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.
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.
Title: Flight Attendant
How long have you worked for PSA? 5 years
How long have you been in the airline industry? 5 Years
Give us a brief overview of what you do: In the five years I have been with PSA, I have been extremely fortunate to do a number of things in addition to working as a flight attendant. I have been given the opportunity to interact and work with people from all departments, including recruiting and training. I remember what is was like to be on the other side of that table. I enjoy teaching new hire Flight Attendants and making their dreams come true and I want to share with others my love and passion for PSA. Given my background and skills in photography, I have also been asked to assist with photography & videography. My recent special project has been working on the Inflight Portal page of the new PSA Website. I love the creativity involved and seeing the excitement of others when sharing the results of my efforts. I take pride in accomplishing the tasks given to me and making others proud.
What is one of the biggest challenges of your job? Trying to get everything done that I say I will do.
How many roles have you had at PSA? Five – My position is Flight Attendant, however, I am also a Check Flight Attendant and Flight Attendant recruiter. I was also a New Hire Instructor for two and a half years and most recently have been deployed to corporate headquarters to assist in multiple special projects.
Which is your favorite part of your job? Probably the variety and diversity of projects. My tasks are ever-changing to meet the needs of the operation, and I think change is good. I love flying and I love being creative. I never thought the two could become one, but somehow they did. In all that I do, I am blessed to be able to see the big picture of the company.
How are you involved with the new employee portal project? When I heard about the portal, I knew it would be something I would be interested in doing. Once I began to learn how it worked, it intrigued me so I volunteered to be the “go-to” for the Inflight Department. Before I knew it, I was helping Flight OPS & Crew Planning.
Where’s your favorite place you have traveled? Anywhere with my husband. We love Hawaii! We had a great time our first time in Vegas! The best was probably Fort Meyers, Fl at my sister’s place!
What are some of your hobbies? I love spending time with my family, traveling with my husband, watching my youngest son, Nolan, play sports, supporting my daughter, Jordyn with her endeavors in the Marine Corps and holding my grandbaby, Owen. I love photography & videography.
What do you love about working for PSA? I absolutely adore everyone I have had the pleasure of working with at PSA. I don’t feel like it is a job. Flying is a lifestyle. The special projects I do let me be creative. I feel PSA is the best company.
Why would you recommend PSA? I always talk about PSA and what a fantastic company it is to work for and all the opportunities the company has to offer. I have recommended a few people for jobs at PSA, and I feel it is a privilege to work for the company. I only recommend people that have good work ethic and that believe in the values and mission of PSA.
What did you do before coming to PSA? I feel like I have been training my adult life to be a Flight Attendant. I was a paramedic in the Air Force and served during Desert Storm/Desert Shield. After leaving the Air Force, I became a 911 Dispatcher. While doing that, I went to the Police Academy and became a Deputy Sheriff. After leaving the Sheriff’s office I began working for a photography company doing sports photography.
Tell us something about your role that most people don’t know: How many projects I am currently working on.
What has been the most rewarding part of your job? Pleasing other people!
Tell us something no one knows about you: My life is pretty much an open book. Ha Ha! I was blessed with my first grandbaby in September, but I think most people know that too!
Title: Stores Clerk, CAK (Canton-Akron)
How long have you worked for PSA? Since Feb. 25, 2000.
How long have you been in the airline industry? February, 2000.
Give us a brief overview of what you do: Work day shift in the Stores Department doing shipping and receiving of repaired parts and other parts to help keep the planes flying. Occasionally, getting parts for mechanics when there is a plane in the hangar. And last, but not least, sending comat (company material) to the other bases to help fill their parts needed for nightly maintenance.
What is one of the biggest challenges of your job? Receiving in Assemblies (APU’s, Landing Gears, etc). I have to make sure that all the children are on the parent and are correct, along with clearing times on them and if they are a life-limited part where they would have to come off for possible recertification or just replaced with a new part.
Where’s your favorite place you have traveled? So far, Germany.
What are some of your hobbies? Riding my bicycle on some of the trails near where I live, skiing, when my knees can handle it, and listening to various kinds of music.
What do you love about working for PSA? Seeing the planes when they’re getting worked on. I think it is interesting watching the mechanics working on something like the engine and figuring out the problem and fixing it.
Why would you recommend PSA? The experience of working for an airline has given me a “behind-the-scenes” view of what goes on with an airline that I never thought of before.
What did you do before becoming a Stores Clerk in Akron? One of the jobs I did that I enjoyed before PSA is working for The Longaberger Company in nearby Hartville, Ohio. I was a lathe operator. I was also an over the road truck driver and worked for a local refuse company.
Are you from Ohio? Yes. I am from a small town 20 miles east of Akron called Alliance.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years, what kind of job? I hope to still be with PSA, maybe in a different position.
What has been the most rewarding part of your job? The travel.
What have you learned about aviation that people outside the aviation industry don’t know? For me, I never thought of what went on “behind the scenes” at an airport or for an airline. There were more things going on than I realized. It was something I never thought about and I’m sure there are other things that I don’t know about.