TO: The Airline Pilots of Tomorrow

As the Director of ATP’s Regional Jet Program I have the opportunity to speak with people who are in various stages of their aviation career, and who need a little help achieving their career goals. ATP has helped tens of thousands of pilots meet those goals through the first-rate flight training and sincere mentor-ship that we provide our students. I am fortunate enough to stay in touch with these pilots even after they have moved on to the airlines, and I want to share the story of one such pilot who wants to give back to the “Airline Pilots of Tomorrow”.

FLEXIBILITY WINS – Part One
TO: Airline Pilots of Tomorrow
By Jason C. Hallenborg

First, I want to thank ATP and Paul Templeton for the opportunity to publish my story, but more importantly, to gain the training and tools essential for the success of my career.

My name is Jason Hallenborg. I am a professional airline pilot. I hold an airline transport pilot certificate with a CL-65 type rating. I have the authorization to fly the CRJ 200, CRJ 700 and CRJ 900. I work for Mesa Airlines and am based in Dallas Fort Worth on the CRJ 900.

I decided to become an airline pilot at a young age. I wanted to have a career that I love, that I would have the ability to excel in, and a career that people depend on for their success and happiness. I also wanted a career that is in demand. I first started flying with my Dad at the age of 9. I immediately knew that I wanted to do this for the rest of my life. I grew up around airplanes. I routinely flew with family members when it was time for vacations or take advantage of a business opportunity. I loved to travel. When I was first starting to fly, I met air traffic controllers, dispatchers, mechanics, flight attendants and weather briefers. I sensed that they were happy, of good moral character, and were safety oriented. I wanted to work with these professionals because I had the same attitude.

I soloed when I was 16 years old, and earned my private pilot certificate when I turned 17 and earned my ATP when I turned 23 years old. The majority of my flying was in a Mooney Ovation 3, a high performance complex single engine aircraft with the Integrated Garmin G-1000 Flight Deck with GFC 700 autopilot. I had glass cockpit time, but no previous job or turbine experience. I wanted to have some turbine training so that I would be successful in the rigorous airline training program. I then called Paul Templeton to discuss the ATP Flight School RJ program. He highly recommended the program to me under my circumstances. I signed up for the program, and was advised to call back when I received the study material. When I received the study material I was advised on specific material to place emphasis on. That specific material was flows, profiles, and callouts. I was also given an online systems course to complete, an FMS module to complete and “don’t worry about preparing for the interview yet.” “Focus your time on preparing for training, then prepare for the interview if airlines you decide to apply for require an interview.”

When I started the RJ course, I practiced the flows, profiles and callouts that I had spent the last month studying. Every session started with a briefing that included the maneuvers that were going to be done with points to remember when executing. Then the simulator session started. Two hours as the flying pilot in this case, the first officer, and two hours as the non-flying pilot, or the captain in this case. I had to know the flows, profiles and callouts like second nature in order to concentrate on flying the airplane, especially in an emergency such as a missed approach, followed by an engine fire, and to efficiently work with my sim partner to safely execute the flight. If I or my sim partner did not know flows, profiles and callouts, the aircraft would not be safely under control. I learned that I have to strive for the highest performance and attitude for the sake of the safety of the aircraft and the people aboard. I learned that wherever improvement was needed, I had to make adjustments quickly, or else sacrifice my license or the lives of everyone on board. I do not want to make these sacrifices.

When I finished the course I knew how to study flows, profiles and callouts until they were second nature. I learned them to the point where it was automatic and my concentration was spent on flying the airplane and communicating safety needs. I identified flow patterns that were similar to letters of the alphabet, so that when it was time to do a flow, just remember the letter that the pattern followed. I practiced callouts with a friend until I could repeat one callout after the next without thinking for a second. I learned the importance of individual performance so that we can depend on each other to safely complete a flight. The maneuvers that I performed with my partner were exactly the maneuvers that I did in airline simulator training and on my type-rating checkride. When I left the RJ course I felt ready to succeed in airline training. I was prepared to work with other crew members to succeed in training and executing revenue flights. I was prepared to study material to satisfactory performance and continuously improve on every flight.

Part Two of Jason’s story is next.