Thursday, October 19, 2006

Moving On Up!

As you probably know, it's been a goal of mine to work for a major airline ever since I was a kid. Well, after years of working through my ratings, "paying my dues" as some people say, and working for a regional airline for the last 5 1/2 years, I finally had the chance to interview with a major airline.

With tens of thousands of pilots out there, all wanting to work for a major airline, you can imagine that even getting an interview can be a challenge. Once you meet the airlines minimum requirements you can apply and hope for the call. As with any job though, it helps to know somebody. Through some of my networking, I was able to meet a pilot that has worked for this particular airline for about 14 years. Thanks to him bugging his chief pilot several times, finally after 9 months, I got a call for the interview!

After doing everything I could to get ready for the interview, I showed up bright and early on Tuesday, October 17th, 2006, a day that shall live in infamy.....okay, maybe not. I showed up that morning wearing my best suit (which happens to be my only suit) and all my documents in hand.

The interview started with a simulator ride. After a 15 minute briefing, and 30 minutes to memorize all the profiles and call outs, I jumped into the MD-80 simulator with two senior captains. They gave me another brief on what they would and wouldn't do to help me. We took off, made some turns, went to a holding pattern, and then came back and landed. The whole thing only took about eight minutes but my whole career rested on how well I flew the simulator in those eight minutes.

I was then taken to another room where three different senior captains were waiting to ask me a few questions. The whole environment was very relaxed but I didn't want to let my guard down, as this was an event that could change my whole career. They asked me questions ranging from technical information about federal regulations to questions about my past experiences. The whole interview only took about one hour. As I left, they wished me good luck and I was on my way back to the airport to fly home and wait for a decision.

Other friends that had interviewed here in the past told me that I'd either find out the day of my interview or the next day. After I got home from my interview, time seemed to drag on and on! Every time the phone rang I jumped and checked to see who was calling, hoping it would be "the call"! That night came and still no call. I woke up the next morning, hoping to see a missed call on my phone, but there wasn't. Throughout the morning, a few people called asking if I'd heard anything yet.....no, still nothing.

The pilot who helped me to get the interview called and asked how everything went. I said, "Well, I think it went okay, I was actually hoping you were calling to tell me I got the job because sometimes they tell the sponsor, and then the sponsor gets to tell the applicant." He said, "Man, that would be cool, wouldn't it." My heart sank, obviously he wasn't calling to tell me that I got the job.

I explained to him how I thought I did, of course by now, I was second guessing everything I said and wondering what I could have done differently. Then he said, "Well, you must have done something right because I'm here to offer you the job! You GOT IT!" I couldn't believe it! Erin could tell by the look on my face that I had got the job and came over to give me a big hug! After thanking my sponsor for everything he did, I hung up with him, and now I had a lot of phone calls to make.

I called my close family and friends the rest of the day and went over to my best friends house that night to celebrate. Today I got the official e-mail that on November 28th, 2006, I will be starting as a first officer with Continental Airlines.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

The Neighborhood Stalker!

From time to time, I'll let our cat Norman outside to do things that real cats do, like catch wild animals, you know, like moths and flies. Occasionally I may forget that he's outside and fall asleep on the couch or go upstairs and spend hours on the computer.

Erin has always been worried about him being out there without us watching him because she swears that there are wolves wondering the neighborhood just waiting for a little kid or pet to be it's next meal. Now, we don't live out in the country, actually, we live in a suburb of one of the biggest cities in the United States. I asked Erin one day, "When is the last time you saw a wolf, or even a fox, walk down our street with the neighbor kid in it's mouth?" Her defense was that wolves and fox are so "sly" that you won't ever see them. That may be true, but you would probably know if the neighbor kid went missing.

Last night, Erin and I went to a show at our local movie theatre. We walked out of the movie theatre at about 11:00 PM and I saw what I thought at first to be a dog walking through the parking lot about 50 yards away. As I looked at it closer I realized it wasn't a dog, in fact it was a coyote! Before I realized what it was, I said to Erin, "Is that a wolf?" Her exact words were, "Oh Crap!"

Now, we were the last two people to leave the movie theatre so as we walked out, the manager locked the doors behind us, but we still had about 20 yards to walk (or sprint) to our car. A question came into my mind, do we race for the car or run back toward the theatre, pound on the door, and hopefully get let back in before the coyote gets us. If we race toward the car, we are running toward the coyote, if we go for the theatre, we are running away from the coyote, but we are also running toward a dead end.

We decided to hustle to our car! As we got close, and we were sure that we would get in our car before the coyote did, Erin decided to make a clicking noise with her mouth, as if she was trying to call the coyote over to us! I said, "What are you doing? Do you really want to be his next meal?" Fortunately, the coyote kept moving and didn't really seem to care that we were there. It scurried off into a townhouse complex.

Now, what would any good American do if they saw a wild animal go running through a neighborhood? Chase it! We drove over toward the neighborhood where we last saw the coyote but by the time we got there it had already disappeared into the night.

Hopefully nobody is waking up this morning, wondering why their cat went missing last night. Speaking of that, I wonder where Norman went too? I should go find him now that I just spent hours on the internet.