Before I was even born, my dad was a pilot. When I was very young, he co-owned a Piper Cherokee, which I had the enjoyment of flying in as early as 2 years old. Throughout my youth, we went to various airshows including Willow Grove. I have made the "pilgrimage" to Oshkosh twice, in 2003 and 2008, and plan to go again soon.
When I was a teenager, my dad decided to build his own airplane. He chose the RV-7A by Van's Aircraft. I have assisted him with many parts of the building process, including riveting and working with aluminium.
During the summer before my senior year, I attended ACE Camp (Aviation Career Education) at Daniel Webster College in Nashua, NH. After high school, I was accepted into Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU). I attended the Daytona Beach campus and began my Bachelor's degree in Aeronautical Science with the goal of becoming an airline pilot.
I began my training in a Cessna 172 without a glass cockpit. I soloed at Flagler County Airport in Bunnell, FL, located just north of Daytona Beach. At the time of my first solo, Flagler was the one of the busiest uncontrolled airports in the United States. It has since gotten an air traffic control tower and changed it's identifier from X47 to XFL. It is also famous for it's fly-in restaurant, Hijackers, a common stop for a $100 hamburger. A year after I soloed, the aircraft that I soloed in, N434ER, was destroyed in the Christmas Day Tornado of 2006.
I obtained my private pilot license in the category of Airplane Single-Engine Land a few days before my 19th birthday. I then trained for my instrument rating in brand new Cessna 172s with the Garmin G1000. I then opted to take a track that would let me obtain my commercial pilot license before my multi-engine rating. I trained for my commercial pilot license in the Piper Arrow.
I have logged the following airports in my pilot log:
- Daytona Beach International Airport (DAB)
- Ormond Beach Municipal Airport (OMN)
- Palatka Municipal Airport (28J)
- Flagler County Airport (XFL; formally X47)
- New Smyrna Beach Municipal Airport (EVB)
- DeLand Municipal Airport (DED)
- Melbourne International Airport (MLB)
- Gainesville Regional Airport (GNV)
- Zephyrhills Municipal Airport (ZPH)
- Cecil Airport (VQQ) (Jacksonville)
- Craig Municipal Airport (CRG) (Jacksonville)
- Orlando Apopka Airport (X04)
- Kissimmee Gateway Airport (ISM)
- Orlando Sanford International Airport (SFB)
- Malcolm McKinnon Airport (SSI) (Brunswick, GA)
- St. Petersburg–Clearwater International Airport (PIE)
- Space Coast Regional Airport (TIX) (Titusville)
- St. Lucie County International Airport (FPR)
- Florida Keys Marathon Airport (MTH)
- Page Field (FMY) (Fort Myers)
I was first introduced to the aircraft ground handling industry in Daytona Beach, FL while attending college. A friend of mine got me a job as a baggage handler with PrimeFlight Aviation Services at Daytona Beach International Airport (DAB). My duties included loading and unloading checked baggage, reading bag tags, utilizing the baggage handling system and baggage carousel, aircraft marshalling, performing pushbacks, cabin cleaning, and operating various ground support equipment such as tugs, baggage carts, belt loaders, ground power units, air start units, and even lav carts.
We represented Delta Air Lines and Atlantic Southeast Airlines (ASA), operating as Delta Connection. The aircraft that we had regularly was Delta's MD-88 and ASA's CRJ-700. Delta would occasionally substitute a 737-800 or MD-90. ASA would occasionally substitute a CRJ-200 or ATR 72. Some of the Delta Connection flights were operated by Comair, with a CRJ-700. During the Daytona 500, Delta operated some 757-200s to accommodate the increase in traffic. Once we had to handle a diverted Delta Connection ERJ-145 operated by Freedom Airlines.
At PrimeFlight, we were also contracted to handle a few charter flights. Sky King and Pace Airlines each operated a 737-200 once in a while. Miami Air International operated a 737-800 on occasion.
I moved to Orlando, FL and gained a seasonal job as cargo technician with Quantem Aviation Services at Orlando International Airport (MCO). Quantem was contracted to ground handle several air cargo operations. My job was to load and unload unit load devices onto and off of aircraft using container loaders.
Our largest operation was the daily operations of UPS Airlines. Our regular aircraft were several 757-200Fs, a few DC-8-70Fs, and an A300-600F. The A300 was substituted by a 767-300F a few times. And during the week of Christmas we handled a few extra aircraft. UPS brought in an MD-11F, and Arrow Air was contracted to operator a DC-10-10F.
I was then hired as a customer service representative by Swissport USA, the ground handling agent for Virgin Atlantic at MCO. We handled, at a minimum, three daily flights: two to London-Gatwick and one to Manchester. Extra sections were operated on the weekends during certain seasons, and we added Glasgow for some parts of the year. All flights were red-eyes and operated on the 747-400.
My duties began as a check-in agent where I utilized the aircraft seat map to check passengers into Economy class and Premium Economy. I utilized Timatic, a system for checking passengers' passport and visa requirements before they depart for another country. Then I checked the passengers baggage allowance, tagged their bags, and issued them their boarding passes. I pointed them in the direction of the tram to get to the gates. Occasionally I had to deal with an unruly passenger, and only once did I have to call airport police.
I also worked in the customs hall where I assisted arriving passengers before and after they cleared customs. I also performed the tasks of gate agent including escorting the Upper Class passengers from the airport lounge, making announcements in the terminal, checking prams, and conducting the boarding process.
After some time I was invited to become a ticket agent. I was flown to Norwalk, CT, Virgin Atlantic's USA headquarters, where I took a two-week training course on SHARES. I learned things such as e-tickets, paper tickets, flight interruption manifests, airline codes, bereavement flights, codeshare agreements, fare basis codes, one-way travel, passenger name records, the standby process, the Warsaw Convention, layovers, stopovers, and connections, and overselling.
In 2010, the Eyjafjallajökull volcano of Iceland erupted, leading to major air travel disruption. All of our flights were cancelled for six days, stranding millions of passengers around the world. Ten thousand of those passengers were Virgin Atlantic flyers stuck in MCO, and were thus partly my responsibility for getting home when airspace reopened. Our own flights were quickly booked solid for the next two months, but thousands were still stuck. I re-booked passengers on other carriers, through other US cities. But that still wasn't enough. Finally, Virgin Atlantic added a few extra sections, including an A340-600, and also chartered a few aircraft. We had two 767-300ERs, one each operated Arkefly and North American Airlines, and a few DC-10-30s operated by Omni Air International.
I moved back to Philadelphia, PA and obtained a job as aircraft fueler with Aircraft Service International Group (ASIG) at Philadelphia International Airport (PHL). ASIG is contracted to perform the fueling operations for US Airways and the operators that make up US Airways Express. PHL is a hub for US Airways, which is currently in the middle of merging with American Airlines.
I have fueled numerous types of aircraft: E190s, A319s, A320s, A321s, 737-400s, 757-200s, 767-200s, A330-200s and A330-300s for US Airways; E170/E175s for Republic Airlines; CRJ-200s for both PSA Airlines and Air Wisconsin; and DHC-8-100s for Piedmont Airlines.
I have also trained five individuals to become fuelers themselves, and I trained new leads, as well.
In June of 2014 I was promoted to fueling lead, which, at PHL, is like an air traffic controller for fuel trucks. Each shift, I coordinated six to ten fuel trucks on one of the seven terminals of PHL to fuel 40 to 60 flights.
I was promoted to Tower Supervisor in September of 2015. Specifically, I supervisor the entire fueling operation during a shift at PHL. I work in both the ramp towers, located above the terminals between A and B, and above Terminal F.
By type of experience
|McDonnell Douglas DC-10/MD-11|
|McDonnell Douglas MD-80/90|
|Bombardier Dash 8|
indicates extensive experience indicates a one-time occurrence
By airport, company, and aircraft type
|PrimeFlight||Delta Air Lines||MD-88|
|Miami Air Intl||737-800|
|MCO||Quantem||Capital Cargo Intl||727-200F|
|Astar Air Cargo||DC-8-70F|
|Omni Air Intl||DC-10-30|
|Delta Air Lines||717-200|
|Trans States Airlines||ERJ-145|
|Sky Regional Airlines||E-175|
- ASA is now known as ExpressJet
- ASA retired their ATR 72s in 2008
- Comair ceased operations in 2012
- Freedom Airlines ceased operations in 2010
- Sky King ceased operations in January 2014
- Pace Airlines ceased operations in 2009
- ATA Airlines ceased operations in 2008
- Capital Cargo has since been merged into Air Transport International
- Astar Air Cargo ceased operations in 2012, due to the DHL's termination of their contract
- UPS retired their DC-8s in 2009
- Arrow Air ceased operations in 2010
- Arkefly is now known as simply Arke
- Omni Air retired their DC-10s in 2012
- US Airways reetired their 737-400s in August 2014