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Colgan Air Pilot Interview Profiles

Date Interviewed: August 2011
Summary of Qualifications: 980TT 140 Multi 90 Turbine PIC CFI CFII MEI, Part 135 currently
Were you offered the job? Yes
Pilot Interview Profile:
Fly non-rev to MSP and stay at the Crown Plaza. The hotel was pretty nice, especially since they pay for it. Another plus, the hotel shuttle makes hourly stops at the Mall of America where you have plenty of places to eat and spend money if that is what you like doing. The Interview was as stated in previous gouges.

The interview starts at 7:45am in the gorgeous Mesaba facility. You will be greeted by one of your interviewers and brought into a room. There you will get a short presentation of the company. Ross (the sim evaluator, CRJ Captain) will do the presentation and offer plenty of time to ask questions. I was most impressed with how comfortable they make you from the beginning you walk in the doors. After you complete the presentation about the company, they give you a quick tour of the facility, stopping in the dispatch center of the airline. It was pretty cool seeing the "behind the scenes" of an airline and had a chance to ask questions there as well.

After that, we were brought back into the room where an HR rep. came in and gave us the 2 tests. The Wunderlic and the part 91 test. I was sweating the Wunderlic test thinking I would totally bomb it, but it really is not that hard. Do a couple practice tests online and you should be fine. The part 91 test was simple as well. 25 questions very basic stuff. Some questions were: Airspeed below a bravo, cloud clearance in a class D,holding airspeeds, when can you perform a side step maneuver on an approach, 2 questions about holds (given a heading and told to hold on a radial...how to enter the hold). Again very basic things, nothing to beat yourself up over. Just brush up on your IFR knowledge and you should be okay.

Next was the technical/ HR portion. Again, they do a great job by making you feel comfortable. They know how stressful and nerveracking an interview is. To me, it was more like a typical hanger chat versus an interview. Yes, they want to make sure you know your stuff, but they also want to make sure they can stand being with you on a multi-day trip. NO trick questions...HR questions: Tell me about yourself, Why Colgan/Mesaba? Are you willing to relocate? Tell me about how you started flying. Tell me about a time you had a conflict with another crew member. What is your definition of CRM? How do you know you the actions you are doing in the airplane are not against the rules (company SOPS, OPspecs) Technical: Only had one system quetion- explain a prop system on an aircraft of your choice. Low-enroute chart: only questions were about symbols- if an airport has an approach or not, identify and MEA, MOCA, MORA, NDB.

After that is completed, they will escort you back the room and they will talk to each other. About 5 mins (longest 5 mins ever) they will bring you back in and either give you a conditional offer or send you packing.

If you get a conditional offer, you will go the the sim with Ross. Ross is a stand up guy. He is the nicest guy you will meet and will help you out as much as he can. The sim eval starts once you reach 1000'. The visuals for the sim are turned off (or not working). Once you reach 1000' he will have to climb and turn to a heading. From there you will slow to Va and complete a steep turn left or right, your choice. Then you are giving the approach plate and asked the breif the approach. (the sim is paused, so you can relax). He will ask you about the missed approach and if you breif the hold correctly you will not do one. You will get vectors to intercept the ILS and fly the approach. Bring it down to about 300ft to mins and the eval is over. Somewhere in there he will ask you what radial you are on and what heading you need to get there. Nothing tricky. The approach is not a real one (someone made it up) nothing tricky on the approach plate, it is very plain.

Again, the interview process is very relaxed and comfortable. Just be yourself and have fun getting to know the people to are interviewing with. They may be your new co-workers. Everyone that interview all made it past the sim and went to the drug test clinic (they pay for your taxi to the clinic and to the airport).

Should find out in the next few days if you get the job!

Date Interviewed: June 2011
Summary of Qualifications: 1460TT, 170ME, CFI/CFII/MEI/AGI, No ATP Written
Were you offered the job? Yes
Pilot Interview Profile:
Some of the other gouges on here were correct in the sense that my interview content was in them, but they seemed to contain a bit more than what I went through.

Company positive-spaced me to MSP and put me up in the Country Inn and Suites (it was a nice little hotel, like a Holiday Inn type... to the kid who was complaining in the previous post about the hotel being "JUST OK...", geez, at least THEY PAID for it!, for which I was GRATEFUL!). However, even though the hotel and room were nice and spotless, I woke up with 4 bedbug bites, to which I'm very allergic. I'll have the bite for at least 2 week! So beware if that frightens you... I had my ride meet me back at my home airport with trash bags to put all my things into quarantine! Moving on...

-Interview Class Size: 8 People. I was the youngest at 29 (actually ran into a guy I'd worked with in Phoenix). 1200TT guy all the way to a 5,000hr 737 type-holder, and every amount in between.

-During the beginning overview presentation, the explained how the interview is broken down into three phases: (Phase 1-Written evaluations-Wonderlic Test and ATP Sample Test. Phase 2: HR and Technical Interview Session- and Phase 3: Simulator Evaluation).

Starts out like all the others...
-Company Powerpoint Presentation

-Phase 1: Wonderlic Test (I suggest Googling this to find a practice test you can take to get a good idea of how to do it. I completed 40 of 50)
-ATP Sample Written-25 questions.
*They did not tell us any required minimum scores for either of these tests. After we finished individually we were called to do our fingerprints and collected a Flight Time Supplement sheet that they'd given us to fill out when we arrived.

-All 8 of us proceeded from Phase 1 to Phase 2 of the interview.

-Phase 2: The Phase 2 interview split us up into 2 groups of 4 each going individually to a pair of interviewers. The interviewing pair was one HR rep and one CRJ training Captain. I was second to go from my group and it took about 1 hour per person for the phase 2.

During the Phase 2 interview, they go through all of your PRIA paperwork, required documents, etc. They ask you about your experience, what got you into flying, about your training, about some students you've had, and about any bad things you've done in your past that they might come across during a background check. DISCLOSE EVERYTHING THEY MIGHT FIND. People get pulled out of training all the time for omitting a misdemeanor arrest! Anyhow, then they get into the "Tell Me About A Time..." questions. "TMAAT when you were scared in an airplane that taught you a lesson... TMAAT that you regretted doing something in a plane that you wish you could take back." They also asked me what my parents and family and significant other would thing about me going away, out on the road, making low wages for a few years, and sitting on airport reserve. Lastly the training captain asked me a scenario-based question about flying a trip with the top-seniority captain, and all through the trip he is constantly not following SOPs. What would I do as a brand new FO? Basically they are wanting to hear that you WOULD challenge his actions, and in what manner would you do it? After you get him in trouble with the chief pilot, two weeks later you have another 4 day trip with him... how do you handle it? Professionally, that's how.
After the HR portion of Phase 2, they begin asking you technical questions. They Captain pulls out a pre-selected Jepp Approach plate and begins asking me questions about the symbology, the MSA and its radius and what it is centered around. Asks to briefly explain the procedure, asks what minimums are with the G/S functioning, and without the G/S. Know about the "Conditional" provision in the Decision Height block in the briefing strip.
After the Jepp Plate, Captain pulls out a dispatch WX packet that the pilots get during preflight. He already had things highlighted, and asked me to read him the TAF. Asked me some speciffic q's about the TAF about the stuff in the REMARKS section (you know, after the "AO2" that we never read!) SO make sure to know how to read beyond the "AO2" portion. The rest of the remarks section was the exact temp/pressure with decimals rather than just the whole numbers in the main body of the TAF(REMARKS AO2 SLP113 240022814. THen he asks me to read the NOTAM at the bottom. I studied it for a moment(it was NOT interpreted format, but indeed in the Klingon-speak Sanscrit language abbreviations). I calmly told him that I always get the DUATS translated NOTAMS and that the FAA is in the process of doing away with all of the abbreviations due to the fact that a majority of NOTAM abbreviations are not standardized but are the discretion of the person writing them. I never did figure out what those number were, but it was like KMEM 080009 BLAHBLABLA, and he wouldn't tell me because he didn't want me telling those who were coming in after me.
The next portion of the Phase 2 interview was the easiest, but started with a scare! He said "Ok, Tell me about the Duchess, how does the landing gear work?" I told him that I could give a vague overview of it because it's been 5 years since I've flwon one, but I'd gladly give a detailed description about any system in the Seminole if he would allow that since I'd recently flown that plane. He said that would be fine and I proceeded to tell him about the gear system.
Once I'd finished the explanation, they gave me the opportunity to ask any 1 on 1 questions, and when I'd finished with those they asked me to step out of the room. 5 minutes later they called me back in and told me that I was moving on to the next Phase to do the simulator eval. Phase 2 lasted approximately 1 hour 15 minutes.

***I want to say here that throughout the whole day, everyone was doing their best to keep us relaxed. They don't try to underplay the importance of why you're there, but they Do help you relaz by being casual in their interactions with you. They were all honest and straightforward. During my Phase 2, I wasn't telling jokes by any means, but I was a touch witty and used some humorous expressions when answering the TMAAT questions, while remaining professional and respectful. I used the small bits of humour to show that I was comfortable and relaxed, and it made them more relaxed as well.I must stress though that I wasn't telling jokes, nor should you!

-When Phase 2 was complete, before I went back to the cafeteria(where they have the entire group wait together to be called to the different Phases), the captain gave me an info packet on the simulator with airspeeds, power setting, and a description of the avionics and instruments. He stressed that the simulator eval was extremely important because it is the method with which they determine if you have adequate Instrument Flying Skills to get into a $5,000/hour Level-D Q400 sim once in training. Again, the captain stressed the importance to me. Took my packet and went to the cafeteria to wait for Shane, the sim evaluator.
After about 30 minutes, Shane came to get me for my Sim Eval. The sim is just like a Frasca in nearly every regard, I think it was an AST3000. It is setup inside like a 1985 twin-engine Piper Seneca. Shane tells you that he will set and change all of the radios following your commands. He explains that it is my responsibility to make all of the radio calls(he plays ATC), to raise/lower landing gear, and to obey all airspeeds although he will provide me with rough power-settings. The visual display was a black tv screen.
Flight profile: We took off, I flew runway heading up to 2,500ft and leveled off. After level off shane had me do a 45deg steep turn in either direction, rolling back out on the assigned heading of about 260deg. Concerning assigned headings: When he would give me one, I would immediately set the Bug on the HSI and when he saw me doing it he commented on how much he liked me doing that. So, after steep turn he told me to fly a heading and intercept the 0980 radial from XYZ-VOR. I intercepted it and tracked it inbound. Then he asked me where I was in relationship to the VOR(northeast), and what radial I was on by using the RMI(I'll explain that a bit later). After I answer that he gave me another vector and after a couple minutes asked me what heading I would take to fly directly to the VOR, again using only the RMI. Lastly, he had me use the HSI to determine what radial I was now on, although now I can't remember what that radial was. next he started vectoring me for the approach. It was an easterly approach and he had me on a high downwind to the north of the approach and going west. Started giving me vectors to intercept the localizer. Upon giving me the final vector, he cleared me or the approach and told me to contact tower(which I forgot to do, but he reminded me with a fake radio call from approach telling me that the tower was looking for me!). So while on localizer he asks me how far I am from the outer marker. I had to extrapolate that info from the plate, because it does not give that DME info to the Outer marker, only DME to the Missed Approach Fix. He asked that question to distract me because I was on the approach hand flying this thing, but I got the answer correct. Intercepted the glideslope, threw the gear down when I was a quarter-dot above and slowed it down to 110kias, flew the approach to minimums and went missed. Flew the published missed the 6 miles out to the published holding fix. Make certain to bring the gear back up before you hit the max gear-retract speed! I was on top of this, but I suspect it is easy to omit. About 2 minutes before arrival at the holding fix, he asked me what type of entry I would do into the hold and why. I said parallel or teardrop and he asked which one. Teardrop. Why he asked? Cuz it involves less turning, puts me further away from the fix once I'm established inbound leg. He liked hearing that, and told me that he never does parallel, only direct and teardrop(good bit of advice for my own flying!). After that he paused it and had me help him set it back up for the next person.
**A few bits about the simulator: It is TOUCHY TOUCHY! Seriously, fly with your FINGERTIPS! He saw me doing that with my fingertips and commented about it(I'm not tooting my own horn in this write-up, I'm just trying to illustrate the type of feedback you can expect when you're doing things right!). Use the manual trim wheel making Small adjustments.
Any time you have to make a control input, make certain it is SMALL, especially pitch. The sim seems to want to roll to the left I think, so I was constantly applying a small roll input. Keep your feet off the rudder pedals unless doing a turn of more than 30degrees of heading. The gear coming down combined with a power reduction in order to slow to approach speed will cause you to sink below the glideslope. Winds were calm. The avionics consisted of an HSI slaved to Nav1, a DME tuned to the appropriate approach facility, and an RMI also indicating from Nav1. For those who don't know how to use an RMI, it's simple, the arrow hear points directly TO the station, and the arrows Tail is your FROM radial. He WILL expepect you to use that knowledge to answer his situational awareness questions. There are also two traditional OBS's, seperate from the HSI. The only time you will use these is on the missed approach, but if you tell him to tune the missed approach fix to the HSI he will.

-That's it for the Phase 3 simulator evaluation. Just make sure to fly it with your fingertips and to make small corrections. If you find yourself straying from your altitude or heading, just make sure to tell them that you are aware of it and that you are correcting. Letting things like that go unnoticed will hurt you, so if it happens just show him that you are aware of it. After the sim ride is done, he will send you back to the cafeteria and confer with the Phase 2 interviewers. One of them will come and get you and tell you to bring all of your things with you. At that point the interview is over. They will give you two different vouchers. One for the taxi to the drug testing place, and then one for the taxi ride from the testing place back to the airport for your flight. Speaking of flight, they order the interviews in regards to everyone's flight time hom. If you have an early flight, you will be at the front of the line and visa-versa.

-If I had any parting last words of advice, it would be to show them that you are prepared and that you've studied appropriately and everything will go fine. It's just like a checkride back home, if you obviously know your stuff the examiner will take it easy on you, but if you are struggling and need to be led to all the answers, they will dig deeper and it will get more difficult.
-Out of the 8 of us that started, I'm not certain how many got job offers. I did, and a guy I met at the hotel did, but the guy I knew from another job got sent hom because he had a DUI in the past 10 years. They wasted his and their's time by allowing him to go all the way through the sim ride before breaking the news to him. So if you have a DUI in the past 10 years, I'd save yourself the trouble!
Date Interviewed: June 2011
Summary of Qualifications: 1,500TT, 100 Multi, CFI, MEI
Were you offered the job? No
Pilot Interview Profile:
Mesaba is conducting all interviews on behalf of Colgan. If you meet the Colgan minimum requirements (1,000TT/100 Multi), you will probably be interviewing for a Colgan position, but there is no difference between how they conduct the interviews. The previous Mesaba gouges were spot on, so I would also study those. Interview was conducted at Mesaba HQ in Eagan, MN. They positive spaced me on United to MSP the day before and put me up in a Country Inn & Suites very close to their headquarters. When you get to the airport, make sure you are getting on the shuttle for the right Country Inn, as there are multiple Country Inns in the area. When you check-in, be sure to sign up for the hotel shuttle to Mesaba HQ the next morning. The hotel is just OK. For dinner, there is really only a McDonald's and Subway within walking distance but the hotel shuttle driver said that he would be able to give me a ride somewhere with more food choices if I so desired. Typical free hotel breakfast is available in the lobby in the morning. All 8 of us that were interviewing took the shuttle at 730AM, and it gets you there in 5 minutes, perfect time to arrive for a 745AM interview.

A CRJ-900 Captain for Mesaba came out to the lobby to meet us and take us to a conference room where he showed us a brief powerpoint presentation and told us some very basic information about the company. He was very nice, had a good sense of humor and really put us all to ease. After this, we were asked to fill out a sheet of paper with your checkride history (pass/fail) and flight times such as total, multi, last 6 months, and last 12 months. He then gave us a quick tour of the Operations room where Dispatch, Maintenance, and Scheduling all do their business. He then took us to the simulator that we would be using later for our sim evaluations. It was an ATC 810. He told us that he would be conducting the sim evals and that he wouldjust be looking for basic instrument skills. He gave us the general profile of the sim eval and told us that all the radios would already be set and that really all we would have to do is use the HSI. He also said that after basic maneuvering, he would pause the sim, we could brief the approach, and then he would unpause it and we would fly the approach (BEWARE if he tells you this, because this is not necessarily true - i'll explain further when I get to the sim eval).

He then took us back to the conference room where we first took a Wonderlic test. These questions have nothing to do with aviation and I recommend trying to find sample tests on the internet to practice with. There were 50 questions and a time limit of 12 minutes. I only finished 35 which is pretty normal, so don't feel rushed to try to finish them all. They tell you if you don't know something, then don't guess because this will hurt your score if you get it wrong. Next was the 25 question IFR/FAR test. This was multiple choice and was a piece of cake. Some questions that I remember include speed limit under Class B, decoding METARs and TAFs, cloud clearance requirements in Class D, hold entry procedures, and basic questions about a couple approach plates.

Next they took us all to the cafeteria where we waited to be either taken to get finger printed, or be called in to do the HR and Tech. portion. They schedule all the HR and Techs. based on when your flight out departs. If you have an earlier flight out, expect to be one of the first ones to be called in. I had one of the latest flights out so I had to wait around in the cafeteria for almost 4 hours before I was called in. There isn't much to do other than chat with the other applicants. I ended up buying a sandwich out of the vending machine for lunch which held me over til dinner.

I was second til last to be called in for HR and Tech. It was with one lady from HR and a Mesaba line captain on the CRJ. Both were very nice and they created a relaxed atmosphere. First I was asked to tell them about my flying career. Then, why Colgan? How will you deal with low pay and being on reserve at first? Then I was asked a couple Tell Me About A Time questions...TMAAT you flew when you shouldn't have. TMAAT you were uncomfortable/scared in a flying situation. What has been your toughest obstacle in your flying career?

Then the CRJ Captain began asking technical questions. First one was a scenario where before the first flight of the morning a ramper tells you (the FO) that an electric space heater had malfunctioned on the airplane overnight leaving burn marks around the electric outlet on the plane. You are at an outstation and no maintenance is available. What do you do? He will try to convince you to go by telling you that all your passengers are going to miss their connections, but just remember that safety should be your number 1 concern. Next I was asked about some airport signs and markings. These were trickier than I thought they would be because you have no context with them, and he also threw in kind of a trick question with a taxiway named 15 (it was a taxiway that leads onto a runway). Know when to hold short of an ILS hold short line at an uncontrolled field (weather below 600-2 for precision approaches and weather below 800-2 for non-precision). He then had me decode a METAR and TAF for CLE. Know the remarks section of a METAR such as RMK AO2 LGTCCCG SLP159 T14741409. He then asked me if based on the TAF, could we make the flight to CLE? Would we need an alternate? What does the forecasted weather have to be at an airport in order to file it as an alternate? Does it have non-standard alternate minimums? My alternate was ERI, and it did not have non-standard alternate minimums. Then he pulled out an approach plate for ILS 6 into ERI. ATC tells you "Colgan 1, turn left heading 090, maintain 5,000 until established, cleared ILS runway 6 into Erie." When can you descend down to 2,800? When are you considered on a published segment of the approach?=within 1 minute of the Erie VOR on the inbound course. At what rate would you need to descend at to be at 2,800 at the VOR?=2,200FPM. He then told me that we are inside the final approach fix and we receive a new report telling us that the weather has dropped below the approach minimums, can we still continue inbound on the approach?=yes Why?=if you are inside the final approach fix then it is legal to continue, ceiling and visibility can change very quickly and you just have to be able to say that you saw the runway environment before reaching minimums. Runway not in sight, go missed, what kind of entry to the hold on the missed? On the approach plate, what does the star next to the tower frequency mean?=part time tower, does not operate 24/7. That was it for the technical portion. I was surprised that I was not asked anything about aircraft systems or any airplanes that I have flown but I think it might have been because we were running low on time.

Following the HR and Tech. portion, they take you out of the room so they can talk for a few minutes to decide if they want you to move on to the sim. They bring you back into the room and have you sign a conditional job if they decide that you will move on to the sim, but of course, you have to pass the sim eval to get hired though. Out of the 8 of us that interviewed, 2 were sent home early and 6 were sent to the sim.

Next was the sim. Before going into the sim room, they have you read a packet of directions for the sim. Pay close attention to the part that explains how to use the RNAV/DME HOLD/NAV radio. I have never used a true RNAV before and hadn't even seen one like this before. It really ended up throwing me off and I wish I had paid more attention to the directions packet, although I still think I wouldn't have done much better. The sim is a basic multi engine airplane, like a Baron. Do yourself a favor when you sit down in the sim chair and look at what all the frequencies are set to. Don't let the sim instructor rush you which is what happened to me. First, takeoff from runway 8 (can't remember what airport it was), fly runway heading, climb and maintain 3,000. DON'T FORGET TO RAISE THE LANGING GEAR! He had me climb at 500FPM. Climb power was 25/2500. Leveled off and set cruise power 23/2300. One steep turn to the left, and one steep turn to the right. Then he had me intercept and fly outbound on the 330 radial from the VOR. He then wanted me to intercept the 270 radial outbound. Once I had the CRS selector set on 270, he asked me what radial I was currently on, so I went to center the CRS needle and he told me not to touch the HSI, and to tell him based on the information I had in front of me. It took me a little bit but I finally realized that the RMI was tuned to the VOR and I was able to use that (I wish I would have known what the RMI was tuned to before I started the sim eval, but I didn't pay much attention to it because he had said earlier that day that all we would need to pay attention to is the HSI). I intercepted the 270, and he told me to brief the approach and get everything setup while I tracked outbound on the 270. This also threw me off a bit because earlier in the day he said he would pause it so I could brief the approach. The ILS 8 approach used DME off of the VOR, and setting up the DME which is actually on the RNAV is not intuitive. I finally figured it out, but the NAV 1 radio does not have a flip flop switch. What you have to do is before you put in the frequency for the ILS, you have to hold down the "HOLD" button for a few seconds in order to the hold the DME information on the RNAV. Then you can dial in the ILS frequency. He vectored me for the ILS approach, cleared me for it, and asked me to report final approach fix inbound. Power setting is 15/2300 on the approach at about 110KIAS and gear comes down just before glide slope intercept. Flew to minimums, went missed - this is where I messed up. Instead of climbing to 1,500 ft. on runway heading and then joing the 097 radial of the VOR, I dialed in the VOR frequency, set the CRS to 097, and joined the course outbound immediately. It was a stupid mistake and I know I wouldn't have messed that up had I not had to brief the approach while trying to track a course outbound. He asked what type entry to the hold I would make, and I told him parallel, briefed the hold, and that was it. The sim flies ok, the pitch is fine, but the roll is weird. It will roll on you even if the yoke is level so you constantly have to correct for the roll to maintain straight and level, and it really takes away from your concentration if you have to brief an approach while flying that thing.

Overall, I thought the interview process was mostly laid back and meant to make you feel at ease with the exception of the sim evaluation. This was my first airline interview and now I feel much better prepared for other airline interviews. Not sure how many of the others were given job offers. I received an email saying thanks but no thanks 2 days later and I know one guy got a phone call offering him the job the same day I received the email. Hope this was helpful. Good luck everybody!
Date Interviewed: March 2011
Summary of Qualifications: 8000 TT 3800 TPIC ATP CFII ASMEL
Were you offered the job? Yes
Pilot Interview Profile:
Colgan interviews given at Mesaba HQ in Eagan, MN. They fly you positive space to MSP and put you up. Interview began at 0800 sharp beginning with a Power Point presentation on the company, details on Mesaba, Pinnacle, and the new contract and SLI. Next met with HR lady and check airman, TMAAT questions, basic ATP questions, airport signage, etc. 25 question exam which was easy. Next was the AST 300 simulator with another Check Airman, Ross. Perform some turns and tracking and intercept, situational awareness, track ILS inbound and land. Next off to drug testing place, and another cab voucher to the airport. Again very nice people, new kinder, gentler interview process.
Was given conditional offer, HR called the very next day with a class date.
Date Interviewed: January 2011
Summary of Qualifications: 1200TT 140ME ATP Written CFI CFII MEI
Were you offered the job? Yes
Pilot Interview Profile:
Pretty much on point with what the others say. Now the difference is that Mesaba will be handling all the interviews now. So everything in the gouge will be obsolete if not already. They are no longer interviewing with the Beech 19000 simulator anymore in flight safety LGA.
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