Trans States Partners with Women in Aviation to Promote Aviation as a Career Path

o.jpg

Did you know that only 5% of all pilots are women, and less than 2% of aircraft mechanics are women?  Women In Aviation International (WAI) aims to change that.  WAI is a non-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of women in aviation career fields.  One of the organization’s top priorities is encouraging young women to consider aviation as a career.

Traditionally a male-dominated field, aviation is a career path that women often don’t consider unless they’ve been previously exposed to it, such as having a parent who is a pilot.  Since so few girls are exposed to aviation as a potential career opportunity, they usually have a different career path in mind by the time they reach their late teens.  “Aviation tends to be family-oriented,” explains Laura O’Brien, President of the St. Louis Chapter of WAI.  “The culture is usually something that you’re brought into in some way.  Very few people stumble onto it themselves, and we want to help change that.”

One of the ways that WAI aims to narrow the gender gap in aviation is by exposing girls to career opportunities in the field at a young age.  WAI’s annual Girls In Aviation Day provides girls ages 11-16 opportunities to learn about aviation-related careers through hands-on activities and demonstrations from aviation professionals.  Over 74 WAI chapters around the world hosted local Girls in Aviation events this year, drawing over 9,700 attendees.

At this year’s event in St. Louis, over 100 local girls learned about aviation career opportunities with over 20 organizations, including Boeing, the Air Force, and Trans States.  One of the event’s most inspiring guests was 13-year-old student pilot, Olivia Fabisoff.

Private aircraft company JetLinx graciously allowed their ramp to be used for static aircraft displays, allowing the participants the opportunity to see private jets and Medevac helicopters up close.

JTrans States hosted a luncheon for participants at our corporate headquarters in St. Louis, where pilots and flight attendants were on hand to talk about what their jobs are like and how they got to where they are today.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Be sure to save the date for next year’s Girls in Aviation Day on October 13, 2018!  Click here to find out how you can get involved.

Trans States Inspires High School Students to Become the Next Generation of Aviators

DSC_0100
Students from McClure High School in St. Louis get a behind-the-scenes look at the work that goes on in our maintenance hangar.

This spring, Trans States had the opportunity to welcome math students from McCluer High School in St. Louis to our corporate offices and hangar facility for the third year in a row.  Their instructor, Jenna Henderson, is a lifelong aviation enthusiast, who started organizing annual field trips to Trans States after learning about aviation career opportunities from her neighbor, Jan McCall.

Jan, a former Trans States pilot turned Aviation Studies professor, suggested that Jenna encourage her students to consider aviation as a career path.  The industry is facing a severe shortage of qualified personnel, and a recent study by Boeing projects extraordinary demand for pilots, mechanics and flight attendants over the next 20 years.  Jan proposed a field trip to Trans States’ St. Louis headquarters so that Jenna’s students could see first hand all of the different aviation career opportunities that they could pursue right in their hometown.

Even though many of Jenna’s students had never even flown before, let alone considered aviation as a career, she jumped at chance to visit Trans States with her students.  “Trans States is in my students’ backyard, and it offers many career paths that they may not even know about,” she explained.  An annual tradition was born.

This year’s tour included a tour of the cabin trainer that our flight attendants use to practice everything from the beverage service to emergency evacuation drills, as well as a demonstration of the Graphical Flight Simulators that our pilots use during training.

IMG_1132

Students also toured Systems Operations Control (SOC), where they learned about career opportunities in Dispatch, Crew Scheduling and Maintenance Control.  During the SOC tour, the students spoke with McCluer alum and Maintenance Controller Bryan Cross, who told the students about his career and the steps that he took to get where he is today.

The highlight of the trip is always the visit to the Trans States hangar facility, where students have the opportunity to get hands on with our Embraer 145 aircraft and watch our mechanics in action.  For many of the students, it’s the first time that they’ve ever been near an airplane.  “I’ve never been around this type of environment before,” student Carlando Dickens remarked.  “It’s different and interesting.”

DSC_0134

The trip is also a great opportunity for Jenna to show her students how the math skills they are learning in class will be important later in life.  This resonated with student Megan Robinson, who remarked, “It’s really interesting to see how the mechanics basically have to take the entire plane apart, and then put it back together.  With all of the measurements that they have to do, it makes sense that they would have to understand mathematical problem solving.”

Her classmate, Hailey Drake, agreed.  “I’m glad to see that what we learn in school becomes important later on in life,” she added. “Being able to use math calculations can help you do what you want to do for a living, just like the mechanics I’m meeting today.”

Assisting with the field trip was future Trans States pilot Adam Lange.  Adam, who is part of Trans States’ Aviators program for aspiring collegiate pilots, enjoyed the chance to teach people about the airline industry.  “I don’t remember ever having an opportunity like this when I was in school,” he admits. “It’s important that kids know about the options that exist in their own hometown.”

Trans States Chief Operating Officer Fred Oxley couldn’t be happier about the annual visit from the McCluer students.  “As an industry, it is our duty to inspire the next generation of aviators,”  he said.  “In the coming years, I hope to encounter these students flying our planes, fixing our planes, and serving our passengers.”

To learn more about career opportunities at Trans States, please click here.

Year in Review – Our Favorite Posts from 2016

We had a busy 2016!  We introduced you to some one-of-a-kind people and highlighted some extraordinary happenings within our company.  Let’s take a look back to some of our favorite posts from TRANSmissions this past year.

Preparing for Your First Part 121 Ground School – An Instructor’s Perspective

In what was far and away our most read and shared blog entry of the year, Trans States Airlines Flight Instruction Manager Paul Epperson shares his tips and advice for what to expect and how to prepare for the adjustment into 121 ground school.

paul-epperson

Trans States Provides Simulated Flight Experience for Children with Autism

Some of our Raleigh-based crew members had the opportunity to be a part of a very special event co-sponsored by American Airlines and the Autism Society of North Carolina.  The event simulated the airport experience for children with autism so that they would know what to expect the first time they boarded a commercial flight.  The children also had the opportunity to board a Trans States Embraer 145, and were shown exactly what would happen during the first 20 minutes of a real flight.

dsc_0555

Shriners Debut Aviation-Themed Parade Float, With Help of Trans States Employee

Trans States’ Sam Curless helped the St. Louis Shriners Air Patrol when they were in dire need of a new parade float. Through his connections, Sam was able to help organize a build of a new float, made out of an Embraer 145 fuselage. The float made its debut at the St. Louis Thanksgiving Day Parade to an excited crowd, and a group of Shriners kids who got to ride it for the first time!

img_1962

Trans States VP of Safety Marks 70th Birthday by Flying 70th Aircraft Type

Trans States Airlines Vice President of Safety Craig Tompkins recently accomplished a pretty lofty goal that he’d set for himself in 2014 – to fly 70 different aircraft before his 70th birthday.  Craig reached his milestone right on time, flying aircraft type #70, a Cessna 170 on floats, just before his 70th birthday in October.

img_2148

 

Former Marine Turned Aircraft Mechanic and College Student: Meet Brandi Rector

Before becoming a aircraft mechanic for Trans States Airlines, Brandi Rector spent six years in the United States Marine Corps as a helicopter aerial gunner and mechanic.  Now she dedicates her time to ensuring that our aircraft operate safely and efficiently, all while attending full-time classes at Saint Louis University.

Brandi Rector

We’ll be back in 2017 with more posts dedicated to the extraordinary individuals who call Trans States home.  Happy New Year!

 

Trans States Provides Simulated Flight Experience for Children with Autism

Recently some of our Raleigh-based crew members had the opportunity to be a part of a very special event co-sponsored by American Airlines and the Autism Society of North Carolina.  The event simulated the airport experience for children with autism so that they would know what to expect the first time they boarded a commercial flight.  The children also had the opportunity to board a Trans States Embraer 145, and were shown exactly what would happen during the first 20 minutes of a real flight.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Captain Jonathan Jones, who was in the cockpit during the simulated flight experience, believes that the experience was a great way to acclimate autistic children to the airport environment before actually taking a flight.  “Often times, environments like airports can be overwhelming for families touched by autism,” he remarked.  “This means that families are putting their expenses at risk if they have to cancel travel plans due if their children become affected by the airport setting.”

The simulation exposed the children to just about every aspect of catching a flight, with the exception of taking off.  The children and their families checked in with a gate agent at the ticket counter and checked their bags. After going through security, they headed to the gate area, where Captain Jones, as well as First Officer Will Browne, and Flight Attendants Amy Furlough and Misty Burmingham, spent the afternoon making them feel comfortable, even showing them pictures of what the inside of the aircraft would look like.  The children then boarded the aircraft via a jetbridge.  During the boarding process, the children were given gift bags to commemorate the experience, including their very own wings, just like our crew members wear.

After the children and their families were settled with their seatbelts fastened, the flight “took off” by pushing back from the gate and taxiing for about 20 minutes to a remote parking spot.  Before the flight “descended” and returned to the terminal, there was even a beverage service.

Captain Jones said that organizers deemed the event a complete success, and the kids loved it, especially receiving the gift bags with the wings inside.  “That really made their day,” he added.  Captain Jones went on to remark on the importance of giving back to the communities we serve.  “Our passengers are our neighbors. Events like this give us an opportunity to back to our them, and to actively contribute to our community.”

Thank you to American Airlines and the Autism Society of North Carolina for giving us the opportunity to participate in such a worthy event!

St. Louis Shriners Debut Aviation-Themed Parade Float, With the Help of Trans States Employee

Thanksgiving is just around the corner!  For many people, Thanksgiving means family, food, football, and of course, parades.  The annual St. Louis Thanksgiving Day Parade will be extra special this year, as the St. Louis Moolah of Shriners International will be debuting a brand new float, made out of an Embraer 145 fuselage.  Waving to the crowd from the windows of the plane will be children currently undergoing high quality orthopedic treatment at Shriners Hospital for Children in St. Louis.  The Shriners are a fraternal organization dedicated to providing care for children free of charge. In addition to orthopedic care, this St. Louis hospital also treats burns, spinal cord injuries, and cleft lip and palates, as well as provides other complex surgical needs.

Trans States’ own, Sam Curless has been involved in this inspiring project since its inception. Sam was in the process of joining his local chapter when he heard about the Shriners’ Air Patrol parade float – an old, dilapidated Charlie Brown float from the 1960s that was in sore need of replacement.

shriners-charlie-brown-float

Some members had mentioned that an aviation-inspired float would be especially fitting, as it could shine a light on the important work done by the Shriners Moolah Air Patrol.

Children with severe orthopedic needs often have to travel far from home to receive care, which can be draining on a family’s finances.  That’s where the Air Patrol steps in. As Air Patrol Director John Cordell explains, “We are a division of the Shriners that is transportation focused.  When families need to get to St. Louis because a child requires orthopedic care, we find a way to fly them here at no cost.”  Volunteer Shriner pilots fly children and their families to St. Louis on their own time, via their own planes or borrowed private aircraft.  If the Air Patrol doesn’t have a plane or pilot to accommodate a family, they will fly the family in commercially, or coordinate with Wings of Hope, another charity that provides air travel to families in need.  Once families arrive in St. Louis, the Air Patrol transports them to the  Ronald McDonald House, Haven House, and other places where they can stay during the duration of their child’s treatment.

When Sam heard about the Shriners Air Patrol’s wish for an aviation-themed float, he knew that he could help.  While finding a company to donate an aircraft fuselage for most would be a challenge, it wasn’t for Sam.  As the Managing Director of Strategic Sourcing and Materials at Trans States, Sam works with aircraft manufacturers, lessors, and parts vendors all over the world.  Sam put the Shriners in touch with AeroVision International, an aircraft lessor and Embraer 134/145 parts distributor, who donated a fuselage for the float.  It was then gutted and fitted with custom chairs donated by aircraft manufacturer Embraer.

shriners-wrapped-float

Everything about the float was created with Shriners kids in mind. “This is not a Mardi Gras party barge,” says Sam. “This is something special for children undergoing treatment, some of whom may never have been on plane before.” John agrees.  “We really wanted to go for that, ‘wow factor,’ with this float,” he said. “On the outside, it looks like a brand new plane. But on the inside, it’s all about the kids.”  The aisles are wide, to accommodate wheelchairs, and the interior includes lights and air conditioning.  During the parade, children can sit in either the fuselage or the cockpit.  “We even raised the seats in the cockpit eighteen inches, so that the kids can see out of the windows and look at the crowd,” John added.

All in all, the project required over six hundred hours of labor, and the joint efforts of many.  “This project was not just isolated to St. Louis,” Sam stressed.  “All around the country, people associated with the Shriners chipped in to help with this project.”

To see the final results of this amazing project, be sure to watch the parade on Thanksgiving Day, broadcast live on KMOV-TV Channel 4 in St. Louis.

The Shriners are always looking for volunteers, including pilots for the Air Patrol.  Click here to learn to more about how you can get involved with this incredible organization.

Update (November 28, 2016):

Check out the photos below of the float in action at the 2016 St. Louis Thanksgiving Day Parade!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.