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, 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.

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