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Great Lakes Airlines Pilot Interview Profiles

Date Interviewed: October 2014
Summary of Qualifications: 800+ hours, CFI, CFII, MEI
Were you offered the job? No
Pilot Interview Profile:
My interview was at Centennial Airport in Denver. I was amazed at the attitudes of the interviewers.

I started the interview with a written test. Some of the questions are what you'll find on previous gouges, but some were odd ball ones, like "How long are the MALSR lights?"

Afterwards, it was one on one with me and a captain. He said he'd play the role of HR, so he started asking those types of questions. Suddenly, the door opened and 3 more people walked in. It was the chief, another captain, and the actual HR lady. It went downhill from here.

They completely tore me apart in this interview. The thought of getting up and walking out actually crossed my mind. The HR lady, I believe her name is Michelle, seemed pretty unprofessional to me. Even her phone went off in the interview. Perhaps she needs a different job. The panel of 4 was intimidating to begin with, but for them to have no welcoming personality made the whole situation that much worse. In an effort to refrain from profanity, I'll withhold how I really feel about these people.

It was my turn to ask questions. The answer to one of my questions blew me away. I asked the HR lady what Great Lakes' plans were for the next 5 years, and she said that hopefully they're still in business. That's not the type of answer you would get from someone who is proud of where they work, let alone who is trying to recruit people.

I then went to the sim and did a DME arc to an ILS into PIR. That sim was impossible to fly unless you had time in that exact sim before. I had prepared on a different sim and I completely butchered this approach. It didn't help that someone had bumped (accidently?) the autopilot and the trim wheel started spinning on its own, so then I was having to fight the autopilot. I highly recommend that everyone goes to Advanced Aviation Simulators and work with Lisa or one of her instructors.

Overall, this was probably the worst and most uncomfortable interview I've ever had. I can't believe the people running this show would treat anybody this way, especially when they are hurting for pilots as bad as they are. By judging the interviewers, I have a pretty good idea of what it's like to work at Great Lakes.
Date Interviewed: April 2014
Summary of Qualifications: 1,033 Total Time, 32 Multi, CFI/CFII
Were you offered the job? Yes
Pilot Interview Profile:
Interviewed for their 135 operations. Interview took place at DIA (Denver International) Transportation is free on standby with GREAT LAKES only! Otherwise, transportation is on your own accord.

First part of the interview was really straight forward. SAME QUESTIONS that are offered on this website. They will look over logbooks and paperwork when you are taking the test which is 30 minutes, but it took me more like 15 minutes. This test you have to score 80% or better to continue with the interview. The test is composed of 20 Questions, first 10 questions are general, and last 10 questions are on an approach plate North Platte ILS 30 (Jeppesen Chart).

PART 1 OF TEST: (I'm not writing in my answers, since these should be known by any potential crew member).

1.) What is the max. airspeed below 10,000' MSL?

2.) What is the basic VFR weather minimums above 10,000' MSL (Class E)?

3.) When can you descend below DA/MDA on approach?

4.) What are the components of an ILS?

5.) Given a visual depiction of a localizer service volume, what is the angular width at 10 miles (in degrees) and 18 miles (in degrees)?

6.) What is the width of the localizer at the runway threshold?

7.) What weather conditions are associated with warm, moist, unstable air?

8.) Contact approach is initiated by whom?

9.) What is the service volume for a compass locator?

10.) You start to pick up ice where even brief encounters are potentially hazardous and which requires de-ice/anti-ice equipment or a diversion, what type of ice?


North Platte Regional Airport ILS RWY 30 Approach plate (Jeppesen) was given:

1.) Which IAF does not require a procedure turn?

2.) How can you identify the FAF (compass locator) without ADF?

3.) You are cleared for the approach via the VOR how will you proceed?

4.) What circling minimums will you use if flying the approach at 130 knots?

5.) How will you determine the MAP?

6.) What's the distance from FAF to runway threshold?

7.) What is the minimum visibility for the approach?

8.) The airplane prior to you on the approach reports visibility as 1/4 mile, is that reported statue or nautical? Can you continue on the approach?

9.) How far can you expect to receive coverage at 16,500' MSL?

10.) You are on the circle to land and get into a cloud how will you go missed?

After the written test they will hand you the pilot training contract to review as they grade your test. As of April, 2014 it is still 15 months at $7,500. I have heard they want to increase it to 3 years... don't know if and when that is going through...
A copy of the contract will be viewed by you. They will make you sign a document stating you are aware of the contract and you will receive a copy of that contract to take with you (this is NOT THE CONTRACT you are signing, just a document stating you know there is one with the company). Also, you should receive a pamphlet of benefits, flight/medical, 401K, payscale, etc. All of this you are reviewing over and reading on your own when they grade your exam.

After that it was HR/Technical, it was really relaxed and informal, them getting to know me, to start this is what I got:

1.) Tell me about yourself?
2.) What does CRM mean to you?
3.) Can you give me a bad example of CRM?
4.) Can you give me a good example of CRM?
5.) Talked about the most scared time in a plane
6.) Asked to brief an approach plate (jeppesen) NOT going to mention which approach, since they do change it up
7.) We couldn't land in XYZ airport, and went missed how are we going to go missed, how are we going to enter the hold?? entry, radial, etc.
8.) We are leaving XYZ vor and going to ABC vor, direct. So, what minimum altitude must you be at to leave XYZ vor?
9.) Why Great Lakes?
10.) Where do you see yourself going in your career?
11.) If XYZ airline called you today, would you go? Why?

The interview can vary with difficulty by experience. Instrument knowledge is a must for the interview, even if you think you know something, you don't know it all. I know another question that was asked in another interview to my buddy

1.) If you are over the runway threshold at minimums, and your MAP time is 2:35 and now it is 2:33, you have the runway in sight, will you go miss? or Land?

I was called back within a week for a class date. If you aren't selected expect an email. For the Beechcraft 1900, training is in Cheyenne for about 3 weeks, and back to Denver area or Greeley for SIM, and 1 week for flight training. Training should be all done in 6 weeks, or so. BUT it might take longer (up to 8 weeks) based on instructor availability, class size, plane availability for training.

For training there are NO single rooms, so expect a roommate (unless you're the only one in class). Transportation is provided from Denver International to Cheyenne by Great Lakes, through a shuttle.
Training is NOT paid for, and food, and expenses are on you . So, no re-imbursements of any kind.
Your hire date is the day you pass your checkride in the plane, and hire date is the start of the contract, and seniority date (as far as I know).

This should sum it all up! Great Lakes offers great experience, in a multi-crew environment. It beats running laps in the pattern, in my opinion.

Good Luck to all you future Lakers!!
Date Interviewed: April 2013
Summary of Qualifications: 1400 plus. CFII MEI 700 dual given
Were you offered the job? Yes
Pilot Interview Profile:
Interview at DIA. Very easy and nice! Called 12 days later. Offered class.
Indoc includes 3 days of Sim on a 1900 panel on PCATD. Study hard work very hard. Systems is harder yet. Some of the hardest in the airlines industry. Stay at the plains hotel on your twin bed. Then it's off to SiM training usually Greely or Atlanta. Not paid during training and at the end of your check ride is your hire date Start at 16/hr. and then look for a crash pad. In Williston it's impossible and very pricey. If you go on vacation. They will take it away if there short even if your senior (no joke) Having been there done this. It's actually not fun. But whatever works. Great company to work for if your okay with low pay and being junior manned. But don't leave you will be held responsible to the 7600 dollar contract. They are a hurting company and now where to close to thinking about fixing it.
Date Interviewed: May 2012
Summary of Qualifications: CFI, CFII, 790TT, 50ME
Were you offered the job? Yes
Pilot Interview Profile:

Total time: 1.5 hours
Written test: 20-30 minutes
HR/technical: About 1 hour
Crowne Plaza Hotel, DIA

Stayed overnight for a 0930 interview the following day. Headed down about 10-15 minutes early, handed my paperwork to the HR guy seated at a table outside the conference room, and started the written exam. I was also given a copy of the training agreement to look over after I had completed the written, as well as a pamphlet on benefits and perks of a first officer job. Essentially every question on the written had been mentioned on previous gouges, I believe it's probably all the same test. 10 questions on general regs and AIM, then 10 questions about a specific approach plate (included with questions). Questions were (as best as I can remember):

1. Maximum indicated airspeed under 10,000MSL?
2. VFR cloud clearance/visibility minimums above 10,000MSL?
3. Requirements to descend below DA/MDA on approach?
4. What are components of ILS?
5. Given a visual depiction of the localizer service volume, what are the angular widths at 10 miles and 18 miles?
6. What is the width of the localizer course at the runway threshold?
7. Warm, moist, unstable, air. What weather conditions could be associated with this?
8. Contact approach is initiated by whom?
9. What is service volume of compass locator NDB?
10. You start picking up ice where even brief encounters are potentially hazardous and require either de-ice/anti-ice equipment or a diversion. What type of ice?

The second half consisted of looking at a LOC approach into North Platte Regional Airport (LBF) and answering about 10 questions:

1. Which initial approach fixes do not require a procedure turn?
2. How to identify the FAF (compass locator) without ADF.
3. You are cleared for the approach via the VOR. Where will you go from there (follow feeder route), and how will you proceed?
4. What circling minimums will you use if flying the approach at 130 knots?
5. How will you determine the missed approach point (times are listed)?
6. What's the distance from the FAF to the runway threshold?
7. What is the minimum visibility for the approach?
8. The airplane prior to you reports visibility at 1/4 mile. Is that statute or nautical? Also, approach mins are 1/2 mile. Can you continue?
9. How far away could you expect reception from the LBF VOR at 16,500MSL?

Can't remember the last one, but it was pretty simple. If you're comfortable with the above information, it should be no problem.

I was called in shortly after to do the HR/technical portion with one of the assistant chief pilots. He offered to get me some water, then sat down with me one-on-one to start the interview. He made the atmosphere very comfortable and informal. Some of the initial questions:

- How did you get interested in flying/Great Lakes, and what is your background?
- Where do you see yourself going at Lakes, and career-wise in general?
- Teach some about the errors of the magnetic compass.
- Pick a system on the most recent twin you've flown and teach about it a little (I chose avionics).
- Ever had an emergency/close call in an airplane?
- Are you familiar with some of the junior domiciles? Any preference?
- He had me look at and sign a form stating I had read the training agreement documentation previously.
- Random HR questions (felony, DUI, etc.)

We then took out the approach plate and airport diagram into Telluride, CO and discussed it a little.

- Descending out of NE at FL240, cleared down to 12,000MSL to cross VOR. When will we start descent? Doing 300 knots, descent rate up to you. I chose 2000 FPM.
- Upon arrival at VOR, where will you go/how will you do so (there was a feeder route)?
- What is "established" on the localizer?
- Finger fly the approach with step downs from there and talk about altitudes, distances, etc.
- How do you calculate your own VDP for the approach? I had no clue. Take minimums in AGL and divide by 300, this will give you the distance in miles from the MAP.
- If we circle for a different runway and go into the clouds, how will we go missed off the circle approach, and where will we go?
- How will we enter the hold off the missed approach?
- What is the max holding speed?
- What are the lengths of the holding pattern legs time-wise?
- We get wx, shoot the approach again, and land the opposite direction. Based on airport diagram, what is important to keep in mind for that runway?
- On the approach, if we determine we need to set the airplane down by a certain point for safety reasons, the captain is flying, and he continues to float down the runway, what will you do? Take the controls? Talk to someone afterwards?
- Upon taxiing out for departure, wx changes and goes to 1/4 mile. Can we depart according to the chart? What does "adequate visual reference" mean?
- What are the symbols at the end of each side of the runway labeled EMAS?

That was pretty much it. We spent the rest of the time discussing questions I had:

- Ground school is conducted in Cheyenne, Wyoming. Sim for the 1900 is in Greeley, CO or somewhere else close to Denver. Hotels are paid for during training.
- After sim, you go fly the real airplane in the middle of the night while it's parked and not being flown, training in Nebraska mainly, I think.
- The checkride is in the actual airplane, after which comes actual employment and IOE.
- The Beech 1900 is equipped with EFIS, wx radar, TAWS, and TCAS.
- You get 10 days off per month, 3 of which are "untouchable" by crew scheduling.
- Typical trip length is 2-5 days.
- Upgrade time is essentially upon reaching 1500 hours, and they have many upgrade slots currently available. Probably about 1-1.5 years with the time I had.
- They are still in process of negotiating a new contract, which he hoped would be going through in several months, hopefully giving better pay and better working conditions.

I interviewed on Monday morning and got the call from Erin, the chief pilot, that Thursday offering me a June 4 ground school class date for the 1900 in Cheyenne, WY.

Good luck! This was way more comfortable than I thought it would be, and much, much easier too. CFII was the easiest checkride I ever took, and this was WAY easier. After all, the whole process (including the written) only lasted about 1.5 hours.
Date Interviewed: May 2012
Summary of Qualifications: CFI,II, MEI
Were you offered the job? Yes
Pilot Interview Profile:
First of all, get your best suit and well groomed. Trust me your dressing matters there. Also arrive there as early as possible.., that will impress them.

With me, I met Heidi first at Crowne Plaza at Denver. She took a look at all my paper works. Make sure you have a copy of all documents you think they might need. Then they check on your logbook. While they check your logbook, you will give a written exam. 20 total question. Passing score 80%. The previous gouges are pretty accurate.

1. Component of ILS

2. Terminal VOR

3. Max speed below 10,000MSL

4. Max holding speed at 10,000 MSL

5. There is a diagram of ILS coverage area, U need to lable it.

6. Icing condition in flight? what kind?

7. When to descend from MDA?

8. Previous aircraft went missed, Can you shoot a approach? WHY?

9. When do you slow down for what holding speed if not recieved EFC before reaching clearance limit?

10. Example of viscous hydro planning?

Next 10 questions are from a Jeppesen approach chart.

Pretty simple but are little tricky. Make sure you know details about NDB, VOR and ILS approach plates.

Then Heidi will ask you to make corrections in the documents if anything was put wrong.

The interview was with company assistant chief Pilot.

Be yourself. Answer every questions on a positive note and make them feel that you are there to fly with them because what u might get from them, u will not get from anyone else. Some HR questions and some technical questions from approach plate. Make sure you think before answering technical answer. Answer only right answer. DONT GUESS. If you dont know, admit it and ask them to answer it for you to learn. Dont hide any tickets, accidents, incidents, violations or any thing that will draw you back. They will ask you question about it. Explain them with a positive learning experience at the end. Be very humble to them even if the interview goes horribly bad. Make sure you let them know when you leave with a smile. No sim ride. Good luck. Hope to see you at GREAT LAKES.
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