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Location: Massachusetts, United States

Friday, August 31, 2007

Life is good...

Wow, so March 11 was my last time here. Hard to figure out where to start...
Soon after that last post, I headed to Dallas to begin six weeks of training. Getting there was a true adventure thanks to a combination of weather and Spring Break travel. A drive from Boston to Newark and an overnight in Cincinatti later, I made it to the training center for week one: Indoc.
The hardest part of this phase of training was to remain awake in spite of our instructor's best efforts to jazz up the material. Week two marked the beginning of our systems phase, which lasted a little over three weeks. For eight hours a day, we dissected the systems of the Embraer 145 and spent much of our nights in study groups, poring through the myriad pages of our manuals.
Our instructor was excellent and while I became overwhelmed with some of the material early on, I soon got in the groove of training and made it through the oral quite easily. The fact the check airman played with a knife during the oral did help keep my answers on the straight and narrow...
The last two weeks of training were spent in the simulator, trying to learn to fly the darn airplane while every possible emergency was thrown at us. But with some help from my fantastic sim partner -- a transitioning Saab Captain -- I passed the checkride and was unceremoniously ushered to Initial Operating Experience, during which a newhire flies with a seasoned captain who serves as an instructor to ensure a safe transition from the sim to the line.
The experience was exhilerating, but more on that later.
I completed IOE in May and have been learning the ins and outs of airline flying since then, contently flying the line. Getting used to the airplane was reasonably painless. In fact, the most challenging aspect of the past few months has been to figure out how to deal with our schedulers and making my life as easy as they try to make it hard.
I've spent three months on reserve, far less than I had expected, and had a tremendous month of August with only six overnights and many day trips. Today, I kicked off a composite line for September, a hybrid between a hard line and reserve, which will unfortunately mean more time away from home but a little more money at the end of the month.
The past few months have been a true rollercoaster and a tremendous learning experience on all fronts.
It has also been a sobering and eye-opening adventure to the world of airline flying, which has both beautiful and ugly moments.
Overall, I'm very pleased with the career change and happy that it all happened so quickly and smoothly. As I settle into the airline life, I must now find a good balance between work and family as Jen and I are talking about having a baby and starting a new life in a new house. I'm very excited about the present and the future.
Life is good...


Anonymous phil said...

Congratulations! That is very exciting.

8:35 AM  

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