Six Reasons Why Aircraft Maintenance is Important

Aircraft Maintenance

Whether you’re a private aircraft owner, a commercial airline operator or you have a corporate fleet for team business trips, it should be no surprise that the cost of ownership and operations is intrinsically tied to inspections and aircraft maintenance.

As your airtime increases, and you depend more on your plane to get you from one destination to another, you want to make sure you continue to get the most out of your aircraft ownership experience by having it maintained.

You should regularly schedule your maintenance and inspections with experienced, professional and licensed mechanics who offer best in class service, have a keen attention to detail and have the highest possible safety and performance standards in the industry. Sure owning an aircraft affords you the convenience of flying whenever you want, but that‘s not the case if you don’t take up the pre-cautionary principle of having it properly serviced. Here are six reasons why you should get your plane looked after by the pros:

  1. A well-serviced and healthy plane that undergoes routine maintenance and inspections will ensure a safe, pleasant transportation experience for all. This means getting to your destination in a timely manner. It’s pretty simple. If you want your plane to stay in the air then you owe it some TLC.
  1. If you don’t set some time aside for repairs and maintenance, then your aircraft has the potential of being grounded when you need it the most. Just like a child being punished for bad behaviour by being sent to their room, that team meeting you wanted to go to in Vegas may not happen when you want it to.
  1. Some of the pros can give you peace of mind by doing everything for you. The turnkey management solution that Air Georgian offers ensures that your plane is maintained, properly stored and staffed to fly at all times while meeting government regulations. We are certain that you’ll want to get on board with this relaxed approach to ownership.
  1. Everyone is in a hurry these days, including you, which is why having a dedicated team assigned to your plane(s) means that you can avoid service disruptions. Coming in at the last minute could mean that you’re last in line when you could have been first.
  1. If you want to protect the value of your plane, the pros can do more than service it, they can also keep accurate logs and documentation of the work performed. This kind of preservation and history collection is critical to prospective buyers, making it easier for you to sell your wings in the future. Also, dealing with a reputable maintenance shop, gives your aircraft that much more credibility.
  1. Dealing with a shop like Air Georgian means that you will receive service above and beyond the standard. You will be advised on the safest repairs possible and not just the minimum requirements. The size of Air Georgian’s own fleet and our extensive network of valued vendors, allows us to maintain the highest possible safety and performance standards in the industry.

At Air Georgian we understand the importance of proper airplane maintenance. Not only do we do the work ourselves, we are privileged that major airlines around the world trust us to train their technicians and ground crews. So we ask you, who do you want to maintain your plane?

Learn more about Air Georgian’s fully customized maintenance services, or book an appointment today.

Women in aviation, where are they?

Female Pilot in cockpit

Recently, the President and CEO of Air Georgian attended The Air Transportation Association of Canada (ATAC) Spring Symposium that celebrated women in aviation. The house was packed with many key figures from the industry, wishing to both celebrate women in aviation and promote aviation as a viable career option.

Although there are women that work in aviation, the numbers are quite low compared to their male counterparts. According to ATAC, in the Canadian fixed wing world, women account for as little as 6.6% of Commercial Licenses and 5.2% of Airline Transport Pilot Licenses. As Air Traffic Controllers, women represent 14.8% and only 2.6% of Flight Engineers. In terms of aviation industry senior management, ATAC seems to think that there is an absence of female decision makers at the top.

Today, women make up 50% of the Canadian labour force. If that is indeed the case, why are they so underrepresented in our industry? Aside from ATAC, numerous organizations out there do their best to recognize women’s contributions to aviation, such as:

However, even with the above groups, a career in aviation does not seem to be on most women’s radar screen. As a first step Air Georgian introduced a program targeting young female hockey players as part of our pilot cadet program. Nevertheless, there remains a significant absence of women in the industry, and many of us scratch our heads and wonder how we can solve the problem and make aviation more appealing.

At the ATAC Spring Symposium, we discussed some of the possible perceptions that women might have of the industry and some of the issues that we thought might contribute for the lack of female engagement. We talked about:

  • Male dominated – possible gender barrier and discrimination;
  • Lack of ads and promotion targeting women for aviation careers;
  • Social norms/gender stereotypes;
  • Mass media and movies depicting males as pilots, traffic controllers and engineers. While women are portrayed in flight attendant roles;
  • Tough schedules – a piloting career means constant travelling and leaves no time for a woman to care for family and children;
  • The industry is just not appealing;
  • Women are told to go to university;
  • Unless, there’s somebody in the family who works in aviation, it’s not even considered as a possible career choice;
  • High stress and dangerous job;
  • Financial commitment; cost for schooling and training;
  • Salary; and
  • Aviation not talked about as a career option in high school

It could be any of the above or more. What do you think? We’d love to hear from our readers. Please share your thoughts on why you think women make up such a small percentage of the industry, and in one of our next blog entries we will help demystify some of your perceptions and explain why a career in aviation is perfect for women. If you are looking for a challenge and some excitement, this is the job for you.

Look forward to hearing from you.

Air Georgian

In the Safety Boots of an Aircraft Maintenance Engineer

Air Georgian Maintenance Crew Chief, Antonio Efstathiou Doing What he Does Best.

Air Georgian Maintenance Crew Chief, Antonio Efstathiou doing what he does best.

Sure it’s an occupation that requires a high degree of responsibility and skill, but for Air Georgian Maintenance Crew Chief, Antonio Efstathiou, it’s all part of the gig. Some would say that he could do the job with his eyes closed, but that would defy safety protocols. However, he lives and breathes his role, knows the ins and outs, and has been enjoying it for the last 10 years.

From a very young age, Antonio was playing with model airplanes. Whether it was admiring the handy work of each plane while sitting on the living room floor, or flying them around the house, he was fated to employ his hands and intelligence in aircraft maintenance. After a visit and tour, here’s what he had to say about aircraft maintenance and his days spent with Air Georgian:

Can you briefly describe what you do in your role?

In all of my planning, coordinating and executing of daily work, I ensure that Air Georgian’s safety standards are met. I am accountable to the production plan and assist in its development, while assigning and directing the work of maintenance personnel. I resolve material, tooling and engineering issues, while ensuring airworthiness by adhering to all safety policies, processes and reporting methods.

I also exercise ownership of my area, by providing leadership, coaching, training, direction and support to all maintenance personnel that reports to me. I am responsible for the completion of aircraft and maintenance records and providing adequate hand-off information for a smooth transition between shifts. The most quintessential, I have to certify a safe and tidy workplace at all times – this is of utmost importance to the well being of my crew. A healthy crew means a healthy plane.

What kind of education is required for a role in aircraft maintenance? Do you have to be an engineer?

You should have two years of college with an optional year of avionics if you chose to go that route. You do not have to be an aircraft maintenance engineer, but that restricts you from being able to release and sign off your own work, and relinquishing aircrafts from defects or their final inspections.

How important is aircraft maintenance for Air Georgian?

Air Georgian has an excellent understanding of aircraft maintenance and allows the proper time to complete certain inspections and tasks as required. With more planes in the air and more travel time spent in the air, safety is more important than ever. Air safety has had a profound effect since the very beginning of flight. Today’s technologies and the many complicated systems demand a detail-oriented approach.

Do you play a role in airplane safety?

I think everyone in each department has an important role to play when it comes to aircraft safety. Making sure everything is operating properly, and checking completed work before releasing an aircraft is essential. From a safe work environment, to using proper tools, stands, equipment, proper securing of components and panels, looking for fuel, oil and hydraulic leaks, and constantly following procedures and ensuring preventative maintenance is carried out, it all plays an integral role in safety.

Safety comes first at all times. Aircrafts that come out of maintenance are not usually flight-tested. Passengers are immediately taken on board for flight travels. This means that our work must be impeccable. The most important jobs are double-checked and then checked again. When a technician completes the maintenance of a plane, an engineer who did not participate in the process follows it up. Therefore, final approval is made independently and nothing is overlooked. I also have to wear, at all times, a safety vest, safety boots and all PPE such as safety glasses and earplugs.

As an aircraft maintenance person, what does Air Georgian expect from you and what do your clients expect from you?

Air Georgian expects us to fulfill all the safety initiatives and protocols for overall maintenance operations. We are also mandated to conduct rigorous quality checks, provide excellent customer service and must always demonstrate teamwork.

There are some changes taking place at Air Georgian when it comes to airplane maintenance? What are they, and what do they mean for the company and its clients?

Air Georgian has been around for many years, and is known for flawless aircraft maintenance safety reviews and reliability. One addition is to have a ramp crew present at the terminal at all times during arrivals and departures – maintaining and inspecting the aircraft every time it returns. Which helps to address any issues when the aircraft arrives to the gate. Should more time be needed to address a problem, the aircraft will be delayed in order to complete work safely. We also take care of business jets for owners, which we have a charter maintenance crew to focus on that side of the business. In my mind, being responsible for the proper maintenance of more planes, demonstrates to clients that we care for their safety.

Are there industry standards that you have to abide by when it comes to maintaining planes?

We follow maintenance schedules provided by the aircraft manufacturer, and there are certain tasks that need to be completed depending on how many hours the aircraft has flown. These factors determine which airplanes are down for longer periods of time to complete such tasks. We also conduct regular reviews of safety by monitoring the aviation industry’s performance as a whole and identifying safety trends and risks. Lastly, we are in constant communication with all people, organizations and government bodies that play a role in aviation safety.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

I enjoy everything about my role at Air Georgian. From the onset of my morning and throughout my entire shift, I am excited to see what the day will bring. It is never the same, when it comes to recognizing an aircraft issue that needs fixing. I also enjoy being around all my co-workers. Everyone that I work with has a positive attitude and we all strive to achieve the same results.

What kind of planes/jets do you work on?

I work on all the aircrafts that Air Georgian maintains. The CRJ-100, Caravan 208B, King Air C90, 350, Premier I, Learjet, Citation 500 series, Bravo and Ultra, Beech 1900D-1900C, Hawker 800, Citation 680 Sovereign, any type of airplanes really. When I was at Air Canada, I worked on planes such as the Boeing 767, 777, Airbus 319, 320, 321, and Embraer 175, 190.

Are there a lot of women who work in aircraft maintenance?

We have had women work as aircraft engineers in the past, and I know a few that are still in the industry at other companies.

There are always new planes coming to market, how do you keep up from a maintenance perspective?

Well, generally we can work on any type of aircraft. But in order to release an aircraft you need to have the appropriate M1 or M2 license, and the aircraft type course completed with an approved training facility that gives you knowledge of the aircraft systems etc… courses can be anywhere from two to six weeks.

Describe a routine check-up on an aircraft from a maintenance standpoint.

A routine check-up consists of checking engine oils, all main wheels for correct inflation, wears and tears. Brakes being in limits, walking around the aircraft to check for any dents or surface damages, checking for leaks of any sort, such as engine oil, hydraulics, fuel leaks. Checking all interior and exterior lighting, emergency equipment on board for expiry dates, oxygen for the correct amount and making sure everything is serviced.

Is there anything that you must avoid doing when on the job or when maintaining a plane?

Avoid memorizing a routine check and always have the paper work with you to ensure nothing is missed. Also avoid turning on the heat and lights, or moving any flight controls because there may be someone near the controls that could be injured. Always check, and be in the clear of anyone before operating the systems.

Do you think there’s shortage of people choosing aircraft maintenance as a career option?

There seems to be a shortage of people choosing aircraft maintenance. There is a demand for technicians, but the pool is small. When working in aviation maintenance you are liable for the work that is done and for anything that could happen while the plane is in flight. It’s all about safety, safety, safety at all times.

Explain the most exciting thing that has happened to you, while on the job.

There was an aircraft grounded for few days before Christmas, due to a system malfunction. All the passengers were really upset that they wouldn’t make it to their destination. We eventually identified the problem and fixed it. All the passengers thanked me, and were grateful that they were now able to get home for the holidays. We felt appreciated. It goes to show that passengers truly depend on us for their safe travels.

What are your work hours like?

We work 4 days on and 4 days off at 12 hours a day. We also have some maintenance personnel on a Monday to Friday shifts, during the day for A B C checks (heavy maintenance).

What do you do when you’re not servicing planes?

When aircrafts are not being serviced, we usually clean the hangar, fuel our maintenance trucks, maintain and clean. Also, we check if parts need to be ordered to complete any upcoming tasks that are scheduled.

What kind of social/personal life do you have with this type of job?

I love maintaining planes. People outside of work are interested in what I do, and always ask me questions. They seem to be amazed by all the systems and how large aircrafts can actually get off the ground. They also want to know what it takes to maintain them. When I’m not at work, I like to hang out with a few good friends and family. I have a brother in aviation and one sister that also likes to be around airplanes. She comes into my work for an occasional airplane tour. I also love riding motorcycles.

What kind of advice do you have for someone who wants to maintain planes?

You must have a passion for this type of work and a positive attitude. That will definitely get you far. You must also respect safety standards and be meticulous in all your actions.

Is there anything else that you would like to add?

GO TEAM GGN!!! GGN FOR LIFE!!! LOVE YOU ALL AND KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK

Flying for the Rich and Famous

Jeff PepperInterview with Air Georgian Pilot, Jeff Pepper

Former Captain and Training Captain of a Hawker 800, as well as Captain of a Citation Bravo aircraft, Jeff Pepper is always on the go flying VIP. He currently works for a special client on behalf of Air Georgian’s Operational Contract, as the Captain and Training Captain of a Citation Sovereign.

Why did you want to become a pilot of a private jet?

As a child, I was brought up around aviation with my father being a pilot and owning a variety of airplanes. Weekends with my father around the Peterborough Airport were normal, and in that time, I was lucky enough to be given an occasional tour of a private jet. I was always in awe of private jets and the lifestyle associated with them. It was a natural path that brought me here, you could say.

Was your training different then the typical charter pilot?

The majority of my private jet experience has been here at Air Georgian. With that being said, our company is airline centric and with that, has a very high training standard. Air Georgian takes the same approach with all crew, airline or corporate aviation. My training was on par with our airline standards, with the only difference being that on new airplane types, we generally spend two to three weeks in Orlando or Wichita for our training. It’s a lot of fun!

What do you enjoy the most about your job?

I really like the variety of destinations we fly to. I have been all over the USA, Caribbean, Canada and Europe within this sector of aviation. I also really enjoy being responsible for my own aircraft. Everyday I fly the same airplane, and all of us take pride in our aircraft and treat it as though it’s our own. Even if we don’t pay the bills or own the airplane, there is a huge sense of ownership and pride amongst the crew.

What kind of jet(s) do you fly?

I have flown the Cessna 550 Citation II, The Citation Bravo, Raytheon Premier 1A, Hawker 800/800xp and now our Cessna Sovereign – the Sovereign being my favorite.

What are the great aspects of flying for the rich and famous?

Some of the greatest aspects of flying, are that we generally stay with the airplane wherever it goes. Often, we are in some of the most beautiful and exclusive places and we get to stay there. I’ve spent some great layovers for 4-7 days in some really amazing places that I probably would have never even known existed.

What are some of the differences between flying a private jet for someone versus a public charter?

I think the primary difference between flying a private jet and airline is the personal service that’s involved. We deal directly with our owner and his or her needs. This often includes specific catering and even selecting airports. We also deal and speak directly to our clients about any operational issue or changes we forecast, and sometimes change plans in flight. Like I said earlier, we are never in the same place twice. There is no consistency in what we do in terms of flying and landing.

What are some of the things that you must avoid doing when flying a private jet?

You need to realize that most people who fly private jets value privacy and efficiency. They usually do not want you telling people where or who you are flying.

As a pilot for a private jet, what do your passengers expect from you?

They expect to be kept a secret. Who you fly and where you fly is private. They also expect to be kept in the loop of everything operationally, and have a say in the outcome of their travels. They expect you to learn about them, learn what they like, learn their habits and what they eat… etc.

Do you think the concept of private jets is on the rise, and where is it more prevalent?

I do think that the concept is a growing one. The notion that a private jet, as being a business tool, is something that many companies are considering. Even as the market here in Canada is growing, Canadians in this regard, are very conservative in comparison to their US counterparts. Growing markets are most certainly Asia and the Middle East. Both understand the need for private jets and they also embrace the luxury factor as well.

Explain the most exciting thing that has happened to you while flying a private jet for the rich and famous?

A few years back, I was on a charter for a very famous Canadian Rapper and we flew out to the east coast for a concert. Once landed, we were invited to go with the group as their guests. We were on stage, backstage and out for dinner with them, before flying them back to Toronto. It was quite the experience.

Explain what a typical flight is like with one of your key clients?

With one of my client’s aircraft being used almost primarily for business purposes, a typical flight would be from Toronto to the west coast. Almost always, we leave our FBO at 7 a.m. sharp. Preparation usually starts with our Charter Co-ordinators getting a call for a flight, and then given the details of the passenger list and destination(s). The night before, the aircraft is scheduled for grooming and we arrange a pull out time. Flight planning is done with the help of our operations department and computer software. On the day of, we have fuel ordered and we prep the aircraft. We also have the aircraft re-stocked with the client’s favourite treats. It’s quite “business like” on this aircraft and we generally stick to the schedule, with very little in the way of delays. As far as client care, there’s not much for us to do. Within the operation, we all have a job: the passengers are told when and where to be; the pilots are given the time and location for the flight; and, the passengers are instructed by their boss on flight departure details. We embrace the teamwork environment we have with our client.

What are your work hours like?

Our schedule is one of the many perks of the job. We work very hard during the week, but also have a fair amount of time off. Often talked about on our plane, is how hard we work and yet how much time off we have. Our aircraft is the busiest corporate aircraft in Toronto. Last year, all pilots did approximately 600 hrs of flying time.  With three pilots on the plane, we do a two-week on/one week off schedule. We generally only work Monday to Friday with weekends and holidays off. It equals out to 5 on-2 off-5 on-9 off in terms of a work schedule.

What do you do during your layover time?

All of the pilots on our plane are very health conscious and we generally workout together, and try to get as much sleep on the road as we can. We rarely spend more than 14hrs on layover. We do not usually have the time to explore too much. We do occasionally get a nice layover on the west coast and we enjoy those!

What was the most memorable comment you received while flying one of your clients?

I can’t really remember a specific comment, but I do like when the passengers thank us for getting them home safely. It is our job, but it always stands out and is appreciated.

What was the strangest thing that happened to you during your job?

I don’t have anything strange. Oddly enough, knock on wood… my life as a private jet pilot has been for the most part, uneventful… I like it that way.

What are some of the safety measures you take while flying a private jet for the rich and famous?

Security is very important. Securing the aircraft and thorough inspections of the aircraft when in the south Caribbean is very important. Often, we have life rafts on board and some other safety equipment that isn’t usually carried aboard an airline flight. In some cases, we have had armed guards and spotlights on the aircraft for the entire time of our stay… sometimes for 5-6 days.

What kind of social/personal life do you have with this type of job? What do you like to do outside of work?

I think it takes an understanding wife or partner to support a private jet pilot’s career. We can be called at anytime to go anywhere… often this can and usually does interrupt plans with family and friends. As said earlier, my job is very different than a typical private jet pilot and it is very much scheduled. We know of flights for the week often a week ahead of time, and I am usually away from home from 6am-6pm and one overnight a week. Outside of work, I like to maintain a healthy and active lifestyle. I play Tennis and Squash as well as workout regularly. With friends, we love to travel and hit local hot spot restaurants and sporting events. My travels this year, have taken me from Barcelona to Hawaii and everything in between. Next month, I will be with friends in Amsterdam! I love our travel benefits!

What kind of advice do you have for someone who wants to fly for the rich and famous?

I think that they need to network. You will meet many people on your way up, that may be doing what you hope to achieve. Maintain those relationships and stay focused. They also need to remember that they have to start somewhere and usually it’s at the bottom. Experience accumulates quickly, and I would recommend focusing on one or two companies that you want to work for. Stay in touch with them and check in, either in person or phone. Our industry is very personal, and I always recommend going in person to shake hands and forge relationships. Persistence and patience always pay off.

Are there any false assumptions made by the public when it comes to flying the rich and famous that you can demystify for us?

I think most people assume that the rich and famous are eccentric and odd. Quite the opposite, they usually are very low key and humble. The ones I met, anyway. I flew an extremely wealthy man and his family for many years – this man loved peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and chicken fingers. We also do not always take them to exclusive destinations. Some people think that we really get to know our clients, and often we do not speak to them, much like a charter client. They like the quiet of flying private and it is usually the only time that these people get to rest without being harassed or their phones going off.

Is there anything else that you would like to add?

Many people think that piloting for the airline world is the way to go, and that a career as a private jet pilot is a difficult life. I’d like to say that in most cases, the very few inconveniences of the private jet lifestyle often afford some of the most rewarding and exciting flying that you can do as a pilot. I have been to many places, I otherwise would not have and I also get many paid vacations on the beach…. something I appreciate and value very much.

 

The High-Flying Times of an Air Georgian Pilot

Mallory Deluce photoInterview with Mallory Deluce, First Officer for Air Georgian

When Air Georgian Pilot, Mallory Deluce is not in the sky, she’s on the ice playing hockey and winning gold medals for Team Ontario (2005 and 2006) and Team Canada (2008, 2009 and 2011). As a young girl, Mallory’s father and brother, who are commercial pilots, would often share their ubiquitous stories of in-flight experiences. Not to mention, the fond memories of her family gatherings, where uncles and cousins talked about their pilot lives in vivid detail. It’s as though flying is part of Mallory’s DNA. Amid Mallory’s time in the skies and on the ice, she is spokesperson for the Air Georgian Cadet Program and enjoys talking to young female hockey players about a rewarding career as a pilot. Here’s what she had say, that will make you want to join the Air Georgian team:

Where and how were you trained to be a pilot?

I started my flight training a few weeks after I graduated from university in May 2011.  I did my private license in St. Thomas, Ontario at St. Thomas Flight Centre and then for my multi engine and instrument ratings, I went out to Professional Flight Centre at Boundary Bay Airport (an airport that is a 15 minute drive south of Vancouver). I lived in the flight school’s boarding house that had 15 other student pilots from Canada and all over the world. I met many amazing people and loved being around other student pilots.  I came back home to the St. Thomas Flight Centre to do my commercial license and build some flying time.

Who are you currently working for?

I’m currently working as a First Officer for Air Georgian, a company that flies routes for Air Canada, under the Air Canada Express name.

Tell us about your training experience.

My Air Georgian training began with ground school that taught me about the company operation and about the Beech 1900.  After ground school, we trained on a Beech 1900 simulator at a first class facility in Toronto called Flight Safety.  This simulator felt very similar to the real airplane and prepared us for the transition to the airplane.

Tell us why you love being a pilot.

First of all, flying is a lot of fun!  I love the thrill and adrenaline rush I get from flying.  I love how flying never feels like “work” and I always look forward to it.  It’s fun meeting and flying with different people and I find I learn a lot from everyone.

There’s a “teamwork” aspect to flying that I enjoy and it reminds me of hockey – the captain and co-pilot work together as a team to make each flight as safe as possible.

Also, when I get a few days off, I find myself missing life in the plane. Just like the way I miss playing hockey, when I’m not on my skates for a few days. I love the lifestyle for hockey and piloting as you are traveling, seeing new places and meeting new people. The typical 9-5 lifestyle is not for me.  Every day is different and has a new adventure or challenge.

What inspires you about your piloting career?

Doing something that I love doing everyday is very rewarding.  I was lucky to have been exposed to aviation my whole life, with many family members involved in the industry.  Seeing how much my family enjoyed their work as pilots helped me decide on the career and I’m extremely thankful I chose it.

How do you balance being a hockey player and a pilot? 

I always go to the rink to play pick-up hockey on my days off.  It’s nice not to work a traditional schedule, because I’m able to attend the mid day pick-up hockey at my local rink.  Staying in shape as a pilot is easy since there’s always time to workout at the hotel gyms on our overnight flights.  I find living healthy and being in shape as an athlete and hockey player helps my performance as a pilot, keeping myself energized and focused all day long.

Why do you feel female hockey players should know about piloting as a career choice? How is it rewarding?

Female hockey players are great candidates for a pilot career since hockey and flying are very similar.  They both require skills such as dedication, focus, teamwork, and determination.  As a pilot, you get to meet different people, see different places and everyday has a new challenge.  Hockey players are used to overcoming different challenges. Learning to fly takes time, practice and dedication and being able to do it everyday as a career is very rewarding.  Doing something that I’ve worked hard for is very rewarding.

What does it take to be a pilot?

To be a pilot it takes determination, dedication, focus, a positive attitude, and the ability to work well with others.

Why train and fly with Air Georgian?

Air Georgian is a first class company with a state of the art training program. They provide quality airline experience, which is extremely valuable for a flying career.  Safety is the first priority with Air Georgian and you get to fly with very knowledgeable and experienced captains. They offer a great program for low time pilots, giving you the proper training and every opportunity to be successful.

How is being a hockey player similar to being a pilot?

I find that being a hockey player really helped me in my career as a pilot. Hockey taught me teamwork, which is important when working together as a flight crew. Showing up on time and prepared for hockey practices and games set the stage for always being prepared, well rested, and on time for my flights.  

What do you want to tell young female hockey players today about a career in piloting? What do you think they should know?

Flying is an extremely rewarding profession.  It let’s you go to new places, meet new people, and above all, it is a lot of fun. Currently, the Ontario Women’s Hockey Association (OWHA) is in partnership with Air Georgian, taking the piloting Cadet program across Canada and promoting it to female AA players and intermediate AA players while giving them interview opportunities so that they can get started in a piloting career journey.

What are your next big goals in life?

I am extremely happy and enjoying my time at Air Georgian.  Both the Cadet and Mentor program is an amazing opportunity that I was very lucky to be a part of. My goal is to have a long and happy career in aviation, not without the hockey of course.

A Day in the Life of an Air Georgian and R1 Airlines Flight Attendant

Interview with Ashley Witty

ashley head shot-1It has been a rather busy time for Flight Attendant Manager, Ashley Witty. As Air Georgian’s employee infrastructure continues to expand to better serve its clients, she just facilitated the hiring of a large pool of flight attendants for their CRJ fleet. Ashley, who used to be a flight attendant herself for Sunwing Airlines, XL Airways and Regional 1, now helms the entire flight attendant department for Air Georgian and R1 Airlines. We caught up with her during her downtime, and she wanted to relay the following useful advice to all aspiring flight attendants.

Why did you want to become a flight attendant?

For the longest time, it was always a dream of mine.

In your current role as Flight Attendant Manager, what do you look for in potential flight attendants?

It is mandatory that candidates are ambassadors for Air Georgian and R1, and represent the brand well. They must be competent, customer service oriented and safety conscious individuals who will make a great face for the company.

What are the fun aspects of being a flight attendant?

You never have the same adventure twice. Every day is different, even if you have been to the same destination. You are always meeting new and interesting people, and I have to say, the view from your office in the sky is amazing!

What are some of the things that you should avoid doing in a flight attendant role?

Don’t lose your cool; don’t be disrespectful; and don’t forget your overnight bag.

Explain what a typical flight attendant life/week/day looks like with Air Georgian and R1 Airlines?

The schedule for a flight attendant changes from time to time and the workload varies for each flight. You are exposed to different destinations, cultures and people. And sometimes, you are up against some unhappy passengers, but you try your best to service them with a smile and make their flight comfortable. There’s also a ‘hurry up and wait’ game to the role – meaning that sometimes you have to hurry up for last minute flights and sometimes you have to wait around while flights are delayed.

Would a flight attendant play a different role with Air Georgian versus R1 Airlines?

Yes, Air Georgian is a scheduled service carrier with a more defined schedule. Whereas R1 is a charter operation with a lot of on call days.

What are the work hours like for a flight attendant working for Air Georgian or R1 Airlines?

Varying. Anywhere from 4 hours to 14 hours in a week.

What was the most memorable trip you had as a flight attendant?

I flew to the Caribbean on a 767, and customs met and cleared the crew on the ramp. We got on a 1900 and then flew low level to another Island for our departure on a different 767 the next day. It was like VIP service to clear customs on the ramp and the crew got a personal plane to fly to another island. We flew low level over beautiful water and coral.

What was the strangest thing that happened to you during your job?

We were about to take off and I got a call that we could not, as there was a cow on the runway. LOL. Moooooo.

What are some of the dangers that a flight attendant may experience, and how should they handle/prepare for such dangers?

All Flight Attendants go through intensive training on how to prevent and manage dangers on board an aircraft. Trust me! This will help in any experience you are up against.

What kind of social/personal life do you have with this type of job?

I won’t lie. It could be tough to maintain a personal life in this type of career, but it is truly rewarding. You will make friends in aviation and they will have similar lives and schedules.

What should a new flight attendant expect when starting a job?

That safety is a larger part of the job then they anticipated.

What kind of advice do you have for a new flight attendant?

Never deviate from your procedures; trust your instincts; and don’t be afraid to ask questions.

Are there any false assumptions made by the public when it comes to flight attendants and their job?

Yes, people think flight attendants are only there for customer service. However, safety is a larger part of our jobs. In essence, we are on the plane to serve and protect.

What are the top three tips you can provide to a new flight attendant, or to anyone who wants to be a flight attendant?

I recommend learning a second language, in Canada that would be French. Don’t ever get discouraged throughout the application or interview process, or in your role as flight attendant. Lastly, be the empathic, people person that you truly are, as it’s a large part of your job – you either have people skills or you don’t, and if you don’t, then this is not the career for you.

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The Top Five Traits That Make You an Aviation/Aerospace Linchpin

Careers in Aviation and Aerospace

Just recently members of the Air Georgian team attended the Toronto Careers in Aviation Expo 2014. For many young adults who have an interest in aviation and aerospace this is a great networking opportunity for them, as they got to mingle with top senior pilots, experienced maintenance/engineer crew, aviation training/educational institutions and potential employers. It’s an event that offered attendees a networking platform to meet with the “who’s who” in the industry, ask questions and find out what it takes to get a rewarding career in aviation/aerospace.

Air Georgian Booth at the Toronto Careers in Aviation Expo 2014

Air Georgian Booth at the Toronto Careers in Aviation Expo 2014

No matter who was speaking in the discussion panels and presentations and no matter who you spoke to on a one-on-one basis, the same requirements were mentioned over and over – when it comes to a job in aviation and aerospace, and to make a difference and stand for something, it’s unanimous, you must have the following indispensable traits:

Commitment to excellence

It was identified numerous times throughout the expo presentations, that the industry is looking for true leaders who are passionate about what they do. We are expecting you to not only lead by exemplifying excellence in your own ways but that you are fostering it to others on your team, so that they remain engaged and committed to their roles. We expect you to do the highest quality of work in serving both customers and helping co-workers. That commitment to performance excellence is an essential element to driving not only your career forward but also important for your employer’s overall success and growth.

Customer-centric

Whether you are face to face with customers on the plane or you work behind the scenes maintaining the plane to ensure a healthy body, you always have to think about creating a positive customer experience. A pilot does this by ensuring a smooth and friendly flight, and an engineer does this by ensuring a safe flight through proper plane maintenance and servicing. It is this responsiveness and focus that will delight customers and make them feel safe during their travels.

Integrity

The industry wants people who can be trusted and who hold themselves accountable for their actions. Should something go wrong on the plane or if you are unsure about the parts being installed, we want to know that no matter the situation, you are committed to doing the right thing. Even when nobody is looking or where you may be confronted by a difficult choice that could bring about serious consequences, you are responsible for keeping your promise of professionalism and courage and letting others know about your actions.

Soft skills

As per the networking opportunities, it was mentioned repeatedly that soft skills, also known as emotional intelligence, are necessary for any job in aviation/aerospace. You must always be friendly and optimistic with customers and co-workers and should you be faced with an emergency, you must also know how to communicate matters clearly, calmly and with ease. Other key proficiencies required for your career are conflict resolution, troubleshooting, personal effectiveness, decision-making and team building – all skills that are tied to polished communication skills and leadership qualities that every employer, including Air Georgian, seek from their employees.

Flexible

No matter your role as a pilot, engineer or maintenance person in aviation/aerospace, you must be flexible to work various shifts, weekends, holidays or even irregular shifts and sometimes with limited notice. It’s never a nine to five job, but what job is nowadays?

These were the “words of wisdom” imparted onto the interested talent that attended the Careers in Aviation Expo and they are the same words that Air Georgian shared with all the people who visited our booth in the exhibitor section – this is what it means to work in aviation/aerospace and it is key criteria that we look for when hiring.

If you feel that you meet these top five traits, you just may be the aviation linchpin that we want, and we promise that your journey with Air Georgian will be rewarding. If you want to join our team, please visit our “Careers” section.

See you at the Calgary expo on April 26th, where our pilot Mallory Deluce will be speaking!

Spotlighting the Beechcraft 1900D Regional Airliner

Air Georgian Limited operates a fleet of Beechcraft 1900D twin, turbro prop regional airliner, which is a very popular plane for charter flights in Canada.

Beechcraft 1900D Airliner

The safety record of the Beechcraft 1900D is excellent and it has proven to very reliable since its introduction to the market in 1991. The plane comes equipped with a comfortable stand-up cabin and a lavatory. It is able to fly to and from a wide variety of airports and has impressive shorter field performance. The 1900D is also at home landing and taking off on gravel runways, which are common in remote communities across Canada. This capability makes the airplane useful in servicing the charter needs of the oil and gas industry in Alberta and other parts of Canada.

The aircraft is fast ensuring on-time delivery of passengers to their destinations. The Beechcraft 1900D will easily fly a full load of 18 passengers (each bringing 40 lbs of luggage) to a distance of over 400 statute miles, while a lighter load of 12 passengers (also with 40 lbs of baggage each) can be flown more than 500 statute miles. Air Georgian, for instance, flies from Toronto, Calgary, Montreal and Halifax making a large part of Canada accessible.

The Beechcraft 1900D is the aircraft of choice for Canadian corporate charter flights or private passengers travelling in groups who need safe, fast, dependable service.

Preparing for a Business Charter Flight

Air Georgian Beechcraft 1900DIf you have been tasked with planning your next business charter flight for your company to either a domestic or international destination, here are a few things to keep in mind in order to ensure a smooth, worry-free trip for you and your colleagues.

  1. Do diligent research:  Make sure to do your research before selecting an air charter company, particularly their safety records, credibility and reputation.  The more endorsed the company, the better.  For example, charter companies have different standards they need to adhere to, via airline safety auditing processes, in order to be endorsed by organizations such as TRANSPORT CANADA, ARGUS, IS-BAO, and IATA.
  2. Check aircraft availability and type for your travel date:  Once you’ve decided which charter companies you have narrowed your search to, request a quote for pricing and availability.  The air charter company should be able to provide you with different options of aircraft (turbo-prop or jet) depending on the location you are flying to, the number of passengers and your time restraints.
  3. Departure / Destination checks:

a. Are you planning a cross border flight? Will you require a passports or Visas?
b. Will the airport be busy due to any special events such as holidays or major sporting events like the Super Bowl? Are there alternate airports in the area you are flying from or to.
c. Might you be able to fly into an airport regular airlines do not fly to?

Benefits to chartering an aircraft for business compared to flying on commercial airlines:

  • Time Savings: No waiting in long lines at the airport. In many cases you can drive right up to your charter aircraft.
  • Cost effective: Getting a group together to fly charter rather than flying business class can save you plenty of money.  Charter aircraft can fit upwards of 15 passengers.
  • Convenience: Time flexibility for departures and arrivals is based on your needs as a client.
  • Comfort: Private aircraft offer more room, personalized catering and even the opportunity to bring your pets.
  • No stress: You don’t have to be concerned about lost or damaged luggage. You also won’t have to worry about missing a flight, as a charter service will wait for you. You can also pre-arrange transportation to pick you up and meet you upon your arrival for full door-to-door service.
  • Location: Charter aircraft as generally able to get client as close to their destination as possible, which might even mean landing on non-conventional, gravel runways, if necessary.

Benefits to chartering an aircraft compared to commercial international travel:

  • Pre-arranged customs clearance in USA and Canada.
  • Visa waiver program, which will enable you to travel to the USA without a Visa for less than 90 days provided you meet certain critieria including flying on an approved carrier.
  • No guessing on documentation, as the charter service will be able to let you know exactly what you need.
  • The charter company will arrange all special permits and landing rights.
  • The charter service can likewise arrange all ground transportation, so you don’t have to worry about unfamiliar cities or language barriers.

We welcome any comments you may have about your experiences with booking or using charter services for your organization.

Innovative Airline Pilot Cadet Training and Development Program Takes Flight

Airline Pilot Cadet Training

Air Georgian and Air Canada have created an exciting airline pilot training and development program targeting young Canadians who may be interested in a flying career. Becoming a pilot can be a daunting challenge, and not simply because the sky is not our natural element. The cost of flight training can be quite high and this, coupled with the uncertainty involved in establishing a career, can make even highly motivated individuals think twice about aviation as a profession. Recognizing this, Air Georgian and Air Canada have partnered to develop our Cadet Program as a way of encouraging young Canadians to enter aviation.

Air Georgian has operated regional airline flights on behalf of Air Canada in addition to its private jet charter services for thirteen years and is a part of the Air Canada Express family. Under our Cadet Program, a select group of young Canadians with no flying experience will be provided with conditional offers of employment from both Air Georgian and Air Canada. Once selected following a rigorous screening process, these individuals will be sent as a group to the FlightSafety Academy in Vero Beach, Florida where they will, over a ten-month period, be trained as professional pilots. Upon successful completion of the course at the FlightSafety Academy, the Cadet Program pilots will be hired as First Officers at Air Georgian and will undergo training on the Beechcraft 1900D regional airliner. These pilots will spend a minimum of four years flying for Air Georgian and, in that time, will build up approximately 3000 hours of flying time.

Upon completion of four years of employment at Air Georgian, these young pilots will then be hired by Air Canada on either the first, second or third new hire intake after that date. Air Georgian’s offers of employment will be conditional upon the students’ successfully completion of the FlightSafety Academy course.  Air Canada’s offers of employment will be conditional upon the Cadet Program graduates maintaining a good employment record while working for Air Georgian (with very clear and reasonably set expectations). The students will have to pay for their initial training at the FlightSafety Academy, but Air Georgian and Air Canada will cover all subsequent flight training. In addition, Air Georgian and Air Canada have been able to secure excellent financial terms with the Academy, not necessarily available to individual flight training applicants.

The Cadet Program will be a win/win proposition for everyone involved.  The students know they will have an initial job waiting for them at the end of their flight training and also know they will have an excellent opportunity to secure employment with one of the premier airlines in the world only a few short years later. Air Georgian and Air Canada win by securing another stream of high quality pilot recruits. The first intake of Cadet Program recruits will begin their 44-week course at Vero Beach in September 2013 and Air Georgian will plan to hire successful applicants from this group by August 2014. The selection process for this first group will begin shortly and we are looking forward to getting started.

For more information about the Cadet Program please visit our website at http://www.clearedfortakeoff.ca.