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Day in the Life of…a Pilot

May 15, 2017 | More People

Carlos Orta takes to the sky each day as a First Officer pilot for ExpressJet Airlines. His workspace is a 50-seat Embraer 145, where he flies passengers to major hubs throughout the United States. The military veteran received his Associate of Science in Professional Pilot Technology from Broward College in 2015, then became a flight instructor, earning the required hours of experience needed for employment at an airline.

If Carlos has a flight at 7 a.m. he will get up at 4 a.m. to get to the airport. The pilot normally has to get there around an hour before the flight, but he likes to get there sooner so he has time to look at the weather and flight plan and not rush. Next, comes the preflight inspection where he walks around the aircraft to make sure everything is in order.

By the time boarding begins, he is in the cockpit checking the system. Carlos inputs the flight plan, makes sure there is the right fuel balance, and final preparations take place before departure. Once they takeoff, it’s pretty routine but there can be challenges to work around such as bad weather. There have been rare occasions when an airplane changed course and was flown to an alternate airport. “You prepare for everything,” he said.

Carlos is always on the go, managing between four and five flights a day. Based in Houston, he will fly to Newark, then Newark to Chicago, and Chicago to Atlanta before heading back to Houston.

One thing he shares was the amount of hard work you have to put into your studies. Classes like aerodynamics required constant extended review sessions, but he got through them by applying himself. Carlos stresses how important it is to develop good study habits early on. He says that alone will pay off in the long run and improve chances for success.

“A pilot never stops studying. If I [want to] go to American Airlines or another major company, you have to study again. There are new procedures to know. It’s almost like starting over,” he says.

If you are looking to take flight with an aviation career, get more information on the programs offered by visiting the Emil Buehler Aviation Institute at Broward College.

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