Archives for May 2015

Mesa First Officer Training Update

Mesa CRJ-700 at Washington Dulles airport

Mesa CRJ-700 at Washington Dulles airport

I am happy to report that I am almost complete with my pilot training program with Mesa Air Group! I am released from training and I am officially a line First Officer flying the CRJ-700 out of Washington Dulles airport.

I still need to log 100 hours within 120 days of my simulator check to officially be done.  It certainly has been busy since I started with Indoctrination training on Jan 21st.

The four CRJ-900 observation flights went fine in late April. I had a chance to sit in the jump seat and observe four different crews fly their flights. All observations flights were flown in one day with a start and end in Phoenix.

Gordon standing by a CRJ-700 aircraft at Washington Dulles airport

Gordon standing by a CRJ-700 aircraft at Washington Dulles airport

I was assigned my Initial Operational Experience training flights from 28 March to 7 April which spanned two four day trips, with all but one of the flights out of Los Angeles to various Mesa destinations in the western US. This was my first time actually sitting in the right seat and flying the CRJ-900 aircraft.

Russ was my instructor Captain and he did a superb job. Our first flight was from San Francisco to Los Angeles on April 28th. Takeoff was at 6:00 am. Russ showed me the initial preflight. We then went up to the cockpit for various pre-takeoff duties to include getting the current weather, confirming our instrument flight clearance and programming the various aircraft computers.

View of the First Officer position in a CRJ-700 aircraft

View of the First Officer position in a CRJ-700 aircraft

Russ flew the first leg to demonstrate an actual takeoff and landing. My simulator training was very complete in retrospect. While you learn a great deal flying the actual aircraft, the simulator provided a great foundation.

On the next let, Los Angeles to Oklahoma City, it was my turn to fly. I must admit it was exciting to actually do one’s first jet takeoff. We headed down the runway, with rotation and liftoff around 140 knots. Off we go!

Departure out of LAX was not too complicated and we were soon at altitude enroute to OKC. The weather was nice in the Oklahoma City area, winds light and variable and my first-ever landing was quite acceptable. I was one happy pilot.

Interior of a Mesa CRJ-700 aircraft, showing 70 seat arrangement in First and Economy sections

Interior of a Mesa CRJ-700 aircraft, showing 70 seat arrangement in First and Economy sections

IOE finished up around 10 days later. Mesa gives new pilots three days off between the completion of IOE and reporting to their new base. I headed home to Chicago and packed and prepared for my initial trip as a new First Officer out of Washington Dulles.

So far I have flown two four day trips out of Dulles. The learning curve has been steep but the Mesa Captains have gone out of their way to teach me the ins and outs of Part 121 airline operations. My most recent trip, which ended yesterday, included 14 flights over four days. Dave and I were busy!

I’ll head back to Washington Dulles on Saturday for another four day trip starting Sunday. As things settle down a bit, I’ll be able to focus on various electric RC modeling projects. Thank you for your patience and please check back for further updates!