How long have you worked for PSA? I was a First Officer at Comair for 6 years from 2003-2009. I left there to do other things, but after a year or so, I really missed aviation; however, with no recent experience, I figured I’d never fly Part 121 again. I had lost touch with what the industry was doing, so it came as a big surprise to me to learn late last year that there was a pilot shortage. Since Charlotte is my hometown, PSA was the natural choice. I have since learned that there are many more great aspects to PSA and I am ecstatic to be back in the airline world with PSA!
How long have you been in the airline industry? 6 years
Give us a brief overview of what you do: I help to get customers safely and smoothly to their destinations.
What’s the most challenging part of your job? Since I was already familiar with airline life, the adjustment has been very easy, but I would say that the most difficult part is probably adjusting to reporting early after being on late reports in the same trip. Fortunately, that’s only happened once so far!
Where’s your favorite place you have traveled? It’s not far from home, but Charleston, SC is one of my favorites!
Where is your favorite destination to fly to? Although I haven’t been there yet with PSA, I would say Austin, TX, as I used to live there. What a great city!
What are some of your hobbies? Celtic guitar and running. I have played Celtic and Old Time guitar for over 20 years now. Being a native of the Appalachians, I guess it’s in my DNA. Being based in Knoxville at the moment, I found a great venue uptown with open sessions. PSA has afforded me the opportunity to get to know a great new town. I love Knoxville!
What do you love about working for PSA? The can-do, team-oriented spirit!
Why would you recommend PSA? Industry-leading pay, excellent equipment, stability of an American wholly owned airline, but most of all the great people who make up PSA.
Tell us something about your role that most people don’t know: I was once a certified farrier and equine outfitter in New Mexico and speak 5 languages. Besides English, the languages I speak are fluent German, basic Russian and Spanish and a smattering of Hebrew and Chinese. Being able to say even a few words or simple phrase has often brought a smile of surprise to a customer’s face hearing their native language.
What has been the most rewarding part of your job? Working with a great team and being back in aviation after a bit of a hiatus.
Tell us something no one knows about you: Prior to coming to PSA, I was an entertainer for Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines and had the opportunity to work in over 28 different countries around the world.
PSA Flight Attendant and Training Specialist Melanie Lopez participated in an event Nov. 12 that has left a lasting impression and created a path for a special group of families to better experience the joy of flying.
Lopez was part of a four-person crew that volunteered at the “It’s Cool to FLY American Airlines Wings for Autism” event at Myrtle Beach International Airport (MYR). The program, hosted by Arc of South Carolina and featuring volunteers from MYR, American Airlines and TSA, provides families of children with Autism to experience a “flight” from start to finish.
“I have worked with special needs individuals for the past 11 years and they have the same ambitions in life as everyone else. They want to travel and see the world and have these new and exciting experiences that we have,” said Lopez. “What motivates me to work with this event is to be able to help them take that first step to achieving those goals and fulfilling those ambitions. It is so rewarding to see them build confidence in themselves and walk away from the event knowing that they can do this and there is an entire support system behind them cheering them on.”
Joining Lopez on the flight were Captain Jeremy West, Captain Kevin Ambrose and Flight Attendant Britt Roach. This is the second Wings for Autism event PSA employees have been part of this year. Assistant Director Airport Operations, Corporate Security and Emergency Response Sumanth Reddimalla attended on PSA’s behalf as well.
According to Lopez, the best part of the event is always the end, where the children and families have confidence knowing that they can take a flight and have support.
It is such a heart-warming and rewarding event to be a part of, Lopez said. “As the event was ending and all the passengers were deplaning, a mother stopped and looked at me with tears in her eyes and said, ‘This is the greatest thing we’ve ever done.’ “
“I am beyond grateful to have this experience and be a part of this event. It is the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done,” she said.
About The Arc – The Arc advocates for and serves people with I/DD, including Down syndrome, autism, Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders, cerebral palsy and other diagnoses. The Arc has a network of more than 650 chapters across the country promoting and protecting the human rights of people with I/DD and actively supporting their full inclusion and participation in the community throughout their lifetimes and without regard to diagnosis.
PSA Airlines, a wholly owned subsidiary of American Airlines, is expanding its compensation program for new-hire pilots. PSA now offers up to $60,000 for new-hire pilots with a CRJ type rating keeping PSA at the top of the regional industry in first-year compensation for new-hire pilots.
PSA is committed to remaining competitive in the dynamic regional marketplace by offering the highest compensation package which attracts and retains the best and brightest pilots in the regional business.
With these changes, qualifying pilots starting with the company can receive over $21,000 immediately, and can benefit further by an additional $3,000 with a commuter hotel allowance program implemented earlier this year. A pilot starting their commercial aviation career with PSA can reasonably expect to reach Captain and earn between $165,000 and $175,000 in compensation for their first three years of service with the company.
PSA’s existing industry-leading employment opportunity offers the highest quality of life in the regional industry with flexible scheduling options, rapid advancement opportunities and an unmatched pilot flow through program to the largest airline in the world – American Airlines. PSA is a healthy and stable carrier with a defined and committed fleet and growth plan and the airline plays a vital role in American’s long-term regional network. Since 2014, PSA has doubled its size and now operates 115 aircraft and will continue to grow to operate 150 regional jets.
For more information about the benefits offered to PSA’s pilots, please visit: http://www.psaairlines.com/careers/pilots.
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 CRJ200 aircraft, 26 Bombardier CRJ700 aircraft and 54 Bombardier CRJ900 aircraft. The airline expects to add additional Bombardier CRJ700 aircraft and Bombardier CRJ900 aircraft to its fleet in the next two years, bringing its fleet count to 150.
The winners of the 2016 Business of the Year awards were announced on Thursday, November 10, during the Dayton Business Journal’s annual black tie gala, celebrating the top businesses and executives in the Dayton region. Congratulations to Dion Flannery, President of PSA on being honored as Executive of the Year!
Title: First Officer
How long have you worked for PSA? 1 year
How long have you been in the airline industry? I had a 31-year career in the Navy.
What did you do in the Navy? I served in the Navy for 31 years, about 15 of those were on active duty and the rest on reserve duty. I entered through Aviation Officer Candidate School in Pensacola, FL, and trained to be a Naval Flight Officer. I did not have the required uncorrected vision to be a Naval Aviator, but as a Naval Flight Officer, I flew 3,000 hours primarily in P-3 Orion’s performing long-range navigation and tactical operations throughout the world. Later in my career, I held a number of leadership/command positions serving in joint and multinational positions. I deployed overseas multiple times anywhere from a few weeks to a year. When I was not serving with the Navy, I managed accounting, audit and finance functions for the Department of Defense as a civilian employee.
Give us a brief overview of what you do: I am a new-hire First Officer finished with training and qualification in July.
What do you love about flying? Flying has always been a part of my life from a young age. I love flying and being a pilot. It has never gotten old for me, even after over 40 years. I earned my advanced and instructor ratings over the years and have instructed primarily as a volunteer with the Civil Air Patrol working with young people and adults. After retiring from the Navy, I continued to work as a civilian until retiring from that. I decided to fly professionally first flying passengers throughout the mid-south in Cessna Caravans. After listening to my younger first officers talk about starting their careers with regional airlines, I decided to see if that was a possibility for me. Since my primary goal was to fly, I wanted to join a team where I could reasonably expect to do that in the time I had left before turning 65 and the possibility of upgrading to Captain was also on my mind. After reviewing the different opportunities, I felt PSA would offer me those opportunities. While it means commuting, I felt that would be worth the benefits. After joining PSA, I immediately realized there was much more in terms of a family atmosphere and camaraderie of the team members. At my age, I value those things.
Where’s your favorite place you have traveled? In my Navy career, I have traveled all over, to some great spots like Japan, Germany, Italy and some not so great like Afghanistan, but I enjoyed aspects of them all. It is really hard to name a favorite but my wife, daughter and I have always enjoyed anywhere with a beach.
Where is your favorite destination to fly to? This question is hard because I am not sure I have made that trip yet. One of the things I want to do is take my wife and daughter to some of the beautiful places I have been to during my Navy service. The coast of Croatia is one such place. There is an airport in Split and nearby the village of Trogir. I am hoping to use our great travel benefits with American to go there again. I have fond memories of visiting there when I was peacekeeping in Bosnia and Kosovo.
What are some of your hobbies? Flying my Piper Cub, volunteering with the Civil Air Patrol, soaring, swimming and outdoor activities.
What do you love about working for PSA? The great family atmosphere and opportunity to work with fellow professionals.
Why would you recommend PSA? The opportunity to fly immediately after training and not sit on reserve for months/years.
Tell us something about your role that most people don’t know: First Officers must be Airline Transport Pilots with a Pilot in Command Type rating which was not the case a couple years ago.
What has been the most rewarding part of your job? Learning to operate the great CRJs of PSA as part of a team of professionals that all work together to deliver safe, timely and efficient travel to our customers.
Tell us something no one knows about you: The summer I was 15, I worked at Columbus Southwest Airport, a crop-dusting strip in Ohio for $1.25 an hour, which I used for flight lessons.