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Commutair Pilot Interview Profiles

Date Interviewed: September 2006
Summary of Qualifications: 1200 TT, 1000 ME, CFI/II/MEI.
Were you offered the job? Yes
Pilot Interview Profile:

Met Mano at the Air Inc, Seminar in Atlanta (June 2003), dropped my resume off with him. Got a call from Amy about 10 weeks later. CA flew me up to Plattsburgh via Newark, Albany, Plattsburgh. While in Albany about 5 1900s rolled in, met quite a few of the FOs and Captains, had a great initial impression of the people. Got in late that evening, stayed at the West Bestern, a maze if you've ever been there. My interview wasn't until 2pm the following day. Arrived a little early, waited in the break room with 2 others. Started with a 40 question test, pretty straightforward EXCEPT that "the individual that wrote the test did not use english as a first language". NOT MY WORDS! Those are the words of one of my interviewers! What should have been straightforward was made a little difficult because the answers seemed about the same. In any case, was told that I scored in the high 80's, I'll take it.

The interview portion was very nice. If I was on the outside looking in, at one applicant sitting across from 2 people at a conference room table with charts, plates, my application and logbooks opened wide, I would be intimidated, but that's not how I felt while sitting there. Doug and Mano put you at ease and turn the interview into a conversation about your career. The questions flowed into the conversation, so it was very easy to relate the information they needed into your answers. Some of the questions after reading a sample METAR and TAF, and a thorough review of JEPP plates and charts...tell us about a difficult student, any scary moments, tell us about the hydraulic system in your aircraft, what is Vmc, how does CG affect Vmc, what is a low pressure system like, visibility, stability etc. I walked out there thinking that they gave me a very fair opportunity to sell myself without making me sound cocky. I was told that letters will follow by the next week and that, if chosen, I will have to return to take the Cog test. I received the good news letter the next Tuesday.

Approximately 5 weeks later I got the call that a class was scheduled for the beginning of December, I needed one more trip up to finish the interview. They brought 9 of us in for 5 spots. Everyone arrived the day before, and showed up at 8am for the Cog test. Some one read that you should play Tetris and eat lots of Protein before the test, I guess it worked he's in the class too.

In any case, the test is an internet based cognitive skills free-for-all. It's divided into 3 sections, in the first section they display a range of numbers on a tic-tac-toe board, say from 3 - 8 (not all of the squares will have a number). The numbers appear in random order in random squares on the grid. You task is to, starting from the upper left corner, recreate the numbers in the appropriate squares on the grid. It's difficult because you have to remember the placement, range, and number, but you can't fill in the blanks in the order that you saw it. The second part of section one is the same task, except one of the numbers is missing, you must correctly identify it before filling in the placement, misidentify the missing number and you don't get to fill in the blanks. It is nearly impossible to get everything correct. I concetrated on getting the missing number and range correct, then I got as many of the blanks as I could. Section 2 is much easier, they give you patterns of numbers and you guess the next number, 2 2 4 2 2 5 2 2 x, or 7 8 9 3 8 9 10 4 9 10 11 X. Section 3 is easy as well and you get some feedback. F1 - F5 are color coded, Red, Green, Yellow, Blue Black. Roughly four rows of squares appear on the screen, they are colored, you guessed it, Red, Yellow, Green, Blue, Black. A little triangle appears below each square, you press the correspnding key. There are 3 parts to section 3, the squares, then the colors written in black ink, they the colors written in colored ink. It tells you how long it takes and how many you missed, you must then guess how much of a time improvement you will have and how many you think you'll miss, you then repeat it.

We all finished in less than an hour and Amy took us over to the terminal to make the 9:20 flight. We all made it out to Alabany and then on to our connecting flights. I recieved the call from Amy the following Monday morning for a December class date. I'm looking forward to it.

Date Interviewed: March 2001
Summary of Qualifications: NA
Were you offered the job? Don't Know
Pilot Interview Profile:

I interviewed at Commutair in March 2001. They flew me to Plattsburgh and everyone of their people, pilots, gate agents, etc. were very friendly when
they found out I was an interviewee.

The interview is done in their ops facility and they take the time to
introduce you to a lot of people. Derinda McKinstry is the person who sets
everything up and she is very nice as well.

The interview starts with a 35 question ATP test. Pretty straight forward.
Also about five minutes worth of paperwork filling out some background
information for the HR interviewers (ie. have you ever failed a checkride?
Have you ever been fired?). They send you all of the application, secruity
check info and other paperwork about a week before the interview with the
instruction to fill it out before you arrive. Anyway after the test they
send you into the crew lounge to hang out, watch TV and relax before the HR
interview. The HR portion is with 2 to 4 of their chief pilots, director of
ops and those types. Got the Roanoke ILS approach everyone else mentioned.
Also an old METAR. Some of the typical HR type questions like about what
makes a good employee, why Commutair, etc. But about 90% of it was going
over your background. You basically get to tell your life story. The two
guys I interviewed with asked some very hard and pointed questions. But they
weren't intimidating at all, in fact they did a great job of keeping you
from stressing out. It seems like everyone wants you to feel comfortable.

After the HR part they send you back to the lounge to wait. Derinda comes in
a while later to let you know if you passed the HR portion or not. If you
didn't, they send you home (or to the Hotel if it's late). If you pass then
its on to the Cognitive Skills test. This seems to be fairly new as none of
the other gouges mention it. It is all on computer and nothing you study
for. It consists of memory, matching, sequencing type of questions. Lasts
about 45 minutes and really wears you out. They send the data off to a
company in Houston and it takes a few hours to get results back. My
interview started at one and I finished up around 6 and waited for the
others to get done before we all rode to the hotel.

Got the early (5:00am)flight the next morning out of Plattsburg and ended up
getting delayed due to WX. Got home around 2:00pm and there was a message
from Derinda offering a job :-) Start ground school in a few weeks.

A quick note on some things. While everyone is clammoring for RJs and the
big "glamor" regionals, Commutair should not be overlooked. Major airlines
LOVE BE-1900 time. Commutair offers super quick upgrade times, good
atmosphere, and is a pipeline for the majors. They have a pipline to
USAirways, American and, much to my suprise, FedEx. And all majors are well
represented. If flying for a major is your goal, look at Commutair because
they will get you there quicker than any other regional.

Date Interviewed: February 2001
Summary of Qualifications: NA
Were you offered the job? Don't Know
Pilot Interview Profile:

The company will pay for a nights lodging and fly you in and out on their aircraft. My stay was after the interview which lasted till about 7:30 PM.
(I arrived about 1:00 PM)
All in all it was a very pleasant day. I found everyone from the pilots to
the staff to be very polite and friendly. The interview process is divided
into segments, the longer you are there the more positive the outcome should
The first thing is paperwork. Have all of your paperwork ready. You will
have recieved an application in the mail, have it ready. Also you will be
asked to bring a driving record and other pertinent paperwork. Have It
Next is the written exam, it is a 35 question exam with no real time
limit. It is not a cake walk, but I found it to be fairly straightfoward.
There is a question on converting Zulu, a couple on reading METARS, a few on
the usual FARs concerning DA and 91-175, a bunch on weather, (If you go
through all of the weather chapters in the Gleim ATP Book, you will do OK)
After that there is the interview (about 45 min.) The HR and technical are
all done at the same time. Know your paperwork, know the aircraft your
flying, know the Jepps.
I was asked a few operational type questions concerning icing, was asked to
verbally fly a couple of approaches from this or that point on the plate
(ILS 33 Roanoke, VA ) was asked about the lighting available, What was DA,
what viz needed, Weather is such and such, can you shoot the aproach ? Read
a Metar, ETA at 1:00 LOCAL whats the weather gonna be?
What if captain goes below mins? How will you cope with a younger Captain?
Why should we hire you?
The interview was friendly and relaxed, be prepared to explain your answers
and account for your flying and you will do fine.
Next is the computer testing. You cannot study for it but maybe you can
prepare. The first part is a tic tac toe grid with numbers that flash out of
sequence, you will have to remember where as many were on the grid as
posibble including where the blanks were. Also there are number sequences
and color stuff. I am fairly certain that there are a couple of airline
prepbooks out there that can help you a little with this type of test. FIND
Thats about it, there is No sim ride, Just be yourself, know your stuff and
good luck.
Oh by the way, You should know weather or not you are going to the next
ground school pretty quick. As for me, well, I made it through all the
segments pretty well, I have not been offered the next groundschool as of
yet I am still hoping! Safe Flying ! And dont give Up! Even if you do not
get hired, each interview is a learning experience, Learn from it, keep
flying, I assure you, YOU WILL GET THERE!!

Date Interviewed: February 2001
Summary of Qualifications: NA
Were you offered the job? Don't Know
Pilot Interview Profile:
I interviewed on the 28th of February. I can't be clear enough about how pleasant the interview was. Complaints and bad gossip spread so much faster and easier than good comments in this industry, and I honestly did not meet one person who didn't have anything but great things to say about this company. It is probably one of the best kept secrets in the industry.
Brand new Beech 1900's with digital instruments!
Continental Connection!
Upgrade 12-14 months!
Weather experience the majors love!
Great atmosphere that is non-corporate America!
ATP Weather
Alternate minimums of the regs you are currently flying
Approach Plates
Runway lighting
Holding procedures and speeds
There is a Wonderlic/I.Q. type of test that you can't study for. The first part seems amazingly difficult. The next two parts are fairly easy. You are alloted an hour. This test took me 25-30 minutes and I was told that I scored very high. I have never considered myself any sort of genius, so if I did well, it might not be graded so tough.
I was offered a position the next day. Usually they can tell you that day if the computer grading system is up. Not everyone got the job, however the majority did. They do not play games like other airlines who will hire 25 candidates for a class that they want 20 out of, and knowingly weed out 5 saps. The only other thing I can tell you is get ready to freeze your rear off if you get the job.

Date Interviewed: January 2001
Summary of Qualifications: NA
Were you offered the job? Don't Know
Pilot Interview Profile:

This was only my 2nd interview for a flying job, it was with CommutAir, this is
a Continental Connection that flies only Beech 1900's in the NY and VT

Day started off at 4am, that's when I got up to catch a 6:20am flight from
BWI>EWR>BVT>PLB(total milkrun) arriving at 1:30pm, doesn't seem right does
it?...On the flight I met the only other person interviewing with me on this
day, a 41yr old(see most of you still can do it!!)2400hr instructor from
Boston...We met in Newark, his route was worse than mine!...We got to fly in
on one of their 1900's from BVT to PLB(Plattsburg, their home base) and the
pilot turned out to be the chief pilot and part of the interviewing
trio...Started off filling out more paperwork and we took a 35 question test
on FARs, AIM schtuff and weather...I got 33 right...Next was a face to face
with a human resources woman, the chief pilot and the pilot in charge of
training...The last immediately asked for my logbooks as the HR woman
started asking questions like, why should we hire you, where do you see
yourself in a few years and about 20 questions along those lines...Next was
the chief pilots turn...He asked me what kind of plates I'm used to, I told
him NOS so he pulled out some Jepps and started asking me questions that any
instrument rated pilot should know like you're on an ILS, at DA you see the
approach lights, what do you do? and pointing to the plate, you're at 7000'
and cleared for the approach, how would you fly it, things like that...He
asked what was the worse thing that has happened to me flying, I told them
nothing major and I would like to think it's because of the go/no-go
decisions and other preemptive decisions that I have made...I started
feeling fairly confident...He also asked about IFR regulations, weather(had
to read a TAF and METAR) and gave me scenarios such as, "I'm(he) flying with
you(me) in the right seat and you see that I'm just not on my game today,
what would you do?"...I told him that I'm fairly used to company politics
and I would tactfully ask questions but without a specific scenario, I'll
stop here...Didn't want to dig a hole I couldn't get out of(I"m only 5'4".
it doesn't take much of a hole :-))...They also asked if I could handle a
tough 3 week ground school, I snickered and told them of my ATP experience,
they were all familiar with ATP and very respective of it...Then it was the
pilot in charge of training's turn, his first and only question was who was
told them that was my wife and I need her to sign me off anytime I want to
go flying ;-)...Her name is in my logbook alot...They
gave me back my logbooks after the 30 minute session and sent me back out
with the other guy...The last thing we had to do was cognitive test that was
to last about 45 minutes...They preferd it to a sim ride as it gave them
much better insight into your abilities to succeed with them and the
airlines, they were very concerned about how you would represent them after
your stay with them...They said if we didn't know how to fly by now, we
wouldn't have been there, so they have stopped the sim rides...The test
consisted of 3 major parts, the first was 9 squares, just like a tic tac toe
board, where they flashed numbers in the boxes and you had to determine
which number they didn't show you and then place the numbers in the correct
box, they said it related to scans and how much and well you could memorize
information...The next part was just series of numbers in patterns, some
very obvious some not...I can't remember what they said this did but it was
fun...Oh and all these are timed as well, so just getting it right wasn't
everything, it had to be done in some type of time frame...The last part was
colors, they would show you 5 rows of 9 boxes each with one of 5 colors, you
had to push the buttons labeled for that color quickly and accurately...It
then told you how long you took and how many errors you made and you had to
then guess how well you would on it the next time...I did it in 37.7 sec, no
errors...I guessed at 35 sec and no errors on the second time and did it in
34.3 with no errors!...Next was the words(red, blue, green, yellow, blue and
black) in their correct colors and you had to do the same thing except guess
how well you would do on it the next time...Then they used the words but
each was never in it's own color(i.e. the word red would never be the color
red) and they wanted you to push the button corresponding to the color not
the word...What I did to help me was squint my eyes a little to blur the
words so all I could see was the color and it seemed to work...After that we
sat in a nice lounge as they discussed our fate...The lady we had been
dealing with came out and started with Bill, out of the 5 parts he was above
average in 3 and average in 2...She then turned to me and said, verbatim,
"you're perfect!"...I got 3 sections perfect and 2 above average and I was
the first person to beat her score!!!...I'm proud and I'm bragging!!!...They
instantly gave us both offers and told us we had until Monday to let them
know...I was then pulled aside by the pilot in charge of training and asked
if I would consider being a part of their training department as opposed to
going on the line if I got thru the training...I told them I would consider
everything and get back to them...In my mind I was ready to sign up but
wanted to act kewl and not too anxious but I was so excited, I'm not so sure
how I did on that part ;-)...They also have a 98%
pass rate thru their school and they believe it's because they only choose
the best, felt good to be included in that group...
While the other guy was being questioned one of the pilots took me out to a
plane, fired it up and gave me the cockpit tour...The planes all have TCAS,
weather radar, gps(not coupled), glass panels!!!!, backup AI's(of course),
EFIS(both sides), EGPWSs and 1279hp on each wing!...

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