As many people in the airline industry know, a lot of conversations happen between on-duty pilots and pilots jumpseating on flights. Thankfully for Captain Alissa Thody, and for PSA Airlines, these conversations can often be career changing.
“One year ago, I had never heard of PSA,” explains Captain Thody. Thody was in the right seat at that time, flying for another regional carrier, when a jumpseating PSA pilot gave her the rundown on his own experience at PSA and how maybe it would be a good move for her too. After seven and half years at that carrier, with capped FO pay and retracted upgrade opportunities resulting from a merger, it was an easy decision.
Captain Thody’s story went a bit differently at PSA. “I went into FO training studying. I never quit studying. If I had a break, I instructed. I stayed current on policies and procedures. I was always preparing for upgrade.” This paid off for Thody when at the tail end of her FO training track, out on her IOE, she received her upgrade class date. “They don’t hold your hand in upgrade. Or anywhere in our training program. There’s no compromising safety. Don’t put in for upgrade unless you’re ready to upgrade.”
So is being a captain living up to the dream? “It is so much fun. All the FOs are so positive. They know there’s a light at the end of the tunnel; eight to nine months and they’ll be upgrading, and they want to be prepared. I try to be encouraging and tell them to keep studying… They didn’t know the industry when it was stagnant, the kind of growth here at PSA is unheard of. I tell them they’re lucky.”
“I still wouldn’t have upgraded if I had stayed where I was. I’d still be living in my parents’ basement if that pilot hadn’t been singing PSA’s praises in the jumpseat. I think that says a lot about the morale here. It’s about what we’re saying when no one is listening.”
PSA Airlines was featured in this month’s Aero Crew News as the Spotlight Story.
The article highlights PSA’s long history, its growth announcement after the merger of US Airways and American Airlines, and its subsequent status as the fastest growing airline in the industry.
PSA’s own Captain Valarie Zimmerman, Lead Pilot Recruiter, then answers questions regarding the entire pilot application, interview, and hiring process, PSA’s hiring increase, and upcoming growth for the company.
Read the article in its entirety at http://www.aerocrewnews.us/acn/10-ACN-Oct-2015.pdf
In honor of PSA’s multiple visits to Embry Riddle Aeronautical University campuses this and next week, PSA First Officer, Pilot Recruiter and ERAU alumnus Blake Ditlow gave us his story of becoming a PSA pilot.
“I came to PSA because I thought it would feel like family,” explains Ditlow. “it was an easy choice after leaving Embry Riddle.” And many ERAU alumni have evidently felt the same. With the CRJ course offered at the school, many students choose to start their career at a regional airline. “They told us, ‘You will be prepared for any airline when you walk out…’ and they were definitely right. Training was not terrible. It was easy, really. And I had five or six friends on the line at PSA that could tell me what to expect. They were like mentors. And all the Check Airmen I had were great.”
Ditlow didn’t take long to move into new opportunities at PSA on top of flying. “When I first saw the pilot recruiter posting, I was in Evansville and it was one o’clock in the morning. I immediately counted my hours, updated my resume and sent in my application that same night. Recruiting makes me happy. To see a recruit excited about the opportunity, sharing flying stories, relating to them… it makes it easy.”
“I tell pilots that we have jets and we have them right now. Growing won’t stop and airplanes won’t stop. You can go to the places dishing out money but you’re going to be there awhile. I’ve had a good experience here. 99.9% of the time I’m working with a crew that’s fun, has stories and has comradery. It’s nothing but a blast… it makes it very easy to recruit for here and nowhere else.”
PSA Airlines is expanding its Dayton-based facilities with a new maintenance hangar and began the development phase with a ceremonial ground breaking earlier today. The new hangar will be adjacent to PSA’s current maintenance hangar located at the Dayton International Airport and will be the airline’s largest hangar yet.
PSA’s current and anticipated growth has necessitated the development of the additional facility. With over 60 additional aircraft being inducted to PSA’s fleet over the next two years, additional space is needed for overnight maintenance on the fleet. This new maintenance facility comes soon after the announcement of PSA’s third maintenance base at the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport to PSA’s footprint.
The ceremony included dignitaries from the Dayton Community as well as representatives from Dayton Power & Light, The Dayton Development Coalition, Sinclair Community College and the City of Dayton.
The construction of the 69,000 square foot hangar is set to begin immediately and is anticipated to be complete by spring of 2016.
View the full album here .