Lyle

About Lyle

Senior

Aeronautical Science

Minor: Safety
Class Year: Senior
Company: Continental Airlines
Position: Flight safety intern
Hometown: White Plains, Maryland
Career goal: To be a pilot

August 10, 2006

Finally, there are so many other little things as an intern you do that affect they way you think about aviation and the world in general. The conference calls you sit in on, the meetings you are a part of and what you hear in the jumpseat. It all impacts you.

Going into this internship I had no idea what to expect. All I know was I was going to have a blast, and I did but the knowledge, not only about the airline, but about life in general could never be taught in a classroom.

Not only has the internship given me a leg up in getting to my ultimate dream of flying for a major airline, it has also prepared me for the mind set I should go into this industry with.

In my opinion, it should be a mandatory activity for every Aeronautical Science student in the Airline Pilot Area of Concentration to take part in an internship at an airline. It’s one thing to learn airline operations in a classroom setting, it is another thing to live it for four months.

The people I have met here at Continental are like family to me now, and I will be sad to leave. But I know I will be back here in a few years’ time.

July 20, 2006

Time is moving so fast, there is less than a month left in the internship.

It seems like I have been going non-stop for the past 3 months, which I have! My suitcase seems to always be packed by my bed ready for this week’s adventure.

I just got back from my international trip to London, best trip thus far. I left on Friday for the nine hour flight across the Atlantic. I met up with the crew at the gate and watched them complete the entire preflight from the walk around to all the paperwork. The flight left at 630 pm and arrived in London 955am the next morning.

Once in London I checked into the hotel and took the train into downtown. I had been to London before, and this time just wanted to walk around the entire city with no real plan. I had done the tourist thing already and just wanted to see the city by foot this time. It’s even better the second time. I can’t wait to go back!

I returned on Monday and was dead tired. That whole weekend I don’t think I got more than 5 hours of sleep. Once I got back from the airport I fell asleep and didn’t wake up till it was time to go to work the next day. I think I’m finally over my jet lag and just in time, I’m off to New York this weekend with some of my friends that are doing the ExpressJet internship in Houston as well.

Since my last entry I have also done the maintenance tour here at Continental. It was one of the best “field trips” thus far. They pretty much let us wander the hanger with 777s, 767s, 757s, and 737s all over the place! I have pictures of me inside jet engines, cargo compartments, on the flight deck, next to landing gear; it was so much fun (hope to share those with you in the next entry).

Well I need to get some laundry done and pack for this weekend.
Until next time, Bon Voyage!

June 21, 2006

What a busy past few weeks. ETOPS (Extended Twin Engine Operations) class, CRM (Crew Resource Management) class, and next week the NASA pressure chamber and the Continental maintenance tour. On top of all that, my flight I was jumpseating on from DC to Houston was diverted to other area airport due to weather.

This summer I have learned so much about major airline operations, but then again that is the whole point of internships.

The ETOPS class focused on transatlantic routes as well as polar and Pacific routes. All of those routes are over water for long periods of time and before the current reliability of jet engine, no one would ever think of flying over water for any long period of time with only two engines.

Key points discussed are divert fields in case something does happen, as well as international navigation and political considerations for such routes. For instance on a flight from Newark to India, the flight is anywhere from 16 o 18 hours flying over the North Pole as well as Russian, Chinese, and Afghani airspace. All of which is pretty hostile.

The CRM class focuses not so much on the technical side of flying but more one the human side. This day in age, most aviation incidents are caused by human error. We live in such an advanced time that the biggest safety concern we have is with ourselves. The best part about all of these classes is that they are with actual line pilots. These classes have pilots in them and we are lucky enough to be able to observe these classes first hand.

This summer really is a once in a life time opportunity!

June 28, 2006

Yesterday the all the interns here at Continental took a “field trip” to the NASA Johnson Space Center. There we all underwent Hypoxia training. Hypoxia is a problem that occurs when flying at high altitude when the brain does not receive enough oxygen.

The first part of the morning was spent in a classroom learning about the atmosphere as well as some aero medical information on how lack of oxygen affects the body. After lunch the fun began! We got back and were fitted with a helmet and an oxygen mask. We learned how to wear them properly and how to operate them.

We then got to go in what is called ‘the chamber’. The chamber is a sealed room where the oxygen is taken out simulating the atmosphere at high altitudes. We were sat down and instructors supervised us as the pressure was decreased simulating the atmosphere at 25,000 feet.

Then we were allowed to take off our oxygen masks and perform some simple math problems as well as write our name a few times. After about 5 minutes all of us started to get a bit loopy. We were then told to put our masks back on and the chamber was ‘lowered’ back down to sea level pressure.

The purpose of this was for us to see how oxygen depravation affects us in our own individual ways. For me it was a warm sensation followed by a very happy feeling as well as worsening hand writing and those simple math problems became very difficult. I was having a ball with my mask off!

The best part was it was all videoed so we could watch in our debrief how we reacted to the lack of oxygen. We all then got our high altitude endorsements in our pilot log book which allows us to operate aircraft at high altitudes.

Everything we were taught yesterday I remembered from the flight physiology classes taught at Embry-Riddle. I remember sitting in classes at Riddle, saying, “When am I ever going to need to know this?”

And every day at Continental that question gets answered.

June 8, 2006

It has been a while since my last entry! I have been sooo busy here in Houston. Busy enough in fact that I couldn’t even travel last weekend. Today I just took my checkride in the MD-80 simulator here at Continental. I passed and am now a MD-80 captain (I wish) but I did pass and my instructor commended my crew partner and me on what a great job we did. He asked if we had flown the MD-80 before and I said no, but Embry-Riddle does prepare you to fly just about anything.

Tomorrow is our LOFT flight which stands for Line Oriented Flight Training. We will be flying a flight from Houston to Austin and then coming back to Houston to see what pilots experience on a daily basis. So far in the simulator we have been dealing with emergencies, engine failures, and the like so it will be nice for a change to just fly and enjoy it. The best part about the whole sim training is that Continental uses the MD-80 for interview flights. Maybe if I am lucky they will still have it here when I interview in a few years and I will still remember the systems and flows which will make the interview flight that much easier.

Our instructor has been a huge help to us. He is a 737 instructor and really knows his stuff. Everyone here has been so nice to us. They see that we are interns and ask how things are going, where we are from, and then give us their business card and say if there is anything you need just give me a call. It really is a family here and I can’t wait to be a part of it.

May 25, 2006

It’s Thursday night and for every Continental intern that means packing time! Every Thursday night we get our travel bags ready to jump seat to the destination of the weekend. For me that place is Seattle , Washington. My roommate and I are traveling out there for the weekend and meeting up with a friend of his. We aren’t sure where we are saying or how we are going to get around but that’s half the fun of just jumping on a plane somewhere.

This will be a nice vacation from the MD-80 ground school I have been in for the past week. We are cramming all the systems and operating procedures of the airplane in our heads in only a week’s time. Next Wednesday we begin our actual simulator training with an instructor in the full motion simulator. I can’t wait!

My time here is going by so fast because they keep us so busy. I haven’t had a free weekend to explore Houston except for the first weekend we were here. After that I flew to Washington D.C. , then to Orlando, and this weekend Seattle. Not sure yet where I will go next weekend but I’m thinking San Francisco or maybe Boston. I’ll check the flights next Wednesday and make my mind up then. For now though I need to pack!

May 15, 2006

It’s been a busy week here in Houston. I had my first jump seat experience this weekend and it was amazing! I flew from Houston to Washington, D.C. to visit my parents for Mother’s Day. I have flown into D.C. a hundred times but never seen the flight from the flight deck. I learned so much about flying large transport category aircraft by just observing the crew. It is a great learning experience and the free travel isn’t bad either.

I begin MD80 simulator training next week and I am scrambling to learn all the aircraft systems and checklists before the first day of ground school. I am in the first group of interns to take part in the simulator course and am not sure what to expect or exactly what to study , so I will just have to study everything.

Tonight some of the interns and I went to the Astros baseball game to see Barry Bonds try to hit homerun number 714. Even though the Astros lost and Bonds didn’t get his homerun it was good to sit down with the other interns to talk about what we have been doing. We really don’t see too much of each other, at least the interns we don’t room with. We wake up early and stay late at work or at the training center studying MD80 systems. I t seems like I walk into the apartment and it’s already 9 p.m. I haven’t eaten yet, still in my dress clothes, catch up with my roommates and by the time I look over my e-mail and relax it’s midnight and time to head to bed to wake up at 6 to catch the shower rotation. But I can’t complain , I love it here and look forward to every day.

This week I’m planning on jump seating down to Orlando to visit my girlfriend, I’m a little worried because it can be tough to get flights into and out of Orlando, especially in the summer months. But ill check the loads before I head out to the airport.

May 8, 2006

I’m sitting in my Houston apartment, it’s 8:30 pm and I am exhausted but can’t wait for tomorrow to begin. Today was day one as a Continental Airlines Intern. I still can’t believe I’m here; it seems like a dream still.

The day began early with my alarm sounding at 5:15 am. I had worked out a shower schedule with my roommates so we would be out the door by 6:15. The drive to work had been given a dry run in the days before. I had come out to Houston four days earlier with my girlfriend and just explored the city. We took in an Astros baseball game (we won and I’m now a life long fan), visited the aquarium, took in some of the Houston night life and celebrated Cinco de Mayo in one of the many Mexican restaurants within Houston. Two days ago I moved in to the apartment that I share with two other Continental Interns. There are 12 Interns in all, 10 in Houston, one in Newark , and one in Cleveland .

The department I’ll be working in for the next four months is the Flight Safety Department at Continental. I am so happy that I’ve been given the opportunity to work in this department. As a safety minor within the Aeronautical Science degree program the knowledge I have acquired over the past three years will be put to good use. I will be entering data into the computer system as well as traveling to other airports to perform safety audits. These audits are to ensure that Continental ramps, gates and concourses comply with federal regulations. On top of my daily work we will be taking high altitude training, sitting in on Boeing 777 ground school classes, visiting the airport rescue and firefighting facility, traveling to Newark to visit the east coast hub, and the crown of the internship, MD-80 training. And let’s not forget about the unlimited domestic jump seating. We are encouraged to travel on weekends and see the world, from the flight deck.

For now I still have to iron my shirt for tomorrow, study some manuals, study up on the company for the safety meeting I’ll be sitting in on tomorrow and most important Ill be getting some sleep.