The Faces of PSA – Meet Val Zimmerman

GLINTstudios_Mindsalt-PSA_0391 (1)Title: Lead Pilot Recruiter

How long have you worked for PSA? 16 years. I started out working as a ramp agent for PSA in Cincinnati while flight instructing until I had enough time to transition to Flight Operations as a First Officer.

How long have you been in the airline industry? 16 years, 4 months

Give us a brief overview of what you do: I manage all aspects of the pilot recruiting effort at PSA. This includes managing the recruiting events, the pilot recruiters, relationships with organizations and schools and the Pilot Cadet Program.

Where’s your favorite place you have traveled? The Grand Canyon.

What are some of your hobbies? I love general aviation flying, enjoy golfing and spending time with my family.

What do you love about working for PSA? The people here at PSA have made this company a home for me. I have made some lifelong friends here and love being a part of this family.

Why would you recommend PSA? I have grown up with PSA. I have seen the company go through fleet changes, furloughs, downgrades, upgrades and multiple leadership changes over the years. I can honestly say, that I have never seen PSA’s future look so bright!  It is such an amazing thing to be a part of. PSA has given me opportunities when I didn’t think there were any. This is a place where you can grow and that means a lot.

Tell us something about your role that most people don’t know. I help manage our company’s social media accounts.

What has been the most rewarding part of your job? The most rewarding part of my job is getting to go through the new hire experience with new pilots. It is exciting and motivating to see young pilots just starting their career knowing that their decision to come to PSA will land them at American Airlines.

Tell us something no one knows about you. I’m starting a Women In Aviation Chapter in Sacramento, CA.

First Officer Jason Mayer’s Journey to American Airlines

Jason Mayer1Jason Mayer is taking a big step in his career. The 38-year-old Chicago native, who has been a First Officer with PSA for 10 1/2 years, is moving on to American as part of our seniority-based flow program. Here is a Q&A with our resident pilot before he makes the transition to fly for the largest airline in the world.

Q: Before you came to PSA, where did you fly?
A: I was 18 when I took my first lesson at Palwaukke Airport in Illinois. I went to Purdue for Aviation Management and chose flying as a minor. Before coming to PSA, I flew out of south Florida for two years to the Bahamas and Cuba.

Q: How does the flow program with American work?
A: The flow agreement we have in place is based on seniority, so when your number is called, you have the choice to flow. It doesn’t matter if you’re a First Officer or a Captain; it only matters what your relative seniority is.

Q: You were based in Charlotte (CLT) with PSA. Will you remain in CLT as an American pilot?
A: I won’t be based in CLT with American. Since I’m a Chicago native and have a home both there and in Florida, Miami (MIA) or Chicago (ORD) would be an ideal base for me. Until I get enough seniority under my belt to hold either, Philadelphia (PHL) will be my assigned base.

Q: You delivered aircraft number 595 from Bombardier earlier this month. How many jets have you delivered from Bombardier?
A: I’ve delivered about a dozen new CRJ900s since the second round of planes started to arrive. All of the CRJ900s were new from the Bombardier factory in Canada.

Q: What’s the delivery experience like?
A: The folks at Bombardier are a fantastic group of people. They are just as interested in what is happening at PSA as I was to learn about how things operated at their facility.  From touring the assembly line and watching PSA aircraft being built from scratch, to the acceptance flight, right down to the delivery – it’s an experience most pilots don’t get to experience. I was fortunate to have been selected in the process.

Q: What do you like to do in your spare time?
A: My hobbies include wake surfing, surfing, paddle boarding, soccer, hockey and anything on the beach under the sun.

Q: What are your future ambitions?
A: I plan on enjoying my time at American for the foreseeable future and enjoying the challenge a new job will present.

Q: What’s your most memorable moment at PSA?
A: My proudest moment recently took place during my last flight at PSA. I got to deliver aircraft number 110 to PSA with Randy Gossic. I have been flying with Captain Gossic for nearly seven years and he and I have flown every delivery that I’ve had the privilege of being part of together. He is a great friend, wonderful teacher and great pilot. It was truly an honor to have shared that experience with him.

Q: What is your favorite destination to fly to?
A: The neatest place I’ve personally flown to was Havana, Cuba, before the embargo lift. To fly into a communist country so close to the U.S., yet so foreign to Americans, was a very interesting and awesome experience.

Q: What is your favorite vacation spot?
A: I recently went to the north coast of the Dominican Republic – the Samana Peninsula.
I kind of fell off the grid for a week. I’ve been many places, but that was picture perfect.

Dave Lewis: Veteran Pilot, Jokester, World Traveler, Educator


Dave Lewis (center) with a recent class of pilots and dispatchers.

Fifty years in any industry is a feat not many people can claim. Recently, PSA added an employee who has flown 10,400,000 miles and 26,000 hours to their ranks.

Dave Lewis, a PSA ground school instructor who has taught more than 1,000 pilots, started his aviation career on June 6, 1966 and has flown all over the world since then. Here’s a quick look into the life of Dave.

Q: Where did you learn how to fly? A: Bakersfield, CA after graduating high school.

Q: When did your aviation career begin? A: June 6, 1966 with Pacific Airlines. I started as a station agent where I did everything from taking tickets to air freight.

Q: You have experience in the military. What branch did you serve in? A: I was in the Army Reserve and was recalled to Active Duty in 1968. I went through Army Flight School in January 1969, and served in Vietnam from November 1969 to November 1970. I served a second tour from February 1971 to February 1972. I flew helicopters and fixed wings.

Q: After the Army, where did you work? A: I worked at Capital Airways from 1974 to 1977. After that, I was hired by Air Cal, which then became Air California, which was then bought by American Airlines.

Q: How long were you with American? A: I retired from American in 2007 when I hit the mandatory age of 60. Thirty days later, it changed to 65.

Q: You said you almost didn’t make it to retirement. Tell us about that. A: I had a medical condition (genetic kidney disease) that was discovered in my 50s. My kidney function dropped to 20 percent. I had a transplant and got my medical back less than four months later. I have my wife to thank for saving my life.

Q: How long have you been married? A: 44 years

Q: Do you have any children? A: Yes, three. Britt (43), Heather (42) and Andrew (29). I also have seven grandkids.

Q: Your wife was in the industry for a time as well. What did she do? A: She was a flight attendant for about 10 years.

Q: You’re known for pulling pranks. Has anyone gotten you back? A: Yes, my wife got me back good for a prank I pulled on another flight attendant. I was meeting her at the hotel because we were flying together the next morning. She was running late and I was wondering why. She arrived about an hour late and said there was a delay. She was on the same flight as the flight attendant I pulled the prank on so while I was waiting for her to meet me, they sewed my pant legs and coat arms shut. The next morning when I went to put on the pants and jacket, I discovered what they had been doing when I tried to put them on and couldn’t.

Q: After retiring from American, what did you do? A: I flew in India, then Fiji (with Air Pacific), goofed off for a year, went to Bangladesh as a chief pilot for 16 months and flew 767s, goofed off for another year and then got a contract to fly for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement handling deportation flights.

Q: When did you come to PSA Airlines? A: I came to PSA in October 2014.

Q: What do you like most about working here? A: The people; we have so much fun. I like being an integral part to these guys’ careers – the impact I’m getting to have. You touch their lives. It keeps me young. I don’t feel 68. The people running the show are doing a really good job. It’s fun to be part of this growth spurt.

Q: What advice do you give every pilot you train? A: It’s easy to become complacent. Continue to stay in the game. I know it can happen. I’ve seen it. Figure out your piece of the puzzle. It helps with preparation and makes everything flow that much easier.

Q: What’s your secret to longevity? A: This industry is fun. I could retire. I choose not to.

PSA Airlines Announces A $15,000 Sign-On Bonus For All New-Hire Pilots

GLINTstudios_Mindsalt_PSAairlines_00389DAYTON, Ohio – PSA Airlines today announced an important enhancement to its pilot recruiting platform by rolling out a $15,000 sign-on bonus for all new-hire pilots. This valuable improvement enriches PSA’s existing top-notch employment opportunities which already offer the highest quality of life in the regional industry and a true seniority-based pilot flow through program to American Airlines.

In addition to today’s expanded pilot bonus program, PSA will also be enhancing the value of its employee referral program for pilots by increasing the payout from $1,000 to $5,000 for eligible participants and aims to further reward current employees as ambassadors for the company to attract the best and brightest future aviators. Employee referrals are an important part of pilot recruitment and with this increase, PSA will be materially compensating its workforce for helping identify and onboard future pilot colleagues.

The long-term stability, unmatched career opportunities and quality of life at PSA is something few regional carriers can match. With a young and efficient fleet – including more than 50 brand-new large regional jets, a sustainable cost advantage versus competitors and the experience as a reliable provider of service, PSA is an airline that will remain a vitally important regional provider for American.

PSA is building on the success of its sustained pilot recruitment initiatives, including these two enhanced programs announced today. Earlier this year, the airline implemented an industry-leading Cadet Program which helps the most promising future pilots make a smooth transition from the classroom at top colleges, universities and flight schools to the cockpit and offers various levels of support as the Cadet’s certifications, training and experience evolves.

About PSA Airlines

PSA Airlines operates an all-jet fleet consisting of exclusively Bombardier regional jet aircraft. The company’s more than 2,500 employees operate nearly 700 daily flights to nearly 90 destinations. Headquartered in Dayton, Ohio, PSA also has flight crew bases located in Dayton, Cincinnati, Ohio, Knoxville, Tennessee, and Charlotte, North Carolina. PSA has maintenance facilities in Dayton and Canton, Ohio and Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky Airport and Charlotte, North Carolina. PSA operates 35 Bombardier CRJ 200 aircraft, 26 Bombardier CRJ 700 aircraft and 49 Bombardier CRJ 900 NextGen aircraft. The airline expects to add an additional 40 aircraft to its fleet in the next two years, tripling its fleet size and employee base since the airline’s growth plan was announced in December 2013.

The Faces of PSA – Meet Rodger Jackson

RodgerJacksonTitle: A&P Maintenance Technician

How long have you worked for PSA? I have been working here for almost 2 months; since April 4, 2016.

How long have you been in the airline industry? I was an airplane electrician in the Navy for 4 years, then ended up working in manufacturing and construction before deciding I wanted to get back into aviation. I went to college majoring in Aviation Maintenance Technology and minoring in Avionics Maintenance Technology; got my degree and then my FAA Airframe and Powerplant certification. This is my first job in the ‘civilian’ airline industry.

Give us a brief overview of what you do: I am one member of a team of maintenance technicians who inspect, repair and maintain our fleet of aircraft and keep them operating safely and efficiently.

Where’s your favorite place you have traveled? I traveled to Germany twice after learning to speak German and it was one of the most fun and interesting things I’ve ever done. I am trying to learn French and Spanish so I can travel to countries that speak those languages.

What are some of your hobbies? I enjoy electronics, photography and I am just getting started with RC Airplanes and Quadcopters. I plan to buy an Enduro Motorcycle soon so I can start back with an old favorite hobby of recreational motorcycle riding off-road.

What do you love about working for PSA? I absolutely love the airplanes. Working on them, flying on them, watching them taxi and take off or just looking at them sitting in the hangar or on the flightline. I never get tired of them and the people who work here are fantastic.

Why would you recommend PSA? I love my job here. All of the people I have met at PSA have been exceptional and have corroborated the good decision I made in coming to work here. I have never been happier with a previous job and would love to see some of my aviation friends get to enjoy the same great experience.

Tell us something about your role that most people don’t know: The people I work with make my job easy no matter who I am working with. They are always giving me the benefit of their experience and helping me to become the best A&P Technician I can be. There is always something new to be learned in this field.

What has been the most rewarding part of your job? Getting a call that an aircraft needs some mechanical attention and approaching that aircraft with a maintenance manual and a toolbox and being able to bring that aircraft back to 100% safe functionality is a very satisfying aspect of this job. I really enjoy having a career like this.

Tell us something no one knows about you: I never get bored. There is always something new to learn or accomplish.