The RADAR
Jared Peterson B737 Instructor/Evaluator & Pilot

Spotlight on Alumni: Jared Peterson

Jared Peterson
UVU Alumnus 2003
B737 Instructor/Evaluator & Pilot

Describe one of your typical workdays:

Most work days are an 8-hr simulator event but can start as early as 4:00am or as late as 8:00PM. Each Sim event involves a 2-hour brief, then a 4-hour sim ride followed by a post-brief.

How many hours do you work in a typical week?

As an instructor at United Airlines, we work 18 days a month. Three of those days include flying the line to maintain proficiency. My schedule is a bid process based on seniority and most work blocks are 4 to 7 days in row with about 3 to 4 days off in-between.

What parts of your job do you find to be professionally challenging?

I find my job to be very dynamic–full of constant change and variety. One week I could be teaching a new hire first officer who is training in a jet for the first time. The next week, I could be training a new captain who has been flying an Airbus for 20 years and wonders why our old 737 still has a trim wheel! As an instructor, you have to be proficient in all aspects of the aircraft, as well as be proficient in every seat. One day you are acting as a captain, first officer or ATC. The next you are an instructor/mentor and CRM facilitator. In the end it all comes down to communicating to the student in way they understand and remember. I find that as a great challenge–but also very rewarding.

What do find most enjoyable?

I enjoy all of it. I get to teach, fly airplanes and tell a few jokes in the process. What’s not to love about that?

Are there any downsides to your job?

I would say being at work at 4:00AM is not my favorite thing to do. But luckily, I only have to do it a few times a month.

The airline industry is always changing. What have you seen from inside your company? Where do you think the changes will happen in the next five years?

I think the changes you see will be huge. Many retirements are coming up, and hiring is in full swing. When I started as an instructor a few years ago, there were thirty-four B737 Instructors. Today there are one hundred-ten B737 instructors, and new simulators on order. We are spooling up for some serious training.

What is the typical salary for a person in your position in the company?

The pay is based on what aircraft you can hold and seniority with the company. You would be looking at a range of $90,000 to 200,000 a year.

What educational preparation would you recommend for someone who wants to advance in this field?

You can have a degree in music and be an airline pilot–so always get an education in something you love doing. Aviation is flexible in the fact that your college major and hours in a logbook are two separate things. I work with many individuals with IT, business, and aviation degrees from great institutions and I also know some without degrees. All are excellent pilots. Always have a solid education behind you in case the industry has a cooling down period or a personal disaster strikes. You may need it. I was fortunate enough to miss a furlough by 12 months, but when my friends junior to me had to leave the airline, I took a hard look in the mirror and asked myself what would I do if I could never fly airplanes again? The list was pretty short! So always have a plan B.

What qualifications do you seek in a new hire?

I look for individuals who are good communicators and who are able to portray ideas in a clear and creative way. You have to be interesting–ask yourself what separates you from the pack. There are a lot of pilots out there who want your job. We currently have approximately 12,000 resumes on file. When I interviewed for my first job in the training department, the phone rang and they told me to show up with a ten minute lesson on something non-aviation related. I had been at the airline for six years so I figured they already knew I could fly an airplane. I had one day to prepare something, and after giving them a ten minute lesson on how to play a few rock chords on the ukulele, I was hired.

 

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

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