave Friday, return Sunday). This usually gives you about 24 hrs in each city, so I try to see and do everything I possibly can during my stay. Along with that, I try to stick to a budget.

Amsterdam was so much fun and most of the tourists are young people, so I fit right in. The city is situated on a bunch of canals and is very small so everything is within walking distance. I visited the infamous ‘Red Light District’, the flower markets, parks and met many people from all over the world.

When I travelled to Amsterdam, I went with another intern and we spent our overnight in a hostel. Hostels aren’t as bad as some people make them out to be, plus they’re cheap. It’s generally a dormitory with a bunch of other college kids, and it’s not uncommon for them to be co-ed. Just make sure you keep your belongings in a locker! It also doesn’t hurt to make friends with the people you meet. I’ve actually toured each city I visited with the people I’ve met at hostels.

Stockholm was a different story because I visited with my parents. We stayed in a hotel, but everything else remained the same. We toured and walked all around the city, and as expected for Scandinavia, I visited a museum to see a 17th century boat called “The Vasa.” Everything was so clean, nice, and colorful! But that all comes at a price, as Sweden has very high taxes.

Aside from my travels, this is my last week working in the Chief Pilot Office until July, as I will be in Houston for training starting on Monday June 13th. I will be out of the office for a month, so it’ll be a quite a change of pace. I’ve been studying B737 systems and flows for a few weeks now, and I’m looking forward to applying that knowledge and building on my flying skills. This will be my first experience training at an airline, so I’ll be sure to write about how it goes in the coming weeks. I’m very excited for this opportunity and I’m certainly looking forward to it!