Saturday, November 22, 2008

Instructing some more...

Well I passed my one-year mark of instructing, and a while before that, I broke my 500-hour total time mark. I remember hearing people say that being an instructor is an invaluable experience and one learns more than they could ever learn from instructing. I didn't really think it would be as much of a valuable experience than it actually has. I think back to my first hour of giving instruction, and I've learned an incredible amount. Things become second nature and knowledge about instruments, flying and everything else about aviation become much more readily available. When it comes to landings, for example, my "picture", as they say, is so keen, that I can tell immediately the problem or the smallest bit of error. Ironically, I rarely get to land the plane. But even so, when I actually do, I've seen so many that I'm able to make a really good landing in spite of it being a while since doing it.

I'm also getting checked out in a G-1000 C172, which is pretty fun. But if you know any Garmin GPS, like the 430 in my case, it's pretty easy to understand.

My last bit of update, is that I should be taking my CFII checkride soon. I've been studying up for it for quite some time and I'm also waiting on one of my students to get ready for his PPL, so that we could do it at the same time (the examiner is at a different airport). Most likely, that'll be my next update. God be with me.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Life as a CFI

Well, after the disappointing events of my pursuit to work for the airlines, I've switched mindsets and am now concentrating on instructing for a while more. I had other opportunities to interview with other airlines, but in the end I decided that the job I have now and where I live are far better than what it would be like at an airline, especially with the condition they're in now.

I've been gaining a lot more students and they're advancing their way towards their private pilot license, which means I'm not solely instructing people how to fly for their first time, this gets monotonous. And after flying a lot more during the week, I'm starting to really enjoy what I do. Not that I didn't enjoy it before, but before I only had 1 or 2 students and rarely flew, and when I did it wasn't advanced stuff. I'm also improving myself as an instructor and that makes me feel better everyday. I have more than 100 hours of dual instruction given. It's a really rewarding job.

I've also been blessed with students who fly very well. There have been some that require a little bit more work, but rarely. The area and the people I get to fly with really make what I do an awesome thing, and I'm very blessed for having a job like that. It's giving me experience that one couldn't get anywhere else.

On a side not, I've decided to get my CFII (flight instructor license to instruct instrument). The reason why I didn't receive this before at ATP can be read here. It'll add more students and allow me to instruct more advanced students, which will be beneficial. Also, I can add to my actual instrument time, which I need. More info on that as I progress.

Monday, June 02, 2008


I interviewed with American Eagle on May 13th, 2008, a day before my 27th birthday. I was anticipating the call from them to schedule the interview for about a week, when I finally received the call. I was very excited and anxious. I flew from San Jose, California to Dallas/Fort Worth the day before and felt pretty confident all throughout the day. That night, however, was one of the worst nights I've ever experienced.

The day of the interview went very well. They made us all feel very comfortable and prepared. There were three parts to the interview; technical, human resources and a simulator evaluation. My first portion was the technical interview. I think I answered almost every question correctly except for one that the interviewer had to talk out of me. Afterwards they gave me a cafeteria coupon to get some lunch. The American Eagle facility itself was very impressive. After lunch, I had my human resources interview. This portion was very straight forward and I tried to just be myself and make the interview very conversational.

All throughout the day they would randomly call our names for each portion of the interview. However, if they call your name and tell you to take all your stuff with you, it meant you were not continuing with the interview. This happened a couple of times throughout the day and it made everyone very nervous. Fortunately, I made it to the final portion, the simulator evaluation. For some reason I performed the worse on this portion than the others, and flying is usually what I do best. There were only a couple of minor mistakes, but disappointing nonetheless. After returning to the room in which we were all waiting, there were only about 4 or 5 of us left (out of 9). One of the pilot recruiting personnel came in and said that we've all successfully completed the first day of the interview and gave us information on our hotel stay for the night.

From what everyone else had heard, if you made it to the second day, you basically got the job. The second day was no more than a medical exam (urinalysis and hearing test). We completed the necessary tests and they gave us our conditional letter of employment; basically saying if we pass the drug test, background test and captain review board, then we will be offered the job. I came home that day very happy and very worn out.

Unfortunately, on Friday I received an email rescinding my offer of employment. I was in complete shock. I kept questioning everything that had occurred to figure out what went wrong. I assumed it had to do with something with my background check, it couldn't had been the drug test, I don't take any. I even called the next Monday and asked about it, but was told that it was an American Eagle policy that they cannot divulge that information. Thanks for the heads-up for my next interview, huh?

I was pretty down the next few days until I started to see what started to happen with American Eagle, ironically. Hiring had all ready slowed down for them when I was interviewing, but this seemed contradictory to what the pilot recruiting personnel were saying that day. But about a week after my interview American Airlines, their parent company, announced that they would be reducing flying due to the high fuel prices and slowing economy. Since American Airlines owns American Eagle, American Eagle would also have to reduce flying. This put all interviewing to a halt and even canceled new-hire classes. So had I successfully made it through the background check and captain review, I would have probably not have had the job for long. I suppose that was God watching over me, thankfully.

So life continues instructing. Luckily, I still have a job flying. Others at the interview came out of ATP with no CFI ratings and therefore were pretty much left to looking for other airlines or no flying job whatsoever. I'm thinking more and more of getting my CFI-instrument rating. We'll see how that pans out. Instructing has been very good so far. The only complaint is the lack of flying I do. Maybe it'll pick up, hopefully. I'm still very blessed to be flying for a living.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Much needed update

Well here I sit again in Arlington, Texas, not the most exciting place in the world.

Instructing back home has been great and recently I've been flying more and more. Still, instructing seems to be quite inconsistent. For this reason, I've been looking at expediting my journey to an airline. Many regional airlines have been lowering their minimums because they are so short on pilots. My ATP partner, Jon, got a job with Colgan Air, and he has been trying to get me an interview. They aren't my number one choice, but I'll keep them in mind just in case. I was able to get in contact with a captain for American Eagle who lives in Morro Bay. Fortunately, we were able to meet and we talked about Eagle and what my potential was. He said he'd talk to the hiring people there and I also told him about a program ATP does where you go through a regional jet course and then an interview preparation course for Eagle. He said he'd ask about that as well. When he called me back, he said that with my hours, they would strongly recommend me going through this program. So after much prayer and consideration, I thought it'd be worth it.

So here I am, in Arlington, Texas, doing a week-long course learning to fly the CRJ-200. We're using a CRJ-200 FTD (Flight Training Device). Although it's not a full motion simulator, it's pretty fun to fly. Learning the systems, flows, call-ours, profiles and how to fly the plane is proving to be a lot of work, but extremely fun. Our instructors are current airline pilots, and the two we've had so far have been great. The downfall, yet again, is that I'm forced to spend a week away from my wife. But hopefully the week will go by quickly and I'll be back home. Then I'll probably come back for the interview preparation for Eagle and hopefully a real interview shortly afterwards.

On a side note, I haven't been able to sign anyone off for their PPL checkride. My brother is on his last flights before his, so hopefully I'll be able to sign him off. I have a couple of other PPL students which I enjoy. I'll keep you updated, whoever reads this.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

San Ardo Field Airport

The photo shows the strip to the right of the 101 that is in San Ardo, California.

I haven't posted much lately. Mostly because much hasn't been going on and also because no one actually reads my blog, so there' really no point. I do, rather, like having the ability to go and read previous posts I read and reflect on them. This post serves that purpose.

I got a call from my flight school while sitting in church last Sunday. It was the first day that I didn't have to fly in 3 days, and I was looking forward to not having to drive down to work. I let my voice mail get the call and I listened to it shortly after while listening to the sermon. Turns out, there were two pilots flying one of our 152's up to King City that had to make an emergency landing in San Ardo, California (half way between Paso Robles and King City. The girl that left the message pronounced the city wrong, but I figured she meant San Ardo. I've seen the airport from the air during the flights I've made up north, but I also knew that it was a private field. I returned the call and she gives me the phone number to one of the pilots who was stranded. After calling him, I told him I would be more than happy to come pick them up and asked for some information about the airport. It was an awesome opportunity to fly up to an airport I would probably never have the chance to fly into, all without costing me anything, except some of my Sunday.

After church I drove to the airport (Paso Robles, PRB) and began preflighting. It was also a great opportunity to fly solo again. I haven't been alone in the airplane since the solo time required for my private. I took off and tried to see if the GPS knew where this field was. With the help of my brother, who printed out some information about the airport, I punched in the identifier CA88. The GPS recognized the airport and I flew direct. I asked before hand which runway the wind was favoring and they said the wind was from the south, so I would land on runway 14 (although there were no runway markings on this strip, just giant X's). I slowed down before reaching the oil fields that make San Ardo recognizable in order to make sure I didn't mistake the field for something else. There are a few other private fields out there. I finally saw the field, which was newly paved, and began to enter a left downwind. The runway is about 2000 feet, which isn't too short, but it's only 45 feet or less in width, which makes it tricky to get a proper glideslope picture while landing. I made an OK landing, considering it felt as if the wind was blowing from behind and this airport was a bit intimidating.

Here's me while flying.

The two pilots came walking along the runway, I made a 'U' turn and picked them up and we took off. The flight back was uneventful, except for the story they told of how they ended up at this private strip. I was able to log close to 2 hours of flight time and some solo time on the trip. It was an excellent experience and opportunity and I'm glad that I was the only instructor on this list that was available that day to take advantage of it.