Jason 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.
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.
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.
How long have you worked for PSA? I started with PSA as a Flight Attendant in 2000. I left the company for a brief period but could not stay away and rejoined the team once again as a Flight Attendant in 2002. I quickly wanted to do more and was invited to be part of our initial cadre of FAs trained on our CRJ-200 and I became a Check Flight Attendant. I was the first Flight Attendant for PSA to be jet qualified! I became part of our Instructor team assisting with bringing on our CRJ-700 Fleet. Then in 2005, I became the Assistant Manager of Inflight Services and moved to CLT. In 2009, I was promoted to my current position of Inflight Manager.
How long have you been in the airline industry? I have been with PSA my entire aviation career!
Give us a brief overview of what you do: I oversee the Inflight Services department which consists of 5 Inflight Supervisors and just over 900 Flight Attendants. My role is responsible for management of our cabin operation and helping our FAs be successful in their careers.
Where’s your favorite place you have traveled? It is hard to pick just one favorite. I love Aruba with its beautiful Caribbean water and the uniqueness of a desert island. But Portland, Maine has always been one of my favorite destinations. I love driving along the coast and visiting all the lighthouses, staying in quaint Victorian bed & breakfast and then going into town for the best clam chowder in the country! Even in the winter, it is well worth the visit.
What are some of your hobbies? I love to travel with my family. My husband and I are adventurists and love to be outdoors. We bike, kayak and love to explore. If we have a day off, we are on the go. The Grand Canyon was one of our favorite family adventures, but we do not have to go far to enjoy the day; we often spend our time biking along the river walk or kayaking on the lake in our hometown of Columbia, S.C. I have been skydiving once and hope to go again; it was one of the most exciting things I have ever done.
What do you love about working for PSA? I love the people. I love working for a family-oriented company and feeling I am part of a great team.
Why would you recommend PSA? We are a growing company where you can make a difference. We will give you the tools to succeed and opportunities to grown in your career. I started off my career as a Flight Attendant, but with my desire to learn and my love for a challenge I am now part of a great leadership team!
Tell us something about your role that most people don’t know: My role is about solving puzzles! I love a good mystery and puzzles which is why I love my job. Every day there is a new challenge to research and investigate so we can come up with the best solution. There is never a dull day and when you think you have seen it all there is a new challenge on the horizon just waiting to be solved!
What has been the most rewarding part of your job? Helping our people. When I was a Flight Attendant, I loved interacting with our customers. Now I get to work with one of the best groups of people I know and help them each day to be successful in their careers.
Tell us something no one knows about you: Before joining PSA, I lived in Romania as a missionary for a year when I was 20-years-old. It was a tremendous experience and taught me to be thankful for all the Lord has done for me. I have a passion to live for my Lord and Savior and love to tell others about HIM. My family and I are very active in our local church and our family sings as part of the church ministry. God has richly blessed our lives and we enjoying being a blessing to others.
Location: Dayton, OH
How long have you worked for PSA? It will be 17 years this year! August for Jake and September for Janet.
How long have you been in the airline industry? Since 1997.
Give us a brief overview of what you do: We help crews with calls they have on line during the day with aircraft discrepancies. If we can’t fix with the crew, we get our mechanics out if at a base or contact outstation mechanics and walk them through fixing the aircraft.
What are some of your hobbies? We love boating, fishing, and anything outdoors. And family time with our almost 8-year-old daughter, Kylie. June 10th is her birthday.
What do you love about working for PSA? We love that we can come to work and everyday will be different from the next.
Why would you recommend PSA? It’s a great place to get your start in aviation. Or even if you plan on staying in aviation for your career.
What has been the most rewarding part of your job? Getting passengers to their destination.