The Faces of PSA – Meet Gerald Thayer

TGerald Thayeritle: Aircraft Mechanic

How long have you worked for PSA? 3 years

How long have you been in the airline industry? 50 years, all as a mechanic

Give us a brief overview of what you do:  Line maintenance at the gate. I work the pilot write-ups at the gate between flights.

What do you love about working for PSA? The people and company.

Why would you recommend PSA? The company has fine people and good working relations.

Tell us something about your role that most people don’t know: I spent 25 years as a flying mechanic in the USA, Europe, and Africa.

What is a “flying mechanic” and how did you end up working in Europe and Africa? A flying mechanic flies with the aircraft on all flights and fixes any problems by themself when and where they happen. I went to Madrid, Spain with Kalitta Flying Service for six months on a 727. When the contract ended, Race Aviation offered me a job on a Boeing 707 in Barcelona, Spain. I took a leave of absence from Kalitta and worked for Race. One weekend, we went to Ostend, Belguim to change an engine on a 707. Liberia World Airways operated out of Ostend and they offered me a job flying with their DC-8 from Paris to Africa. I could not refuse what they offered! I moved from Barcelona to Ostend and went to work. We would leave Paris with the plane loaded and head to Africa. We flew all over Africa for 10 to 12 days then back to Paris for a night and go back to Africa the next day to do it all over again.

What has been the most rewarding part of your job? All the different people I’ve met and places I’ve been.

Where’s your favorite place you have traveled? Belgium. When I lived in Ostende for a year while working for LWS, I made a lot of friends. The people there are fantastic.

What are some of your hobbies? Older cars and fishing.

Tell us something no one know about you: I love to water ski. It relaxes me. My favorite place to ski is Lake Coeur d’Alene in northern Idaho.


The Faces of PSA – Meet Roger Dunn

Roger DunnTitle: Flight Attendant

How long have you worked for PSA? Eight years ago as a PSA flight attendant. May 9, 2009.

How long have you been in the airline industry? I started in October 1995 with TWA (Trans World Airlines) as a Customer Service Representative. When TWA opened the station in Jackson, MS, I was contacted by the TWA marketing rep (Stella D’lbianco) about coming in part time as a ticket agent since I was the only person in the state that had PARS experience. I enjoyed the job so well, I stayed on until the station closed and the American Airlines merger was complete.

Give us a brief overview of what you do: I am a Flight Attendant, Check Flight Attendant, Instructor and a recruiter and work on special projects from time to time as needed.

Where’s your favorite place you have traveled? Bavaria (southern Germany) Austria and the Alps. Their high peak is a backdrop to many picturesque cities in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Italy. My first international trip was to Athens, Greece that turned back the clock of time. From my first view of the Parthenon, I fell in love with ancient history, which I did not care for at all in school.

NTSB Provides Unique Safety Training at PSA Airlines

NTSB with PSA Safety Team

From left to right: Daniel Bower, Chris Sailer, and Randy Fusi

Safety at PSA was taken to a new level Wednesday when Daniel Bower, Ph.D., a Senior Aviation Accident Investigator (Investigator in Charge) with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) conducted a training session at the PSA Training Center in Dayton, OH.

Almost 100 people, including representatives from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Air Wisconsin Airlines, Piedmont Airlines, AFA (Association of Flight Attendants) and ALPA (Air Line Pilots Association), learned about the NTSB Investigative process, procedures and expectations during an emergency situation.

“The turnout was really impressive and I’m excited that so many volunteered to be involved,” said Vice President of Safety, Security and Compliance Randy Fusi.

The purpose of the training was to better prepare everyone at PSA in case of an accident or incident and specifically for employees that could potentially participate on a Go Team deployment, according to Manager of the Safety Department Chris Sailer. The Go Team is a group called into action immediately following an incident/accident to go to the scene and help assist with the investigation.

Several PSA managers, directors, all of the vice presidents and the president were trained as well. “This is the first time PSA has had the NTSB come to our headquarters and actually do the training here,” Fusi said. “It’s important in the unlikely event that we have an incident or an accident that we are prepared to assist in the investigation and support our involved crew members.”

Bower brought a wealth of knowledge to the training from his 20 years of NTSB experience, where he has led investigations of numerous major accidents and dozens of smaller ones in his career. He featured one investigation in particular, the fatal UPS 1354 crash in Birmingham, AL, in 2013, as one the NTSB is using as a training tool for airlines and pilots. This video shows what happened.

The training shows PSA’s continued drive for the highest level of safety and is grateful to everyone that was involved. “This training will help PSA better prepare for an emergency situation if one ever arises,” said Sailer. “We would like to thank the NTSB for this excellent opportunity!”

The Faces of PSA – Meet Blake Ditlow

Title: First Officer/Lead Cadet Pilot Recruiter

How long have you worked for PSA? Just over 2 years. Was hired June 9, 2014

How long have you been in the airline industry? Luckily, PSA has been my first 121 carrier and I’ve been very fortunate that this place is my first home in the airlines!

Give us a brief overview of what you do: As a First Officer, it’s the same duties as all of my fellow First Officers. Provide a safe and reliable service to our customers as well as demonstrate the duties of either Pilot Flying or Pilot Monitoring during our flights. Also, one of the most important jobs, being able to be used as a second resource for the Captain and assist in any way possible during routine events or abnormal/emergency procedures.

Where’s your favorite place you have traveled? That’s a great question! I went to Belgium years ago and that was quite an awesome experience. However, I took my brother over to Dublin for St. Patty’s Day last year and that was one of the greatest cities I had ever been to. People were very welcoming! I’m not sure if it was because that’s just how they are or the fact that I have red hair so maybe they thought I was one of them? I don’t know, but needless to say it was still a fantastic city with tons of history and great sights to see!

What are some of your hobbies? I’m an avid golfer and outdoorsman. I golf as much as I can and fish whenever I get the chance. The sun and I don’t get along very well because of the whole red hair thing but I do enjoy being outside as much as possible! I’m also a huge movie buff so you may hear me talk in movie lines A LOT. I just really can’t help it.

What do you love about working for PSA? The crews are some of the best people I’ve ever worked with. We have a bunch of hard-working individuals here that push themselves to be better each day. I think there’s no other place like that in the 121 regionals. My involvement with the Cadet Program and Pilot Recruitment really fills my heart with joy. I get the privilege to go out and tell people about my experiences with this great airline and hopefully get them to join this great PSA team; Most importantly though, the Cadet Program is the most fulfilling. Getting the chance to go to these schools and talk to a packed classroom of private pilots and above, and get to share my experiences with them of flying a jet is one of the most rewarding experiences a pilot can have. We always want to ignite the flame of jet-fueled passion in these kids and when you show up in a full pilot uniform and tell them all about flying, their faces just light up. Seeing the passion that those students have is one of those things that reassures me day in and day out of how much I love my job and how blessed I am that PSA gave me this opportunity to do what I do.

Would you recommend PSA and why? I would absolutely recommend PSA to anyone out there. We are currently growing at a substantial rate still with more airplanes being delivered. Yes, there are growing pains associated with the fast growth, but I’d rather have growing pains than shrinking pains. The Quality of Life here is unsurpassed in the regional industry especially when you’re able to be a part of the schedule adjustment period. The crews are some of the most caring and fun-loving people that you’ll meet. For me, the opportunities at this airline have been tremendous and it has been one of the greatest things in my life with getting to be a part of our recruitment team.

Tell us something about your role that most people don’t know: In regards to the cadet program, I am one of the representatives that goes out and visits potential partner schools to see if that specific school would be a great fit to be a part of our Cadet Program. It has been a lot of the behind-the-scenes work that most people haven’t heard of or really see and I’ve loved every second of it!

What has been the most rewarding part of your job? Talking to all those students with the cadet program is always going to rank up there in the top three, but floating around up there, as well is just saying bye to passengers after every flight. There’s still something that makes me excited every time I open that flight deck door once we’ve parked and seeing potentially 76 people sitting there looking at you and knowing that you got them there safely.

Secondly, one of the most amazing feelings is welcoming a child up to the flight deck to take a seat in the plane and giving them their wings. I still have pictures of me in American Airlines planes back in the day and I will always have that memory of me holding onto the yoke with the First Officer sitting next to me with my wings on as the “Captain” It’s just something that I’ll never forget.

Tell us something no one knows about you: I’m a huge fan of musicals. For all those who don’t like musicals or can’t stand singing, I urge you to go see The Book of Mormon. It is literally laugh-out-loud funny and you will have stitches in your side afterwards.

The Faces of PSA – Meet Debra Hoke

Deb HokeTitle: Director of Inflight Services

How long have you worked for PSA? I was hired August 1, 2006

How long have you been in the airline industry? 42 years

Give us a brief overview of what you do: Oversight of 850 Flight Attendant professionals, including recruiting, training and daily supervision.

Where’s your favorite place you have traveled?  Myrtle Beach and San Diego.

What are some of your hobbies? Golf and bicycling.

What do you love about working for PSA? The diversity and professionalism of its employees and being afforded the privilege and ability to give input that makes a difference in the way PSA operates.

Why would you recommend PSA? PSA provides career growth at a regional airline that is well-respected in the industry.

Tell us something about your role that most people don’t know: While I work in an office, the “office hours” are 24/7.

What has been the most rewarding part of your job? Watching a flight attendant grow in his/her career and convincing a flight attendant he/she adds value as an employee.

Tell us something no one knows about you: A childhood fantasy was to be able to play rag time piano.