From PSA Cadet to First Officer

 

PSA is proud to welcome Shayne Zurn, University of North Dakota graduate, as our first Cadet to become a First Officer. He graduated in December of 2016 with a degree in Commercial Aviation and until recently was a flight instructor at the University of North Dakota.

Shayne discovered a passion for aviation while going to airshows around the Midwest at a young age, especially watching the Blue Angels. Shayne’s passion eventually lead him to taking aviation related classed in high school. He decided to attend the University of North Dakota for a degree in an aviation related field.

In 2009 Shayne received his Private Pilot’s license while attending college. He graduated in 2013 with a degree in Air Traffic Control but decided to return to school a year later and get a degree in Commercial Aviation. Shayne took major strides in his goal to become an Aviator in 2016 when he became a Flight Instructor and a PSA Cadet.

As a PSA Cadet, Shayne had the opportunity to attend multiple career takeoff events, be a part of our UND cadet marketing video and was honored by American Airlines as a Distinguished Cadet.

Here are some photos of Shayne’s journey.

We took some time to talk with Shayne about his experience as a cadet.

Why did you decide to join the PSA cadet program?

I decided to join the PSA cadet program to get a better understanding and more insight into PSA Airlines. From talking to the recruiters, I could tell they enjoyed working for PSA. Also, two major benefits stood out to me about the program, including the flow through to American Airlines and the tuition reimbursement.

What has been the most rewarding part of the PSA cadet program?

I really enjoyed getting to know the people that worked for PSA and getting to know cadets at my school as well as cadets at other airlines. The opportunity to share my passion for aviation with others in the industry has been rewarding.

How did the Career Takeoff Events add value to your experience as a PSA cadet?

I really enjoyed the Career Takeoff events. Having the chance to talk with PSA and American Airlines leadership and pilots truly showed how much the company care about the cadets and pilots.

What has it meant to you to have mentors to help guide you throughout this program?

I loved my mentors while I was a Cadet. I formed a close friendship with my first mentor and was sad that I would not be working with her through my entire cadet journey, but was happy to see her move on as a First Officer at American Airlines.

How do you feel the cadet program helped prepare you for your upcoming training as a PSA First Officer?

Having a designated mentor to talk to and other staff at the cadet program really helped relieve some of the stress that goes into preparing for the CTP and First Officer class.

What is your ultimate goal as a pilot?

Ultimately, I would like to become a captain at PSA and then flow to American Airlines. I would love to someday fly international flights in a wide body plane.

 

Dream on Hold Becomes Dream Come True

Earlier this year, Jessica Henderson thought her dream of working as an airline pilot would have to wait – again.

Then, “the stars aligned” and a program that would transition her from helicopter pilot to commercial airline pilot quickly popped back in the picture.

In March, Jessica became the first to sign on with PSA in our Rotor Transition Program (RTP) at SkyWarrior. This week, she began her Indoc training with our latest group of First Officers.

Jessica’s journey through the program took longer than some RTP graduates because obligations to her Flight Company Command duties ate into time she could have used to gain flight hours. But, she “finally made it” and is now looking at all the possibilities that lie ahead in her new career here at PSA.

Jessica joined the military just after high school and didn’t know what she wanted to do until she went to flight school and her eyes opened to the world of aviation and becoming a pilot. She said she thought to herself, “Wow, that’s what I want to do.” But, as with many aspiring pilots, the reality of cost to make that dream happen sunk in and she “stuffed that dream away.”

Fast forward to earlier this year and the dream looked as if it had to be stuffed away again as one of her original options to transition was stymied. She was attending SkyWarrior already when PSA teamed up with the flight school for our RT Program. Through the program, Jessica was able to ease her mind a bit about the cost (PSA contributes up to $23,000 towards a pilot’s flight time requirements in order for them to achieve their R-ATP) and move closer and closer to her dream.

“The sky’s the limit,” Jessica said. “Keeping my eyes open and looking at all the possibilities.”

Watch Jessica talk about her journey from “rotor head” to PSA pilot:

 

The Faces of PSA – Meet Hector Sanchez

Hector SanchezName: Hector Sanchez

Title: First Officer

How long have you worked for PSA? I’ve been at PSA 1 year and 9 months.

What brought you to PSA? I came to PSA not just for the upgrade, but for the opportunities. PSA is an airline with growth, not just in its fleet, but all around. Every day new positions become available internally for any employee that wants it. If you want to just fly the line, you can do that, but if you want to be in management or work for the union, it is all possible, too. Furthermore, PSA provides the flexibility I need to work on my other projects and see my family.

How long have you been in the airline industry? I’ve been in the airline industry since June 2013. I first started working for another airline in 2013 where I spent 2½ years working internationally before I came to PSA in November 2015.

Give us a brief overview of what you do: Currently I’m a First Officer based in Charlotte, NC. My job is to aid the captain in all duties related to the operation of the aircraft (preflight, setup, etc.). Also, I’m a Cadet Recruiter and Mentor. I attend school events and recruit future PSA pilots. I also mentor a group of students (cadets) from the moment they enter the program until they become pilots here at the company.

Where’s your favorite place you have traveled? It’s hard to say. I’ve been fortunate in my career to have been able to travel all over North, Central, South America and the Caribbean. Every destination is exciting and has things to see and places to explore.

What are some of your hobbies? Coming from an island, I love the beach, boats, fishing, surfing, etc. I like to watch any kind of sport: basketball, baseball, soccer, golf, etc.

What do you love about working for PSA? Apart from the flexibility and the quality of life I have at the company, I will say its employees. Everyone is very welcoming and you enjoy coming to work. Also, I have the ability not just of flying the line but also recruit and meet new aspiring pilots wanting to enter the aviation industry.

Would you recommend PSA and why? Yes, I will and have recommended PSA. It is a great company with a lot of growth and opportunities. The opportunities to grow professionally without sacrificing quality of life and family are the reason to come to PSA.

Tell us something about your role that most people don’t know: As a first officer, it’s pretty much straight-forward. You basically follow company standard operating procedures (SOP’s). As a recruiter, I get to go on the road and talk to aspiring and seasoned pilots interested in PSA. I also conduct cadet interviews. Once selected for the cadet program, the cadets are divided or put into groups. Each group has a mentor assigned who has the task of helping/mentoring each cadet so they achieve their ultimate goal of becoming an airline pilot.

What has been the most rewarding part of your job? The most rewarding part of my job is meeting new people every day, visiting new destinations and being able to do what I always wanted to do, which was fly. Every day I get to put on that uniform and transport people to their families or work. I get to interact with not just the passengers, but I get to fly with incredible crews. As a mentor, I get to help others achieve their goals of becoming pilots. I see myself in these new aspiring pilots trying to get to the next level. We all know it is not an easy task and takes a lot of dedication, time, and an extensive learning process.

As a recruiter and mentor, what is the most commonly asked question from cadets you interview and/or meet? What I enjoy the most about recruiting and mentoring is that there is no one question, there is usually like a million questions more like it. It is so dynamic and every day the industry changes and new questions arise. Questions about classes and degrees, company-specific questions (PSA), American Airlines questions, logbooks and preparation, check rides, etc. The list keeps going. Imagine one question per cadet around all the schools, it can be lengthy. Here at PSA there is a great team that helps out 24/7 when comes to answering questions. I always try to answer all the questions I can but you always encounter situations where you have to ask for help. Krystal McCoy (HR Cadet and Rotor Transition Program Recruiter) and the Human Resources department do an outstanding job answering all the questions we have. Without them, I couldn’t answer half the questions I get asked every day.

What is the next step you want to achieve in your career?  Currently my next step is to upgrade and achieve what many pilot dreams of, reaching American Airlines. For me to able to reach my goals I must become the most rounded pilot and employee I can be. One day I would like to enter the management side of flying either in the training department, safety department of even chief pilot of VP of Operations. The possibilities are endless, but everything starts with education which allows me to manage the flying environment better.

Tell us something no one knows about you: I have five brothers and sisters. I’m also a current student, completing Master’s degree in Safety. Currently, I’m only 26 years old and already have flown all over America and have a 737 Type-Rating and CRJ Type-Rating.

PSA Launches Brand New Web Store

On August 1, PSA launched a brand new web store. This new mobile-friendly store offers employees quality PSA apparel and accessories that they will be proud to wear and use. To celebrate and promote the launch, we held road show events in Dayton, Cincinnati and Charlotte giving our employees the chance to touch and feel the apparel before they place an order. The store is open to the public, so now anyone can purchase PSA branded items.

Wear the PSA logo with pride. Visit the store today to purchase your favorite PSA gear.

Check out photos from our launch below.

The Faces of PSA – Meet Pete Demers

Faces of PSA - Pete DemersName: Pete Demers

Title: Ground Training Supervisor

How long have you worked for PSA? I’ve been with PSA just over two years.

What brought you to PSA? The opportunity to work at a company with growth, both in the company, and professional growth opportunities and to relocate closer to my wife’s family in Northwest Ohio.

How long have you been in the airline industry? PSA is my first 121 carrier, however I’ve been in the aviation industry since 2000. My previous roles have mainly been in flight instruction, flight training management focusing on FAA Part 141 schools, and 135 flight operations.

Give us a brief overview of what you do: My primary role as the Ground Training Supervisor is to manage the ground training portions of the pilot new hire, recurrent and upgrade classes.  This includes overseeing instructor staffing and scheduling, developing courseware and being a point of contact for students during training in Dayton. There are a number of secondary duties to help support the training department and flight operations as well, including flying the line as a First Officer.

Where’s your favorite place you have traveled? It’s hard to think of a favorite. As a pilot, I’ve been able to fly into some pretty interesting places and have been able to explore new cities.

What are some of your hobbies? I’ve always been a bit of a history buff, and now living in the Dayton area has really appealed to the aviation nerd in me learning about the Wright Brothers’ background and history. In the summer, my wife I and love to explore the bike trails throughout the area.

What do you love about working for PSA? I would have to say the people at PSA and the opportunities that exist here. I have a great team of instructors I enjoy working with and leadership that is supportive of the department and professional development. When interacting with other departments, I’ve found everyone to be friendly and willing to help out.

Would you recommend PSA and why? I would (and have) recommended PSA to friends and former students. As a company, PSA has a lot of things going for them and great opportunities.

Tell us something about your role that most people don’t know: I think most people don’t realize the challenges or how encompassing the training department really is. Beyond the normal day to day teaching of systems and procedures, we are developing content for the future, looking at new ways to efficiently and effectively deliver content.

What has been the most rewarding part of your job? I’ve always found it rewarding to share my knowledge and passion for aviation with others. I had a boss in the flight training world and we would say to each other on the most stressful days: “We’re making dreams come true.” As Clichéd and cheesy as that may sounds, it’s a great feeling to be walking through an airport and seeing pilots who have come through training and are living out their dreams and know I helped them get there in some way.

Tell us something no one knows about you: Not really a secret that no one knows, but more of a fun-fact: Years ago at an airshow in Florida, I had the honor of meeting Gen. Paul Tibbets who flew the Enola Gay and dropped the first atomic bomb.