About Jacob



**Company:** American Airlines
**Position:** Flight Intern in Flight Communications
**Hometown:** North Augusta, South Carolina
**Career Goals:** To fly something that goes really fast...

Life is like a box of chocolates…

Over the past two weeks things have begun to pick up again. Last week we traveled up to Tulsa, Oklahoma to get a tour of one of our biggest maintenance facilities. After flying up to Tulsa we waited in the baggage area for several minutes for our contact. After no sign and a failed attempt to reach him by phone we call our intern coordinator back in Dallas. Apparently 20 minutes before we landed, our guide got called into mechanic contact negotiations. (That’s another thing I didn’t realize until this summer, that every work group in this industry is almost constantly negotiating for a better contract.) But stuck in Tulsa we were, and not wanting to sit and wait for our afternoon flight home we began to scheme. From Tulsa there is a limited number of American destinations to fly to, the two biggest being Dallas and Chicago. Knowing that we didn’t want to go back to Dallas (and the daily work) we decided that Chicago style deep dish would be an excellent dinner option.

With a quick call back to Dallas to receive permission to proceed with our “base visit” in Chicago because we didn’t want to “waste the day” we were on an aircraft bound for Chicago within the hour. We actually did make good on our word by meeting up with our intern who is working out of Chicago this summer. He took us up to the American ramp tower, down to the American Airlines crew quarters underneath the terminal, and out on the ramp, which was awesome. As we were about to go on the ramp our Chicago intern said, “now when I open this door there should be a big plane here,” as the door swung open there in massive form was an Iberian A340, which I say is a pretty large plane. The pilots actually have their names written on the side of it! Getting the chance to walk on any ramp is a cool experience, but getting to walk around the ramp at Chicago O’Hare – now that’s just plain sweet.

After our ramp tour we headed into Chicago for dinner and by 10pm I was back in my crash pad in Dallas. There is something almost magical about being able to do this kind of travel. I mean really, Chicago for dinner when you are living in Texas??? Who does that?

After a couple more days in the office it was time for the weekend and more traveling. One place I hadn’t visited yet this summer was the northeast, and so, there we were Friday headed to Newark to spend the weekend in New York. Never having gone to New York, I was apprehensive as to what the Big Apple was going to be like. Overall I would say that I enjoyed the big city and I’m sure if you are a person who loves big cities you would enjoy it even more. I couldn’t believe how hot it was though…and no breeze! The public transportation makes it fairly easy to get around but sometimes it takes a while to get from place to place. We hit all of the major tourist spots and had fun bargaining for knockoff colognes and purses. We went down to ground zero and without getting into that, which I would say is a personal and unique experience for everyone, one quote I did see at the site that I will include went something to the effect of “don’t forget the past, but live in the future.”

The following week of work was interesting. With a base chief meeting here in Dallas, all of the chiefs from around the country were here. Another intern who works with the chief in Miami was also in town for a simulator session and had been invited to go out to eat with the chiefs. Waiting to tag along for dinner also, I randomly bumped into my bosses’ boss, who introduced me to one of the guys who works strategy for American. Here, in a moment of immense fate, I had my next break on my project. After explaining what I was doing, the strategy guy invited me to present my research a week later (this Wednesday) to a group he was supposed to be speaking to. Now this was great but since I hadn’t put a lot of time into the project since the beginning of July you can figure out what I have been up to the past week here.

But it is just crazy how the industry works. You never know who you will bump into and when and what kind of break you might get. But I am excited about presenting to more people and the fact that my research will not go to waste is a relief.

This past weekend we were back in the northeast. On Friday at 3:00pm we still had no idea where we were going to go. By the time I left work I was on the standby list for a flight to Hartford, Connecticut with no real plans. We ended up doing a road trip out of Hartford on Saturday, driving from there to Providence, Rhode Island and then up the coast through Plymouth, and through Boston, Mass. From there we continued north through the tip of New Hampshire and into Maine. We hung out by the water for a while and then got a lobster at a restaurant on the water. The temperature was incredible, nice and cool, a great break from Dallas. Flying back to Dallas on Sunday morning from Boston ended yet another amazing weekend of travel and added more memories to an already unforgettable summer.



Don’t stop till you drop….

With yet another two weeks of the internship completed, I have passed the midpoint of the semester and cannot believe that in five weeks I will be headed back to the east coast and leaving Dallas behind.

Two weeks ago we got the chance to visit our Alliance Maintenance Base near Ft. Worth, T exas. Getting a chance to walk around and see, touch, and ask questions about every part of the aircraft was a really great opportunity to see a lot of the parts and pieces that as a passenger, or even as a pilot you normally don’t get to see. The base services 777 and 767/757 aircraft and getting a chance to walk through the engine repair station was one of my favorite parts of the tour. From individual fan blades to the completed engine, we got a chance to see every step in between that it takes to building one of these awesome pieces of machinery.

The next day was my big presentation to my boss’s boss. With everything set up I won’t hesitate to mention that I was a bit nervous. But confident in my research, the presentation went off without a hitch. Some additional research areas were suggested, but overall I believe that he was very impressed and everything went as well as it could have. One thing I took away from the experience was the way corporate-level decision-making works. With my boss and I on the same page about how we wished to proceed with the research and how we wanted to present the research to our employees, once the door of our meeting was closed, all the decisions were up to my boss’s boss. At first I found this a bit frustrating, thinking to myself, “well I did the research why does it have to be presented another way th a n the way I envisioned,” but soon remembering where I sit on the food chain, I acknowledged the new possibilities without hesitation.

All was forgotten in an hour though when I was on an ERJ-145 headed to Charleston, S . C . to see family and friends for the Fourth of July. Getting a chance to spend a weekend doing the things I normally do during the summer was just the break from Dallas that I needed. Hanging out at Kiawah Island with my family and friends that I had not seen in almost two months, getting a chance to eat some home-cooked food, and just relax, I cannot think of a better way to have spent the Fourth. Getting a chance to take one of my friends that I have grown up with since second grade fishing and watching her hook into the biggest fish of her life, I cannot describe to you how exciting that is, or how much trash talk I had to listen to all the way home about her catching the biggest fish of the day. I might be slightly biased since I grew up in South Carolina, but in all of my travels this summer I have not found anything like Charleston, and I highly recommend visiting if you ever have the chance.

This past week in the office, I spent most of my time getting caught up on some work I had put aside until after the presentation. Getting new retirements updated and working on the new quarterly magazine that goes out to our employees, it was a rather straightforward week in the cubical. However, we did get the chance to do two – I guess we can call them “field trips” this past week, both of which were awesome experiences. On Wednesday we got the chance to go out to DFW and get a behind the scenes look at how we handle all the bags and cargo that ride in our planes. Looking at both our sorting system, as well as what happens out on the ramp, this tour continued to give me the bigger picture of what all goes into making American Airlines run.

In continuation with taking a look at the bigger picture, the chief pilot at DFW then took us up to our ramp control tower facility. American has been testing a new piece of equipment on the ramp at DFW called Digital Guidance System or DGS. This system allows aircraft to park at their respective gate, without the need for personnel to marshal the plane in. This creates a more efficient parking system as well as allowing for the planes to park in inclement weather when service personnel are not allowed out on the ramp. Having this system explained to us, and seeing exactly how it works, was very interesting. Also getting a chance to go behind the scenes of how parking assignments for planes are decided and how much trouble it causes the overall system to switch gates was very insightful to the overall process.

This past Thursday, all of the interns got the opportunity to go to Oklahoma City to receive high altitude training. As we were receiving ground training on the physiological aspects of what is happening to the body at altitude, we talked about what we could expect when we went into the chamber and took our masks off at 25,000ft. We also learned about how to use the oxygen mask and the oxygen system. After several hours of ground school, we proceeded to the chamber, an orange reinforced steel box. With probably 25 seats in the chamber, our entire group, as well as a group from Boeing, all went in at the same time. After going over the important things again, we put our masks on and just sat and took in pure oxygen for about 10 minutes to get us used to the masks and also attempt to get most of the nitrogen out of our bodies so we would have a less likely chance of getting bubbles building up in our joints. Our instructors then took the chamber up to 8,000ft to make sure everyone was going to be ok with the pressure. After coming back down and then back to 8,000ft we did a rapid decompression to 18,000ft….talk about ears popping. From here we worked our way up to 25,000ft.

At this point, the other side of the box took their oxygen masks off. For the next 5 minutes my side sat and watched as our friends developed symptoms of hypoxia and one almost passed out. The thing about hypoxia is that everyone has different symptoms when they are deprived of oxygen. So as pilots it is really important to know what your symptom is, so you can recognize it if your aircraft ever depressurizes. So then it was our turn to take off our masks. Within a few minutes I was light headed, hot, and dizzy. Receiving a little coaching from one of the instructors to put my mask on, I was able to do so under my own power, but another minute and I would most certainly have passed out. This class and chamber exercise is put on by the FAA in Oklahoma City and it is FREE. If you ever get the chance you should definitely take advantage of this opportunity.

This past weekend I traveled to Colorado with three of my fellow interns. With plans to fly into Colorado Springs to go rafting, it was to our surprise on Saturday morning that our flight, which had plenty of seats the day before, was packed solid. After getting bumped from the flight the adventure began. With laptops going crazy, we soon found out that we could get into Montrose, CO which is near Telluride, CO and we were certain that we would be able to find some sort of rafting adventure there. With our flight an hour late leaving DFW we encountered another hour penalty when we attempted to pick up our rental car.

After giving up on Thrifty (which we, as interns, have now sworn off for life) we secured a jeep from another company and were off to Telluride. This place is awesome! A small town tucked back in a valley, this was some the best scenery I have seen yet. Exploring all day, with plans of rafting the following morning we were shocked again when our return flight the next day became over sold! Scrambling online once again we noted an open flight out of Grand Junction, CO on Sunday afternoon, about a 3 hour drive away. For the rest of our time in Telluride we continued to explore and drove up a single lane, dirt/rock road up the side of a mountain to an amazing waterfall, an amazing turn of luck on the Jeep and 4-wheel drive!!! Continuing up the mountain we actually stumbled upon some snow. People it is the middle of July and this was no more than 10,000ft. Global Warming??? Your call….Carefully making our way down the side of the mountain, we stumbled back into town and had an amazing dinner before trekking northwest to Grand Junction.

The following morning, before our flight, we went exploring one more time, this time to the Grand Mesa. According to Google the Grand Mesa is the world’s highest plateau. This is a must-see if you are ever in Grand Junction! The views of this untouched National Park are amazing. One side note, however, stay on the large dirt roads or on the pavement! Our GPS showed a shortcut down a tiny dirt road and while it was fun to get bounced around on rocks and holes, if this had been my personal truck and not a rental I would have been freaking out. Also a car will not return if you were to take it out there, just FYI.

With so many once-in-a-lifetime experiences this summer, I don’t know what I am going to do this fall when my travel benefits expire. But until then I plan on continuing to make the most out of this opportunity and do as much as possible.


Jacob Velky

Getting down to business…

In the past two weeks my duties around the office have gotten a lot more interesting and meaningful. From the beginning of the internship I have been involved with tasks associated with keeping up and maintaining records of retirements and captain upgrades, keeping our news distribution updated, and distributing information to pilots concerning all types of matters.

However, two weeks ago I began working on a project pertaining to the major airlines around the world. Researching airlines outside of the United States I have focused on where these airlines fly, what aircraft they are using, how those aircraft cabins are configured, what kind of orders they have for new aircraft, the airlines’ load factor and the profitability in the first quarter of 2008 for those airlines.

By gathering this data, we hope to be able to present the information in a user-friendly manor to our pilots, making them aware of exactly how many companies are competitive factors in our market. Some people might be able to name a couple of foreign airlines that fly into the US, but if you were to ask most any pilot in the airline industry today how many US cities Lufthansa fly’s into or how many aircraft Emirates has on order, the probability of that person getting anywhere near the actual numbers if very unlikely. In reality though, this information is astonishing and extremely important in looking at the future profits and sustainability of our own airline.

Currently I have compiled this and more information on five foreign carriers. After updating my boss on my findings and how the information should be presented, the interest in the project sparked around the office. I cannot put into words how cool it feels to be sitting in your little intern cubical and to have the most senior people in the office stop by to ask you to explain what you are doing; then after you explain, told how awesome what you have done so far really is.

So last week my boss stopped by to tell me that I would be presenting all of my information to her boss on July 3rd. This type of one-on-one time with one of the most senior members of my department is exactly the moment that any intern should work for. Being able to present a department project for further approval and backing is a great experience, and to have that be with a person of such clout is even better. With poster-sized visuals on each airline and an example PowerPoint system I designed to display carrier routes and to compare carrier routes, hopefully all will go well on Thursday.

In other news, last week we had a boy’s camp come to the flight academy. All of the kids were children that didn’t have fathers and getting a chance to hang out with these guys and possibly inspire them to succeed in school and follow their dreams was a great experience. The day camp was also just as exciting for me when we got to go on a tour of some different places around the flight academy that I don’t get the chance to see on a day-to-day basis. Getting to see for the first time the flight attendant training facility, the dispatch area, and flight operations area was very interesting because it gave you the bigger picture about what all goes into our company. We also got to “play” with an MD80 ground trainer, where the kids went crazy with excitement to be flipping switches in more or less a real cockpit.

Of course over the past two weeks I have continued the traveling experience, first going to New Orleans for a weekend. Staying right off Bourbon St. we got the chance to see some of the city during the day and get some true New Orleans dishes. Shrimp Creole for lunch and a huge plate of crawfish for dinner were both excellent for our taste of the Bayou. Getting the chance to spend a night on Bourbon St. was definitely an experience worth doing at least once in your life. (I don’t think I need to explain much here but I will say that it is everything you would expect Bourbon St. to be and then a lot of things you forgot to expect!)

This past weekend we found ourselves in Chicago for what was supposed to be a day trip. Getting to Chicago a little bit later than expected and still wanted to do more when it was time to leave, Chicago became a weekend adventure. On Saturday there was a food festival called a Taste of Chicago where you buy tickets and walk around sampling food from different restaurants in the city that have set up tents in the park. With thousands of people in attendance, the festival is a bit over whelming but it was a great touristy thing to do and a great way to taste some different foods. After the festival we walked around some more and went down to the water and checked out Navy Pier, the ultimate tourist spot in Chicago. Right on the water and looking back at the city the pier is worth going to and checking out the sites and sounds. Later that evening we got our famous Chicago deep dish and it was excellent. The city over all was very impressive, clean, and public transportation made getting to and from the airport a non-issue. I recommend checking out Chicago.

As I’m sitting here trying to think of what I have forgotten, I cannot believe how fast this internship is going by. IT’S JULY ALREADY! But I think I have gotten everything in for this entry and I hope everyone has a great Fourth of July weekend!


Who needs sleep when you can travel….

Two weeks ago there was a chief pilot meeting here in Dallas, where all the chief pilots from all of the bases gather to talk about the changes that are going to start taking place here at American. While I was unable to sit in on the meeting; that evening two other interns and I actually got invited to go out to dinner with the chief pilot from Miami and Los Angeles. Getting the chance to sit down in a relaxed environment outside the office with these guys, talk about the industry and how they got where they are now, was a great experience.

The next evening after work, half of the interns, including myself, had the opportunity to travel to Seattle for a tour of the Boeing assembly plant in Everett, Washington the following day.Leaving the night before thetour gave us a chance to look around Seattle a little in the morning. After making our way down to the bay and fish market area we found where Star Bucks originated. What better way to start your day on a cold wet Seattle morning that a cup of hot Star Bucks coffee? After walking through the market, we met up with the rest of the interns that flew out that morning and traveled north to Everett and the Boeing facility.

The tour we received is not the regular tour anyone off the street would have. Meeting our tour guide, an employee of Boeing, we took the employee shuttle to the back of the assembly building. It should be mentioned that this building is the largest building by volume in the world. Entering through the doors where the 777 is made we spent the most time looking at how this huge plane is put together. From wing assembly, fuselage assembly, interior “guts” of the aircraft, we got to see it all. For a pilot, getting to stick your head up inside the wing of a 777 is quite a rush. Just to put into perspective how big this plane is, the circumference of the engine of a 777 is the circumference of the fuselage of a 737! The horizontal stabilizer on the 777 is only 6 feet shorter than the wing of the 737! This is a big aircraft! Then after going through the assembly you find yourself standing in an area where there are 4 fully assembled 777’s around you, and you are still inside!

After looking all around the 777-assembly area we made our way over to take a look at the new 787. With one already in static testing there were three more on the assembly line. The first two on the line will be used for other testing and the third will be the first 787 to ever fly. To be able to see the plane, which will be the first ever of its kind to fly, was a pretty cool experience. After looking at the 787 we got to look at the 767 and 747 assembly areas. There we were standing next to a fully assembled 747 inside. It is hard to put into words what walking around this assembly building is like. After getting done at Boeing we made our way back to Seattle and the fish market for dinner. Picking a completely random restaurant, as we waited for a seat I sat down on a stool and looked down to find a plaque that read, “Tom Hanks sat here for Sleepless in Seattle.” No one in the group could remember the scene from the movie but nonetheless it was cool and the restaurant, situated with a view over the bay was a great cap to our Seattle experience.

Taking the redeye back to Dallas that night, I arrived back at my apartment at 7:00am and was at work at 8:00am. This is where things got crazy. During lunch we were looking at where we wanted to go for the weekend and where the loads looked good. Traveling as a D2 standby, if you want to get somewhere you need to make sure there are a few open seats. So where did we want to go after being in Seattle not more than 12 hours ago? San Juan, Puerto Rico of course! So 5 o’clock rolled around and we ran home, packed our bags and headed for the airport. Of course, all direct flights were full, so there we were headed to Boston to connect. Arriving in Boston just after midnight we planned on sleeping in the airport until our 6:15am flight to San Juan. However, at 2:30am we were awaken to security telling us we had to leave outside of security because the airport was closing. A few hours later we were back in the airport and sitting first class on a 757 to San Juan. In 48 hours we went from 40-degree temperatures and rain in Seattle to swimming in the Caribbean in San Juan getting a suntan. San Juan is really cool! I completely recommend old San Juan and the fort there around sunset, it was awesome. Spending Sunday getting back to Dallas ended our five-day travel experience.

Monday morning brought around more flying though, this time in the form of a 737 simulator. For four hours another intern and myself got time in the left seat of a 737. From taxi, takeoff, and approaches we got a chance to do it all. Shooting about five approaches into San Francisco we got a chance to try our best to land the 737. My first landing was anything but smooth, with solid contact with the ground the 737 simulator rocked and rolled. We were then given a chance to land the 737 using the heads up display or HUD. This is an awesome piece of equipment and produced a very smooth landing, even in adverse weather. The coolest part though, was landing in 000/000 conditions, feeling the wheels touch and never seeing the runway was very interesting. The HUD even has rollout runway centerline guidance so after wheels stopped our instructor removed the weather to reveal that we were perfectly centerline on the runway after never even seeing it, that is incredible.

This week we also got the chance to meet with an American Eagle recruiter. While American Eagle isn’t currently hiring, the recruiter gave us a lot of good tips on interviewing with any airline and told us what she expected in the next year for American Eagle. She told us that even through they aren’t officially hiring right now, we still might be able to interview at the end of our internship and that they could hold our file until they start hiring again, which would be at least good interview experience.

This past weekend, another intern from Purdue and I headed out to Salt Lake City on Friday after work. Finding some comfortable chairs we slept in the airport and then rented a car and drove up into the Rockies to a ski resort called Snowbird. Yes, we went snow skiing in the middle of June! While the snow was late spring conditions, there was still plenty of snow on the top of the mountain and on the backside of the mountain for skiing. After a solid morning of skiing the snow started to soften up quite a bit by midday so we went back down to the car. Jumping on the internet, we looked at flights and decided we could ski for another hour and then catch a flight to Chicago and connect to Dallas. Doing just that we skied for a little bit longer and then raced across the country flying on the 777 from ORD to DFW arriving back in Dallas just 24 hours after we left. It was hard to believe that last week we were laying out on a beach in San Juan and here we were this weekend snow skiing, this summer has already been a once in a lifetime experience.




Off To a Running Start…

So, after two very interesting weeks working with American Airlines, it’s time to update you on what’s been going one here. Working in the flight communications department, I have been able to experience first-hand what is being said between the pilots and upper management here at American Airlines. Two weeks ago American had their annual stockholders meeting, right down the street from where I am at the flight academy. During the meeting the reality of low profits (even negative profits) for an airline, when forced to operate at $130 a barrel fuel, was stated very clearly and plans for change within the company began to be laid out.

That afternoon I was able to sit in on a conference phone call where Mark Hettermann, VP of flight operations in Dallas spoke on what these changes meant for the pilots. After he was done speaking, I sat and listened to chief pilots from around the country take their turns in expressing their concerns and the moods from their bases. Sitting in an office in Dallas, yet being able to listen to pilots from round the country speak, allowed me to see just how big this operation is and how decisions made in upper management ripple down throughout the company.

Aside from all of that, I have also been involved in different tasks in flight communication. Every morning there is a summary report published containing all the data from flights from the previous day, and every morning I start off by finding this report and republishing it on a website for thepilots, and other employees at American to be able to access. Other tasks have included sending HI6 messages or what could be considered one-way e-mails to pilots via our own computer database. Sending messages with topics ranging from a group of Army troops that were flying aboard an American flight on Memorial Day, to a medication that the FAA decided was unsafe for pilots to take and fly; these HI6 messages keep pilots informed and are an easy way to get information to a selective group or the entire pilot population at American. I also go through customer service reports, picking out the positive ones to be sent to the crew bases of the crew being noted. These letters are then put into the crewmembers file and the crewmember notified of the report.

I also have gone through a monthly list that has all the First Officers who are becoming Captains with American. One would expect this to be a relatively simple task but the problem arises when some have already been a Captain before or others get deferred or withheld from upgrade training. Acting as a detective, it has been my job to search through the database and figure out who is actually going to become a captain, then after they complete their upgrade training, I make a plaque in recognition of their accomplishment.

Finally, I also take care of retirement postings on our web site. Receiving yet another list, this one contains the name of retired pilots; I go through and draft a short biography on each, to be later posted on our website. These have actually been very interesting and rather humbling. The vast majority of our pilots have served our country in some branch of military service, flown with other companies, gone through times of furlough and then been with American for 30 years!! At just the starting line of my career in aviation this appears to be huge shoes to fill.

Aside from all the eight-to-five office work, I have actually gotten to do a good amount of traveling and sightseeing. Going to both Dallas and Ft. Worth here in Texas, I highly recommend both. Dallas is very dressy and expensive from what I have seen, but they have an awesome fresh produce market on the east side of town. Farmers from around the state bring whatever they grow and the prices are unbeatable. Ft. Worth is a little more causal and a very good place to hang out. The downtown is very well maintained and shops, restaurants, and bars line the street, all within walking distance of each other.

My first weekend of travel benefits, another intern and myself flew out to San Francisco, California where we had a place to stay. Leaving the 90+ degree Dallas we were surprised to find a low 60 degree San Fran. Walking all over town on Saturday we saw the Golden Gate Bridge, China Town, and the rest of downtown. Skeptical of what San Fran would be likebefore I went, I was truly surprised at how cool most of the city was. While expensive I would definitely go back sometime! This past weekend I traveled up to Detroit, Michigan in hopes of getting to see the Red Bull Air Races. A sold-out event, another intern and I found a parking garage right on the river that was selling access to their rooftop. After sitting in the sun for about four hours, they finally called off the time trials due to high winds. More than a little disappointed we left straight to a hotel near the airport. Downtown Detroit, which we heard from everyone was not a very good place to be at night in small groups, looked like aninteresting place to see during the day. Situated right on a river that separates it from Windsor, Canada  the river and the river walk are a must see when traveling to Detroit.

Well our flight from Detroit is almost back to Dallas and I’ve already written too much, so I will check back with you in two weeks and let you know what is going on here in Dallas and around the country.


Jacob Velky

And so it begins….

After completing my second and final day of orientation, I cannot help but to sit here and think about all the possibilities that lay ahead of me this summer. As an intern with American Airlines, I will be based at the American Airlines Flight Academy in Dallas/Ft. Worth, Texas this summer. Working on projects and issues that arise throughout the summer, I will also be traveling throughout the United States and some of the islands in the Caribbean. This summer is sure to be filled with much hard work as well as many unforgettable memories. Seeing how I just got started here in Dallas and I’m still learning the ropes, I will use this week to let you know how I got here in case you ever want to do an internship at this level.

Securing and internship, especially with a large company like American Airlines, takes a lot of time, preparation, and persistence. I began looking for internships the end of the fall 2007 semester, and was unsuccessful in my attempt to secure a Spring 2008 internship with the Hawker Beechcraft Corporation. As disappointed as I was, I made sure to remain positive and continue my search in the spring.

In early January I began to compile a list of potential companies. After talking with Career Services and creating an account on Eagle Hire, I realized the vast potential that lay ahead of me. To narrow the playing field, I looked for companies I felt would be a good fit for me and also companies that advertised paid internship positions (let’s be honest, all college kids could use a little extra cash.) With my goal to become a corporate pilot, naturally all the big corporate names made it on to my list, including Proctor and Gamble and Coca-Cola. However, being raised to always have a back up, and not knowing how difficult it would be to get a position, I included other companies such as Duke Energy, Hendrick Motorsports and Day Jet to my list of possibilities. Out of shear random luck I also included American Airlines to my list, because they had a few paid positions available, something that had been rather difficult to find among airline internships.

Beginning the application process, I then had letters of recommendation and cover letters drafted up and my resume perfected. Some companies also required an official transcript and driving record, both of which take several days to receive. It is important to look at the application deadline and give yourself some time in order to get your paperwork together.

With my bait in the water it became a waiting game to see what would bite. After a couple weeks of silence we learned that the Proctor and Gamble internship had been withdrawn for the summer. A few days later, things began to happen. One day I received an e-mail from American, requesting a face-to-face interview. Then, the next day, I received a call from Duke Energy requesting a phone interview. The Duke phone interview was completely HR based and led to a face-to-face interview, which was over an hour and a half technical interview, one of the most intense experiences of my life. The American Interview was very straightforward, a couple HR questions and a few technical questions.

Within a week I had been declined from Duke and accepted by American for the summer. With Embry-Riddle policy being that once an internship is accepted no other offers may be accepted, I thought about the other potential opportunities that were still on the table. With such an opportunity with American Airlines, I thought it foolish to decline the invitation and so I accepted it. Looking back, this was a great choice for many reasons. As it turned out Coca-Cola pulled out and Hendricks still hadn’t made a decision by the time the semester was over, all of these instances are great examples of the need to have backups in life.

So here I am sitting in my airline pilot “crash pad” (a residence that will be the topic of a future journal entry I assure you) in Dallas, Texas as a paid intern with American Airlines. The road getting to this point was a little bit bumpy and had you told me that I would be in this position back in January I most likely would have laughed at you. However, right now I know that this was the best opportunity there was for me this summer, it just sort of fits and it’s funny how it works out that way sometimes.

This summer I will be working in the Flight Communications department of the Flight Academy. At this point I’m still not exactly sure what my job will entail but as I learn more, I will share with you what is going on here. If you have any questions throughout my internship please feel free to send me an e-mail at velkyba8@erau.edu and if I get the opportunity I will do my best to get back to you with an answer or share the question on my next entry.


Jacob Velky