Guest Blog: Veteran Pilot earns new wings

By Jim Winkley, Vice President E175 Program

I’ve been flying for more than 35 years and had the privilege of leading Envoy’s Flight Operations department for another nine, but I have to say the last six weeks have been some of the best of my career.

As pilots, we routinely visit the schoolhouse for recurrent training, but I’ve just completed the initial training program to fly our newest fleet – the Embraer 175 (E175) – and it’s outstanding. The dedication and professionalism of our E175 Instructors and Check Airmen is second to none, and clearly contributes to the outstanding operating performance we’ve seen with this aircraft.

The E175 is the first Envoy fleet to offer the Advanced Qualification Program (AQP) training methods during initial training – incorporating more real-life situations into the instruction, shown to better prepare pilots for the daily operation. We incorporated AQP techniques into the recurrent training programs of our other fleets, but the E175 is the first fleet to offer AQP right from the start.

I’d like to give a special shout out to my training partner, First Officer Philip Rohde. A recent graduate of TransPac Aviation Academy in Arizona, Philip came to Envoy through our Cadet Program, which partners with universities and flight schools to help aspiring pilots transition from the classroom to the cockpit. As a Cadet Flight Instructor the past year, Philip became an Envoy employee, eligible for company benefits and flight privileges while he gained the remaining flight hours he needed to enter training.

I’m sure we made an interesting pair – him, fresh out of school and me, with just a “touch” of gray. But it was inspiring for me to spend time with someone so eager to learn and excited to be starting his career with Envoy. (Some of that excitement may have come from the nearly 50 percent raise he got last week, when we announced an increase to pilot starting pay and other incentives!)

I’m confident Philip is going to be an excellent pilot for Envoy, and look forward to congratulating him in a few years when he flows through to continue his flying career with American Airlines.

It’s been an honor for me to lead the introduction of the E175 fleet this past year, and I’m thrilled to now be fully qualified to take over the controls on delivery flights from Brazil, as we welcome the remaining E175s to Envoy. Looking forward to spending more time in the air – and crossing paths with our teams at the airport!



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