First Officer – Porter Airlines

Sep 28, 2016

 

Being a pilot has always been seen as one of the world’s most interesting jobs. This month we met with Amie Ullock who is a pilot with Porter Airlines based in Toronto and she proves that it’s true – being a pilot is one of the most interesting and exciting jobs one can do! We talked to Amie about how she got to where she is today, what her advice is for those who want to become pilots, and what a day in the life of a pilot is really like.

How did you get started in the aviation industry?

I got started in the aviation industry after I took my first introductory flight in a rusty little Cessna 172. I had been impelled to fly ever since the age of 9, when I went on a passenger jet for the very first time. I remember wheeling my Winnie the Pooh suitcase through the airport being so in awe of my surroundings. Since then, my love for flying has only grown.

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Where and when did you start your flight training?

I started training in 2009 at Coastal Pacific Aviation in Abbotsford, BC.

What does a typical day look like for a Porter Airlines pilot?

A typical day in the life of a Porter pilot, is never the same! We are constantly faced with changing conditions, passengers, routes, etc. At the start of a pairing, you meet with your crew to sit down and get to know each other, while briefing the flights for that particular day. We then head out to fly normally 3-5 legs, and either get to go home at the end of the day or layover in one of our many beautiful east coast destinations.

What do you love most about your job?

What I love most about my job, is the actual flying itself. The Dash 8 Q400 can be a handful sometimes, so you feel incredibly accomplished after a day of good airplane handling and smooth landings. Also, flight benefits are a huge perk of the job. I love that this career allows me to have a good schedule and travel the world!

What part of your job was the most surprising or unexpected when you started?

The most unexpected part of the job is probably the fact that I fly with a new captain, whom I haven’t met, almost every pairing. At an airline, there are so many different personalities in the flight deck – it can become tiring to try and jive with everybody. You always have to make that good first impression!

What are some of your most successful moments at work or in your career path so far?

My most successful career moments would have to be whenever I am hired onto a new airplane, and you have to relearn a completely new machine. Going from a twin piston to a business jet was a big jump, for example. Then, going from the 8 seater business jet to a 74 seater turboprop was a big jump. You’re always jumping up the ladder. As pilots, we have a lot of checklists that are required to be memorized, in the event of an emergency. At Porter, this proficiency is tested every 6 months in a flight simulator.

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What advice do you have for students looking to become a pilot?

My advice to student pilots would be to never lose sight of the dream, keep your head up through the difficult learning phases, and be kind to everyone you meet. This is a small industry, and the jerks don’t make it far! Many jobs are landed by word of mouth, so if you’re a hard worker with a good attitude – you’ll do very well for yourself.

What is your favorite aircraft?

My favorite airplane is the B-2 Spirit, otherwise known as the Stealth Bomber!

What type of plane do you hope to fly during your career?

In my career, I hope to fly a passenger jet that allows me to have a good schedule, a family, and a life outside of aviation. I want an airplane that comes with a small suitcase and lots of time at home to be with my loved ones. The work/life balance is the most important to me, not the size of the airplane!

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