The GoJet SOC Enjoys a Good Meal for a Good Cause

For many, the Thanksgiving holiday was a long weekend, filled with family, food, football and shopping.  However, many GoJet employees, including pilots, flight attendants, mechanics, and those in Systems Operations Control (SOC), sacrificed Thanksgiving with their families to make sure that our passengers arrived at their holiday destinations safely.

Our SOC employees celebrated Thanksgiving in the office, with an incredible spread from Mimi’s Cafe.  The feast offered something for all appetites, including a wide variety of vegan offerings.

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But the restaurant’s delicious and extensive menu was just part of the reason why the SOC chose Mimi’s to cater their holiday dinner. Mimi’s relationship with the Children’s Hunger Fund was what sealed the deal.  “We found out that for every order placed, Mimi’s would donate a meal to the Children’s Hunger Fund,” explained Heather Brown, who coordinated the meal.  “Our order resulted in the donation of 16 meals to children in need.”

The SOC is keeping that same spirit of giving rolling into December, with a toy drive benefiting Toys for Tots.

 

GoJet Employee Wins Prestigious Aviation Maintenance Award

Congratulations to Fleet Support Coordinator Ben Dunbar, who has been named to the AMT Next Gen 40 Under 40 List!  Aircraft Maintenance Technology Magazine launched this recognition program to shine a light on the benefits of a career in aircraft maintenance and to inspire the next generation of aviation professionals.

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This annual contest recognizes aircraft maintenance professionals who have challenged themselves professionally by taking advantage of training opportunities that have allowed them to continue learning and progress in their careers.  In addition, the individuals selected have made contributions to the industry as a whole, and make the industry safer by maintaining aircraft to the highest possible standards.

GoJet Director of Maintenance, Aaron Armstrong, isn’t surprised that Ben was selected for this prestigious award.  “Ben brings a phenomenal skill set to our team, and this recognition is well-deserved,” he remarked.  “Ben’s constant desire to learn more has an enormous influence on those around him.”

At GoJet, safety is our top priority.  Ben, along with every other GoJet employee, has dedicated his career to the safety of our aircraft and passengers, and he embodies that commitment each and every day.

Click here to read the write up on Ben and his accomplishments in the November/December 2016 issue of Aircraft Maintenance Technology.

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Ready to join the GoJet maintenance team?  Click here. 

Pilot Recruiter James Douvier Explains What it Takes to be a GoJet Pilot

When Pilot Recruiter Captain James Douvier meets with pilot applicants, he’s looking for more than just technical know-how.  He’s looking for pilots with positive personalities who are going to come to GoJet and make a difference.

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Pilot Recruiter Captain James Douvier

Being a great aviator is certainly a requirement to become a GoJet pilot, but there’s more to it than that.  Crews spend a lot of time together, so having an outgoing and positive attitude is important.  James says that during the interview process, he asks himself, “Is this someone that I would want to fly a four-day trip with?”

When James interviews pilots, he’s also looking at what they’ve accomplished outside of the cockpit.  “We’re looking for pilots who are going to do more than just fly their shift, make their money, and go home,” James explains.  “We want to hire people who are going to be involved and engaged in the airline.  If you’ve been involved in your school, community, or at your previous airline, it’s a pretty good indication that you’re going to make a positive impact at GoJet.”

However, the interview process is also about pilot candidates making sure that GoJet is the right fit for them.  That’s why James sets aside a portion of each interview to answer any questions that applicants may have.  One of the most common things that pilot applicants want to know is what their life will be like when they become a GoJet pilot.

In addition to emphasizing the quality of life benefits that GoJet offers, including high pay, minimal reserve time, and fast Captain upgrades, James also tells candidates about GoJet’s unique, family-like culture.  For example, unlike “slam-clickers,” or pilots who stay in their hotel rooms after they finish a day of flying, GoJet crews frequently go out to dinner together or rent a car and sightsee during overnight trips.  “I have friends at other airlines, and the level of camaraderie that you see at GoJet is just different,” he remarks.  “All of our crews are interactive teams who just genuinely enjoy each other’s company.”

When asked if he had any advice for new GoJet pilots, James encouraged them to take advantage of every opportunity to get involved with the company, as it will benefit their careers down the road.  “Many of our pilots aspire to fly for mainline carriers one day, and all airlines, including mainlines, want to hire pilots who have made the effort to progress professionally as much as they can,” he stressed.  “Do as much as you can while you have the opportunity, and it will pay off for you later.”

Professional development opportunities that James suggests include:

  • Becoming a Check Airman
  • Getting involved in the union
  • Offering to be a committee chair, such as for hotels
  • Helping out with recruiting
  • Taking advantage of the Pilot Mentor Program – in addition to earning $5,000 for every pilot you mentor, you’re paying it forward by passing on your wisdom and experience to new pilots

Being a pilot recruiter means that James doesn’t get to fly the line as much as he’d like, but he loves what he does.  “I get to help make people’s dreams come true. Seeing someone’s face light up when they are offered a job as a GoJet First Officer, then seeing that person become a Captain, and then watching them move on to mainline, that’s just really special.”

There’s never been a better time to become a GoJet pilot.  Click here to get started.

Maintenance Control: The Unseen Face of Tech Ops

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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

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  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.

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

On Friday, employees enjoyed a barbecue,

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a mini-classic car show,

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and an afternoon of “knockerball.”

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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

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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!