Maintenance Control: The Unseen Face of Tech Ops

Maintenance Controller Steven Perez

The majority of our passengers have most likely never heard the term “Maintenance Control.”  However, the safety and timeliness of our flights depends on this important group of GoJet employees.  This department is critical to keeping our airplanes safe, our flights on schedule, and our passengers happy.

Maintenance Controllers are licensed A & P mechanics who troubleshoot aircraft mechanical issues for our pilots and mechanics at out stations.  If a GoJet pilot encounters a mechanical issue with an aircraft anywhere in the country, their first call is to Maintenance Control. Often, Maintenance Control can help the pilot correct the issue over the phone, which allows our out-station mechanics to focus on more involved repairs.  However, if it’s a more complicated problem, Maintenance Control will diagnose the likely source of the problem and recommended a course of action to local mechanics.

Our line and hangar mechanics are always outside fixing aircraft, regardless of weather conditions.  Whether it’s snow in New York or a sizzling summer in Raleigh, our line and hangar mechanics have to be outside to get the job done.  However, our Maintenance Controllers work inside Systems Operations Control (or the SOC) at our corporate headquarters in St. Louis.  That’s because Maintenance Control interfaces with many different departments, including Crew Scheduling and Dispatch, which are located in the SOC.  For example, if a flight is delayed due to a maintenance issue, Dispatch and Crew Scheduling rely on Maintenance Control to tell them to estimated fix time so that the flight can be re-scheduled and re-crewed, if necessary. Or if an aircraft can’t be fixed in time to operate a scheduled flight, Dispatch relies on Maintenance Control to recover the flight with a different aircraft.

Maintenance Controllers have a lot on their plate, to say the least.  In addition to troubleshooting problems on aircraft that are often hundreds of miles away from them and developing recovery options for out of service aircraft, they are also responsible for scheduling short-term preventative maintenance, as well as for monitoring repeat repairs.  And while a line or hangar mechanic can only work on one aircraft at a time, Maintenance Controllers are tackling dozens of issues at once.

Maintenance Controller George Thomas

“When I was a line mechanic, I just had one plane in front of me, and I was only working on one task at a time,” explains Maintenance Controller George Thomas.  “Now, I’m simultaneously working on on multiple planes, crews, and issues, which always keeps me busy.”  Maintenance Controller Steven Perez agrees.  “You’ll be going in different directions all day, so you need to make sure that you keep a cool head.”

Both George and Steve agree that the benefits of working in Maintenance Control outweigh the pressures of the job.  In addition to working inside out of the elements, a move to Maintenance Control also comes with a considerable pay increase.  And both George and Steve enjoy the people that they work with and take a great deal of satisfaction in knowing that the work that they do is so important.

“I work with great people, and there’s a fraternal atmosphere among all of us,” George remarked.  “And when you know that you’re helping 30 to 50 crews and hundreds of passengers each day, it’s a very rewarding feeling.”

Steve feels the same way.  “I work in a really good environment with like-minded professionals,” Steve says. “We all take a lot of pride in keeping our planes in the air.”

Given the enormous responsibilities that Maintenance Controllers have, Maintenance Control isn’t the place for someone right out of A & P school. Maintenance Controllers have to have a good systematic understanding of our CRJ700/900 aircraft, as well as the ability and confidence to make split second decisions that can effect the entire fleet.  Plus, good communications skills are key, as Maintenance Controllers must be able to communicate effectively across departments.

“No department has a greater impact on Tech Ops overall performance than Maintenance Control,” said Aaron Armstrong, GoJet’s Director of Maintenance.  “A single Maintenance Controller is going to make more independent decisions in a day than a line mechanic makes in month.”

“Maintenance Control isn’t for everyone,” adds Rob Truax, GoJet’s VP of Tech Ops. “We set the bar for Maintenance Controllers incredibly high – they represent some of our best and brightest Maintenance talent.”

GoJet is currently offering a $12,000 retention bonus to current and new hire Maintenance Controllers.  If you’re a licensed and experienced A & P mechanic and want to make a big impact on the operation, Maintenance Control might be a perfect fit for you.  Click here to learn more and apply online.

Employee Appreciation Week Recap

Employee Appreciation Week is one of our favorite weeks of the year!  This week-long event, packed with food, games, and prizes, is our way of saying thank you to our employees for all of their hard work  This year’s festivities wrapped up last Friday, and everyone is still talking about all of the fun they had.

One of the best things about Employee Appreciation Week is the food!  In Chicago, Base Manager Tracy Ryan kept the crew room stocked with candy and other goodies throughout the week.  Her queso dip with chips and salsa was a huge hit!  Tracy also delivered Subway sandwiches planeside to crews with fast turns.


The Raleigh-Durham base had a similar agenda, offering a smorgasbord of treats each day. All kinds of candy bars were available on Monday, while Tuesday featured “grab and go” breakfasts for the crew members.  Throughout the week, crews also feasted on nachos, cupcakes and pizza.


At the St. Louis base, Base Manager Nikki Lutz worked hard keeping the crews fed all week, and even held a barbecue right on the ramp!



In addition to the food and festivities, each crew base gave away a FitBit!


  Flight Attendant Alyce Atkinson won the FitBit given away at our ORD crew base.

At the St. Louis headquarters on Tuesday, corporate leaders threw a “come as you are” breakfast (which was pajamas for many) for all employees, complete with a caricature booth and balloon artist.  The leadership team manned griddles and hotplates, and served up an impressive spread that included sausage, eggs, pancakes, and even a smoothie bar.  And of course, President Rick Leach and GoJet COO Terry Basham held their annual competition to see whose pancakes were the most popular  (we ran out of both, so we’re called it a tie!).

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Other events throughout the week included the very popular “Take Your Dog To Work Day,” a gourmet cupcake truck, and a friendly game of Family Feud that pitted GoJet employees against employees of our sister carrier, Trans States Airlines.

One of the biggest events of the week was the annual washers tournament.  This year was the tournament’s biggest year yet, with 35 teams participating.  Our Maintenance department has established a washers dynasty over the years, and many teams from other departments were eager to de-throne them. However, Maintenance remained dominant again this year, and we again had a Maintenance vs. Maintenance championship game!

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Maintenance remained dominant later in the week, winning the annual tug-of-war showdown between the Maintenance hangar and corporate office employees.

The Maintenance Hangar defeats the corporate office employees in tug-of-war….again!

On Friday, employees enjoyed a barbecue,


a mini-classic car show,

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and an afternoon of “knockerball.”


One thing’s for certain – we’re already looking forward to next year!

Making Every Flight Count

When it comes to performance, every flight matters.  Earlier this year, our code share partner Delta Air Lines challenged us to “Make Every Flight Count” and make 2016 our best performance year yet.  It’s a challenge that we took very seriously and were all too happy to accept.

With “Making Every Flight Count” as our mantra, we increased our focus across all performance categories, while paying special attention to some key areas, including on-time departures, inflight service and communication from the flight deck.

All that hard work is delivering results – today Delta Air Lines leadership was on-site at corporate headquarters to congratulate our employees on our recent performance numbers!  Throughout the day, Delta and GoJet leadership visited the maintenance hangar, chatted with crews in recurrent classes, and dropped by every GoJet department to express their appreciation for everything this team has accomplished this year.

Piano Playing GoJet Pilot Delights Passengers at Chicago O’Hare

CA Billy Hock
GoJet Captain Billy Hock, meeting a fan after playing the piano at Chicago O’Hare

The next time you find yourself at Chicago O’Hare, make sure to wander past Gate C17. If you’re lucky, you just might catch GoJet Captain Billy Hock serenading passengers with his piano playing skills.  Captain Hock is a regular feature at C17, where he often unwinds between flights by performing on the piano.

Captain Hock is a lifelong music enthusiast and has been playing the piano since he was a child.  While he envisions a lifelong aviation career for himself, he always makes time for his first love – music.  “I always plan on flying planes professionally, but music is my first passion,” he explains.

A piano playing pilot isn’t something that you see every day, and passengers have been known to share photos and videos of his playing via social media.  Passengers have also reached out to him directly to tell him how much they enjoyed and appreciated his playing.  One post to his Facebook wall says:

Thank you for the Chopin, it was heavenly and made my delay in ORD worth it. Would have loved to dance to it if I was alone. Keep sharing the beauty you see and feel. 

When he’s not flying airplanes or entertaining passengers on the piano, Captain Hock composes and performs his own original piano compositions, which are available on iTunes.  And his musical talents don’t stop at the piano – he also plays saxophone and guitar!

We’re proud that the multi-talented Captain Hock is part of the GoJet family.  We love it when our employees use their creativity to make unique connections with the world around them!

Summer Interns Contribute in Big Ways


Summer Interns
Our summer interns getting a rare, behind-the-scenes tour of the control tower at Lambert-St. Louis International Airport.

With the summer drawing to a close, we’ll soon be saying goodbye to three talented young interns who have been contributing to the operation in big ways.  Aviation students Morgan Hunlen, Jade Lubinski, and Alex Dupre all took full advantage of the opportunity to move their studies beyond the classroom, and will have an abundance of new knowledge when they leave.

Morgan, a recent Aeronautical Sciences graduate from Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro, says that she didn’t know what to expect going into the internship, but she found herself hard at work less than a week in.  Over the course of the summer, she was immersed in a wide variety of projects, including auditing crew files and approach plates, preparing materials for new hire classes, and assisting with an ambitious project to completely revamp GoJet’s current PowerPoint-based training for new hire pilots into modern and interactive computer-based learning programs.

“I’ve learned a lot, and have done things that I wouldn’t have imagined I would be doing,” says Morgan.  “Everything I do feels like a contribution to the company.  Even if it’s filing documents, you know that it’s all valid work, and that everything has to be done.”

Morgan said that one of the things that stood out to her the most during her time at GoJet was the company’s commitment to diversity.  “I’m looking for a diverse and accepting workplace where I can succeed while being myself,” she remarked, “and I get that feeling of community with GoJet.”

Jade, a sophomore at Embry Riddle Aeronautical University, decided to intern with GoJet because she liked the idea of working for a regional airline first, before jumping in with one of the major airlines.  She describes her internship as “eye-opening,” and has been impressed by the exposure she’s had to different areas of the airline.  “This internship has shown me how so many different departments operate, and I don’t think that I would have had such a well-rounded an experience with a different company,” she said.

Jade spent the majority of her summer with our Flight Operations team and provided major assistance to the Flight Ops Training Coordinator and the St. Louis Base Manager.  Jade’s projects this summer included auditing the pilot seniority list, challenging delay codes, administering the Pilot Referral & Mentor programs, and planning a crew appreciation breakfast.

Alex, who is going into his senior year at Jacksonville University, spent his summer working in Records, and compared the atmosphere at GoJet to that of a family-type business.  “With each project assigned to me, I learned a lot, and I feel like I’m contributing as much to GoJet as if I were a full-time employee,” he said.

One of Alex’s biggest project this summer was helping write a manual for new hires in Crew Records.  He also helped with pilot audits, shadowed different departments, and sat in on Flight Ops meetings.


Not your normal internship:   The interns get a behind the scenes look at what happens to an aircraft during a heavy check inspection.

All three interns agree that the opportunity to be a part of an airline is an experience that just can’t be duplicated in a classroom.

“There are just some things that you can’t teach in a classroom; you have to actually be there. I get to be there with GoJet,” Jade remarked.  She went on to say, “You don’t really get to see how an airline operates while you’re in school. Classes are great for the technical side of piloting, like maneuvers and planning, but as an intern, you get to see how the process actually works. This helps you understand what your life will be like.”

Alex found that there’s no substitute for the hands-on experience that a quality internship can provide.  “I honestly feel that I’ve learned more in a few weeks as an intern than I have in some of my classes,” he admitted.  Morgan agrees.  “My classes were helpful,” she says, “but GoJet’s environment builds on what I’ve learned. I now know that I don’t just have a foot in the door, but a more well-rounded experience, that isn’t necessarily laser-focused.”

All three interns recommend this program for any aviation student looking for a meaningful professional experience to complement their education.

“Interning with GoJet will increase your knowledge of the airline industry,” says Jade. “Most larger company internships just focus on either pilots or Flight Ops. But here, you get to move around the whole company, all the while working alongside different people.”

“Interning for a regional airline is the way to go, in my opinion,” Alex added. “You’ll be able to do more things that you want to do, spend more time in different departments, do more hands-on work, build stronger relationships with co-workers, and most importantly, have fun.”

Morgan stressed that one of the biggest benefits of the internship is that it gives students the opportunity to make a real impact.  “I am grateful that I’ve been able to participate in so many assignments that were not just busy work, but essential to the smooth operation of the airline as a whole,” she said.  ” I definitely feel like I’ve been given a real and substantial opportunity at GoJet to not only broaden my horizons but live up to the standards expected of every great employee here, and it’s been nothing but an amazing experience.”

It’s never to early to start thinking about next year!  If you’re an aviation student and would like to be considered for next year’s program, contact Steve Paduchak at

Unique Internship Provides Firsthand Look at Airline Operations

Steve Paduchak, Training Analyst & Internship Program Coordinator

Are you looking for an internship that provides extensive, behind-the-scenes exposure to all facets of an airline operation?  Look no further than the GoJet Airlines internship program.  This unique program exposes college students to all of the people and departments it takes to keep an airline flying.  Data Training Analyst Steve Paduchak, himself a former GoJet intern, now coordinates the internship program, and works hard to ensure that each participant has a quality experience.

Steve participated in the GoJet internship program during the summer of 2014, when  he was an Aviation Management student at Jacksonville University.  Steve says that his desire to have a more well-rounded understanding of aviation is what led him to apply for the program.  “Going into the internship, I  had been previously exposed to airport operations, like runway inspections, and the management side of the industry,” he explained.  “However, I wanted to also be exposed to other aspects of the aviation industry, including airline, and air traffic management.”

Steven says that one of his biggest takeaways from the experience was a new appreciation for the amount of departmental collaboration that goes into running an airline.  “The internship really opened my eyes to what airline management entails, right down to just how many different people are involved in just one flight operation,” he remarked.  “From pilots and flight attendants, to mechanics, schedulers and dispatchers, everyone has a role to play in the success of each flight.”

After he completed his degree, Steve was offered a full-time position as a Flight Operations Training Analyst.  Shortly thereafter, he jumped at the opportunity to again be involved in the internship program, this time as the Program Coordinator.  “I’m very passionate about both pursuing opportunities, and providing opportunities that could benefit others,” says Steve.  “I had a great experience a few years ago, and taking over the internship program was the perfect opportunity for me to pay it forward.”

Steve stresses that the biggest advantage of the program is the varied exposure it provides, regardless of what aviation program a student may be studying.  “Whether you’re a pilot, flight operations, dispatch, or management student, you’re going to see the entire operation as an intern.”

In addition to receiving travel benefits through United Airlines, GoJet interns also receive a weekly stipend of $100 to help with expenses.  And as Steve’s experience shows, an internship at GoJet could very well lead to a full-time position after graduation.

To learn more about the GoJet Airlines internship program, please contact Steve at



Pilot and Passenger Race to Retrieve Cell Phone Before Departure

We’ve all experienced it at least once – that sinking feeling you get when you realize that you’ve lost your cell phone, with all of your contacts.  That’s exactly the situation that one of our passengers was recently faced with.  After boarding a flight to St. Louis, he realized that he’d left his cell phone, with all of his business contacts, in the terminal.  With just 15 to go minutes before departure, the odds of retrieving his phone before take-off didn’t look good.  That’s when Captain Jacob Sutherland stepped in.

Captain Jacob Sutherland
Superstar pilot, Captain Jacob Sutherland

I wanted to share with you an unbelievable experience I had with one of your Captains and Flight Attendants on a recent flight from New York to St. Louis.   After leaving the gate by shuttle bus and boarding my flight on the tarmac, I that realized I had left my phone in the airport’s Sky Lounge. All 100 of my client contacts for a conference that I was to run in St. Louis were stored in that phone. More importantly, that phone number was the only way that I could be reached over those next four days.

I explained this dilemma to Flight Attendant Melanie McKetchem, and she kindly asked the cockpit if they could help. Captain Jacob Sutherland contacted the terminal to see if it could be retrieved. But with only 15 minutes to departure, it was not possible to get my phone to the plane in time. So, the Captain decided that he and I could take the bus back and race to the lounge to get it.

What played out next must have looked to onlookers like a scene from a movie. Captain Sutherland and I jumped on the shuttle back to the terminal, literally sprinting over the bridge to the lounge. There, my phone was just about to be handed over to security.  My phone was then returned to me, and the Captain and I once again sprinted, this time back through the two terminals to the shuttle bus. Somehow, we were back on the plane in enough time to depart on schedule, and touched down in St. Louis 20 minutes before our expected arrival time.

I have been on hundreds of flights since the 1970s, and this is by far the best experience that I have ever had. If Captain Sutherland is typical of your flight staff, then your company and passengers are in very capable hands. The Captain saved my trip and event with his quick initiative and decision making ability. I thank these two flight personnel for their great efforts on my behalf.

Thanks to Captain Sutherland and the hundreds of other GoJet employees who are out there giving it their all for our passengers, each and every day.  If you’d like to work with truly extraordinary and thoughtful people, click here to check out a list of current openings.