The RADAR
Dane Smith First Officer SkyWest Airlines

Spotlight on Alumni: Dane Smith

Dane Smith
UVU Alumnus 2012
First Officer SkyWest Airlines

Describe one of your typical workdays:

Right now I commute from SLC to Houston to work, so I need to allot time to get on a flight to get to work. Once I am in Houston, I am constantly checking weather observations and forecasts on my smartphone. I go to the crew room or gate and meet my Captain. We get going on our pre-flight routine, including safety briefs and pre-flight inspections.

From the time passengers start boarding to about when we climb through 10,000 feet is really busy. During cruise flight I prep for descent and arrival, along with the usual fuel checks and frequency changes. On arrival, 18,000 ft to the gate is always pretty busy as well.

How many hours do you work in a typical week?

About 20 hours. I’m on duty (at the airport, preparing for a flight) probably about 30 hours a week.

What parts of your job do you find most challenging?

You have to be on top of FAA regulations, company policies and procedures, ATC, training, etc. Once you think you have something figured out, you have another thing to move on to.

What do find most enjoyable?

The best part is when the auto pilot is off. My last job was all hands-on flying, so I like to flex my flying muscles as much as I can. There is no better feeling than working for a landing in rough weather or breaking out of the clouds in a turn. A close second is getting out on the town on overnights and exploring local restaurants.

Are there any negatives to your job?

Of course. Every job has negatives. It’s all about whether the positives outweigh the negatives. First year pay at the regionals is tight. I’ve been preparing for that and it is making it a little bit easier. Right now the hardest part is time away from family. FaceTime helps.

The airline industry is always changing. Where do you think the changes will happen in the next five years?

Right now all the regionals are desperate for pilots, so there is a lot of competition. Over the next five years we are going to see upgrade times at the regionals plummet. I think (and hope!) that there will be a lot of movement from the regionals to the majors.

What qualifications do you seek in a new hire?

As a new hire, you need to roll with the punches. There are many opportunities for growth and learning, so being teachable is one of the biggest things I recommend.

 

[Special thanks to UVU Aviation Advisor Marilyn Riddle for putting together these alumni spotlights. Watch for them throughout the school year.]

Archive

2017

2016

2015

October

August

July

June

April

March

February

2014

December

November

October

September

August

July

June

May

April

March

February

January

2013

December

November

October

September

July

June

March

February

January

2012

Categories

See More Tags...