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.