Flying the Line for American Eagle

My name is Jason Ginn. I am a pilot with American Eagle Airlines, and currently I fly the CRJ-700. I have (in my opinion) the best job in the world, and from time to time I will be contributing to this Blog to tell you about it.

A little bit about me

Like most of us in this profession, I knew while growing up in Jacksonville, Florida that I wanted to be an airline pilot. After attending junior college for a year, I moved from Florida to Utah where I enrolled in a flight program. It was there I attained my private pilot’s license and instrument ratings. After a year and a half, I decided it was time to move back to Florida, where I discovered ATP. I finished the rest of my flight training with ATP, including all of my instructor ratings, and at the same time I completed my Bachelors Degree. After receiving my degree, I was fortunate enough to be hired as a flight instructor for ATP. After instructing at ATP throughout 2004, I was hired by American Eagle in May, 2005. As soon as I completed Groundschool, I was trained to fly the Saab 340 for Eagle. I had flown for a year and a half on the Saab when I decided I was ready to make the transition to the Regional Jet, which I did at the beginning of 2007. Currently, I am enjoying flying the line for American Eagle and am based in DFW.

A “typical day” for me

One of the things that I love about this job is that there really is no “typical day” because every day brings something new. Generally, I am required to sign in for my trip 45 minutes prior to departure but I usually show up an hour early. This gives me a little extra time in the crew room to check the weather, review the dispatch release (a sheet containing our IFR clearance, weight and balance information and weather data), and MEL’s (Minimum Equipment List, where we find out if anything is mechanically wrong with the aircraft). From there I head out to the airplane where I conduct pre-flight duties on the aircraft, load the FMS (Flight Management System, similar to a GPS but much better), as well as meet the rest of my crew.

Once I climb into my seat, the Captain and I conduct our preflight briefings; then we run the Before-start, Taxi, and Before-takeoff checklists. Once we’ve reached this point we are ready to go flying. When we get to our destination, we deplane our passengers and start over again.

The Job

As I said earlier, this is the best job in the world. I can’t think of any other career that would allow me the opportunity to travel from coast to coast every week flying an aircraft that is on the cutting edge of technology. In addition I have the privilege of jump seating on most airlines to nearly anywhere in the world I want to go, for free.

Like most industries in this economy, the airline industry is a tough business to be in right now. However, I am very confident that this situation is temporary. The regional airlines are going to see significant growth in the near future, especially when the majors are forced to downsize even more due to the struggling economy.

I would strongly recommend to anyone that is interested in this career path to stay motivated, work hard, and challenge yourself to continue learning. The rewards of this career are second to none.

See you next time.