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.