As the domestic launch customer for the Mitsubishi Regional Jet (MRJ), Trans States will be the first U.S. airline to fly this innovative new aircraft. With the delivery date inching closer, Trans States Manager of Flight Operations Training, Captain Les Hock, and Line Check Airman Richard Vellinga, recently visited Japan to perform a human factors evaluation on the MRJ.
“A human factors evaluation is required in the certification process on any new aircraft,” Captain Hock explained. “After the manufacturer comes up with the design, how the aircraft will be laid out, and how the systems will interact, line pilots are brought in to make sure that pilots can safely and comfortably fly the aircraft.”
While in Japan, Captain Hock and Captain Vellinga ran through various scenarios testing the aircraft features and flight deck layout, including the distance to vital controls. They also evaluated flight displays to ensure that information was clear, accessible, and accurate.
“Trans States pilots will love this jet,” Captain Hock enthused. “It has the absolute latest in avionics, including all the advanced automation you’d find in large Boeing or Airbus aircraft. It will truly prepare pilots for the majors, because they’ll gain experience with state-of-the-art operating systems.”
Passengers will also love the new MRJ. With a significantly wider and taller cabin than any other regional jet currently on the market, the MRJ was designed with passenger comfort in mind. The aircraft will be also be exceptionally quiet. Following a recent flyover, The Seattle Times reported that spectators couldn’t hear the MRJ at all until it passed directly overhead.
“There’s no doubt that the new MRJ has superior technology,” Captain Hock added. “It’s truly an optimized design that is engineered to work best for our pilots, passengers and the Trans States operation.”
This Father’s Day we’d like to highlight Trans States’ Senior Maintenance Training Instructor, Timothy Kinmartin, who keeps aviation all in the family. His wife AnneMarie works as Trans States’ Technical Records Clerk, and their son Shawn was inspired by his parents to become a First Officer with us.
It all began in 1998 when Timothy accepted a maintenance position with Trans States. Now, having been with the company for nearly 20 years, Tim has served in a variety of capacities.
“Working as a line mechanic, hangar mechanic, designated inspector, and even a taxi evaluator throughout the years has kept aviation close to home. My son Shawn grew up around airplanes and naturally desired to become a pilot with the company that my family loves so much,” Timothy said.
Collectively, the Kinmartins enjoy working for the same company because doing so has created both a unique and fun working environment.
“I love the fact that my son has the opportunity to live out his dreams flying as a commercial airline pilot for Trans States,” Timothy said. “I am also pleased to see my wife come home happy everyday from working at a company that she enjoys.”
Witnessing Shawn complete his check rides to become a pilot is what Timothy describes one of his most proud moments.
“I was so excited to watch him complete his check rides, that I videotaped him coming in and out of the terminal,” Timothy said. “It was amazing to see him begin flying because I know how diligently Shawn worked to earn his wings.”
Happy Father’s Day to all of the Trans States family fathers! Thank you for inspiring your children to reach new heights.
Trans States Airlines pilots now have a direct pathway to the Frontier Airlines flight deck. The new Pilot Flow Program guarantees participating Trans States pilots a First Officer position with the Denver-based Airbus operator after as little as two years of service with Trans States.
Captain Benjamin Church and Captain Jeffrey Martin are two of the first Trans States pilots to join the flow program. Although these pilots have spent a combined total of 29 years with Trans States, they’re eager to flow to a major airline and appreciate the seamless process in doing so.
“My flow process was simple and hassle-free,” Captain Church said. “It will be interesting to transition from a regional Captain to a First Officer at a major airline, but I am most looking forward to flying an Airbus, learning new procedures and expanding my skill sets even more,” Captain Church said.
Captain Church has gained a plethora of experiences that will help him excel in his new journey with Frontier, but says the most valuable thing he can bring with him from his 17-year career with Trans States is a teamwork approach.
“I would say a great character strength that I developed at Trans States was teamwork. As a Captain you work together with a First Officer and a flight attendant to make sure that the job is done safely and accurately,” Captain Church said.
Captain Church thinks Trans States is an amazing company to work for with a fantastic company culture.
“It’s going to be difficult for me to walk away from this job because I really like and respect all of my colleagues,” Captain Church said.
Captain Martin was a flight instructor at Flight Safety Academy in Vero Beach, FL when he was introduced to commercial aviation. This was a path that Captain Martin hadn’t considered before, but he was so impressed by the recruiter’s genuine interest and presentation that he considered a pilot position with the company. Fast forward to today, and Captain Martin has spent 12 years flying on Trans States’ behalf.
When the Frontier Pilot Flow Program was introduced and Captain Martin learned that additional interviewing was not required for pilots accepted into the program, he jumped at the opportunity.
“A change in aircraft is what I’m most looking forward to in my transition to flying with Frontier. An Airbus is a very attractive, and larger aircraft. I’ve spent so many years flying in a 50-seater and look forward to seamlessly advancing my career.” Captain Martin said.
Admittedly, Trans States has a great group of pilots that Captain Martin will miss.
“At Trans States, we’re a close-knit group of pilots and are much like family here,” Captain Martin said. “I truly enjoy working with our crews, and I’m going to miss it.”
Memorial Day is national holiday where American soldiers who have died are remembered for their active military service. Trans States is proud to share the reflections of military pilots Joshua Groth, Randall Zehnder, and Dennis Cruz this Memorial Day. Read more to learn why they serve(d) their country and how they applied military skills in commercial aviation careers with Trans States.
Seeing his father serve as a Crew Chief and fly helicopters in the army strongly inspired Josh to follow suit. Coming from a patriotic and military-centric family, the apple didn’t fall too far from the tree when Josh decided to join the army.
“I grew infatuated and fell in love with aviation, particularly helicopters, because I was always around them,” Josh said. “My father and my grandfathers all served in the military, and I’ve been in the army for nine years. When I was six years old Desert Storm took place and watching that helped me to understand that we have rights and freedoms that people defend. My responsibility to serve in the military was to ensure that we had the same freedoms as the ones who served before us.”
Currently, Josh serves as an Army National Guard Rotor Pilot as well as a First Officer with Trans States Airlines. He notes that there are remarkable similarities with each role.
“I initially joined Trans States because everybody genuinely enjoyed what they did, and it wasn’t just about punching in a ticket to get a paycheck,” Josh said. “I was really impressed by the camaraderie of the organization, much like my military family, and the opportunity to fly with other pilots who keep safety a top priority.”
This Memorial Day, Josh honored his fallen armed force colleagues by flying a helicopter during a memorial service at a local veteran’s cemetery.
Captain Randall Zehnder (Randy) served in the Air Force for five years and the Army National Guard for 25 years—retiring with 30 years of military service. Randy’s story is much like Josh’s in that his father also inspired him to explore aviation at a young age.
“My father showed me the importance of having a strong work ethic and obtained his private pilot license when I was ten years old,” Randy said. “When he took me flying I was hooked and decided that I wanted a pilot’s license as well. I was able to reach that goal while still in high school.”
When Randy initially enlisted, he began focusing on obtaining his commercial pilot’s license and instrument ratings. After leaving the Air Force, Randy joined the Army National Guard to take a rotary wing qualification course, and later became interested in transitioning from rotor to fixed wing flying.
“I began working with Trans States in June of 1984 and I’ve been here nearly 34 years,” Randy said. “When I started, the company’s name was Resort Air and had been flying two Metro II aircraft for about a year.”
Captain Randy’s career progressed, serving in management with Trans States for 20 years, and he has spent the last eight years training flight students and working as a System Chief Pilot.
“Trans States has been around for a long time,” Randy said. “From my early career days through today, I’ve learned that Trans States has some of the best crews to fly with the industry. We’ve also have had the ability to face challenges in the past, remain flexible, and always come out stronger than before in the ever-changing aviation industry.”
This Memorial Day, Randy spent his day relaxing with his wife and remembering those who died in the line of duty.
First Officer Dennis Cruz began his aviation career as a response to a need.
“Aviation had not been a lifelong dream of mine,” Dennis said. “As a teenager, I was making poor choices, and dropped out of high school. Afterwards, I was encouraged to enter the military. I enlisted in the Marines and took the opportunity to fly. I fell in love with it and never looked back since then.”
Dennis served in the Marines for 20 years before joining Trans States. He was able to transfer skills such as flexibility, attention to detail, and his passion for safety to his new commercial aviation career.
“Trans States was the first airline I contacted! I had heard great things from a friend who was employed with the company.” Dennis said.
Success and advancement have trailed Dennis’ career. Dennis left Trans States in an attrition transition to American Airlines. Despite his current position at a coveted major airline, Dennis admits that he misses the dynamic he had with his Trans States colleagues.
“I genuinely miss the group of pilots I worked with at Trans States because they were all a great group of men and women to fly with.” Dennis said.
Dennis spent his Memorial Day in Dallas, while attending basic INDOC training.
This quarter our codeshare, United Airlines, had 65 nominations for the UAXcellence recognition program. Out of a total of 18 award-winners, Trans States had six flight attendants win the prestigious award! Please join us in congratulating Rebecca Reid, Alisha Nieshe, Sheryl Smith, Opal Gunn, Aryen Barr, and Michelle Scarfino, on a job well done. United considers awardees to be high-performers who regularly go above and beyond their duties with superior quality and results. Read some of their stories below:
My grandparents raised me, so I grew up around airplanes as my grandpa was in the Air Force/Air National Guard. He was stationed in STL at Lambert and I would go to work with him when I was little and get to play on the airplanes and hangout at his office. I loved every minute of it!
I started flying when I was 19 years old at Trans States Airlines. I came across the interview by mistake as I thought I was going to interview for an Airport Customer Service Runner. Well, after the interview to be a flight attendant I was hooked. I was at TSA for about a year and then I went to TWA. TWA was a STL staple, so I was only overjoyed that I got to work at such an iconic airline. After 9/11 I was furloughed from TWA and returned to TSA. I was happy to return to my “family” and to be able to keep flying. I was at TSA another 2 years and then I took a departure from flying to attend school. From the moment I left I missed it. Once flying is in your soul you can’t let it go. Life went on and about 10 years had passed, and I came to realize that you only get one life. You might as well spend it doing what you love. I was very grateful to be able to return TSA and this time not only to some of the same wonderful people I had worked with before but with a new-found respect and gratitude that I was going to be able to do what I loved to do for a living again.
I have now been here for four years this coming September and I am grateful and honored every day. I am now a check airman and help in the inflight department with flow of flight. I love being a check airman as I get to meet the new trainees and see them apply all of their new-found knowledge.
SHERYL D. SMITH
I’ve had the pleasure of working for Trans States for three years and 10 months. I love setting and maintaining the mood of gladness on each flight! I never know what someone’s day held for them prior to them approaching the main cabin door. Therefore, I discard anything non-positive, because those valuable customers who crossed my threshold, have usually never met me. Whatever may have them not feeling their happiest, initiated before we saw one another, and I never internalize that energy. Those who’ve been on one of my flights gladly say, “It’s good to see you again!”
It gives me great pleasure knowing each passenger exits the same main cabin door with thankfulness for my service, appreciation of my smile throughout my announcements on the flight, joy from my personalization using names with each passenger and appreciation of my professionalism! Those emotions are frequently accompanied with a pat on the shoulder, handshake, a fist bump, even a hug or occasional request to be photographed together!
I take none of it lightly! From 50 passengers plus a Jumpseater and lap children, to 1 passenger on his “personal jet,” every flight gets the very best I have to offer.
ARYEN J. BARR
Most people know me as AJ and I’m ORD based flight attendant. I have been with Trans States for four years and have had the time of my life! What I love most about being a flight attendant is getting to opportunity to meet various people from around the world with unique experiences. Learning about these people has helped me become a better person. Whether it’s a beautiful travel day and we’re 45 minutes early or we’re behind schedule, getting to know the people I encounter and trying to make their lives better brings me joy.
I’ve worked at Trans States airlines since 2014. What I love about flying is serving customers and having the opportunity to interact with them. I try to call every passenger by name, which they love, and treat them like they are a guest in my home. No matter what they may have experienced prior to walking through that main cabin door, I try to create a positive and pleasant experience for them while on board. My goal is always to treat everyone the way I would like to be treated.