Location: Dayton, OH
Brief job description: I lead an exceptional team of well-educated, motivated safety professionals that come to work every day with the goal of making PSA a safer place. Their passion for safety inspires me.
How long have you’ve been with PSA? I’m in my 12th year.
How long have you been in the airline industry? 25 years
Favorite place you’ve traveled: Paris! Without a doubt.
What you like most about working at PSA: The people of course. Best group of people I’ve ever worked with.
Hobbies: Racing! I’ve raced since I was 14 years old. Started with motocross and flat track motorcycles, then road racing motorcycles. I then switched to mini sprints and sprint cars. Eldora Speedway is a very intense place! 140 MPH on a half-mile dirt track. Nowadays, I race the Sport Car Club of America’s Spec Miata Series at tracks like Mid Ohio, Road Atlanta and Roebling Road. I also love to ride my Harley Davidson motorcycle.
Why would you recommend PSA? It’s a stable, well-run airline with a passionate group of employees.
Something about your role that most people don’t know: When I took this position, the president at the time told me I needed to become the company’s conscience. I took that to heart. I make sure the company does “The right thing.”
Most rewarding part of your job? Leading the change in culture. We have a true safety culture at PSA now. I’m very proud of that.
Something no one knows about you: I used to be a dairy farmer! We milked 105 cows twice a day. We also raised 150 heifers on contract at the same time. It gave me a new perspective on what hard work and long hours really mean. I know it’s hard to believe now, but I got really skinny when I had the farm.
Throughout most of Amanda Keck’s youth, she had aspirations of becoming a dentist — until she met a female pilot who asked her to babysit her children. The more the mom traveled, the more babysitting Amanda did and the more Amanda fell in love with the idea of traveling the world and becoming a pilot herself.
Growing up obsessed with Purdue University, when Amanda found out they had a flight program, it was almost too perfect. She was flying nonstop since the second day of classes. Amanda worked at Purdue and her home airport as a flight instructor in order to build her flight time and as soon as she met all of the hour requirements, she applied to regional airlines, including PSA.
“Once I had my interview in Charlotte with PSA, I knew that was the airline for me,” said Amanda. She was drawn mostly by the trajectory of growth, the flexibility with scheduling and the travel benefits. “The industry is moving rapidly. (PSA) is hiring because of growth, not recouping.”
For Amanda, a flexible schedule has allowed her to live in Chicago, yet be based in Charlotte. “I can live in the city I want to,” said Amanda. “With full American Airlines travel benefits and 18 flights a day (between Chicago and Charlotte), it makes it easy. I am very family-oriented and to be able to be close to family is huge.”
Amanda has been with PSA since September, 2014 and is looking forward to flow to American. “It’s a guarantee hire. You’re already part of the team,” she said.
Being a female pilot in the male-dominated field is tough, she said, but it’s a career that’s no more difficult as a female than as a male. She has experienced the challenges of excelling in a male-dominated field. She has a third-degree black belt and won a Junior Olympic gold medal in karate.
As a mentor to younger female pilots, she encourages them to keep going because the career is so rewarding. Amanda is involved with the Women in Aviation program and has formed some extremely close bonds to fellow female pilots and said that “Friendships make all the difference.”
Amanda loves the close-knit community at PSA. “Everyone is so friendly. The crew rooms are filled with people I know and you can’t help but form friendships.” When asked about her most memorable moment, Amanda replied she doesn’t have just one, but a cluster of them, between site-seeing and overnights with colleagues. “These are friendships formed for life,” she said.
Have you ever wondered what happens behind the scenes before an aircraft joins our fleet? At PSA, we are on the path of accepting 54 brand new CRJ 900 NextGen airplanes from Bombardier. To date, PSA has successfully accepted 39 brand new CRJ 900’s.
Bombardier’s CRJ assembly line is based in Mirabel, Canada. In February, PSA welcomed its 100th Bombardier CRJ Series Jetliner operated for American Airlines. We celebrated by flying PSA staff to Mirabel Canada to tour the Bombardier factory and take the new jet home to Dayton, Ohio. View Video.
But what had to happen in the days leading up to the celebration? Each and every aircraft prior to delivery to PSA has to endure an acceptance process.
For every delivery, members of our Quality Assurance (QA) department must travel to Mirabel for several days to ensure the airplane meets our standards and is ready for delivery. PSA also sends a pilot that has been certified by Bombardier to test fly the aircraft. The team from PSA that is sent to review the airplane includes:
Steve Clark* – Chief Inspector
Jim Wolfe* – QA Specialist
Brad Salsbury – QA Specialist
Frank Bryan – QA Specialist
Chad Eshelman – QA Specialist
Randy Gossic – Line Captain
Danny McGahee – Line Captain
*Steve Clark and Jim Wolfe have been involved with the delivery of all 103 CRJ Aircraft we currently have in our fleet!
Several items must be inspected prior to delivery. All of the interior and the exterior of the aircraft is looked over in detail for any imperfections. Any imperfections on the aircraft will be fixed by Bombardier prior to aircraft delivery. The configuration of the aircraft must be checked to ensure it meets all of our requirements as customers. Every element in the cabin is inspected in detail to include the cabin configuration, every passenger seat, and tray table. The exterior of the aircraft is also looked over carefully. Even the smallest imperfection in the exterior paint will be repainted prior to delivery if necessary. Lastly, the QA Department also checks/logs all of the serial numbers on the equipment installed on the aircraft and checks to make sure the proper software has been installed.
Next, the CRJ 900 must be test flown. Randy Gossic and Danny McGahee are Captains at PSA that have been certified to conduct these test flights. Our PSA Captain is in the left seat flying the airplane while a Bombardier test pilot is in the right seat. The test flight consists of approximately a 2-hour flight where the aircraft undergoes several ground and flight tests. Each of the systems on the aircraft will undergo testing. The actual test flight includes testing of the flight controls, alternate gear extension, stall protection, and various Environmental Control System (ECS) tests. These ECS tests include dropping oxygen masks in the cabin and testing the leak rate of the cabin. All of the engine instruments and flight instruments are tested and compared. Lastly, an approach is flown and the Air Driven Generator (ADG) is deployed prior to landing. Any issues potentially identified on the test flight will be immediately corrected by Bombardier.
Once all of the issues on the aircraft have been resolved, PSA can formally accept delivery of the aircraft. The aircraft is immediately flown to Dayton, Ohio where PSA Mechanics can then do the Entry into Service checks and the Gogo WIFI is installed. Once all of this is completed the aircraft can be put into service.
So the next time you are onboard one of our CRJ 900’s, you can rest assured you are flying in an aircraft that has met the highest quality standards as well as have a better appreciation for the journey that airplane has already taken.
Mobile, AL – On Saturday, February 20, PSA Airlines participated in a Wings for Autism® event at Mobile Regional Airport (MOB). This event was held in partnership with The Arc of Clarke County, Mobile Arc, MOB, American Airlines and its regional partners Envoy Air and PSA Airlines, Autism Society of Alabama, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), and the Doug Flutie Foundation.
Wings for Autism®, one of The Arc’s newest national initiatives, is an airport “rehearsal” specially designed for individuals with autism spectrum disorders, their families and aviation professionals. Originated by the Charles River Center, a local chapter of The Arc in Massachusetts, and the Massachusetts Port Authority, Wings for Autism® is designed to alleviate some of the stress that families who have a child with autism experience when traveling by air. The program provides families with the opportunity to practice entering the airport, obtain boarding passes, go through security, and board a plane.
Wings for Autism® also gives airport, airline, TSA professionals and other personnel the opportunity to observe, interact and deliver their services in a structured, learning environment. This experience is equally useful for families that have a member with other intellectual or developmental disabilities (I/DD) that are concerned about the ability of their family member to travel.
Nearly 100 participants from the Mobile area benefited from this experience. Upon arrival, attendees checked in to receive their boarding pass, went through security, and were greeted at the gate prior to boarding the plane.
The flight was operated by PSA Captain Edward Hartzig III and First Officer Robert Baker, both MOB residents, and Instructor and Flight Attendant Melanie Lopez and Flight Attendant William Robinson.
“My favorite moment from the event was while passengers were deplaning, I heard a mother ask her special needs son, who was diagnosed with Autism, if he wanted to go on a real flight one day. He looked at her and said, ‘Yeah, mommy! I can do it!’, said Melanie Lopez, PSA Instructor and Flight Attendant. “To witness his anxiety, fear, and apprehension fade away was a life changing moment for him, his mother, and for myself. To know we made a difference in his life and that he trusts us and has the confidence he will be safe on an airplane was the real reward.”
To see pictures from the event, click here.
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.